Archive for December, 2006

The Devil Is In The Details

Tuesday, December 12th, 2006

We have been silently watching what happens on our site. You, our community, are an invaluable source of inspiration and ideas. Your positive feedback makes us feel good and your bug reports and requests for new features keep up too busy to ever rest on our laurels.

One of the guiding principles for the redesign of ZoomIn was to make the information accessible through a pyramid. We wanted people who come to our site to start at the top of the pyramid where we present little but most relevant information. So when you search for an address, a place or a tag you get instant results shown on the map. As you become more interested in the places which you visit you can use various links on the site to travel to the base of our information pyramid where we show full details currently known about the given place.

We have realised that sometimes walking up and down the pyramid can be quite an effort so we have provided you with a teleport device which gives you instant access to frequently used functions without having to go all the way to the bottom of the pyramid.

The above screenshot illustrates the new search result panel. We have 3 results there. “Cool Store Gallery” and “Chow” are unexpanded and “Midnight Espresso” is expanded (hint: you can expand results by clicking on the icon). Once a result has been expanded you have instant access to functionality which lets you add your own information to that place. In this example you can add your own rating, tags or leave a comment about “Midnight Espresso”.

If you search for an address, as in the following screenshot, you will also have the option of adding a new place at that address. This is useful for adding shops to a shopping mall, lookout points to a national park or even to add locations of your utility sheds on your farm.

We hope that you will find these little improvements quite helpful. Let us know what you think. Happy Zooming!

– ZoomIn development team

Thoughts on iTunes…

Saturday, December 9th, 2006

NZ has finally got iTunes. Its not the cheapest on the block, Warehouse are offering new CD’s like U2 18 singles for $22.99, its $23.99 on iTunes and $34.95 at real groovy!

Given the razor thin margins for the music retailers, I expect to see a couple of music chains closing in 2007.

So when are we going to download movies 🙂

Bye Bye Spam

Saturday, December 9th, 2006

Finally had enough of all the spam, and switched all projectx emails over to hosted google mail platform. Its been relatively painless, a few changes to the dns and it was working.
Note to Google: Better address aliasing would be appreciated.

Summer of Code seminar 1 done and dusted

Wednesday, December 6th, 2006

Tale of two speakers


<font size=”+1″>I once worked for a company this big !</font>

Nat Torkington and Rod Drury in action at the Creative HQ Summer seminar. More pictures and write up on the Summer of Code blog shortly.

Books on the ProjectX shelf…

Tuesday, December 5th, 2006

Some of books on the ProjectX bookshelf.

Business Books


Tech Books


Cool Presentation

Tuesday, December 5th, 2006

Was sent this by the team at Hansel, IDEO CEO Tim Brown’s presentation “Mastering Innovation” from Better by Design conference 2005.

If you think design is important to your business, you should read this!
What an amazing example of cool powerpoint.

Friday Fun: VC Aptitude Test

Friday, December 1st, 2006

Here’s a bit of fun a Friday. I just scored 22 on Guy Kawasaki’s Venture Capital Aptitude Test. Seems like I’d better stick to entrepreneuring, obviously I haven’t got enough battle scars….

Moving from lighttpd to Apache 2.2

Friday, December 1st, 2006

A while ago, I blogged about our shift from apache to lighttpd as our production webserver.
Lighttpd has been good for us, but we’ve been experience a number of the proxying problems with lighttpd. To make matters worse, I’ve been unhappy with the lack of production quality dynamic httpd compression. With the new zoomin its provided an opportunity to test apache 2.2 and mongrel in real world.

I have been testing mongrel and apache 2.2 for a week on zoomin production and I’ve observed few of things.

  1. Mongrel seems to be fractionally slower than fastcgi / lighttpd. For one of our pages its 25 pages per second to 27 pages per second.
  2. Apache Worker MPM module is a lot more effective than apache prefork MPM (default MPM module) in unix process management and performance. My performance tests show the worker module almost as fast as lighttpd in delivering static content. We have been able to deliver static content at 2700 req/sec. I am watching with interesting the apache’s new event MPM.
  3. Using apache / mongrel and compression, the total bytes transferred has decreased by 60% and search indexing by google has increased by 20%.
  4. Pages are snappier downloading. Our biggest page – New Zealand Place page(which is 98k compresses to 16k ) and pops back very quickly.

We’ve been very happy we the transition back to apache and I’ve been recommending it to other rails shops around town. I’ll be sticking to lighttpd to deliver our static content and I’m looking with interest at lighttpd 1.5 and will be put it up for a pepsi challenge versus apache 2.2 as soon as it hits production.

Summer of Code Seminars starting next week

Friday, December 1st, 2006

Summer of Code students are steaming ahead. We have a couple of seminars next week.

  • Rod Drury will be talking about “Snapshot of software development in New Zealand” and Nat Torkington will speak about his experiences at O’Reilly in “Start-up 101”.
  • Microsoft will be presenting “Expand your Portofolio” seminar as a part of their demonstrations of .net and other microsoft frameworks.

Pictures and posts to follow.