ShopSavvy Downtime Explanation and Resolution

First, we are back up!  For the past two days we have been experiencing some very annoying up and downtime time with the hosting provider we used for ShopSavvy.  I detailed the story here.  We have officially moved off of the GoGrid cloud and are now on our own cloud in our own data center.  We have also set up a redundant site on Amazon’s cloud in the event our site were to lose connectivity or suffer some other outage.  Check our new servers here:

Big in Japan | April 1st, 2009, 10:19 am | No Comments » | Tags: Social Media | Bookmark on | Digg It | share with: elfURL

Android Market Growing Pains!

Google is removing applications from the Android Market that violate T-Mobile’s terms and conditions.  I understand why Google removed the applications and I also understand why T-Mobile asked them to do so - my question is ‘how is this going to work when we have lots of carriers on Android?’

Next year when there are five or six carriers offering Android phones how will Google deal with the various carrier’s differing policies.  Some carriers allow teathering while others offer special ‘teathering’ plans.  Will Google remove applications that violate some carriers terms and conditions and not others?  Or will Google allow applications in the market that are allowed by at least one carrier’s terms and conditions?

Of course the problem isn’t just for the future.  You can buy unlocked G1s today and use them on any network.  I can put a SIM from a carrier that allows me to teather into my G1, but now I can’t get Seth’s Wifi Tether.  Is this fair and open?  Is there going to be a way for carriers to remove apps from the market directly - i.e. removing them from the Android Market ONLY on handsets on their network?

Lots of questions. . .

Big in Japan | March 31st, 2009, 7:57 pm | 3 Comments » | Tags: Social Media | Bookmark on | Digg It | share with: elfURL

ShopSavvy Status: Up & Down

Our backend servers went down yesterday, came up for a time and are now back down this morning.  Our virtual cloud provider, GoGrid, has had a number of issues over the past couple of days.  We are not hopeful that the situation will rectify itself in the near term so we have decided to move ShopSavvy’s backend system to our own data center. I wrote about OUR mistake here.

Big in Japan | March 31st, 2009, 8:17 am | No Comments » | Tags: Social Media | Bookmark on | Digg It | share with: elfURL

ShopSavvy is back up. . .

After intermittent downtime this afternoon, ShopSavvy is back up.  We will be migrating ShopSavvy’s server side to Architel’s data center with Amazon as our back up site in the event of another failure.  Our hosting partner had a major DDOS attack that affected their entire network.  Sorry for the interuption - tomorrow we will begin the migration.

Big in Japan | March 30th, 2009, 6:47 pm | No Comments » | Tags: Social Media | Bookmark on | Digg It | share with: elfURL

ShopSavvy is down for unexpected maintenance - back soon. . .

Sorry, no more to report.  Skyhook released their new ‘bug-free’ SDK so we will be updating soon.  In the meantime, please bear with us!

Big in Japan | March 30th, 2009, 4:04 pm | No Comments » | Tags: Social Media | Bookmark on | Digg It | share with: elfURL

ShopSavvy, now with realtime local inventory!

NYC White Shirt by you.James Kendrick from GigaOM scooped us on our own announcement, but I figured we should go ahead and write about our latest improvement to ShopSavvy. A powerful new feature is now available for our users. Through technology developed by Krillion™, shoppers can now view real-time product inventory at local stores when they use the ShopSavvy application to scan a product barcode. As a result, they can quickly identify a local retailer with in-stock product, and then purchase the product online for immediate pick-up at a nearby store.

The ability to connect ShopSavvy’s 1 million+ users with real-time pricing and inventory from major retailers means that mobile, location-aware shopping has taken a big step forward. A simple integration with Krillion’s StockCheck™ tool means that Big in Japan can enhance the shopping experience for ShopSavvy users and boost its ability to monetize referrals.

“Directing shoppers to local stores is a core feature of ShopSavvy, and being able to present our users with up-to-the-minute, local inventory across hundreds of product categories and merchants adds huge value for our users,” said Alexander Muse, co-founder of Big in Japan, which developed ShopSavvy. ” Our recent enhancements to ShopSavvy’s location awareness makes our new relationship with Krillion even more compelling for ShopSavvy users.”

“Krillion is the most prominent local product shopping search platform for mobile and web applications, because we can connect shoppers with accurate, local product availability and pricing information, wherever they are,” said Joel Toledano, co-founder and CEO of Krillion. “We enable developers of mobile shopping applications, as well as our client base of manufacturers, web publishers, and search and shopping engines, to easily implement a real-time display of in-stock products from more than 40,000 retail locations across the country, including Best Buy, Home Depot, Sears, Target, and Wal-Mart. This enables our network partners to better serve their audience and monetize their apps and websites, while directing more ready-to-buy, local customers to our multichannel retail partners.”

Big in Japan | March 25th, 2009, 6:20 pm | 1 Comment » | Tags: Social Media | Bookmark on | Digg It | share with: elfURL

Android gaining serious market share!

