I'm back in Singapore, for 2 weeks this time. A friend of mine has started his own consulting company here and wants me to work with him, so I'm here to learn the product-line (OpenText). It'll be nice to make some real money again.
And as an aside, it's -18 in Toronto right now according to my weather widget. MINUS EIGHTEEN! It's 26 here in Singapore, though I did wear long pants today cuz the air conditioning makes me cold.
A good buddy just released his first iPhone app, Funcards. It's a flash card app to help small children learn. It comes with a bunch of pre-made cards, but you can make your own through a variety of methods.
Trust me when I say that if this guy put his blood, sweat and tears into Funcards - especially when his goal was to help is own son learn - that it'll be the best iPhone flashcard app ever, and worth every penny. And really, at $1.99, it is only pennies you'll be spending. Isn't your child's brain worth a couple of bucks?
From the website...
How long did it take for your child to learn to swipe to the next photo on your iPhone or iPod touch? It didn’t take our little guy very long. I wrote this App so that little people like him could experience iPhone photos with full sound and titles and they could learn as they swiped. Funcards lets parents and older children create card decks from your favorite photos and add sounds (even sound effects) to entertain and educate your little ones.
Funcards comes with two sample decks (letters of the English alphabet and numbers from 1-9) but the real magic is in making your own. For example, you could make card decks for:
- family and friends who you don't see as often as you would like
- favorite foods for you child to learn to recognize
- letter and words in your own language, or a second language
- animals from your local farm or zoo, with sound effects
- cherished toys that could not come on your vacation
Swiping left and right on my iPhone is one of the first fine motor skills that my boy learned (right after throwing my iPhone against the wall). He was a master of the swipe by the time he was a year old. Now he's 19 months old and is already able to recognize and say many letters and numbers. We use Funcards to keep our extended family on the tip of his (giant) little brain and are coming up with new ideas for card decks all the time. It's a blast.
Oh, Toronto pizza, how I miss thee.
I realize that every once in awhile I proclaim my undying love to the big G. And every time I do I feel like a bit of a sycophant. But I really do love them.
Today I realized that some other company had created a Boat Charter Phuket listing on Google Places. All of a sudden my listing wasn't coming up anymore. Then I realized that not only had they stolen my name (granted, I could see someone else using it since none of those words are really trademarked or anything), but they were also using my logo! Which you can see below, is really just an image with my domain name. But they had a different domain name! Yet, they were coming up in all the listings where I should have been, and all of a sudden my traffic had dropped by about 40%. And to top it all off, their site is currently under construction! There's nothing even there but a splash page from their hosting company!
So I decided to report them. Wasn't sure which method to take, so I did a multi-pronged attack. First I submitted their Places listing as spam via Google Webmaster Tools. Then I reported copyright infringement on the logo since it's obviously mine. THEN I reported their business listing as inappropriate.
Well, I'm happy to say that within 5 hours I had an automated response from Webmaster Tools saying they'd received my spam report. Now, received is one thing, but when I checked out the Places link again it had all been fixed. My listing now comes up where it used to, and their site is now showing Under Construction as the only indexed content (which was obviously manually triggered by the Goog as "Under Construction" doesn't appear anywhere on their site).
UPDATE: Seems like Google kind of mashed our listings together. It's now got my website and address, but it's got their description and phone number. And I don't have the rights to edit that listing... but when I edit MY listing through the Google Places interface then click the link to view it live, it takes me to the mashed up listing. Hope this gets sorted out, but at least it's got my website so the traffic drop should stop.
Sometimes I feel really inspired to write a blog post. But then I feel like I have more important things to do. So I don't write it.
This is one of those times. This was not the blog post that I was inspired to write, but I feel like I have more important things to do than write the original, so I'm writing this quick little blurb instead.
Also, it usually happens late at night (early in the morning) when I'm trying to sleep. I hate that.
And for those of you that care, the original post was going to revolve around ideas vs. execution, and work hard vs. work smart. Seriously, it was inspired. Bah. However I will provide the inspiring link (content alone did not inspire me... it was content + comments, so check those out as well).
I just spent about 2 hours trying to resolve a problem between a web app and the db. I considered writing this post tomorrow, but decided that given my mindset right now it was more appropriate not to wait.
I remember the days of working infrastructure that we would schedule maintenance at 11pm. We'd meet up at the server room and bust our asses to get everything done by 1:30am so that we could hit Jack Astor's (or whatever bar was nearby to the hosting environment / office) and order a pitcher before last call. Because, as infrastructure monkeys, we knew that when the bits started flowing, our job was done.
But, as mentioned above, I just spent about 2 hours (from 1:00am to 3:00am) trying to resolve a problem between a web app and the db. I got it resolved. But, as a developer, all that means is that it's now time to BEGIN doing work. Cuz as a developer, when the infrastructure is finally working, my job has just begun.
Mike and Fred, I miss you guys. And our late-night downtown Toronto drunken server escapades. And Lemmiwinks.
Having just switched to Chrome cuz Firefox's rampant CPU utilization was annoying me, I was immediately struck with another annoyance. Chrome is lacking a proper status bar. It truncates long URLs at the END and cuts off any query string variables. Not very nice for developers.
So, I took it upon myself to create a little extension that shows the full href attribute of any <a> elements in an unobtrusive status bar of my own. Hope it helps someone out there.
Gregg, you had it right all along. Fuck Facebook.
[I] Wasn't allowed to watch three's company because of God.
I don't even know 100% what that means, but it makes me laugh... nay, guffaw... every time I read it. Go God!
As an aside, I chose this picture because I love Terri. Literally. God be damned!
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