Notes from a Busy November

November was a busy month at MindSea. We had lots of work to do, but managed to make time for some special events.

ICE Awards

MindSea Ice Awards

For 2013, the ICE Awards included a new Mobile Application or Website category. We submitted four apps to this category, and were overjoyed to have each of them recognized. MindSea received a Gold award for Etchings, two Silver awards for Transit 360 and Nocturne: Art At Night 2013, and one Merit award for East Coast Music Awards 2013.

A huge thank you to the ICE organization for recognizing our work, and to the East Coast Music Association and Nocturne teams. It’s always easier to make an app stand out when working with great clients.

Mobile Hackathon

MindSea Mobile Hackathon

On November 16th, MindSea invited anyone interested in mobile app development to The Hub Halifax for a day of learning and creation. It kicked off with separate tutorial sessions for Android (led by Mike Burke), iOS (led by John Arnold) and mobile web (led by Gavin Anderegg).

After the presentations, teams were formed and the real hacking began. Some teams hit the ground running, building on projects that were already in development. Others started with the basics, coding their first apps from scratch.

Throughout the day there were many crashes and bugs, but they were all resolved using a mix of teamwork, persistence, and Stack Overflow. Amanda Somers designed some great icons and artwork to add visual polish to the apps, and everyone had an ample helping of the boatload of food provided. We also had a great view of the Parade of Lights.

At the end of the event, seven app demos were presented, such as:

  • a compass which points toward the nearest source of donairs;
  • an alarm clock which modifies your wake-up time depending on the weather; and
  • an interactive map displaying information about all parks in Halifax.

Check out the MindSea Mobile Hackathon page for more information about the event. If you participated and would like your app listed there, please contact us.

MindSea Mobile Hackathon

MindSea Mobile Hackathon

Interested in building mobile applications? Join us for a day of creativity and learning! Developers, designers, and creators of all stripes are welcome. We want to share our enthusiasm for building apps in a low-stress, judgement-free environment. Everyone with an interest is welcome, regardless of skill level or experience.

The event will take place at The Hub Halifax (1673 Barrington Street, 2nd Floor) on Saturday, November 16. We’ll be starting at 9:00 am with a quick overview of Android, iOS, and/or mobile web development. If you already know the drill, show up at 10:00 am to join a team and get hacking. We’ll provide some time-appropriate ideas for projects, or you can bring your own and go to town.

Food and refreshments will be provided, and people will be available to help if you get stuck. Just bring your own computer or other instruments of creativity.

To sign up, please join the Facebook event or email us and let us know you’re coming. Those wanting to do iOS development will need an Apple computer running Mac OS X 10.8.4 or later. Please download the SDK for the platform of your choice before arriving. Links are provided below.


To get a head start, please download the development tools for your preferred platform:

iOS

Android

Mobile Web

Hope to see you there!

Mobile App Marketing Case Study: Etchings Instagram Contest

Recently we ran an Instagram contest to promote our Etchings App for iPhone and iPad. To help us run the contest we used Statigram which is an Instagram web viewer and social analytics tool for contests & community management. Statigram has over 3.1 million users so their contest platform seemed to be the best way to expose the most people to our Etchings app; there also don’t seem to be any good alternatives in this space at the moment.

Original image by www.overxpsr.com

Original image by www.overxpsr.com

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The Second Halifax Instawalk – a Success!

Our second Halifax Instawalk took place Saturday, Feb. 23 at the Seaport Farmers Market. From the market, we travelled to the Westin Hotel, and on to the Via Rail Train Station. We couldn’t have asked for better weather! People came out to explore our beautiful city and we created a unique stream of photos to share with the world. Here’s a link to our photo stream of the pictures taken that day.

instawalk

Here are a few photos that were taken on the Halifax Instawalk:

Don’t know what an Instawalk is?

It’s similar to a traditional photo walk, but people are encouraged to share their photos in real time via Instagram, Twitter or Facebook using a hashtag chosen for the walk; in our case it was #instawalkHFX. Anybody with a camera is welcome – you get to meet new people, take some great photos, and have a unique stream of photos for all the world to see at the end of it!