Android is gaining serious ground in the smartphone market. RIM, Windows Mobile and Palm have all seen double digit declines in share. Android is presently #5 in total smartphone traffic - on a single carrier - T-Mobile. Look for Android and iPhone dominating 75% of the market by the end of 2010. [via Eric Schonfeld]

Big in Japan | March 24th, 2009, 6:44 pm | 1 Comment » | Tags: Social Media | Bookmark on | Digg It | share with: elfURL

Working Harmoniously

Occasionally people will express amazement about how much stuff we are accomplishing here at Big In Japan with our small team. I’ve been a member of plenty of small teams before, but there is definitely something special about working here that I haven’t experienced anywhere else.

I believe that what it boils down to is a rare combination of synergy and passion. Everyone here at Big In Japan loves what they do and wants to be the very best at it.

At some point in my programming career I became seduced with the idea of doing development on resource constrained devices.  Developing for a limited platform seemed, perhaps oxymoronically, liberating (but that’s a whole other blogpost) .  When Android hit the scene, I was instantly fascinated by the idea, and as soon as the first Android campfire was announced at Google’s Mountain View campus, I booked a ticket.  For me, this was the coder equivalent of camping out for a Star Wars premier. I wanted to be first in line and not miss a single thing. Truth be told, I didn’t get much practical information out of the event itself, but what I did get was a huge dose of enthusiasm that I took home with me and poured into my early projects. This is what I wanted to do, and here at Big In Japan, I get to do it every day.

Since I’ve been here, I’ve learned a lot about what I’m good at, but more importantly, I’ve also learned what I’m not good at. Everyone has areas where they can improve, and in my opinion, the best way to improve a skill in anything is by rubbing shoulders with those who already posses that skill.

I’m a complete introvert, which is not an uncommon trait for engineers who spend the majority of their time wrestling with lines of code in silent isolation.  In a room full of strangers, I feel about as comfortable as a deer hunter wearing a buckskin cap at a PETA conference.

In the business arena, networking skills are critically important. I didn’t realize just how important, until I witnessed Alex Muse in action at  some of the SpringStage happy hour events.  The way the guy can move through a crowd of entrepreneurs and investors reminds me of a chessmaster taking on 10 opponents simultaneously with seemingly no effort.  He’s opened so many doors for our company, voiced more great ideas than I can keep track of, and has worked tirelessly to get us where we are today.

When it comes to software design, the importance of a good UI is not to be under-estimated. I took one photoshop course in college, and my highlight achievement was when I managed to superimpose a gold-suited Elvis onto a red couch.  Lucky for me, my teacher turned out to be an Elvis fanatic, so I got an A. At Big In Japan, luck isn’t part of the equation.  We’ve got Rylan Barnes, who not only is the originator of ShopSavvy, but has a largely unheralded talent for UI design that I’ve rarely, if ever, seen from a developer.  His dogged insistence that we have a solid and simple user experience pays off huge dividends.  Oh yeah, and did I mention he’s a damn good programmer too?

Mark Twain defined synergy as the bonus that is achieved when things work together harmoniously, and that is exactly what working at Big In Japan feels like.  Working with these guys is inspiring, it makes me want to work harder and push through limitations, and that’s really the secret mix behind our success, the subtle re-enforcement we give to each other that keeps allowing us to take things up another level.

jhudgins | March 23rd, 2009, 3:31 pm | 8 Comments » | Tags: Social Media | Bookmark on | Digg It | share with: elfURL

How to: Update ShopSavvy

Many of you have asked how to update ShopSavvy on your G1.  It is very easy.  Simply go the Android Market and select ‘My Downloads’ and then select ShopSavvy.  Click on the update button and presto you have updated ShopSavvy.  Here is a short video explaining how to do it:

Big in Japan | March 16th, 2009, 9:36 am | No Comments » | Tags: Social Media | Bookmark on | Digg It | share with: elfURL

ShopSavvy’s QuickPay Demo (Gigan Version)

Big in Japan | March 12th, 2009, 3:20 pm | 2 Comments » | Tags: Social Media | Bookmark on | Digg It | share with: elfURL

Report concludes: Open Source Wins

According to an article in Cnet ‘Android sales to outstrip iPhone by 2012!“  More than a million G1s have been sold in the UK according to Telefonica Europe.   Awesome - we are betting they are right.

Big in Japan | March 9th, 2009, 6:08 pm | No Comments » | Tags: Social Media | Bookmark on | Digg It | share with: elfURL

Gigan Features in Living Color

For those of you who don’t like to read I recorded a short video explaining the features available in Gigan:

Big in Japan | March 9th, 2009, 9:45 am | 2 Comments » | Tags: Social Media | Bookmark on | Digg It | share with: elfURL

ShopSavvy Coverage -

USAToday Forbes Busines Week Usnews The New York Times ABC News Boston Globe
Wall Street Journal Newyorkpost Dallasnews VentureBeat eWeek Cnet
NPR Advertising Age PC World gadgetell Stuff Phones Review

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