24 Sep 2012

Two side project ideas

Inspired by Balkan's Side project ideas I am giving away, here are some of the ideas I have worked on at a time, didn't see it through and not planning to work on anytime soon.

Who Called?

Won't it be nice to be able to access a list of those who tried calling you when your phone number is not available? There is something similar on my Etisalat plan - sms notifications for my missed calls but on top of that, what about something that cuts across every network (and plan) and a website you can manage the call history from? You may add the sms notifications too.

The architecture is not rocket science. The way it works is that the user sets his/her forward-to-when-busy/unavailable-number (available on most phones via Settings -> Call -> Divert/Forwarding) to a specific number. The number tracks and records the 'from' number (the caller) and the 'forwarded from' number (the number called). A lot of IVR companies provide such numbers. Twilio works like a charm. When I tested on Tropo, the 'forwarded from' wasn't logged. A work-around on Tropo will be to have a dedicated number for each user. That way, no need to track the 'forward from' number. More cost though.

One more note, I had issues with setting the forward-to-when-busy/unavailable-number to an international number on MTN. I kept getting an invalid number response. It worked well on Etisalat though. I didn't try on the other networks.

Tweet Stream

The idea is a simpler and cleaner Twitterfall with better UX. The target will be primarily for events though (#momoNigeria as an example). Most importantly is a rich analytics featuring:

  • Total contributors
  • Tweet locations
  • Total tweets
  • Separate media (picture/video) grid
  • And a couple of others

A point of reference is the twitter streaming API. Don't forget that the underlying programming language should be able to keep alive the http connection for incoming data stream. Try not to break the new Twitter API guidelines as well.

That is all for now. There are a couple of other ideas I will find time to post.


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My name is Opeyemi Obembe. I build things for web and mobile and write about my experiments. Follow me on Twitter—@kehers.


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