Category Archives: Personal Stuff

Next chapters ahead

Just last week, i have finally signed my contract with Cherry Mobile. And i’ll be working at Cosmic Digital Universe, their associte company for all things digital solutions! (We are still hiring!)

History made me

Since 2011, all of my efforst are being poured into deep research about how mobile works and since then i always wanted to focus on creating cool stuff on the device you can actually lift.

It has been almost 3 years since i began developing apps on mobile, even if i was a college student back then, i have at least created up to 10 apps from top mobile platforms. I’ve been also busy in the past few years promoting and helping student developers for all things app development.

Why Cherry Mobile?

My passion for mobile never stops in college. I’m always interested with mobile. In fact, i have spend my internship with SMART Communications Inc and i learned a LOT! And i also believe that i can grow with a company that ships affordable consumer phones to the filipino market. I know, i can learn a lot with Cherry Mobile.

What’s next?

From time to time, i can still blog and tweet. I’ll be busy more than ever, but i won’t give up from where i have started. I’m also sticking with Mozilla as a Non-paid volunteer and might help you out if you have any questions with Firefox OS App Development. (You can join our local dev group here.)

And of couse, expect Cherry Mobile stuff on my blog. =)

I’m pretty much excited with what life can offer me together with Cherry. =)

Tren 1.1 for Android has been released!

 

It’s just 10 days after tren has been first released on Google Play, from the start we promise to deliver relevant features to our consumers by bringing innovation on the table and better refinements to the app experience. Now, enough chit chats!

What’s new in TREN 1.1 for Android?

  • TREN Alerts (BETA): We’re launching Tren Alerts. Get the latest news and scoop from us via “Push Notification” so you can get the up-to-date announcements from LRT/MRT and PNR. How cool is that? ;)
  • Simplified User Interface: We’ve made some minor U.I changes. We’ve added a new tab for the “About” section.
  • Better performance: 20% faster than before. It’s a huge performance deal breaker here.

I hope you’ll like this new version. If you’ve seen some bugs, you can e-mail me at: thetrenapp@gmail.com

Like TREN on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/trenapp

Follow Tren on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/usetren

Join our TREN Commuter Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/trenph/

Tren: Behind the scenes

I want to talk about “Behind the scenes” of Tren, my newest app that you can download for free on Google Play, Windows Phone Marketplace and Firefox Marketplace.

When did you started developing Tren?

Tren is a weekend app. I started planning and coding the mock-ups on March 28 2014 (Friday). Worked really hard on each feature on March 29-30 (Saturday and Sunday) and sunday night, i already have the alpha app for testing. My friends are my guinea pigs (and i love them, truly they have an eye for quality). And on Monday, i have been busy testing the BETA app for release. Making sure that the app won’t crash on my device, and won’t make my testers unhappy.

And on April 1 2014, tren has finally launched in Google Play. It’s a living proof that April Fools Day is not only just for pranks. :P

Why did you focused on developing Tren?

I have a LOT of app ideas in my mind. But these ideas are needed to be cultured, it needs to be planned. A perfect way to launch an app is timing and research. I think it’s the best time to launch a train guide to serve better my fellow countrymen and the fact that  the growing need for info app focusing on public transportation is becoming a necessity.

Why is the CCTV feature NOT built-in on the app?

I’ve been getting the same question right before i’ve launched the app. It’s simply because it’s MRT’s property. I don’t like the idea of serving a feature and have to sneak on their system just to make that feature work. I respect the whole organization. But if ever they would offer an API access for third party developers, like me. I’ll be more willing to cooperate.

Are you seeking partnership?

Yes. Specially if the offer would really benefit the users. If you have a proposal, you can E-mail me instead.

Is Tren really FREE? How do you earn?

Tren will always be FREE to use. I’ll earn through Google’s Ads. I’ll use the money to buy me some coffee. Or a small meal when i’m hungry coding.

Why is iOS not supported from Day 1?

Technical stuff. But hopefully, i would launch an “Up-to-date” version of the app at the end of the year.

That’s it! I hope you liked reading this behind the scene post. I’d like to thank a good friend Bea Fel, My mom, My Uncle and all of my friends who helped and supported my app. I appreciate all of your efforts! You guys are awesome!

Introducing Tren: Your guide to manila transit

What was your first train trip felt like?

We all have this first train trip experience. I bet before your first trip was all excitement and expectations. Everyone does. But it all goes down to the frequently asked questions before that awesome experience. And possibly, you may have asked these questions yourself:

What are the next few stations before we reach our destination?

How much would a single journey ticket cost?

I’ve been riding different train stations everyday for the last 5 years and i’m still asking some of those questions. Not until, i made Tren.

I’m a commuter myself. I love riding the train! And i want an app that would help me with my ride. I want instant answers when i needed the most. So that’s the main reason i started tren in the first place.

