Skip to Main Content

Author: gschoppe

Rapid Prototyping for Strangers Pt 1 – Knitting Counter

I’ve always been a big proponent of learning how to rapidly create prototypes.  It doesn’t really matter what field you’re in, from architecture to programming, fast prototypes are gold.

Recently, I’ve been brushing up on my javascript, designing various web utilities.  One of the best ways I’ve found is to create bespoke code for strangers online.

Today, I received a comment on a post I made years ago on instructables.com, describing my build of a custom USB foot pedal.  The commenter was a 73 yr old knitter, who was interested in finding a way to count her rows with a foot pedal.  I decided to make it happen.

It took me about an hour and a half to create a web app that could integrate with a cheap usb foot pedal ($11 on amazon) and increment a counter. (the proof of concept actually only took 15 minutes, but I wanted to add goals, customization, and better overall user experience).

I loaded the code onto github, hosted the app on my site, sent the commenter a response, and posted the app to reddit’s knitting community.  Since then (5 hours ago), I’ve gotten 20 replies from knitters around the world, who have added my app to their workflow.

The lesson here is, “if you are prolific and can solve problems quickly, you will find an audience.”

Here’s the link: http://gschoppe.com/projects/knitting-row-counter

Why My Company is Leaving HostGator (and why you should too)

I’ve been CTO of a small start up called Prmot.it for a few years now, offering an online coupon solution to local restaurants.  We started our operation on a shared server from HostGator, and grew from there to serve thousands of customers.

We are approaching another scaling jump, and will need to expand our infrastructure significantly.  We will be moving to a new host to meet these needs.  Don’t misunderstand me.  HostGator offers many tiers of service that would serve the level of usage our company requires well into the future, but we will instead be spending a few hundred dollars more a month, and will move to a competitor.  HostGator’s service is simply unacceptable for a small business. read more »

Simulate an MP3 Player Display with jQuery-AnimateOverflow

IMG_0008[1]I’ve been working on progressive enhancements to a web-controlled Pandora client called Pidora.  In the process of wrangling the code, I discovered that there was really no good way to display long song titles/artists/albums.  They either take up a varying amount of screen real estate, which throws off designs, or they get cut off, effecting readability.

To solve the problem, I decided to emulate the behavior of old MP3 players, and programs like WinAmp, by limiting the title to a single line, then scrolling it across the page.  I considered using marquee tags to accomplish this, but the results would have been horrifying, and would have affected all titles, whether they needed it or not.  Instead, I created a jQuery plugin that I call AnimateOverflow.

The plugin takes any group of block level elements, converts them to single line boxes, and, if the content is larger than the box, applies an animation to sweep through the content.  Currently the plugin supports the two most common animations from old MP3 Players: linear and ping pong.

Check it out:
Demo | Download