littlelogs

Keep a social journal of your work progress as you make and learn things.

#android

April 2017

josh
josh

#exist #android #customtracking is pretty much done. Did I say that already? I’m basically just in a holding pattern now, waiting for any more bug reports while @belle implements the same stuff in the iOS app.

Meanwhile I’ve jumped into implementing an idea I’ve been kicking around for a while, an “optimise” page which attempts to quantify how best to optimise an attribute (from a whitelist of things like steps, productive time, etc.). It’s actually turning out pretty well! Belle and I are both enthused about giving some explicit values of what helps, for example, getting more than 5:00 time asleep is my #1 biggest factor in having a good day. Think our peeps are going to enjoy it.

josh
josh

I’ve been nudging my #exist #android #customtracking beta testers recently, trying to get feedback (in traditional fashion, only 3 or 4 of the group bother to say anything), fixing some small issues, and doing some extra bits and pieces to round it all out, like writing some new insight types. The little feedback I have received has been positive at least, so I don’t think there’s too much left to do. When @belle has finished and tested it for iOS (maybe a few months?), then we can launch 😁

In the meantime I’ll need to work out what to go on with.

josh
josh

Okay, #exist web is ready for #customtracking. I’ll deploy that sometime in the next few days, then get the #android app changes merged so I can deploy a beta for testers that talks to the live server (currently testing custom tracking on our dev one). So early next week it’ll be out!

Also, if you’re an Exist user on Android, and want to help beta test, let me know. I could use some more eyes on it 👍

josh
josh

Have been continuing to work on #exist #customtracking in #android the last few days. Getting closer to “good enough” for beta testers to have and use, although @belle and I have different ideas about how custom tracking should be used and how prominent its role should be in the app. Not something we can really know without more people using it. I am worried that we’re opening a can of worms by giving people all this power, and potentially they’ll want to do more and more with it until Exist is 90% custom tracking. But I guess if that’s what people want, we should give it to them…

Anyway, hopefully next week we can get it in the hands of people outside Hello Code HQ.

March 2017

josh
josh

More #exist #android #customtracking fun today. Trying to design an alternative 8-day graph for the Today tab that’s a bit more compact and attractive than reusing the current graphs, as they’d all just say 1 or 0 anyway. So far I have some little ticks in pill shapes that look nice. I wish I could come up with something as readable that is more compact, but all the variations I’ve tried were harder to parse. Oh well, design’s all about compromises, right?

I guess I’ll leave it at what I have for now, and muse on it a bit while I work on the editing interface.

josh
josh

Started setting up the interface in the #exist #android app for rendering #customtracking tags. There’s probably a lot of iterating to go on making it all look just right, but I think the first 80% is done. Next step will be to think about how the interface for tracking stuff (literally, typing in your tags) will work. We also want to make it easy to add and edit stuff, but don’t want to make people think they have to use it by making it too obvious with extra buttons everywhere and so on. So yeah, even more iterating to get it just right.

josh
josh

Woo! Got #customtracking working in a hacky way in #exist #android. Solved some minor issues with that on the server side, and then verified all works as it should. The next step will be to actually make a nice UI for adding and tracking various custom habits and events, and at some point I’ll deploy the backend stuff to the live server so we can test it for real with some beta testers.

I also spent some time helping @belle figure out more #ios #healthkit sleep logic. Getting closer!

January 2017

josh
josh

Overnight #exist got a mention on Gizmodo! Some kind of niche section called Field Guide. Well if we thought the Back to Work podcast helped, this has been nuts — over a hundred signups today, probably our biggest day since launch. I actually thought we were being targeted by spammers initially because of all the Hotmail signups 😆 if most of these people convert we’ll be doing so much better. I’m trying not to get too optimistic though.

In more practical news I helped @belle debug a tricky Apple Health issue and released a minor update to my own #Android app.

josh
josh

I pretty much have the new data tab in #exist #android complete, but I want to add some interactivity and hide some stuff by default so you can drill down into it.

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.

josh
josh

This week l pretty much implemented #exist’s new location name attribute, based on Google’s reverse geocoding, plus some correlations for this. I’m holding off on deploying it for now, because we decided my focus for the next few months should be adding more to the #android app. I’ve added a new tab with some trend graphs in a rather hacky manner, and just need to keep working on these graphs, correlations, and a mood breakdown.

