Nutribu is a platform for change, changing how we interact with nutrition & food.
The Nutribu platform is an API and suite of applications designed to simplify the process of understanding, tracking and monitoring what we eat.
The essence of the Nutribu iOS app is built on a few core principals:
1. Calorie counting is wrong
2. Government-issued GDAs are wrong
3. Existing products in the market are too complex, too scientific and not fun.
Our first application is built (currently) for iOS, as a way to build a library of your homecooked meals very quickly, share pictures of your meals with real-time personalised nutritional information to Instagram & Facebook, track when you eat them and monitor your progress against your own personalised daily targets.
Our lives our governed by how we use information. Time is significantly affected by how we interact with information - in that, we waste a lot of it!
Tools we use for managing information are broken. They're out of date. And the tool-makers enforce certain ways of working with information that just don't make sense for the use-case or the individual.
My team and I have this problem.
We use more and more applications, covering increasingly niche areas of our workflow. We are all conducting our own research, making our own decisions and there is very little consolidation taking place.
I wanted a way to:
And so, I created Braindu.
For the main features of Braindu, take a look at this page.
Braindu is currently being used in Private Beta, with the Arts University Bournemouth and within our existing project and client teams. The aim is to roll this out first to other higher educational institutions, creative businesses and the public in due course.
Braindu will be a commercial application, but there will always be a free component aimed at individuals.
For teams and organisations there will be a model to suit budget / features etc.
I'm also toying with the hosted service option, where you could license your own Braindu platform internally, but really testing demand for a service like that.
Register at Braindu.com if you'd like to join the BETA invite list, or ping me privately if you're desperate to rid yourself of your information overwhelm woes.
What's Under the Bonnet?
Braindu uses all the latest goodies in web app development.
Raphaeljs - A lot of the visual aspects for rendering objects and the nice object connections are done with this SVG library. It's pretty nice, but not sure if it'll survive the course (also take a look at d3).
Ruby on Rails - a whole host of Rails goodness going on in here. (I'll add more about this later).
MongoDB - SQL or noSQL, that is the question. In this case, we opted for noSQL via MongoDB, following the sound advice of the Trello team.
Heroku - the development and currently, also the live platform are both hosted on Heroku's AWS based infrastructure. Not sure for how long...
Sass - No need to explain just how great Sass is for web apps like this. No brainer.
HAML - Templating language that is annoying (gotta get those indents right) until you get to grips with it, then it's bliss for clean and elegant template code.
Jquery - A number of JQuery plugins were used, mainly for MVP feature development likely to be replaced with our own custom baked contraptions in the future.
The idea for Ruplay came about when my wife and I started taking our little boy, Rudi, to a local Playsongs group. It was run to be two wonderfully talented and passionate ladies, the content was engaging and fun for both the children and importantly, the parents WITH their children. As new parents, we came to value the sessions as a way to socialise in our local community with other families, to have fun and learn the songs, actions and instruments.
These ladies had produced a couple of CD’s of their music, which we bought to satisfy Rudi when we weren’t at the sessions and couldn’t remember the words to the favourite songs. We even played one of the CD’s non-stop on both legs of an 18-hour round trip to Scotland and Rudi was an angel the whole time.
So, I felt that more people should benefit from the high quality content these ladies and all the other ladies and gentlemen around the UK and beyond were creating, but were not able to give to the world, because local meetups and CDs were limiting their distribution.
So I built an app version of one of the CDs. Then another, then another. Then the app was advanced with additional features, interactive touch points, video and audio, favourites, playlists and more.
And so, Ruplay was born as a way to offer the technology, distribution and marketing for content creators and fantastic, original mobile music products for parents and their children.
Stuff you probably don't want to know, but I'm going to tell you anyway:
Launching the first app soon - watch this space.
Spot The Ball is a traditional 80's game that was played in newspapers - it's kinda retro which I like. No-one had done a worthy digital version, so we decided to, with a few differences.
