This week has been a write-off in terms of productivity. Spent a lot of time helping @belle hunt down that bug, did the necessary #support for people suspending accounts etc, and otherwise ended up doing various things that got in the way of real work. Oh well. Some weeks are just like that, right? Not sure if Friday will redeem the rest of the week or if I should just let it go and do something enjoyable instead.
Today I did some overdue #support tickets instead though, and later tonight I set up macOS in a vm on my pc so I can build some #ios apps. I do have a macbook, but I’d rather be at my pc. I actually got that running with few issues, and I can build apps in xcode without it taking too long — performance seems decent. I’m going to have a go at learning #swift to build the #larder iOS app. I don’t really want to steal it from @belle, but she has enough on her plate already.
This week I’ve mostly been doing #exist #support. We’ve had a lot of new users, because we got a really nice mention on Back to Work, a podcast with Merlin Mann that seems pretty popular! With this has come a lot of extra emails to reply to, and a few bugs to follow up. I also did a bunch of #hellocode monthly reports to bring us up to date, with @belle taking over from now because she cares a lot more about doing them promptly.
Got #exist’s “location name” attribute sorted on the dev server today, did some #support requests, and later released #larder for #android v1.0! Nice to have the stable version out there. Anecdotally it seems like most paying users are using the app, meaning maybe it seems more valuable to Android users right now, meaning we should get the iOS app out too so we can convert some more folks. Onwards and upwards.
Later I did two monthly reports for the #hellocode blog and even updated our numbers on some transparent startups site that added us recently. Not sure how useful that is for us, but I want to pitch changemap to the guy who makes it at some point, so I’m essentially doing it for the brownie points that I can hopefully redeem later 😉
Today I did some #support, then worked on the #exist #android app. I ended up forking the chart library I was using and fixing the alignment issue I had, which was thankfully pretty simple. I have the labels rendering the correct values now too, so I’m nearly done with the graphs. Next I’ll get the in-app activity feed sorted, then it’ll be deploy time.
Did a lot of #exist #support and admin stuff today and yesterday. Some bug fixes, some tweaks to the new dashboard, and some planning for various things. Also had a surprise request for an interview chat for a site (maybe still a magazine? Media/press sort of thing, anyway) tomorrow afternoon that apparently might lead to an article. So I guess it’s a test of how well I can sell Exist. Going to brush up on some stats and things first.
Haven’t had a very productive week. New phone arrived yesterday, so I’ve spent a lot of time setting that up. Otherwise I’ve been doing #exist admin and #support stuff, and working on a new dashboard layout that has more emphasis on long-term trends. I think it’s almost ready to test with live data.
I was quite productive today, but not in my usual form. Today was more about writing and editing. First I published an interview with @belle on our new #larder blog. Then I played editor for a bunch of her other posts for various places, and gave some feedback. I also replied to the waiting #support ticket I had, and then later had to follow up with an Exist user who’d disputed his first monthly subscription charge as “unrecognised”. Another friend who’s a user showed me that the statement descriptor does get cut off sometimes and comes up as “Hello Code” instead of “Hello Code exist.io” so I swapped the order of those to hopefully avoid future confusion. Also hoping this user closes the dispute upon realising what the charge was.
Aside from #support, I’ve spent the last few days trying to mock up the ideas I have in my head for an alternative #exist interface that combines the existing progress bars and insights with more long-term graphs and correlations. And man, is it hard. This is the sort of thing that reminds me how much of a designer I’m not — I can come up with an alright design eventually, through a bit of stealing from better sources and a lot of iteration, but I can’t really design anything from scratch. As frustrating as it is, I think I’m going to have to shelve this for a while and hope that I’ll have some better ideas by next time I give it a go.
Easing back into work after a weekend away. I also followed up on some #exist #support stuff, with some more to look into later. Updated #larder for #android with a fix, and tweeted it and updated the site once it went live. I’ll email all users tomorrow.
