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Launchbyte – 02: It’s hazy in here.

Yes, our 2nd episode.

We talked about haze monitoring apps, 3D printing and project management tools (trello & asana)

love to hear your feedbacks here.

Something Is Wrong With NEA Weather App

For this first time in Singapore, our PSI (Pollutant Standards Index) crosses the 400 mark. Making this little island a hazardous condition to work and play outdoor.

The last time Singapore saw such choking smog was in 1997, when the PSI index peaked at 226. – yahoo news

As the PSI level rose, our local developers also sprung into action coming up with several PSI monitoring apps (both mobile and web) for the public. PSI is now what everyone person living in this little island is concern about and we would love to have this information at our finger tip.

But do you know NEA has a weather app too?

NEA has their own mobile app but it is only available on app store

It gives us much more information too. Beside the PSI level, they also give the areas which are Dengue prone and many others.

so why than, our local developers are creating their own version of PSI monitoring app?

I personally cannot say so for others, but I too created an app to monitor haze. So I think

  1. The NEA mobile app is SLOW, almost all of the information on the app are presented in UIWebView. – a part of the iOS SDK which allows developers to embed web content. in other words, it’s not native.
  2. It’s pretty ugly. Because it is loading content straight from the NEA Site, it may not cater well to the mobile device screen size. see the dengue page Of course, there is a way to overcome this but apparently the app developer for NEA did not put effort into it.
  3. I only need PSI – The app have many other information and that is good, but I’m not interested. I’m only concern about the PSI level.

These are the reasons why I created my own.

give me another minute to rumble

The api that NEA gives is real bad. It’s 2013, you should be returning Json file instead of XML. And you actually gave an api that updates daily, in times like this shouldn’t you share with us more real time info too, hourly maybe (since you have it on your site)?

This also explains why most of the developers which created their own apps scrub their data off the NEA site, some of them even shared their end-points

So if anyone is from NEA happens to read this, the list below are some of the great works by our local developers, you might like to consider working with them for your further apps.

  1. pee_S_ai by @anttyc
  2. psi by dev house replaid
  3. sg spi by dashsell
  4. weathersg by Bryan Lim
  5. Another friend YiZhe has created for the Windows Phone 8 and is now under review, once it is out I will update on this link.

United We Stand

They say “Singaporeans love to complain”, I do not disagree. But when the times get tough, especially in this hazy period, you can also see Singaporeans standing together.

my friend shihan

I am proud of my friend Shihan, she together with her friend made the effort to distribute bottles of water to the workers who are keeping our economy moving despite the high PSI level. *especially those construction workers who are keeping our HDB dreams alive, they earn our respect and deserve our love.

Shihan showing #sglove

we have #sglove

another group Singaporeans set up a facebook page #SGHazeRescue to offer air-conditioned spaces to individuals and families without such privileges. These are the spaces available on their google doc. if you are seeking a space or have one to offer. You can play a part now.

maybe some of us really loves to complain but we all have #sglove

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It’s time to start again.

Launchbyte is a side project with Chris Cai. It’s a podcast about startup environment and the tech scene locally. Launchbyte actually started many months ago, but due to our busy schedule it got put away. Thank you everyone who gave us your time. this time we will not failed you

We here at Launchbyte talk about news that we think are of interest to the tech community in Singapore and discuss the local tech start up scene. We are back stronger and plan to make launchbyte a success. – LB.ep01

Also it was during the period that I shared that it’s better to focus on only one side project since time is limited. So I worked on PomChek. Now that PomChek is done, (I have achieved what I wanted to do with PomChek). (New version here) I’m looking forward to Restart! our podcasting project again.

I love listening to podcast, especially those concerning tech, productivity and founder stories.   But there are no such kind of podcast here in Singapore, maybe I have not discover or maybe no one is interested… So I spoke to Chris, we checked on our commitment and believe the time is good to start podcasting again. (we love podcast)

This time round, we do it MVP style. We just booked a meeting room in Plug-in and start podcasting with the most basic equipments we have.

  • Tools – GarageBand, SoundCloud, Tumblr (coz they are free)
  • Mic – Chris contributed his Zoom H2

## And we were off with our very first episode 01 – Restart!

We shared our views on WWDC 2013, shared a startup of the week (indiescapes) and random tech stuff that we love and we think you love.

