The Future of Peepel

We’ve been busy thinking of our future, over the last few months.  We’ve reviewed our thoughts, experiences and balance sheets across range of projects and we have come to a consensus.  We have determined that our focus for the future of Peepel is Enterprise clients.  With the growing interest from Enterprise clients cementing our decision, we have decided to close down the current consumer site at Peepel.com to free up staff for Enterprise projects.

To all those who signed up for Peepel accounts, thank you very much for your support and feedback.  Your files can be accessed at: http://www.peepel.com/peepeldocs/login.php

We will be making some changes in the not so distant future, but in the meantime, if you have any enquiries about Peepel Enterprise products please contact us via enterprise@peepel.com

Iraq War Fatalities II

These videos are in follow-up to the one we did last week.

The data used is the number, type location and date of deaths in Iraq from January 1, 2004 to December 31, 2009. Type being Civilian, Coalition forces, Iraq forces and Enemy kills. This is part of the data recently released by WikiLeaks and provided by The Guardian. Read more about the data and how we manipulated it in our previous post here.

Custom Iraq Fatalities websites

We have made a custom website, that allows users to view each day as a timeline, showing when fatalities occurred. There is also an iPad specific website.

The applications screen shots are shown below.

Ipad Landscape Custom Iraq Fatalities website

Ipad Landscape Custom Iraq Fatalities website

Ipad Portrait Custom Iraq Fatalities website

Ipad Landscape Custom Iraq Fatalities website

Ajax Custom Iraq Fatalities websites

Ajax Custom Iraq Fatalities website

These three examples above show differing interfaces, all three show the differing interface, they are all showing the fatalities that occured, the 16th of September (9th month) of 2006. The current time shown is 5:00 pm (17:00). There is a timeline at the bottom, for the complete 24 hours of the chosen day. Press the play button and see the timeline move through the 24 hour period.

There are four different zooms, that are used in the video representations, namely

  1. Iraq – This gives an overall view.
  2. North Iraq This highlights the area of greatest fatalities, from Baghdad to the Northern Border
  3. Baghdad – This shows the area around Greater Baghdad
  4. Green zone- This zoom, shows street level detail of Iraq.

The applications can be used at any zoom layer that is required.

The data is not perfect, see http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/oct/25/wikileaks-iraq-data There is also some time holes in the data, the most notable is may 2004 is nearly completely missing.

Heat Map

The heat map video displays the impact of deaths over the period from 2004 to 2009. A grid was placed over the top of the impact area which was used to calculate the significance of each grid over the previous 28 days to highlight grids where attacks occurred the most (significance shown in red). The significance was calculated in blocks which is shown with the gradual change in colour from blue to red, least to most significance retrospectively.

Heat Map Iraq Fatalities website zoomed to Baghdad

4 Way Map

The Four Way map separates out the four different types of fatalities. This allows a separation of the Shade and Circle concept, explained below.

Four Fatality types

  • Red is Civilian (Top Left)
  • Blue is Coalition Forces (Top Right)
  • Purple is Iraq Forces (Bottom Left
  • Green is Enemy

These are the definitions as supplied with the data.

The four way maps are good for comparing relative number of the different types of fatalities.

4 Way Map

Minutes Map

The minutes video displays the total fatalities for the period from 2004 to 2009 at each minute for the 24 hours in a day. This minute timeline starts at midnight and goes through to 11:59 PM. The timeline simulates dawn by starting to lighten at the summer solstice and is fully light at the winter solstice, and the inverse for going dark at dusk.

Some of the data has been generalised so that there are small peaks of fatalities every hours, as the data has in some instances been generalised to the hour.

Shade and Circle Map

The size of the circle represents the number of fatalities, with one fatality represented by 20 square kilometers. The area of the circle increases relative to the number of fatalities, so therefore 10 fatalities would be represented by a circle of 200 square kilometers.

The Colour of the circle, represents which of the 4 fatality (Civilian, Coalition Forces, Iraq Forces, Enemy).