Also realised I have to submit my case against Larder’s “disputed charge” before tomorrow. Ugh. Apparently the user lost their card and just disputed all charges from around that time. Even though he wanted to pay for Larder, and has no issue with the charge, he hasn’t told his bank to cancel the dispute. So we get slugged the penalty and go through the massive hassle of making the case that we didn’t charge him fraudulently, for a chance at getting the penalty and his charge paid back. FUN. TIMES.
Some days making your own thing just doesn’t seem worth the hassle. Woke up to more #support emails from users with Google Fit issues, users wanting refunds, users we’d just been talking to yesterday “just confirming my account has been deleted” (yeah great, thanks), users complaining about things missing from their accounts for ages that I was supposed to know about without being told. Sigh. I’m sure there are plenty of quiet users without issues who are happy when we add new stuff, but this week my reward for giving users new stuff seems to be 💩💩💩💩😞💩💩💩💩
Somehow contracted a cold over the weekend, so not a lot of work has been going on. Focusing on breathing and snot removal for now. 😷
I can’t help myself. Redesigned the #larder homepage again yesterday. I think this is really truly the last change for a while though.
I did a little on the Larder #android app, but various things have kept me from getting much done on it — mostly #exist #support and some old #client work. @belle and I also discussed marketing for Larder, and came up with some ideas to get it better-known. I’ll try to spread my time between the Android app and marketing work over the next month or so.
Also, today one of a precious handful of paying users cancelled their subscription after just one month, which was very painful for my ego 😞 so I emailed to ask what I could be doing better to get their business again. I hope they bother to reply so I can at least use it as an opportunity to improve the product.
Spent today and yesterday doing #exist #support and working on its upcoming #github integration. Turns out there’s no easy way to get a count of total commits for a user across all their repos, but it is at least possible with some effort. Hopefully won’t take too long to get finished as the
commits attribute already exists, and this integration won’t provide any other data.
Today was all about #exist #support and #admin things. I ticked off a bunch of support tickets waiting for a response, and started to sort out our tax for the last quarter — only to be stumped by needing to ask the accountant for some clarification on a point or two. I hate this stuff. Once #HelloCode is making more than enough money for two salaries, I am paying someone more qualified to do all things accounting-related.
Today I did a bunch of fiddly #exist #support tickets, then worked on #larder’s new user onboarding flow. It’s basically complete, which makes Larder one step closer to being ready for launch. Trying to get it there as quickly as I can so there’s more Hello Code income for @belle and she can fill her barrel with motivation for Hello Code work instead of client work.
More #exist #support today and later more work on #larder. The only thing remaining is to manage the invite and signup flow. I think tomorrow I’ll make the signup survey form (a moderate barrier to entry so only the true of heart are accepted) and share it around a bit. End of the week, beta testing time maybe!
Sometimes #support can seem unending, a Sisyphean task. Finish all your support emails today, only to have fresh ones waiting in your inbox the next morning. It’s easier when users are nice and appreciate it, instead of being blunt, clueless, or rude, but that only helps so much when there’s a lot to get through.
I like getting support emails out of the way when I first start work for the day, because otherwise they loom over my head, but perhaps I should find an alternative way to manage them. On a busy support day I don’t feel like building new stuff afterwards — because what’s the point when people are just going to break it or complain? That’s how it feels, anyway.
Today turned into a surprisingly productive day. Well, night. In the afternoon I ticked off my #exist #support and fixed a bug, but this evening I got stuck into #larder. I thought I’d start working on a #github integration. In the end, mostly because their API is pretty straightforward, I have a working script to import starred repos as links, complete with dominant language as default tag and project description! It’s pretty cool to have my stars in there and searchable. 🔭🌟🌟🌟
Just need to implement paging for that initial import of all stars and put the update script into a cron and we’re golden.
Today I made the heart rate updates for #exist official, and emailed Fitbit users who need to switch to OAuth2. I made this opt-in for now, but for anyone who doesn’t reconnect, I’ll upgrade them later before the deadline to switch over. Also did a couple of #support issues. Still waiting on both Foursquare and Jawbone to get back to me about some bugs with their service, both pretty bad. Jawbone’s support used to be great, but maybe they’re not making enough money any more or something — seems like there’s nobody there doing support, and their terrible new “build your own website from a template!” force.com developer support forum is pretty dead. Wish we were “official partners” or something so we could just email a human and get a response. Like if you wanted support for a Hello Code product…
In happier news, my server was provisioned today after all so I’ve started setting that up.