If you want to start your own Instawalk in your city, here’s a few tips:

  1. Plan in advance. You want people to show up for the Instawalk! Get the word out a week or so ahead of time. Make posters, a Facebook page, a Twitter account – whatever you think will get people’s attention and make them want to show up for your event.
  2. Have a route. You want everybody to take roughly the same route, so drawing up a quick route in Google Maps for people is a good idea. Make the route no more than 2km.
  3. Have the walk around 2pm when the sun isn’t harsh, preferably on a weekend when people have free time.
  4. Have a meeting place for the beginning and end of the walk. Trust me, you’ll want to meet up after it’s all finished to look at everyone’s photos!
  5. Bringing extra power cords is always a good idea. By the time you’re finished many people’s phones will have low battery.
  6. Have name tags – they’re an easy way to remember everyone’s name.

Putting our Instawalk together was a snap: we made a graphic to send around Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, created a Facebook event, and put up some posters. It’s that easy – so go on and start your own Instawalk!

Here are some examples from Instawalks around the world:

Tokyo: http://statigr.am/tag/instawalktokyo/
San Francisco: http://statigr.am/tag/instawalksf/
Raleigh: http://statigr.am/tag/instawalkraleigh/
New York: http://statigr.am/tag/instawalknyc/

The Second Halifax Instawalk!

instawalk

The second Halifax Instawalk will take place Saturday, Feb. 23, starting at the Seaport Farmers Market, through the Westin, then to the Via Rail train station. We’ve kept the destinations close this time because we know it’s chillier than the last Halifax Instawalk.

Initial meeting spot will be near the North entrance next to the large statue at the Farmer’s Market.

Don’t know what an Instawalk is? It’s a whole lot of fun! It’s similar to a traditional photo walk, but people are encouraged to share their photos in real time via Instagram and Twitter using the #instawalkHFX tag.

Come out to explore your city with us through the lens of a camera and create a unique stream of photos to share with the world. Let’s put our city of Halifax on the instawalk map!

Anybody with a camera is welcome – come meet new people and take some great photos.

If you have Instagram, check out the photos from our last Halifax Instawalk.

The First Instawalk in Halifax

Our very first Halifax Instawalk was a success! It took place Sunday, November 4 and we couldn’t have asked for better photo taking weather. People came out to explore our beautiful city and we created a unique stream of photos to share with the world. Here’s a link to our photo stream of the pictures taken that day.

Here’s a few shots from the Instawalk – some are edited with our Etchings app. (Which has a big update coming soon!)

Don’t know what an Instawalk is?

It’s similar to a traditional photo walk, but people are encouraged to share their photos in real time via Instagram, Twitter or Facebook using a hashtag chosen for the walk; in our case it was #instawalkHFX. Anybody with a camera is welcome – you get to meet new people, take some great photos, and have a unique stream of photos for all the world to see at the end of it!

If you want to start your own Instawalk in your city, here’s a few tips:

  1. Plan in advance. You want people to show up for the Instawalk! Get the word out a week or so ahead of time. Make posters, a Facebook page, a Twitter account – whatever you think will get people’s attention and make them want to show up for your event.
  2. Have a route. You want everybody to take roughly the same route, so drawing up a quick route in Google Maps for people is a good idea. Make the route no more than 2km.
  3. Have the walk around 2pm when the sun isn’t harsh, preferably on a weekend when people have free time.
  4. Have a meeting place for the beginning and end of the walk. Trust me, you’ll want to meet up after it’s all finished to look at everyone’s photos!
  5. Bringing extra power cords is always a good idea. By the time you’re finished many people’s phones will have low battery.
  6. Have name tags – they’re an easy way to remember everyone’s name.

Putting our Instawalk together was a snap: we made a graphic to send around Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, created a Facebook event, and put up some posters. It’s that easy – so go on and start your own Instawalk!

Here are some examples from Instawalks around the world:

Tokyo: http://statigr.am/tag/instawalktokyo/
San Francisco: http://statigr.am/tag/instawalksf/
Raleigh: http://statigr.am/tag/instawalkraleigh/
New York: http://statigr.am/tag/instawalknyc/

2010 iPhone Hackathon for Charity

The MindSea team had a fantastic weekend at the 2nd Annual iPhone Hackathon for charity. The iHackathon brings together marketers, graphic designers, and software developers for a weekend of iPhone and iPad app creation. All of the apps we create are sold in the Apple App Store and all the proceeds from sales benefit local and national charities. (more…)

Transit To Go – Halifax bus travel in the palm of your hand

Halifax bus travel in the palm of your hand with launch of mobile application Transit To Go (itunes link)

T2Go Halifax Routes Around Me Screenshot

[Ed note: Since this post, Transit To Go has expanded to many cities across Canada, and is now called Transit 360.]