When the circle is drawn, a very faint (98% transparent) filled circle is also drawn on the same spot, this is added to with each map, so the background of the map, will show the effect of many of the colours added to the map, in certain areas, all the colours tend to combine to form a black, which means that many of the 4 types of fatalities occurred in that area.

Map and video links

Heat Map with legend and all circles

1 Iraq 2 North Iraq 3 Baghdad 4 Green Zone
Animated GIF
Youtube
HQ Video
Animated GIF
Youtube
HQ Video

Heat Map, no legend, with circles

1 Iraq 2 North Iraq 3 Baghdad 4 Green Zone
Animated GIF
Youtube
HQ Video
Animated GIF
Youtube
HQ Video

Minute

1 Iraq 2 North Iraq 3 Baghdad 4 Green Zone
Animated GIF
Youtube
HQ Video
Animated GIF
Youtube
HQ Video
Animated GIF
Youtube
HQ Video
Animated GIF
Youtube
HQ Video

Daily – 4 Way map

1 Iraq 2 North Iraq 3 Baghdad 4 Green Zone
Animated GIF
Youtube
HQ Video
Animated GIF
Youtube
HQ Video
Animated GIF
Youtube
HQ Video
Animated GIF
Youtube
HQ Video

Daily – Many circle

1 Iraq 2 North Iraq 3 Baghdad 4 Green Zone
Animated GIF
Youtube
HQ Video
Animated GIF
Youtube
HQ Video
Animated GIF
Youtube
HQ Video
Animated GIF
Youtube
HQ Video

Daily – Many circle and shadow

1 Iraq 2 North Iraq 3 Baghdad 4 Green Zone
Animated GIF
Youtube
HQ Video
Animated GIF
Youtube
HQ Video
Animated GIF
Youtube
HQ Video
Animated GIF
Youtube
HQ Video

Iraq War Daily Casualties Mapped From 2004 to 2009

This video is a time based map of war related deaths in Iraq from January 1, 2004 to December 31, 2009.  The casualty data consists of military and civillians combined.  Each video frame is one day.  A black cross is displayed on the map to represent one or more deaths on that day and at that location.  The larger the cross, the more deaths that occurred on that day at that location.  After a cross appears, it will fade for one more frame before being left on the map as a light grey cross for the duration of the video.

An interesting thing to note is that for some reason during May 2004 there were very few deaths.   This could be a problem with data or it may indicate that for some reason, war activity was reduced during that month.

With all the interest in the WikiLeaks war data, we decided to download a dataset provided by The Guardian to use for some temporal GIS systems testing and to just generally get a better understanding of the data.

What resulted was this video and considering that it may be of interest to others, we decided we would show it here on our blog.

We have created many tools here to help us create our maps for http://Peepel.com   one of them is called Unity, which is our map rendering engine. Unity allows us to spread the load of processing map data to many machines and to balance and mange that load.

We imported the dataset, and converted it to an ESRI shape file.

We then wrote a quick addition to unity that requested a map for each and every date from 2004 to 2009 of these windows and saved that as a PNG file. All these PNG files were added together and converted into these movies.

The map rendering was spread across many servers to enable the job to be completed quicker.

The data was also prepared to go to a custom Peepel site, which has been specifically made for displaying of this temporal style data.  This site will be available in about 24 hours.

We have deliberately made the maps simple to make it easier to see the data.

We will be releasing several more of these videos over the next few days; so keep an eye out.

Australia’s First Redhead Prime Minister

Australia woke up on Thursday morning to announcements that our country was probably going to be changing leaders.

Turns out it was the fastest change of leader we’ve ever seen in this country.

What seems to be at the forefront of mass media headlines is that Julia Gillard is our first female Prime Minister but another fact is that she is also our first redhead in the top seat!  Nothing wrong with that; we at Peepel love redheads and women.
Redheads Cartoon
We just think that, like good Australians, we should be able to make fun of the facts; hence the cartoon above.

Pauline Hanson, the Redheads matchbox babe, Ronald McDonald, Nicole Kidman or someone else… Which famous redhead would you like to see in the top seat and why?

Remote control your smart-phones on the Peepel Platform

The Peepel team have introduced some really cool features into Doo Phone such as remote control of some of the advanced smart-phone features.

