Optimized Zip Codes

I work for a manufacturing company that sells to distributors and occassionally direct to consumers. We deal with a lot of mom and pop stores and many are completely off the grid, no web presense at all. Unfortunately for us, those companies are the most likely to try/buy our product. We search all over the internets, forums, tradeshows, everywhere and find new stores to sell to all the time, but we know there are just so many we are missing.

Whenever we sign up a new dealer we place their contact details in our dealer locator, right on our website so the public can find our product. Light bulb! Our competitors also do this.  We seem to have a never ending supply of competitors and they all have a few thousand dealers listed on their site. How to harvest all of this data and get it in front of our sales men without tipping off the competitor? Do I even care if the competitor knows I was mining their public list?

Rather than spend a good amount of time writing something complicated to scrape every site, I found that most of these dealer locator scripts function similarly. Some are more than generous and store a nice XML file on their server. Others require a bit more automation and require you to search by zip. The good ones require you to search by zip and include latitude and longitude. One thing they all have in common is search radius. This allows a would be customer to search for a store within 20 miles of their house. Continue reading “Dealer locator Mining – How a bit of code gained lots of leads” »

brin-glass

At the end of October 2013, I was given the opportunity to purchase Google Glass. Thankfully I did! Google Glass is an amazing device with endless possibilities. I’m going to touch on a few of the experiences I’ve encountered with Glass.  Everyone always posts about features, apps and games. I’m going to post about real life reactions.

Week one with Glass
I’m a celebrity in my own mind. Wearing Glass was something I looked forward to every morning of every day. Going to new places and trying new features topped my list. Constant thoughts about additional features and types of apps I’d make. The mirror-api was the only documented way to create apps. With so few applications available for the prototype device, I began developing and reading every morsel of information about the device. It totally consumed me.

mirror-api

Door opener
Within my first 2 hours with Glass I had taken it to IAAPA, the theme park trade show in Orlando. This is where vendors, would be start ups, ride techs, dreamers and dare I say “imagineers” demo the latest products, games, and technology that you could see at a theme park. Walking from booth to booth, I couldn’t make it 10 feet without getting stopped by someone asking for a demo. Keep in mind the people I am surrounded with… these are people who make fairy tales come to life. They wanted to talk to me?!? Nah, they just wanted to check out glass, but it’s a pretty slick door opener. If I was there pitching something I would have had open ears from literally everyone I came in contact with.

iaapa
But, everything isn’t always perfect. This is real life after all. Nothing goes as planned…

Continue reading “Google Glass – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” »

Pebble Smartwatch

Pebble Smartwatch

Although I didn’t have it very long, I totally loved my Pebble smartwatch. So why did I return it? Good question. It was loaded with features, games, watch faces, everything.. what more could you want? The answer is simple, Google Glass. The whole reason I purchased the Pebble was because my Glass had been broken for nearly a month. I didn’t buy it as a replacement for Glass, it was to be used in addition to Glass. Why would I want Pebble and Glass?

Continue reading “Why I returned yet still recommend the Pebble smartwatch” »

Google watch render

Google Watch render by Knowyourmobile.com

Not much is known about Google’s smartwatch play. What we do know is that it is happening and possibly soon.

Recently, in Google’s Q3 earnings call, there was a brief mention of smartwatches. Although it wasn’t much, it was enough to set the internet on fire. Today, a tipster sent in some pretty strong evidence coming directly from Google’s servers. It appears that buried deep within the CSS on the http://www.google.com/nexus page there is a placeholder for “Watches”

Continue reading “Google’s Smartwatch play – confirmed!” »

Droid Vs Android

The Battle Continues

I guess I’ll file this as a rant because it gets me fired up every time I hear it.  The IHeartRadio advertisements on the radio say “Download the iheartradio app for your droid” or similar and it drives me nuts that a company so large could be so clueless. They aren’t the only ones doing this either, it’s just one that I hear over and over again. I blame Motorola for this, but at the same time, I thank them. I’ll get to my point, I promise. Basically, I want to help people not sound like an idiot when talking.
Continue reading “Droid vs Android” »