Andy Davies

Web Performance Consultant

Have You Ever Launched a Product You've Been Ashamed Of?

In a few weeks time the product I’ve spent the last eighteen months on will launch. I’ve built and launched products before and despite their quirks and issues I’ve been proud of them all, but this time it’s different, this time I have an almost overwhelming feeling of sadness.

I’d describe myself as a pragmatic perfectionist (I like things done right but the closer the deadlines get the more pragmatic I become), but this time I seem to have run out of pragmatism.

Feed Readers and Social Bookmarking - a Missing Link?

Why isn’t there an easy way of getting items from a feed reader into a social bookmarking service?

Like many people (or is it just the geeks?) I use Google Reader to keep up-to-date with news and opinions from around the web, and to bookmark the interesting things I come across. A couple of weeks ago MichaelSearcy’s analysis of Google’s Broken Bookmarking Systems popped up and got me thinking about how I could get more out of the Reader/ combination and what it would take.

Ideas for Improving My Twitter Traffic Bot

The bot I built for keeping me up-to-date with traffic conditions on the M5 has proved handy a few times but it also suffers from a couple of drawbacks…

It only covers the M5, and the whole of the M5 at that, if someone wants updates on the M4, or just part of the M5 there’s no way for them to choose the information that’s relevant to them.

Some Other Online Tools for Filtering RSS

UK_M5_Traffic currently uses Yahoo Pipes to filter and manipulate the RSS feed it’s based on but I came across a post on Read Write Web that lists some other online tools that might be worth exploring. ZapTXT looks to be the most interesting but won’t send text messages outside the US and Canada at the moment.

In the short term I’ll probably carry on using Pipes as I’m now using it’s regex features to cut down the message to make it a bit more punchy and readable.

Roll Your Own Traffic Alerts Using Twitter and Yahoo Pipes

In the early hours of Tuesday morning there was a three lorry smash on the M5 just north of Bristol resulting in diesel and olive oil being spilt all over the road and a closed motorway. A work colleague sent Nic (my wife) a text message to let her know but unfortunately it arrived just after she had got on the motorway and so the fifteen (ish) miles to work took three hours!

During her three hours stuck on the motorway we had a few calls and of course there were questions about why wasn’t there a way of letting people know about traffic problems so they could take alternate routes came up (either via signs before you get on the motorway or via text messages etc.)