Thursday, October 28, 2010
Remember in July, I was unlucky when I went through an ERP gantry with insufficient value in my cashcard. Well, feeling disappointed that the ShowNearby application gave me an outdated rate, I decided to send them an email telling them about my disappointment. Who would know that barely a few months later, I am now part of the ShowNearby team.  Oh well how time flies... and now, the school holidays are about to begin, which I believe might have lead to ERP rates increasing as usual during this merry making period.

With this rate increase, I sincerely believe that there will be increased usage of our app for bus timings and a drop for the carparks and ERP categories! At least that will be aligned with the authorities' measures!

An ERP gantry (file pic)
*Beep and there goes your lunch money!

We at ShowNearby do understand the pain in having to fork out more money just to drive that expensive piece of metal around. But seeing as how nobody here actually has any control over this decision (short of calling and begging the folks at LTA not to revise the rates which surprisingly has a low success rate), we did the next best thing!

To prevent a repeat of such a mishap to our other ShowNearby users, I have specially... yes, specially ensured that the ERP rates in the ShowNearby mobile application are accurate as of 1 November 2010. So you can rest assured that the price increase has already been included in the new ERP rates for the month of November. Of course, we do expect to see changes for the month of December since the ERP review will only happen the month before. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide our users with the latest information as soon as possible.

Cheers!
Jerrold aka the beloved community manager
Monday, October 25, 2010
If you are experiencing such problems, you are not alone. In fact, there is nothing wrong with your phone, your mobile carrier or with the ShowNearby application on Android. Many of our Android users in Singapore did not realise that the Android Market was silently updated over the last few weeks to enable users to access the full spectrum of Paid Apps in the Android Market. However, this update has caused quite a bit of frustration as some users have reported that it takes an eternity for any application to be successfully installed or updated (not just ShowNearby) on their phone.


Looking through all our users feedback, we believe that this bug in Android Market is not device-specific, neither is it a problem with our mobile application. The servers serving the Android Market are acting strangely lately. Oh well, maybe Google is preparing a sweet surprise for us in the Android Market as we await Gingerbread to be unveiled very very soon


You can check out the following links:
http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Android+Market/thread?tid=71b498c23af08300&hl=en&start=40
http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Android+Market/thread?tid=1463c74262805b37&hl=en


For now, before we wait for Google to do the fix, we do have a work around to solve the ever-installing problem on your phone.

- Restart your wonderful Android Phone

- Navigate to Settings >> Applications >> Manage Applications
           a) If you are on 2.1 and below, press Options Button >> Filter >> Select All >> Find "Market"
           b) If you are on 2.2, click on All Tab >> Find "Market"



- Clear cache & Uninstall updates



- Go back to Android Market to verify if the problem persists.


The above steps should resolve the issue. Not to worry, the applications and the Android Market will be successfully installed and updated respectively to the latest versions. Do let us know if this works for your phone. For further clarification and assistance, feel free to drop us an email. Thank you =)
Friday, October 22, 2010
Ever since we introduced Uncle Sam as a new member of the ShowNearby family in this blogpost, we have been receiving many queries from our users asking us who exactly is this mysterious Uncle Sam? From the smoky blog entry, to the mysterious name...it just seems like no one knows what he looks like or who he is. His profile page doesn't reveal much apart from this black silhouette...

Don't let that smile fool you!
Unfortunately, incredible as it may seem, he has never been seen by anyone in the ShowNearby team either! In fact our interview with him was conducted over the phone and his resume simply did not include a photo. Before his first day at work, he requested for a personal office and we agreed without thinking too much about it...

While his identity remains a mystery, his contributions are clear!

His latest contribution involves embarking on the uphill task of cleaning up the entire ShowNearby database! We had quite a few duplicates and a whole bunch of POIs with funky characters in their names as many of our users pointed out. A major overhaul of the ShowNearby database led by Uncle Sam is in progress and we hope that by the end of it, our users will be able to find accurate POIs with correct names and contact details!

Before Sam (Notice the Funky Characters!)
After Sam (No more funky Characters!)

We went knocking on his room door to congratulate him and possibly take him out for a cheap lunch at a hawker center. However, our good intentions were met with a simple yet direct response...

"Go away!"

Its strange how he can be sooo friendly with our users yet so cold and aloof to his own family members! I guess the old adage is right. Water is indeed thicker than blood!

However, before we could probe further, our eyes caught an impending downward motion of a broom descending upon our heads and we made a run for it! The next day, there was a sign on the door that said "Stay Out!"

