Is Serverless the way to go? – Part 1

If you are currently in the IT business and rely on Internet infrastructure to serve data you probably know what a pain it is to manage those IT systems. Constantly having to manage servers to increase throughput, lower costs, ensure autoscaling and keep latency at bay is a tremendous effort. It has even spun a new role in the industry, the Dev Ops.

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Amazon Web Services (I’ll be using them as the example since they are the leader, but other providers have similar resources) have made giant efforts to try to help developers with this aspect. One of the resources they offer is what they call Elastic Beanstalk. This effectively is a system that allows you to provision code to a number of instances that are behind a load balancer. The load balancer is the key, as it can deploy code into instances by taking them out of the group until they are ready and it handles auto scaling. Auto scaling is handled via triggers, for instance, if you use a CPU trigger, when the overall CPU usage goes over X% the load balancer will spun a new instance with your code and add it to your group, and when it goes below X% it will remove instances. Basically, it helps you manage instances while you maintain full control of everything. So, everything covered no? Amazon felt it was so great three years ago they made a strange video with a curious voice over (honestly, with the budget these guys handle you think they could do better) you can watch below.

However, the truth is this system has immense limitations, the first of which is what happens if you get a traffic spike. When you know you are expecting heavy traffic you can get ready for it by provisioning more instances, but what when that catches you by surprise? Imagine a blog post you don’t expect or some other type of uncontrolled media like an influencer. You are basically screwed, since the load balancer is not particularly agile at sensing something that doesn’t grow in a linear fashion (it typically uses health checks every 1 to 5 minutes), so your system would probably go down as your instances serverlesswould get saturated.
So how do you solve this? How do you prepare for situations like this without having to spend vast amounts of money of infrastructure provision? One of the possibilties is going serverless, and we will analyse what it is and how it works in the next blog post 😉

 

Hope to see you there!

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Location sharing is “The next big thing”

Hello dear reader,

5b6b45f022a45f0d1b2e05a8c35f85c4It has been a busy last few weeks for many companies, it seems that they have decided that our vision for the last four years was correct and have decided to roll out location sharing in a variety of Apps. Curiously they all have understood that constant location is totally absurd, and that what users really want is a timed experience that respects privacy (Please, our dear friends at Zenly take note, constant location sharing is off the plate for most users)

The first announcement was a rumour that WhatApp was rolling this out for groups. It came out as a post on Reddit and sparked a massive privacy outrage. This is no surprise, since it was the same day they announced targeted ads. You can read more about it here: https://techcrunch.com/2017/02/03/whatsapp-tests-real-time-location-sharing-in-its-app/

The second came from Google Maps, they have decided your hangouts contacts could use a little sprucing from knowing your location, although it only works in a unidirectional paradigm (unless you both send a request). They made a funky video in a Google-style that illustrates the approach.

Last, but not least, in an attempt to copy everything that works, Facebook (or pseudo Snapchat as some people say) decided to join the party too. You can now share your live location with your messenger contacts. https://9to5mac.com/2017/03/27/facebook-messenger-live-location/

It is clear why all these big names are pursuing this, and it is clear that it is time for a leader to take the market. However, I personally wouldn’t trust those big names with my location data. After all, we have seen what and how they use it for. There is a reason why we at Wave have had this approach from the beginning, we are completely focused on being the best-most private location App. So, do yourself a favour and stay with who will never save or use your data, always use the best technology, and, why not, the cooler App ;).

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There is a reason we have been so quiet lately, so keep your eyes peeled, because we are about to make location sharing go from red hot, to absolutely scorching ;)!

Feel free to drop a line in the comments!

Until next time!

Is 2017 the year where tech will become uncomfortable?

Hello dear reader!

Once more, it is time to say goodbye to another year and prepare ourselves for the next. I have a feeling that 2017 is going to be an amazing year, but before, it is time to take a little stroll down memory lane and think about what this year will mean to the tech world.

We could probably talk about this topic endlessly, there are many blog posts that highlight all the advancements and most important milestones in technology for 2016, but I’d like to take a minute to talk about what I think is a curious trend we are seeing.

When the IPhone 7 was launched in September, it was received among mixed feelings. Some people praised the plus double camera and the water resistance it promises, but Apple decided to kill the headphone jack and sell you some ridiculously expensive AirPods. As if that wasn’t enough, the headphones that come bundled with the iPhone have problems with the audio and you are forced to un plug them and plug them back in if that happens.

Moving on, when the new MacBook where released in October, we got a fancy touch strip, which apple dubbed the “magic bar” in their everlasting pursuit of finding cool names. This was a move to tell Microsoft that they had no interest in making a device like the surface which has a touch screen tablet surface with a full laptop. Not only did they do that, but also they removed the USB ports, leaving only USB type C ports and ironically, the 3.5 mm jack. This is fun, because if you buy an iPhone 7, you cannot connect the headphones to the MacBook Pro, neither can you connect the iPhone to your laptops. Bang up job Apple!

macbook-pro

This is particularly hilarious, because Tim Cook once addressed the audience on a keynote assuring that Apple had a clear path ahead, because it wasn’t trying to make tablets into laptops and laptops into tablets. Moreover, he used an image to define the competition which you can see below.

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It’s funny though, because Microsoft Surface is on the up (they are reporting record sales compared to iPad), and the switch is mainly due to discontent with the new MacBook Pro. So one can only beg to question, who is confused? We are being imposed a new standard that might be the future, but that in the present day means we have to rely on dongles and all kinds of adapters to connect our camera, USB drives or phone to our computer. It might be the future, but do we want it today?