Making public transportation simpler for the Haligonian bus traveller, Nova Scotia based IT firm MindSea Development has created and launched its first iPhone application, Transit to Go, which offers its users transit information by both route number and location.

Metro Transit provides reliable service, but this system can be difficult to navigate and decipher, even for experienced riders, especially when traveling at non-peak times and from stops not detailed on the paper- based schedules. Patrons can struggle when determining what route to take at different times throughout the day, the nearest stop location at any given point, and the exact time of the buses’ scheduled arrival. Transit to Go has been developed to respond to this challenge, providing a user-friendly guide to the peninsula’s transit system for the commuting iPhone owner.

The application, the brainchild of software developers Dmitri Dolguikh, Willliam Lachance and Bill Wilson, is simple: when using Transit to Go, a patron can either input a stop number into the “Look up Stop” screen, or use the “Around Me” option and have the device’s GPS technology, or the manual entry of an address, aid in determining the location and schedule of nearby stops.
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Wish You Were Here!

This year has been an outstanding year for MindSea, and part of that success comes from being involved with some great people and companies. Not the least of which is Apps 4 Good inc., brain child of Dale Zak, a super energetic talented developer who focuses on doing all he can to improve our global community.

In July of 2009 Dale organized the first “iPhone Hackathon For Charity” which brought together some very talented people who have a common desire to support their community. The goal of the hackathon was to create as many iPhone applications as possible over a weekend, publish them to the Apple App store and direct all the proceeds to charity. I have to admit that this goal seemed quite unrealistic at first, but as the weekend progressed I became more and more convinced that this was going to work and that we could accomplish some really great things! While the weekend didn’t produce any finished apps we had a great start and we chose some great charities that would benefit. The team I was on chose to create an application that allows people to send digital postcards. You select a cool postcard, add a photo and caption and send it to your pals. Inspired by many postcards collected during sunny summer vacations we decided to call it “Wish You Were Here”. (and hey.. it ties in nicely with our other app “Meet Me Here”).

As often happens with volunteer projects like this, other commitments (like work :) ) can slow you down. Motivated by our second, albeit smaller, hackathon “Another day of Good” held in October, we put a push on to get “Meet Me Here” and “Wish You Were Here” out the door. After a few more impromptu late night hacking sessions, Meet Me Here was ready to go and was published, and available for download on December 1st. Having our first application up and generating money for charity motivated our WYWH team even more. We went through a couple of rounds of usability testing and came up with a flow that we thought was simple and intuitive. Combine that with some beautifully designed postcards and application graphics and we were set to go! On December 29th, WYWH was ready for sale in the Apple app store. The folks on the Apple app review team really turned this around quickly. It went in for review in the morning and came out ready for sale later that night! Thanks for that! The WYWH team plans to keep adding more features to the application, like twitter and facebook integrations, image editing controls, and many more postcard designs.

All of the proceeds from WYWH will go to Feed Nova Scotia, the provincial food collection and distribution centre for approximately 150 food banks and meal programs across Nova Scotia. They provide year-round food deliveries to member food banks and meal programs who serve at least 38,000 Nova Scotians each month. To learn more about how you can help, please visit their website www.feednovascotia.ca

So, what started out as an informal weekend hack has turned into a full fledged corporation dedicated to giving back to the community. We have started the ball rolling with our first two applications, and more are in the works…. so what’s next? Well, we will be hosting another hackathon in the new year, who knows what that will bring, but I have a feeling we will have many more participants and we will come up with some great apps in support of excellent charities! If you would like to join us, head over to apps4good.ca and drop us a line…

Wish You Were Here,
Bill Wilson

Here are a few screen shots of WYWH in action:

 

 

 

The Wish You Were Here team members:

  • Nick Brunt
  • Andrew Burke
  • Matthew Jewkes
  • Shaun Johansen
  • Raymond Seto
  • Bill Wilson
  • MindSea thanks ihack-ers!

    What a great event!
    Thanks to all of the MindSea members who really got involved in making this event a success.

    MindSea makes beautiful, integrated mobile apps. Find out how.

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