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. :)

Babble Messenger: The filipino mobile messenger that is worth checking out

So recently i’ve started my Internship at Voyager Innovations Inc (A Subsidiary of Smart Communications Inc) and from there i’ve discovered that they have built a mobile messaging app called Babble Messenger.

Babble Messenger is a filipino made mobile messenger ready to take the IM titans like WeChat from China, Viber from Cyprus, KakaoTalk from South Korea, WhatsApp from the U.S.A, BBM from Canada and Line by Naver from Japan.

Here are some cool features to try in Babble:

Babble is a realtime mobile messaging app which allows you to send unlimited messages for FREE.

ᗚ GROUP CHAT – Chat with all your friends at once! Join groups or create your own.

ᗚ SECRET MESSAGING – Send messages to your friends and watch them disappear, leaving no trace!

ᗚ JOIN CHATROOMS- Find & make new friends. Meet random people and talk about absolutely anything!

ᗚ NEW CHATROOM FEATURES- Send PRIVATE MESSAGES to fellow chatroom users, or IGNORE pesky users.

ᗚ SEND PHOTOS & VIDEOS – Attach photos & videos and send them instantly to your friends or groups

ᗚ EMOJI & STICKERS – Make messaging fun! Use Emoji & Stickers to express yourself!

ᗚ VOICE CHAT – Send audio notes to friends or groups with just a click of the button.

ᗚ AUTO BUDDY MATCHING- Your Address Book contacts who have Babble installed will automatically appear.

Similar to Whatsapp, Viber, WeChat, Line, KakaoTalk.

Babble is available to download for FREE on the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Firefox OS Challenge for Students

Firefox OS Challenge for Students is the first hackathon organized by the Mozilla Philippines Community that focuses on starting up a new breed of innovative apps in the Firefox Marketplace.

All participants here are students from different colleges and universities and that they are allowed to code within 7 hours but that didn’t stop them from making “Kids Education” themed apps. The theme also aligns with the “FSA App of the Month” where Firefox Student Ambassadors all around the world hack and submit awesome apps to the Firefox Marketplace.

There were 9 teams who joined this hackathon and they are:

  1. Team Bangan from UST.
  2. Team Tams from FEU Makati.
  3. Team apt-get from PUP Manila.
  4. Team Hatee-ho from UE Manila and Letran Calamba
  5. Team Maiteam from Technological Institute of the Philippines.
  6. Team Red Coders from San Beda College, Manila.
  7. Team arCOSSine from UP Los Banos, Laguna.
  8. Team COSSine from UP Los Banos, Laguna.
  9. Team Alpha³ from University of the Philippines,Manila

And ALL of the teams had pitched their apps for 3 minutes and after that, there is an interaction with the panel of judges for 2 minutes who then gave creative ideas and suggestions to even make the experience of the participants apps more awesome to the end users!

These panel of judges are all Pinoy Mozilla Reps and they are:

  1. Eusebio Barrun
  2. Robert ‘Bob’ Reyes
  3. Kathrine Faye Tandog
  4. Joell Lapitan
  5. Kevin Ventura

All apps are judged based on the following criteria:

  • Design – “Is the user interface design compliments the purpose of an app?”
  • Usability – “Is the app user friendly to the end user?”
  • Presentation – “Have they presented the app clear to the judges?”
  • Innovation – “What makes this app unique among others, and why this app is a game changer?”
  • Relevance - “Is the app aligns with the hackathon theme?”

and we are proud to say that the judges had selected the top three apps and also the winners for this hackathon:

  1. Team COSSine with the app “Lets do da Math”
  2. Team Bangan with the app “Binary Game”
  3. Team Red Coders with the app “Math Catapault”

All winners had received a cash prize from our supporter Globe Labs and an shinny new Firefox swags to take home!

Congratulations guys! We hope to see everyone’s apps on the Firefox Marketplace in the future!

We’d also like to thank all of our Firefox Student Ambassadors and Mozillian supporters who volunteered to make this event possible!

