Saturday, August 6, 2011

Would you want online backup?

I currently utilizes Microsoft's Windows Azure cloud platform for the back end of the Serenity Carb Counter. I am very satisified with their cloud solution. I was thinking about adding online backup to the Serenity Carb Counter. When a user buys a new phone, they want access to their history and their favorites. I have a couple of questions for the users:
  1. Would you be OK with me storing a copy of your local database in the cloud? It would only be accessible by you. I would perform the uploads over a secured socket layer for additional security.
  2. Would you be willing to pay an additional $1 for this feature as an "in-app" purchase? Cloud hosting fees are not cheap, since it is very reliable. Storage also costs extra.
This feature would also allow me to build tools for users that change platform. If you had an Android phone and bought a Windows Phone, I could probably handle the conversion in the cloud.

Thanks everyone,

Ryan

Friday, August 5, 2011

Serenity Carb Counter v1.0.2.6 Releases! Thank you all for contributing to the database!

Last week I released version 1.0.2.6 of the Serenity Carb Counter to the Android Market. It includes the following new features:
  • Users can now submit manual entries to the global database for everyone's benefit
  • Favorites can now be filtered for faster navigation
  • I made the History activity a tabbed activity. It now contains a tab that plots your net carbs consumed versus your target.
  • I made the error messages more user friendly. If you didn't have a good signal, it would inform you the host could not be resolved. It now provides a better message indicating you have  no connection to the Internet.
  • Favorites are now editable.
  • Manual entries now allow you to specify the serving size.
The first release of 1.0.2.x was actually 1.0.2.3. It is possible that you may have had to upgrade twice over the weekend instead of once. I apologize for that; a friendly user from Qu├ębec found a bug in the new version that affected new installers of the application and informed me.

The Serenity Carb Counter is my first Android application; I am still new to developing on this platform. I test as much as I possibly can, and so far I have not received any crash reports. I was unaware that the database upgrade scripts were not run on new installs. I corrected the issue within three hours of being notified. Thank you Rejean for contacting me rather than hitting me with a one star review. I really appreciate that. I am a one man show, and I do the best I can to provide you a quality user experience.

I would also like to point out that most of the new features were requested by the users. There are almost 650 users of the application now, but I have received feedback from less than 1%. I love user feedback, even if it is negative.

There is one feature that I added that benefits both myself and all of you; the ability to submit foods to the global database. This is a Web 2.0 type of architecture where the community drives and improves the system.

So far I am happy with this new feature. First, I like to see that some of your are contributing to the database. Second, based on the submissions you are all doing the diet properly. Someone submitted a meal from El Pollo Loco to the database. I eat there three times a week, so I was happy to see some people like the same foods as me. I plan on submitting the rest of their items this weekend.

I would also like to point out that all submissions are anonymous. I do not associate the submission with your Google Account or anything else. In order to do that, the application would require an additional permission on install granting me access. I plan on keeping it completely anonymous.

Most of the negative reviews the Serenity Carb Counter receives points out that the Foods database is not as large as it should be. I am hoping all of you will help me improve it with the latest release. I tried to negotiate a nutrition information database from someone, but they won't part with it for anything less than a five-figure number that I cannot afford at this time.

Thank you all, and I hope you have continued success on the low-carb diet.

Please take the time to review Serenity Carb Counter on the Android Market.