X1 Photos hits the App Store!

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Comcast Labs has just released X1 Photos, a new mobile app that allows XFINITY X1 customers to easily cast photos and videos from their iPhone or Android smartphone directly to their TV.

The app enables casting from on-device photo galleries including camera roll, Facebook, Instagram and Flickr. Support for additional 3rd party services will be added in the near future, as will a guest mode that allows even non-customers to cast to any X1.

Connecting social accounts to X1 is another handy feature of X1 Photos. Customers can opt to simply connect their social accounts to X1 which will automatically populate a TV companion app with user’s photos and videos. From that point on viewing photos from Facebook, Instagram and Flickr on TV will be as easy as tuning to the app. This feature will also allow users to point the X1 screensaver to their own photos.

The goal of the new X1 Photos mobile app is to allow anyone to enjoy and share their own personal media on X1 as quickly and easily as possible. In order to meet this goal we also built a new device pairing system for X1 called Easy Pair. Using a simple numeric code that appears on the TV, Easy Pair enables the connecting of mobile devices and PCs to X1 in order to cast photos and videos, and in the near future will support many other services including the casting of music and HTML5 apps.

X1 Photos is currently released under the Comcast Labs brand, which encourages live customer use and feedback in order to inform against success criteria. Once an app reaches certain milestones in Comcast Labs, it graduates to a fully endorsed and supported XFINITY product. We’re hoping to see X1 Photos graduate in early 2017.

Congratulations to the whole CSV photos team for the release of X1 Photos!

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2016 Rio Summer Olympics

For several months leading up to Rio 2016, teams all over Comcast worked on every aspect of X1 to prepare for the Olympics. Our goal was to feature and surface content around all of the games in ways that had never been done before. We went way beyond primetime coverage to bring every minute of streaming video content from NBC to X1, and built an entire infrastructure around organization and discovery. On top of that, our X1 Sports app offered details on every sport, every team, event and every country like no one had seen on the big screen before.

Thaya described it best in the video as: “a shared sense of pride” around all of the Olympics work. I’m super proud of the team in Sunnyvale and how every individual helped to bring this massive event together on X1. Great teamwork with our counterparts around the country and great results all around!

CSV to Host Toastmasters Regional Humorous Speech Contest

Comcast Silicon Valley is proud to be hosting the upcoming regional Humorous Speech Contest as part of our membership in Toastmasters International. On Thursday Sept. 15 we’ll hear from several CSV members as they compete to win a slot in the G4 Area regional competition. The larger G4 event will take place at CSV on the evening of Sept. 29th from 6-9pm. We wish the best of luck to all participants and look forward to a thoroughly entertaining event!

About Toastmasters International

With over 345,000 members, Toastmasters International is a world leader in communication and leadership development. Members improve their speaking and leadership skills by attending one of the 15,900 clubs in 142 countries that make up a global network of meeting locations.

Silicon Valley Toastmasters Clubs

Clubs in our local area provide a supportive and positive learning experience in which members are empowered to develop communication and leadership skills, resulting in greater self-confidence and personal growth.

The Fall contest season is an integral part of the Toastmasters year. Contests provide an opportunity for speakers to improve their speaking abilities, recognize Toastmasters who compete as an inspiration to us all, and provide an opportunity for us to learn by observing speakers who have benefited from their Toastmasters training. Contests also provide new leadership opportunities for those members who are part of the team that plans the contest and makes it happen.

Contests begin at the club level with winners advancing through regional, state, national and international competition.

Agile Event with Dan Olsen @ Comcast Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley Agile Leadership Network presents a special Meetup with Dan Olsen on Tuesday, Sept. 13 from 6:30 – 9pm.

Dan will be discussing key points and topics from his Amazon best selling book, The Lean Product Playbook. The Lean Product Playbook is a practical guide that describes an iterative methodology for achieving product-market fit. In his talk, Dan will be sharing the top ideas from his book including how to understand customer needs, how to ensure you have a clear value proposition, and how to test your product ideas with customers before you start building them.

Dan is incredibly excited to share this topic with us and we are excited to have him!

