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So what’s left?

August 6, 2010

I’ve been getting asked a lot lately, “So when will KitchenPC be done?”  Well, the answer to that question is the subject of a rather protracted conversion.  However, perhaps due to my Project Server background, I’ve decided to organize a simple “To-Do” list outlining what’s left.  There’s of course a few various minor bugs to work out, but here are the three main items left to be tackled before a more public, beta version of the site can go online.

Finalize Site UI

Right now, the alpha version of the site is absolutely atrocious.  I feel sorry for those who’ve volunteered to use the site in its prenatal form, however the main goal of the alpha release was to stabilize the backend platform.  I believe it’s never a good idea to finalize a UI until you really have to, as you never know what features will end up making it into beta.  For example, I started out with a lot more social networking features (subscriptions, user walls, forums, etc) – all these things were dropped (well, postponed) so I could focus on KitchenPC’s core essence as a meal planning tool.  Had I developed flashy UI for those features, a lot of time would have been wasted.  Also, a lot of the graphics and icons for the site were blatantly ripped off of Google image searches or stolen from other sites just to act as place holders.  Right now, I don’t even think I could legally put the site online!

Luckily, my guys from Poland are hard at work on finalizing the front-end design.  What I’ve seen looks completely awesome, and I can’t wait to have the full HTML code delivered.  I estimate this should happen within the next two weeks or so, and I will probably spend about a week integrating their templates in with my existing code base.  Since no features are changing, this is simply swapping out bad HTML with the new, polished Polish HTML.

Recipe Modeling

You’ve heard me talking a lot about this, but it’s mostly all vaporware right now.  Yes, I admit it.  I don’t actually have a meal modeling algorithm.  For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, the meal modeler will provide KitchenPC with the ability to generate a meal plan automatically using the ingredients you have available, while attempting to incorporate your likes and dislikes into the results.  A couple months ago, I hired a guy from Bangladesh to help with this effort.  However, the initial prototype had some serious flaws, and then the project was delayed even further due to a family illness.  At that point, I decided to hire a new guy from China to take over the project.  However, this guy still has yet to deliver anything.  His estimates keep on increasing like a Fibonacci sequence (“I’ll be done in 2 days, no 3, no 5, no 8.”)  I have little hope he’ll end up coming through, and I’ve given him an ultimatum that if he doesn’t deliver on his latest estimate, he’s out.

In the mean time, I’ve decided to take a crack at the algorithm myself.  I developed a basic prototype this week and the results look very promising!  The code is a bit too slow, but I’ve been using Antz Profiler to track down some of the bottlenecks and I have some ideas for improvements.  The results it generates are very realistic and definitely good enough for a 1.0 version.  In any case, I believe I’ll have a working recipe modeling engine by the end of next week.

Data Entry

I’ve come to the conclusion that my site won’t really be taken seriously without at least 10,000 recipes.  For this reason, I’ve posted some jobs on GetACoder.com for data entry people.  The going rate seems to be about 5 or 6 cents per recipe, which means I can fill my database with 10,000 recipes for five or six hundred bucks.  I hired my first two data entry people (both from the US) today, and will hire more as needed.  Having 10,000 recipes online is not a requirement for getting the site online, but it’s something I’ll be managing while working on the first two issues.  Hopefully I can have a few thousand recipes at launch, and keep these guys around for a while entering recipes during beta.

Ok so when can I use it?

Keep in mind the private beta will be open to about 1,000 people, mostly to allow me to “scale up” as needed and test server load and all that stuff.  I don’t want the site totally crashing due to too many users.  However, chances are you can get a beta invite if you know me, or if you’re a fan of the blog, or just ask.  I still have high hopes that I can get a beta out this month.  As for when the site will be “for real” public, this will depend on scalability (I might send out more and more invite codes as I increase capacity) and user feedback during the beta trials.  Hopefully I can get the site launched and open to the public some time this year.  Is that soon enough?

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From → Business

One Comment
  1. Lois permalink

    hmmm (calculating…..), so, do you owe me about $6?!

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