Recently I got a casual query from a user who was interested in what else I had going on. I do have a lot of projects that I work on, along with spending time supporting JBidwatcher. What follows is a lightly edited version of what I told them…
(1) Most obviously there is JBidwatcher which I spend some time supporting every day via email, forum, and the support site, and sadly a little less time developing, but if you’ve poked at my site you’ve noticed that I’ve got several other projects listed. There is also one or two that are not listed which I’ll talk about.
(2) One of the most obvious other projects to JBidwatcher users is My JBidwatcher. It has its own configuration tab in JBidwatcher, and it’s pretty far along in terms of features.
Unfortunately I’ve not implemented the ‘Add Auction’ command in My JBidwatcher yet, nor the ability to send snipes back to your desktop JBidwatcher instance. All the capabilities to do it are in place, I just haven’t seen enough interest from users to implement it. My JBidwatcher gets a very small number of occasional users, although it’s been invaluable in helping me debug JBidwatcher, especially recently with the ‘null’ priced items problems. You can link My JBidwatcher to your desktop app just by entering your account information (user name and password) into the JBidwatcher ‘My JBidwatcher’ configuration.
I really want to make it work better, but I’ve not gotten a confident feel that folks want that capability, or what folks would like from a web interface to JBidwatcher, so I’m unsure about spending time working on it as opposed to other projects.
(3, 4) As for Hacker’s Health (and the iPhone companion app Health Hacker)… Heh! In 2007 as part of learning Ruby on Rails, I built a health tracking application for myself. I still use it, and I’d love others to see it, but it needs some cleanup before that happens. Fast forward to 2010, when I built an iPhone application around communicating with Google Health, and storing stuff in their data format (which is crazy complex, because it had to support health data vaults, essentially). Then I started working for Google, and put it on hold, because they were talking about doing one themselves and I didn’t want to step on any toes… Now that I’m not working for Google anymore, and Google Health has sadly gone away, I’ve revived it and updated my web application and have started making the two of them talk to each other. This project is lots of fun to build, and very useful as every time I actually put focus on my health it gets better.
(5) One of the last of my publicly acknowledged projects, MacBidwatcher is an application I’m actively working on. Right now it can load eBay auctions, trigger updates, shows thumbnails, track them in folders, and you can drag and drop items between folders. I’ve added the ability to log in, but only on ebay.com so far. (No international support yet.) I’ve got some prototype code that bids, but I need to build the user interface for bidding, then start adding features to support sniping.
MacBidwatcher is a much more Mac-like application than JBidwatcher though, and my plan is (eventually) to offer it on the Mac App Store, and maybe through non-MAS sales as well. Even folks like me need to eat.
(6) Not really discussed anywhere, is iBidwatcher which is an iPhone version of JBidwatcher. It’s already got a few cool features (including secure over-the-air sync with JBidwatcher if you’re on a wireless network with a running JBidwatcher instance) but it’s severely hampered by the inability of iPhone applications to do anything in the background. This means it can’t keep the price of a listing up to date when not running. I’ve written code to scrape eBay’s site on the iPhone, and it works great, but it can only run when you are in the app. It also cannot snipe from the phone, because the phone would have to be on and the app running, which is counter to the idea of a sniping application, i.e. you shouldn’t need to think about it. Instead I’m considering partnering with Gixen, and allowing you to place snipes on their service through iBidwatcher if you have a Gixen Mirror subscription. Their price of $6/year seems reasonable, and I have a lot of respect for the person who runs it.
(7) The least interesting to most JBidwatcher users is Outlinr, which has gotten sidelined as I deal with other projects. It was a blast to build, and was functional for a while, but server upgrades and the relentless progress of browsers has made it no longer work. I love outlining as a knowledge-capture model, and think it could be done SO much better than anyone is currently doing it, but I have to focus on projects that I know others are more immediately interested in.
I’d be very interested in your thoughts on the various projects I’ve described, and what you’d like to see out of them. I’m always looking for more insights into what would be helpful and valuable.
— Morgan Schweers, CyberFOX!