In any case, a brand new database of accurate and detailed POIs will be coming your way soon dear users! All thanks to that black, mysterious man known simply as Uncle Sam!
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Yes, the haze has dawned upon our little sunny island of Singapore without much warning. On Tuesday, the 3 hour PSI reading from NEA went up from 78 at 6pm to 84 at 8pm which is just 16 shy of getting into the unhealthy range. In fact some of our colleagues in the office with Asthma and allergies have been feeling the effects of the haze including runny noses, red and sore eyes and also some breathing difficulties!

To this end, the ShowNearby team came together to brainstorm for a possible solution to this problem since we always believed in helping our users (and of course our own family members!)

A few ideas that came to mind...

1) ShowNearby Hazmat suits
2) ShowNearby places to buy face masks
3) ShowNearby Shopping Centres!

Of course, the first 2 might actually help you overcome the problems with the haze. However, they might take way too long to implement and by then the haze might have been gone! Additionally, we did a quick satisfaction survey on the above 3 to find out which ones our users will prefer. See below for a visual representation..

Facemasks!
Hazmat Suits

And of course there is option 3...

Option 3
So would you rather walk around sunny, hot and humid Singapore in a silly hazmat suit or enjoy a cuppa at an air-conditioned shopping centre? No contest eh? Hence, we came to the conclusion to go with option 3! So watch out for changes to your ShowNearby application. ShowNearby shopping malls coming to your phone real soon, and its going to do more than simply showing you nearby shopping malls :)

So do stay tuned and in the meantime, remember to drink lots of water, wear a face mask if absolutely necessary and download ShowNearby if you haven't already done so!

Cheers!
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Yes dear users, you heard it right! ShowNearby is now in a relationship with Sony Ericsson! Our story with Sony Ericsson started just like any other love story...we met, talked, developed things for each other and finally professed our love!

The fruit of this relationship is that anytime you purchase any of Sony Ericsson's Xperia series (X8, X10, X(Insert number here)) your phone will come pre-loaded with ShowNearby! However, there's more than meets the eye! If you pay close attention, its not just the regular ShowNearby! It includes some exclusive features such as Taxi Bookings, Movie Showtimes and Bookings and some other cool stuff! (We'll leave you to buy one and try it for yourself =P)



Of course, we also got some "gifts" in exchange! Check out the brand new handsets for us to play (ahem...test) with...

From Left to Right: X10, Satio, X8 and X8 Mini-Pro
Our attempt to form a heart shape with the phones to show our affection for Sony Ericsson failed. We just need a few more phones to form that lovely heart....(preferably 4 X10s)


Love!

Apart from that, we have been featured at many of Sony Ericsson's roadshows and events for the past couple of months including one at Bugis...

Stop Blocking our LOGO!


Can you spot the ShowNearby UFO?

And this nice huge truck driving around town which if you look closely enough, you can see our little UFO icon on the truck!


We hope this is a start of a fruitful and mutually beneficial relationship! We look forward to working closely with the cool people at Sony Ericsson in the near future! With this partnership, we are effectively combining our user base together!
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Over the past weekend, Android users have sure encountered a delightful surprise. Introducing..... Paid Applications! 

It is finally available in Singapore! Seriously, can you believe how long we have waited for this to happen? After all we were one of the first in Asia to receive the Android treatment via the HTC G1 (aka HTC Dream).

Whatever the reasons, let's just thank the Big G for making paid apps available and maybe... just maybe Google Maps Navigation will soon follow as well. Of course, with paid applications coming into the market, competition has surely intensified. Before that, a search on "Singapore" in the Android Market, gives you a list of 40+ apps. Today, that list has expanded twice to 89 apps all thanks to paid apps.

Fortunately, ShowNearby remains top among the rest of the application and we really like to thank all our users for the support, and making this application that is created For the Community, By the Community. Do us a favor by giving us some good reviews on the Android Market OK? We just love them =)

And in case you're wondering, the answer is "No" ShowNearby will not be turning into a paid application anytime soon. We believe in the power of free and we'll continue believing! Of course, donations in the form of smartphone handsets(*cough iPad *cough), pure cash, gaming consoles (for erm...storage purposes) will always be welcomed!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Talents bloom from ShowNearby! And we're not just talking talents in the mobile or location based industry! We are talking stardom, fame and idols! Our ideas consultant Jeric has recently released his new MTV titled "我不相信" (I don't believe) Check out the video below!




