Preview: Farnborough Guide & Mapugo

 

Here is a sneak preview of one of my current projects. In fact this screen layout will feature in two of our forthcoming apps, Farnborough Guide and Mapugo. They are both similar in some respects. FG as you can perhaps tell by it’s name is a local guidebook for our home town with a social and interactive twist. We will be getting local businesses onboard whom can promote their services courtesy of a premium account tariff. Pricing is a little bit secret right now, we are still fine tuning those details. It will be sensible though. We know that there are easily a couple of thousand businesses in the area. 

Mapugo on the other hand will cover anywhere and everywhere via crowdsourcing to help us all find great places to explore. 

The UI above has a number of features:

  • Opening hours, so that you can see whether a place is open right now or whether it is due to open later etc
  • A map that shows you the location
  • A button that connects with your native mapping app which automatically givers you directions to the place
  • An Instagram powered gallery which shows the customers latest business activities

We’ve got a decent amount of interest in the FG app from around the area, we hope to move it closer to App Store release in May/June. 

Targeting social media

I am trying my hardest to get back into writing stuff here and to write about some of the stuff I work with on a day-to-day basis and also many of the things I am passionate about for hobbies. However I may begin splitting my writing up a bit across at least two sites. I have this one, have been running this blog site now for more than a decade and then there is my business site at headforcode.com which is more about my actual work. They both need some more attention, especially as I shift far more towards freelance work, rather than contracting all of the time. I need to promote our business using these tools. I need to embrace them a lot more.

It has got me thinking about how to share certain posts, I know that some people may be interested in my writing about Tech and some not. Equally some people may be more interested in what I write about on the softer topics, photography, travel and so on.

The thing is I don’t want to run a dozen sites, just keeping it to the two is easier and makes a lot of sense.

So I am in the process of thinking about how I use my social media accounts.

Here are some rough ideas on this, nothing set in stone, just pure ideas for now and I shall see where this leads.

LinkedIn

I am most definitely going to share my work related posts on this channel. That counts for both this site and HeadForCode. I plan to attract more business that way, especially bearing in mind, we would like to build mobile apps for you if your business is on the lookout for that kind of thing. I would not share so much posts I write about hobbies on LinkedIn. I guess prospective clients may be interested in some of those things but not so much?

Facebook

I have multiple FB accounts and you may follow me already on some of those, if not all of them.

Twitter

Once again I have 3 accounts but mostly use my @nicklewis account, so glad I was an early adopter on both FB and Twitter, I was able to get both of those names really easily because of that.

Google+

I was such a big fan of everything Google at one point in time and was an early adopter of it’s predecessor Buzz and then switched to Google+ as I was one of the first people to be invited to it when they started. However I have fallen out of step with the service recently and I am nore sure why. I think it may have something to do with the way it has changed and that a lot of people I used to converse with there have vanished.

Active 10

I’m impressed by this app and have been trying it out for the past two days. It just shows the bad news. I’m not active enough. So that sure needs to change. 

 
What especially impresses me, are how apps can tap into your data, in this case the health information that my phone captures 24/7. Craft a nice looking app it can provide you with some great infographics like this. 

So going to stop writing this and focus on a brisk ten minute blast around the Exxon grounds!

Hey April!

I can’t believe it is April. Crikey the year is going fast but that may be down to the fact I have been working at an insane rate of knots. My contract has been ludicrous at times, sometimes in a good way and also in some bad ways. That isn’t all that important, contracts in the web development world can be like that at times. You have to take the “rough with the smooth” as they say.

Either way, it all comes to an end on the 28th of this month. Gulp!

(Some people think it may extend but I have my doubts)

So what to do?

Will I take the rest of the year off and live a life of Riley. Nope not likely. My finances don’t quite qualify for that, at least not yet. If you are a contractor, do you maintain a financial cushion? I do and I guard it very closely, as if it were the Worlds very very last oil reserves at times!

I like the time in between contracts, it is that time when you can slow down, not necessarily stop, for that would be the worst thing to do. It is a time to pick up on personal projects, those that could make you some money. It is what us freelancers dream of, creating the “killer app” that is going to make us famous and rich. A fantasy perhaps but always worth a bash. In any case such projects, if nothing else serve as a learning exercise, help you boost those development skills that you can take into the next gig wherever it may be.

Locations now are becoming quite varied for contracts. London as ever is popular but then the other great UK cities are getting more of a look in now, places such as Manchester and further up the country. Germany has become popular post-Brexit (dare I utter those words, they may make me wince) with offers of great contract opportunities from Hamburg to Munich. The adverts all exclaim – “Hey! You don’t even need to speak German, your new colleagues all speak perfect English”. I eye these opportunities with suspicion, just agency speak? Perhaps.

Working on new travel Apps

We are working on a new app right now, it is called Farnborough Guide, a social publishing platform for local businesses/organisations to promote themselves to the people that matter the most – The local customers and members both old and new. In fact we shall soon be looking for people to try out an early version of the app, especially if you live in Farnborough or nearby. If you don’t, then please keep following this blog because Farnborough Guide will lead onto an app called either Mapugo or Journog, which will be open to everyone globally. Likewise we will be looking for people to help us develop that idea further too.

I have always been a fan of maps, travel guides, articles, books, in fact anything about the world in which we live and I get even more excited about it when I can pick one of those guides up, hop in the car and to go and find the location I’ve been reading about.

The sad thing is recently, I’ve not done enough of this and this year I want to address that. So one way of getting my act together is to build an app, get some people together and to collaborate in some fashion.

He is a screenshot taken from the app:

IMG_0956.jpg

We have other prototype screens that I can share.

We shall tell you more about this project in a series of small articles as we go along and perhaps share some technical details that I’m sure fellow developers would be interested to hear about.