News, ideas and randomness

Winning: Grand Challenge place at Singularity University

Posted: October 10th, 2013 | Author: Andrew Gleave | Filed under: Company, portfolio, singularity | No Comments »

I found out (on the day my son was born!), that I’d won one of two places on the Isle of Man Grand Challenge!

The Grand Challenge is an initiative being run by the Isle of Man Department of Economic Development and supported by Poker Stars which includes a 7-day placement at Singularity University as part of the Executive Program in December!

While there, we’ll be learning from some of the leading lights of the technology industry about biotech, AI/machine learning, nanotechnology and much more. It’s an amazing personal opportunity, and one which we hope can help inspire technological innovation on the Isle of Man.

I’ll be going with Owen Cutajar (also a winner) and will be reporting on what we learn and the amazing insights throughout the week.

More soon…

Flip Maps – Simple location bookmarking and sharing for iPhone

Posted: December 30th, 2011 | Author: Andrew Gleave | Filed under: Uncategorized, iphone, portfolio | Tags: , , | No Comments »

I’m pleased to announce that Flip Maps is now on the App Store! (link)

Flip Maps lets you bookmark places you have visited and share them with others. Each new place is added as a page to your notebook so you can quickly flick through all of your maps to find the one you want. Maps can be organised by title, city or region, and when you create a new map, you can attach a photo or movie to it as well as giving it a name and adding notes.

You can see your current location on each map, and get directions.

Flip Maps came about when I was looking for a way to keep track of the great places I went to when I was in New York this September. Trying to remember exactly where a restaurant was quite difficult, and what I really wanted an app I could open up, it would pick up my current location, I could give the place a name add some notes about how great it was, maybe take a photo of it, and save it for future. So, a couple of months after getting back, I still couldn’t find a simple app which would do what I needed and looked nice, so I decided to build one!

Gorgeous page turn animations!

Sort and order your maps by title, city and region

I wanted the app to feel like a little notebook crammed full of maps, so we’ve put a lot of effort in to making the app great to use and look and the same fluid page turn animation that iBooks uses to make it feel like you’re really flipping though pages of notebook.

Maps are shared via email and the recipient just has to tap on the attachment to import it in to their copy of Flip Maps. It’s quick and simple and makes it easy to send maps (and their attached photo/movie) to friends and family without signing up to anything.
Also, maps can been created even if you don’t have a data connection since Flip Maps can still get your location from GPS. So, even if you can’t see the map you can still save it and Flip Maps will get the address information and map tiles the next time you go online!

I have some great ideas for future improvements to the app, but we’re always happy to get feedback and comments!

You can download Flip Maps from the App Store now.

The Open Elm Project

Posted: October 24th, 2011 | Author: Andrew Gleave | Filed under: Django, Uncategorized, couchdb, mobile app, portfolio | No Comments »

This is a blog post which is well overdue.

In April we launched the Open Elm Project which, in collaboration with the Isle of Man Department of Environment, Food & Agriculture, enables the public to monitor and record the Isle of Man’s Elm tree population and report potential outbreaks of Dutch Elm Disease.

Unlike the UK, the Island has been largely unaffected by Dutch Elm Disease and has a population of ~200,000 trees. Unfortunately, the disease is on the rise and although the Isle of Man Government has done a sterling job of controlling and mitigating it’s impact, budget constraints have reduced the funds available for regular professional tree surveys meaning little is known about how quickly or to where the disease is spreading.

Early in the year we approached the Government with a concept: give the public simple tools which they can use to help the fight against the disease and report suspected outbreaks. The idea comprised of a website and two apps for iPhone and Android devices which can be used to find out information about Dutch Elm Disease and record sightings of diseased (or healthy) trees. To our delight, the Government jumped at the chance to participate in the project.

We build a site which enables people to get information about Elm trees and about Dutch Elm Disease itself, and learn how to spot the signs of the disease. We also build two mobile apps (another first for the IoM Government), which enables people to record sightings while they’re out in the countryside.

Using the apps users can take a picture of the tree(s), choose whether it requires inspection and submit it for review by the DEFA team. The records are automatically geotagged by the phone’s GPS radio, so the team can see where the tree is to an accuracy of ~10m on the site’s Google Map – much better than a grid reference!

