Links and Notes - April 11th 2021

App idea: Delivery status app for restaurants

If you've followed any controversies around the finances of the many food delivery apps you might know that the financial numbers around them aren't great. Restaurants need to pay significant percentages of each order to platforms like Uber. And riders have to work 10+ hours regularly just to earn a normal daily wage.

But stores are willing to put up with this in order to give the convenience to the customers. And that convenience is hard to beat. Within a single app, customers can:

  1. Find most restaurants they might frequent.
  2. Pick menu items from a common interface
  3. Pay from within the app
  4. Observe the entire pick up to delivery process

But what if we could make this a little less convenient and still have it work out? What if we could pick up the phone, and order the food for delivery directly from the restaurant after which the restaurant would send the food out via their own delivery team. Personally, as long as I could pay by card via a card machine carried by the delivery person, I wouldn't really mind. But whenever I do this, there's always one part that makes me want to go running back to Uber Eats or PickMe Food: Until the food gets to my door, I have no idea what the status of the order is or where it is once its been dispatched. I've done too many back and forth calls with restaurants and lost drivers to be willing to go back to that experience.

So what if we had an app that solves just that part. It would work like this:

  1. I call restaurant and place order. They confirm.
  2. Restaurant punches in my delivery details into the app. They also include the price of the order
  3. The app creates an order that can now be tracked by the customer. How? Not another app. No. A shared link that can be opened in the browser.
  4. Restaurant sends that link to the customer. The customer can now follow along just like they would an Uber eats order.

If not for the exorbitant prices of Google Maps, I'd be inclined to give this a try. But for now, it's going on to the shelves. If anyone ever brings this idea to life, I'll be cheering them on so hard. It's nice to have business models that try to think of social good vs social exploitation.

More bloggers should have a "mail box"

No. Not a comment box. A mail box. Somewhere on the website, there needs to be a way to reach out to an author of a blog so that you can share ideas and thoughts with them. I don't think a comment box really works for this. There's a reason why the memes of "don't go into the comment sections" exist. What I have found though is that for many people, more private communication results in all parties being more willing to lower their defenses and just talk. I am constantly reading others blogs and thinking I'd love to send an email as a response to things.

This is why I use this concept with my own blog where I have my email down below. If anyone has thoughts on my writings, I'd love to hear about it and chat about it via a slow medium like email. Instead, most "comments and critiques" of writing seems to have moved its way over to Twitter, also known as the global comment box. It's a real crying shame.

Maybe hey world should add it to their sites as well. It would fit in well with their models.

Inkle, interactive game scripting language, hits 1.0

Via HN

Add another new tool that I want to try. I love interactive stories. I used to love losing myself in choose your own adventure style books. I especially loved the ones where you had to distribute skill points and roll dices. Bonus points if the book was written so that certain sections could be skipped if you had visited them in the past already. If you are looking to make something like this for the computer, it seems like Inkle is an excellent candidate. I think I'll try Inkle at some point out to recreate an adventure game I had when I was a child.

Unrelated to the technical specifics of Inkle, what I'm most impressed about is the fact that the makers of the tool are also a game studio. This means the tool is battle tested, and has high quality examples to show off. In fact, the studio is mentioned as being known for their focus on story. And their game heaven's vault is an award winner.

When I look at innovative tools, I find myself looking at the showcase. And many times I find it lacking as well. There'll be plenty of smaller examples which are only designed to show off the capability of the tool. But they don't really show how the tool would hold up to production demands; creating something is just one piece that a tool needs to support.

I think that's why I gravitate mentally towards tools like rails and ember. They have production proof of systems that support what I like. But more than that, the people behind the tools are actively developing complex final products and sending them out into the real world. Nothing screams confidence more than that to me.

This blog doesn't have a comment box. But I'd love to hear any thoughts y'all might have. Send them to [email protected]

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Posted on April 11 2021 by Adnan Issadeen