Monthly Archives: October 2010

echoecho rocks open angel forum…

I’ve just returned from a 2 week whirlwind trip to the UK, most of it focused in London.

I met with a wide variety of investors (angels, VCs etc) – overall the attitude towards echoecho was extremely positive. People dug the slide deck, the vision and the story (and of course the fact we already had a bunch of traction ;p)

I wanted to namecheck Jason Calacanis @jason and his Open Angel Forum (OAF). echoecho was selected to present at the London OAF this past Wednesday – October 6th – and the event went off very smoothly.

The gentlemen’s rules of the Open Angel Forum don’t permit any detailed discussions of the Angels attending or angels presenting – but suffice to say that neither Angels nor companies presenting pay any money to do this. I commend Jason on this kind of approach – he is very outspoken against events where the organisers charge enterpreneurs (who by definition have no money) to attend an event to meet with angels (who by definition are supposed to have money). Yes that irony is not lost on us either.

The setup was definitely high quality (angels must be active investors) – the venue and the burgers were good. @WilHarris was the London organiser of the event – and his logistics worked out splendidly.

As to whether the money raised in this round actually comes from angels that I met at the Open Angel event – well now…that remains to be seen 😉

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echoecho version 1.8 on android – push and lots of other stuff…

ok so with a little bit of delay over the anticipated schedule – I present to you echoecho for android version 1.8.

The new functionalities are numerous – chief amongst them being

PUSH notifications

Or – as google calls them – C2DM (cloud to device messaging). You may think this is not a big deal (after all the application doesn’t look any different because of it) but it’s WAY more efficient from the point of view of network overhead and speed.

Frankly – the average user will not care one iota about network overhead – but they will care about speed. When somebody sends you an echo and you’re using an Android phone (running 2.2 o/s or higher – yeah sorry older android phone user dudes – push functionality is only supported on 2.2+) you will receive the echo within 2-5 seconds (based on our tests)

That’s as good as (if not better) than iphone push notifications. So congrats Google on making a cool system.

BTW – I did write (a looong time ago) about a hybrid type of push system that we were forced to implement for all non-push capable platforms. While this does work fairly well – I’m not sad to see the back of it.

There’s no screenshot for this because it’s an internal functionality – but now that 2.2 android o/s is becoming more and more commonplace – any application developer that is NOT using C2DM will regret it.

So what else is new:

  • Automatic number entry
  • Shake to reset map zoom level
  • Lots of stability fixes

Let me go through them one by one.

Automatic number entry
This one’s fairly easy. As many echoecho users know we have the fastest signup of any location sharing app.
We’ve just made it much faster.

echoecho_signup

echoecho now tries to prefill the number entry screen. The only thing the user has to do is check the number is correct – and click the NEXT button.

It’s not always possible to read the number from the SIM card with 100% reliability – but in our informal tests in US/UK it works fine with 95% of phones. That’s why we still decide to ask the user to verify the data.

Either way – the signup is lightning quick. Takes 15 seconds on my Android phone.

Shake to reset map zoom level
Straight out of the iPhone playbook – we now have shake-to-reset zoom functionality on Android.

What this means is that when you zoom in really close to a friend of yours on a map – to reset the zoom level just….shake the phone.

Lots of stability fixes
This one is the most mundane. Although quite important. There have been a lot of tweaks and new pieces of functionality introduced – so we did a far more thorough quality control testing on this release.

The more eagle-eyed amongst you will notice quicker startup times and far less crashes.

echoecho continues to work on all versions of Android phones – but the experience on Android versions 2.2 o/s and higher is without a doubt superior to the older android flavors.

w3g conference in Stratford ;)

As I mentioned before Gary Gale (@vicchi) invited me to be one of the keynote speakers at the conference.

The venue was the illustrious Holiday Inn in Stratford-upon-Avon. I hadn’t been to Stratford in a number of years and I was jet-lagged as f**k – and it was my first ever public talk about geo-matters. But the presentation went over quite well.

Here are the slides.

But as @ori has already pointed out – they are somewhat cryptically minimalistic.
Unfortunately there is no video of the talk (hey maybe next year guys). I do have a nice photo mid talk (I think that’s the last but one slide visible behind me)

w3g mid-talk

(photo courtesy of Paul Clarke – perhaps the first time I’ve ever seen a photographer participate in conference discussions also ;))

Btw – Chris Parker of the Ordnance Survey wins the award for best post-talk softball question. After I finished my talk he said something to the effect of (paraphrasing from memory)

“Great talk thanks. I love the way you’ve managed to reduce something very complex to something quite simple. Are there any other industries where you can see this sort of thinking being applied?

Thanks Chris 😉

I got a chance to meet a lot of the geo-digerati. Ed Parsons I already knew from GeoLoco, but Peter Batty (Ubisense), Chris Osborne, Steven Feldman, Rollo Home and a number of others were all new.

Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to listen to Steven Feldman speak – but judging by his general manner and habit of heckling at will – it would have been a riot 😉

Towards the end of the day – I was asked to participate in a geo-discussion panel featuring Gary Gale (Nokia), Ed Parsons (Google), Peter Batty (Ubisense) and Chris Osborne (Itoworld).
Lots of fun, some swearing and an interesting discussion ensued.

Not sure if Gary will ever look at me the same way again.