An Open Source WebOS

Today’s announcement from HP that WebOS will be set free as an Open Source project opens up room for some interesting changes in the mobile landscape.  Both CNET’s Stephen Shankland  and The VAR Guy think nothing much will come of this move.  As both a long time Open Source zealot and a mobile developer, I think there is more there there than they do.

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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

Understanding FDA Recalls

At Agorasys, we’ve just published a market research report that provides  summary statistics for FDA food recalls, a statistical analysis of important trends, and a qualitative analysis of important issues within the recall notices, with a special emphasis on how existing practices impact emerging mobile technologies like our RecallCheck product.   This report is based on our unique database of recalls developed to support our mobile RecallCheck product that enables users to scan bar codes with their cell phones and find out if the product has been recalled.

Who should read this report:

  • Decision makers seeking to understand the recall landscape
  • Communications specialists helping firms with recall related communications
  • Packaged food marketers
  • Food safety professionals
  • Journalists
  • Food safety consumer advocates

The report’s table of contents is available here

A New Product for Food Safety

A recent study from Rutgers asserts that more than 80% of Americans pay close attention to information about food recalls, but that only 61% have ever looked for a recalled product in their home.  While this might be a surprise for food researchers, any one with a busy home can understand these statistics.  First you have to know about the recall.  Then you have to search for the potential product.  Then you have find the notice on the Internet to determine whether your particular grocery (e.g Pistachios) is covered by the recall.  I’m amazed that 61% of the respondents actually looked.

But we have a better way.  My partner and I have created a new application for phones based on the Android operating system (e.g. TMobile’s G1) that allows users to scan the bar code directly from the package and search the US Food and Drug Administration’s website for product recall notices about that specific product.  The application is: RecallCheck.

With RecallCheck it just takes seconds to scan the bar code and find out whether the product in your kitchen is covered by an FDA recall.