You can check out more pictures of this event from our official Flickr set.

FSA Leaders Camp Philippines 2013: It was fun!

Being an FSA Lead is a challenging yet rewarding role. They are the people who are willing to contribute to the Mozilla project while doing their part being a college student.

And so the Mozilla Philippines Community has organised the first FSA Leaders Camp in Laguna. Since we heard that this event will be the first Leaders Camp not only in the Philippines but in the whole history of the Firefox Student Ambassadors Program, me and the Mozilla Philippines Developer Team made a companion app for Firefox OS and Android to compliment this event, and of course the app is built entirely using Web Technologies and i’ve used Apache Cordova in order for me to port it to Android.

It was a fun weekend full of challenges, games and lessons that teaches everyone how to become an efficient leader, and i must say, even if i’m already a Mozilla Rep, i learned a lot.

Besides of having fun interacting with other FSA Leads, the ReMos also conducted an overview of Mozilla products and projects and each ReMo has their own specialties to discuss and share their experiences with the FSA Leads.

To sum it all, everyone enjoyed the camp and i hope our leads are inspired enough to contribute more to the Mozilla Project together with their respective Firefox Clubs.  More power to everyone at the Mozilla Philippines Community! :)

 

Geeksphone Peak+ delayed until end of november, offers Peak instead.

For those pre-ordered a Peak+ recently got an e-mail from Geeksphone for yet another delay, this time their customers have to wait until the end of november for their devices to ship because due to supplies issue.

For those who are itching to get a high end Firefox OS Smartphone, they can simply ask to get a Peak instead and have it shipped immediately and get a $20 refund. So what’s the difference between a Peak and the Peak+? The Peak+ has 1GB of RAM while the Peak only sports 512MB and the Peak+ comes with a digital compass.

Here’s a transcript of that e-mail:

Dear Geeksphone user:

In our last communication we announced, to our regret, a delay in the delivery of the first batch of Peak+, that you’ve already pre-booked by paying a preferential price.

At that time we mentioned the complicated situation concerning the supply chain in the industry. This plight, despite all measures taken to minimize its effect, has been more harmful than expected.

The current situation in addition to the quality controls we impose to all our products, makes that the estimation for Peak+ availability is at the end of November

This announcement gives us great concern ahead of the responsibility we have to all those who have trusted Geeksphone, not only in terms of acquiring a terminal, but also for supporting our young brand. This forces us to adopt a commitment to complete transparency with you all.

Therefore, with the intention of giving an early solution, we have decided to output a new batch of the Peak model as we think it is very important that all the energy which is being born around Firefox OS, an operating system based on the Open Web, continues to develop.

As a matter of fact, all users who pre-booked the Peak+ and would like a Peak instead, may contact us at peakrequest@geeksphone.com. In that case we will ship it immediately, through priority courrier. In addition you will get a refund of 20 U$ (15€) at your credit card account. (*)

(*) This offer will remain open until end of stock.

We hope that this initiative can satisfy those of you who want to have a unique device which represents the beginning of a revolution in the world of mobility.

The whole Geeksphone team is grateful for your support

For me, we can’t really blame all to Geeksphone on this issue because if you compare them with other OEMs, they are a small company with a big passion to change the current smartphone industry.

If you’re one of those who pre-ordered, are you still willing to wait? Or just grab the opportunity to get a Peak instead? Let me know in the comments.

Meet the first top ten filipino made Firefox OS apps you can use today!

We cannot deny the fact that Firefox OS has a great developer interest in the country. Many of the local developers from different fields are joining our official Dev Group on Facebook to get an insight about the latest news and events related to Firefox OS.

But… how about the consumers? You’ll be surprised that even at Toycon 2013, i am getting questions like “When will Firefox OS launch locally?” or “Is Firefox OS something to look forward to?” from a consumer that came from a non-tech industry field! How awesome is that?

