Minimum Viable Product => Top 20 Android App (social category)

So I'd abandoned this blog quite a while ago and have been blogging over at metosphere, but I thought I'd resurrect wombatmobile for grins.

Even though this blogging software is ancient, I actually kind of miss it. It's easy to just dump thoughts here quickly and move on, so that's how I'll use this. For posting quick stuff without worrying too much about spelling, grammar, etc.


So I have this massive text file called ideas.txt. I've kept this file for years copied from computer to computer and use it to record anything that strikes me as an interesting idea. Sometimes I get up in the middle of the night with some wacky idea, add it to ideas.txt, and then wake up the next morning and laugh and wonder what I was thinking. Other times after getting home after a long drive, I'll run into the house to get my thoughts down quickly before I forget everything.

I separate the ideas in this file into three different tiers:

Tier 1 - ideas that will take a lot of effort, most likely need outside investment and a team. big upside possibilities.

Tier 2 - simple ideas, things I can crank out quickly and see what happens as an experiment. not much upside, but would be fun to see if people would use it.

Tier 3 - these are the more out-there ideas. Some of them need certain things to happen technically first or maybe be several years away. To be honest, I'm either never going to get to these or don't have the background/resources to even attempt them. Examples include snack food recipes, beverage containers, aircraft designs ideas from my old aerospace engineering days, etc.

Lately I've been focused on working my way through my Tier 2 list. Get the minimum viable product out there. If it gets traction, let users determine what features to add.

Prayers to Share

One of the Tier 2 ideas I cranked out recently has taken off much more than I expected. The concept is simple. Let people share their prayers on their phones (praying to find a job, sick relative, etc.) Other people can tap a button and pray along. (i.e. 8 people have prayed with you)

Surprisingly, people are really using it! It's now the 18th ranked Android app in the social category. With great ratings and comments! "God bless this application." "Blessing be on he that has developed this application."

The iPhone version just got approved and people are buying it. Here's the website for it: http://prayerstoshare.net/

In hindsight, after being continuously surprised at simple iPhone apps that do well, I shouldn't be shocked that a simple app like Prayers to Share would be popular, but time after time, I keep succumbing to the Engineer's Conceit that an app should be "chock full o' features."

This was hammered home to me over the past week while using the Android ADC2 Contest Judging App. Looking at app after app with my User hat on, I had no patience for an app that I didn't grok right away. If the first thing I see when launching an app is two pages of Help to scroll through, I've lost interest.

So basically this post is yet another "Keep It Simple, Stupid" rant, but maybe if I write it enough, it'll sink in. (especially regarding mobile)

Top Social Android Apps (10/7/2009)

1. MySpace Mobile
2. Facebook for Android
3. facebook lite
4. Myspace lite
5. Pickup Lines
6. Love quote
7. twitter lite
8. Babbler Lite
9. meinVZ
10. Wertago
11. LinkedIn (beta)
12. LED Scroller 2
13. Facebook Video uploader
14. LED Scroller
15. studiBZ
16. Swift Twitter App
17. Comeks - Fun Photo Blogger
18. Prayers to Share <==woohoo!
19. Speed Dial
20. Twidgit Lite

Posted on Wed, 7 Oct 2009 12:43 by Seni Sangrujee (629 day(s) old)

Blending Adsense for Mobile - SEO

I've been tinkering with Adsense for Mobile on my experimental mobile sites.

adsense mobileFirst of all, that gray background has got to go. Luckily, it looks like you can set the color_bg, color_link, color_url, and color_text properties.

I've had varying amounts of success using blended vs. contrasting ads on my non-mobile sites, so we'll see which works better for mobile sites. I've also got some theories on ad placement on mobile devices, so we'll see if those prove true. More on this later....

PHP version example:
$GLOBALS['google']['url']=$_SERVER['HTTP_HOST'] . $_SERVER['REQUEST_URI'];

Posted on Mon, 17 Sep 2007 16:11 by Seni Sangrujee (1379 day(s) old)

iPhone Hack - Root Password Cracked

From Digg

The root and another "mobile" account password of iPhone OSX 1.0, have been obtained from a passwd file and been cracked by the famous fellows from hackint0sh.org. The hash turned out to be old plain 1979 DES. Sadly this is not of any use so far, as the iPhone does not (yet) present us with a nice and tidy login screen to explore it's system.

