CRM software runs my life

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Leading Product through COVID-19

Last week Liam invited me to participate in a webinar titled “Pivoting Product and Product teams through a Crisis”. It was a real honour to be invited, as the panel was made up of a number of great product leaders from Sydney. Mable in particular has seen some big swings in supply and demand, as well as winning a very exciting Department of Health contract.

If you’d like to view the webinar, please see this YouTube video:

Pivoting Product and Product teams through a Crisis

GutTracker Logo

GutTracker Android App for tracking your stools released

GutTracker LogoAsianGut was always about learning more about the gut by applying the key method Google has honed in me – collecting and pivoting as much data as quickly as possible. While Asian and American Gut are deep on the science side with 16S DNA testing and profiling, I had a personal experience that wasn’t so deep. A quick business trip through off my bowels and left me feeling frankly like crap for months. This more immediate problem sparked a thought that perhaps the data I should be starting to collect isn’t necessarily so sophisticated.

So after about a month’s worth of pretending to be a Product Manager again, and then another month remembering Java from several years ago, I’ve launched the GutTracker Android App. To begin with, it simply allows you to track your bowel movements on a daily basis. The interesting part will be when I start collecting data around happiness, probiotic consumption and perhaps even diet. Of course I would love it to also link to your American/Asian Gut results at some stage too. It is really exciting to be using Big Data to dive into the correlation and causation of what’s going into your gut. I sincerely hope that this app is useful both for chronic and wellness purposes and can build to produce some insights that make people feel better over time.

Remove Adware infected YouTube App

I recently bought  Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 and Note 3 phones off Lazada in Singapore. Both times the standard ROM was installed, but some modifications had been made. The phones were rooted and some apps had been installed (Kingroot, Google Play Services etc.). The most annoying part however was that if Chrome hadn’t been used for ~10mins and you opened it, then it would open a popup with a full screen advertisement. I started researching how to remove this annoying Adware.

I found one really good article which detailed the debugging process. There are a few pre-steps however:

  1. Root the phone
  2. Install ADB tools on your computer
  3. Plug in the phone via a USB cable

As per the article above, you can then use the ADB logcat to debug what’s going on. Do the following steps from a terminal prompt on your computer:

  1. adb logcat > log.txt
  2. Open Chrome on your Android phone, wait for the ads to load. Take note of the Ad URL that loads (there might be a couple, so try and get the first one)
  3. Ctrl+C to kill logcat
  4. Open the log.txt file in a text editor and search of the URL you noted in step #2

My Ad spam URL was “ymtracking.com” and so I searched for that in log.txt. It came up with this line:

I/ActivityManager(  808): START u0 {act=android.intent.action.VIEW dat=http://global.ymtracking.com/trace?offer_id=111090&aff_id=27742 flg=0x10000000 cmp=com.android.chrome/com.google.android.apps.chrome.Main} from uid 10035 on display 0

This line tells me that a process running under UID 10035 is calling the ad URL. Time to hunt and kill that UID!

  1. adb -d shell
  2. su

Then you need to view the file /data/system/packages.xml. The Xiaomi phones don’t seem to have vi as a text editor installed, so move it to /sdcard/ to download it to your computer, or open it on the phone itself in the browser. Look for the package line that matches the UID you find earlier (10035):

<package name=”<<PACKAGE NAME>>” codePath=”<<DIR>>”  sharedUserId=”10035″>

Now you know the package name and the location. Normally you could enter the following command from the ADB shell as su “pm disable <<PACKAGE NAME>>”, but when I tried that it was not allowed (read only). Trying to reinstall the package didn’t work either. I found I had to actually use the code path and delete the .apk file itself:

  1. cd /system/priv-app/Youtube (what you had as <<DIR>> above)
  2. mount -o remount,rw -t yaffs2 /dev/block/mtdblock3 /system
  3. rm -rf Youtube.apk

That was it! Reboot the phone and the ads are gone. You can then use the Play Store to install YouTube as normal, from the official source.

Flickrtoplus.com now supports Google Photos

Google Photos iconGoogle Plus photos has been split out into a separate product, Google Photos. As part of this move there were some API changes, in particular an newly enforced requirement to use OAuth 2.0. With some help we managed to get the tool updated after a period of 1-2 weeks of downtime in late June 2015.

Usage volumes have since been steadily increasing: over the period June – December 2015 daily usage has doubled. I’m not sure whether it’s due to a decline in Flickr usage, and increase in Google Photos usage, or a combination of both (my guess). I need to spend some time working on improving the efficiency of the tool over the holiday period, but until then would ask for your patience. It’s working, it’s just a bit backlogged.