And since January and up to this date, we have successfully conducted 3 App Days from different places in the country and 2 Firefox OS Apps Development Workshops in top universities in Manila and of course, our countless lightning talks that promotes Firefox OS in different parts of the country.

Lo and behold, we are pleased to announce the first top 10 Firefox OS apps that has been approved in the Firefox Marketplace:

  1. Raffle Hat
  2. NS Converter
  3. My Holy Rosary
  4. My Aksyon
  5. Pixel Test (You have to switch to countries that supports payments to see this app)
  6. Leaders PH
  7. BMI Calc
  8. TicTacToe
  9. Game of Luck
  10. MozPH Memory Game

OUR BASIS: We gathered this information from the Mozilla PH Developer Community and does not in anyway represent accurate statistics (on who came first) from the Firefox Marketplace.

Let this be an inspiration to other filipino developers to get started making or porting their apps right now! This is truly the best time to explore the platform and launch an app!

How can you try this apps without a phone, you say? You can download and use the Firefox OS Simulator (Add-on) and use it along side with your Firefox browser. Cool, right? :)

If you need developer support, you can always ask for help at our developer group or follow @MozillaHacks on twitter.

Recently approved Firefox OS app? E-mail me your app’s Name, description and Marketplace link to: aaroncajes [at] MozillaPH [dot] org

First Firefox OS Mentors Meeting: Thoughts and reaction


The purpose of this meeting is to unite dedicated developer Mozillians and guide them to become a Firefox OS Mentor in our community. We believe that the community needs these dedicated people for the success of Mozilla Philippines’ organised and Mozilla presence developer events (like Hackathons) in the country.

So what does a Firefox OS Mentor do?

  • Developer Support at MozPH Dev events
  • Developer Relations at Mozilla PH Dev Community
  • Promote Firefox Dev Tools and Firefox OS
  • Recruit more people to join the local Dev Community group
  • Contribute apps on the Firefox Marketplace

Summary on what happened on this meeting:


  1. I gave a refresher talk about Mozilla in the Philippines
  2. Firefox OS Overview (Why Firefox OS? What is Firefox OS? and how Firefox OS is the “Platform that HTML5 deserves”
  3. Hands-on: Hacking your existing web app and putting that to Firefox OS
  4. Hands-on: Exploring the Manifest file and WebAPI
  5. Hands-on: How to fire up the simulator and test your web app
  6. Hands-on: Making your that existing web app responsive
  7. Firefox Marketplace Overview
  8. How to test your web app on an actual phone (Using a Firefox OS developer device: Keon)

And at the end of an awesome hacking session, i gave them an app challenge by group (with maximum 3 members per team) to work on.

Looking Forward

I believe this is the very first step on shaping them to become an active contributor not only to the Mozilla project but to the whole developer community as well. We’re looking forward for the future of the FFOS Mentors Team!

I’d also like to thank co-Mozilla Reps Joell Lapitan and Kemuel Domanog for supporting me on this event! You guys are awesome! :)

If you’re interested to join, or if you have any further question about this program, please do send me an e-mail: aaroncajes [at] mozillaph [dot] org

Photos are posted in our official Flickr set. You can view it here.

Mozilla PH Dev Team at UE Manila for Firefox OS Workshop

The Mozilla Philippines Dev Team conducted a Firefox OS Workshop at UE Manila last Friday, September 27 2013. It was attended by Computer Engineering students and most of them are members of Society of Computer Engineering Students (SCpeS) an official student organisation at the University of the East – College of Engineering.


This event is somewhat unique to the team because this time we are teaching Firefox OS development to non-Information Technology and Computer Science students. The event was smooth because majority of the students knows how to make a web app using Web Technologies, so kristian lugtu, my co-speaker focused on making these web apps responsive and be adaptive to Firefox OS.


The event started at 10am as i was the first to discuss about the Mozilla Philippines Community and to be followed by Firefox OS Overview which discusses about the philosophy of Firefox OS and why it’s the start of the Open Web revolution on mobile.