Original: http://www.hackint0sh.org/forum/showthread.php?t=1323

The password for root is "alpine"
The "mobile" user accounts password is "dottie"

Posted on Mon, 2 Jul 2007 13:52 by Seni Sangrujee (1456 day(s) old)

Ron Paul - iPhone

LMAO @ Ron Paul 2008 - Hope for America - iPhone Headquarters

Posted on Mon, 2 Jul 2007 12:11 by Seni Sangrujee (1456 day(s) old)

iPhone Activation Hell - Your current AT&T rate plan is not compatible with the iPhone

Wow, that experience could have been better. Buying it was a breeze, but activation took 18 hours. I was probably an edge case, though, as an existing customer with an outdated calling plan.

Still, there are lots of folks having activation problems here. In my case, persistence paid off more than patience. It took 3 calls to AT&T to get activated.

My first impression of the iPhone?
"The fingers you have used to dial are too fat. To obtain a special dialing wand, please mash the keypad with your palm now."

Posted on Sat, 30 Jun 2007 13:46 by Seni Sangrujee (1458 day(s) old)

iPhone User Agent

Heh, I've been wondering what the User-Agent would look like for the . Someone from an Apple IP address stopped by Mowser the other day. Excellent.

Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; PPC like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420+ (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/1A001a Safari/419.3

Our traffic has been crazy in the past week, it's interesting to see all the devices out there.

Posted on Wed, 9 May 2007 14:51 by Seni Sangrujee (1510 day(s) old)

Mowser Mashup - Instant Mobile Website

We just pushed out a cool feature at Mowser today called Mowser Shortcuts, combined with a cool Twitter . The site (http://mowser.com) already dealt with one of the most painful parts of websurfing on a phone (sites not formatting properly), but now it helps with the problem of long URLs on a phone.

Here's an example:
1) When I take the train into work, one of the sites I visit on my phone is http://www.thatsgoodknowledge.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=3 , a forum about a local morning sports radio talk show.

The site is pretty rough on my phone, though. There's a lot of <table><tr><td> formatting and the page is around 75-80kb.

2) Passing it though Mowser removes much makes it cleaner and chops it up to make it easier to view on the phone. http://mowser.com/web?url=http://www.thatsgoodknowledge.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=3


3) That's a long url, though, and if I wanted to SMS that to one of my co-workers riding the train in from Dublin, it's unlikely to happen. This is where the TinyURL-like Mowser Shortcut can be created:
http://mowser.com/ek0ux <=> http://mowser.com/web?url=http://www.thatsgoodknowledge.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=3
(plus, you can also submit it directly to your status :)

Posted on Mon, 23 Apr 2007 17:27 by Seni Sangrujee (1526 day(s) old)

PSP Browser

I got a chance to play around with the 2.0 firmware PSP browser this morning while riding the stationary bike. This is, in itself, a notable feat since I can now absorb my morning infoblitz (news, stocks, blogs) while getting a workout. This also allows be to throw away my plans to jury-rig some sort of laptop-exercise bike harness/suspension mechanism. There's no need to construct a Rube Goldberg machine when the the PSP will do the job.

First impressions:

  • Entering text is a little tricky at first, but I got used to it pretty quickly. I don't expect to do much more typing now that I have my bookmarks setup. I only plan on using the PSP for passive browsing like Bloglines, scanning news, and checking msgboards.
  • Scrolling down a webpage was a little confusing. It appears as if pressing the down button jumps down to the next link, and when the link is way down on the page, this makes it very hard to continuously read the text. From the help section, I think you're supposed to press [square]+down to scroll down, but I was still having problems reading large chunks of text that spanned multiple screens. It definitely wasn't as intuitive as my phone's browser.
  • Initially I was using it like the browser I use on my mobile phone, which doesn't have tabs. This was a bit of a pain because, while my PSP browser cache is set to 512kb, some pages didn't seem to get cached that I had expected, so pushing the shoulder buttons to go back and forward between pages was a slow process.

