This week saw the quiet launch of something big.  A new crowd funding platform that welcomes any project no matter where in the world you are!  How can they remove such a limitation?  Well by using a globally recognised currency that anyone can use, that of course would be Bitcoin.

Just one of several projects on the brand new crowd funding site.

Just one of several projects on the brand new crowd funding site.

Bitcoin StarterBitcoin Starter is like any other crowd funding platform such as Kickstarter or IndieGoGo, the difference being that it only accepts Bitcoin payments as contributions to projects!  Other than that, the main rules stay the same.  Anyone can submit a project, they write up their aim and they post it on the website saying how much they’re needing, what they’re planning to use it for and how long they have to raise the funds.  If the target isn’t reached, the money is returned to the people who pledged it and if it’s successful, the pledgers get rewards for their help.

So what’s so great about using Bitcoin rather than dollars, euros, pounds, yen or indeed what ever currency you’re used to spending?  Well for starters, no matter where you are in the world, your Bitcoin is usable and you don’t have to go through any lengthy process to open a bank account to use it.  In fact, you don’t need a bank account at all, just a Bitcoin wallet on your device.  If you don’t trust yourself to keep your Bitcoin safe on your device you can keep one online too but the important thing is, anyone can have one and trade online.  It means that money can be sent instantly over the internet without payment providers taking large costs and without so much banking regulation (money is sent directly from user to user).  More people are able to raise the Bitcoin they need to start a project, regardless of country, age, ability to open a bank account, everything!

Bitcoin is the worlds fastest growing currency, when I first started investigating, 1 BTC cost 48 GBP, now it costs 90 GBP and is fast heading toward £100 and that’s in just a couple of weeks.  The rapid growth shows just how much people are trusting this new currency, especially after a rocky start with some pretty nasty press.  My next post will be more about Bitcoin though, this one is about Bitcoin Starter.

As I say, it’s been a quiet launch but the creators have been kind enough to invite me to seek funds for My Agility Board on launch, therefore, My Agility Board is on the front page and looking for funds to help it expand.  There are also other projects such as those seeking funds for a photographer who’s dream is to go to Pripyat in Ukraine so that he can photograph the home of the Chernobyl Disaster and another wishing to raise funds to buy Tablet computers for educational purposes in the world’s poorest areas.

It’s been a very quiet launch and it’s taking off very slowly but I’m sure as the Bitcoin community grows, so will BitcoinStarter.com, it’s definitely one to watch!

This post is a duplicate of the first post that I have put on blog.myagilityboard.com

I created My Agility Board at the start of 2012, I was mid way through my fourth year at University and using agile methods but hated using a large pin board to keep track of my project for a number of reasons.

For starters, the pin board was huge, if I went to catchup with my supervisor, I couldn’t very well drag the pin board up with me and what if they weren’t even in the building at the time?  Sometimes a photograph just wasn’t good enough.

I started using the sticky notes program on my computer with a background which worked at first but the truth was, I had more than one computer and not being able to access my notes on other computers was annoying so I figured I’d create some kind of online system that I could create notes, have them stored in a database and work just like the notes apps that you get on most operating systems.  I wanted to make sure they could be made public too so that I could share them with people in a read only format to keep people up to date on what I was doing.

After creating it, I figured I may as well make the site open to the public which meant that my friends were able to use it for their honours projects too.  As I write this, it’s nearing 1,800 boards registered.

Having asperger syndrome, I’ve always been keen on little gadgets that keep me organised, when I was at school, I was the only kid to be walking around with a little pocket PDA with my timetable on it, something my teachers hated but it kept me happy.  Of course, now everyone has smartphones so it doesn’t seem like such a big deal.

Well anyway, My Agility Board became a pet project of mine once I left university, I kept using it and was always getting little tips on how I could improve it but one thing that concerned me was, some people were putting private data on their boards, stuff that should be kept secure.  The moment I realised, I encrypted the database so that I couldn’t read it by accident and so that if it were some how hacked and downloaded, nobody could read it.  Passwords, notes and email addresses are all encrypted but there’s still one security hole.

