Tag Archives: web applications

A Christmas Failure

Now that the gifts are unwrapped, the glow is gone, and the snow is falling, I was sitting here alone Christmas morning sadly thinking of how my mom and dad died this year and how I’ll never see them or hear from then again. How much I miss them. But instead of dwelling in melancholy, I thought it might be a good time to take a look at who got any benefit from my Christmas present I made for folks this year.

A few weeks ago I had an idea: why not write a free program for people as a Christmas present? It was a huge pain in the butt to write, but in the end I had an app that stored lists for folks. Nothing super or fantastic, just an app that stored lists.

After finishing a few days ago, I set about trying to tell as many people as I could about my gift, asking myself the question: just how many people can I give a present to, anyway?

And now we have the answer. In the last few days, from the logs, the results are:

Total visitors 587
Total data entry attempts 45
Lists entered 35
Lists retreived 42
New users created 22

Only 22 users! And 3 of those were guys trying a SQL injection attack.

But it gets worse. I immediately started counting up the failures of the experiment. Out of 150 Facebook friends I messaged to tell about my gift, 25 of them dumped me for simply messaging them and telling them I had made a Christmas present. That’s about 16%. Out of the almost 600 people visiting, only 20 or so signed up. That’s only 1 in 30. And out of a dozen or so startup/submit-your-idea sites, only a couple of them even bothered to write back or post a link telling folks about my app.

What a total distaster.

Or was it?

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The Web App that’s not a Web App

I have to admit getting a few chuckles in over the past month.

A month or two ago, I introduced my hobby site, hn-books. Basically I took the hacker site I usually visit, found out what books hackers recommend to each other, put them in one spot. Now I’m going through them and reading all the good ones and reviewing them.

Fun stuff, but the really enjoyable part, at least professionally, is the response I got to the way the site was designed.

Several people complimented me on the speed of the app — great query time! Very responsive! Nice speed on the database times!

I appreciate that. App speed was so important to me that I decided not to make it an app.

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Retro Techno

I was watching the remastered versions of the old 1960s Star Trek TV show the other day, and while the new graphics were great, I couldn’t help but think how god-awful the instruments and displays were, compared what we are using today.

instrument panel from the old star trek show

But then — being the contrarian I am — I thought: Doesn’t this actually make a bit of sense?

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Losing Your Hunger

I’m amazed at the number of businesses, small and large, that have lost their hunger.

Over the last two months I have been looking for a SCUBA instructor. We’re headed to the Great Barrier Reef. I’ve always heard that you should dive it if at all possible.

I found a local shop about six weeks ago and started a conversation with the owner. I say conversation only in a loose term — although he had a yellow pages entry, was on the web, had a store, and sold lots of equipment, he was rarely around. It took days for him to respond to my voicemails, and getting the paperwork and everything else settled took weeks. By the time we were ready to train, our instructor had an aunt die and was unable to help us. Seeing as how there was no backup instructor, and the owner was away from the shop (again) we simply ran out of time. So sad. Too bad.

I’m not writing this to quibble with one shop owner. As part of this same trip I’ve had the opportunity to contact little hotels and shops all around Australia and New Zealand. Most of them were very cordial. Some were downright friendly.

But others weren’t so much.

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Facebook Morals

Ever since I wrote the article comparing technology to heroin, I’ve been been thinking about mind and body-altering things and how morals, standards, and mores build up around them to contain the damage and maximize the benefits to society. As we get more and more integrated with technology, I’m waiting for some new standards to emerge about what is acceptable or not — I think this is a vital next step to maintain some kind of vigor in the species.

Since nobody else is doing anything else along these lines that I can see, I thought I’d create a few standards or morals for myself. A “standard” is just a better way of doing things: standards change over time. A “moral” is something that I personally do not do because I find it harms myself or others. You create standards and you discover morals. I apply the simple rule of discovering morals by asking “If I made this moral a universal law, would more people be helped than harmed by it?”

So let’s get with it.

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