Taggin’ NYC: I ♥ SMS style

posted in Marketing, Projects on August 12th, 2008

Hot on the heels of yesterday’s post about what Treasuremytext is all about and also the announcement of me joining their Board of Advisors, is this visual treat for everybody who loves to tag random things in public … like I did.

During the Software Social Summer BBQ, back in May, I was able to snag a few I ♥ SMS stickers and I decided that, the best way to expose New York City to Treasuremytext, would be by putting some of their stickers in more or less visible locations, such as trains, post boxes, abandoned cars and the likes.

Even though some may call this pointless, I definitely had my fun and, so far, had three people approach me about the sticker and what the message was all about.

In case you want to see even more tagged areas, head on over to my gallery!

And if you have come this far and still have no idea what Treasuremytext is all about, I suggest you have a look at the following clip.

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posted in Projects on August 11th, 2008

Many of my friends, at least those whose cellphone numbers I have, know that I am an avid texter. I am, so to speak, a master of the arcane skill of speaking volumes with less than 161 characters and as such, I generate quite a bit of SMS traffic every month.

Ever so often, a short message turns into a good conversation and being a true gatherer, I like to save these messages to read through them again at a later point and chuckle about the past.

Up until a few months ago, I used to store all my messages on my Pocket PC and that started filling up my device pretty quickly; in fact, from July 2007 to July 2008, I have sent and received some 1800 text messages, with a fair number of collectible messages.

Back in 2006, during the first The Next Web conference, I came across Katie Lips and Paul Stringer, from Treasuremytext, a service that would let you save your messages online.

To be honest, back in 2006, I did not see a need for this, for one, the only way to get your messages into the site, was by sending them to a UK phone number, which was too expensive at the time, and what’s more: why would I want to save my SMS anyway?

In 2007, Treasuremytext, underwent a radical transformation: the site became all 2.0-ish, added more, local numbers (even a Dutch one) and added a new feature: TextStreams.

I was invited to join their beta in December and started using it more and more … up until the point where I decided that the TextStream feature would make for a nice addition to my blog’s sidebar, allowing me to microblog from wherever I was.

So far, I have managed to submit more than 130 updates and all in all, I find it a very enjoyable and straight forward experience. Contrary to, say, Twitter, TMT, has not seen any extended downtime since I have been with them and Katie and Paul have been very good sports about turning suggestions into features, something which makes me, as a user, feel good about the time I put into coming up with new ideas.

Treasuremytext has long been a supporter of the iPhone, with an application that would allow you to upload your SMS with a couple o’ taps directly from an iPhone to your TMT account and being a strong supporter of the Windows Mobile platform, I felt that we could not be left behind.

After a couple of emails, Paul was kind enough to open up the TMT API for me and I was able to build an application that allows you to import all your messages with fewer taps than the iPhone does (take that, Steve!).

The application is not yet released for the public, but that day is not too far off, for I was able to import some 500 messages into my account without problems.

What’s more: Paul and Katie were so happy about my involvement with TMT, that they offered me a position on their Board of Advisors, where I will be serving as the resident Social Applications guy, joining both Imran Ali, who is advising TMT on connections and funding and Ian Hay, who is advising TMT on being operator-ready.

All in all, I feel both honored and humbled at the same time for being offered such a chance and Treasuremytext is most definitely a service I am willing to spend more time on.

From the frontlines

posted in Projects on March 28th, 2008

Just about everyone and their sister have been using one micro blogging tool or another and even though I have accounts at Twitter, Jaiku and Pownce, I mostly find myself just reading other people’s tweets and pownces, rather than creating my own. The primary reason for that? Cost.

Twitter has local numbers for the US, UK, Canada and India, Jaiku has one for Sweden and Pownce does not have any number at all and while I could still use a UMTS connection to post updates, I find myself enjoying the service that Treasuremytext offers more and more every day.

Treasuremytext was first launched in August of 2005 by Katie Lips and Paul Stringer and has seen a continuous stream of improvements ever since, up to a point where the interface is as easy to use as it gets.

Ease of use is all I want(ed) for my micro blogging endeavour and as such, I figured that I should give Treasuremytext a go, so from now on, you will see (ir)regular updates at the top of the sidebar.

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Cooking 2.0

posted in College, Projects on November 23rd, 2007

Back in September, when my junior year in college kicked off, I took a class called “Backend Development”, which basically came down to building a clone of a popular video upload / sharing site.

Now, before we start - let me get the technical talk out of the way: the task comprised a number of technologies such as PHP, mySQL, XML, KML (XML used in Google Mapping applications) as well as SOAP, AMFPHP and ActionScript and was basically to be carried out in a two or three man team.

Right from the start, Kevin and me knew that we wanted to build a “real” application, in the sense of setting up a framework for a (possible) huge portal and even though we did not have the right resources to develop a strong brand identity, we like to think that we managed quite well.

We kept pondering a handful of different themes for our video site and whenever something sounded just good enough to actually be usable, we decided to can it, up until to the point where we nearly ran out of ideas - that is, until I discovered “a recipe for success” (pun intended).

Cooking has long been something I enjoyed and even though I am no real chef and probably never will be, we, that is, Kevin and me, agreed that cooking would be a great theme, so we started developing a site that would later turn into is cooking 2.0, basically enabling you to share and experience different culinary dishes from around the world, all thanks to the power of Flash video.

In the end, from the nine weeks we had available for building the application, we spent most of the time developing a design / conventions document that outlined just about every part of our codebase and associated assets and in the end, I found that a great thing to work with.

If there is one thing that I learned from building this application, it is most probably that good documentation goes a long way and apart from making it easier to identify various parts of the code, it also makes it very easy to extend the application without losing oversight and in the end, our hard work was rewarded with a couple of great grades.

And as always, kudos go out to Kevin Pilasky of Qlu New Media for developing a great looking logo. Thanks!

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This flight is delayed …

posted in College, Projects on February 8th, 2007

A week or so ago, I blogged about my movie project and about it’s possible premiere on Friday, February 2nd. Obviously, there was no premiere, yet, because of a few events that happened.

For one, the affiliation with the team that builds US: I is working out very nicely and they are catering for most of my wishes. In return I’m rewriting scenes to better fit their environments, not just because I feel obliged to, but also because it’s a lot easier to showcase their stuff that way.

I’m also rewriting dialogue based on new research I discovered, to make certain scenes more realistic and to add a few more easter eggs. I’ve also been working on a movie poster (actually, I’ve been working on three different ones) and I’m revising my marketing strategy for the whole project.

Scott is doing a great job as a voice actor and so are the other people. I have a lot of new found respect for movie makers, young and old. This project is a lot bigger than originally expected, but still, it’s a great experience and I would do it again any time.

More (elaborate) updates will follow soon.

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