Category: Projects

The end of an era…

Jan 14
Posted on January 14, 2012 0:38 in Projects

Six years ago at university I embarked on a journey that changed my life: I started my first company with Melinda, Jeroen, and Reinier. We weren’t doing it full time and we didn’t succeed, but that didn’t matter. We learned to work in a team that went beyond 9 to 5, and it formed friendships that lasted ever since. We learned what made a startup work, and we learned why it failed.

I’ve always been involved in startups ever since, either of my own or others. When we left The Netherlands our original startup had slowly pivoted into a new company called TipIt. We didn’t get involved with it, but we still felt part of it. It wasn’t long though until I got distracted again, roped in to make that next crazy idea work.

I could never stop resisting the start up vibe.

I learned a lot since then. I took one year to work at an agency to pay the bills and get experience, and then I quickly went on to freelancing. I became a better programmer, moving from horrible code to using Symfony, to Rails, back to Symfony, and in the last 1.5 years again back to Rails. I met some great people that had great ideas, and I learned that having a non-technical co-founder (@uniquejosh) can be fun, mind broadening, and probably the best thing that can happen to any techie. I went to hack days to expand my technical knowledge and I formed lasting teams (@pizzapowered) at these events that still persist today.

I worked for small companies and big ones in my time as a freelancer, but in the end there was always one thing that I missed ever since I started my first company: working in a great team. And so the end of an era is near. In 2012 I will be working in a great team at EmberAds, the startup founded by Baz, Caius, Dom, Melinda and me. We will be trying to tackle the boring world of advertising and make it a little less boring. What started off as a PizzaPowered product that we were working on in our free time, will now be something that will be developed by us full time.

It’s crazy how the end of an era can feel so familiar and so different. Six years ago I  had no idea what having my own business meant, but decided to start one anyway. Today I do the same, but the exhilaration of starting a new venture is still there.

We don’t know what 2012 will hold, nobody can predict the future, but all I know is that from this Monday forward I can truly say: bring it on!

*Also read up on Caius’, Dom’s, Melinda’s and Baz’s thoughts about the end of their era.

GoFlickr – The Gowalla to Flickr photos exporter

May 6
Posted on May 6, 2011 17:14 in Projects, Software

Been a while since I blogged but here’s a little thing I made during the International Geektrip we had last week. The trip included a 2 day HackCamp and my entry was something I’d been wanting for a while: a way to automatically export my Flickr photos to Gowalla.

GoFlickr

So here it is: GoFlickr, a simple too to automatically have your photos exported from Gowalla to Flickr. Built in Rails 3, deployed on Heroku. The hardest bit was getting the Gowalla and Omniauth gem to work nicely together, and getting the Gowalla gem to not fail on Heroku. The source can be found on GitHub.

A Mobile History of the World in 100 Objects

Jan 25
Posted on January 25, 2011 10:00 in Events, Projects

Last weekend was HistoryHackDay and unlike CultureHackDay the week before I decided to make something this time and participate besides enjoying the free food and beer. My hack can be found here but read on for a bit of an explanation.

I’ve been a fan of the BBC & British Museum’s podcast “A History of the World in 100 Objects”. I’ve listened to a few of their episodes admiring the objects on the BBC site or Wikipedia, but I eventually gave up as I realised I wanted to see the actual objects instead.

I was disappointed that there wasn’t a good iPhone/Android/Web App for someone to enjoy the audio/transcripts when they were actually at the British Museum. I would have loved to walk through the museum, be guided by the list of 100 objects and listen to the podcasts.

Sadly all the data on the 100 objects was spread out over Wikipedia, the BBC site, and the British Museum, so I had to start off scraping as much data from all the sites as I could. Once I had this I was able to quickly create a mobile app using jQuery Mobile.

Working with jQuery Mobile was a breeze. I’ve never done much mobile web development but it was very easy to make a nice looking site in a very short time. I think I spent about 2 hours making it all work nicely and then maybe another hour to add some nice extras like the header and the in-page audio playback (might have nicked some code from HuffDuffer).

The result is a fully working mobile site that actually also looks quite nice in most other browsers. It’s also one of my most complete hacks. I didn’t feel like I needed to spend 5 more weeks “finishing it up” before I could deploy it. Instead it’s live now.

There have been a lot of feature requests but to be fair unless someone wants to reimburse me for my time I’m probably not going to be able to do so. Therefore I’ve put all of the code on GitHub for others to use. Maybe, who knows, the British Museum might be able to use this to make their own mobile version.

