From the head via the fingers

Being on a journey of discovery is the name of the game. Building a killer platform, experience, or whatever one might wish to call them is not the aim. The aim, as some may see it, is a little more mundane, but nevertheless important. The aim is integration, integration of multiple platforms (some people can and do build them) via the APIs (most) modern systems provide.
Below are the results of these journeys, primarily for House of Cloth, however future works may sprout from these.

Project 1: Fieldbook + Shopify

Shopify, for better and worse, was selected as a website/ecommerce/pos all-in-one system about 18 months ago. While it works (mostly), there are things that aren't overly user-friendly, or are simply lacking, like assigning product SKUs based on category. Originally an SQLite database was used for this purpose, but was severely lacking in terms of what was possible (primarily due to setup). Fieldbook provides a simple path to creating a database by uploading a CSV (the hardest thing is getting the CSV up to standard). After migrating, learning how things work and expanding the database, that was the end of things. Then webhooks, APIs were discovered and explored. What now exists is a system whereby when an order is fulfilled in Shopify, or a product is updated, the quantity in Fieldbook for that product is adjusted. There are if's and else's to deal with quick-sales where an item does not exist in either system (some things just aren't worth putting in there) but the system works and come stocktake, most of the counting will have been done.

Project 2: Fieldbook + Elastic Email + Twilio

When a machine service is completed by House of Cloth, the customer is notified via phone call. Service jobs are now maintained in Fieldbook by the technician to easily track parts usage and historical records as time goes on. With a simple checkbox field and a webhook triggered on sheet update, a customer is now notified via email or via SMS, using the APIs of Elastic Email and Twilio. While Elastic Email does SMS too, text messages are sent from US numbers (the business operates in Bendigo, Australia) so Twilio was selected as they offer local mobile numbers which are only used by one entity (for a relatively small fee compared to some local service providers). While the potential for time-saving is there, only time will tell if the cost of this time-saving measure is justified.

Project 3: Twilio + Fieldbook

Built partially as a demo-system for a local business, and partially because the idea was there for the doing (a nice challenge). Fieldbook hosts a small database with customer information, (mobile number, name, address, preferred contact method [pcm]) and allows them to subscribe to various notification lists. A message is sent to a Twilio hosted number, which is forwarded to a specified webhook. This takes the body of the message and processes the commands within. The system works similar to twitter via sms accepting only a defined set of commands, in a strict format, to allow customers to add themselves to the system, update their details, subscribe to/unsubscribe from lists, and leave the system.
As an afterthought, a bridge between email and sms was built (using Elastic Email) accepting a phone number followed by system commands as the subject. Because why not.


On the drawing board is the reverse of Fieldbook + Shopify where when a product is added to inventory in Fieldbook or updated, it is automatically created/updated in Shopify. Then there is the sending out of emails/text messages to the people subscribed to a list (project 3) using Elastic Email/Twilio after pulling the lists from Fieldbook. And no doubt many more exciting times ahead.

This post also published on Bold

A couple of days ago I unlocked my iPad (using touchID), pressed the home button and swiped down on the screen using two fingers (why two?), and my screen looked a little strange.


Sometimes the strangest things happen at the strangest times. Such was an event today, in an otherwise uneventful day. While sitting inside, I observed a fly, well, flying. And into my head popped this (the first three lines immediately, the fourth a little slower, the following to verses a short times after that, once I had “sung” the first verse a couple of times).


When I set up here, I planned to write regularly (not too regularly though), however, other things took over (namely the translation of a dictionary) and so writing got relegated to the bottom of the pile (behind other important tasks such as eating, sleeping, and exercise).


Come veccio per ti? Mi star più veccio di ti. Quanto più veccio? Diciassette anni. Veccio! Muchachu!


Believe this is the most concise description I have seen.

  1. An app is complete set of functionality like a game
  2. A program is a piece of or whole of an app
  3. Programs are written with software
  4. Software is written with scripts or any one or more of various programming languages (please see my answer here: Jack Menendez's answer to In layman's terms, what are the major programming languages, and what are they used for?)
  5. A process is an isolated instance of a program running in a computer.

From: What is the difference between a program, an app, a software, a script, and a process? on Quora, question by Luca Dorigo, answer by Jack Menendez.

An odd question to ask perhaps, however, after waking up with a sore back more often than now, that was the question I asked myself.


I wrote this a few years ago, originally tweeting it (with a since deactivated account). At that time I spent more time playing on the command line than using the GUI.


While browsing the App Store, I noticed something I find a little odd, and a little annoying.

If one browses the images (screenshots) of an App[lication], the “Done” button to close and return to the app[lication] info is at the top right of screen.


My World, as I see it through your eyes Is an everlasting complex, born from that which I disguise The troubles and the painful thoughts, are a battle never won

My World, as I see it through your eyes Is a mindless mass of terror that I can never hide The feelings of a worthless bum, who wishes he could die

My World, as I see it through your eyes Will never be the happiness, for I cannot subscribe The travels of the hopeless, nothing hurts me more than to cry

My World, as I see it through your eyes Is the world that I am living, not the World I have inside.

— Coel May, 3rd December, 1999