Jeric is our very own homegrown Singaporean talent expanding his singing career in Taiwan and we're really proud of his success so far! He is also our ideas consultant for the entire suite of ShowNearby's products! But back to his debut MTV! Its a nice song about L-O-V-E. In particular lost love...

If you guys like the song, kindly support Jeric by purchasing his album! Comments and feedback about the video or song are welcomed as well!

On another note, ever since Jeric became successful, we have been hearing a lot of singing coming from the bathroom at night from some of our other aspiring family members! Seriously guys, its awful....Please stop! Just stick to your day jobs and help make ShowNearby successful for goodness sake! Either that or wait for Singapore Idol to go on stage and embarrass yourselves...just don't do it in office!
Monday, October 11, 2010
If you were wondering why Google had a birthday cake on their search page late last month, that is because Google just turned 12th. It is indeed amazing how Google established themselves as the best in search, competing with the likes of Yahoo and Microsoft. And now they are challenging Apple for mobile supremacy and against Facebook with the rumored Google Me. Google is seriously taking the fight to these big players...

But honestly, the one that Google is most worried of is, Bing, the search engine by Microsoft. After all, Google is a company that is driven by searches and ads, and with Bing overtaking Yahoo as the 2nd most popular search engine this quarter in the US, it is indeed possible for Bing to catch up and Google to slip up.

Make no mistake, we love Google. Google has become part of our lives - Gmail, Maps, Youtube, Picasa, Android and many more – We use all of these products religiously. However with Google competing on so many fronts, no doubt that slight skepticism exists as to whether they will be able to achieve equivalent success in all these areas.

However, what we do know is what makes Google special. They are never shy to try new ideas and they are never shy to admit failure. It is precisely because of this, that they dare to do things differently and are willing to explore innovative concepts which brought them to their current level of success!

Happy Birthday Google!

With that, ShowNearby shall follow in Google's footsteps in the way we work as a company, taking risks, encouraging innovation and creativity. And we hope that one day, we too will also be able to display a cake with 12 candles on our home page! ;)

Part of the ShowNearby Family!
Naturally, we'll need the support of our users and our partners for that day to come! So let us just say a big thank you to everyone for accompanying us on this journey thus far!

Cheers!


Saturday, October 9, 2010
Back in February, ShowNearby launched the ShowNearby Analytics web application targetted at home buyers and business owners looking for new locations to setup shop in. ShowNearby Analytics, a location analysis and intelligence tool is actually a project launched in conjunction with iDA under the iSingapore project and today, we are proud to say that the pilot phase has been an astounding success!!!

ShowNearby would like to extend our greatest appreciation to all our users and partners who have journeyed with us in the ShowNearby Analytics Pilot Project. For over 6 months, you have assisted us in countless number of ways, giving us valuable feedbacks and making the project a SUCCESS. We seriously can’t thank you more for that.

Last but not least, this pilot project would not have been possible without the support and assistance from IDA Singapore. You guys have been vital to the achievements of ShowNearby and we can't thank you enough for the opportunity! From the OneMap launch on 31st March to the IMBX event in Mid-June, you guys have given us much exposure and allowed us to build our customer base!

We are all very excited to continue working with IDA Singapore in the coming months to develop something Bigger and Better. Stay tuned.

Thank you all once again!!!

Cheers!
Thursday, October 7, 2010
For the first time in ShowNearby's 2+ years of history, we have invested money into physical advertising!! But before we show you what the advertisement looks like, we shall keep you in further suspense by forcing you to read through a brief history of how the design came about! (Ok, we realise you can actually scroll down and jump straight to the final pics, but just humor us a little won't ya?)

While the final banner is simple enough, it actually took us almost an entire month of debating, quarreling, arguing and fighting amongst ourselves to select a design that would best fit our purposes!

In fact, even up till today, there are still pockets of "I still think that design would have been better" going around the office. So, in a bid to quieten those voices, we decided to put it up here as well for users to comment and see! Check out the rejected designs and how it evolved to our final product!




The only difference between the 2 is the simple one-liner text at the bottom. However, our designer Derek came under siege by the ShowNearby team for this design. Much of the ammunition for the siege arose from readability issues and the accompanying risk of potential lawsuits involving neck dislocations and accidental bumping into strangers while reading sideways!

In his defence, Derek ran all over Singapore that same day to take snapshots of banners around town showing similar displays!




Yet, the ShowNearby team was relentless and brutal in their assault on Derek and refused to budge. We told him that we'll give in if he showed us at least 599 similar designs. Derek then decided that it would be faster to come up with something else than to run around town happy-triggering away with his phone camera because of his crappy iPhone! (should have gotten an Android phone!)

