MOTOrift Updates for November 2020

By Josh Willuhn. December 1, 2020

Welcome back to another chapter of my life 😂 November marks one year since I started working on the app I use to write this blog, so that's cool.

This month wasn't perfect. But it wasn't as unproductive as July so it's cool. I began putting the ground work in to have some navigation features in MOTOrift.

Navigation maps and location geocoding features are kinda weird because it's all outsourced to Mapbox and Google. Sadly, they both force me to use their products in certain ways to comply with their terms. I can't just create a feature to allow someone to select anywhere on the map and save that longitude latitude to reference later unless it's also working with the map provider's navigation features.

It's all boring and ridiculous but what it comes down to is, navigation features weren't as simple as they could be. To develop and it's slowing development down.

It's all probably more information than most people care to read about but that's sorta what this blog is, a place to share development updates and the struggles I face.

What else?

It's no big secret, yet I haven't told many people, I have a spare phone bike alarm in the works. I talked about it a bit the last few months and myself and a few friends are getting further along in testing it before I plan on launching it for beta testing.

What does it do?

The basic idea behind it is to use an old phone as a motorcyle alarm. So far testing shows it works with cars too. If someone moves your bike or closes your car door it starts blowing your phone up with text messages.

You might be thinking "why not just make a dedicated device instead of using a phone?" and the truth is I'd like to one day, I'd honestly love to offer something like that. In the very beginning of MOTOrift (first version was called RideData), is what it started as, a bluetooth based data logger that sat on your bike.

I learned a lot from that early version and one of the big takeaways was if the phone can do it, use the phone, I can focus on dedicated hardware later.

Tons of phones go unused and lots of bikes get stolen

Maybe this is the simplest easiest bike alarm that sets a new standard for what a bike alarm can and should do. A guy can dream right?

Electronic waste is a real problem and reusing your old phone is a way of getting more use out of it instead of throwing it out. Not that I'm claiming it'll save the polar bears but it's something.

I put tons of effort into development and I really hope it shows, but like anything it's all a gamble whether people will find it useful or not.

Why bother?

The biggest difference between doing this and working for someone else doing the same thing, is the freedom to create without asking permission. Maybe this next app will be a waste of time? Maybe the navigation features will be unused? It's alright. Gotta make something to find out how it goes.

One of the biggest MOTOrift competitors got acquired this month by a bigger company. It made me remember at one point I applied to work there, it was in the time between shutting down RideData and starting MOTOrift, I applied for a developer job. They didn't have a position for someone with my skills - or whatever they told me. In hindsight, that rejection is part of what drove me forward.

I don't blame them for not hiring me back then. I had another competitor ask me outright to hand them over everything I had made for free and they'd tell me how to make it better.

Startups are tough lol no easy ride here but I love what I do so it's ok.

I don't know if MOTOrift will be a success but then nobody even promised us today, so it's cool. I love working on these apps. Software doesn't seem hand built or hand crafted but sometimes it really is. I started learning this stuff as a kid, this is my craft and I'm always trying to get better and improve my skills.

I hope one day the struggle to build it into a successful business is less murky, but I doubt that's possible. I'm grateful for the chance to try. I'm grateful for people who help me along the way and the customers who make it possible.

I'm grateful for whatever comes next.

November 2020

Am I as far along as I wish? NOPE. Further than last month? Yes. Have a plan for next month? yes.

That's where I'm at, thanks for reading this and supporting the app.

There's one more project, a personal project, 10 years in the making, but I'm not gonna bore you with the details for a few more months.




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