All reports are first reviewed by the DEFA team and are then made public on the site’s report map and in the mobile apps themselves.

From the off, we wanted this project to be the Isle of Man’s first Open Data project and we released all the source code, and have documented how to get direct access to the database – everything about the project is fully open and transparent.

The project was build entirely using Open Source technology: Django, CouchDB, PhoneGap, jQuery Mobile and the source code is licensed under the GPL. We encourage others who think this type of project could be beneficial to their cause to use the code as they see fit.

The project announcement proved a hit with it being reported by the BBC and by numerous sources in the US and we’ve had a great uptake for such a new project.

Since the disease is hard to spot during the winter months, we’ll be promoting the project with urgency next spring and hope to get a loyal band of contributors to help preserve these trees.

Finding your nearest Diet Club

Posted: April 7th, 2011 | Author: Scott Barnham | Filed under: portfolio | No Comments »

A few months ago we developed a simple proximity search or “find your nearest” site for online marketing consultants OLCM. The site helps you find the nearest diet class from clubs like Weight Watchers and Rosemary Conley.

I’m pretty happy with the project. It was done in a short time and reasonable budget, but made to be reusable across different niches.

We used Django with some customisations to admin so that data can be uploaded from csv files. The proximity search uses a postcode-to-lat/lng database for when a postcode is entered and geocoding from Google Maps when a place name is entered.

The site is proving popular so far and we hope it will be a great success.

Mobile ticketing from TicketSense

Posted: February 1st, 2011 | Author: Scott Barnham | Filed under: portfolio | No Comments »

It’s always nice to see innovation in an established industry. Selling tickets for events hasn’t changed much until recently when the web and mobile phones made it cheaper and easier to sell tickets directly to customers.

TicketSense is a UK company which helps event organisers and venues sell tickets direct to customers’ mobile phones. It’s automated and pretty slick: Customers text a keyword like ‘thewho’ to a special number to buy a ticket. They can pay by credit card, PayPal, or on their phone bill. The ticket is sent to them as an SMS text message with a barcode image attached – no need to print and distribute paper tickets.

When the customer gets to the gig/event, they show the barcode on the screen of their phone and the door staff scans it with a barcode scanner.

We helped TicketSense by developing a barcode scanning app for Windows and Mac OS X which integrates with their ticketing backend. Door staff or event managers download the list of tickets sold, then scan them at the door, which checks them against the list.

We made the app simple to use with an obvious interface that’s easy to read in low-light conditions. We developed using XULRunner to make a single cross-platform application.

The guys at TicketSense knew what they wanted and were a pleasure to work with. We got some great feedback from them about the quality of our work and responsiveness.

London Taxi Quotes and Bookings

Posted: August 9th, 2010 | Author: Scott Barnham | Filed under: Django, portfolio | No Comments »

If you’re looking for a taxi in London, check out Tick Tock Taxi, the new taxi booking site recently launched by our friends at mochii.

Instant Fare Quote

Enter the address you’re at and where you want to go and the site gives you an instant quote for a mini-cab. Booking is easy, just enter your name and phone number.

Tick Tock Taxi

Behind the scenes, there’s a database of cab companies, the nearest of which is notified and will contact you within minutes. It’s a simple and painless way to find the cost and book your taxi. There’s a mobile version under development, too.

Fun Project

We did the web programming for the site using Django. It integrates with Google Maps for the address lookups (geocoding) and to find the distance by road for the fare calculation (using Google Maps directions). It uses an SMS gateway to send text messages to customers and taxi companies.

Tick Tock Taxi was conceived by mochii who also provided the design work. They called us in to do the web development side and we’re happy to be involved.

Do you have an innovative website, web-based or mobile app? Get in contact.

Dynamic Data Filtering for

Posted: July 14th, 2010 | Author: Scott Barnham | Filed under: portfolio | No Comments »

We’ve worked on the site for several years, since it was taken over by web marketing experts Quality Nonsense. It started as a tool to tell you which web hosting company is hosting any site, but has changed and expanded in scope and usefulness, adding honest reviews and special offer hosting coupons over the last couple of years.