Followed by Kemuel Joseph Domanog where he discussed about the Firefox Students Ambassadors program in the Philippines.


Then Kristian Lugtu discusses about making your first Web App with Mobile First in mind. He also made a template for students to follow and hack on while he demonstrates how to make a simple web app responsive.

After an hour of hacking, i came back to talk about using that web app and optimise it to Firefox OS. This time before i showed them how to write a manifest file and using that to test their apps on the Firefox OS Simulator, it was my first time to let my audience install the simulator. I did that because we were at the university’s computer lab and they have to experience how easy it is to install the simulator, so when they reach home after the workshop, i am confident enough that they know how to replicate it again on their own machines. Lastly, i also discussed about the benefits of Firefox Marketplace.


After the talks, we have a 2 hour app hacking session where they will have to use that template and make a new app out of it. It’s nice to have Ryan Ermita and Marcus Ang present at this workshop as they are both dedicated Mozilla Volunteers and act as Firefox OS mentors to help students with their first open web app. It was truly an interactive workshop! At the end of apps hacking session, there were 6 apps demoed in front of the audience.

And those who have presented received a Firefox string bag and Firefox phone case. Not only that but we also gave Firefox and Mozilla stickers to all attendees!

Over 40 student attendees. Truly it was an awesome experience for everyone! I can’t wait for the next Firefox OS events and open apps coming from my own alma matter! :)

I would like to thank Prof. Errol Antonio and Prof. Mary Ann L. Limkian for making this event possible! Kudos to everyone!

Check out our Flickr set for this event here.

New in Firefox OS V1.2-prerelease: Orientation Lock Support, new lock screen and the future of customizable homescreen!

I’ve recently flashed my Geeksphone Keon with the latest V1.2 ROM with build identifier: 20130928225700 and i think it’s quite impressive because this one has a lot of new upcoming features to play around in the next releases. Take note that i’m on the 1.2 channel, which means this one is being updated every night so expect A LOT of bugs along the way if you want to use this one.

Let me enumerate the cool new things i found on this build:

  1. Device Orientation lock support
  2. Improved lock screen design
  3. Home Screen option
  4. New set of wallpapers

Device Orientation Lock Support 

Orientation lock is one of the most important feature in a smartphone and crucial to the User Experience of a mobile operating system.  If enable, what orientation lock does is that it prevents the device from switching to landscape from portrait mode on any apps as possible. Without this feature, one mistake of holding your device might change the orientation of the screen without your consent, making users annoyed. So it’s nice to see that Mozilla is working round the clock to make this important feature a reality.

Improved lock screen design

 


From the start, Mozilla has been experimenting different kinds of Lock Screen design, and if you’re using a Firefox OS phone right now, you might have to swipe up and press a rounded button to unlock your phone OR fire up the camera. But on this build, you have to tap and swipe the middle button to select whether you want to unlock your phone or use the camera with a twist of animation that compliments the design of Firefox OS.

Video demo: http://instagram.com/p/e1Op39iMZv/

Home Screen Options

Soon developers can change how the home screen should look like. This one is similar to Android. Though it’s not clear how one developer or designer can make their own customised home screen, it’s really an exciting feature to look out for.

Video demo: http://instagram.com/p/e1O8okiMaC/

New set of wallpapers

Now includes the signature fox, and it’s built right into the system wallpaper. How cool is that? :)

Video demo: http://instagram.com/p/e1PRsCCMad/

What’s this? :)

Hmmm.. future icon for tablets? :)

Video demo: http://instagram.com/p/e1XiH9iMUH/

The real deal here is that every Firefox OS phone will have this update in the future. So theoretically, no Firefox OS phone will be left behind!

If you’re feeling adventurous right now, you can flash your device by getting the official Geeksphone Firefox OS 1.2 ROM here: http://downloads.geeksphone.com. Please note that i am not responsible if your device got bricked, proceed with caution in mind. :)

Hit me up in the comments if you have any questions.