Blog

Vagrant Setup

February 19, 2016
Development Environments Made Easy

Vagrant is a tool to help launch development environments. In the old days developers would use tools like WAMP / MAMP or perhaps more advanced programs like VMWare to launch their development environments. They were clunky and often multiple projects would share the same environment because it would be too much effort to replicate an environment for a new project.

Tools like Vagrant and Docker have changed the way development and even production environment works.

I use Vagrant to setup my local development environments. I’ve spent a bit of time to configure a vanilla workable system which comprises of Nginx, PHP FPM & MySQL. It works great and allows me to get new projects started with three console commands.

 

clone https://github.com/sketchthat/vagrant-lemp.git my_project

cd my_project

vagrant up

Check out my GitHub repo to use my Vagrant Provisioning script.

https://github.com/sketchthat/vagrant-lemp

 

Instagram Experiment

September 21, 2015
instagram-square

Recently I developed a small application which helped Instagram accounts gain traction in their space. It assisted in getting accounts more followers, likes and comments.

It started as an experiment to see;

a. How easy it was to use Instagram APIs.
b. See how popular an inactive and active Instagram account can be with little effort.
c. Build a membership without any hands-on marketing.

The experiment came to an end today because Instagram have updated their API Terms of Service and what I was doing is no longer allowed.

I started a website an associated Inactive Instagram account and Active Instagram account.

In nine months I was able to get 1,395 followers to my inactive Instagram account. Inactive means I hadn’t posted any photos, comments or even logged into the account since I started it.

On my active account the story was different. I gained over 5,149 followers and on average had over 200 likes and many comments per photo posted. In nine months I posted 104 photos. Averages out to roughly one every 2.5 days.

My application received over 300 registrations and was responsible for liking 7.2 million Instagram photos.

This was all without any advertising, I simply setup my application to like other users Instagram photos, then the traffic started coming to my pages and website.

I’m wanting to explore this space a bit more and plan on updating the site with some different functionality to see what other metrics I can pull from my data.

Blocks – Modular Smartwatch

June 2, 2015
Blocks-design-round-display-on-launch

Project Ara has evolved.

A few years ago Project Ara was announced by Motorola and since then the project has been moving ahead and they’ve even done a public demo. If you’re not aware of what Project Ara is, it’s a modular smartphone – meaning you can choose what you want more of in your phone, need more battery life? Add the larger battery module. Want more storage? Add the large storage module. It’s a one-size-fits-all smartphone.

Well move over Project Ara, Blocks is here. Blocks is a modular smartwatch, it uses the band and face to connect all the modules together, which is a really clever use of space – every other smart watch has used the band as… well a band.

Watch the video below, it explains the concept and it’s awesome.

 

Is your website mobile friendly? If not you’re missing out

May 7, 2015
Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 11.56.25 am

Google have announced that more searches are taking place on mobile devices than desktop.

If your website isn’t mobile friendly you’re missing out on traffic and conversions.

It’s already been announced by Google that they have updated their system to give mobile friendly websites more weight in their listings, but this latest announcement is a double blow for sites that aren’t mobile friendly.

More Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the US and Japan.

Have a read through their latest blog post. If your site isn’t mobile friendly, ask yourself why not… We can help make your site work on mobile devices.

Road Legal Autonomous Truck

May 6, 2015
Freightliner Trucks

It’s fair to say that I have an odd interest in autonomous vehicles, particularly autonomous cars. Companies like Tesla are on the road (Please excuse the pun) to make autonomous cars come alive in the next few years. They’ll make every day life easier, they’ll end the road toll but also they’ll kill the taxi industry over night.

Freightliner just announced their first truck that is capable of towing semi trailers over the country – and it’s already doing so in Nevada. It makes sense for the trucking industry to invest in autonomous vehicles, having their trucks on the road 24/7 with drivers and human error is a huge expense. If you can remove the human touch, the trucks will be much more effective and arrive in better time and safely.

Right now, the truck does need a driver, but  it can read road signs and obey traffic signals. I can only assume moving forward once it’s been better tested and trusted that drive will be removed and it will drive itself.

Read more about it on Twitter. @freightliner

Google loves mobiles – especially Androids

April 22, 2015
Android-Device-Manager

More information from Google about mobile handsets, but this is different. We’re not talking about mobile-friendly websites we are talking about finding a lost Android Handset.

iPhone users might be a bit jealous about this, but Google now have a smart features to find your handset by simply searching on Google for it.

If you’ve got an Android and it’s got the latest update installed, jump into Google and search “Find my phone”.

Their Android device manager will pop up and show you the location of your phone, allow you to ring, lock or erase all data from the handset.

Ring Handset

Thanks Google, I’ll never need someone to call my phone again so I can find it.

 

 

Want more visitors? Is your site Mobile Friendly?

April 21, 2015
Mobile Friendly - Google

Google are updating their smart sorting algorithm every day by constantly A+B testing and making minor tweaks to improve their search results.

As it’s been for a while Google are focusing more and more on Mobile Friendly websites as they give the user the best experience.

On Wednesday Google is going to put more priority on companies that have mobile friendly websites. Is your site mobile friendly? Are you ready to disappear from the search results?

How can you check? It’s fairly simple to check if your site is mobile friendly. If you go to Google on your smart-phone or tablet then find your listing, does it have a little tag ‘Mobile Friendly’

mobile-friendly

 

If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, get in contact with us today and we’ll be able to help you out.

 

 

Read more about the upcoming changes.

Googles No Captcha reCaptcha

December 4, 2014
google-bot

Google announced on their blog this morning that they’ve developed a new way to detect bots without using those annoying captcha images that are hard to read and ruin the sign up experience for the website.

Whenever I develop a project that needs users to register an account I’ll setup reCaptcha by Google. It’s easy enough to install and stops a lot of abuse / bot signups. I believe that some still get through, but not many. I’m interested to try out the new No Captcha reCaptcha system by Google. Instead of having to enter the text in the captcha box, you just have to tick a checkbox to confirm you’re not a bot and Google will perform a risk assessment and let the user through or present them with a traditional reCaptcha image.

Watch the video below or visit Googles Official Blog to find out more information.

 

sketch that rebrand

October 29, 2014
sketchthat-brand

It was time for a facelift. Over the coming weeks we’ll be rebranding our site to match the look-and-feel of the blog page. I look forward to your feedback.

Back to the Future is here. Hover Boards on Kick Starter

October 22, 2014
hover-board-image

This post needs no introduction. Hendo has a Kick Starter campaign running at the moment to back their project a real life hover board. For a lump sum of $10,000 you can own a hover board (Looks like they are all sold out!)

The project goal is $250,000. So far they have raised $195,003. They’ll easily reach their goal. Interestingly enough it doesn’t look like they want to develop hover boards but instead a smarter more efficient mode of transport to move goods around. In their video they state ‘Imagine a vehicle with all the freedom of a car but with the efficiency of a train’. They are trying to produce frictionless movement.

The hover engines unfortunately don’t work on any surface, from the looks of the video I would guess some sort of copper or metal base.

They’ve done a great job of getting attention by producing a hover board.