He then came up with a design that encompasses the latest in Augmented Reality, the epitome of design flair, and a pure stroke of imagination and brilliance to bring to you the following 3 dimensional visual treat...


This is pretty close to what we actually used with the exception of the rectangular block jutting out! After checking that this was positively illegal, we decided to do away with the block and simply put our iconic Spaceship in place to bring to you our final design!

Finally it's up!

Happy 3 friends!
However, this just leaves that additional rectangular block that we have no idea what to do with. It was too big for a paperweight and simply to small for a makeshift table! Thus we came up with the following idea to make full use of it!


We again checked with the Town Council and verified that this too was illegal. So that leaves us with no choice. We'll simply plant this structure every night at 1am when no one is looking and remove it before 6am in the morning!

Of course, the burning question would then be "Who's going to look at it between 1am and 6am?!" To which, our answer would be "Do you have a better idea what we should do with that Acrylic Block sitting around our office?" :D

Cheers!
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
All along there's an ongoing fight between iOS and Android. It has gotten really bad recently! Jose got his ass kicked, but in a strange turn of events, it was CJ that KO-ed eventually as the Android master delivered a surprise counterattack! (We'll let you all in on the details soon enough ;))

In fact, they even fought about which platform contributed more when ShowNearby won the top 10 apps in Asia by Singtel!!

However, it's a classic case of a come from behind win! While the 2 iPhone/Android warriors are roughing it out, slogging and battling within themselves for downloads/ratings superiority, Michael, our BlackBerry Guru has managed to stay under their radar all these time up until now!

ShowNearby for BlackBerry has been named Regional Selections Winners for 2010 BlackBerry Super Apps Challenge.

ShowNearby is really honored to be one of the few Regional Selection Winners. It is really heartening to see how our mobile platform has developed across the different operating systems, and winning accolades which we would never dream of. Apart from a recognition of our efforts, there is one other good thing that comes out of this...We won a BlackBerry Torch 9800!!!


COOL!!!! New phones to play with!

This means we can finally have a cool BlackBerry phone to develop, test and play with! If you guys remember this old blog post, we only had a simple outdated BlackBerry handphone donated to us to do all our developmental work on :( But with this prize, we can safely ditch/retire the old model!

A lineup of the cool phones we get to play with!:) Wait...what's that in the corner?



Oh, its just our old BlackBerry Phone :|

To be honest, ShowNearby is still pretty new to BlackBerry. Nevertheless, we are dedicating a lot of time and effort to make this application rock. Released in September, we have been quick to iterate and improve the usability of ShowNearby on BlackBerry.

Some of our users experienced a delay in location discovery and we quickly made some adjustments to improve the location discovery speed and provide alternatives such as setting your own location. To you guys, thank you for the feedback!

Taking this opportunity, ShowNearby would like to thank all our BlackBerry users for the support and feedback you have given us. As the iPhone vs Android battle continues, you can rest assured that we BlackBerriers are slowly but surely catching up with these immature fellas. :)
Monday, October 4, 2010
For many weeks now, we have been receiving feedback regarding multiple issues that our dear users encountered when using ShowNearby on the Samsung Galaxy S. Most of these issues arise from the inability to detect location.

Since the logic flow involves our app first detecting your location, and then downloading nearby places information to your phone, should location detection fail, showing nearby will fail as well...

However, it has been reported here that this problem is due to the inherent location detection problem that Samsung Galaxy S users would have no doubt encountered by now (including this writer) >:(

Waiting for Samsung to release an update that solves the problem might take too long (It was supposed to be in September according to Samsung UK's twitter. Also, it seems we at Singapore have to wait patiently as our counterparts in North America get their fix).

So instead of waiting, we flashed the Android signal in the night sky! And Android Master Jose is here to save the day!

SuperHero Needed!
Now all you have to do is to click on menu, go to settings and set the location refresh frequency to "Fast".


This simple option that you can set and solve the problem in 10 seconds was actually the result of nights of hardwork, pain, sweat, blood and tears! (Together with cans of redbull, coffee, Beer, Iced-Milo and Roti Pratas claimed on the corporate account!)

So let's all say a big "Thank You" to Jose for this interim measure until Samsung decides to release a pill officially to cure all our ails!

Cheers!


P.s: Seriously Jose, kindly payback for the Roti-Pratas, food is not covered under the Overtime agreement. Two Egg and one Kosong == S$3.60. Yes, we counted!
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Dear all,

Mrs Lee Kuan Yew, age 89, passed away peacefully at home today at 5.40 pm.