What can Tren do for me?

Tren was created for commuters like YOU and ME. It was crafted to answer quickly. We don’t usually ask train questions, but when the time we needed to. That’s when we needed the answers FAST.

From the planning stage, i want tren to…

  • List the stations on a certain train line (LRT 1 & 2, MRT 3 and PNR)
  • List the daily operation schedule of each train line
  • Solve the train metric fare for you
  • Some train reminders
  • …and contact information from every train line you ride.

And i’ve also included a link from the official CCTV  of MRT-3, so you can take a peak at the current condition of a station before you take a ride. Pretty sweat, right? :)

And most of all, this app is FREE. Free to use, feel free to love. Share the good news to your friends and family who are also commuting via train!

What’s next for Tren?

Tren doesn’t stop at this version. It’s a continuous work. I’ve made a solid roadmap for the app and looking forward for the right steps ahead. But for now, you can always count on tren. :)

TREN is available for download at these platforms:

Tren for Android

Tren for Windows Phone 8

Tren for Firefox Marketplace

Tren for iOS is currently in the works and will be released soon.

If you liked it, don’t forget to rate it. If you need technical support or if you want to suggest a feature, kindly email us at: thetrenapp[at]gmail[dot]com.

Attend the Firefox Automation Training Days online!

If you’re interested in testing software and writing code to test code on Firefox, the Mozilla QA Team is organizing a two day online automations training! For FREE!

All you need is a stable internet connection, a browser (Well, don’t be shy to use Firefox!) to attend the training.

You can check out the Public Etherpad for useful resources online, join the video conference on Vidyo, and join the others on IRC (If you don’t know how to install IRC, you can check it out how here) #automation channel.

This is an awesome opportunity if you want to contribute to Mozilla. Help test software, report bugs and make Firefox more awesome!

See you at the Automations training!

486 hours at Voyager Innovations Inc

It was one of those normal days when i was just actually waiting for a company who are interested to hire me for an internship. Then someone called me on my mobile phone, and it was from Smart’s H.R. She told me that they are inviting me for an interview somewhere at Ortigas, and without further ado, i’ve accepted the offer!

“The Interview”

Then the day came from my interview, i still remember the place where i will be deployed. It’s at Voyager Innovations Inc. The same venue where Smart held their AngelHack event last year, where Mozilla Philippines Community is also a local partner for the said event and i was a “Mentor” back then.

The interview lasted for less than 15 minutes, and got an e-mail from SMART saying that i have been accepted as intern in less than 35 minutes after the said interview. So it was that fast and i think it was one of the most epic interviews i had.

“A new beginning”

When i entered Voyager, they are already working on a weather application that will be dealing with the chance of rain. I was assigned to test the said app and i was lucky enough to see it progress because i was testing the early “Alpha” versions. I was really excited to the job, i had no background of testing apps in a formal way and got the whole process after i have filled a few bugs.

I’ve also attended a product launch. It was that awesome that your work is beginning to unfold in the media that then will be broadcasted to millions of filipinos not only in the country, but worldwide.

And i couldn’t imagine more that the apps that has gone before the consumers are being tested on my hands, and it’s truly an awesome job if you think about it.

I was so inspired by my job that i even wrote this blogpost. lol

“Moving forward”

It was an awesome experience working with Voyager Innovations Inc! I learned so many things that will be helpful in the real world. In just 3 months! :)

I’d want to thank the people who mentored me during my internship, and to my co-interns. You are all awesome!

I’m glad to be part of a company that works together and shares a common vision. :)

Should you localize your app in different dialects?

Photo from www.cellphones.ca

The Philippines – The texting capital of the world may soon to get a huge upgrade when it comes to smartphone usage in the coming years.

Why?

Because smartphones are getting cheaper each month. Local smartphone vendors like My Phone and Cherry Mobile are actively releasing new devices, making old Android devices cheaper. Who would have thought that in 2014, you can actually buy a smartphone for less than 2,000 pesos?

And since low end devices are getting cheaper, we can’t deny that Android 2.3 is still important if you want to target the 1/4 of the pie. And different players are trying to battle the low-end segment of the market. Just look how Mozilla and Nokia are working very hard to conquer that space.

With that saying, would you localize your app in different dialects in the Philippines? Should you even bother?

Maybe you should?

I’m guessing that majority of the Filipinos who are buying these low-end devices might have been their first time to access the internet on a mobile device and are somewhat new to the “App culture” we are enjoying with our smartphones.

The problem.

If you want to localize an app, the usual problem is.. Where do you start? If you have the money to outsource, who do you hire? And if you’re on a tight budget, what tools/libraries can i use to translate my app to different dialects?

So localization is a challenging task to work on, specially if you want to target the “Masa” and reach the next million filipinos. But it’s really exciting to see some new players focusing on this part of the mobile revolution.