Unlikely as it may be, if someone were to site and watch packets traveling over a network, they would see the contents of notes and login details transmitted in plain text.  This is actually a common method of cyber espionage and it is fixed by using an SSL certificate, you’ll have seen this on many websites in the form of a little padlock in the address bar of your browser.  The thing is, to get a certificate that shows that checks have been done to validate a site’s identity, it costs a fair bit of money, so haven’t got one yet.

The site is also unreliable at times, often it can go down for a couple of minutes, not much but when you’re using it a productivity tool, a couple of minutes can mean a lot of frustration.  To fix this, I need to move the site to a new dedicated server as opposed to the cheap web hosting that I’m paying for at the moment.  Unfortunately, this is a bit out of my price range.

I figured the best thing to do would be to monetise the site.  To do this, I wouldn’t charge for the features already there but create some features that have been requested from time to time and sell these as upgraded pro accounts.  However, I felt that it would be wrong to start charging for features when the site itself is not yet reliable or secure.

Because of this, I’ve turned to crowd funding, in the hope that people will look kindly on my situation and help me get this site going some more.  With my fiancé being super organised (more so than me with my sticky notes;) I asked her to help me by being in charge of the money side of things if I managed to get some funding and in the future monetise the site.

IndieGoGo seemed like the best solution to my hopes so I have placed the site on there and I’ll be giving T-Shirts, free pro membership (when I create it) and other things in exchange for people’s generosity.  The campaign can be found at www.indiegogo.com/myagilityboard

I’m not sure if people will think the site a worthy cause but we’ll see :)

Andy

You know what, I use the public boards feature that I created on www.myagilityboard.com too much.  I think it’s far to useful to withhold from users.

In my previous post I mentioned that the Free Public boards would only be available for a limited time, I’ve changed my mind.  These will always be a feature available to every signup on My Agility Board as standard, enjoy.

I’ve found myself using My Agility Board more and more for projects. It started as just a quick website to fix an issue with the assortment of Stickies apps that come with various operating systems by putting them online (in the cloud for those of you who fall for that kind of sales speak) so that I could get hold of them anywhere, on my PC, My Mac, my Smartphone and my Tablet.

But I’ve discovered that I’m using it for my own projects. My Honours Project for instance has had all the tasks that I had to do on it transferred onto My Agility Board. This pet project has suddenly become something actually useful.

And it’s not just me, I have friends in my class who have done the same, they’ve started using the site to keep track of their own projects and to keep notes, therefore I have updated the database to encrypt everything, make sure it’s private should anyone manage to get a glimpse of the data stored. My friends also managed to suggest an important new feature too, the ability to pick note colours.

One thing I decided would be useful would be the ability to share my board with people without having to give them the password, this would be really handy for showing how a project is progressing or just for taking notes and showing them to friends and colleagues.

Of course, I wouldn’t want everything to be public, just the notes I wanted to share. I’m so sure that this would be useful that I think that people would be willing to pay for the feature, however, for now, I’m giving it away to everyone who signs up so that I can get some understanding of how much people use it. An example of the public board for the username “myagilityboard” can be found at www.myagilityboard.com/myagilityboard.

So to summarise the new features since my previous post:

  • Ability to make boards public, limited time only free lifetime pro accounts to all new users.
  • Colour coded stickies, choose from 8 different colours.
  • Compatibility with Internet Explorer, it’s not pretty but it works.
  • Encryption, your notes cannot be read should someone manage to get into the database.
  • Various bug fixes.

Just sign up to get your own free sticky notes board.

One of the most basic techniques of Agile is the use of a board with sticky notes on it to represent things that are to be done, in progress or have been completed.

I wanted something that could represent this Agile Board online, something free and simple, so I’ve created www.myagilityboard.com.

To get your own free sticky notes board online that even works on touch screen devices, just go and register and get going.


Get your FREE Stickies Board

Update:  I’ve added the ability to change note colours and will soon be launching a feature that allows for you make your notes public to the world if you want.