May 24, 2011 Leave a comment
…or at least he would, if he used it!
When I first started designing DeekFit Gym, my goal was to make something unique. I had used lots of gym tracking apps on Android, Windows Mobile, and the internet. Nothing really did what I wanted as a serious weight lifter. So, rather than petition those other developers to change, I did what any entrepreneurial young developer with too much free time would do….I made my own.
One thing that was very important to me was longevity of my workout data. I’ve come to accept the fact that I buy phones, and switch platforms, frequently. Even when I keep a phone for a period of time, I’ll probably flash ROMs here and there too. I might even be using multiple devices at once. So one requirement I had was proper multi-device syncing. I needed my data stored in a database on the web, accessible from a website, as well as any number of phones/devices. Just storing it directly on the web (like you do with, say, Twitter) wasn’t good enough. Not all gyms have cell service – and some devices are WiFi only (think iPod Touch). So you need to be able to access – and edit – your data from anywhere, and keep it all up to date.
With this in mind, I built DeekFit Gym Pro’s sync system. Your data is stored on your device(s), and either automatically or manually synced to the server. You can also add new data from deekfit.com. Wherever you make new entries, they’ll be synced to all the others, with a concurrency system that handles collisions. You can access your data anywhere, from any number of devices, and it all keeps in sync with the others.
Now, back to Bezos.
In response to an earnings call, Bezos was talking about some of Amazon’s high-technology ventures – it’s a story we’ve heard before, (rightfully) making the case for Amazon being a technology company, not just a website/retail store. In this note, he talks about the Kindle, Amazon’s e-reader, and the wireless system for keeping your books up to date – Whispersync:
One example is Whispersync, our Kindle service designed to ensure that everywhere you go, no matter what devices you have with you, you can access your reading library and all of your highlights, notes, and bookmarks, all in sync across your Kindle devices and mobile apps. The technical challenge is making this a reality for millions of Kindle owners, with hundreds of millions of books, and hundreds of device types, living in over 100 countries around the world—at 24×7 reliability. At the heart of Whispersync is an eventually consistent replicated data store, with application defined conflict resolution that must and can deal with device isolation lasting weeks or longer. As a Kindle customer, of course, we hide all this technology from you. So when you open your Kindle, it’s in sync and on the right page. To paraphrase Arthur C. Clarke, like any sufficiently advanced technology, it’s indistinguishable from magic.
My first thought was “Wow, magical huh, that sure is Jobsian of you”. Then, I thought, “hmm…that sounds awfully familiar!” At its core, DeekFit Gym does the same thing as Whispersync – dare I say, with a slightly more complex data set. Interesting. I guess Bezos thinks I’m magical 🙂
Now, before Amazon supporters get on my case about it – I realize Whispersync deals with a scale DeekFit Gym does not, and for numerous reasons is likely a more sophisticated solution. However, Whispersync is written by a team of full-time engineers, and I make DeekFit Gym in my spare time, so I’m still ok with the comparison. Besides, I would understand Amazon’s scale as well as anyone – I did work for their Ordering and Payments departments.