December 2016

josh
josh

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.

November 2016

josh
josh

Today I released the #exist for #android update including the new graphs. Woo! I hope people appreciate it.

After that it was more annoying work — some fiddly support tickets from last week, and a bunch of delinquent accounts to delete. We also got some annoying “advice” from a user. The downside of being open about our troubles (in this case, on the podcast) is that people will think it’s an invitation for them to tell you at length what you should do instead. So anyway, the afternoon wasn’t a super fun time. @belle and I had another chat about Exist in the evening, as we seem to do fairly regularly, to see if we can find a new direction that we both think is good. I think part of our problem these days is that neither of us thinks it’s very good any more, and it’s hard to sell something without any conviction 😐

Ups and downs I guess.

josh
josh

Today’s work got somewhat sidetracked by brunch with @belle, her dad and his partner — but also my car wouldn’t start, so after we got home from that (having had to walk, the indignity of it!) I waited around for the nice roadside assistance man to come check and replace my battery. All sorted now.

Later on I fixed some styling issues with the new #exist #android bits on older OS versions, and added imperial support to the graphs that I totally forgot. Pretty sure that’s everything now. Will probably release it early next week.

josh
josh

I think my work on #exist for #android is done, barring any bugs. I’ll keep testing it for the next few days, and also make sure that it works on some older android versions. You can see a screenshot here. I’m pleased with my progress! Although I don’t know if I write android apps “the right way”, I can get things working pretty quickly these days (with liberal use of stackoverflow). I finally understand how all the pieces go together.

I’m thinking some marketing efforts next. @belle has kicked off some #changemap #customerdevelopment which means hopefully soon we’ll know what other potential customers want from it — but until then, I’ll be doing Exist and Larder-related things.

josh
josh

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.

josh
josh

Today I worked on adding more to the #exist #android app. I’ve got the 8-day graphs in there, looking similar to the web version and sliding open and closed just the same, but I’m not 100% convinced by this graph library. I’m not sure if I’ll fork it and fix my niggles, or keep looking. At this stage it seems easier to fix it than rewrite my code to use another.

Also tonight I finished off some birthday prep for @belle’s birthday, which is today (it’s just after midnight now). I learned I’m really really bad at tying knots in balloons 😄😢 and I’m sure all the noise I made gave it away. I forgot how loud they are. Anyway, happy birthday Belle! I hope in the next year we can make you some excellent #hellocode income and end this limbo.

josh
josh

This afternoon @belle and I did a new #hellocode podcast episode, which we haven’t done for many months. You can listen here. We check in on Exist, Changemap, and Larder, talk about continued income woes, and wonder what we’ll even do with poor old Exist.

Tonight to keep some progress happening on #exist, I worked on its #android app, updating the tab style and starting the work to add the 8-day graphs. I’ve made decent progress in a short period, so either it’ll be done soon, or I’ll keep adding some more stuff to it to match the web app.

September 2016

josh
josh

Making progress on the #exist dashboard redesign. Today I added some new insights based on the day of the week, and tweaked a couple of others. It’s pretty much done, @belle and I are just going to test it for a week (at least) and make sure it all looks and feels useful before unleashing it. I’ve also decided on some stuff I want to add to the mobile apps so I’ll add that to the #android app soon, probably later this week.

josh
josh

Did some further small updates to #exist’s food tracking today. Turns out all of the US (last major stronghold of the imperial system) is used to using grams instead of ounces for nutrition values (fibre, fat etc). With our single metric/imperial units toggle we were confusing all our US users by displaying values in ounces. So I rolled it back. Since we store everything internally in metric units and just convert on the rendering end where necessary, I’ve just left those attributes as metric everywhere. The iOS app is now back in review, but the #Android app has been updated to match the web and already published.

After all that was cleared up I did some work on the new dashboard design with @belle’s feedback. More progress, slightly closer to having something we think is a big improvement.

August 2016

josh
josh

Somehow I’ve picked up a cold again. I felt very sluggish today and didn’t get much done, but improved a little in the afternoon. Tonight I got the basics of editing and deleting working for #larder #android, so it’s almost a full CRUD client now. Just noticed we got another yearly subscription too, which is fantastic. I really think at this stage what Larder needs to grow is more people seeing it, rather than more features. Hopefully some interesting interviews on the blog will help that.

