Being jury of NTU EXPO 2013

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Today I went to NTU to be the jury of NTU Cloud EXPO 2013. It’s a presentation and also a competition of Mobile Programming Course and Cloud Application course in department of NTU CSIE.

I quickly saw demos and chat with all of the teams of both courses in around two hours. A lot of teams build LBS apps such as restaurant, bikes, travel, most of their apps are not special. I saw three teams which catches my eyes.

First team is NoteBase, a platform which allow students buy and sell notes taken in class. I hope them to allow students transit money by ATM to a certain account, instead of allowing credit card only. I advised the team to allow users to give good reviews to students who provide notes of good quality. And at the same time, the membership should be anonymous. Because if other students find out on of their classmates is exactly the person who sell notes on website, they would ask for note free of charge instead of buying

Second team is Banck, a website which allow users to record how much money they spend each day on iPhone and on website. It is good because most similar apps in Taiwan allow user do it on apps only. The UI of their App is just of general quality, but the charts on their website is awesome. (The use the resources of HighCharts.com)

And the third team is Draw 2 Share, an iPhone App which allow users to share photos to nearby friends immediately. There are a couple of reasons that made me give them high scores. The app doesn’t need users to register nor login via OpenID.

Most of the students have strong ability of programming and UI design, which is enough for them to build their own product. However, the product alone is not enough. We have to think about how to gain users and how to monetize. I’m not a programmer but I know a little bit of coding. That is, I prefer to ask these students about how their users use their applications rather than what kind of language of framework they use in their App of website.

It was first time for me to be a jury in a competition. While discussing and questioning about those students’ applications, I felt like I were examining my own product. It was a great experience.

About iCloud

While browsing through old posts on Facebook, I happened to find that the Beta version of iCloud was released on August 2, 2011. It’s only a little bit longer than one year.

As a staff in mobile app startup, I always pay much attention on newest internet services, OS, apps, platforms, updates, and etc.

I couldn’t quite remember well that if iCloud provided exactly same functions by then as it does right now. For me, now, iCloud is an service feature that I couldn’t live without.

First of all, I backup my iPhone and iPad in iCloud storage. Besides, I sync lots of data between devices by iCloud. For example, documents saved in Keynote, Pages, and Reminder iOS app. Not only apps developed by Apple, the Day One app that I am using to writing this article now also syncs between my Mac and iPhone by iCloud. What’s more, recently I’m using iMessage while texting with friends who are also iPhone user more often than ever, trying to replacing WhatsApp.

For some users of Macintosh and iOS devices, a lot of applications developed by Apple seems to be weird when they were released at once. However, for the time being, we gradually find out those applications become essential features and merge into our daily working habits. As we all have heard much in articles, It’s a company which rarely listen to feedback from users but seem to know more about what users need. Some needs are beyond our imagination.

I can’t imagine what my daily life would be like if iCloud is down for even one day. Variety of Internet services and gadgets do provide people with more probabilities and capabilities in life and work, but maybe we are at the same time tied to them too much.