Doo Phone is designed to be a very simple user interface.  For the standard version (1.0), the user is only able to make and receive calls via a simplified menu (more features will be available in future versions).  All the advanced features, including menus and settings, are only available to the user by entering a PIN code. This PIN code would normally only be known by the user’s carer so that they alone are responsible for the setup of the phone. Once the Windows smart phone is setup and the Doo Phone software is installed, everything else can be setup and administered via the remote web-based management console.

Some of the Doo Phone handset features that can be administered remotely via the web-based management console include:

  • Monitor Doo Phone’s battery life.
  • Add, edit and remove contacts.
  • Add, change and remove picture/photo and sound file for each contact.
  • Change the display order of contacts.
  • View the location of the Doo Phone on an interactive map (accuracy determined by Cell Tower or GPS).
  • Turn on/off GPS for accurate locating and tracking (GPS is off by default to preserve battery life).
  • Enable/disable the phone’s numeric dialler (note that with the number pad disabled, the user can only call their listed contacts).

These features are fantastic for Doo Phone users and are sure to make their lives easier and safer, however they’re not only available to Doo Phone! The Peepel team can implement these and other features into custom applications for any client by use of our Peepel Platform services.

The Peepel Platform is ‘purpose built’ as a base for creating incredible interactive web and mobile applications. With customisable office applications, collaborative utilities, our own mapping engine and much more; the sky is the limit for what can be built upon the Peepel Platform.

The comic below is a hypothetical situation that simply shows how beneficial remote administration and tracking of Doo Phone can be.

Note: Click the comic to view larger.

Doo Phone Comic 2 Thumbnail

Someone will always know where you are with a Doo Phone!

Doo Phone is coming…

Peepel is proud to announce the launch of another exciting product that has been developed upon the Peepel Platform. The Doo Phone team is currently finishing off all the last minute, tidy up tasks and will be ready to release it to the public within 24 hours!

Doo Phone is simply a remarkable product; so simple and so extraordinary that people often ask, “why didn’t someone think of this before?”

Doo Phone is designed to help those less able than others. Mobile phones have become more powerful, but too complex for the intellectually challenged and elderly, too fiddly for those with dexterity problems and too impractical for the hearing and visually impaired.  Doo Phone solves all these issues and more!

Doo Phone is a new and simplified interface for Windows touch-screen mobile phones. It is managed remotely via a secure website where the Doo Phone user can have a trusted person manage their phone and contacts.  Doo Phone can also be tracked by GPS and Cell Tower locations via the management website.  Simply log into the website and hit the ‘Find Doo Phone’ button and the location will appear on an interactive Peepel map.

Read more about the Doo Phone on http://doophone.com and on their blog http://doophone.com/blog

Check out the cartoon below for an example scenario of the Doo Phone preventing what could have been a dangerous situation. This cartoon is based upon the true story of how Rhys Cooper came up with the idea for Doo Phone. Read the story at http://doophone.com/why

Note: Click the comic for a larger view.

Doo Phone Comic 1

You're never really lost with a Doo Phone!

Peepel gets Patched

Several changes have just been made to Peepel.  These changes are mostly minor, but I’m sure you’ll find them interesting.

Check out what’s new -

  1. You can now change the theme setting (from the Settings, App → Appearance section) without refreshing the page.
  2. All applications now have a minimise button. It hides the application and makes the icon in the task manager semi- transparent. Clicking on the semi-transparent icon will restore the app to it’s previous position.
  3. Websheet printing has been improved. Now includes table cell borders – looks much nicer.
  4. New user settings -
    1. Map centre mark on/off – sets the default state of the map centre mark (crosshair), i.e. when you open a new map, this state will be used.
    2. Default writer and spreadsheet font – There is a new section in the settings app, “Office”. It has 2 new settings; default font and default font size. These are applied to the websheet and webwriter as the default font settings.
  5. Map Info changes -
    1. Now has the option for mercator metre or decimal coordinates.
    2. You can also export map info coordinates into a new spreadsheet at the click of a button
  6. Public tracking -
    1. Now use peepel.com/?mu={email address} instead of {username}
    2. there is also a new button in the map panel (‘Map’ → ‘Your Location’) called ‘Send Your Location’ which allows you to specify any number of email addresses to send a quick link url to via email.

