Notes From Meetups

New York Tech Meetup September 8th, 2010

Apture – (Tristan Acher) “We give readers power to search and explore information without leaving the page.” Financial Times is their customer. It is embedded software that displays an in-page window popped up when a user selects text on the page. Used by newspapers (NY Times, Reuters, Financial Times, the Nation) to keep users on the page while providing a richer sense of what it is. Publishers will need to add only 1 line of code to integrate.

Nearsay – Micro-journalism site focusing on delivering neighborhood-by-neighborhood news. Allows you to customize the feed you are looking at based on the neighborhoods you select & other criteria about what news you’re interested in seeing.

meetMoiNow – iPhone app dating service. Keeps track of your location and pushes potential matches to your phone, giving you a 60 minute opportunity to contact that person by clicking “yes.” Live in the Andiod store, they are waiting for iTunes store approval.

Presentation by Google gogles. A tool for taking pictures with your phone and getting instant search results for more information about what you are looking at.

Jibe – The ‘intersection’ of facebook and linked in to aid in your job search. Nice, clean interface, shows you the combination of both networks, sortable by various factors (like industry). All kinds of stats nicely compiled: employment rates, who you are connected to, industries, schools, etc. Looks like a nice clean site. See also They launch a year ago at TechCrunch 50, but then made a “pivot.” He said “We launched at TechCrunch last year and thought we had an amazing product. We realized we only had a good one, so in the last year we integrated social and have re-launched it in an even more exciting city.”

Grovo – An online dynamic training platform. Has video training content to teach you how to use popular websites (twitter, craigslist, etc).

Kodingen – A cloud development. It looks like a web-based IDE (integrated development environment). Looks relatively slick, nicely thought out, although personally I’m sticking with Eclipse.

Propercloth – Make it easy for guys to get dress shirts exactly the style and fit you want. Allows you to specify you shirt size in measurement, or gives you the option to specify a size of an existing shirt by brand. Made-to-order shirts. 30% off all orders in the next day and a half with discount code “NYTM30”. We recently started manufacturing everything in Malasia.


New Software, Old Images (iTunes 10 gets a new logo)

Last week that Apple said that the new iTunes 10 logo has dropped the CD. This logo change received much bally-hooed flack in the media, with designers even spawning replacement suggestions, such as this one.

Then, the popular spoof Steve Jobs tweeter @CEOSteveJobs sent this: “We’re also taking the booth out of the Photo Booth icon because, frankly, no one uses those anymore either.”

This was a joke, but the point is well taken. The removal of the compact disc from the iTunes logo was probably a necessary evolution, but I think just because an image is “old” or represents something physical doesn’t mean it should be left to the wayside. Language evolves, and like the “car” in carriage, perhaps we should slow down before we throw out our history and keep in mind that words evolve, take on new meanings.


Bugs that Drive me Crazy

In the “bugs that drive me crazy” category are two that I’ve recently discovered when I upgraded to the new iPhone 4. Both look like examples of programmers writing software from the comfort of their cushy high-speed internet connections and not testing in the real world. Both involve disappearing data – unbelievably frustrating.

First, the Word Press for iPhone app has a nasty one that makes it so that after I save a post I’m working on as “local draft” and go to publish it, the publish step fails & my post disappears from the phone.

More on the iOS Word Press forums here.

Second, there’s a really terrible problem with writing notes on the iPhone and syncing them to Gmail. First of all, this bug just started appearing recently after my upgrade to iOS 4. Second, syncing notes to Gmail isn’t really syncing at all- you’re really looking at the notes from the server. (You can turn this off an just work on local notes, which might be what I have to do.) The problem happens when I write a note, save it, then go back and edit it. My edits disappear… gone, zapped, goodbye. The note just reverts back to the first version.

I *suspect* this has something to do with my internet connection. I was writing the note on an unstable internet connection and what I think is happening is that when you go to “save” the Notes app tries to save it to the Gmail server. Not being able to actually reach the Gmail server, it just fails with no warning, and your revision is lost. So it’s not really syncing at all, it is just assume that internet connections are always stable and failing when it is not. Posted to macrumors forum here

I think these are both examples of programmers who work from high-speed connections and don’t think about how users use their devices in the real world. Despite all the promises, there’s lots of places where there is a bad connection. In the NYC subway, for example, a crowded bar, or out in the country. This really should be planned for. I fear that this stems from a “perfection” culture created around Apple in which the reality distortion field makes programmers forget about things like, well, bad internet connections for the rest of us.