Category Archives: Mashup

SXSW Panel Idea: Mashups – Noble Bootstrapping or Downright Stealing?

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I checked SXSW today and noticed that the deadline for panel proposals is tonight. I originally wasn’t going to post anything, but I sat and thought for a bit about things I know enough about to propose/speak about at a conference. I remembered the whole craigslist incident and thought it would be interesting to propose a panel discussion about the state of mashups today.

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In the past, mashups were held to a pretty high opinion. The proper mashup might be able to take two things and simplify a process to critical acclaim. I think in those days, mashups weren’t thought of as startups or businesses, just small tools that people could use. Flash forward to today and sites like Mapskrieg and Padmapper (and others like AirBnB) are being C&Ded for their terms of use violations. Something happened in the startup world that made mashups into a viable threat, which the bigger players did not approve of.

While the term “mashup” seems a bit archaic now, I think it would be interesting to revisit that term and see what it means today. Take some pioneers of mashing up and some new startups and get them talking about stuff.

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In other news, it looks like the Panel Picker requires some kind of “visual resource” like a video or slideshow or something. I don’t see how my proposal could be improved by that (it’s pretty cut and dry) so I’ll probably just link to this blog post and insert a lot of unrelated pictures of things being mashed up. CC licensed, of course.

Mapskrieg iPhone/iPad App Launch!

It’s been about 4 years since I announced the launch of Mapskrieg, my Google Maps and craigslist mashup web app. Since then, I’ve gone to school (again), worked for Microsoft and quit, and made a few apps. Today, I’m happy to announce the launch of my newest app, Mapskrieg for iOS!

I’ve been working on this app for a few weeks, and I think it’s ready for public consumption. It’s basically Mapskrieg, but developed natively for the iPhone and iPad. In the past, I’ve taken a sort of iterative approach of releasing fairly minimal apps and improving on them. For example, I released Threadless as an iPhone only app and later added the iPad support. I wanted to release Mapskrieg on both platforms so the launch would have a little more bang. Plus I think the iPad app is the better of the two, and I really wanted that one to stand out for the release. I’ve been getting much more comfortable with mobile development, and I’m very happy with the rate at which I was able to conceive and release this app.

That’s not to say I didn’t struggle or learn anything new with it. While a lot of the concepts are borrowed from my Threadless iPad app, I had to do a lot of stuff I hadn’t done before. For example, since Mapskrieg is going to rely on iAds to make money, I decided that both the iPad and iPhone versions would support iAd. Apple, in their infinite wisdom, made the split view controller a very useful and now, standard, design paradigm. Unfortunately, they don’t provide any support for using it with iAd at all. What the fucking fuck, Apple!? So I had to basically recreate the Split View (well, the landscape mode at least) in order to support iAds. It’ll be well worth it if I can rake in some iAd dough, though!

This post also comes almost 1 year after I quit my job at Microsoft. That milestone probably deserves its own post, but I’ll just say that I have not yet regretted my decision in the very least so far. This is as fun as it gets, folks!

Edit: Oh, I forgot to link to a demo video that I recorded for a contest. Check it out in case you don’t have an iOS device:

MapsKrieg in a Mashup Contest – Vote For Me!

I keep forgetting to mention this. A while back there was this cryptic ad on Facebook about mashups and it led to a Dice.com sponsored contest. I figured I would enter MapsKrieg and I sort of forgot about it. Checking the visitor stats, I noticed some people were coming from a contest poll page. So MapsKrieg was chosen as a finalist in this contest!

The prize is $4000, which is pretty neat. So please check out the finalists and vote (preferably for me)! Mine is #2, “Home & Apartments.” I wonder why they just didn’t label it “MapsKrieg?”

Introducing Notecentric: Facebook Edition!

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So about a year ago I unveiled my killer web app, Notecentric. It was an online note taking app that I used in class. And I was about the only person who used it… Well, this Summer Facebook opened up their website to third party applications, and I immediately thought of Notecentric.

I haven’t really had much free time this Summer, though. I’ve been tele-working for a company during the day. But I found some time this weekend and last weekend to get a working version of Notecentric up on Facebook.

It really didn’t take much time since I had already done Notecentric once before. This was just sort of an adaptation, though Facebook has its own weird things to learn. Like redirects.

Anyway, check out and install the Notecentric app. Once I get 5 users, I can apply for Notecentric to be in the official directory! So hopefully that’ll be soon. I’m planning on adding more functionality as time permits, but for now, it’s totally working. I think.

MapsKrieg – Craigslist + Google Maps Mashup Launch!

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I did a bit more work on MapsKrieg (the official name of my craigslist and google maps mashup) in the past few days, and I think it’s ready for initial launch now.

If you haven’t read my previous posts on MapsKrieg, it’s a mashup that scrapes craigslist apartment listings and displays them using the Google Maps API. I’ve been on the hunt for an apartment in Ann Arbor, MI where I’m going to go to grad school. I had seen the coolness of HousingMaps, but I noticed that it only supported a very small number of cities. I figured I’d build a similar app that listed more cities, since craigslist has expanded quite a bit since that HousingMaps was created.

If you’re wondering about the name, here’s my thought process: I was originally calling the project “Craigsmaps” since that sort of made sense. But the domain name for that name is already taken. So I came up with a bunch of other stupid Web 2.0 names that didn’t really click (Abodr, apartment.icio.us (okay, just kidding)). So I switched the “craig” and the “maps” and it became “mapscraig” which reminded me of “blitzkrieg” which became “mapskrieg.” And there you have it.

Currently MapsKrieg supports 286 different craigslist locations. I haven’t added any areas outside the United States, though if I get requests, I’ll add them. And I’ll probably add new cities as their added to craigslist if people request them, too.

As far as technical stuff goes, I built the site on the CakePHP framework, which was a new experience for me since I had been doing stuff in Ruby on Rails for the past year. The app uses Google Maps’ API for displaying the data that’s pulled directly from craigslist listings. Of course, all the data is cached in a MySQL database, so the site is decently fast.

MapsKrieg took about two “man weeks” worth of time to complete. It was developed over about a month, though I didn’t work on it every day, and I didn’t work all day on the days I did work on it. I’d say that’s pretty good, considering I hadn’t really done much programming in PHP/Javascript before, and I had to learn the Google Maps API (which was surprisingly easy).

Anyway, go ahead and try out MapsKrieg and let me know what you think. The interface could probably use some tweaking, but I think the app “works” fairly well. But I’m open to any questions or comments.