And who knows? We might see some published apps gets the dialect update that will bring Kapampangan, Bisaya and Chavacano in your favorite local apps.

If you’re developing an app, or have developed an app that focus on bringing innovations to the masses, will localization be on your top list of To-do’s?

Line is now available in the Firefox Marketplace!

If you’re a proud owner of a Firefox OS phone, then you can actually download Line by Naver in the Firefox Marketplace for FREE! Right now!

And without further ado, i’ve downloaded and used the app in a flash. If you’ve used LINE on the iPhone before then you will feel right home using it because the User Interface on the Firefox OS version is somewhat similar to what the iOS version can offer.

The app itself is lightweight and it’s just a < 2 MB download away. That makes sense because Firefox OS has been designed to cater emerging markets which means they may have slower internet connection compared to first world countries.

Not bad if you have a stable < 2MB connection.

There are built-in stickers that you can use out of the box to send it to one of your friends. Initiate a Group chat. But the app doesn’t offer calls right now. And also, as you expect Video call is not supported yet. You can’t share location yet. No audio message to bother your friends.

But the app works flawlessly and has push notification that works! So it’s not that bad. And it’s actually useful. And hopefully, naver will still bring us more feature  to future versions as time goes by.

So if you have a Firefox device right now, head on to this link and download Line by Naver.

The beauty and art of ensuring quality – The lessons learned about RaincheckPH

“Quality is not an act, it is a habit.” – Aristotle

The christmas day is almost near and i’m actually writing this blogpost, the day after we had our christmas party at Voyager Innovations Inc. But in my case, it’s my first christmas party in a corporate world.

And that has nothing to do with quality. But in the last few weeks, the whole team behind RaincheckPH is hard at work ensuring that the app will NOT just work, but the goal here is to ensure that the app has to be stable, information displayed are accurate and should delight the user when they use it.

It might be easy to say that, specially on a blogpost like this but it’s really not. Delivering high quality software is a matter of working harmoniously with different people who shares the same vision with the whole team. I’ve learned a lot since then and i would love to share you the lessons learned while doing Q.A at RaincheckPH.

Don’t settle for less, do what it is right.

Doing Q.A needs a lot of patience. I mean it A LOT. The task itself is repetitive, and you don’t end with just one try. If you think that there is something wrong, report it. Don’t assume that the user will not notice it because eventually, they will.

It’s easy to discuss the smallest things discovered by YOU, rather than discussing the fault with the team coming from the END USER. Because what you will ship today will be judged according to “stars” coming from different users all over the country – or even the whole world.

Be the first user, over and over again.

I’ve been testing RaincheckPH on my personal test devices. In my case, i have two Android phones with one running Gingerbread (Android 2.3) and one running Jelly Bean (4.1) and i can say that ever since i’ve been involved on this project, i’ve been carrying two phones. My BlackBerry Z10 and my Jelly Bean phone (that was actually intended for testing apps but ended up as my second phone).

Why?

Because i wanted to “Feel” that i am the user, even if i am aware of what to do from the first place. I always wanted to experience that amazing feeling of excitement and curiosity, the way a user feels when he downloaded a new app. And i always wanted to feel that way over and over again when testing a certain app.

Be inspired

My inspiration would be the future. It may sounds funny, but think about it. You are working on app that will touch the lives of a million user. Who knows? It may change the way they look at technology. It may change their lifestyle. The way they navigate from day to day – and it all starts with YOU.

There are other ways to get inspired. But it’s only you who will discover it.

And lastly,

Enjoy

Because being inspired alone will not work. Because in reality, what you enjoy today will be your hobby tomorrow.

I hope you learned something new today! Go ship great apps and change the world!

Reboot: Twitter

Yesterday, i’ve decided to retire my 4 years old twitter account and start a new one from scratch. It took me a couple of months to decide whether to continue a new one or just keep my already established twitter account and enjoy what i’ve been doing for the past 4 years. But, then again. I do have enough reasons to start a new one. And it has nothing to do with any of my employer or organizations that i am involved with.

I’ve been using Twitter, the wrong way. So we need to move on.

I started twitter before i entered college. I do tweet and retweet a LOT and i even almost reached 85,000 tweets in just 4 years. Those were the good days where i can freely express who i am, and say i wanted to say. It’s almost similar to a real time diary. And just came to realize at one point that, i’ve been using twitter the wrong way.

It’s all different now. Lately i’ve been doing technical talks and workshops, and i believe most of my followers came from those developer events. For me, twitter is a great place to share and get information from different people. And i somewhat believe that my followers followed me because of what i do now. Clearly, i just wanted to get things straight and deliver content that is relevant to everyone.

It’s still the same me, minus the clutter of the past. We all grow up and goes to the point that we mature and move on. :)