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Author: Andrés

CambiosUY now available for Android!

CambiosUY now available for Android!

Ok, I should have written this a few months ago, but well, better late than never.

After a couple months of development, CambiosUY is now available in Google Play. Unfortunately Google does not support merchant registration in Uruguay, which means I cannot provide in app purchases in CambiosUY. For this reason, the notifications feature (available for iOS) will not be available until this situation is fixed :=)

I hope you enjoy using the app, and as always, all feedback is welcome!

“The Design of Everyday things” Review

“The Design of Everyday things” Review

Hey there! After more than a year, I’m back with a new post.

Today I wanted to write a brief review about a book that I have recently read and that I enjoyed a lot. The book is called “The Design of Everyday Things” by Don Norman.

In case you don’t know about him, Don Norman is widely known by his research and advocacy in human-centered design. You might have heard of the “Norman doors”, term referred to poor designed doors, that people came up after Norman’s research in the topic.

The book explores how design help us understand the way things work. Sometimes we feel frustrated when we can’t make some products do what we want them to do. Norman argues that this is not the users fault but a poor design of the product.

The book uses concepts from psychology and common sense to explain what a good design stands for.

The interesting about the book is that it takes examples from different objects, products or situations; from everyday issues to problems related to highly sophisticated machines. Plus all of these concepts apply to everything, so instead of being a book addressed just to designers is a book for everybody. Worst case scenario you’ll start to appreciate the design of the things around you.

 

 

CambiosUY is out!

CambiosUY is out!

For the last weeks, I’ve been developing my first app in iOS. Last week, surprisingly, I received the good news that the app was approved by Apple (theoretically the store was supposed to be closed by then).

The app is called CambiosUY and allows you to be updated  to the latest currency exchange rates in Uruguay. Some of the functionalities are; it tells you whether it’s a good or bad moment to exchange money, find the closest money exchange to you as well as the more convenient one and lastly, a calculator to calculate how much money you’ll get or need to make the exchange.

You can download it by following the next link:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/cambiosuy/id951769669?ls=1&mt=8

Web Accessibility

Web Accessibility

A few weeks ago I had the chance to give a small talk about Web Accessibility in the place where I work.

Some of the key points that I talked about were:

  • Web accessibility benefits not only people with disabilities but also improves the usability of a website.
  • Some of the guidelines given by the WCAG are not that complicated to implement, and you are gaining a great number of potential users.
  • The sooner you start to think about accessibility while developing a web site, the easier will it be to implement it.
  • There’s a great number of countries that introduced regulations that require websites to be accessible, specially the government ones.

You can find the complete presentation here and a short video (in spanish) with an example of how a screen reader works here.

Scraping a webpage using ruby

Scraping a webpage using ruby

Scraping a webpage using ruby is very easy.

First, install the ‘nokogiri’ gem by adding it to your gemfile or by executing the following command:

gem install nokogiri

Then, in your controller, open the webpage you want to scrap:

require 'open-uri'

page = Nokogiri::HTML(open("http://webpage.com"))

Once you have opened the webpage, you are ready to access the content.

Given the following html:

</div>
<div class="term">
    <div class="word">Scraping</div>
    <div class="definition">is a technique of extracting information from websites</div>
</div>
<div class="term">
....

You can get the complete list of terms using the “search” method:

 terms = page.search('.term')

 terms.each do |t|
     word = t.search('.word').first.content
     definition = t.search('.definition').first.content
 
     puts word
     puts definition
end

There are several other ways and methods to  help you scrap a webpage using nokogiri. Check the complete nokogiri tutorials to know more.

 

You can also get the working example from https://github.com/andresiglesias/scraper

How to get started with Reddit

How to get started with Reddit

If you haven’t heard of reddit, reddit is a platform for sharing content such as news, posts and basically anything about almost every topic. The users of this site are the ones who make these content more or less visible to others by positive or negative voting it.

As I said, you can find content about almost anything that comes to your mind, and the way to organize it is called ‘subreddit‘. A subreddit is like a category created by a user, and can be as general as ‘Technology‘ or something super specific like photos of  ‘Dogs with cat heads’.

The first time that I went to reddit, I felt a little overwhelmed with so much information, and although I could go to any subreddit by simply searching for it in the search bar, that doesn’t seemed very practical to me. I wanted a more twitter-like experience.

Finally I decided to give it a second try and I signed up to reddit. Creating a user in reddit allows you to subscribe to any subreddit you like.  Then you have a few tabs like ‘hot’, ‘new’, ‘rising’, ‘controversial’ and others that help you read about all your interests altogether, without the need to go to different pages.

TIP: When you create a user in reddit you are automatically subscribed to several subreddits that you might not find interesting. I recommend you to first unsubscribe you to all these subreddits and then start subscribing to the ones you like.

So far, my experience in reddit is mainly positive, there’s a lot of content that I would probably never discover. And although, I don’t think reddit will replace Twitter as my first source of news and articles in the short term, its different approach and the amount of information in it deserves at least a try.

Arduino, clocks and EEPROM

Arduino, clocks and EEPROM

Hi there! It’s been a while since my last post.

Today I’m going to be writing about Arduino. In case you don’t know what Arduino is:

Arduino is a microcontroller used for sensing and controlling things in your environment. Its easiness of use and the fact that it’s open-hardware has made it very popular in the last years.

Right now I’m working on a couple of projects involving Arduino. You’ll know more about them in next posts.

For one of these projects I needed to have a clock in order to store when certain events happened. Luckily Arduino has a library for this purpose:

Read More Read More

Reciclalo: Finally it’s out!

Reciclalo: Finally it’s out!

For the last year I’ve been working on a project to build a web app to help people to find recycling centers in their city. The idea is simple, you choose what you want to recycle and the web app will show you where you can do it. You can also specify your address or use your current location (GPS)  so you can find the closest spots to you.

The data come from open data sources or can be added by the users. If any of the information is incorrect or inaccurate  you can report the spot explaining what’s the problem.

Finally, you can check the trends in the page, for example; top searches, top categories or even top searches that didn’t return any result.

The app was developed using Ruby on Rails and currently it’s only available for Montevideo (Uruguay), but the plan is to extend it to other cities.

Visit it on  www.reciclalo.com

Infinite scroll in Ruby on Rails and jQuery

Infinite scroll in Ruby on Rails and jQuery

Recently, the use of pagination in the web has been slowly dropping and a new approach called “Infinite scroll” has increased in popularity. The idea is simple, instead of having several buttons to go back and forward, you can navigate through the results by scrolling down to the end of the page. The more you scroll the more results you see.

Implementing an infinite scroll using javascript and jquery is not hard at all. However, making sure that it works in every browser can be a little bit of a pain.

Read More Read More

“¿A quién votar?” Get to know the candidates for the 2014 Uruguayan Elections

“¿A quién votar?” Get to know the candidates for the 2014 Uruguayan Elections

“¿A quién votar?” (“Who to vote for?”) is a web app that I’ve been developing with @teoiglesias for sharing news and information about the candidates for the next elections in Uruguay.

The UI is very simple. Basically, it’s divided in two sections: “Candidates” and “News”. In the first one you can find information related to the candidates such as the webpage and social media links, while in the second one users can share news regarding a specific candidate from any source such as newspapers, magazines, social networks or others. The news are then displayed by candidate or all of them together.

To make the task of reading the news even more easier, users can follow the twitter account @aquienvotaruy where all the news are tweeted (after a quick validation to avoid possible spam or any other problem).

The web app was developed using Ruby on Rails and Twitter Bootstrap for the UI.

If you want to learn more check the website following the next link:

http://aquienvotar.com.uy