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Yay, First Database Outage

Awesome. Cheap hosting is ruining my prototype. The db keeps going offline, throwing all sorts of errors. Frustrating to be trying to test updates when everything is broken. BLAH.

Can’t wait to get a Beta version together to justify getting off cheap hosting and into the cloud, or dedicated hosting. I guess I’m more excited about users and having a Beta product than hosting. Same difference, I guess!

Ranking Content

It’s hard to imagine my business being successful without smartly ranking the relevant content. Users want to see content that A) is relevant B) “top” or “hot” or “popular” and C) is prioritized. What that means is that a user is expecting what they see to be ordered by how much they care about the story, how much the world cares, and how relevant it is to them. There’s a lot to it. I’ve thought about how affinity to a band plays a role. As does historical and recent listen history. It gets real complicated, real quick. I think in the short-term, however, I’m going to use an API to rank the content against itself based on engagement scores. This will show the content that is “buzzy” at the top and relevant to the user. There’s a few companies I’m looking at, such as Topsy, Datasift, and PostRank. Can’t wait to dig into this!

APIs and Music

The more I poke around, the more I realize just how many music companies are offering APIs. It’s interesting because it seems nobody knows what to do with all this data. You have companies like Last.fm, Rdio, Discogs, and Songkick offering up all this valuable data. And then you have companies like Hunch, Echo Nest, and Klout that can process data in interesting ways. It’s really encouraging to see so much data available with music that’s still unexplored. Definitely looking forward to getting more into this!

Gameification of Content

Engagement is a key factor in building audiences. What Badgeville is doing by adding a social layer to content is very interesting. They’re helping publishers reward their most active and engaged readers with badges that are really status symbols. This article on how Philly.com is using Badgeville is very interesting. The term “Foursquare for News” is catchy and speaks to the need to create loyalty from users, however difficult that really is.

iPad Publishing

Holy Cow! It’s difficult. Adapting print and/or web publishing workflows to an iPad workflow is difficult stuff. It’s not quite a print workflow, and not quite a web workflow. It’s sort of a thorn in the side that never goes away — a growing pain, really. It is, however, really awesome how introducing an iPad publishing workflow in between a print and web workflow forces both sides to meet in the middle to make it work. It’s one step further to fully dynamic integrated publishing solutions. Amazing!

Socializing Gelotone

I really want to make Gelotone a social site, but without having to be a social network. Using existing social networks, like Facebook, seem to be the best route to take. With music, people care about their peers’ recommendations, a lot. I think being able to “see” your friends’ pages seamlessly is the key here. You log in with FB, we pull your friends, if they’re on gelotone you can see what they’re up to. I think there’s a huge play here for allowing you “add” or “ping” artists you’re interested in learning more about — effectively adding them to your newsfeed. I’m thinking about that as a shopping cart wish list but for bands you want to check out at a later time. Kind of an implicit self-recommendation. I like that.

Cloud Computing

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about the server structure I need. Every page is unique to each user. That means there’s going to be a lot of load burdening the servers as this venture scales. One thing I’ve been thinking about is a tiered caching structure. We could potentially run jobs in the background, updating the data as needed, and then flowing that out to an Akami server as a flat file to be served. Everytime the information updates, we’ll push a new flat file to Akami, and so forth. You lose a lot of the dynamic features, but you gain a performance boost. Then again, it might not be worth it given how often a user is expected to log in (<1 per day). Regardless, we have a lot of hurdles ahead of regarding caching!

Initial Thoughts on Database Structure

I’ve been trying to wrap my head around how we maximize our API calls for data while also providing the best content available. I think one way of doing it is to passively update this information at regular intervals, and to reference a “master” table of links with found, modified, and published times. This way we retrieve information once, but can use it for multiple users later. Additionally, this gives us the ability to figure out what the top topics/artists are, and to potentially scale up how often we seek out that information (potentially doing it more often because the need for that is greater).

Technology Immersion: What Are We Making?

Please describe your business:
iTunes Genius recommendations meets a personalized Google News experience – a simple way for fans to follow the bands and artists they love, conveniently.

Identify the actual “product” of the business
Aggregated third-party content that’s filtered and curated algorithmically to each individual user — sort of like a Facebook News Feed, but without having the user “friend” things they’re interested in.

Whether it will be high traffic or low traffic (or even medium traffic)
Hope it’s high traffic. But the database infrastructure is important since every user will have a unique experience with the service. Caching will be an issue.

Whether it will need to be housed in a large space or a small space
Small operation of web developers in an EC2 environment seems most likely for easy scaling.

regional: will they be local, national, or global?
Global

generational: are the young or old?
Young. 15-35 seems most likely

medium: are they on the go or stationary (mobile, desktop, etc.)
Desktop, mobile and tablet. Seamless integration on all devices. But the information isn’t tied to anything too location-specific.

industry: The Any Man, journalists, etc…
Music/entertainment. Targeting people who want to keep tabs on their favorite bands and artists without having to check a multitude of blogs, ticketing services and magazines.

Syllabus: Technology Immersion

This technology immersion presents students with the media and business context and journalistic opportunities presented by new and emerging technologies and trends.

Syllabus for Technology Immersion