Connecting the dots – 1pixel.solutions

Ten years ago I registered the 1pixelsolutions.com domain name. At that time I was planing that it will became the name of a web development agency.

Well that never happened.

I could find many reasons why, but lets face it: the main reason is ME.

Looking back I can connect the dots and understand why this happened (or did not happen).

As I see it now, being an agency it’s about volume, tens of projects, tens of clients etc. and that’s not me (at least not now and not in the last ten years).

I like mid/long term projects, I like focusing on that project and working with people from other departments to get a glimpse of how everything gets connected to make it whole.

I hate useless stuff. I don’t feel comfortable working on something that I don’t believe in or think it will not be used because it really affects my motivation and focus.

All these and other subjective reasons led to this point.

So what’s next?

1pixel.solutions will became a label (brand I think is a bit to early 🙂 ) for products / projects I will be building or co-found.

The goal is to create products that save you mainly time, time that you can spend doing real life stuff and not staring at a screen.

This means applications that automatise, simplify or solve everyday problems, challenges.

Let’s dig in.

P.S.

I’ve done a redesign for the website so that it reflects this new path https://1pixel.solutions

 

The story of activity.report

The itch

The ‘itch’ this application tries to scratch comes from a personal experience. For as long as I know I have been working as a freelancer (and I am loving it). I worked on projects that lasted from weeks to projects requiring almost a year, I have been paid a fixed rate per project and worked also for hourly rates.

But being a freelancer has its challenges and one of them is managing your finances because those invoices are rolling in no matter what.

The first ‘itch’ was to have a dashboard where I can see in real time how much income a project is generating.

Another challenge is the estimates (not only for freelancers but for everybody). Let’s face it, we as humans are bad at estimating. I think because we are optimistic and can’t really estimate what can go wrong. Estimating the best case scenario is easy, but estimating the worst case scenario well that’s …

So as a freelancer you have to accept that when you get paid per project and based on your estimate, you will most probably work more hours than you estimated.

The second ‘itch’ was to track the worked hours so I could compare the estimate ( guessed 🙂 ) with the reality and to be able to try to minimize the gap between them for the next project.

The question you all probably are asking is why build an app from scratch (the nth time tracking application) when there are so many of them available. That’s true, and I tried a number of them, but some were too complex, and I wanted simplicity, while some go beyond the privacy limit that I can accept.

Also, I had a need to be able to customize the generated PDF report (add a custom heading text, a custom intro text, a custom footer) and this was a feature that none of the tested apps were offering.

Beyond the above reasons I also like building web apps and when I have the possibility to work on an idea that would help me or others I’ll go for it.

I invite you to try it (https://activity.report), maybe it’s a flavor of time tracking application that you will like.

The technical ingredients for the app

Here are the services that I use to run this application

  • CloudFlare – DNS
  • Digital Ocean – Servers
  • Laravel Forge – Server management
  • Laravel Envoyer – Deployment
  • Pusher – Real time update
  • Apache Cordova – For the mobile apps
  • PhoneGap – Mobile app compiling  service
  • Postmark – SMTP service
  • Bugsnag – Error reporting
  • Ottomatik – Backups
  • Forrest Admin – Admin backend interface
  • Laravel framework + Laravel Spark – Backend
  • Vue JS – Frontend