Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Back(?) at work.

Ok, so we're back from Macworld. Well, I'm not actually "back," as I've discussed at length. But Tim and Drew and Mike are.

Tim and Mike got deathly ill after a week of running around and partying non-stop. I guess I should feel bad for them, but I've really having trouble generating the necessary amounts of pity. Tim's still out sick, so he hasn't resumed work on v1.5 yet, but he got a great start on it back in December (before we got distracted getting some Tiger demos ready). Right now it'll hit a bunch of servers automatically, but it does NOT yet go to the 'correct' server first (based on the EAN) not does it yet have the ability to add in data from auxiliary servers when a primary server returns 'partial' results. (Eg, hitting IMDB after hitting Amazon for movies, to get more complete star names.) For IMDB in particular, there's an extra problem -- their stuff isn't free. We're going to have to license it to use it. I know lots of other apps use IMDB anyways, but we're popular enough now that we're a huge target; if they sued us we'd be in BIG trouble, having knowingly infringed on a copyright.

Hey, here's a thought: since Amazon owns IMDB, why doesn't Amazon update its database to contain the information from IMDB? (Answer: Who knows? But our Amazon support guy is really great, so we'll be pinging him about this over the next couple months.)

Right now Mike's working on a new version of our embedded store that will allow people to buy scanners AFTER they buy a license (revolutionary!) and will allow us to offer "family packs," while at the same time being even simpler than the current store. He's really anxious to start Delicious Library 2.0 and Delicious Secret Squirrel 1.0 (not its real name), because in 1.5 he doesn't have much to do. His input into 1.5: "Hey, can you make it so it just figures out in which country it should look up items without involving any UI? Ok, great. Let's see... now I have no UI to design, so I think I'll sit here and eat chips."

No, that's not true; Mike almost never eats chips. You should see him tear through fried tofu, though. He's like that tasmanian devil from the old Warner's cartoons.

The new store should be in 1.5. This store is NOT going to have the competitive upgrade licenses any more, so if you still want them (yes, I'm talking to both of you out there), get 'em now. Or, really, sometime before mid-February.


Mike and I have talked a lot about Delicious Library 2.0 on wired.com and slashdot.com, respectively. I'd like to weasel a bit here and point out that although we have a ton of lofty goals that we're calling "2.0," not all of them will actually be in "2.0" the product. We'd love it if they were, but PLEASE don't buy the app based how cool you think 2.0 might be. If you like what 1.0 does, buy it now, and if you think 2.0 sounds like the first version that will be useful to you, then go ahead and wait. We have enough money now to fund 2.0's development, so (barring unforeseen circumstances lawyer talk blah blah blah) you're gonna see a 2.0. Even if I die tomorrow, Tim's so on the ball that he could do 2.0 by himself and it'd be pretty darn good. Actually, he'd probably end up making a lot more money that way, too, so this whole "me dying" thing would really work out for him.


Drew started answering support e-mail in earnest again, so if you wrote us over Macworld or shortly before, don't despair. Remember, we're a tiny company, but we have lots of heart.

I worked all weekend and yesterday merging in Tim's changes to 1.5 to the stuff he fixed for 1.1, so when we release 1.5 it won't be a big step backwards, bug-wise. (I've been working on the store, so you guys haven't really seen much from me. Except for the link-to-Amazon buttons in the table view -- those are mine.) So, now the code's all ready for him to go, when he's un-sick again. He claims he'll be ready by tomorrow. I told him, "Look, just concentrate on getting better, because the most important thing is that if you don't check in some code by Wednesday at noon I'll fire your butt." That's just the kind of boss I am!

I've got another day or so of doing store back-end maintenance, then I'm working on 1.5 full-time with Tim. This'll be the first time both of us are working full-time on the same project, so I think we'll get a ton done in the next month. Or, we'll kill each other. I hope the former. I really want 1.5 to be the halo release for the 1.x series, but that means it has to be really solid.