We took home the gold!

October 11th, 2009

Last week during MIPCOM in Cannes, the Association for the Development of Enhanced TV Services and Interactivity (AFDESI) handed out the 2009 International ITV Awards. These are given to those companies, products, and services that represent the year’s most important advances in the world of interactive television.

The GONG Anime mobile video service - which we created for Gong, a Global Japanese Anime Network - took home the top award in the “Mobile Interactive Applications” category. Details of this award, the event, and the winning application can be found here. You can download the GongAnime app from iTunes now, the BlackBerry and Android versions will be out soon.

Congrats to everyone who contributed to this project - especially the design, development, and quality teams here at Metranome who put in a lot of extra effort creating the award winning mobile experience for Gong viewers. I also need to thank our user panels, who without their help and input things wouldn’t be as great as they are. Last but not least, congrats to Andre and the team at Gong, for nothing is more enjoyable than working with great partners - they are one of our best!

While it’s wonderful to be recognized for the work we have done, we’re not slowing down. We have several “sure to be award winning” applications in the works and can’t wait to release them to the public. If you know of anyone who wants to contribute to the next winner, have a look at our job postings. We’re always looking for talented and passionate people to join our team and help bring home more of that gold!

Dave.

Our most recent award nomination

September 28th, 2009

While we’ve been quietly working away on new Poptiq features (like video comments) and a couple new apps for our growing list of content partners, other folks have taken notice of the work we’re doing. The Gong Anime application has earned a growing fanbase - chances are you’ve seen some of the Gong videos already - and is now one of our most successful partner apps. We found out today that The Association for the Development of Enhanced TV Services and Interactivity (AFDESI) has short-listed GONG Anime’s mobile application for an International ITV award in the “Mobile Interactive Applications” category. We’re quite flattered by the recognition and are proud of the work we’ve done with our partners at Gong. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the app, you can find it in the Apple App Store. The Awards Ceremony will take place on the 6th of October 2009 in Cannes, France, during MipCom - we’ll just have to wait and see if we get to take home the hardware.

Keep watching!

Dave.

Fresh content for those warm summer nights

July 22nd, 2009

I’m not sure how you’re spending your summer, but we’ve been taking full advantage of the longer days to crank out some great new apps and add a few enhancements to our existing ones. Here’s a couple highlights of our past few months of work. The BlackBerry team have been busy and just put the finishing touches on our first major update to the BlackBerry Poptiq app which was released last week. Our iPhone team was cranking out Poptiq v3.1 (which was released 2 weeks ago) and continues to work on some clever new features to take advantage of the iPhone 3.0 software. You’ll see these soon. And if you hadn’t noticed, the server team added a number of features to the Poptiq.com website. Registered users can now view their favourite videos, see those videos they have shared and those they have saved. You can also browse the content library and select videos to be sent to your device.

Speaking of content – those of us working with the creative minds who make the videos you get on Poptiq have been rounding up some additional partners to add to our library. Our most recent additions focus on two of the more popular genres of content for mobile: anime and comedy. If you’re an anime fan you need to check out Gong’s collection of videos – we’ve started out with short clips, full length episodes and even entire series will be available soon. Those looking to add a bit of humour to their mobile lifestyle can now get hilarious videos from Fun Little Movies. This is the award winning company who know how to deliver the punch line like none other. I’m certain these videos will brighten your day :-)

So look out for these and other new content partners as they come on board – they’ll show up automatically based on your interests, or find them at Poptiq.com and have them sent to your BlackBerry, iPhone or iPod touch.

Hope you’re enjoying those hot summer nights, and keep watching!

Dave.

April: 4 months in, a half year’s work done. Lots more to come!

April 21st, 2009

If you haven’t noticed, the last few weeks have been a flurry of activity for us here at Metranome.  It’s great to be able to showcase the results of a few months of intense work and get the ‘thumbs up’ from our partners and users.  Nothing better than making people happy :-)

Let me quickly summarize what went on so far this month:

A couple weeks ago we launched our first two Poptiq Powered apps for the iPhone/touch.  We partnered with DadLabs (those creative guys out of Austin) and 60Frames Entertainment (those talented producers out of Beverly Hills) and created for them their very own video app.  These apps are completely focused on the content from those producers and provide a great way of staying on top of the videos they create.  Just like Poptiq, you can search their video libraries, rate, and share videos with your friends.  Be sure to check these apps out in the App Store!

