Monthly Archives: November 2010

echoecho new iphone build – v1.9

ok. lots of little tweaks here in the new version. New buttons, new vocabulary, simpler, faster, better.

It’s an interesting (but I imagine fairly common) tale of evolution of a utility. We aim to be the simplest and fastest way to find your friends. But no matter how simple we think we’ve made something – there are always ways of improving 😉

In fact sometimes we make something so simple that it all of a sudden becomes obscure. A few of our users have asked for explanation screens describing how easy echoecho is to use – and in the coming weeks we will abide by their wishes.

You see a screwdriver is a very simple tool – however if you’ve never seen a screw you may have no idea what it does. It doesn’t come with a manual. So in the spirit of novice users of echoecho – we are creating a really easy set of explanations of how to use echoecho – stay tuned.

Don’t worry – we won’t irritate the power users. That’s a pet peeve of mine.

In the meantime – here are some screens from the new iphone version of echoecho

iphone echoecho inbox

Notice the new Find Friend button. Makes a lot more sense than just New Echo don’t you think 😉
But we’ve also changed the Resend button. The shortlived Find button (which resided in the same location and did the same thing – was just confusing)

Like many users of frequent apps – we value the few seconds saved with every click. So for example in this new build – if you send somebody an echo – when they respond you can see their location on a map with only one click (as opposed to the two you needed before).

In other words – when you see this push notification:

And you click on View echoecho will come to the foreground and display your friends location on a map like this

new map - echoecho

In just ONE-click.

Good stuff – a 200% speedup – with one minor update.

Just wait to see what happens in a few weeks…

WP7 so near – yet so far…

As of a few months ago we’ve been members of Microsoft Bizspark (translation – free MS software and forums etc etc).

Cool enough on its own – even cooler was that Microsoft’s WP7 – as many bloggers have commented – finally seemed to be solid mobile offering from Redmond.

So we were very happy when Microsoft saw fit to send us a WP7 development handset (we got the LG one) a while back – and we immediately set about putting the O/S through its paces. Inconsistencies aside (some native functionality doesn’t switch properly between landscape and portrait) it was very slick. Minimalist, text-heavy but slick – with the most in-depth facebook integration I’d ever seen.

I was excited to figure out the ideal feel for echoecho on this new platform – and after some playing around with the UI templates here’s what we got:

echoecho wp7 inbox

oh wait – that’s just the inbox – here’s the full size map:

echoecho wp7 map

Clean enough right.
Yeah.

Except it’s not possible to DO THIS on WP7.
What ???
You can’t do maps with accuracy circles??

No. You can do that.

You can’t do push notifications??

No. You can do that too.

I know…you can’t do mini split-screen maps?

No. You can do those also.

Well….what then??
Believe it or not – you cannot look up a number in an address book.

Yes. I know it sounds weird. So weird that when I first read it in their API months back I assumed it was an oversight and they wouldn’t actually launch with that part of the API disabled. But they did.

So basically – no 3rd party application can access the user’s address book. (as it happens that’s not the only API that’s been left disabled – but it’s the only one that concerns us directly)

This means that the echoecho inbox would essentially say stuff like 1 (310) 555 1231 instead of much more friendly and human-readable names like Dominika W..

WTF Microsoft !??

Even Apple’s iPhone (which is still more than a bit annoying/restrictive for many developers) launched with PIM/addressbook API’s that were accessible.

Unfortunately this means that the Windows Phone 7 version of echoecho is delayed until this aspect of the API changes.

We still like the platform – but we can’t port over to it until this changes.

echoecho version 1.9 on android…

OK – so the first post-halloween update of echoecho is on Android. We can’t get enough of how fast and stable push (sorry – C2DM) on Android is – so having talked to our users we decided to make echoecho even easier to use.

This is surprisingly hard to do with an application that already only has one click to perform most tasks – but we’re very happy with the results.

So – without further ado – the new and improved echo flash – this is what you will see when somebody asks you where you are.

Where are you?

Kinda hard to go wrong here?

You click REPLY and your friend gets your location and you get a map.
You click IGNORE and the popup goes away.

Yes it’s that easy to handle privacy, permission and preference in location sharing – and that’s the way it should be.

But there’s more 😉

In the spirit of simplicity we’ve made some subtle changes to wording and icononography in the echoecho inbox.

where are you (inbox)

So when you get an incoming echo from somebody – it’s kinda straightforward to understand what you need to do. So far pretty much the same as before.

Once you’ve replied – there are two options – you can either MAP the paired echo you’ve just created – or you can FIND your friend again.

MAP/FIND in inbox

Subtle change is the label of the button FIND – it used to be called ECHO – even though we all thought that was cool – it confused many users. So we had no choice but to ditch it.

If you actually click the FIND button then you get something like this 😉

resend echo

Yeah – it makes a lot more sense than using the word echo for everything. If you click RESEND it basically re-sends your FIND request.

But there’s more 😉

echoecho is now twice as fast to startup and far more efficient during use. The mapping engine has been completely redone. Autoreplies are faster and have higher accuracy.

And of course lots of little bugs have been identified and fixed.

Enjoy.

happy halloween ;)

just finished pumpkin carving – here’s the echoecho pumpkin.

halloween echo

I put it up against a corner step so the rear projection is clearly visible (logo’s on the front of course).

Lots of work on new versions being done as I write this. There will be plenty to announce next week 😉

Enjoy.