Hosting Comparison Tool

A few months ago we helped launch the new hosting comparison tool which filters tens of thousands of data points to tell you which web hosting company is best for you. Our role was to develop the comparison engine and super-slick dynamic interface which updates the list of suitable hosts as you click features and criteria that are important to you.

Data Update Interface

Behind the scenes, the team at add web hosting plans and regularly update masses of data using an interface we developed. All changes are logged, checked and approved before going live on the site.


The site uses PHP and MySQL. Much of the work for the hosting comparison tool was client-side, using JavaScript and the MooTools library. The filter uses ajax to update the list of hosts without reloading the page making it quick and simple to compare and contrast hosts.

Job Done is probably the largest site we regularly work on and Quality Nonsense is a great client. We’re happy with the work we’ve done and it has been well received by testers and reviewers.

Legends of Suzuki iPhone Apps

Posted: June 17th, 2010 | Author: Andrew Gleave | Filed under: iphone, mobile, portfolio | No Comments »

We recently had the privilege of working with Suzuki UK developing two iPhone applications to complement their Legends of Suzuki exhibition at the Manx Museum. Suzuki have a long and illustrious history at the Isle of Man TT and 2010 is their 50 year anniversary and they wanted to provide an interactive element to their exhibition.

The Legends of Suzuki exhibition at the museum comprises all sorts of Suzuki memorabilia, from the bike Mike Hailwood rode in his final TT victory in 1979 , to leathers, helmets and bikes from many other TT champions stretching back to the 1963 50cc winner Mitsuo Ito. If you’re on the Island and are a TT fan, you should certainly check it out!

Working with Manx National Heritage, who provided the content, we built an audio guide app which provides commentary and information for some of the exhibits and a “Gallery Tour” app which includes photos, information and video of covering significant events in Suzuki’s history at the Isle of Man TT.

The gallery app has rare and early photos of the first Suzuki team in 1960 as well video clips of Mike Hailwood, the 1960’s riders, Mick Grant, and more recent stars such as Cameron Donald and Bruce Anstey.

Both free can be downloaded now from the App Store:

Legends of Suzuki Exhibition Archive Gallery

Legends of Suzuki Exhibition Audio Tour

We also built a simple web-based version of the audio tour app for iPhone and Android (2.0+) users which is virtually identical to the native iPhone app. Go to on your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or Android phone to check it out!

We had great fun making the apps, we hope you find them useful.

Just Released: Ronaldsway Airport iPhone App

Posted: June 14th, 2010 | Author: Andrew Gleave | Filed under: cocoa, iphone, mobile, portfolio | Tags: | No Comments »

We’ve just released a simple iPhone app for Ronaldsway Airport here on the Isle of Man.

The application is free, simple, and quick, and shows arrival and departure information for flights to and from the Island helping you keep up to date while on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.

If you live on the Island or are visiting, you can download it from the App Store here.

Simple iPhone & iPad Video Streaming with Streamory

Posted: April 20th, 2010 | Author: Andrew Gleave | Filed under: Company, iphone, mobile, portfolio, streamory | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments »

For the last couple of months we’ve been working on technology to enable anyone to stream live and pre-recorded video to iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices.

Today, we’re pleased to announce Streamory, our in-alpha service which lets users easily stream their own video and audio to the iPhone with only a couple of clicks. Streamory takes the hard work of configuring and setting up a streaming infrastructure, and instead lets you simply upload a video or input stream and, with a single click, publish a stream for use in your site or iPhone / iPad app.

Simple iPhone and iPad media streaming service

You can check our simple web-based demo iPhone app on the Streamory site – make sure you’re using an iPhone or iPad for best experience, though! The demo app demonstrates some different types of output Streamory can generate, as well as adaptive bandwidth streams which give you higher or lower quality content automatically as available bandwidth changes.

We’ve already got some great ideas to make it easy for users to create iPhone-ready video streams without the fuss, but we’d love to hear what you think so get in touch and let us know! :)

We’re not ready for beta testers yet, but if you’d be interested in participating, drop us a line and we’ll get back to you when we’re ready.

Andrew Gleave is the lead developer of iPhone and mobile apps at Red Robot Studios. Considering developing a mobile app? Contact Red Robot Studios to see how we can help.