web 2.0

Earn the Stars needs your vote!

Last month my team and I made a web application called "Earn the Stars".  While at TED, Apps for Healthy Kids opened up their registration.

Earn the Stars is a merit-based tool for educating, motivating, recognizing and rewarding children to make good choices about nutrition and participating in physical activities.

Please check out our app and consider giving us a vote at http://www.appsforhealthykids.com/application-gallery/earn-the-stars

Earn the Stars



Spokeo, and your identities on the internet

I went to my friend Aleah's birthday over the weekend, and we went to a bar at downtown Los Angeles.  After catching up with everyone, I was able to hit a conversation with the table next to ours, and surprisingly it was owner of Spokeo Harrison Tang.  We've decided to go have dinner before I go to TED, have some discussions on what we are both working on.

Spokeo is about people search, finding out about somebody through social networks and shopping sites, it's a very powerful tool for both finding out about other people as well as what networks you are currently on.  Most of the information are kind of out dated and inaccurate, but its a pretty neat tool.  For example, I havn't logged into my myspace page for over a year, and I've moved out of New York since 2006, but I am still listed in New York over myspace page, I've also did some other searches on my friends and their current location all seem to be mismatched. 

Just from a user's perspective, it seems Spokeo uses some ranking system to list the data, information from certain sites weights more than others, with whitepages and myspace being on top.  Being part of certain website get you into certain activities, I believe they have my mom's account from amazon and was able to say she enjoy shopping because of that.  My amazon account isnt really using the same email and it doesn't really say I enjoy shopping lol.

There are a lot of credit score concerns over the news, and Harrison specifically mentioned those data are not to be used for reference, I think it would be a better idea if he just explains how his estimated score was calculated, this way it provides more transparency to some unanswered questions.  But it can be a double edge sword, because I think neighborhood's income have a weight in his credit score estimation.

It was a good experience to chat with him, and I am sure we can help each other in the future.


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DISQUS on your BlogEngine.net

After googling for 2 minutes, I've found http://www.hamishgraham.net/post/Enabling-Disqus-Comments-in-BlogEngineNET.aspx on how to set up DISQUS on my blog, which is a lot nicer tool than blogengine's default comment system.

I just want to thank him for providing me this tool.  If anybody else is using blogengine and trying to set up DISQUS, that's a good reference to go to.

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Blog | BlogEngine.NET | asp.net

Snaptic Challenge and Pickup Sports

It all started with an email from Snaptic for an invitation for "Move Your App" Challenge, I was working on some other android application at the time so I decided to just turn that in.

At the very same time, me, my co-worker Jonathan Pennington, Delfin, Michael and John decided to play basketball the week after.  A week has passed, everybody except me and John bailed out at the last minute, and we didn't even have a ball, nor there are anybody playing at the park.  Feeling frustration about finding the game, I've decided to make a seperate app about it to enter the challenge.  Since it is a problem I am trying to solve myself. 

Pickup Sports is about finding a casually assembled, spontenous game of any sports, it promotes physical, mental as well as social wellness of a person, the application allows you to keep a record of how much sport you've played, and it gives you extra gimmik for using phone's accelerometer for warming up.  The core of the application is to make it easy to understand just like how normal pickup sports are being played.

I've completed the Pickup Sports within 10 days, drove up the San Francisco on a Wednesday night after work, only to find out I've won the grand prize for "Move Your App" Challenge.  It was very surprising since it was very competitive, there were a lot of amazing applications that spent a lot more time and being more refined.  I am very honored to win the award and will try my best to expand the product.

On the very same weekend (memorial day weekend) I've managed to crank out the WebOS version of the application, and the iPhone version should be released in next couple of days before I go to TED.  During the period I've also registered http://www.ipickupsports.com, as well as a kid version located at http://www.earnthestars.com, the basics of web portion should be out in next couple of days as well.


Android | WebOS

WebOS, lack of competition means you get more attention

I am blogging about the experience I've went through 2 month ago, so this might be a little outdated.  After launch of fantasy chat, I was fairly satisified with the download number, receiving about 500 downloads is better than hosting a web site and getting few views with heavy SEO.  Palm's SDK caught my intereste at the end of April, espcially with their hot app competition.

I've successfully ported Fantasy Chat to WebOS in about an hour and half, and with Palm's open source agreement, it didn't cost me a penny to launch the application.  Without the application in catalog, I was able to receive over 1000 downloads over the weekend.  After initial launch of the catalog I was able to get over 5000 downloads within the first week, and that was month after my application being launched in android market.  Lack of applications has made palm one of the greatest platform if you are looking for some exposure.


Fantasy Chat, my first android application

After messing with Android SDK for a while, I've decided to release a simple app, which is Fantasy Chat.  I've been getting a lot of emails asking the app to be more dirty, so I think I have some explanation to do.

When I first discovered IRC, I was amazed by how these AIs were able to respond back and forth, so I've been always watching this technology, but because of lack of funding and exposure, these bots are simply "chat bots" that helps people in IRC channel.  So I think this is a great technology but heavily under used.

So I downloaded the AliceBot from http://alice.pandorabots.com/ and host it on the server, this way people can have some interesting conversation and possibly bring more exposure to this under used technology.  It isn't really meant to be dirty, it was meant to have some fun conversations.  Another thing is the original source AIML files includes scripts which tells users that the system is logging the chats, that is not true, its just doing that by default.  This was just an application for me to get comfortable with the SDK.



Why do I make android applications?

I was interested in android development ever since first Iphone came out.  I've tried to program in android ever since the first SDK was released, but lack of an actual phone and hard usability of the sdk has prevented me getting into it.  When I received my first Motorola Droid that's running under Android 2.0, it gives me the ability to actually get serious about programming mobile device.

The phones that came before Motorola Droid are simply not ready, you can not even call functions without a listener before 1.6.  2.0 and 2.2 provided huge upgrade in terms of easy programing and easy management.  I'll import some of my experience form my previous blog and you guys can see the blocks I've stumbled upon. 

The biggest innovation of these new generation smart phones are geo location coordinate, that is something people are having a hard time to determine on computer or laptop, so my first focus was to make an application that uses that feature.



First blog

This is my first blog using this blogengine.net.  I am not very impressed with their setup.