Stay in touch!

How accurate is Google Maps App on iPhone? (by Bojan Babic)

First interview on Al Jazzera

Al Jazeera Business Specijal: Bankomat Evrope (by AJBalkans)

Woohoo, I’ve stared blogging again! Reason for such move is @medium - new startup by Ev Williams. More posts are coming soon. 

MYO - Wearable Gesture Control from Thalmic Labs (by ThalmicLabs)

Improve Ease of Use Panel - Bitcoin 2013 Conference (by Lindsay Holland)

one of most exciting ideas I’ve seen in a while

A new spreadsheet, called Grid, and the mind behind it (by Scobleizer)


State of Social media usage in USA 2012

Based on engagement Tumblr and Pinterest look like good investment. Twitter needs to get rid of ADD users ( or maybe contributing to ADD of its users ). Facebook is clear winner in space


State of Social media usage in USA 2012

Based on engagement Tumblr and Pinterest look like good investment. Twitter needs to get rid of ADD users ( or maybe contributing to ADD of its users ). Facebook is clear winner in space

PingBox and Openshift

On start of new project one needs to take care about bits and pieces in order to have even slight chance to be successful.

Every piece is important, from finding proper partners, finding good domain name that is not being hostage by domain squatters, picking proper technology stack, finding proper design, having good marketing strategy, picking up proper hosting provider … and lots more.All strategies need to be in place before launch.

Today I’ll focus on choice I’ve made for hosting solution. I’m big supporter of PaaS. Compared to traditional hosting you can more easily scale up and out. For previous project project (Instaright), I’ve used Google App Engine and got burned when they changed their pricing and TOS. Instaright was wired up with Google App Engine APIs and switch to another solution required to stop innovating and focus on rebuilding project from ground up. To make things even worse, I’ve faced roadblocks created by main partners that led that instaright needed to be euthanised. Lead by painful past I’ve decided that I need more flexible solution.

So, for PaaS provider I needed flexible solution that will not lock me in, with great community and proven technology behind. I’ve considered several solutions like CloudControl (Berlin Startup), Heroku, Aws and Openshift. Most of startups start their projects with out validating market for idea, I needed solution that will enable me seamless shift from prototype phase (small amount of instances) and autoscale traffic spikes that can be caused by unexpected press in Venture Village. Even though, price point have not been set at moment of platform choice (there was possibility to get burned again) I’ve decided that Openshift was reasonable solution for my needs.  

With Openshift you can choose which technology stack you want to go with and gear size. For each gear you can either use predefined setup or create your your own ( aka do-it-yourself ). I’ve decided to go with DIY and start with small gear. On top of that I’ve created app with following stack: backbone.js, tornado, tornado and mongo. After of couple of weeks of extensive testing I’ve decided to move to medium gears. During that time, for all issues and question I had I asked product manager (thanks Nam) and developers on official IRC channel. Their response time is amazing and for each issue I had they took snapshot of existing gear state and carefully documented all issues. 

Still, Openshift has long way to go and could make a lots of improvement (ie. missing essential memcache cartridge). I’d suggest more developer tools that will help monitoring app.  But, what I feel missing the most is way to maintain multiple versions of same app and seamlessly switch between different version of same app. IMO, one of possible solutions would be to take automatic snapshots on each git push and deploy those in background. As result, user could easily switch between different versions of app from admin panel without downtime. 

As conclusion to this post, I’d like to make final remark that expertise of people that are behind Openshift assure me that they are on right path and would suggest Openshift to everyone who thinks turning their ideas into reality. 

Starting new project - PingBox

It has been a while since I’ve wrote post, but I feel obligation to write about my latest project.

Most of us can’t keep track of what media we watched and where did we watch it. Do you remember what movie you watched with your girlfriend year and half ago on BlueRay and can you think of easy way to watch it again? Or, where to find that awesome viral video you watched on Youtube last week? Was it Youtube, Vimeo or maybe on DailyMotion? PingBox tend to be centralised place for your media.

PingBox solves even bigger problem. Most of hardcore movie lovers keep copies of media on hard drives that can get lost or it can get broken. With existing solutions, you can upload all your media onto DropBox, Google Drive, but that is too much of overhead. Why syncing terabytes of data onto cloud and paying hundreds of dolars in fees, when you need only semantic information about media like id from IMDb, Netflix or some other similar service? 

PingBox - cross platform iTunes and light Dropbox for your media, runs in background on your devices and you do not need to alter your behavior in order to maintain your movie library, PingBox is your seamless lifetime cloud media library.

PingBox is cross platform app that tracks media on your desktop, mobile, tablet and lets you connect all online services in ONE secure centralized app. You can access that information anywhere. On your mobile, via web or tablets.

What makes PingBox awesome is that is allows you to check which movies your friends watch and sends you cross-platform notifications. That way you can comment together with your friends on your favorite scenes from movies you watched.

Euthanizing Instaright
 I want to start by thanking everyone for supporting Instaright over the 3 past year. I’m extremely proud with how the app turned out, but unfortunately reality has caught up with us. 
 Instaright was my first baby and it helped me a lot to understand product and customer development and how it feels like to bootstrap your company. 

 At first it looked like I’ve hit the sweet spot. Users loved Instaright! I’ve received a lots of praises. As soon as I introduced Donate button on Firefox addon, donations keep pouring in. Those where enough to keep app up and running for months. App was running purely on users donations, but as soon as Google Appengine changed pricing model price of hosting such product when sky high. I’ve considered various pricing models, but none turned out to be good enough to uniquely distinct Instaright from other services in market. On top of that, app was dying for redesign. Time was running out, but I had big plans for Instaright. 
 Grand vision for Instaright was to become implicit version IFTTT where links, based on user intentions, would be sent to various destinations with just one click and no predefined rules. Upcoming (never shipped) version of Instaright supported Evernote, Picplz, Twitter and Facebook (no Instapaper but Instaright). Ie, if user “Instarights” image - it will be send to PicPlz; if user “Instarights” selected text it will be sent to Evernote as note; or if user “Instarights” article, then based on trends and internal article-souce score, it will be shared on Twitter or Facebook (thus, leveling up your social present and social rating). I still believe that this kind of implicit sharing service is in need by wide range user cohorts, ranging from social media experts to busy office employees. 

 NOTE: Unpublished version of Instaright did not include support for Instapaper, since Marco Augment provided no feedback when asked for oAuth key despite dozen of request. 

In the meantime, while struggling to keep Instaright up and running, I’ve received great job opportunity and was offered to move to Berlin. Which I have accepted and now I’m fully focused on new endeavour.
 Still, I believe that idea behind Instaright can be monetized. If you have some thoughts on subject, I’d be more then happy to share more details with you - just PM me. 

 Thanks again for your support, and if you want to be notified when I announce my next app you can follow me on twitter

Bojan Babic 
Creator of Instaright