– social software

Real Time Discovery Engine


The web has a lot of information on any topic imaginable. All this content could be hidden anywhere from the latest news, blogs, videos to even a 140 character tweet. So, the process to read an article on a given topic of interest become tedious and involves “Searching” and “Filtering” (or jointly discovering) for the right content.

Dan Olsen, the CEO of YourVersion, gave a live demo of the product at the Facebook App Meetup in Palo Alto that lets you “Discover” content based on topics of interest that matter to you. It’s called YourVersion, a real-time discovery engine. He mentioned that the company was bootstrapped since 2007 and they have hardly spent any dollars on coding. The service currently offers a free iPhone App, a Firefox toolbar to check out YourVersion of the web. They will soon be launching an application for Facebook and an IE toolbar.

The service has integration with Facebook using Facebook Connect for authentication. Once you have setup your topics of interest (the service auto-populates the tags for each interest as well), the service will automatically populate the main page with content filtered by categories like news, blogs, webpage’s, twitter, videos, and products.  Each story in the list has an easy to share option via email, twitter, facebook. You can also give a quick thumbs up/down to the story and even bookmark it for future. YourVersion also lets you share your Topics/tags to the world based on privacy settings that can be enabled from the Profile page. The service looks promising and it would be nice to see if they let you integrate RSS feeds as well. Check out the Product Tour on their website.




October 29, 2009 Posted by | web application | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Announcement: Kick-off meeting – iPhone Intensive(May 20, 2009)

Plug And Play Tech Center
 is sponsoring an iPhone Intensive meetup for Developers on May 20th, 2009. 


Monday May 20th 


440 N Wolfe Rd
Sunnyvale, CA 94085


6:00-7:00pm Arrive &amp and socialize 
7:00-8:00pm Intro to native iPhone App Programming – Julio Barros 
8:00-8:15pm Break 
8:15-8:45pm Using the iPhone as a Prototyping Platform – Bob Free 
8:45-9:15pm Next Generation iPhone Game Development – Travis Hopkins

Hope to see you all there.

Registration($10 for Refreshments): Click Here

May 18, 2009 Posted by | Announcement, game, iphone application, mobile application | , , , | 1 Comment

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

Yet another platform to develop mobile apps … Palm’s Mojo


The development of mobile applications is the next trend for developers and entrepreneur’s to strike gold or build a company around a compelling application. The availability of the iPhone SDK last year has ushered in the creation of thousands of iPhone applications. It was closely followed by the release of the Android SDK by Google.  Application developers have rushed into creating application in either or both the platforms. 

The ease of access to the  built in hardware  like the accelerometer, the GPS,  the touch screen etc and the internal software/applications like the phone book, music player, browser have resulted in the development of some really useful applications. I liked some of the games that have utilized the use of the touch interface and/or the accelerometer. Some of the music instrument apps have done a really good too.

These two SDK and platforms are offered by companies that are leaders in Software Development. What about companies that are leader’s in the handheld/mobile space? Looks like we might have an answer for the same…

The preview of the Palm Pre in the 2009 CES show has brought to surface another piece of device that is both sleek like the iPhone. It also matches user interface and capabilities to the levels of iPhone and Android platforms. 

The Palm Pre will be powered with a brand new Palm Web OS. Palm says, “The user experience is developed around multitasking and the simplicity of a web browser. It features a web based application suite and supports touch screen finger based input, background applications and is tightly interconnected with the Internet and various web services.”

A few lucky companies (Pandora) had the opportunity to play with the Palm’s new Web OS and the Palm Mojo application framework.  Tom Conrad, the CTO of Pandora, spoke about the capabilities of this new development platform. You can read his thoughts over here. I am guessing Pandora would be one of the early applications on the Palm Pre market.


January 31, 2009 Posted by | iphone application, mobile application, web application | , , , , , | 1 Comment

iPhone Devlopment Web versus SDK

A lot of buzz is going around the development of mobile applications for  Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android platforms. It seem a lot of developers want to develop for Apple’s platform over Android due to the current deep penetration of iPhone/iPod Touch in the US and European markets.

If you are not a Mac developer, it takes a significant investment in terms of both money and time. There is a general perception (at least I did) that the iPhone applications can only be written in Objective C. So, if you are jumping from a Windows or Unix/Linux background, you will firstly have to invest in an Intel based Computer running Mac OS. Secondly, you will have to get your feet wet in a new OS (Mac), Framework (Cocoa Touch), and Programming Language (Objective C). I however, had opportunity to listen to Christopher Allen this past week talking about iPhone development. He described two primary models of development for the iPhone :-

  • Web – This model involves the knowledge of HTML, CSS, JavaScript and one of your favorite dynamic programming languages.  It should definitely speed up the development time for a developer with a Web Services background. This model also makes it easier to integrate and share existing web content.
  • SDK – This model involves the knowledge of Objective C (similar to C/C++). The benefits of it are that it runs natively on the phone and so integrates seamlessly with the iPhone libraries making use of the improved graphic libraries available to it.

I can see advantages in both models from both the developer and the application’s perspective.  It boils down to the needs of the application. A developer trying to create a mobile version of an exiting web application/service would be better off trying to use the Web Model and come up with a quick working application.  It also comes with the advantage that it will work on other mobile devices with minimal changes. On the other hand, developing more touch sensitive and graphics using applications like games etc would be better suited to be developed using the SDK.

The development should be purely based on need. If you take the example of Google, they don’t have native iPhone apps for all their Web products. Some of their apps are native like Maps, Youtube whereas others are purely web based like Gmail.

The book “iPhone in Action” by Christopher Allen and Shannon Appelcline seems like a good resource to get a hang of the Web SDK.

January 22, 2009 Posted by | iphone application, mobile application, web application | , , , | 1 Comment