DadLabs App download

60Frames App download

Early last week we released an upgrade to Poptiq – version 3.0.  If you haven’t upgraded yet, here’s some of the key things you’ll find in the new release:
-    Carousel sorting.  You can now sort the new and saved carousels by category or by delivery time.
-    Faster navigation.  When you’re on the details screen, you can now simply flick the screen to move between the videos in your carousel.
-    Quicker rating bar.  You can tap the ‘love’ or ‘hate’ icons on the rating bar to move the rating right to the ends.
-    Improved graphics.  Cleaned up a number of areas in the UI to make it easier to use, added some fresh icons to brighten things up a bit.

Late last week we released an update to the Poptiq.com website.  Normally a website upgrade wouldn’t be much to talk about but this time we’ve added a few new features specific to Poptiq users.  The website now shows some of the top videos and channels available on Poptiq.  Users who login (using their Poptiq account) can dig deeper into the Poptiq library and have videos sent directly to their device.  Poptiq users can see videos they have rated, saved, and shared and choose to make those lists public so they can share them with friends.  There are a couple other features in addition to these, best way to find out is to login and explore.

That’s it for now, but as they say - plenty more where that came from…

Watch it!

Dave.

It may be Oscar’s night, but he doesn’t have a monopoly on awards

February 22nd, 2009

It’s pretty much impossible to not get caught up in (or at least exposed to) the swell of media hype that starts as a trickle at the dawn of the new year, turns into a torrent by end of January, and peaks tonight as the Oscar for Best Picture is handed out at the Academy Awards.  While the Oscars have a ‘Short Film’ category, it’s lost in the myriad of the other statues handed out, and certainly overshadowed by the top categories.  Luckily for those of us who love short form content there’s an increasing number of awards and festivals that are recognizing that the videos we watch on the web or on our mobile are just as creative, inspiring and worthy of recognition as the Oscar contenders.  Since Oscar is getting all the attention tonight I wanted to highlight some of the other awards that are out there - just in case you want to check out these winners during tonight’s ’speeches’.

The Webby Awards celebrate the best of the web and include categories in online film and video.  Nominees for the ‘Webbies’ will be announced in April so be sure to put that on your ‘watch’ list.  Last year MTV included a UGC video category in the MTV Video Awards - further evidence that the big guys are starting to care more about what we’re all doing online.  I haven’t heard whether they’ll be doing the same this year, can’t imagine why they wouldn’t with all the great stuff out there.

There are also awards dedicated to those creating content for mobile audiences (quite deserving!).  The Meffys, given out by the Mobile Entertainment Forum, celebrate top achievers in music, games, video, applications, and other mobile entertainment categories.  Last week at the Mobile World Congress (the worlds largest and perhaps most important wireless tradeshow) the MOFILM awards were handed out.  MOFILM is a film festival dedicated to short films created specifically for mobile viewers.  Taking the top prize on Thursday was the short film “English as a Second Language” produced by Frank Chindamo and directed by Jocelyn Stemat.  Congrats!

So tonight, while you’re skipping commercials or acceptance speeches and replaying the red carpet slip-ups,  think of all the great talent behind the videos you watch online or on Poptiq, and nominate those you love for some of these other awards.  Let’s give the people who bring you joy the recognition they deserve!

Dave.

Reflections on the past year and big plans for the new year

January 15th, 2009

I can’t believe we’re already a few weeks into 2009, and I haven’t had the chance to reflect on how great 2008 was!  I’d better get to that right now.  Some of our highlights of 2008 were:

- We had some fantastic people join the Poptiq team - all super smart, wonderfully talented, some more skilled than others at foosball…

- We were one of the first companies accepted into the Apple Developer Program - which gave us a head start on our iPhone/touch app.

- We had lots of fun working with Michael Buckley and the Venetian Princess on the Poptiq Intro Videos.

- We received funding from Tech Capital Partners - yay!

- We launched Poptiq v1.0 in Sept and followed up with v2.0 in December.

- We started our media research project with Ryerson University - very cool, you’ll see some great things from this later in the year.

- We launched our Poptiq applications for MySpace and Facebook, and plugged Poptiq into the Twittersphere.

- We consumed more caffeinated beverages than we probably should have (New Years Resolution anyone?).

- We expanded the office to make room for new team members joining us in ‘09.

As you can see, it was a pretty busy year for us.  We made many new friends and had a great time in ‘08 - and we’re all looking forward to another great year!

As for 2009, this is where it starts to get real exciting.  Here’s a couple things to watch out for:

- Poptiq finding it’s way onto few more smartphones.

- Some really great content partners coming on board (I wish I could tell you now…but you’ll have to be patient).

- Poptiq 2.5 that’s currently “in the works”.  We just won’t stop making it better :-)

So stay tuned for the details and announcements of these and the other things we’re working on.  Friend us on Facebook or MySpace, follow us on Twitter, subscribe to our blog.  Drop us a note anytime, we’d love to hear from you!

