– social software

Rotzy … a social photo iPhone App

rotzyRotzy is a photo sharing iPhone application developed by Gee-Hwan Chuang and Gee-Hsien Chuang that lets you takeuploadshare, and discuss photos of life’s daily events and sightings with your iPhone. Gee gave a lightning demo of his iPhone application at a South Bay Tech Meetup.

The application allows you to take picture’s using your iPhone camera and then share and publish it to your rotzy gallery. It also allows you to broadcast photos to other sites like  Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr. Gee described the gallery to be analogous to a twiter feed, with followers commenting on your pictures and initiating a long trail of conversation based on it. He mentioned that they had something else in mind regarding the direction of Rotzy, but it seemed to have taken the shape of a mini photo based social network with people spending a lot of their time commenting on the pictures.

Rotzy is a native iPhone Application available at the appstore. The back end for the application is  written in Python using Google’s Appengine.  They also faced some hurdles during the process of development for the AppEngine (See Gee’s Slide below). It was particularly fascinating to see their solution for working around the Location based search.  App Engine’s BigTable implementation does not allow easy latitude/longitude based searches and inequality based filters. So, they finally ended up using Geohash based hack to map up their locations.  The locations  that were geographically closer seemed to have a longer matching prefix for the computed hash value.

Overall, it seemed liked a well designed application that could even tap the social graph using the API’s of social networks.(Facebook Connect on Iphone)


March 18, 2009 Posted by | iphone application, mobile application, web application | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Announcement: Startup Weekend San Francisco 2 (April 3-5, 2009)


Startup Weekend an intense 54 hour event bringing together brilliant tech minds (developers, designers, marketers, etc.) together to create a company (or as many as the community wants) from concept to launch is coming to San Francisco on April 3.

Read more about it on the their site.  The tickets are getting over, so buy them here before they get sold out.

March 11, 2009 Posted by | Announcement | 2 Comments

Facebook Status and Twitter Updates


Facebook Status is one of the ‘key’ social features of Facebook. It’s a medium for the user to express themselves to their friends in the facebook social network. I have seen a few friends update their status very frequently as and as their moods or feelings change. There are other’s that update it, as they find something that they would like to share with their friends. The status update could be about any topic, but one common theme I have noticed is that it has some personal touch aligned with the user’s emotions, like how they are feeling, what they want to do, or who they just met etc… I have attached a screenshot from my friend’s recent status updates to give you a feel of the ‘Facebook Status’. (The range of the age demographic is 22 – 26)


On the other hand a Tweet Update is the only ‘key’ feature of Twitter. Tweets are not always personal, unlike a facebook status. They tend to be more about situations and information around the user. The information contained in a Tweet could be useful to people who may or may not be your friends, hence it’s normal for strangers to follow your tweets.  I do not see myself in much of a connection with Twitter as compared to facebook. I had heard a lot about it but never ventured to care or use it till I made an account to send updates about my socialapp blog.

Age demographic is an important distinguisher between a Facebook Status and a Twitter Tweet. I would like to add that based on my dataset of facebook friends (age 22 – 26) and my interaction with other people in my personal network that the age demographic of Twitter is higher than that of a traditional (people who joined with the .edu account around 2004) facebook user. A twitter user is basically someone who graduated out of college before facebook came out, so I would put the age bracket above 28 years old. In fact, I even tried to use the “Find on Other Networks” tool of twitter to check and prove that none of my friends use Twitter. I was able to find only 2 of my friends using Twitter. One of them is 28 and an entrepreneur, so I wasn’t really surprised. I was a little surprised about my other friend who had a twitter account, but her tweets looked almost like something she could put in her Facebook Status as well. On the contrary, in the bay area when I visit conferences or developer meetups, I often see people using Twitter and generally happen to notice that they are definitely above or around 29 years old.

It would be fair to say that every Facebook Status could be a Twitter Tweet, but every Twitter Tweet may not necessarily be a Facebook Status. However, they are definitely converging since Facebook has been made available to non .edu emails address and the traditional facebook users are getting out of college and starting to tweet. The new design and the concept of Public Profiles replacing the Fan Pages is also much more aligned along the lines of Twitter Tweets, by allowing these Public Profiles to pass out information to users who are Fan’s (aka Follower’s) of the Public Profiles.

March 7, 2009 Posted by | User Psychology | , , , , | 7 Comments

Treasure Hunt powered by Cell Phones

treasure-islandThere is a new service to set up treasure hunts and guide the hunters in real time . It’s called Cellguided, and as the name suggests it uses cell phone technology to guide the participants with clues, and hints towards the final goal. Rajiv Aggarwal, the brain behind this service, mentioned that it’s fairly simple to setup a hunt. All you need to do is go to the website and pick your city, that brings up a Map (powered by Google Maps) of the area. You  then pick the start and end points for your hunt with clues  on the map. It also creates a code for the treasure hunt, that the participants can punch into their cell phone device after  dialing into a  phone number provided by Cellguided to authenticate and get directions and clues. The answers to the mystery/hunt are also sent using the cell phone device. The service also keeps track of the time to see which participant is the winner in the race to finish the treasure hunt and keep it exciting and competitive.

The service does not require the user to have an expensive GPS aware device, so any phone with dialing capabilities will be able to participate in the game.  Rajiv mentioned that the service will be available free, and he initially wants to gauge user interest and  seek traction. His monetization strategy in the future will revolve around Corporate Team Building Events and Museums to create Treasure Hunts to promote and make it exciting for Kids to visit them.

Check Out the demo video below

March 4, 2009 Posted by | game, mobile application, web application | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Announcement: TieCon 2009 Entrepreneurs Conference (May 15/16)


TiEcon is  TiE’s premier annual event and is the largest convention in the world dedicated to entrepreneurs. TiE is a global, not-for-profit, non-political, and non-religious organization dedicated to fostering entrepreneurs across its international network. Since its founding in 1992, TiE has grown to become the world’s largest organization for entrepreneurs and professionals, with membership spread across 48 chapters in 11 countries. Membership includes over 1,600 experienced entrepreneurs and business executives as Charter Members, and over 10,000.

I have attended the last 2 conferences (2007 and 2008) in Santa Clara and have had a great experience. You get to meet Entrepreneurs, Venture capitalists, Technologist and maybe even a co-founder for your next start up. I highly recommend everyone to take those days off and hang out at the conference.

Agenda: Click Here

Pricing: Click Here

March 4, 2009 Posted by | Announcement | Leave a comment