There an amazing video, which always manages to put a smile on a face which I think sums this all up. Hope it makes you laugh too 😉

What do you think? Are you happy with how things are moving? Or are you a bit worried about where we might be heading?

After our small rumbling, I wish you a happy new year and I hope that 2017 comes packed full of everything you desire most.

Thank you very much for reading!

See you next year!

Spanish Christmas Lottery App

It’s that time of the year when everyone starts to frantically buy Christmas lottery. It is a tradition that has been around for years and years and no one wants to be left out. It is usual that offices, gyms, coffee shops, supermarkets,etc. offer small participations and of course, hard core followers buy their own lucky numbers. There seems to be a general feeling that not buying one wherever you go could mean that you are left out in the biggest prize available (El gordo).

If you are not from Spain and would like to check out how big this is, you can watch our TV commercial from this year, which I don’t particularly like, and from the previous year (which was a masterpiece) – It seems the Spanish lottery has fallen into a Windows like type cycle, one good version and one bad version 😉 –

This year’s TV commercial:

The previous one:

The point is that many people end up with lots of number and they have to check to see if icon762xthey have won a prize. Thanks to technology, this is easier as there are webpages where you can input all the numbers and see if you have scored a lucky one. The problem is that in the end you end up retyping the same numbers again and again. With all the technological advancements we have, and having such processing power in our pockets, there had to be a simpler way we could do better. So, I teamed up with Fran, who works with me at Wave and is an awesome Android developer, to build an App that would simplify this.

I took charge of the iOS version, and he worked on the Android counterpart. The result is a visually appealing App that allows you to:

  • Check individual numbers easily
  • Saves all your history of checked numbers so that you can check them all at once.
  • Allows you to view the state of the raffle and all the prizes at just a glance.

 

The App is available on iOS and Android, and you can check it out today!

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We hope you enjoy it and find it useful!

Feel free to drop us a line with any comments!

We wish you the best of luck and a very happy Christmas!

New gimmicks for wave on iOS 10!

Following our trend of delivering the best possible performance and features for our ever-growing user base, we have decided to create a cool iOS 10 today widget. You can add this to your main screen and easily access your waves with just a tap.

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This latest release also comes with revolutionizing battery performance and a much improved under the hood contacts management.

Take for it a spin and check out the massive overhaul!

We are currently getting ready to announce extremely cool features, stay tuned 😉

Wave lands on your wrist!

Hello wavers! We have an awesome new release packed with extremely cool stuff. To celebrate that we are getting close to 4 million users, we decided to treat you guys to awesome new features in this update. Get ready for a whole new level of Wave!

How many times a day do you look at your wrist? Well that is about to change, because we now have a full fledged Apple Watch companion App to take your Wave experience to the next level! Enjoy the features you love without having to take your phone out of your pocket! Check out how cool it looks below!

 

 

However, the fun doesn’t stop there, are you one of the lucky ones with an iPhone 6s? Well we have a surprise for you, you can now use 3D touch to peek at Waves, and we now support Quick actions from our App logo, so that you can easily access the Waves with your favourite contacts.

In addition, all the maps have been overhauled, as we now support flyover to make it better than ever to find your friends. We have also taken the chance to make under the hood improvements and bug fixes to ensure your experience is as great as possible.

Download Wave now and enjoy all of our cool features in version 2.3.0 by clicking on the awesome image below!

wave download cool

HTML5AppTester – The iOS App to test PhoneGap Apps

Hello again!

As many of you know, I am close to finishing my Master degree the UNED (National University of Distance Education). This obviously meant going through a Master Thesis, and this where things get really interesting. At UNED, the IT department is really focused on building online laboratories that students can access and use at any given time, they call this RELATED (REmoted Laboratory ExtendeD). The laboratories are essentially small apps that the students can interact with. As part of a previous Master Thesis, a module called App Builder was implemented, this allowed students to transform, the laboratories into Apps they could install on their mobile devices. This worked thanks to the PhoneGap Build API.

The Apps were essentially HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript, so they could be transformed into an App that could access the device’s hardware by creating a PhoneGap config.xml and making some minor adjustments. The first version was pretty straightforward, but lacked personalization options and iOS support. And this is where I came in ;).

My first task was to to allow further personalization, allowing users to upload their own icon and splashscreen and provide a much more robust experience. The system was overhauled by redoing the frontend structure and the server that managed all the tasks. This was hard work, but a problem remained unsolved, what should we do with iOS?

AppIcon76x76@2xThe problem with iOS is that for PhoneGap to build an App, it requires the developer certificates. That means that you need an iOS Developer license and a Mac computer. This is one hell of an investment for someone who just wants to tinker with a PhoneGap App on iOS. That made me think, what if we could make something simpler? Something that allowed a web developer to upload their PhoneGAp App to any FTP server and test it on their iOS device. Well, the answer to this question is my new App HTML5AppTester. This is a system that will allow RELATED students to test their laboratory Apps on any platform, but will also allow any web developer to test their PhoneGap iOS on a physical iOS device easily. You don’t even have to type in the server address and can directly scan a QR code. You can check out a demo below:

You can also take a look at the screenshots below.

 

The App is free on the App Store. Hope you enjoy it and I can’t wait to see what it helps you build!

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