And most of all, keep watching!

Dave.

Poptiq 2.0 has left the building!

December 6th, 2008

So after a whirlwind week and some ‘last minute’ cramming we pulled the trigger on Poptiq v2.0 and are extremely pleased that it is now available for download in the Apple iTunes App Store.  As I said in my last post, I think you’ll be happy with what we focused on for this release.  Here’s the short summary of what we did, but the best way to find out is to download it and try it yourself.

Improved UI on almost every screen - new icons, smoother action, better help, easier set up, improved account creation, etc.

Faster video downloads

Video download progress bar

Selective sharing (choose which method/social network you want to use when sharing a video)

Email sharing.  Also, if sharing by email to another Poptiq user, they will get that video in their carousel !

Video search - find videos in the Poptiq library and get them sent to your carousel

New and improved ‘Topics of Interest’ to let Poptiq know what you like, plus you can now create your own topics !

Much more…

 

The new 2.0 version is the result of a lot of work by the team here at Poptiq, which I’m extremely proud of and thankful for.  But this release really wouldn’t have turned out as good as it has without the feedback and comments from all of our users over the last 3 months, and especially the fine contributions of the members of the Poptiq User Panel - thank you all.

As always, please don’t stop sending us feedback.  If you like it, tell us (and certainly tell your friends).  If something doesn’t work for you or you don’t like it, please take the time tell us so we can keep making it better.

Enjoy, and keep watching!

Dave.

Late nights + caffeine = much progress

December 4th, 2008

Wow, I think we’re in the middle of a caffeine fueled super session.  Many late nights, blurred weekends, and frequent code reviews can result in some pretty amazing things.  And that’s just on the development side.  We’ve also been feverishly working on some new partnerships and are really excited about how things are shaping up for our ‘2.0′ release.  If you’re a Poptiq user I think you’ll be quite impressed.  If you’re not a Poptiq user, I think you’ll be motivated to become one.

I haven’t had a chance to introduce the rest of the team here at Metranome - so I’ll take this opportunity to tell you about one of the guys who’s probably put in more than his share of late nights these past few weeks…  Florin is one of our resident iPhone experts and has been churning out feature after feature since he joined us.  He’s successfully proven that you can make the transition from Windows Mobile to iPhone development - although I suspect he sometimes relishes his old days, particularly when those v2.2 firmware bugs started popping up…  Florin’s caffeine source of choice is green tea - specially imported from a foreign country I’m not sure I’ve heard of, and of course, brewed with pure Romanian H2O (whenever possible).  A bit of an eclectic fella he is - but a hell of a coder, and we’re sure glad he’s here during these crazy times.  I’ll let you know later what features he’s been working on so you can show him your appreciation :-)

Time to get back to work and take care of a few things before we can get 2.0 out the door.

Stay tuned!

Dave.

New minor release and the next major release

November 17th, 2008

The last few weeks seem to have just flown by. Everyone here is ‘nose to the grindstone’ working on their own part of the puzzle, building the pieces of our next release. Things are starting to look really good - to the extent that we are debating whether to make the next one a point release or just call it version 2.0. We’re getting pretty excited.

We have done a couple other things in the last few weeks that I should probably mention. We released a minor update to Poptiq (v1.2, available today in the App Store) which includes a few small ‘behind the scenes tweaks’ and a new intro video by the Venetian Princess. She’s another one of our favourite web personalities, and someone who has shown what hard work and talent can accomplish on the internet. Aside from her singing/acting/song writing she’s an amazing set designer - if you haven’t seen her Halloween video you must!

We also kicked off our Poptiq User Panel last week. We’ve invited a group of users to help us with defining and evaluating future versions of Poptiq. If you missed the invite and you are interested in giving feedback on proposed features, providing input on videos for our library, or checking out pre-release versions, send an email to support and we’ll get you the details.

Keep watching!

Dave.

Beta Testers Wanted

October 31st, 2008

We’ve come to that time in the development cycle to ask for some help. We are looking for a few more beta testers for our next major release. This is the one with the new features, the new UI, and a few other tricks that we’re pretty sure we can squeeze in. We are looking for existing Poptiq users and those who have not used it to give us a hand trying these things out. If you are interested in getting a sneak peek at what we’re making and are willing to provide feedback on what that is, send an email to beta (at) poptiq (dot) com and include the type of device you have. We’ll respond with details on how to get involved.

If you want to get even more involved then we have that option too! We are looking for some super smart and fun people to help think up, design, and create Poptiq’s next set of features and future releases. Details on open positions can be found here.

Regardless of what your interests are, you can always leave us clever suggestions or insightful feedback on the support page or by email. You can do that from here.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Dave.

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