    Luckily, the PSP browser does have tabs and you can get around this problem by holding down the X button and opening the link in a new tab. Once I figured out the tabs (and switching between them using [square]+shoulder buttons), this was a breeze. I still haven't figured out the shortcut keys to close a tab, though. :(
  • That's all I have for now, the speed and rendering quality were great, I can definitely see the PSP becoming an integral part of my morning exercise/infoblitz routine.

So while the PSP definitely passed the stationary bike test, tonight I'll see how it stacks up against the tried-and-true "laptop on the couch tv-watching" evening ritual.

Posted on Tue, 2 Aug 2005 14:14 by Seni Sangrujee (2155 day(s) old)

What's the term I'm looking for?

When I was reading about the pervasiveness of mobile devices in the Philippines, I was trying to think of an adjective, but couldn't come up with one. What's a word for a person or group that's totally into mobile phones and the corresponding untethered lifestyle? I've been trying to describe this subculture in conversations recently when discussing groups that I hang out with or people that I see on the subway or in malls, but nothing quite captures it.

I'm looking for something that could be used in the following sentences:

  • After spending a few days in Thailand, it became obvious to me that this culture is much more ________ than I'm what used to in the U.S.
  • Did you see that guy with the utility belt at the last Mobile Monday? Man, that dude was ________.
  • My co-workers are still trying to wrap their heads around their calculator watches and StarTACs. In contrast, my golfing buddies are totally _______. They're checking hoops scores while waiting for the greens to clear and MMSing me while they're warming up at the driving range.

I'm sure there's a term for this. Sort of like the way the term "wired" was often used circa 1996 for someone really into online culture. That is, before the term assumed other connotations.

"into mobility"? "unwired"?

Or maybe something more along the lines of "otaku", which can mean completely different things depending on who you're talking to.

Hmm, I guess there might not be a good term for a mobile lifestyle/fanatic, or, as with most hype labels, by now it would have been used and abused ad nauseum. But then again terms like "Ajax" and "Web 2.0" are effective labels to capture interesting trends/movements that are generating a lot of excitement, and I'd argue that the mobile revolution is at least as important.

Posted on Wed, 27 Jul 2005 16:16 by Seni Sangrujee (2161 day(s) old)

Mobile Protests

Interesting stuff in a P.J. Corkery column today. A greater blogger than I would insert some witty comments here, but I'm too tired and lazy today.

"Filipinos are also using text messaging to send protests directly to Mrs. Arroyo's cell phones, whose numbers are listed on various Web sites. One of the English-language messages reads in typically text-message language: "Hello Ma'am, Im vs lying n dishonesty. Pls resign." This isn't a tiny protest: The Philippines' 80 million people typically send 180 million text messages daily. The country has 30 million cell phones. …"

"Even the advertising apparatus of the cell phone industry is being adapted in the political war against Arroyo. Placards and posters have shot up around Manila parodying Cingular's name and signature blurry "x" logo. Behind the "x" appears Mrs. Arroyo's face and, where the word "Cingular" would appear in the ads, runs the Tagalog slang "Cinungaling," which means, approximately, "liar." She's in danger of political death by phone. … "

On a completely unrelated topic, here's a page that shows the phone numbers of a bunch of sports celebrities that the AP Sports Desk accidently published last year. Hmm, I've always wanted to ask Dusty Baker why he didn't pinch-hit for Mark Gardner back in 2000...

Posted on Wed, 27 Jul 2005 15:19 by Seni Sangrujee (2161 day(s) old)

Audience attention

I just read some interesting thoughts about banning wifi at conferences. It's a tough problem and I bet it's just going to get worse as people start getting more mobile devices to add to the laptop distraction.

I went to the Mobile Monday last night at Openwave. I haven't been to one in a while and they've gotten really big these days. Kudos to Mike and Russ.

I didn't notice anyone in the audience with laptops out during the presentations, but there were a bunch of people using their phones during the talks (not surprising considering the audience). I'd have to say that Mobile Mondays have the highest beeps per minute emanating from the audience of the tech talks that I attend, though. The sounds ranged from some pretty embarrasing ringtones to the sounds of SMS messages being received to the odd person who left their phone set to beep on every keypress.