WebMap and Pocket Peepel User Manuals

Sometimes finding your way around a new application can be a bit overwhelming at first. But once you’ve grasped a few basic concepts, the rest tends to fall into place. So, to help Peepel users get the gist of it, we have Quick Help and user manuals available.

The Quick Help Peepel application can be found on the Launcher under Accessories, or by clicking the ? (question mark) button located in the Panel of most applications. Once Quick Help is open, choose a topic from the left and a sub topic from the right and a concise description will be displayed below.

Near the top of the Quick Help application you will see links to the Peepel PDF user manuals. The user manuals are written in plain English that everyone can follow. Please give them a once over; even the experienced user is bound to pick up some tips from the manuals.

Here’s direct links to the WebMaps and Pocket Peepel manuals so you can check them out now!
Note: Right click the link and choose ‘save target as’ to save the user manual to your computer.

Peepel Quick Help application screenshot

Peepel Launches New Interface, Maps and Tracking!

Peepel Launches Today

Here we are on the other side and the new Peepel is now up and running!

Hopefully there wont be any teething problems but if you encouter any issues, please check back here for the latest information or email us: feedback@peepel.com. We always read our feedback.

Thank you for supporting Peepel.

Peepel Scheduled Downtime Today

Is Peepel there yet? Just a little longer.

The Peepel website will be out of action today for several hours (from 9am Tuesday, 25th of August 2009 AEST GMT +10). Hopefully that doesn’t come as a suprise to any of you. But when Peepel returns, it will be bigger and better than ever before!

When Peepel returns later today, you may want to read up on all the new features. If so, check out the new WebMaps and Pocket Peepel PDF manuals. You can find links to the User Manuals in the Peepel QuickHelp application (find QuickHelp in the Launcher).

Please check out yesterday’s post to see how the Peepel login and signup has changed. That’s about all for now. See you on the other side.

Peepel Launches Tomorrow!

One More Sleep Until Peepel launch

When Peepel comes back online tomorrow after a short break, the first change you will notice is that we’ve done away with a pesky up-front website. Now, you will be taken straight into the Peepel application, logged in as a Guest user. Feel free to use this Guest account to have a bit of a look aound the new Peepel system if you like.

New Peepel users will have the choice of signing up with an email address and password OR by OpenID.

Existing Peepel account holders should choose the “Not You?” button from the Launcher Screen to login using your email address and password (previously it was username and password). This must be the email address that you used when setting up your existing Peepel account. You can then add your OpenID to your Peepel account and use that to login if you choose.

Note that only one email address per Peepel account is allowed however you can use multiple OpenIDs per account.

Handy Tip: To get the full screen experience of Peepel, hit F11 to toggle hiding your browser toolbars.

Two days to go and all's well!

Two More Sleeps Until Peepel launch

A big part of Peepel’s soon-to-be-released tracking capabilities is within the new Windows Mobile application, Pocket Peepel.

Pocket Peepel Screenshot Pocket Peepel can keep track of where you are by using your device’s inbuilt or attached GPS unit. For those without a GPS, your location can be discovered by detecting known Wi-Fi or Cell Tower locations or you can manually set where you are. You can also view where your friends are if they have given you permission in their Peepel (or Pocket Peepel) ContactManager.

Support for more types of devices/phones will be coming soon.

Peepel Launches Maps, Tracking and more in Three Days

Three More Sleeps Until Peepel launch

Only three days to go Peeps, so don’t forget that peepel.com will be unavailable for up to several hours from 9am Tuesday, 25th of August 2009 (AEST) (GMT +10).

I recommend that you should export any WebWriter or WebSheet documents that you may want to access during Peepel’s downtime, before Tuesday, or you could end up with bathroom duties too. The Export utility in Peepel is located just above the ribbon panel as shown below, circled in red.