## my thoughts on our Restart!

I think I don’t sound good radio and I had a lot of “erh”, “ehhh”, “lah” moments. I also believe that we were going a bit too fast and the content was jumping around so listeners (if there is any) might get confused. I have many things to improve and work on, I would be practicing more and looking forward to hear your opinions.

## we need your feedback

Podcasting without listeners is like talking to a wall, together with Chris we love to hear your feedback, how bad we are, how wrong we are or (even better) who good we are. We can be reach at either one of following site, Facebook, twitter

if would be great if you could follow us on twitter (we only got one follower now) it can gives us the “feel” that we actually have listeners and tons of motivation. Thank you so much.

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The playing field is level again.

Apple has set fire to iOS. Everything’s in flux. Those with the least to lose have the most to gain, because this fall, hundreds of millions of people will start demanding apps for a platform with thousands of old, stale players and not many new, nimble alternatives. If you want to enter a category that’s crowded on iOS 6, and you’re one of the few that exclusively targets iOS 7, your app can look better, work better, and be faster and cheaper to develop than most competing apps. –   marco.org

Maybe there is a chance for me to shine now. Current App Store is crowded, there is no doubt about it. A simple search on todolist, returns you a ton of it. But with iOS 7, the playing field is level again for everyone. #ioschallenge

It’s time to deliver

Buccaneer by @pirate3D
This is The Buccaneer a budget 3D printer that’s going off at US$347 on Kickstarter. And I’m proud to say that this is a [Singapore] product, it is created by our very own local startup pirate3d. With their funding round and their success on Kickstarter[^1], IMHO they are kinda of like the Superstar/role model of our local hardware startup. They show that our local investors are interested in hardware startups too and also show that we [Singaporeans] are able to come up with disruptive products.

3D printer for the mainstream

3D printing used to cost a bomb but with improving technology the prices have fallen through out the years. MakerBot have made it possible to achieve rapid prototyping at a lower cost and hobbyists love it. But at a price of US$$2,199, it may not be suitable for mainstream yet… I think Pirate3D has a great vision to create a 3D printer that would be in every home, just like a PC in every home, especially at the price point of US$347. it cost less than an ipad I shared the link with some of my fellow friends who are into the 3D craze, we got some discussion going and the main thing they point out is that “this kind of printer” would produce lousy quality printing.

so does quality matter?

Yes and No. IMHO it really depends on the user.

But the items you’ll be able to print at home, on a consumer device, will never rival what can be made at the industrial scale. – MARK WILSON

I would agree that the quality of budget 3D printer would never rival industrial 3D printer, but for mainstream users like me, I would only be using it to print small customise gifts, quality doesn’t matter that much to me as long as it is decent. However, hardcore hobbyists might have a concern with quality, but they can always have the option to chose a higher quality printer.(pretty much similar to hardcore gamers buying specific gaming pc)

but can @pirate3D deliver?

There are stories on kickstarter projects that are “over-promised and undelivered”, would @pirate3D be of similar case? Because in product retailing, you have to at least markup 100~150% to make decent profit and selling at The Buccaneer US$347 means they really have a low cost operation, or they could be taking the “Amazon” low cost leadership strategy for their hardware and will be selling their materials at a higher prices. Moreover, the video they showed have printed a pretty decent product and if they failed to produce something that meets the backers expection, the backslash would be bad. (all these are my speculations)
But as a fellow local entrepreneur I’m proud of them and especially with their contribution back to the society. I’m looking forward to their product launch.

p/s this is not a sponsored post

[^1]: They are 9 days into their campaign and they have already far exceeded their goal of US$100K.

Link

You see, once you gain momentum, once you strengthen your simplicity muscle, once you feel the benefits, embracing minimalism becomes easy. The more you do it, the freer and happier and lighter you feel, and thus the more you want to throw overboard. The more action you take, the more you want to take action.

via One Thing Each Day | The Minimalists.

just like learning to code, I need to start somewhere and once I started, the momentum keeps coming. The “high” of solving programming logic/errors is like a drug. The more I do, the more I need to feel the ‘high’.

building up your momentum is also one of Jerry Seinfeld’s Productivity Secret

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And I also learn. I learn how it feels when you take money from customers. I learn how to charge for my work. How my 6 months hard-working in programming, havent give me any cent yet, while a few minutes of service, can give me a real dollar.

via Milo Kong!.

