Hotspotr, my community-driven hotspot finder, is a finalist in the Industry Standard Innovation 100 Awards in the Lifestyle category. It's up against some stiff competition from well-known sites. Help us out by voting for Hotspotr!
From the Industry Standard:
We're now at the voting stage, which is also decided by the community. The more votes you get, the more likely you'll become a winner in one of the ten categories. Voting will run from now (August 4th) through October 3, 2008.
Go here to vote for Hotspotr: http://www.thestandard.com/awards/tis100/show_category/5741
Hotspotr lists over 8,000 user-contributed WiFi hotspots. LightPole provides a mobile client you can use to browse Hotspotr from your mobile phone using an interactive, maps-based interface:
You can download the LightPole mobile client for free from the Hotspotr homepage.
Separately, Hotspotr is also taking advantage of the Google Maps streetview functionality. For locations where streetview is available, you will have the option to browse the 3-d streetview imagery:
See an example at the Dolores Park Cafe in San Francisco.
Hotspotr is now available as an interactive map on your cell phone. You can browse for WiFi hotspots on the go -- which is exactly when you need to find hotspots right? See the link on the home page, or jump right to the mobile download.
The mobile goodness is provided through a partnership with LightPole. I tried several similar mobile services, and LightPole is doing a fantastic job. I've been using the application for some time myself during development.
Note that you have to be on Sprint, AT&T, or T-Mobile, and that the app is free. give it a try.
Montreal, Canada has boldly stepped into the #1 city on hotspotr with 107 cafes/hotspots listed! Chicago is trailing in 2nd place with 105 cafes, and San Francisco (hotspotr's hometown, if you will), is in 3rd place. Props to Montreal, who came out of nowhere on this -- their first listing was posted just six days ago.
Chicago was the first to overcome San Francisco, and they've traded the top spot with with Montreal a couple times over the weekend. Who will come out on top?
Hotspotr had a record-breaking day yesterday, with a total of 61,000 pageviews according to Google Analytics. The peak hour was 5pm, shortly after it went onto the digg homepage, with just under 15,000 pageviews in one hour.
Since a frequently-expressed concern with Rails is it's ability to handle traffic, I'm happy to say the site survived without a hicup. If you are building a Rails app and wondering about scalability, here are some points of reference:
- the backend is Apache 2.2 with mod_balancer going to a cluster of four mongrels.
- the server is a Rimu hosting dedicated server, with a few other Rails apps running alongside it (none very highly trafficked yesterday though).
- I don't have quantitative measurements on its responsiveness during the peak load times, but qualitatively it seemed pretty snappy -- I hit the site myself repeatedly during the peak time to see how it was holding up.
- the hotspotr homepage has four database queries. The main map page (for any given city) has five queries.
- I've done very little to optimize hotspotr. The basics are there: no iterative retrievals, appropriate indexes on tables, and sessions in the database.
- beyond that, I haven't optimized much at all -- there's no caching of either ActiveRecord objects or HTML fragments.
You can see there is still quite a bit of room for improvement. The fact that the site survived a 15K hour certainly makes me more confident about deploying Rails in a high-traffic environment.
Feel free to start adding wifi cafes in your own city. The site is http://http://hotspotr.com
The final slide was some resources from the talk you may find useful:
- SF Wireless: http://wifi.earthcode.com
- jQuery tutorial: http://15daysofjquery.com
- jQuery CSS selectors: http://jquery.com/docs/CSS/
- jQuery interface library: http://eyecon.ro/interface
- jQuery interactive documentation: http://visualjquery.com
- JSLog: http://earthcode.com/blog/2005/12/jslog.html
- Rails & geocoding: http://earthcode.com/blog/2006/04/rails_geocoding_and_google_map.html
Hotspotr (hotstpor.com) is a community-driven directory of cafes with wireless internet access here in San Francisco. This is a community effort, and the more listings it has the better -- so if you're in the San Francisco area, go ahead and add your favorite cafe.
Hotspotr is built in Ruby on Rails, and has served as a testing ground for my Rails/Google Maps development over the last couple months. I hope it will become a useful resource for others who enjoy getting out of the office and doing work in cafes.
Some things to note as you look around the site:
- Open listings: anyone can add or update cafe listings
- Google maps integration: the map view lets you see cafes citywide, or filtered by a specific San Francisco neighborhood
- GMaps "Zoom" control: if you're using Firefox, there's a nifty "zoom" control on the main map view, which lets you outline a region on the map to center and zoom. Safari users -- this feature is coming soon
- Ratings & collective opinion: there's a nice AJAXy rating system to aggregate collective opinion on important things like the availability of power outlets