File Export Button Location Screenshot

Yoda says, "Skin up Peepel in Four Days you can".

Four More Sleeps Until Peepel launch

Only four days to go until the biggest patch in Peepel’s history is released. Don’t forget that peepel.com will be unavailable for a few hours from 9am Tuesday, 25th of August 2009 (AEST) (GMT +10).

A new feature that I think Peepel users are going to like is the wide choice of new themes/skins being deployed with this patch. Look here to preview just a few of the themes that will be available. Skin up your Peepel account !

Five Day Countdown

Five More Sleeps Until Peepel launch

One of the major changes for existing Peepel users will be the new application Launcher. Currently when you hit the launcher button in the upper left of screen, a drop down menu appears. In the new Peepel, the Launcher button is located at the bottom left and opens a ‘splash screen style’ menu.

What does the new Launcher screen look like? Check it out here.

Note: Peepel will be unavailable for several hours from 9am Tuesday, 25th of August 2009 (AEST) (GMT +10) to perform a major upgrade. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

6 Days until Peepel's Facelift

6 More Sleeps

When Peepel returns from a few hours down-time on Tuesday 25th, we will be introducing some brand new features.

The biggest addition to the Suite of Peepel apps is WebMaps and Tracking capabilities. Users will be able to track their friends on Peepel WebMaps by having Pocket Peepel installed on a Windows Mobile phone/device (support for other device types is coming soon). Users without a Windows phone can still set their location by visiting our new Mobile Maps site on your phone’s web browser, or within Peepel WebMaps.

Here’s a sneak preview of WebMaps. More news tomorrow.

Important Notice for Peepel Users!

7 More Sleeps Until Peepel launch

Next Tuesday morning, 25/08/2009, from 9am Queensland, Australia time (AEST) (GMT+10); the Peepel.com website will be unavailable for approximately 3 hours.

When we come back online, all the features currently included with Peepel will still be available albeit with a whole new look. One minor change for existing users is that you will now have to login using your email address and password instead of username and password. New users will also have the choice to sign up using OpenID if preferred.

Stay tuned for more info over the next few days.

Thankyou for voting for Peepel!

The Webware 100 polls closed the other day but not before notching up an impressive 1.9 million votes! Webware have indicated there is a shift in voting trends this year in that there are fewer sites for geeks in the winners’ circle.

That’s great news for web2.0 in that it shows that the general public are embracing everything web2.0 stands for, ie. creativity, information sharing and most notably, collaboration among users. The results will be announced on Monday April 21 2008, just in time for the web2.0 expo in San Francisco.

We are very proud to have made the finalist list alongside a selection of the finest web2.0 products around. Our thanks go to everyone who voted for Peepel .

Peepel Named a Finalist in the 2008 “Webware 100” Awards for Productivity

Webware 100We are happy to announce that Peepel has been selected by the editors of Webware, a CNET site, as a finalist in this year’s “Webware 100” Awards for Productivity.

The Webware 100 Awards recognize the best Web 2.0 sites, services, and applications that are leading the next wave of innovation. Finalists are selected by the editors of Webware, but the ultimate winners will be picked by the public. Winners will be announced on Monday, April 21, 2008.

More than 480,000 votes were cast in the 2007 Webware 100 Awards. Online Voting is Open to the Public. So if you enjoy using Peepel as much as we do, click the Webware 100 button and vote for Peepel

Tips for using WebWriter

You can contain and constrain your WebWriter documents by using tables. For example, if you want two columns of text per page; just insert a three column table with a border width of zero. Add a couple of spaces in the centre column just to separate your two columns of text.

Ignore the fact that the columns resize as you type; when you enter text into the next column it will expand to match. You can manually resize empty columns by simply adding or removing spaces to an empty line and resize empty rows by adding or removing returns.

You can resize your tables in any browser however, Mozilla browsers, ie. Firefox and Seamonkey, have extra functionality allowing you to quickly add or remove rows and columns to the left, right, above and below existing ones by way of a simple tool that appears when you select a cell.

Check out the resume template in Peepel to see some great examples of how tables can improve your documents.

What is Peepel and what does it do?