Today I did a lot of #exist #support and some bug fixes. Finally merged the heart rate additions for a bunch of activity services. Just making sure nothing breaks and tomorrow I’ll announce that officially.
Also ordered a new dedicated server from our host, which apparently will take 10 days (!) to provision. But there’s no huge rush. Just time to start separating out the front-end web server and the back-end task queues so performance for both improves.
Did some #support for #exist today and had a big #planning chat with @belle about what we’ll build in 2016, and how to make Exist more useful. We have some decent ideas that I think will address some big things people are asking for.
It’s good to chat about it often and make sure we both agree which direction to go in. It can be hard with Exist because we’re creating something new, so we kind of have to make it up as we go along. There aren’t a lot of places to draw inspiration from in terms of saying “hey why don’t we let users do this other thing with their data!” We do have competitors, but each with some other angle, and none of them is really hitting the mark to me.
Sometimes it’s kind of tiring having to keep “innovating” (I use the term very loosely) and doing our own thing without any external guidance. But we will prevail!
Today I did some #exist #support and worked on the new heart rate stuff further. Re-reading the fine print I realised that to get heart rate data from Fitbit I’ll have to ask users to reauthenticate after all, having previously thought their docs said the switch from oauth 1 to 2 could be automatic. That’ll be fun 😑🎉
Later I started working on importing heart rate from Fitbit and Jawbone UP. Turns out both of them require new permissions, and I don’t have relevant hardware for either so I can create test data, so this is going to be a little tricky. Still, hope to get that sorted this week, and onto some more interesting additions (or back to #larder).
This afternoon I did some #exist #support and fixed some bugs, then it was onto #larder while I’m still into it. Got an initial layout working, hardcoded some dummy data to get an idea of how it’ll look and work, and played endlessly with tweaking the css. Trying not to look at how other bookmarking apps work to avoid taking too much inspiration.
I’ve been kind of avoiding the harder work of actually starting to hook it all up with live data (via #mithril), but that’ll happen in the next few days I think.
Today I did some #editing of @belle’s course and blog post, then some #support and bug fixes for #exist. I’ve also started planning our next upcoming project — the vague architecture and DB schema is done in my head, but before I can start coding I need that all-important name! I have a few on a shortlist but nothing I’m in love with yet.
Maybe I should just call it HelloMark (a service for automating your greetings to people named Mark?)
Had a relaxing few days with @belle and my parents for Christmas. Aside from the inevitable tech support (setting up their new computer with Windows 10 — thankfully not so different as to be scary), there’s not been much work to do, just a couple of #exist questions and #support emails. Looking forward to getting back into it though.
Today I finished off setting up the rebrand of the #exist dashboard to fit with the new #mood stuff, moved around some stats stuff, and did some visual updates (because everything looks more exciting and new if it’s had a visual refresh too). It’s all ready to go for next Monday!
I also caught up on some overdue #support/general contact emails, cleaning out my half of our shared inbox.
Today I did what #exist #support needed to be done, but to be honest, not a lot else. I have a lot of emails about the #mood stuff waiting to be replied to, with lots of conflicting opinions, so I’m kind of just putting it all off because I’m not sure what to do next…
So tonight to make up for that I worked on #littlelogs #android and made some pretty good progress. I can see all timelines with avatars and timestamps! Next up I need to make the single log view with comments, and then I’ll probably work on write actions like logging, liking, and commenting.
Spent a large chunk of my afternoon talking with @belle about #exist plans and experiments. I have some short-term plans for features that need to be added, plus one big experiment to try longer-term around defining and tracking goals. We'll probably build it on the exist #api, but as a separate product/site. Pretty keen to see how it goes. If it proves to be a hit it also proves the viability of Exist as a platform on which to build all different sorts of apps.
Also caught up on #support emails and so on.