Archive for October, 2008

Release 1.6.0

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

Just 10 short days from the previous release…

What’s new in this release:

  • Privacy control, as promised last time. We are rather excited about this feature, as it has been requested by many of our users. More on this below.
  • Importing of your contacts from other online services such as Google, or MSN, all nicely integrated in the welcome pages. We will make this feature available to existing users shortly.
  • Enhanced invite dialog, with full history of your emails (including the ones imported with your contacts) and status of already invited people (screenshot below).
  • Improved “My Friends” page for people that have not yet connected as friends with anyone on Zipalong. It makes it straightforward for the user to get started with their friends.
  • Confirmation emails are now being sent via email when your friendship invite or trip join request is approved. So that you know.
  • No longer change the map zoom level when centering the map on a picture, place, landmark, or note. It was an interesting idea to remember the zoom level the marker was placed at, but it ended up confusing people that didn’t know about it.
  • And as always, a few bugs reported by some of our users got what they deserved.


This is the new invite dialog, with a contact highlighted in yellow to denote that he/she has already been invited.

Also, we now keep track of your contacts’ name, shown here in white.

Privacy

This is the first batch of privacy-related changes. It allows (as shown in the screenshot above) to change your account settings between Friends only, Member only, and Public.

By default your account has Members only visibility, which means that only Zipalong members can view your friends and your trips. If that is too loose for your taste, change it to Friends only. If you would like Google to index your account, change the privacy setting to Public.

Your trips automatically inherit your account privacy setting, with the additional feature of always being available to the other trip participants as well (regardless if they are your friends or not).

We are working on more granular privacy controls at the trip and picture level, and hope to land these feature in the next release (fingers crossed!).

Until next time,
Dimi

Release 1.5.6

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

Hot on the heels of 1.4.0, version 1.5.6 sees the light of day today. This version is aimed at tying some loose ends left over from the previous release, and addressing quite a few feedbacks we got from you.

What’s new in this release:

  • Your Friends and Trips pages have been changed to match the new icon standards that’s now used throughout the site. More to come later, as we have some really cool plans for these pages.
  • For the users that don’t have a profile picture, we now have new, gender-based place holders.
  • We have integrated this blog with the site news that are being inserted in a user’s news feed. Now you’ll see links from the site news to the relevant blog entry.
  • We have addressed a long-standing request to have a more intuitive display of dates in the itinerary summary for closed-loop itineraries. A closed loop itinerary is one where you go A->B->C>A. We now handle such cases much better.
  • Better handling of errors, we hope you’ll never get to enjoy these :-)
  • Lots of smaller improvements throughout the site.

Next is much improved privacy support and easier way to connect to your friends. If you would like other features in the next release, just use the “feedback” link at the top of the page.

Stay tuned,
Dimi

Experiencing your trips all over

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

Alright folks. It’s been 6 weeks in the making but after some hard work and many sleepless nights, plus several re-writes of the code, we’re getting close to releasing a preview of a revolutionary way to plan, view and share trips!!

We won’t let the cat out of the box just yet. There is still a week or two of fine tuning to be done before we are ready to release the feature for prime time consumption but we thought we should get you ready for it!

More details will be posted soon,
B.

Release 1.4.0

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

For the last two weeks we’ve been hard at work giving Zipalong a much needed make-over! The first installment of this effort saw the light of day Tue morning, on Oct 14, 2008.

What’s new in this release:

  • The user Profile page, and his or her Trips and Friends pages were totally redesigned from the ground up: nicer to look at, easier to read, faster to load and navigate. Pretty cool are the new Travel buddies left column on the Trips page, and the new XYZ says left column on the Profile page
  • Zipalong now uses differently sized icons for users, trips, pictures, etc, so you can more easily tell the difference between them
  • People you invite to the site directly or to join one of your trips are greeted by a slick welcome screen, are given a much easier “landing” on the site, with short, helpful messages along the way. As a bonus, they can now use their Facebook account to join the site
  • The old welcome pages have been replaced by a simpler, nicer welcome page
  • The trip Cover page now loads significantly faster. We love a speedy site, and we are always trying to make Zipalong load and feel faster

We hope you enjoy the changes, but even if you hate them, we’d like to hear from you. Just use the “feedback” link found in the top-right corner of every page.

Until next time,
Dimi

Hello travelers

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

Welcome to Zipalong - an online trip and itinerary planner, including unlimited picture storage, friends, sharing, and everything else you always wanted in a travel site but were afraid to ask for.

All the cool kids seem to be doing it, so we finally decided to give this blogging business a try. We’ll try to use this space to tell you what Zipalong is, what our plans are, and what we’re currently working on. And of course, whatever else you guys are interested in finding out.

But before we go any further, a bit of an introduction is in order.

We are inveterate travelers, and as luck has it, we’ve been in the software business longer than we care to admit. The traveler in us wasn’t quite comfortable co-habitating the same body with a geek, so the two kept a safe distance for a while.

Until one fine evening when we realized that we can join forces to try to come up with a site dedicated to people that like traveling. A site that’s well integrated, without annoying ads trying to sell you the next trip to Vegas. A site where we can plan our trips, store our memories, and share it with others away from the overbearing commercial pressure that seems to be top priority for other travel oriented sites.

So here we are, with a functional site that’s ready to be used by the public at large. And we are working hard at improving it every single day.

Of course, we were inspired by the amazing work that sites like Picasa, Flickr, or Facebook have done before us. And we wanted to bring the same quality, interactivity, and attention to details to people that want to remember or share more than just some pictures from their trips.

Stay tuned,
Dimi