Website Logo. Upload to /source/logo.png ; disable in /source/_includes/logo.html

Chris Meier

Software Developer and Co-founder of FoodChain

Ephemeral URL: Adding Context to Your Eddystone Beacons

Eddystone beacons provide a powerful tool that allows businesses to reach their customers in new ways. Restaurant owners can broadcast coupons to attract new patrons. For example, an ice cream parlor can give a 20% coupon when it is raining outside. When it stops raining, the coupon expires. This setup requires both time and proximity dimensions. So how do you add this kind of context to your Eddystone-URL? By using Ephemeral URLs.

Turning Your Raspberry Pi Into an Eddystone-URL Beacon

The Physical Web is cool new approach to the Internet of Things from Google. The Physical Web uses Eddystone beacons to broadcast URLs that can then be accessed by anyone via Bluetooth 4.0-enabled devices. This allows anyone to walk up to any object in their environment and interact with it. For example, people can walk up to a movie poster with a beacon broadcasting the URL for the trailer. One major benefit is that hardware-specific solutions don’t need to be developed – everything is done through the web. Eddystone is an open format, so there a many beacon manufacturers to choose from. However, if you don’t want to blow that kind of cash just for exploring you can make your own Eddystone-URL beacon with a Raspberry Pi. Here we will be doing just that.

Automating Beta Signup and Distribution

I previously talked about the importance of automating what you can at your startup. This frees up valuable time to work of what really matters and focus your attention. It can also help prevent mistakes resulting from human error. In this post, I will show you how to automate your beta signup and distribution process.

Beta Testing Part 2: Infrastructure and Logistics

In this second part on running a beta test, we will focus more on infrastructure and logistics. The whole purpose of a beta test is to find bugs in your app and fix them. We will look at how to distribute the app to testers and handle their bug submissions. How you set these up will be key in setting the tone of your beta. If done correctly it will be a smooth and enjoyable experience. But if done incorrectly it can become a bit of a nightmare.

The Personal Healthcare Startup Paradox

I attended a panel discussion back in October at Science 2015 that was held at the University of Pittsburgh called What’s App with Mobile Health Care?. The focus was on personal healthcare startups. They had a range of speakers that spanned multiple topics. There was a talk about how to make your app successful and what to expect from user turnover. Founders of healthcare startups were also present to talk about their experiences. It was an amazing discussion that covered everything from regulations to making the biggest difference in your users’ lives. However, the was one thing that stuck out to me. The panelists called it the “Personal Healthcare Startup Paradox.” This paradox states that the people who will benefit the most from your product won’t be the ones using it.

Mirror: The Open Source Amazon Echo

I recently got an Amazon Echo and I love using it. From its shopping list feature to playing my Pandora stations to its “flash briefing” news podcasts, it is thoroughly enjoyable. But its $180 price tag can be a bit steep. I decided to build one only using open source tools so that all may enjoy the awesomeness of an Echo.

Hermes: A Jasper Module for Sending SMS Messages

Jasper is a great platform to develop voice-controlled applications. It has excellent developer documentation that makes it easy to create your own modules. Jasper is pretty cool so I decided to start programming some modules myself.

The first is called Hermes. This module will allow you to send SMS messages to your friends and family through the Twilio API.