Posts Tagged 'Apps'

January 15, 2013

Startup Series: Moqups

Every member on the Catalyst team is given one simple goal: Find the most innovative and creative startups on the planet and get them on the SoftLayer network. We meet entrepreneurs at conferences and events around the world, we team up with the most influential startup accelerators and incubators, and we hunt for businesses who are making waves online. With the momentum Catalyst built in 2012, our message has started spreading exponentially faster than what the community development team could be doing on our own, and now it seems like we've earned a few evangelists in the startup community. We have those evangelists to thank for bringing Moqups to our door.

In a Hacker News thread, a user posted about needing hosting for a server/startup, and a recommendation for the Catalyst program was one of the top-rated results. The founders of Moqups saw that recommendation, researched SoftLayer's hosting platform and submitted an application to become a Catalyst partner. As soon as we saw the unbelievable HTML5 app the Moqups team created to streamline and simplify the process of creating wireframes and mockups for website and application design, we knew they were a perfect fit to join the program.

If you've ever had to create a site prototype or UI mockup, you know how unwieldy the process can be. You want to sketch a layout and present it clearly and cleanly, but there aren't many viable resources between "marker on a whiteboard" and "rendering in Photoshop" to accomplish that goal. That's the problem the Moqups team set out to solve ... Can a web app provide the functionality and flexibility you'd need to fill that gap?

We put their answer to that question to the test. I told Kevin about Moqups and asked him to spend a few minutes wireframing the SoftLayer Blog ... About ten minutes later, he sent me this (Click for the full Moqups version):

SoftLayer Blog Moqup

Obviously, wireframing an existing design is easier than creating a new design from scratch, but Kevin said he was floored by how intuitive the Moqups platform made the process. In fact, the "instructions" for how to use Moqups are actually provided in an example "Quick Introduction to Moqups" project on the home page. That example project allows you to tweak, add and adjust content to understand how the platform works, and because it's all done in HTML5, the user experience is seamless.

Moqups

Put it to the test for yourself: How long will it take you to create a wireframe of your existing website (similar to what Kevin did with the SoftLayer Blog)? You have down-to-the-pixel precision, you can group objects together, Moqups helps you line up or center all of the different pieces of your site. Their extensive library of stencils supplements any custom images you upload, so you can go through the whole process of creating a site mockup without "drawing" anything by hand!

I'm actually surprised that the Moqups team heard about SoftLayer before our community development team heard about them ... In November, I was in Bucharest, Romania, for HowtoWeb, so I was right in their back yard! Central and Eastern European startups are blowing up right now, and Moqups is a perfect example of what we're seeing from that region in EMEA.

Oh, and if you know of a crazy cool startup like Moqups that could use a little hosting help from SoftLayer, tell them about Catalyst!

-@EmilyBlitz

March 7, 2012

"That Cloudamajigger Thing"

At my house, we share a single iTunes account because as much as I hate to admit it ... I listen to the same music as my 11-year-old on occasion, so why buy the same music twice? I have my iPhone setup to automatically sync via any wireless connection, so I occasionally get new apps when someone else in the house downloads something.

Last week, my 8-year-old handed me his iPod and said, "Dad, can you enter the password so I can install BloodnGuns?" No way. He went through three or four reasons that he thought he needed the game, and I just went about my business. A couple of minutes later, he hands me the iPod again and says, "Dad, can you enter the password so I can install Temple Run?" Being a much tamer game, I said I would, but (knowing my son) I followed that up by saying, "Just remember: Anything you install goes to my iPhone, too." If I entered the password for him for Temple Run, he would be authenticated and could then get BloodnGuns, so I just wanted to remind him that I was born at night, not last night.

The sneaky little guy looked up to me and grinned, "Oh yea, 'cuz of that cloudamajigger thing."

Once I finished laughing, I asked him what he meant by Cloudamajigger, and before he could answer, I told him to wait ... I wanted to document how he would describe "The Cloud." With two other kids at home, I thought it might be an interesting focus group of the way kids are learning about technology, so I made it a family project.

I asked each of them three questions and told them to email their answers to me"

  1. What is "The Cloud?"
  2. Where does "The Cloud" live?
  3. What is SoftLayer?

Here are the responses:

The 6-year-old

  1. The cloud shoots out a ball and the cloud is awesome!
  2. In the sky. It is made out of water.
  3. Where dad works, I think he makes monitors.

The 8-year-old

  1. It's a cloud in the sky and they shot a satellite in it. And they could see all the things you need to see on the internet.
  2. See number 1 (Yes, he really typed that).
  3. Where dad works, he works to make the Internet, and the Internet makes him work.

The 11-year-old

  1. It is a group of people where when you post something everyone will be able to see it.
  2. I don't know.
  3. A company.

You can see that the 11-year-old is darn close to those wonderful teenage years with that loquacious participation ... Wish me luck!

I ask these same questions of people at conferences I attend and get generally the same answers as above. We can write reams of descriptions of the cloud, but in my world, it's simply "The Cloudamajigger Thing."

How would you answer those three questions?

-@Skinman454

August 12, 2010

The Great iPhone 4 Case Quest

I recently was able to get ahold of a 32GB iPhone 4. It is the first iPhone I have owned, and seems like a good model to start my 2 year AT&T contract with. I can say that it lives up to all of the hype (positive and negative), so I will not bore you with yet another review that repeats what is already out there.

Instead, I would like to share my case-quest story.

Shortly after getting my new iPhone 4, I inadvertently dropped it in a parking lot. I am happy to report that the front and back panels are truly scratch resistant. After falling on asphalt, amazingly, there were no scratches or marks on either the front or back panels. Because of this, I feel comfortable forgoing the screen protector I was considering buying.

However, the corners of the phone were another matter. After the drop, the corners got slightly chipped, but not badly. No one besides my fellow webby colleague Steven Rogers has been able to notice them, but they bug me nonetheless.

Sadly, these corner chips could have been avoided if I was able to buy a case at the same time as my phone, but unfortunately, there were none to be found at the time of purchase. The iPhone 4 compatible cases seem to be more scarce than the actual phones!

After my un-paid stress test for Apple, I began looking around for an iPhone 4 Case that I like. At one place, I saw an Apple bumper case that a fellow iPhone 4 owner had, and that seemed like an ideal match. It protects the corners, and looks like an extension of the device.

I began my case-quest by going around to several Apple Stores, but it was the same story at each one I went to: "Sorry, we had some earlier today, but we sold out." These bumper cases have been flying off the shelves of Apple Stores and seem to be gone moments after they are put on the racks. I heard reports that some customers were so eager to get one, they even got it in a color they didn't care for.

I also tried going to a couple of different Best Buy mobile stores, but the types of cases they had were not appealing to me, and were in low supply as well.

After looking around at many stores, I was able to get a "temporary" case at a mall kiosk shop. It is a decent gel-type case, but has a closed back, so you can't see the beautiful glass-back with the Apple logo on it.

The gel case protects my corners, but I still wasn't satisfied with it completely, so I renewed my bumper case quest.

Fortunately, I was able to get one from an Apple Store during a week day and so finally fulfilled my quest. I really like my new case. It has metal buttons for the volume buttons, and the sleep/wake button, and it has an extra thick enclosure around the mute switch so you don't accidentally bump it.

So, the moral of this story is that if you are planning to get an iPhone 4 and want a case, try to line up a case that you like ahead of time as well.

Oh, and one more thing, if you haven't done so already, check out the SoftLayer iPhone Mobile Client app that I helped make.

-Brad

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