Mrs Lee Kuan Yew's maiden name was Kwa Geok Choo. She's the Wife of Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew and Mother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

She was born in December 1920 to banker Mr Kwa Siew Tee and was one of 8 children.

The wake is held at Sri Temasek, official residence of the Prime Minister located within the Istana grounds, from 4th October (Monday) to 5th October (Tuesday).

Visitors who wish to pay their last respects may do so on 4th to 5th October from 10am to 5pm. Members of the public may call 6835 6614 for any queries. A private funeral will take place on 6th October (Wednesday) at Mandai Crematorium.

Madam Kwa Geok Choo is survived by her husband Lee Kuan Yew, her sons Lee Hsien Loong and Lee Hsien Yang, and daughter Lee Wei Ling.

The family requests that no obituaries and no wreaths or flowers to be sent. All donations will go to the National Neuroscience Institute (NNI) Health Research Endowment Fund.

ShowNearby will hold an 89 mins mourning for Mrs Lee Kuan Yew by observing solemn silence.

Our deepest condolences to MM Lee Kuan Yew and his Family who have contributed much to this nation.


Revelation 14:13 (New International Version)

"Then I heard a voice from heaven say, "Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on."

"Yes," says the Spirit, "they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them."

One of our users actually caught us with our pants down in our ShowNearby on iPhone application. That’s you, Justin! Apparently, we have spelled the map view tab “Hybrid” as “Hybird”.

The ShowNearby Team had a good laugh at ourselves when we saw that mistake. I guess all the late nights have taken a toll on the team! Thanks for pointing that out, Justin! (You earned yourself a free coffee on us!)

HyBird Views!
Friday, October 1, 2010
Uncle Sam has finally returned to ShowNearby. And I am taking over this entry (time to write in the first person).

For those who are interested, Uncle Sam has had a long history with ShowNearby. To find out more about it, do drop me an email and I'll gladly share with you over coffee (you're paying of course!).


Uncle Sam
I came to ShowNearby to enjoy the 22 degrees Celcius air-conditioned environment while doing my job as a product manager and a communications manager.
That's right, wearing multiple hats is part of the get-up. I plan and execute communication goals. I also help conceptualise and strategise the optimisation of data collection, collation, organisation and presentation.

In plain english, the quality of data on the ShowNearby app will depend on how hard I work (no worries though, user ratings and downloads are my driving force and push factor!) The following chain reaction better describes my role

Ratings/Downloads UP -> Uncle Sam Happy -> Data levelup -> Better App -> Ratings/Downloads UP...


As you can see, this is a vicious never ending cycle which means I will never get to stop working :(

ShowNearby is already a vibrant ecosystem of species - the business types, sales types, engineer types, the creative types and the communication types. Some species oscillate between the various types, adapting to survive. Other species are highly evolved and develop proficiencies that become their genetic hallmark.

So, Uncle Sam, of the Uncle species, is entered into this biodiversity. I make sure one species doesn't eat the other. I'll immerse myself into the ongoing plans to maintain the status quo, preventing it from degrading into a hierarchical food chain.

I also look forward to playing with all the smart phones, which are totally alien to me, being a Nokia not-so-smart-phone user all my life. Maybe one day I will start taking sides in the ongoing Android vs iPhone battle here in the office!

Yours,
Uncle Sam
We have certainly made our presence felt on the iPhone community in Singapore, by scoring 1 in every 10 iPhones. Despite coming in late on the iPhone bandwagon and releasing our very own application only in June, this result is indeed no mean feat given the level of competition and compelling features in iOS App World. I am really sure our Chef de Mission for iOS, CJ, will have plenty of tricks up his sleeve. Stay tuned to find out the coolest things iOS has to offer on ShowNearby.

Sadly, both of them still don't get it!
Of course, not wanting to lose out is our Android Master, Jose. In fact, I am quite sure he is gonna taunt Changjin when he sees this, as ShowNearby is on 5 in every 10 Android phones in Singapore. That's alot in terms of market penetration. With more and more new Android phones being produced by the different OEMs, adding to the upcoming releases of Android tablets and Gingerbread, we are only going to see these numbers growing. 

While there is so much talk on which is better, I think it's is only fair to say that both operating systems have their strengths and weaknesses. And, it really depends which phone suits you. At ShowNearby, we believe in inclusiveness. Whether you are an Android, iPhone or BlackBerry user, we have our application catered for you. Indeed, we love all our Smartphone users! Cheers!