Chris Saad, “At its surface Peepel looks like the newest player in the Web office suite marketplace. What it actually is, is a realization that online environments need to be platforms. Just like Windows is a platform for other software on the client-side.”

That is exactly what we have set out to achieve with our Peepel Framework. It is a platform on which you can run multiple applications at once within multiple, resizable windows all inside an internet browser window. We have more applications in the pipeline, some launching soon. There is a constant stream of ideas being thrown about the Peepel offices not just for our own suite, but for commercial and industrial applications as well. The possibilities of what can be done within the framework are virtually endless.

But why would you use Peepel now? Well, what Peepel is currently, is a free online office suite. This means that you can access your files from any computer with an internet connection. For example, you could share your staff roster with your employees so they can check what hours they are rostered on without having to phone in. Used in conjunction with our RSS feature, each employee can be notified instantly whenever the roster is updated.

There is no need to redo all your existing files when you start using Peepel. You can simply import all your Microsoft Office Word documents and Excel spreadsheets as well as Open Office Writer documents and Calc spreadsheets. Need to take your files elsewhere? No problem, you can export your Peepel files as the above formats as well.

Sign up to try Peepel. You’ve got nothing to lose.

People love using Workspaces

One feature of Peepel that we hear lots of positive feedback about is the Workspace Manager. I’m not surprised since we all find it extremely useful ourselves. One click and you can open all documents relative to a particular task. All the windows open in the same size and same position in which they were last saved.

For example, one of our users emailed to tell us how she and her sister are writing a book together. They’ve been working on it for several years without much progress until they discovered Peepel. Now they’re hammering through it!

They share several documents and save them all into a workspace. One document is the draft book, another for research and the last for notes and chat between themselves. Since one of them travels, she can login, open the Workspace and start editing from wherever in the world she may happen to be.

They also love the new RSS feature which notifies them whenever the other has made any changes without even logging in!

workspace_manager

For more information on Workspaces, see the Peepel user’s guide.

Online Office becomes an Offline Office

After browsing some of the IT blogs, I found more than a few articles on ‘online’ versus ‘offline’ office suites. The major negative point for the online model is “if the network connection drops out while you are working, all your data is lost.” Well this simply isn’t true for Peepel’s Online Office Suite.

We have an ‘off-line mode’ that automatically kicks in if you lose your internet connection. This enables you to continue to edit your spreadsheet and writer documents as normal while changes get saved to a buffer on your computer, albeit with a few minor limitations such as the loss of some interface graphics. We will improve this as things move along. Then once your connection is restored, the changes are automatically uploaded to your Peepel account.

All this occurs by way of a network status window which appears on your Peepel Desktop. It lets you know when you go offline, how many items you have stored in your buffer and when your connection is restored. More information on our Network Status window can be found in Peepel Quickhelp once you’ve logged in.

So there you have it. No need to worry about losing your session with Peepel’s online office!

Tooltips & QuickHelp

Whenever I get stuck trying to figure out how to do a task within unfamiliar software, I go straight to the user manual just like the rest of us do, right? Wrong. I struggle on trying to figure it out myself or ask a friend. The speed at which I find a solution is not only determined by whether I’d been out until 3.00am knocking back memory erasing beverages, but by the quality of the software.

To help get us through these frustrating moments, Peepel conveniently provides it’s users with unlimited coffee and aspirin…. Oh, it doesn’t? bugger. They do however provide ‘hover over’ tooltips which show you not only what the item’s function is, but other handy information such as keyboard shortcuts. There is also the inbuilt QuickHelp system which has concise descriptions of the applications and tools in an easily navigable menu system. These alone are enough to provide remedies for most ailments. If you need more help than this you can still always ask a friend; Peepel are your friends!

Simple Collaboration that even your Mum can use.

Peepel uses a unique approach to collaboration in the way that we use a ‘control token’ that shows you who is currently editing a document. The ‘control token’ appears as a coloured icon in the title bar of each document window. Edit control can be released or taken by anyone with write privileges. Read more.

Login, share a document and give it a go. It’s surprisingly easy to use and fun.