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Author Archives: Jane

Jane was born, lives, and is yet to die.

Not only have English Heritage put all their lovely locations on flook, they’ve now added all their fantabulous summer events! Just go to your friendly “featured flookers” robot and you’ll find them in the top spot. Hit the button to see lots of lovely purple cards like these…

Wow, is all we can say. It makes ordering pizza difficult.

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Sorry, we seem to have lost our blogging mojo. Or were we counting all our flook cards? Because we just counted all the flook cards in London, and we ran out of fingers. That’s pretty amazing because we have 4,999 fingers. Yes, there are now over five thousand flook reviews of all the coolest spots in London, which is really something. Really something because these aren’t just check ins, something you can do with your left hand while your right hand is composing an opera and your brain is wondering how many hours it is until lunch. No, flook cards really ask something of our users – first finding a really cool place to share, then taking a great photo (some of our users have been known to edit their photos with cool apps like TiltShift and Plastic Camera), and adding a few pithy words.
Guys, we really appreciate the great content you’re making and this seems like a great time to thank you for it. And what better way than to showcase some of your best flooks. Over to you…

If you didn’t spot it, we’re in the top 5 travel apps in all of 44 different countries! It was getting so that we were starting to wonder why Apple has featured us all over the globe *except* Britain, when we’re British (except Dave), we’re based in Britain (except Tris) and all our robots are British (except Harold).  So, we’re really pretty British then, but we’ve had no British love at all.

Until today! Yes, calloo callay, this sunny Friday we’re featured in the UK App Store in both iTunes and on the jolly old iPhone.  O frabjous day! I think I shall go and pop a bottle of British bubbly (no sniggering in Reims, please) and chortle in my joy. Why not join me in a toast to flook, and then make sure you get your mojo on this weekend and get flooking before all the best spots are taken!

Garden-gnome-bot has been feeling a bit blue. After all, it’s winter, he’s not been out for a while, and his crop of brussel sprouts was rather poor this year. Then, what did we do but rub salt in his wounds by banging on about sparkly new rockets and secret underground places.

But then, this morning, something cheered poor garden-gnome-bot immensely. Kisandie has been wandering around London flooking all its secret gardens. This is Christ Church Greyfriars Garden – according to Kisandie, the church was built in the 14C, but destroyed during the war. The ruins are now a public garden.

This is a secret that garden-gnome-bot is very pleased to know about. Postman’s Park is full of touching little memorials to people who made heroic acts of self-sacrific. As garden-gnome-bot does every time he bites his tongue when we get excited about rockets.

As we have lots of new flookers coming our way because the nice people at Apple made us their Staff Pick in the US yesterday, nag-bot has reminded me that I should say hi, and let you all know that you still have time to enter our flooktastic competition.

“Hi!”

That was easy.

OK, what’s the competition all about? We’ve got a cool MacBook Air worth $1799 to give away, and we decided to give it to the flooker who made the most and best flook cards before the end of January. We’ve had some great entries, some of which Rog blogged about before. (Go and have a peek, I’ll be waiting when you get back…)

Well, we’ve had plenty more entries since then, but I don’t want to discriminate by showcasing someone so late in the game! All I want to say is that anyone can still win, if he or she is a really dedicated flooker. Come on, guys, it only take a minute or two to make a flook card, and even assuming you have a job to go to in the week, that still gives you chance to make 1,440 flook cards at the weekend. (I’m assuming sleeping and eating are optional, as they should be for such an addictive pursuit as flooking!)

Even if you don’t have time to enter (shame on you!) you can get yourself in the draw for an iPod nano by tweeting our competition.

When Big Ben rings midnight on January 31st, young Tristan our server guru will be collecting all your entries and  sending them around the team to be judged. We hope to have got all the judging done by mid February so that we can announce the winner at MacWorld – so stay tuned!

Rog and I just got back to our house in America after 6 months in the UK. I switched my US phone on to find flook frozen in time as it was in July last year – quite an interesting sight.

