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Pitches (Pt. 2)

More pitches! And more development work!

Finally had a group meeting with the group for my final assignment. Don’t think we have any game-changing ideas so we’ll try to look to take up one of the projects! (That being said, nothing’s done so far) Everyone’s most probably just working on their assignment 3, as we are.

Since we’re on the topic, assignment 3 has been coming along slowly but surely. We now have both FE and BE’s up and running on AWS. I spent most of the week working on configuring elastic beanstalk, nginx and s3 for the backend. I’ve also set up most of the end points and hopefully, will require few changes. Will hop onto FE to help stefano asap!

Pitches (Pt. 1)

Tons of pitches, tons were interesting!

To me, the ones that stood out were: Drone delivery system and Your Ecolution Farm.

Drone Delivery System

It seems to be the future of transport (of good and people). With growing populations, land is scarce especially here in Singapore. For now, getting drones to do delivery feels like a good, prominent start down this path.

Your Ecolution Farm

It actually surprises me that 25% of Singapore’s eggs are locally produced. I learnt about this after thinking more about the self-sufficiency of Singapore – and feel like this doesn’t seem as unviable as it initially felt!

As a team, we are more of less thinking about picking up a project because well, we don’t have any game-changing idea to work on.

On the other hand, for assignment 3, I spent the week setting up a RoR backend for our app AroundMe!

More details on that to come.. 😀

Ello Presentation Review

Yi Hang did a really well-paced, clear and concise presentation about Ello yesterday.

The following were my takeaways from the presentation:

  1. Ello is the Facebook for Artists
  2. Ello has aesthetically pleasing UI, while not providing the best UX.
  3. Commercial potential for Ello without advertisements is limited.
1) Ello = Artist Facebook

As mentioned, it used to be a competitor with Facebook, but pivoted towards a more niche target audience. As proof of this, while being a social network, it seems to be hardly known by others not in the field of Art(?). More importantly, prior to the presentation, I had misunderstood the app for Allo. The platform seems to allow users to share their artwork (often photographs) for others to see and share. I presume (I’ll get to this in a moment) that users are able to connect with others and subscribe to their posts. This seems to be neat but I can’t help but feel that this is a common concept that already exists as a few products on the market.

2) See no Touch Ello

As covered by Team 4, Ello is aesthetically pleasing. Yet, the few problems mentioned (lousy landing page, redundant icons, multi-column display, slow-ness) are in fact very true. A few of the problems, in fact, are rather detrimental to a potential new user of the App (like me). The sign up process takes place over a few pages, with each page having a latency of up to 1s (or at least it feels like it). By today’s standard, that’s pretty slow. To add on, there wasn’t any actual image rendering or large files to fetch. The multi-column display is also annoying on smaller devices, especially on the phone where the cursor is actually a fat human thumb (all human thumbs are fat in comparison to a cursor :P)

3) $$ Ello $$?

The two main ideas suggested are: freemium model and a service provider model. Freemium model seems to face an issue (as highlighted in the QnA) that there seems to be little benefit to paying users. Some counter suggestions about featuring posts of paid users may work in the short run, this might lower the quality of featured posts, driving away users in the long run. Also, this relies heavily on the actual effectiveness of a featured post.  The second idea, providing services for online store may work. Using an in-built system to manage transactions and delivery may provide a lot of convenience for content creators and drive them to use this app more. However, there is the innate difficulty logistically, and work required. This also seems to be yet another pivot from their actual motive.

 

Personal Thoughts and experience trying Ello

While I do agree that it does look nice, I was not able to create an account to try out most features. Somewhere in between the latency and filling up of personal information, I landed on a page with a nice green button with “Discover Ello” written on it. It doesn’t actually do anything and there’s no further instructions. At this point, I could either refresh, or check my email for an activation link, but don’t really have a reason to.

edit: tried refreshing, now my username is taken up, i can’t login and don’t have any email from them hmm.