#exist-wise I am tossing up between trying to do some stuff for the weekly email this week (like including some graphs), and getting stuck into the architectural changes for #manualtracking. I think probably the email could benefit from some more useful trend info, but I don’t have a clear idea of what exactly so there’s a chance I could waste days trying various things and have nothing to show for it at the end.

Anyway, hopefully I feel a bit better tomorrow so I can get something done, regardless of what I pick!

josh
josh

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.

July 2016

josh
josh

Did a lot more on #larder for #android today. Fixed a bunch of little issues and missing features. Tomorrow I just need to set it to automatically refresh the access tokens when they expire, and it’ll be ready for the store. Hoping to get it done before I go away for the weekend.

josh
josh

Today I got some nutrition attributes set up in #exist and started getting data for them from Jawbone UP. Next I’ll do Fitbit, maybe others later).

Tonight I decided I’d work on the #larder #android features missing before a beta release. One big one was login/logout (I’ve been using a hardcoded token) but I pretty much got that finished.

June 2016

belle
belle

Got stuck into some #exist for #ios work today:

  • Added a 5pm mood reminder option to match the options available on the web
  • Finished off a change to how insights are rendered on the Today tab that I started yesterday
  • Made a change to how unrated mood entries are rendered on the Timeline tab to match the #android app
  • Made mood entries on the Timeline tab rateable anytime, rather than only after 4pm

I’m continuing to work on a crazy bug that’s been plaguing me for months, but if I can track it down, all these little changes will be ready to send out to users.

May 2016

josh
josh

The last few days I’ve been trialling various #python IDEs. I use Komodo at the moment, which I quite like, but I’m tiring of it telling me “error occurred, no completions found” maybe half the time I try to use the code completions. I’ve crossed Visual Studio and Eclipse off the list of other options. PyCharm is a contender, except it’s a massive CPU and disk hog, and there are some other little niggles. Not sure what I’ll ultimately choose.

In more constructive news I’ve been writing a small update to #exist for #android to show the user’s mood note from this day last year, if they have one. I’ve missed that feature from the nightly email.

josh
josh

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.

josh
josh

Today I added some images to the #larder homepage, and made a change to how the search works. The website is fine as it is for a while, so I’ve started working on the #android app again. I’m hoping it won’t take too long to get it to a basic beta state that people can use.

josh
josh

So we launched the new #larder 14-day trial two days ago, and although I got one or two rude responses to the announcement email, overall it seemed to go down okay. We’ll have to see how it goes long-term though. I hope it converts better.

Once that was done I moved onto creating the public folder feeds for users who want to publish a nice list of bookmarks. It’s pretty much done, and I will deploy tomorrow I expect. After that I think the next big feature will be the #android app, as the web app is now “good enough”.

April 2016

josh
josh

This afternoon I worked on the #larder #android app, styling the new bookmark UI a little, and tonight while looking for something to work on I ended up redesigning the webapp’s home page. It’s a little more spiffy and a tiny bit more explicit about what Larder offers.

josh
josh

I’m trying out intermittent fasting at the moment, and I thought it would make me irritable and unable to work but I’m actually getting a heap done to distract myself from wanting to eat. Who knew! So today I got the #larder #chrome extension working in #firefox via its beta support for what it calls “WebExtensions”, based on the Chrome standard. There are a few bugs to iron out for them but hopefully in the next release I’ll be able to publish the same Chrome extension as a Firefox extension too. I also looked at the #safari docs and that does not look like it’ll be a fun experience.

Later in the Larder #android app I got working the basic ability to add a bookmark, either directly or via sharing to Larder. The app is now nominally read and write!

josh
josh

Made some updates to the #larder home page today, adding our faces and changing the copy a bit. Also worked on the #android app and sharing urls to it from other apps.

Only a few people have signed up since we launched, but since it’s a soft launch I’m not too fussed. We still need to get the word out.

Then this evening I had an annoying scramble to try and fix #exist, which was timing out on all requests right as I was trying to have dinner. (Startup life.) Turns out it was just a network issue with our host and all my investigating was for naught. The whole thing was fixed in about an hour, but still, that’s a couple of incidents in the last few months. If this keeps up we’ll have the hassle of finding a new host.

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