Posts with mood nostalgic (5)
FlightPredictor: a postmortem
Posted on 2014-06-06 23:32:00
Tags: palm essay palmpre projects
Two weeks ago I noticed that FlightCaster, the backend service that FlightPredictor uses for all its data, had disappeared. The API wasn't responding and the website was down. FlightCaster had been acquired by NextJump in January 2011, so the writing had been on the wall for a while.
I started working on the first version of FlightPredictor for webOS in March 2010. I like traveling and planes, and the fact that FlightCaster used machine learning to predict when flights would be late sounded both cool and useful. When I saw their API was free to use that cinched the deal. I'm still not sure what the business plan was for a free API (this is why I'm bad at business!), but many thanks to Jason Freedman for making that possible. Jonathan Chase was also very helpful in answering my API questions and helping me with problems.
I sold a decent number of copies, but that aside, FlightPredictor opened a lot of doors for me. It was featured on the Palm homepage (well, its icon was :-) ), it won in the Palm Hot Apps competition (which came with $1000), Palm gave away 5000 copies for the TouchPad (and paid me for them!), and it was featured in the short-lived webOS Pivot magazine. I also got to travel to Palm HQ in 2010, where webOS 2.0 was introduced (day 1, day 2, day 3) and 2011, to get engineering assistance for my TouchPad apps. (recap) And you can draw a pretty straight line to my involvement in the webOS community to my Nokia Developer Ambassador position after webOS was killed.
Back in 2011 I wrote about what I want to get out of app development, and that still rings true.
Unfortunately some of the webOS numbers are lost to the Palm reporting system change in 2012, but:
FlightPredictor for webOS Phones:
4.29 stars (24 ratings)
released May 2010 (started March 2010)
total copies sold: not sure, but probably in the 1000-2000 range
101 sold in 2011
28 sold in 2012
9 sold in 2013
1 sold in 2014
FlightPredictor HD (for the HP TouchPad):
3.22 stars (59 ratings)
- this had a lot of 0 star ratings - I wonder if this was from people who got the app for free and then didn't like it or something?
released July 2011 (started April 2011)
total copies sold: probably around 1000? plus 5000 that Palm gave away. See here and here for some raw numbers
16 sold in 2012
13 sold in 2013
0 sold in 2014
FlightPredictor for Android:
4.92 stars (13 ratings)
released November 2011 (started September 2011)
total copies sold: 466
FlightPredictor for Windows Phone:
4.0 stars (38 ratings)
released March 2012 (started December 2011)
total copies sold: 139
84 sold in 2012
44 sold in 2013
11 sold in 2014
FlightPredictor for Windows 8:
4.5 stars (4 ratings)
released August 2012 (started April 2012)
total copies sold: 201
24 sold in 2014 (can't get data for other years :-( )
Well, I have this nice shell of a flight tracking app, and I would love to integrate it with Cortana on Windows Phone. It will be a fair amount of work, though, and I'm somewhat actively working on two other apps right now, and it looks like it's going to be a busy rest of 2014. So: we'll see!
2010: the year that was
Posted on 2010-12-29 13:46:00
Ah, 2010! Since I didn't graduate from college, move to Maryland, move back to Texas, buy a house, or get married this year, it seemed a little less momentous than usual. But most years from now on are going to be like that - no giant life-changing things will dominate, so I suppose I should get used to it.
But, stuff did happen! Such as:
- Two couples who are friends of ours got married (technically one was last December 31) - here are pictures:
- I released some paid apps for Palm smartphones. Two of these apps (LJ for WebOS, FlightPredictor) were featured in various Palm-y places, and FlightPredictor was a winner of the Hot Apps contest. In total, I made a few thousand dollars in prize money and sales, which isn't enough to make me quit my job, but still nothing to sneeze at. I spent a lot of time working on a bridge app, and there's still plenty of work to go on it. Relatedly, I attended the first Palm Developer Day in Sunnyvale. (day 1, day 2, day 3)
- I gained a bit of weight - the graph for this year:
All told, that's a gain of 4-5 pounds. Which is not terrible, but you know, not really the direction I was hoping for. (but at least I didn't give up all the gains of 2009...) I didn't try particularly hard, though, so I'm guessing my "set point" for weight is somewhere around 191 lbs. The goal of 180 remains distant, but I'm going to try harder in 2011.
- It snowed, briefly.
- Various house things: we planted a tree in the backyard which is still alive, got solar screens on our bedroom windows and replaced our A/C with a new efficient model, which has saved on energy costs.
- We took the new Austin MetroRail for the first time!
- I wrote incessantly about Don't Ask Don't Tell being repealed so hooray!
- I did a lot of traveling: we went to San Francisco and for work I went to Minnesota and Tennessee and Germany, which was exhausting but fun. (also: to New Hampshire for Christmas, but I haven't put pictures up yet...)
- This summer I took a lot of long lunches to watch World Cup games. Totally worth it! Landon Donovan's goal in extra time to send USA to the second round was ESPN's top play of 2010, and was fairly awesome to watch in real-time. Here's my final summary, complete with adorable tiny flags for countries. Fun World Cup stories: 1 2 3 4
- I reviewed a reasonable number of books.
- We did the tax center thing and the summer musical. I sang in a choir for the first time in a long time, which was fun.
- I wrote a few "essays".
Here's to a good 2011!
Posted on 2010-02-13 20:01:00
As a child. I remember thinking that when characters on a TV show had to kiss, the director probably tried to cast the two actors as family members so kissing wouldn't be too awkward.
I was kinda dumb as a child :-)
Posted via LJ for WebOS.
Posted on 2008-03-27 10:47:00
(before I start, if you're into Lost I found this interesting theory about what's going on - it's long and contains spoilers (and possibly ruins the end of the series if correct))
Recruiting, college, and such
Posted on 2005-01-26 21:16:00
So I went back to Rice yesterday to work the career fair there. Going back to Rice has always been weird for me for a number of reasons. Going back brings strong memories (which are less strong the longer I've been away) of being in college - for how busy I was and whatnot, I really enjoyed it a lot and miss it from time to time. Especially when I'm back there :-)
I also just plain like being on college campuses. The college environment is very appealing to me - I guess a lot of it is camaraderie, which is almost forced when you live with people for that long. (it's difficult to separate this feeling from the memories of Rice, but I feel this way even at other colleges) This is one of the reasons that grad school appeals to me on an emotional level, even though I know (and people tell me all the time!) that it's very different from undergrad.
My first year after Rice I really liked going to the career fair, because I knew so many people still there. Now that I've been out for 1.5 years, I know fewer and fewer people, which is really kinda depressing, and made me enjoy this trip less than the previous few. I did see a few people I knew recruiting, though, and met some cool people who will be interning at the company this summer, which is nice, especially since I'm not so good at getting to know people.
In the end, though, it was a fun trip, although it was quite tiring (drive down to Houston in the morning, standing from 2-5 and 7-9, then driving back to Austin really gets to you...), and I had a nice drive down getting to know a fellow alum and employee.
This backup was done by LJBackup.