Winners of Paypal BattleHack Istanbul

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PayPal BattleHack Istanbul this past April was a major success, bringing together talented hackers competing to create an app that would benefit the community. Piggy Bank took the crown and will represent Istanbul at the finals in San Jose this November. An app for parents and their children, Piggy Bank helps control children’s spending while supporting a healthy, active lifestyle using PayPal “student” accounts and iBeacon technologies.

The first runner-up of BattleHack Istanbul were Fitpal, a fitness app that motivates you to do a 7-minute workout everyday. Following close was WouldPay, an app that lets you set prices that you would be willing to pay on online items, and then sends you notifications when or if the price ever drops to your set amount. You can check out more information on the winners here.

Missed out on PayPal BattleHack Istanbul? Not to fret! You can still join the fun by signing up for your local BattleHack here. The next BattleHack will be in Warsaw, Poland.

We can’t wait to see who’s going to make it out to the finals in San Jose, California!

Android Memory: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

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Development on most platforms has it source of frustrations. Android is no different. One of the main sources of developer angst in Android is memory, as we never seem to have enough of it. Our apps’ heap space — the memory in which our objects go — could be as low as 16MB, though 32-64MB is more common nowadays. Still, this is a far cry from the memory you can use in, say, a Java Web app.

A lot of Android developers run into OutOfMemoryError messages. Some who do are quick to blame these small heap sizes, and they no doubt contribute to the problem. However, another reason for those errors is that Android does not today use a compacting or “moving” garbage collector. If you allocate a bunch of objects, and you free just some of them, you wind up fragmenting your heap. Android’s Dalvik VM will not move objects around in memory to try to compact the used memory space and allow all available memory to be allocated as once. If you get an OutOfMemoryError on Android, what Android is really saying is that there is no single block of memory big enough for your request, so while you may have enough free heap space, the allocation cannot succeed.

Are Developers in New York Better than Silicon Valley?

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Just got home late Monday night after supporting the Sears Hackathon in New York, and working with our friends from Brand Garage. It’s great to see more and more of the Brands and large companies recognizing how they can build their businesses by working with developers and startups.

It’s taken a while for our technology companies to open up to developers; but thankfully they have paved the way for companies outside tech to embrace the world of developers and this different way of thinking!

And what a great hackathon it was, with really great devs, startups and projects! However, we all noticed (and this is not the first time), that these developers think differently from those based in Silicon Valley where many hackathons and events take place.

Does different thinking mean better thinking? Well – depends on your viewpoint. Startups outside the valley are definitely more focused on solving immediate business problems, rather than focusing on their own businesses on growth and revenue. It really is a business imperative for them if they want to be sustainable. We noticed this trend from those coming out to the hackathons.

The valley startup thinking tends to be about changing the world and building business to sell (hopefully to Google) and they also bring in a stronger social component. Unfortunately these hackathon results tend to be less practical for many of the businesses that have today’s problems. I’m curious to see if you’ve had similar observations, or will I get myself into hot water on this one!

Back to the Sears hack – a big congrats to a Canadian team, Benbria that won that Grand prize!

I’m heading back to Berlin next week, then London and Barcelona to support Samsung’s Gear developer events. Let me know if you have time to meet. Traveling this much can get pretty tough, but seeing great friends around the world makes it really great (the beer is on me)!