Look how empty those robot views are! When we changed the tabs around and added the new robots, some people were worried that flook had become too busy and crowded. I admit I’d like it to be a little simpler, but those tabs with just one or two robots look very silly!

The card creator went through a massive design review. Looking back at this previous version makes me realise how successful that redesign was!

And look at that template chooser! No-one ever discovered that we had two pages of templates either.

I’m so glad we had a proper long beta, where we not only got user experience feedback like the chooser, but also design feedback too.

Even though we’re only a week into the competition proper we’re super excited about the quality of the entries we’ve had so far. So excited that we couldn’t keep them to ourselves! Don’t panic if you’ve not entered yet though – with three weeks to go the competition is still wide open. Oh, and if we’ve not showcased your cards, don’t panic – that doesn’t mean you’re not in the running either. We might be planning another post like this one 🙂

First up is solomonsmindfield who is making some excellent cards in and around London. One of our particular favourites is the card below, because it highlights a real local secret and because it’s from someone in the know – solomonsmindfield is a Bengali chef herself. There are millions of cafes and Indian restaurants in London but this is a real secret – a Bengali cafe recommended by a Bengali chef.

Next up is alaska based in… Alaska. Alaska’s cards are stunning not just because her location is so wonderful to discover, but also because she takes such care with her cards, which are  always beautiful little gems with wonderful photos.

Finally, a great flook from cyberfish1uk. cyberfish1uk gained (lawful!) access to the famous Blue Peter gardens and (of course) flooked it! This might confuse our foreign users – basically if you grew up in the UK and had a TV, you almost certainly watched Blue Peter. We’re just waiting for one of our American flookers to tell us where Sesame Street actually is.

Here at Flook Towers, we’ve just discovered TweetJourney. It’s a great little site that plots your tweets in time order on a map – all you need to do is go to your settings page on Twitter and tick the little box to enable geotagging.

But the best bit is when you sign into Twitter on flook. We support the geotagging API, so that all your flooks are also geotagged. The cool thing about this is that you can now see how you travelled around the country flooking! My flook journey looks a bit like the image below. (Yes, it did take me 117 hours to travel 111 km. I travel by snail.)

Or should we say FlookJourney?

To celebrate the festive season, we’re setting up the most amazing, flooktastic competition.

The first prize is a stunning $1799 worth of MacBook Air – 2.13GHz with 2GB memory and a 128GB solid-state drive. (The second prize is a week at Ambient Industries helping us fix defects. Only kidding.)

The winner of our competition will be the person who creates the greatest number of high quality cards between now and January 31st 2010. High quality, you ask? By that we mean such things as:

Have a look at more cards from our top users on our community page to get the idea. You could also read our blog posting on making great cards.

Judging will be performed by the flook team and a pet robot called Gerald.

That’s not all! We’d like to reward you if you get the word out about this competition. Just click this link to tweet about the competition and we’ll put you into a draw for an iPod nano!

It’s going to be a great Christmas!

It was my sister-in-law’s birthday last weekend, and to celebrate we stayed in The Olde Bull in Barton Mills and had a slap-up meal. The hotel was great, with funky decor in the rooms and good, local food – but as it was right next to the busy A11, I didn’t have high hopes for good flooking on Sunday morning.

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But I was wrong. There’s something about flooking that makes you look around you a bit harder. We spotted a little notice telling us that our little village, Barton Mills, has quite a bit going for it.

For a start, it was alive and well in 1086, when the population was recorded as 24. I also noticed that in the 1400s there was a population of 70 people and a total of 7 inns for them to drink at – whereas today there is a massive population of 940 people sharing just 1 pub and the hotel. So who says that Brits are drinking far more than they used to?

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We peeped at the cottage where a Lord Mayor of London lived in 1416 – bit of a commute, I thought, although perhaps the stagecoach was a bit faster than First Capital Connect’s trains.

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Sadly, it was only after I got home that I discovered that Barton Mills has a much greater claim to fame than any of these – it’s the holder of the Guinness World Record for the most scarecrows built at any one time. I shall have to go back to the annual Scarecrow Festival in July for a look.

How about you – what did you discover last weekend?