It was actually an interesting indicator of how compelling the talk was by how many people started playing with their phones while the speaker was still talking.

This was in sharp contrast to a tech talk I went to recently that mostly consisted of undergrads, which seemed to have the least amount of interruptions/ambient noise from electronic devices I've seen. I guess their professors have sufficiently conditioned them to put their phones on silent or to use their devices discreetly.

That poses an interesting question. Are younger people who've grown up with mobile phones and GameBoys better at being polite with their personal devices than those that haven't grown up with them? I'll have to start studying this more on the subway and at future tech talks.

Posted on Tue, 7 Jun 2005 12:07 by Seni Sangrujee (2211 day(s) old)

Faceoff! Motorola's new Black RAZR vs. D&D's Black Razor Sword

Engadget has some sweet pics of Motorola's new Black RAZR. Now, I thought the old silver RAZR was pretty cool looking, but wielding one of these black beauties just might awaken fond memories of battling drow, xorn, and umber hulks at childhood playgrounds like White Plume Mountain and Tomb of Horrors.

For those of you, like me, who have always longed for your own badass Black Razor (and can pry yourselves away from World of Warcraft for two seconds), here's a comparison:

  Black Razor Sword Motorola Black RAZR
Description Bastard Sword of Life Stealing Thin, fashion phone for bastard hipsters
Alignment Evil|--------x--------|Good
(Chaotic Neutral)
(Lawful Good)
Abilities Intelligence: 17
Wisdom: 15
Charisma: 13
Ego: 13
Frequencies: 800/900/1800/1900
Memory: 5MB
Form Factor: Clamshell
Data: GPRS class 10
Speech & Telepathy speaks Common, plus up to 3 more languages spoken by its current wielder, which the sword learns telepathically MMS, Polyphonic Ringtone, J2ME MIDP 2.0 / CLDC 1.0
Detection Detects Living Creatures (Souls) 60' radius Detects Bluetooth class 1 devices (100m range)
Price 105,000 gp (includes sheath) $529.99 (includes charger)
Notes "Mission: To suck souls. It is a black sword that shines like a piece of the night sky filled with stars, and it is sheathed in a black scabbard decorated with pieces of cut obsidian. On a killing stroke, Blackrazor temporarily adds the number of levels of the dead foe to it's bearers levels (in terms of fighting ability). The bearer also temporarily gains the full hit points of the victim...

...The souls of all the entities killed by Blackrazor are sucked out and devoured; those killed by the black sword cannot be raised. For every three days the sword remains 'unfed', its ego increases by one point, until it can compel its bearer to kill a human or humanoid being, upon feeding, it's ego returns to 16....

... The DM must remember that Blackrazor exists solely to feel the power and souls coursing through itself, and sometimes It may not be too picky about where the energy is coming from...."
(from Geoff's AD&D Magic Items)

"The sword derives sustenance from devouring the life forces of it's victims For every week in which it goes unfed it's ego (base13) will increase +1 up to it's max. if it overcomes the wielders will. The sword will force him to feed it's hunger (usually whoever is closest) Each use during this time will force a ego roll until fed."

(from here)
Mission: To look cool. It is a black phone that shines like a piece of the night sky filled with stars.

Upon purchasing, the wielder may find that other possessions now pale in comparison. This may induce a compulsion to consider unnecessary upgrades to other gadgets (Nintendo DS=>PSP, iPod=>Dell DJ ) just to keep up appearances.

If a week has passed, and the phone does not sense a flashy gadget or accessory purchase, the owner should make an ego roll with a -1 penalty for every $500 remaining in his/her checking account.

The Dungeon Master should be aware that actually using the phone to make calls has no effect, as the purpose of this phone is merely to assist the self-esteem of the purchaser.

Interestingly, the black RAZR accomplishes its soul-stealing via a VGA camera just like the silver GSM RAZR, while the silver CDMA RAZR has a megapixel camera.
Verdict Winner: None
Loser: wombat

It's true...