Milo Kong – a simple “no brainer” business that makes money.

no matter what kind of business/startups you are starting, you need a solid revenue model. With it, you can start to scale and truly appreciate the feedback you are getting. without one, you will be wasting your time because “remember” you are running a business still.

Link

I also explained to them that all work would be moving into a collaborative space. I set up accounts with Huddle,TeamworkPMBasecamp and Asana. I would’ve preferred to only set up one tool but each of these platforms offers something unique that my respective clients needed.

via How I Gave up Email and Reclaimed 3 Hours a Day – 99U.

I wonder if I could the same? moving our partners over to project management systems.

Although Intraix communicates within ourselves using project management tools but towards our hardware partners, we are still using emails. And I been kinda of becoming an email slaves recently, especially with our launch of product overseas.

Emails flying back and forth with regards to all kind of details. Such as contract, technical issues and even small chats. Sometimes I woke up with 91 emails in my inbox. To some, this may seems normal but to me, this is way too much details to read in the morning.

reading emails in the evening

And I know but I still do it, is that I will read the emails, just in case I missed out any stuff. But this is also affecting my productivity especially my morning “alone” time. So I tried shifting my email time to the evening, currently this is working well for me. Email notification are turn off during the day and I’m able to better focus on the content of the email rather than just sweeping through because I cleared my ‘todos” in the morning.

30 days “check email twice a week” challenge

but still, it would be best if I could reduce the amount of emails. So I’m  applying a 30 days “check email twice a week” challenge to my work mail. It would be tough to totally cut-off from emails at first , coz we still need it for validations and all. I would start with checking my work inbox twice a week and introduced our collaborative tools to our partners.  And hopefully I can move to a “no email” challenge in the future.

So how are you managing your emails? listening here

Having Flat Tires? PomChek Go Where Is Here To Help.

After days of waiting, my app have gone LIVE on app store. I think I can now officially call myself a ”developer”, maybe an amateur one.

so what is pomchek go where?

pomchek or rather “pancit” means flat tire in Malay. pomchek go where means when you meet with a flat tire situation, where should you go.

why did I build this app?

Besides setting a goal for myself, when I started learning iOS. I also wanted to build something that I use. I love cycling and there are times when I gotten a flat tire on the road and I need to find the nearest bike-shop available, otherwise it would be expensive cab fare for me.

Than you would be thinking, can you not google? Yes, I can certainly google but when I tried it does not return me all the bike-shops listing available in Singapore , plus even there is one bike-shop location return to me, it might not be the nearest. So I decided that I build a simple location app myself that helps me find nearest bike-shops in Singapore and hopefully someone would find this useful too.

how does it work?

it is a very basic location based app, it does not even required a login.

  1. You download the app and you turn it on, it will determine your location. And it will be returning you some of the bike-shops nearest to you. Currently I set it to return bike-shops within 10km, but I’m thinking in the next update I would reduce it to 3~5km.
  2. And if you selected a particular bike-shop from the tableview, it will give you details of the bike-shop. i.e. name, telephone and address
  3. The “take me there” triggers the apple map to give you the route to the nearest bike shop by walking.

That’s it.

why the cat photo?

I plan to actually show the respective bike-shop photo but it takes up too much time, so I decided to a cat photo. In the next update, this picture would be replace by a random instagram photo. I would be using their api to call for the hash-tag #bike, when a user click on a bike-shop, it would return a different photo, hopefully it would make it more interesting.

how do I make money?

The question that any people ask, I actually have a plan to make money for this app. But currently, the back-end is running on parse and I have less than One million api calls so it does not incurred any charges. If and only if it really (fingers cross) crosses “One million api calls” than I would put my plan in place (otherwise it’s free) I would love to hear ideas about making money from this app from fellow entrepreneurs

I need your feedback

finally, I would love you to download the app, not to give me 5 star rating, because I’m not the kind that goes around asking for 5 star rating but I need your feedback to improve. I know feedback are hash, but only having real and solid feedback than I can learn and become a better developer. So Dear friends, pls give me feedback. Thank you so much for your time.