Monthly Archives: February 2012

Fun with analytics: pitting Hacker News and /r/programming against each other

I noticed a weird anomaly in my analytics today. It started shortly after midday EST on Monday, and lasted for approximately 24 hours. What was the shape of this crazy UFO-style disturbance? Something like this:

I call it the snapped hockey stick.

The anomaly was my post about making custom maps for my app, Taxonomy. I submitted it to both Hacker News and /r/programming, and to my surprise it was a hit in both. So, delving through the figures, I thought we could have a little fun, and compare Hacker News to /r/programming- the figures, the discussions, and which of you are nice and voted for my app. Continue reading

I had no idea how to make custom maps, so I learnt by doing. You should too.

Lately, I’ve been making an app called Taxonomy. It’s designed to make your taxi experience better- a traveling companion, if you will. Going by the logic that a lot of people (in New York, at least) only really travel in taxis when out at night, I decided that it ought to have a dark colour scheme. Not morbid dark, but, y’know, “mischievous things happen at night” dark. I mostly succeeded- styling my logo, headers and buttons in a dark monochrome with some bright yellow highlights (it is a taxi app, after all), but every time I wanted to show the user’s current location this ridiculously bright Google Map showed up and ruined my carefully cultivated style. Something had to be done.

I played around with the styling options Google Maps now provides. It’s powerful, but it still wasn’t enough. The fonts were wrong, the options were difficult to tweak, and- as I was quickly discovering- the Google Maps API doesn’t even perform that well on mobile devices. I remembered back to a Hacker News post I’d seen some weeks earlier about TileMill, and the beautiful maps I’d seen created with it. Now, I’m just a web developer- I’ve done enough projects to know what latitude and longitude are, but that’s about the extent of my knowledge. Despite that, I decided to dive in and give it a try. How hard could it be? Continue reading