New iPad Podcast: PadAddicts

Aug 6
Posted on August 6, 2010 15:15 in Podcast, Projects

After 3 years of absence I’m back in the world of podcasting. This time I joined up with Dom Hodgson, a.k.a. The Hodge for an iPad Podcast called PadAddicts. We’ve done one episode so far and although we sounded a bit rusty (or at least I did) the response was very positive. Additionally people have been trying to match us up against the TechGrumps in various vs-battles scenarios, so we will have to see where that goes.

You can follow the PadAddicts podcast on the site, or subscribe via iTunes.

The MacBook Mini Project

Dec 14
Posted on December 14, 2009 23:50 in Hardware, Projects

When I replaced my MacBook with a Mac Mini setup I was always planning to invest some time into a netbook. I recently ordered a (RED) Dell Mini 10v with the plan to turn it into a hackintosh. After a few days (*cough* weeks) of tinkering I now have a machine I’m happy with.

In short: It’s a (RED), as in the charity sponsoring colour,  Dell Mini 10v that retails for about £250. It has a 1.6GHz Atom processor, 2GB ram (custom), a 1024×600 screen, and a 160GB hard drive. I installed Windows 7 and Mac OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.1 on it and things are running smoothly. Here are some photos and some notes from my experience.

MacBook Mini

read more…

Dell Mini 10/Linux – 2 Days of pain

Nov 19
Posted on November 19, 2009 1:00 in Hardware, Problems & Solutions, Projects

So yesterday my new laptop arrived. I decided to get a little Dell Mini 10 netbook as a companion to my new Mac Mini workstation. At the moment I’m at the point of selling it again though.

dell-mini10

I found a good deal on eBay for a Dell Mini 10 with integrated wireless-n, bluetooth, 3G/HSDPA, TV-tuner, HD screen and a 6 cell battery. Additionally I liked the model because everyone seems to like the Dell Mini 10 for  turning them into hackintoshes. Yeah, that’s where I was wrong.

The Dell Mini 10 has a little brother called the Dell Mini 10v (where the v stands for value). This model rarely comes with all the extras and has a atom N series processor. It turns out that my machines Z-series atom is actually the reason why I can’t run Mac OS X on it. Doh!

Now I promised myself at the beginning of the year to invest some more time in Linux, so I saw this as a good moment to try it out. I started off with Ubuntu 9.10, which is the newest Ubuntu version. After install the wifi didn’t work, neither did the graphics driver, nor the brightness controls, nor the sleep/suspend, nor the wifi, etc. I spend a few hours getting the wifi and screen to work correctly, and a hack gave me hibernation support. But by then the audio started acting up even more so I decided to do the wise thing to switch to Ubuntu 9.04 (the current long-term-support release).

I chose for the Netbook Remix release because I already started to notice that having a UI that’s optimized for a small screen and a small keyboard might be a wise plan. I managed to get everything to work pretty quickly (except for the TV tuner software) but realized that even the netbook remix doesn’t really run that smoothly on my Z530 with 1GB of ram.

Now to be fair, I’m used to machines with 4GB of ram for the least 4 years, so this is quite a step back. But the screen tearing and slow response is just sometimes killing me. So I decided to look into upgrading the RAM in this machine. This is when I realized this machine doesn’t have any upgradable RAM!

So at the moment I’m really contemplating my options. I love the built-in 3G in this machine, and the 6 cell battery is interesting, but the keyboard is crap, the upgradability sucks, and it won’t run Mac OS X.

So, what IS the best netbook out there that can run Mac OS X? Should I stick with this machine for now or maybe go back to Mac? A Macbook Air is starting to look very tempting.

More Histograms!

Mar 10
Posted on March 10, 2009 10:00 in Photography, Projects, Technology

I had to update my histogram service a little bit because apparently it wasn’t handling files  with spaces in it properly. I have to thank Jeroen Kluft for notifying me about this. Go and have a look at his site to see how he has been incorporating my histogram service into his own photo album. I think it’s pretty awesome!

histogram use example

Project 365 & 52 Themes – Week 5

Feb 13
Posted on February 13, 2009 19:25 in Photography, Projects

It’s time for a roundup of week 5 of my photo challenges.

This week the theme was “Abstracts” and I again decided to pick one of my 7 daily submissions as the entry for the theme. Here they are in order.

Day 29 – Lost in Traffic

Day 29 - Lost in traffic

read more…