Category Archives: News

Entrepreneurship attempts (Take 1)

Ever since high school I kinda knew I wanted to do stuff for myself. In fact, many of my classmates made various apps under make-believe company names – Waspsoft, Cavrom etc. They weren’t actually sold anywhere, just bragged about around the high school.
My first big thing was a fake Telnet client to collect email passwords around the computer lab. This was in 1995-1996, so I wrote it in Pascal. Yes, I was phishing back then, but that term wasn’t coined until much later :). It was a relatively innocent idea, meant to “Tinder” people by writing fake love letters from one another. I was so proud I even showed it to my programming teacher. He just said “You’d be better off focusing your energy on doing good stuff”.
Continue reading Entrepreneurship attempts (Take 1)

monocube: resurrection

It’s been more than 4 years since I updated my blog. During this time, I quit my (highly paying) job as a software architect, I got married (yes, developers do have a life :), and learned a lot. About life, software and business. For any ambitious person, learning should never stop.

This is what my blog is about. I will share my struggle to become financially independent (as in, not working for “The Man”), the decisions (good, but mostly bad) and what I learned from them.

Hopefully they will all help someone.

Disclaimer: I’m not financially independent, I still have a part time job as a software engineer. But I’m closer to that goal than I was 4 years ago, as I have a relatively small, but steady passive income. I will get to that in my next posts.

AdMob mediation tests

As of now I’m running some AdMob Mediation integration tests for Tapjoy, AppBrain, Madvertise and Leadbolt. So far it seems to work ok – with one mention being Leadbolt. If an ad is being displayed by this Network, it creates an Ad which obscures the other Ads. In other words, AdMob can’t destroy this Leadbolt ad, and the upcoming ads can’t be seen. I can’t seem to get a reference to the LeadBolt ad so I can pass it to AdMob for destruction. That’s a pity, I have to find a workaround.

I’ll let you know how it works 😉

Quick Android Income Report : 4 months since startup

I’ve been late with this report, mainly because of my other daily activities. In short, ever since I introduced ads and the point system in Power Schedule, Power Schedule Basic and App List, I managed to get enough money to pre-order (thanks to a friend in UK) a Google Nexus 7 tablet (Yay!). Unfortunately I will receive it later in August, when my friend from UK will visit Romania.

It’s not bad, but I can’t quit my job just yet. Some friends of mine actually make a nice passive income from other types of sources. Try, for example, online poker. There are many such services online, but they use Partypoker. It works for them. Since I’m a developer, I’m just trying to do what I know best: develop :).

Anyhow, the short breakdown is as follows:
LeadBolt income: $10
AdMob income: $6
TapJoy income: $242
Sales from SlideME: 7$
Adsense on monocube.com: $7
TOTAL: $272

Overall, I would say Tapjoy is working. Some users do like “incentive advertising”, while others not. Leadbolt and AdMob (banner based) ads are not so well suited for my apps, as they are “fire and forget” kind of apps (users rarely open them after installation). I’m currently working on some updates for all apps, I will try to use AdMob’s mediation service in conjunction with other advertisers (LeadBolt, Madvertise, AppBrain). Maybe I’ll also sign up with other AdMob Mediation approved advertisers as well (however I’m trying not to dilute the earnings between too many advertisers, since it may delay my checks by a while :).

Android App fragmentation

Well Android fragmentation is one thing. However for me the most severe one is app fragmentation. Take a look at the below screenshot from Power Schedule Google Play statistics. The lime line is currently the 1.5 version. Orange is the 1.6 line, while the others represent the 2.x versions. The blue ascending line is the latest version, 2.1.2 – this seems to have a steep update rate, which is a sign that initial 2.x problems were solved.
It seems many users don’t update apps that often (as opposed to me, I always want to have the latest and greatest :P).

power schedule fragmentation

eCPM results with Tapjoy

I’ve had mixed feelings about implementing the Tapjoy “points” system. I can tell you that after a week, so do the users. Some don’t like it at all, and ask me for a paid version insted. I would gladly have one, but as I mentioned countless times before, I can’t sell on Google Play (reason being Google, not me).
Anyhow, I will also add Google Analytics, to analyze some things (such as average events used by each user etc.), to see how users interact with Power Schedule.

But coming back to Tapjoy, the results are promising. I’m getting an average of $7.04 eCPM over the first week since implementation. Also the trend is increasing (since only around 30% of users are using the 2.x version). I hope once people get used to the point system and also the new User Interface, things will get even better.
There are some other things which I plan to keep an eye on: localization. I really want to see the effect of translating Power Schedule to Slovak and French. I hope this will add some completely new users, which didn’t see the original 1.x version at all.

Stay tuned.

Unlimited Power Schedule version on Amazon Appstore

I have some new updates which I didn’t post online yet. First of all, the new 2.1+ versions got Power Schedule users back. Yes, the 2.0 version was quite a disaster, as it was quite complicated to use. Also the point system was not sufficiently explained. Here’s the chart from Google Play:

Anyhow, I’m glad things are getting back on track.
Also, the new 2.1.2 version is translated to Slovak, French and Romanian (more languages to come). By the way, if you know Japanese, Italian or Spanish and want to help me out with the translation, drop me a message.
Today I just uploaded the “point free” Power Schedule version to Amazon Appstore and SlideME alternative Android markets. Yes, it seems they are more open to developers, as they allow me to sell apps there. Power Schedule “unlimited events” edition costs just 0.99$. If you don’t like the point system, you can get the paid version. No ads, no points – just events. As many as you like 🙂

It will take a few days until the Amazon and SlideME staff review and approve the app (hopefully :)). I will post the purchasing links then.

Also, stay tuned for an income report update. This time, from AdMob, Leadbolt and Tapjoy.

New Update – Power Schedule 2.1.1

Last night I updated Power Schedule to version 2.1. I listened to people who complained about the new User Interface. Yes, now that I look at it, it was poorly designed. But somehow I missed this because I got used to it (while working on it).

Anyhow, I hope you like the new one. It’s much more clean and intuitive. I also added a “reboot” event – for Power Users who rooted their phones. You can set up a reboot each night, to have a “clean” phone in the morning (for example).

I plan to add a lot of other features as well – some suggested by users.
Many thanks go to these people (in no particular order):
Andy F
Carlos Blasco
Francisco Bautista
Levon Janpoladyan
Ferenc Harcos
Sujit Dey
Masoud Beheshti
Peter Jancar
Timothy Arceri
David Abdelli
Kevin (Darkbyte)

They helped me fix some issues and contributed with some ideas (or translations). I will also add their names (with their permission) in the About page (inside the App).

Looking forward to the next version