Keeping busy this past year...

12 months ago I was primarily doing consulting work for Bit.ly and putting together the beginnings of my own start up Digital Mechanical (the corp. entity behind knowabout.it).

Since that time, I applied for and got rejected for the initial NYC TechStars program, ended my contract with bit.ly to focus on Digital Mechanical, pitched in with some consulting work for PlayPhilo, and am now also pitching in on some work for another interesting company (that I can’t publicly name yet).

Throughout that time, I’ve kept busy on the coding and project front…here’s a quick list of things I remember building in the past 12 months:

1. bit.ly PHP api library (available on github – https://github.com/Falicon/BitlyPHP)

2. bit.ly Adium plugin (available in Adium plugin directory – http://www.adiumxtras.com/index.php?a=xtras&xtra_id=7632)

3. bit.ly v0 bundles api (not sure if it’s still used, but you can find bundles at – http://bitly.com/bundles)

4. bit.ly v0 prototype of brand tracking/alerting (completely redone and improved within bit.ly; released to the general public about a month ago)

5. bit.ly recommendation chrome extension (never released)

6. reach.tv prototype (acquired as part of PlayPhilo by LocalResponse). This was a team effort that involved a lot more people than just me…I was brought in primarily because of my experience with building things on top of the Twitter and Facebook API and my knowledge of MongoDB and Tornado (Python).  We spent about a month building up the prototype but were acquired by LocalResponse before we could officially release (as I was just a consultant, I was not involved or included in the acquisition).

7. emailbrawl.com (including chrome extension). I continue to want to build a casual, social, brawling game (herobrawl being one former attempt)…this time around, I decided to include email and chrome extensions as ways to let players engage…and I plan to continue to expand on this game/idea over time. At the moment, it’s in a stable v0.1 state and can be played (though very few people actually know about or play it yet).

8. fuzzypop.com - I’ve built the core functionality for a distributed micro-payment system for content and am really looking forward to getting time to flesh this out a bit more in the coming months. At the moment it’s at a stable v0.01 and can be used to earn fuzzypop credits for content you publish/promote.

9. halfbite.com - I built this entirely out of need for knowabout.it so that we could track who was doing what within the system (and eventually use that data to improve our recommendations). However, tracking itself was not a core feature of knowabout.it so I built it from the start as a stand alone web service (so, if nothing else, I could easily plug it into some of my other projects). This now plays an important part in the back end of fuzzypop and a ‘yet to be named’ project I’m involved in as well as remaining an important part of the knowabout.it process.

10. uridata.com - I built this orig. to help power some of the other wow.ly stuff I’ve built in the past, but really ramped it up over this past year to help support the larger needs of knowabout.it as well. This system has quietly collected details on over 200,000,000 links this past year and has gobs of potential just waiting to be explored in more depth (if nothing else, it probably has one of the most complete sets of short to long url mappings of any system on the internet and can be used to do reverse mapping of such data as needed [for example, I can give it a long url and find out all the short urls that are associated with it]).

11. santahelp.me (including android and iPhone apps) - This idea has been sitting around in my head for over a year now and I finally just got it out there. It’s a weak v1 but it’s out there and I’m excited to see how people react to it.  If it gets the love from the people, I’ll commit some time to improving it to a v2 and beyond and might even spend some time trying to make some money with it (it’s one of the few apps I have right now that has a quick, easy, and obvious route to revenues with wish lists, affiliate programs, and advertising options).

12. knowabout.it - I continue to work on evolving and improving this system at least a little every day. We are still small and honestly are struggling a bit to cover the server costs out of pocket (the main reason we are out there seeking investment) but we are collecting and processing millions of links a day now and generating thousands of clicks a day (so the future still looks very bright if we can just afford to keep the servers going and the product evolving).

13. disqus downcase chrome extension - I’m a fairly active member of the community on avc.com and as such, I answered a random request for this chrome extension. It was easy to build (and I had 90% of the concepts and code already done because of the emailbrawl extension I had just built). It’s one of those build and forget projects.

14. avc.com PDF (available at http://wow.ly/avc.pdf) - Another project related to the avc world, I really just wanted a way to catch up on some of the history myself (and I wanted some content I could read on my iPad when waiting an hour for my son’s Karate class each Sat. through the spring). It was another mostly build and forget type of project (though tech. I can and prob. will build PDF’s of other blogs with the same basic code base down the road).

15. Python lib for Angel List api (available on github – https://github.com/Falicon/AngelList) - I built this as a support library for a new project that I haven’t mentioned in public yet (can you guess what it might be?!).  I’m spending a decent amount of my free time ramping the related project up right now, so look for more details on this in the next month or two.

I think that’s about it…there were/are a few other little things I did or helped out on here and there, but either I’m not officially allowed to mention them (because of contracts) or my contributions weren’t really significant enough to warrant mention.

I should also mention that I didn’t spend all my time just building stuff…sometimes, though rarely, I kill stuff too.  This past year, I officially killed off two of my long running projects pu.ly and statsfeed.com.

Pu.ly was a personal favorite that I got a lot of use out of, but was no longer needed as Twitter finally started offering the service directly (and though not a lot, running the service did cost me about $50 a month so there was no reason to keep putting out that money)

Statsfeed was, at one time, a true cash cow for me and so it was a tough call to finally kill it. In fact, I let it sit idle for a year before officially killing it (even though I kept the service running this past year, I really killed it last year when I turned away all clients because I didn’t have the time/interest in supporting it).

The stats business as a whole has gotten a lot better and cheaper over the past 10 years, and the need for statsfeed specifically (as well as my interest in the stats/sports business) has really died down. On the plus side, I’ve enjoyed being able to go back to just being a die-hard fan who watches the games without stress of keeping systems alive.

…so that’s what I’ve been up to the last 12 months or so related to code (I do have an awesome wife and two amazing sons that I do things with away from the computer too)…it’s been a fun, interesting, and financially draining 12 months where I’ve learned a lot and am proud of the things I’ve built or started to build…and I’m really looking forward to seeing what I can do in the next 12 months!

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This is the personal blog of Kevin Marshall (a.k.a Falicon) where he often digs into side projects he's working on for digdownlabs.com and other random thoughts he's got on his mind.

Kevin has a day job as CTO of Veritonic and is spending nights & weekends hacking on Share Game Tape. You can also check out some of his open source code on GitHub or connect with him on Twitter @falicon or via email at kevin at falicon.com.

If you have comments, thoughts, or want to respond to something you see here I would encourage you to respond via a post on your own blog (and then let me know about the link via one of the routes mentioned above).