Announcing YouTube videos on Stickymap

April 17th, 2008

Now you can add VIDEO to any Stickymap location.  This feature allows you to post any video on to our site.  If you have your own video that you’d like to put up, just put it on YouTube, and then add it to Stickymap.

This is brand new, so I encourage our users to try it out, and let us know how it goes.  I look forward to seeing this being used over the next few weeks.  The videos will appear on the widget as well.


Cool New Feature to be Announced Soon

April 16th, 2008

I’m working on a new piece of functionality that will fit it well with our current system.  Please check this blog in the next few days!

Marker Motion Gutted

April 14th, 2008

Just a development update:

Today we gutted the internals of moving markers.  These changes will do a couple of things:

First, it will restrict user’s ability to move markers to only markers that haven’t been edited by other registered users.  This is because moving markers can be as destructive as removing markers.  The result will be that if you create a marker, you’ll be able to move it, but if a marker already have edits, photos, or any additions from other users, you’ll be asked to report the marker instead.  We’ll see how this works, and we’ll be able to tweak the security settings as feedback is received.

Secondly, it will make it easier for us to monitor which markers are being moved and how often.  This will hopefully make it easier for us to spot vandalism and reverse it.

This is not in reaction to any problem that has occurred so far, but in preparation for further traffic and newer features that will be added to the site.


Stickymap in

March 31st, 2008

Today we’ve been written up in the blog College Mogul “is a weblog and online resource for college entrepreneurship. [They] cover and assist in the emergence, progress and impact of new and existing collegiate entrepreneurial activity.”

Stickymap was once a college project at Yale.

You can check out the blog post in the link below. They do a very good job of explaining the site succinctly, and they’ve publicized our goal of getting 10,000 installs of the facebook application.

We have also been mentioned in John Johnson’s live blog, with some more ideas for using our software:!3B205349770D59A8!184.entry

Announcing the Stickymap Facebook Application

March 29th, 2008

Dan and I are proud to announce the Stickymap Facebook application.  Now you can embed the Stickymap widget on your Facebook page and have it display Stickymap postings in your neighborhood.

If you are a member of Facebook, you can install the app by clicking “edit” next to “Applications” on the left hand side of your profile.  Then, click “Browse More Applications”.  Search “Stickymap”, and click “Add Application”.

We invite your feedback on the Facebook Application, and on the widget itself.  Please stay tuned for more on this exciting development.


Widget Algorithm for Displaying Locations

March 24th, 2008

I’m going to describe here the algorithm we use in the widget to determine which locations to display. We are considering using this algorithm for the main site and we want our readers to comment on that and suggest improvements. It’s fairly simple.

First, we set a limit of 60 markers. If there are less than 60 markers in the span of view, all of them get displayed. If there are more than 60 markers, then we use our statistics to determine which are more important. Right now, we use “last viewed”. So markers that have been viewed recently go on the top of the list, and markers that haven’t been viewed for a long time go on the bottom of the list. Every time you view a marker, it goes to the top of the list.

I realize that this may not be the top choice statistic to use, but for right now, it’s the cheapest in terms of computing resources and development time. We can switch measures fairly easily, but we’re going to monitor how this one works out first.

Another aspect of this design: suppose you looking are on the neighborhood level. The neighborhood markers get displayed first. Then then street level markers. Therefore, if there are more than 60 neighborhood markers, no street levels will get displayed. If there are 40 neighborhood markers, all of those will get displayed, and the top 20 street level markers will show up. Likewise, city markers take precendence over both.

Play around with our widget ( and tell us what you think either by leaving a comment, or emailing us at


Widget Update

March 17th, 2008

I know this blog has been less active, but there’s been a lot of work going on in the background, and in a little while we’ll have some announcements for you.

In order to prepare our widget for primetime, we’ve needed to make some usability improvements.  Today, we once again tweaked the algorithm for determining which markers get displayed.  Some of our users have expressed dislike for the “importance” level, so now the display algorithm on the widget is completely independent of importance.

I’d like our users to play around with the widget ( and look closely at which markers get display as you move around, zoom in, and zoom out.  Do you like this new system?  Is there something you would change?  What do you think about dropping the importance level?

Keep in mind that even though we’ve dropped importance level for the widget, we still have it on our main site.  If we like what we see on the widget, we will consider switching the main site to that system as well.

I’ll be more specific as to what algorithm we’re using in a future post.


Updated User Search

February 15th, 2008

So, our refactoring projects have yielded some more improvements.

One is that user search now displays in the middle of the page, with pictures to help you see who you are looking at.  Of course, most of our users still cling to the default animals that we have provided so it might not be as helpful.  Still, I think that the social networking aspect of the site starts to come together as the search and interaction features become more fully developed.

Do a user search (which should be on the left-hand side of the page, about half the way down) and tell us what you think!


A Real Friending System

February 10th, 2008

Most social networking sites have similar systems for making connections between friends to share trusted content. Here at Stickymap, we tried to do something a little bit different, but now we’re going to back to the industry standard. I guess it was the way to go after all.

What were we doing before? “Friending” (or contacts as we called them) was really a 1 way street. You could make a connection with another user on Stickymap without their permission. You can pull a contact from your profile, but they didn’t have to do likewise.

Now we’ve changed to a strict 2 way system. If you are going to friend someone, they have to accept. If you remove a contact, then the connection is removed in both directions. Right now there is no private content, so you won’t be able to find out anything new about your friends that you wouldn’t already know. However, this opens up the possibilites for the future. I believe that people are going to want to see what their friends are doing and saying on the map. People are going to want to message each other.

I want to gather up ideas on what use you’d get from this social network based around our open-edit map, so please but your thoughts in the comments section here.


Links in Location Descriptions

February 3rd, 2008

This is another post on web development that you may find interesting.

As you may know, many of our location descriptions include external links. For example, a restaurant posted might contain a link to that restaurant’s website. Here is an example of a location with a link.

Until recently, clicking on those links would cause the web page to load within the iframe that contains the location information. This was a problem because the iframe is only 500 and change in pixel width, and most pages want to be 800 pixels in width. So, we finally got around to changing it.

When you have a link from within an iframe, say <a href=’newPage.php’>, the new page will automatically load within the iframe. In order to make it open up a new browser window, write <a href=’newPage.php’ target=’_blank’> and in order to navigate away from the main Stickymap page, write <a href=’newPage.php’ target=’_parent’>.

Now those 2 options present us with an interesting choice. Do we want external links on locations to open up a new browser window or simply navigate away. Many sites choose to open up a new window in order to prevent users from navigating away from their page. However, this practice is considered by some to be annoying and even spammy. However, I chose to do it that way because when I’m browsing Stickymap, I often want to know information about many different locations. Therefore, it would help me to be able to click on those locations, and have all the company websites open at once without closing my map.  I’d like to get some feedback from you, our users, on this: do you agree with this decision, or would you rather just see a link navigate you away from

Another point of interest is how we implemented this change. All external links from these pages have no target attribute. In other words, they all look like this: <a href=’newPage.php’>. When the description is loaded into the page, is there a way to change the target attributes of all the links? Fortunately, there is, and I’ve used a special javascript library called jquery (website) to make it easier. I surrounded the description in an html <span> element, and gave that element a class of “fix_links”, so the html looks like this: <span class=’fix_links’> ….wiki description in here…. </span>.

Now, in order to change the target attribute of all links within that span, all I had to do was execute the following javascript, which is nice and concise thanks to the jquery javascript library.

$(‘.fix_links a’).attr(“target”, “_blank”);