RecallCheck Post-Mortem

Recently, I’ve been answering a lot of questions about about RecallCheck, which was an Android based mobile application to allow uses to scan UPC bar codes on packaged food and find out about any recent recalls involving that product.  Developing and marketing RecallCheck, I worked with my business partner Scott. With the project is now over, I’d like to cover some of the learnings and reasons I believe we were ultimately unsuccessful. Continue reading


The Best Business Card App for Android (or any other Smart Phone)

One of the best business card tricks you can use is to turn your contact info into a bar code that can then be scanned into most smart phones. While this post will deal with the free bar code scanner from The Google for Android, apps are available for iPhone,RIM’s Blackberry, and Nokia’s Symbian OS. By encoding the information on your business card in a QR Code, any one with a modern mobile smart phone, like Android, can then scan the information directly onto their phone.  This blog post will walk you through creating the bar code and using the Android app to read the business card information.  Continue reading

A Neat Android Feature–Finding Apps with QR Codes

The above image is a QR Code.  These two d codes are remarkably versatile.  You can store just about any text in them.  Things typically encoded this way include contact information, addresses,  and web urls.  Most smart phone manufacturers  support at least scanning the contact information (e.g VCARD), but Google supports a whole range of other uses.

One of the more interesting uses Google supports is encoding a text string representing an application in the Google Market.  When the example above is scanned into a Android based phone, it will launch an app I’ve been working on called RecallCheck (see below for more details).

This week the Google announced it was implementing QR Code stickers for businesses to put in their window.  When scanned into an Google Android phone, they will bring up information about the business from Google.  Expect to see a lot more about QR codes in the coming years as they work to connect the physical world with the Internet via phones.

Updating RecallCheck to Version 2.0

At Agorasys, we’ve updated our RecallCheck program to version 2.  With this version, we now have an online database of food recalls based on the fda recall site that we search, instead of launching a web search based on variations of the barcode.  With this new structure we are able to offer better results.  One cool new feature of the improved results is the ability to call the recalling company directly from the application.

Because not all of the FDA recalls include barcodes (e.g. bulk peanuts), it isn’t possible to see all of the results in our database yet.  Our next feature will be adding a keyword search that allows for searching across all of the recalls using words instead of barcodes in order to easily find recalls based on manufacturer, food type, recall reason etc.

Is Google Serious About Paid Apps for Android?

Recently I’ve been working on an application for the Google Android platform and the experience has been interesting.  Google’s application market appears to be response to Apple’s success with the iPhone market rather than an organic expression of Google’s strategy or culture.  The result is an implementation that feels bolted onto Android and  provides tepid value to independent application developers.  In support of my assertion are the following facts:

Continue reading