Firstly, we paid close attention to the gameplay aspect it's super simple and very slick. You can be playing the game and spending money in 3 steps.
We wanted to ensure you are never too far away from the game screen so all the controls are right there. The gameplay of selecting a panel where you think the ball, removed from the shot, should be is highly tactile and very addictive.
The game panel is split into a grid, in this case, a 7 x 5 setup. Each panel is 400px x 400px. Therefore a 1 in 160,000 x 35 chance of getting the correct pixel, which means in a fixed odds game, you can offer great odds and create a low stake, high reward game. With fixed odds, the prize is guaranteed with no need to pool from participating users.
Before you clever dicks think that's a good idea, we have UK and international patents pending for the gameplay aspect which makes it possible to have such a game.
In order to maintain the game of skill aspect, we had to maintain the concept of the position of the ball being determined by a panel of judges. That's right, it's not simply removed from the image, as you first thought. We build a custom administration area so multiple judges could visually analyse a game with no additional visual cues (grid, co-ordinates etc.), in a time controlled environment.
When multiple judges have "judged" the position, the results are vectorised and the aggregate co-ordinates calculated, encrypted and stored within the game settings. Boom
We also built a full custom backend for the general game administration and everything else you'd expect. I'm not sure we'll be taking this to market ourselves and are currently seeking partners / operators in the gaming industry to help us go from demo to having real people spending lots of hard earned cash playing it.
Stuff you probably didn't want to know, but I'll tell you anyway:
TWiSTldn is a quarterly meetup for entrepreneurs in London, in affiliation with This Week In, and their flagship show This Week in Startups, hosted by internet entrepreneur and industry commentator Jason Calacanis.
The show is watched by more than 100,000 people per week., all around the world.
The event format is pretty unique, it's faced paced and always good fun.
We have 6 startups per event, who do a 3 minute pitch to the local meetup audience of peers, investors and other techie types. There's a 5 minute Q&A to really cut through the idea and get to the nitty gritty.
The audience then votes based on 2 criteria - The Pitch and The Idea.
The winners are decided by the studio and are invited to attend the Launch Conference, held in February-March time in San Francisco. I've been the last two years, once with TWiSTldn companies and once with my own company - it was excellent and I highly recommend it.
As a founder of the concept, I've also advised other cities who have joined the global community of meetups, including Seoul, Cape Town, Berlin, Paris, Hamburg, Santiago, Stockholm, Tokyo, Male and others.
Fidgetstick was my first personal project and foray into the digital, social world. It was my way of designing my own lifestyle and solving some problems that I cared about, breaking down barriers to participation and retention in adventure sports by;
The project is now closed, you can read about why here
And don't forget, you can read about my adventures, which was what started the whole thing anyway, right here on my blog.
NOTE: I Officially left MySpareBrain in December 2012. For my current work in this area, checkout Braindu. As far as I know, Tim intends to maintain the MySpareBrain product and website, but any inquiries about this, please contact him through the options at mysparebrain.com.
I use this app more than any other, even my email, because it's my sanctuary. I use it EVERY DAY, and so do many other people. It helps me to sleep at night knowing I kept the information I wanted, that it will update in real time and it's available on any of my connected devices.
I know where everything is, because I put it there. It's organised how my brain likes - by size, space, colour, proximity to other items, with explicit links where relevant, with my notes right there.
It doesn't force you to use Lists, which only have a top and bottom and big grey mush in the middle or Folders, which are just drop and forget black-holes of useless information.
Whether it's my chart about After Effects Resources which I use all the time especially when doing tutorials and taking notes, my Chart about why I should keep my little boy in a rear facing car seat as long as possible (turns out, you probably should), my chart about researching competitors for a new business (which I try not to worry about), my Chart about angel investors and VCs (which I'm constantly adding to and then deleting from).
Whatever it is, I know it's there just how I need it, when I want it.
Why that's good:
Stuff you probably don't need to know but I'm going to tell you anyway: