I like to make software that is fun and good looking.

April 04, 2014

Scene server

So the last few weeks I’ve been experimenting with various multi-user 3d environment things. I originally started with a c++ app that uses bullet physics and websockets to provide a shared 3d world where anyone can drop blocks into the world and they physically interact, and the results are streamed out to all the connected clients and rendered using three.js.

April 02, 2014

Wire formats for the metaverse

I’ve been spending my free time working on some metaverse style projects. This has been kicked off by two things:

January 21, 2014

A virtual noticeboard for your pub

This is a pretty niche app, and I think it’d be hard to grow, and people probably wouldn’t like that it always runs in the background and uses your battery, but here’s the idea.

December 11, 2013

Foursquare times snapchat

Sorry, this is a bit of a puff piece, but it’s been interesting seeing the large social networks (Facebook) being stripped down into their component parts and have their lunch eaten by small task-focussed mobile apps (like Snapchat).

November 29, 2013

Everythings coming up mobile

This isn’t a particularly controversial position, but I feel that in my own career, now is the time to learn some proper mobile development. I feel that in about two years time, people will do most of their casual browsing on a mobile device, and most of that will be through mobile apps, not through mobile websites.

Everything is coming up milhouse

November 26, 2013

Post Google Search

I’ve been thinking a bit lately about search in the post-web world. It looks more and more likely that mobile apps will become as popular as the web was. The web is never going to go away, but you’re going to spend more than half your time looking at content in a mobile app. So is there a market for a search engine that only shows results that link to apps on your phone?

November 26, 2013

Auto rollback on error increase

Last night I deployed to ZoomIn, and I forgot to run the migrations that were included in the deploy. Bit of a newbie mistake, but it did point out to me that I need better ops. There’s two things that would’ve helped in this case.

November 25, 2013

Mini rave for kiwiburn

I’ve been daydreaming about what kind of art piece I could take to kiwiburn. Last year way my first kiwiburn so I didn’t take much apart from my lovely self and my acoustic guitar, but I did camp with Sam, who contributed towards a dance tent. What I’ve been thinking about taking, would be a motion activated mini rave. I’d grab the subwoofer and 4 channel amp out of the car, and hook it up so that two channels ran the sub, and the other two channels ran some home theatre speakers we have lying around.

November 21, 2013

Social media aggregator

After a brief google, I couldn’t find any sites that do this - which I find really surprising, but someone needs to build a tool that lets you create a ‘channel’, which is an aggregation of a bunch of Facebook pages and Twitter feeds into one easy to read page. It’s like a google reader, but just for facebook and twitter pages.

November 20, 2013

3d printing rockets

Back in 2006, when I was first working on ZoomIn, I decided I needed a hobby aside from computer programming (startups being quite a full on project). I had been reading the Armadillo Aerospace blog, I decided that I wanted to try and build a liquid rocket engine. So I bought a combination metal lathe and mill and $200 of aluminum stock.

November 11, 2013

Tesseract and Postgres Trigrams

I was chatting with @nicobrevin at the pub the other week, and we were discussing idea for interesting side projects, and we went back and forth over email for a few weeks, until we came across the idea of building some kind of tool around scanning and OCRing your shopping receipts.

November 01, 2013

Improving autocomplete on zoomin

Just sitting here on a Friday thinking about how I could improve the autocomplete on ZoomIn. The problem is, when you search for rogue and vag and it doesn’t autocomplete to “the rogue and vagabond”. Also, if you type in k sing it doesn’t complete to ‘k.sing’.

October 21, 2013

Radar: Remaking Dopplr in an afternoon

So, I read last week that Dopplr, the social travel darling, was being shut down by Nokia at the end of the month. This isn’t too surprising, since there has been no development on Dopplr since it was acquired by Nokia in 2009. But it is a bit of a shame, since Dopplr was a cool app, and was a great way to keep track of your trips and get lots of interesting stats and maps. So, I decided to remake Dopplr, and let people migrate their data off Dopplr and onto my new service, RADAR.

October 14, 2013

Zeptomap - Maps for the Mission District

So today I woke up and decided that I’d have a crack at seeing whether I can build something like ZoomIn, but for the Mission District of San Francisco. And whether it could be built using OpenStreetMap data. Presenting… Zeptomap.

October 11, 2013

Result.success in node.js

Last night I started hacking a chat server using node.js, redis and websockets. It’s a bit of a right of passage for node developers, but I’m actually working towards building an android app I’m tentatively calling riskyclicks. Basically, it’s a public webbrowser, where you can see what pages everyone else in the app is viewing, and if you and another user are on the same domain at the same time, you can chat with them. I thought it up as a nice way to talk to people reading about WWII on wikipedia, or people reading stuff, or people reading about space.

October 03, 2013

Google maps doesnt play nice

I find it weird that Google, the company that relies on the internet having nicely-spiderable, indexable and machine-readable versions of webpages (otherwise their search engine would be useless), seems to have no intention of creating nice indexable, searchable and shareable urls from it’s own web properties.

September 30, 2013

Heroku, VPS or AWS

So last night I started hacking on a realtime data analysis tool for ZoomIn. Basically, I’m inserting a bit of javacript in the bottom of ZoomIn pages, and that javascript digs out the opengraph tags and sends the latitude/longitude of the current page off to my data analysis tool. I’m doing it so I can generate heatmaps of activity on ZoomIn, and maybe work out whether it’s trying to run my own ads on the site.

September 27, 2013

Optimizing for mobile

I did some work earlier this week on optimizing the mobile view of ZoomIn. The old one was pretty broken, it tried to layout a desktop-style display on your mobile phone and looked pretty awful. The google ads didn’t work well either.

September 24, 2013

The Possibility of a Van

This isn’t a sure thing, but I’ve been thinking about buying a van to replace my little mx5 that I use to commute to work. It’s a pretty drastic change, and considering that 90% of my use of my car is to commute down the motorway, it seems like an odd choice, to forgo top down cruising for driving around in a box on wheels. But here’s my thoughts of why a van might be cool

September 18, 2013

Named Entity Recognition

I’ve been researching ways of gathering location data from forums like /r/wellington and /r/sydney. One of my experiments was to create a javascript tool that helped you create comments with embedded geo data (via links), another one was to try and convince a reddit to mark up all place names using *stars*. Both of these don’t work very well because they require a big shift in behaviour from users.