Machine learning, physical web, startups on spotlight in DevFest Cebu 2016

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Albert Padin GDG DevFest Cebu
PEN, APPLE, PINEAPPLE. Albert Padin demonstrates how machines can be taught to identify whether an object is a pen, apple or pineapple by feeding it batches of images through the open source TensorFlow library.

In school, when students do something more than what is required like build an app for the library, classmates dismiss them as “naning.”

Naninga nimo uy,” Albert Padin recalled on stage at the Google Developers’ Group DevFest Cebu 2016 last Saturday at the SM Seaside City. But being “naning” is about working hard and doing more and that is what is important, Padin said.

“If you really want to achieve great things and reach your dreams,” he said in an interview after his talk, “You have to be naning.”

GDG DevFest Cebu 2016

Padin, co-founder of technology company Symph, was among the several technologists and startup founders who gave a talk during DevFest Cebu 2016. He is the only Google Developer Expert in the Philippines.

Albert Padin GDG DevFest Cebu
PEN, APPLE, PINEAPPLE. Albert Padin demonstrates how machines can be taught to identify whether an object is a pen, apple or pineapple by feeding it batches of images through the open source TensorFlow library.

Padin demonstrated the use of TensorFlow, an open source library for machine learning made available by Google, to teach a computer how to identify a pen, apple, and pineapple by feeding it with photographs of the three items. He also demonstrated the use of Google Home, a speaker that also serves as voice-activated artificial intelligence or AI assistant at home.

His co-founder, Dave Overton, discussed the need for startups to “focus on what is important.”

Tap cloud services

“There are only 24 hours in a day,” Overton said in his talk, “and you can’t be awake in all those 24 hours.”

“One of the tempting things as a startup founder is to go with what’s natural for you. If you’re a developer, you tend to develop. You tend to build more code. If you’re a designer, you tend to redesign things,” he said in an interview after the event.

He said the startup should just focus on creating a great product and getting users rather than having to deal with tasks like deploying and maintaining a server. For resources like these, Overton said it would be better for startups to deploy on cloud services like that offered by Google.

Hackathon winner

Brian Tan Seng, meanwhile, talked about beacons, which are small transmitters that trigger sending of messages and information to nearby phones and tablets, and the physical web.

Other talks during the event included one on Codelabs, an online portal where people can get tutorials and guides on Google technology, by Julia Camille Menchavez; Progress Web Apps, websites madeto load and work like mobile apps, also by Menchavez; internet of things (IoT) and Firebase by Josan Chug; Why UnionBank and City Savings Bank are supporting developers by Eugene Acevedo; and Getting Started with Firebase by Benj Tupas.

An app that will allow people to crowdsource what they need with other users in the immediate vicinity won the hackathon held with the event. Needy, the name of the app, was built by co-workers Andro Sumabong, Joseph Christopher Pimentel, and Joseph Kurt Leonardo. Placing second was the Psst app, which wanted to serve as a status page for a certain location or community where important information and updates can be posted and shared.

Attendees and the speakers described Saturday’s event as a success. It took 12 hours to wrap up. “The crowd had amazing energy to make it that long,” Overton said.

By Max Limpag

Max Limpag is a journalist, blogger, and developer based in Cebu. He started as a reporter covering City Hall in 1996. He has written on technology for various print and digital publications since 1999 and twice won the Philippine Blog Awards for technology and sports. He co-founded the new media start-up InnoPub Media.

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