Buingo Bingo

As you might have noticed, my Buingo project has stranded miserably. As always, the main problem is time, I’m not capable of juggling work, play and building Buingo, all at the same time. Because of that I’ve now set a target date even I should be able to keep, 06.06.2009. A couple of lines of codes every day and you should be able to create your Buingo account on that date.

I once had another semi-good idea – a website only featuring breaking news, your ultimate action news site. Problem was the domain name was, not surprisingly, already taken. They are sort of doing the same, but not thinking big enough. Local fires in Northern New Jersey are probably interesting, but today’s Dhaka fire has a broader audience.

Yes, it’s a cynical idea, but to quote from Jack Johnson’s excellent song “Cookie Jar”:

And I just point my camera at what the people want to see / Man it’s a two way mirror and you can’t blame me.

Of course, a site with only off-beat and feel-good news might also be a good idea. Here’s a good example: Wisconsin police chief tickets himself $235.

The Time Zone Challenge

This entry is mostly just me rambling on about technical stuff and thinking out loud. If you want to read something really entertaining, read “Freedom, Justice and a Disturbingly Gaping Ass” instead.

Work continued on Buingo.com today. I’ve decided to lay down the user logic first to make room for more users and hence more content. That one of the goals of Buingo.com is world domination creates an interesting challenge:

How to handle time zone correctly?

The natural thing would be that every user had the times and dates associated with each Buingo converted to his or her local time zone. If a user in Florida (GMT-5) browsed the Buingo calendar of a user in Paris (GMT+1) posted at one in the night on Friday local time, it would appear as posted at 7pm in the evening on Thursday for the Florida user. Some people would probably argue that everything should be in the local times of the posters, but this way seems natural to me.

If this was a meeting calendar you would like to have all meetings scheduled displayed in your local time, wouldn’t you? Yes, you would.

So now I’m saving everything as GMT in the database regardless of the time zone of the poster. I’m also able to convert all the dates to the local time zone of the person browsing the content once the GMT value is extracted from the database, but I can’t get the calendar to display the Buingos correctly. The problem is that the time zones has to be converted in the database as the database query is executed, not just after the GMT value is extracted.

MySQL has a method for this, CONVERT_TZ, but I have not been able to get it to work properly yet and it’s not supported by the MySQL version my host is using.

Another day, another challenge.

In other, related news; the number of subscribers to the mailing list has actually doubled from January 1. That’s a good start. You an find out how to subscribe at Buingo.com.

Presenting: Buingo.com

In 2005 Yahoo! acquired Flickr and del.icio.us, both for undisclosed sums. In July the same year, News Corp. acquired MySpace.com for whopping $580 million USD in cash. In October 2006 Google bought YouTube for a respectable $1.6 billion USD in stock and Chad and Steve laughed all the way to the bank. They’re probably still waking up at night laughing until they pee themselves. And someone is probably negotiating for the acquisition of Digg as I’m writing this.

The common factor for all these sites is they are all boosting user-generated content. Hell, del.icio.us is basically just a large collection of tagged links. It seems like the secret to becoming filthy, filthy rich is to get a Web 2.0 community site with user-generated content up and running, get the rumor out there and hope that people are not tired of posting personal stuff about themselves on the interweb.

Enter stage left; Buingo.com. At the moment it’s very, very basic, but if time permits it will pretty soon be my ticket to MTV Cribs. I need another semi-dedicated PHP-programmer for this project. You game? I really need to get the user-handling and sign-up in place. Biggest challenge will probably be the damn time zones. Never liked those.

For all I know there might already be a site exactly like this online. But that I don’t know about it means that they haven’t got people talking about it yet so the race to the Google money is still on.