I know it has been a while since my last post. We have been in Atlanta since mid May and have made a ton of progress on Kinnection. It took us longer than we expected to settle in here which means the beta was delayed a couple of months. That said, I’m very excited to announce that the Kinnection beta is now live. Anyone can signup for a Kinnection account and start sharing memories with family and friends. Give it a try!

I guess the title of this post speaks for itself. Mike, Sigmund, and I are moving to Atlanta. Mike was accepted into a PhD program at Emory so we’re moving this summer. It won’t be too much of a culture shock as I grew up in the south in a small beach town called Fort Walton Beach, Florida and Mike spent his undergrad year at Duke in North Carolina. If you know anything about the developer or angel community in Atlanta, let me know. Hopefully, we won’t loose too much time with the move but some of that is inevitable.

I never thought I see that day that I would buy a Mac as a development machine. I knew I’d get a Mac at some point for my personal use (I’ve just been waiting for my PC to die). The Mac functionality and look and feel is just far superior for home use. We have been using our primary home PC for development since Nov and slowly but surely, Windows has been crapping out. The last straw was when Windows installed some patch and made it so that we couldn’t launch IE or a Windows Explorer window anymore. [Insert disappointed head shake.] Mike and I kept reading online that a lot of Rails developers use Macs now since it is UNIX under the covers and I presume because the OS it great to use. I have to admit, I already love my new iMac and we only just pulled it out of the box. I splurged for the one with the huge monitor since Mike and I code together and it makes it alot easier to see the screen from both of our chairs. I can’t wait to download TextMate and get started.

I have to say that I was impressed with how easy it was to get Google Analytics setup on Kinnection. I can see how monitoring site traffic and usage can become an obsession. My favorite views are the Visits and Pageviews, Platform and Browser Combos, and Geo Map Overlay. Since only my family is using Kinnection right now, it’s funny to see the Geo Map Overlay. Obviously, it pinpoints my mom, sister, dad, and cousins. We also added some tracking on our site to see what features people are using. I can’t wait to open up the beta. We’re just not ready from a feature standpoint yet. Hopefully, soon…

Last night we rolled out a few new features to Kinnection.  I was once again surprised by how quickly you can develop a feature using Ruby on Rails. The features we released weren’t ground breaking or anything but they made the site much more useful and fun. I’ve got the family trying it all out now. I think I’m spending almost as much time using the site as I am coding new features.

We have been rapidly developing features for Kinnection for the past couple of months. Now that we have deployed and have a handful of users, we started to discuss how often we should update the livesite with our new features. While it’s great to get features and bug fixes out as quickly as possible, if you deploy too often your users may notice some instability in your product. But since it is so easy to deploy and rollback RoR applications with Capistrano and all our users are related to me, we decided to deploy every time we have a big chunk of functionality ready which typically works out to every week. This frequency seems to strike the right balance of getting enough new functionality in the hands of our users and stabilizing the code base.

I spent some time yesterday and today getting a few of my friends and family members onto Kinnection. It is very exciting to have real customers but we are still pretty buggy. For instance, when I signed my mom up and she logged into her family page, some test content I created accidentally appeared on her page. She was not as amused as I was by the “Who’s your daddy?” poll on her home page. Whoops, sorry mom!  :) I had a blast with my half siblings in Pennsylvania creating dueling polls on who the best family dog is, and who’s the cutest sibling. Sigmund is tied for first place by the way.

I stopped by Microsoft today to visit with some old collegues and friends. It was very strange having to get a visitor badge and be escorted around a place that was my home for 10 years but those are the rules. I loved catching up with some of the folks I used to work with. I love starting my own venture and learning new things everyday, but I really miss all the great people I use to work with.

I am so proud of the women who used to work for me while I was there. They have taken on big new roles and are stepping up the challenge. It is fantastic to see more successful businesswomen, especially ones I think are great to begin with. Good luck ladies!

Mike and I spent the last week adding all the test code we ignored while implementing the alpha. We set out to make every Friday “testing and code clean-up day” but that seemed to fall by the wayside after the first week so now we are really paying the price. A lot of the code we deployed ended up not working properly and I haven’t been able to get my family to try things out yet. We still have more test code to write but we are getting closer, thankfully everything works again. Hopefully, we’ve learned our lesson and will be writing test code as soon as we add new features. Like everyone else we started out with the best intentions but then our desire for new features got the better of us. Sound familiar? Anyway, the test/clean-up slog should be done this weekend so we can start adding new funcionality again.

Well we did it; http://www.kinnection.com is finally live. The guys at Rails Machine were great answering all of our newbie questions. I know it’s just an alpha but I am thrilled that the site is up so we can start getting some feedback from real live customers.

October 2014
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