FlickrToPlus.com Screenshot

FlickrToPlus.com – Flickr to Google Plus Migration Tool

FlickrToPlus.com Screenshot

FlickrToPlus.com Screenshot

I have been using Google Plus a lot more lately, and now feel that the social layer (permissions and annotations) adds substantially to the photo experience. I know this is not a new revelation, but as a long time Flickr Pro customer I felt that the options of “Friends” or “Family” visibility, when I don’t really have either on Flickr, were not enough. Therefore over the 2012 Christmas holiday break I decided to work on a new web tool, FlickrToPlus.com.

There are two really annoying things about doing this migration for me:

  1. Losing metadata – especially titles and geo data
  2. Downloading/Uploading every file

This tool solves both these problems with the help of the Flickr and Picasa API’s. In fact my server doesn’t even see the photo files, you can pass a Flickr original image URL directly to the Picasa API. This means the service is fast and reliable. All you need to do is log in with both Flickr and Picasa, and then check the box against the set you would like to migrate. The site will then provide a progress update on the migration status. Google Plus albums and Picasa albums are currently pretty much the same thing, so these migrated albums are available straight away in the Google Plus interface for sharing with your friends.

Please give it a try and let me know what you think!

Subhunt

Sorry, you need Java to play this game.

This is a game I wrote in java last year.


Controls:

Action:Key:
Move LeftZ
Move RightX
Drop Depth ChargeSpace

WhatsLiveNow.com launched

In an effort to get back into coding and learn the YouTube API’s better I have put together a very simple site, www.whatslivenow.com. It simply checks the YouTube Live API every 15 minutes, saves the results to a MySQL database, and then displays the latest live events ranked by how many “Likes” they have had. This makes the chart a little less dynamic than I would have liked, but the viewCount parameter isn’t currently being populated, so my preference to rank based on what has the most current viewers isn’t possible.

It’s also a nice experiment with CSS and jQuery Mobile, using a template I found called Splitview. I had to make a number of changes to make it work for this example, but visually it looks pretty simple and is very functional across desktop, tablet and mobile devices. I will play around with the functionality over time, but for now I am happy that the experiment was a success. I think with the addition of some social media functionality it could be a nice second screen experience too. Please let me know what you think!

iPad Emulator

Safari Develop Menu

Do you want to see what an iPad user sees when they look at your website? Well there is a simple way to check it out without buying an iPad on either Windows or Mac:

  1. Download and install Safari (if you don’t already  have it)
  2. Edit -> Preferences (or Safari -> Preferences on a Mac)
  3. Go to the Advanced tab
  4. Check the “Show Develop menu in menu bar” option
  5. Close the preferences window
  6. A new “Develop” menu option will appear
  7. Select “User Agent” and then “Mobile Safari 3.2 – iPad”

It isn’t perfect (hard to simulate rotating the device) and you should also disable Flash, but it gives you a rough impression.

Windows Mobile 6.5 fails to ActiveSync with Google Apps

Setting up your Windows Mobile 6.5 phone for Google Apps should be simple, there are some clear instructions located here. However I have found that on some HTC Windows based phones the account creation process does not go so smoothly. After a bit of hunting around I found someone who had a fix for me. Here is the more detailed version of how to get it working:

  1. Connect your phone to your PC via the USB cable
  2. Disable all syncing with your PC by clicking Tools -> Options
  3. Click the Settings button and add your Exchange (Apps) account (do not check “Detect Settings”) and check Email syncing only
  4. Sync
  5. Edit the Exchange settings and check “Detect Settings”
  6. Sync
  7. Edit the Exchange settings again and check Calendar and Contacts (no tasks in Apps remember!)
  8. Sync again

And there you go! Not sure if this is a bug in Activesync, the phone or Apps, but it sure is annoying. At least it only occurs on setup, after that everything seems to keep up to date with no problems.

New host, new look!

Out with the old...

Today I moved my blog to Dreamhost, upgraded to WordPress 3.0 and changed themes. Please let me know what you think! I am moving towards shutting down my Windows VPS system as I simply no longer have the time to maintain it. Web hosting is such a mass-produced commodity these days that it makes no sense to maintain your own DNS, WWW or mail server. Dreamhost and Google Apps are now splitting the roles for well under $100 a year. That saves me a lot of time, and my time is worth about $100 an hour right? To the cloud!

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