Using the app (w/o logging in), I realised that there seemed to be something lacking. It didn’t actually feel like a platform for people to connect. Clicking on a featured post brought up some nice pictures, and statistics about the post but I didn’t see any other user other than the author of the post. For a platform that connects people, it seems to be lacking that exact feature.

In addition to that, I feel like there are tons of competitors, even for the same niche target users. Instagram and Patreon are 2 of the main apps that I would consider.

Instagram – A much larger pool of diverse users meaning that you could potentially broadcast to a greater audience. This includes other artists, as well as non-artists that may be interested in buying / supporting the user. Allows users to share images/videos the same way it is featured in Ello.

Patreon – Comes with a pre-existing business model that allows users to become a Patreon by paying a subscription fee. This allows a constant flow of income through the website and allows patreons access to exclusive content. This helps both the content creator and Patreon itself.

Ello targets a niche target audience that does not include me so it is hard for me to appreciate Ello. On top of that, there seems to be a ton of competitor apps out there with all the features present and more. A network’s worth is determined mostly by the number of users, and Ello pales in comparison to some of the other networks out there. As Yi Hang mentioned, “I quit because none of my friends were using”. Perhaps, being a service provider might be a better path for Ello to follow.

 

 

Flowx

Without giving away too much about our presentation coming up on Monday. (Although tbh, there’s not too much to give away at this point) We’ll be taking a quick look at Flowx – a data-driven weather app that’s really smooth!

Formerly known as Weatherbomb, this free android app is brilliantly created and maintained by a married couple – of which there was only 1 coder! As of the point of writing, it has garnered somewhere between 100k – 500k downloads and has impressive ratings. The main developer also take time to reply to a lot of the comments.

Flowx makes use of weather data provided by NOAA and Environment Canada to display pretty overlays over a Map UI provided by Mapbox. It allows us to display tons of information such as Wind speeds, precipitation and even cloud cover across the globe. The amount of information available is so much that I’d say it overwhelms the average user, especially one without knowledge of meteorology.

It allows the average user to view up to 7 days ahead (and the PRO version, 10 days) to allow one to make predictions or have a rough gauge how the weather conditions are for the near future. As stated by the flowx team:

The smart way to plan around the weather.

Flowx looks and feels really cool! Unfortunately, it currently only exists on Android. (poor iPhone users (ie. me)) Also, it seems to lack detailed information at high levels of zoom, most probably because the information is no longer accurate at that level. This makes Flowx a lot more applicable if we were, say, to plan a trip to Malaysia or Thailand as compared to a trip from Bedok to Tanah Merah.

We’ll cover the App properly next week but for now, it’s really cool!

{this.setState({ me:”finding my way”})}

The past week has been quite interesting! Been spending quite a bit of time with reactjs and the facebook’s sdk. React’s pretty handy thus far and seems to be able to do “most” things that I need it to do for now? (still trying to figure out how I’ll get it to recognise an irregular shaped image without using jquery/html map…)

Everything’s kind of working out…? But looks can definitely be improved. The facebook sdk isn’t too hard to use and it has all the API we need for now! Looking forward to making more graph calls. Assignment 1 has a few weeks to go so hopefully we can polish it before the submission date.

Assignment 2 on the other hand… doesn’t seem to have progressed much just yet. Heh guess we’ll be rushing that soon.

Hello CS3216

Hello hello,

It’s 3216 time! It really does seem like there’s a lot of work huh.

Well, before we really jump into things. Looks like it’ll be a good time to set my expectations for CS3216:

Since this looks like a module heavy on implementation, this will be a great chance to increase my exposure to frameworks and technologies out there that I haven’t had the chance to come across. This will be the perfect chance to have a go at them.

At the same time, there’s more to a product than the technologies it relies on. This will be a good hands-on experience to learn to manage a tech product through marketing and advertising.

Here’s to a hopefully fruitful semester of learning!

 

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