As always, light drinks and refreshments will be provided. Networking will begin at 6:30PM. Full address and location details can be found here on the event page.

Looking forward to seeing you all on Tuesday at Comcast Silicon Valley!

Lab Week, July 2016

Bots were

 the theme of this summer’s Lab Week here at CSV, and as usual, people delivered. While no one ventured into VR territory during the 5-day event, we had enough bot action to go around. The week was even kicked off with a visit from our friends at Slack who gave us some first-hand tips on building bots for slack.

Many teams spent Monday grouping up and crystalizing goals, then got to work. Things were pretty quite on Tuesday and Wednesday, but a late-night tour of our three floors on Thursday revealed many CSV Nightcrawlers hard at work preparing for Fridays’s demos.

The entries were impressive. All-told we saw 7 full demos at judgement time including an automated Pokemon app, an IOT/Amazon Echo controller, home automation control with both Slack and Facebook bots, a TV “bot-ler” that would help in the recommendation process, a redesign of XFINITY’s Watchathon promotion and a stunning way to visualize latency data.

Our three judges had their work cut out for them, as did the audience. In the end, we had our three winners. The Audience Choice award went to Slack and Facebook bots and their team of 12. Second place was snagged by team Watchathon and the highest honor, first place, went to TV Botler.

What a week!

T&P Live from CSV

A few times a year, Comcast’s Technology and Product group (T&P) produces a live broadcast of T&P Live, a live internal national broadcast hosted by T&P President, Tony Werner. The July 2016 edition of T&P Live was broadcast from CSV and expertly produced by the crew from Comcast Hometown Network. These guys were amazing!

The Chn crew literally transformed our office into a television studio overnight. The set was tight, cameras locked, sound speeds, rolling!

2016 Post-it Challenge

2016 brought stiff competition in the 2nd annual CSV Post-it Challenge. Popular themes this year were Game of Thrones, animation, politics and rock starts. I mean, what else is there, really? Oh yeah, Olympics!

Lessons Learned from Zombieland

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Sr. director of engineering, Matt Barbour recently gave an awesome presentation at Star East entitled “Lessons Learned on Test Automation from Zombieland”.  In it he discussed all of the lessons learned by his teams on doing end-to-end automated testing on real devices at Comcast’s scale.  

Matt’s thesis: The chaos involved with automated testing on real devices is a well known pain point for most engineers and is not all that different from the chaos of the zombie wasteland we see in the movie Zombieland.

In Zombieland, the characters survive by following a set of rules; “limber up,” “check the back seat,”  and “use the buddy system” are a few examples.

At Comcast Silicon Valley we’re on the forefront of media and technology and so it seemed natural to adapt the same rules to help us navigate the chaotic world of automated testing on real devices.  Those rules, combined with many of the test tools developed (and open sourced) by Comcast such as Zucchini, Dawg, and Magic Wand have been instrumental in helping us survive the chaos of the real world.

If you missed the presentation you can see the slides here. Also, be sure and check out the podcast where Matt discusses the topic in detail on the website, TestTalks.

A Truckload of Pillows

Comcast Cares Day 2016 was a great success globally, and we were psyched to be part of it, right here in our own community. This year Comcast Cares Day brought over 100,000 volunteers out into local communities. What a showing! CSV pitched in with a whole truckload of pillows and blankets for one of our favorite local organizations, Family Supportive Housing.

Family Supportive Housing provides a full spectrum of services to hundreds of people for whom overcoming poverty, hunger, and homelessness is a daily struggle. Our programs address the needs of the whole family, including interim supportive housing, childcare, life skills classes, transitional housing and supportive services for families in permanent housing.

A HUGE thank you to everyone on the team that pitched in with their time, money and talents to help our friends and neighbors!

Over 100,000 Volunteers on Comcast Cares Day

This past Saturday, we celebrated our 15th annual Comcast Cares Day, and the turnout was incredible. More than 100,000 volunteers this year gave back at about 900 projects nationwide and in 20 countries around the world.

1 day, 100,000 volunteers, a world of difference. To learn more, visit www.globalcitizen.org/comcast.