You are currently browsing the monthly archive for October 2011.

Lokenote

Lokenote is a very simple way to share notes based at a particular location… a kind of geo PostIt note taker.

There are great apps out there such as Gowalla, FourSquare, Yelp but I felt the need for something ultra simple with low overhead where you dont need to register or signup – just drop a note where you are, and leave it for other people to find.

I still see notices pasted up on supermarkets and on lampposts for Missing Cat,  Part-time Work,  Flatmate Needed or Garage Sale.. so I think there is a need for this kind of utility belt app.  I specifically wanted a tool to jot down nice graffiti snippets from around St Kilda where I live, and mention handy places a non-local might not know about such as the well hidden laundry shop.  Id like to give a virtual nod to some of the superb out of the way food places that exist in my version of Melbourne.

Next

In developing Lokenote I took the ‘Fire!… Ready? Aim‘ approach – I had a rough idea, started as simply as I could, implemented feverishly and only added things I thought were absolutely essential.

Not being able to entertain any extra features had the perverse effect of generating many more ideas.. but these had a more organic character growing out of reality.  Beware ideas that have clean academic edges, they tend to not fit the world.

The process of building Lokenote gives me a a furtive and voyeuristic sense of the kind of realtime app which I think is just around the next bend.

We can safely assume Next apps are :

  • mobile/web hybrids with touch UI
  • reactive in realtime, via flowing data feed
  • location aware, fulltext searchable
  • online/offline robust
  • built on graph style data models

But what might they actually do ?

  • live auction or product sales [ the last 15mins of an eBay auction without the 6 day lead-up ]
  • convergence of blog, web page and chatroom with live comment feeds
  • realtime automated sentiment, trend summary
  • flexible links between any kinds of data
  • scrolling realtime chat, tethered to a location, keyword/topic, group or event

Feedback

Feedback is the best word I have to describe the qualitative difference of realtime apps.

An example – rather than go to a conference and wait for surveys to come in from attendees and adapt in time for the next event, the feedback loop is immediate enough to customise as it progresses.  This already happens, with some presenters saying ‘tweet me if you want more or less on this topic’ – a tweet is more anonymous and less impolite than interrupting the speaker, and feedback is current.

We might see more prices that are changing moment to moment, or other micro-optimisations –  the cost of a flight might be offered within a range, and be fixed only once the aircraft leaves the gate.

Realtime Dating?

Another example of a realtime next app is for dating.  I envision this as a kind of randomised, localised topic-chat :

  • nominate a topic and post a comment, or join an active topic that looks interesting
  • chat away anonymously for a while
  • notice someone interesting, share your profile
  • get a nudge back or an invite for a one-on-one chat
  • if things progress, decide to meetup at a cafe on neutral ground

Most dating apps use the profile photo as the initial filter.. but Im not so sure that is the initial filter in Life.. sometimes people with unremarkable looks win you over and in fact become more attractive over time as conversation unveils their personality.  So conversation as the initial filter might actually work.

The very same app could be a great way to generate ideas in business or science or political activism… it just seems the old chat room needs to be upgraded for the realtime web, so that it resides next to all the other things I do on the web.  I might want to attach a web page or doc or graphic or photo or video to my realtime comment.  Parties might agree to go private with some comments.  You might want to limit the audience to a group or post anonymously then go back on-record.

Lets Build

We have all the plumbing to do this feasibly – technologies such as nginx, node.js, Mongo, Couch, Riak, Redis, Web Sockets, JSON, HTML5 are really at the point of becoming the normal way to write dynamic data-driven responsive web/mobile apps.

Its about taking some risk to walk over the local maxima and build these things that will make life simpler, leaving more time for people to enjoy the roses.

Well, those are my thoughts for now… enjoy, gord.

I get a few hits for the Animated Sine demo in Javascript – maybe this is a good way to introduce young people to math?

Here is a minor update I did a while ago that shows what happens when a second circle spins around the point on the outside of the first circle…

[click the pic or here to view the animation ]

This might be a nice lead into Fourier Series…