Posted on Thu, 14 Apr 2005 16:54 by Seni Sangrujee (2265 day(s) old)

Eating your own (mobile) dogfood

I met an interesting person who works at a mobile startup over the weekend. The company is still fairly small (<50 people), and they make software for cellphones, pdas, etc. I'm not going to name the company, but I use one of their products all the time on my Nokia 6620.

One thing he said that really struck me is that none of the people in the company really use their products very much. They work with them during the day, but when they go home, the devices just stay in the office. They don't seem to possess the mobilephone/pda/crackberry addiction that I would have expected from people in a mobile startup. I guess I was expecting more of the passion of the folks I run into at Mobile Mondays.

I've realized that I spend too much time talking to train commuters, friends in Asia, and hanging out with other mobile fanatics, and I sometimes forget that the culture around Silicon Valley (and the rest of the U.S.) isn't really conducive to a mobile-centric lifestyle. This is why Europe and Asia will likely continue to dominate in the mobile arena.

It's nice to get a glimpse of the world outside my little bubble and be reminded of my life and perspective before becoming a train commuter/mobile fanatic.

If I end up partnering with these guys, we've been talking about office space that wouldn't be too far from my house, which would mean the end of my two hours on a train everyday. Our office will definitely be near a BART(subway) startion, but I probably would just end up driving. Hopefully I won't lose my mobile religion when I go back to being a car commuter. Although that may mean that I'll go back to listening to podcasts in my car again instead of websurfing on my phone or watching bittorrented tv on my PSP. :)

Posted on Wed, 13 Apr 2005 14:04 by Seni Sangrujee (2266 day(s) old)

LBS keeps pulling me back in

I keep trying to focus on other things, but the siren song of LBS just keeps calling me. I'm tired of waiting around for the phone manufacturers and carriers to implement JSR 179 and GPS, and open up the locative wonders that'll come with it. I guess I could jump over to Nextel, who seems to be the only U.S. carrier that has JSR 179 working (with certain Moto phones), but I'm locked in a two-year cingular contract. So it goes.

So I broke down and bought a little Bluetooth GPS device. It's a lot smaller than I expected, since it's only meant to communicate via Bluetooth and doesn't need a display screen. It's surprisingly hard to find these in stores around here in Silicon Valley. Most places (Fry's, BestBuy, Sporting Goods stores) carry the standard GPS devices with the simple screens and no bluetooth, but the only place that had what I was looking for was CompUsa. I guess I could have bought one online, but I'm already tired of all this waiting and wanted one NOW.

I'm interested in experimenting with GPS because I'm not sure I understand it as well as I should. I have a vision of interesting LBS uses that's probably just like everyone else's (where's my friend, where's the nearest gas station, what's a good restaurant nearby), but there's much more innovative possibilities out there that I don't think I can grok until I actually start using a web-connected GPS device.

I remember going to a Cornell alumni talk where Jeff Hawkins was telling stories of the early days when he was inventing the Palm Pilot, and he would carry around a block of wood shaped like the palm pilot to fully understand how it would/could be used. I think this is something that I need to do with my new macgyvered GPS phone to really understand the possibilites.

I just read a great article today by Peggy Anne Salz called Follow The Leader that talks about this sort of user-driven innovation vs. approaching things from a developer-centric perspective.

More interesting things to come on this front (hopefully)...

Posted on Mon, 4 Apr 2005 13:35 by Seni Sangrujee (2275 day(s) old)

South Korean PSPs coming out w/ browser on May 2?

PSP world is saying that "South Korea will be the first country to have PSPs shipped with web browser software"

Quotes from the article that they reference:

South Korean video game fans will have to wait a little longer to buy Sony's new portable gaming system but they'll have access to an additional feature not yet available in North America - Internet access.
Users will be able to surf the Internet from wireless access points and view unique content geared toward the device, said KT spokeswoman Nam Yoon-soo.

The new game unit, which debuted last week in North America and is already popular in Japan, will go on sale in South Korea on May 2, Nam said.

OK, so if this is true, I wonder if we can expect a firmware update in the US at that time, like the Japanese update during the US launch?

Posted on Mon, 28 Mar 2005 00:41 by Seni Sangrujee (2282 day(s) old)