Sunday, November 30, 2008

Progress being made

Some of us have spent the long weekend discussing technical background details (we have folks involved from around the globe), and we even coded up a "proof of concept" prototype. We don't have any kind of timeframe for you yet, but we'll let you know here and at mysandy on twitter once we have an alpha for folks to test (don't expect it too soon - it's finals time for some of us).

If you are a fan of Sandy, let us know here or at mysandy on twitter what features are most important to you, highest priority for us to focus on implementing first. Note that we won't be able to recreate all of Sandy's full feature-set for a first release. So it's helpful to know from you what your priorities are. Please keep in mind we'll need to provide features based on what's available to us open source and free, for now, so that will be a constraint on what features are in the first release.

At some point, we may discuss how to "monetize" the project in some way in order to support features we can't provide for free (possibly offer both a free and a paid level of service? This is just brainstorming at this point!) We'll figure that bit out later and get community feedback on it before making any final decisions.

Thanks to all for your support and patience while we work to get something up and running. We miss Sandy and want to have her services back quickly too.

If you are a developer and want to contribute to the project, email one of us or post a comment here and we'll get you on the group.

Still alive

None of us have posted anything in a few days, so here's a little status report on the "sandysback" project.  This is for all you folks who aren't following the mailing list religiously.

We're trying to decide on our platform.  The Python language is pretty much a given, and I'm looking forward to working on a real project with it.  But, after that, it gets a little hazy.  Google App Engine is a candidate, but Django/MySQL is a possibility too.  We're also compiling a list of important features that our first release has to include.  We then need to prioritize that list and assign milestones.

So where's the code?  Where's the new Sandy?  Please be patient.  We're taking planning very seriously on this project.  We have to if we're going to deliver an application that can scale to the hundreds (if not thousands) of passionate Sandy refugees out there.

I expect we'll be designing a database schema this week, and we'll probably start architecting everything else later this week or next weekend.  We probably wont have anything usable until the first of the year at the very earliest.  Again, we don't want to rush this.

Thanks for your interest!

Thanks for your patience!

And, most of all, thanks for believing in us!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Who is this Dave guy anyway?

I thought I'd introduce myself, so everyone knows me as more than just "that guy from the Sandy forums".  I'm Dave Ross, and I'm a professional web developer.  That means I write the code that makes web sites go, whether it's a custom Content Management System, a Drupal module, or a completely custom application altogether.  My resume spans ten years of work in Java and PHP, including three years with a large online retailer.

My wife is a wonderfully geeky woman, and we live with our three cats in the Chicago suburbs.  I run the West Suburban Chicago PHP Meetup, and we both volunteer at our local cat shelter.  I love b-movies, especially Ed Wood's campy classics, as well as the obligatory Star Trek and Doctor Who.  In fact, we're on our way out the door in a few minutes to go to Chicago TARDIS, one of the biggest Doctor Who conventions in the US.  Lastly, I'm very interested in the history of computers, and encourage everyone to visit the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA if they ever get the chance.

I was one of Sandy's biggest fans, which is why Rael asked me to be a "non-employee deputy" on the Get Satisfaction site.  I'm familiar with a lot of features people wanted from Sandy, as well as things they didn't like.  I'm hoping to bring this knowledge along with my m@d Sk1lls to this project.

You can learn even more about me from my blog at

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wanted to hire: a responsive admin assistant!

The outpouring of emotion on the get satisfaction thread in regards to the Sandy shutdown really surprised me. I like Sandy, and I like the anthropomorphic feel to it, but I realise that it was a free service and sadly it couldn't last.

I then decided to have a look around and see if I could find anything that worked just like Sandy. Alas, there seems to be nothing. There are similar services, but nothing the same. Also, there were some features that I wish Sandy had (like support).

So... I figured that the only option was to "roll my own" so to speak. I don't have a lot of time, but I figured that a little investment now will hopefully pay off later with a great application that does exactly what I want, and can be changed by the world at large.

Oh, and who am I? My name is Trevor Glen and I am an entrepreneur and a geek at heart.

Thanks and kudos to Anna and Alex who've done all the leg work so far! Cheers!

Why Open Source

Open Source means that we, as a community, can create something that belongs *to the community* and that isn't going to be sold out under us. Open Source is free, sometimes free as in beer, generally free as in freedom, but mostly, free as in kittens. ;-)

Open Source means we can create something for ourselves, with your help. Tell us what you need. Help us make it better. We'll be investigating the appropriate licensing for Sandysback but I assure you, it will be one which allows for new people to take the project over if we get too busy.

So far we have three people involved. I'll let the others introduce themselves.

I'm a pythonista - very much into the Python Programming Language. I've studied Java, C++ and C, but strongly prefer Python. I'm currently a student at Stanford.

And now I've got to go get Thanksgiving dinner under way. Ciao for now.