Archive for the ‘technology’ Tag

Lots of Little Things

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

There are literally hundreds of tiny little things you need to do to make a micro blogging service good. Checking an email address is valid here. Encrypting passwords there. Checking inputs everywhere else. Making sure the site is easy to use and understand for people that have never used it before.

Registering the domain name, creating publicity for it. Optimising the code so that should the site become successful it wont crash straight away, or slow down so much that it becomes unusable. Finding and removing bugs. Tweaking the UI. Making that pages look interesting and feel ‘right’.

Making the site do what it was meant to do in the first place. It’s the fun little things that you don’t often notice at first that make a website worth using. I’ve been working on PJs.Cat for a long time, and it’s very slowly coming together.

Piece by piece I’m going to build the best microblogging service that I can. It’s one of the biggest projects I’ve ever worked on and I couldn’t be happier with it so far. The image below is a screenshot of how it looks at the moment. This is a very early version, and will be revised before the site launches.

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Made By Just a Couple of Guys

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

The interesting part about Google and Facebook is that these super giants didn’t even exist a couple of decades ago. Google was created by two guys from their university dorm room, and Facebook started in basically the same way. Just take a look at this screenshot of Facebook from 2005 (7 years ago):

and Google from 1999 (13 years ago):

These sites, employ thousands of people (33,000 employees currently work at Google and 3,000 for Facebook) and get billions of hits from users. For me the amazing thing is that beneath the hood, the code which makes up the core of their functionality is really just a tweaked and improved upon version of what Zuckerberg, Brin and Page came up with in their free time.

Great Britain is Lagging America

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

Think about where the most popular websites on the Internet come from for a second.

Ebay. Yahoo. Amazon. Google. Facebook. Twitter. Linkedin. MLKSHK. Youtube. Wikipedia. WordPress. Blogspot. Bing (yuck). Tumblr. Craigslist. Flickr. 4chan. Stack Overflow.

Even Duckduckgo!

American, American , American , American , American!

Great Britain, my country of residence, has been left behind in the dust and we are not close to catching up. Perhaps we lack the entrepreneurial spirit fulled by a Randian, laissez-faire, pro-capitalist worldview, compared to our cousins from across the pond, but we have really dropped the ball this time.

Aside from the BBC (which is cheating really) and Wolfram Alpha, we haven’t really yet made our mark on the 21st century.

Somebody has got to do it. May as well be me. Only when PJs.Cat is a real success will I then rest.

Catistics

Saturday, April 14th, 2012

Something which we believe in, here at PJs.Cat HQ, is giving users accurate, attractive feedback on the Posts that they create. I decided on creating a graph to let people know how often other users were saving their Posts but after trying a lot of different graph-creating software, found that the free stuff doesn’t look good enough, and I am committed to using open source software as much as possible when building this site.

I was willing to make an exception for the Google API, which I though made pretty good graphs, however I have not used it in the main site, because the look and feel just didn’t fit in with the rest of the page. I think I might create an Awsome-O-Meter for the catistics page (which I have yet to create and will show things like site traffic, total number of users and Posts per day).

After being unable to find what I wanted, I ended up creating my own bar chart, showing users how much their Posts had been saved in the previous week.

It made sense to display it when you are looking at Posts you have saved, and makes the process of using our micro blog a little more interactive.

Embedding

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

A friend asked me yesterday if he would be able to embed videos in his Posts. I’d already decided that I’d make it possible, so today I set about implementing it.

Turns out that embedding a youtube video is pretty easy, and just a little Regex, or URL parsing (thanks to Stack Overflow) was necessary.

Some people, when confronted with a problem, think
“I know, I’ll use regular expressions.”   Now they have two problems.

Jamie Zawinski

I tried to make Sound Cloud songs embed automatically as well, but the way they process URLs is currently preventing that. Maybe I’ll send ’em an email – their service is pretty good so I assume that they are on the ball.

So now you can just Post a Youtube.com URL (like “http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QH2-TGUlwu4”) and the video will be posted for you. ᵔᵜᵔ

Pretty neat, eh?

We think it’s Nyantastic!

What Makes a Good Terms of Service?

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Tumblr has recently updated it’s Terms Of Service (TOS), some legal mumbo jumbo to which you must “agree” in order to use it. Gizmodo has recently written an interesting article highlighting jokes which were written into the dense legal text.

What the agreement looks like to most people

I will of course have to write my own TOS for PJs.Cat, in order for everything to be above board.

Googles TOS look like they were written in legaleese and contains SCARY SECTIONS WRITTEN IN ALL CAPS which freaks me out.

The WordPress TOS are logically organised into 19 short segments, and is licenced under a a Creative Commons Sharealike license, meaning that anybody is “more than welcome to steal it”. And I think I shall, thank you very much ᵔᵜᵔ (attribution will, of course be given).

A balance needs to be struck between covering my own ass from the needless litigation of parasitic institutions and reprehensible individuals, and clear, clean, simple guidelines that the actual human beings who use the service can actually read.

Beliebers are making Twitter unbearable

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

In my last post I discussed how positive feedback can encourage a better quality of website content from users.

Trying to be the ‘bigger man’ I kept the spin positive, and chose not to examine websites which I believe are not succeeding to achieve this. But today I logged onto Twitter, and was appauled by the sheer number of Trending Tweets relating to Justin Bieber.

I know everyone loves to hate JB, almost to the point of cliché, but just take a look at this screenshot of trending tweets:

Four of the top 10 Hashtags relate to Bieber. These include “Buy Boyfriend Tonight”, “Believe Will Slay The Charts”, “Boyfriend Will Win Grammys” and “Beliebers Want Bieberconda”.

See, Justins got this scam going where girls who like his music get to pretend like he is their boyfriend, which is a shrewd marketing strategy, but deeply, deeply annoying.

If PJs.Cat ever gets filled with Beliebers and people who post huge volumes of Harry Potter related musings, you have my express permission to delete any accounts you may have with us post haste.

PJs.Cat will not stand for this standard of Tweets