One Click Google Voice Search & Chrome OS Integration

Google-Voice-Search-iconThe Google Voice search mobile app has just undergone an upgrade allowing it to be activated by the words, “Ok Google”. Now, developer Eli Grey wants to upgrade the open source Voice Search Chrome extension with your help (source code on Github). By funding this project you’re helping bring the following features to Voice Search users:

For all operating systems:

  • One-click functionality on the main Voice Search button (it starts listening as soon as you click the button) using the new Chrome speech APIs.

For the Chrome OS only:

  • When you hit the search key, Voice Search will start listening right away.
  • Optional hotword detection (“Okay Chrome, …”) after hitting the search key instead of listening right away.

Note that Eli says the “Chrome OS integration can only function if you have at least one tab open and focused, due to the hack I’m using to get this working.”

If you want to support open source software and help a trusted developer bring these improvements to all users, please contribute here.

Crowdfunding Goal Reached: OpenEMR Update CMS 1500

OpenEMR crowdfunding meter

We’re pleased to announce another successful crowdfunding effort for the OpenEMR project. This project was put forward and will be built by OpenEMR board member Kevin Yeh. A key part of reaching the funding goal was reaching out to users on the OpenEMR forums. As has been the case with every open source feature that’s reached it’s crowdfunding goal on Catincan, making the effort to let users know about the crowdfunding effort is necessary.

The feature is necessary due to changes in the layout of the CMS 1500 Paper Claims form which adds 8 more fields for listing diagnoses for justification. Because OpenEMR needs to be updated to support this new format all users are going to benefit from the contribution of the 7 backers and Kevin’s work.

Beta Offers Ending Soon

In case you missed them our beta offers are still valid but coming to a close soon:

  • All features put up for funding before August 6th will have all fees waived (we’re even covering payment gateway fees)
  • The first 25 projects that reach a funding goal will have Catincan fees waived for life (payment gateway fees of ~3% still apply)

Here’s two projects that took advantage of the beta offers:

Put your feature up for funding today!

Crowdfunding Goal Reached: Typo3 Flow

Typo3 Flow Crowdfunding

Congratulations to Typo3 Flow users and Karsten Dambekalns who reached the goal of $1,200 to improve profiling tools for the project. It’s always a great thing when an open source project gets support from its users, making it easier for a busy developer to spend time improving the project. But how was the goal reached?

When a developer’s crowdfunding campaign is approved and goes live on Catincan we look at the project, its website, which issue tracker the project uses, etc. to come up with ideas for how to reach its users. Now, if you’ve researched how to successfully crowdfund a project you’ve likely come across all sorts of advice. After reading for a bit you might be left thinking about how you’ll produce the perfect video. Or, maybe you’ll spend hours brainstorming to try and come up with that genius viral campaign idea. Reading stories like that can provide inspiration. But, they can also distract from “blocking and tackling” – that is, taking care of the fundamentals.

Following up on the success we wanted to make sure we understood exactly how Karsten reached the crowdfunding goal. In the end, it wasn’t a fancy video that he spent valuable time on or a trick to make the campaign spread throughout the project’s community. Instead, it was the fundamentals. He referenced the crowdfunding campaign in a blog post, mentioned it during a conference talk on the project, tweeted, posted on Google+ and posted a message on Linkedin.

If you’ve posted a project, you’ve heard this from us before: users interact with projects in different ways. One user might follow the issue tracker closely while another checks the project blog for updates, while another might do neither and only follow the project’s social media accounts. That’s why it’s critical to reach out to users in a variety of ways.

Catincan Gift to Gittip Users

Catincan and Gittip logos

In keeping with of our goal of promoting open source software, we’re happy to announce that we’re giving a Catincan voucher to Gittip users to back open source projects. The voucher will be equal to their weekly Gittip gift. For example, if you give $20 per week on Gittip you’ll receive a $20 voucher to back an open source project on Catincan. Claim voucher.

We had other ideas for how to collaborate with Gittip and its users. But our focus was on providing a direct benefit to open source developers. When we thought about it in that context, giving users funds to support projects was the clear winner.

For us, this also made sense because of the very different models of Gittip and Catincan. Gittip is about support people. It allows you to support a specific person for their current or past work with no strings attached. Gittip’s new theme of “Distributed Genius Grants” fits great with what they are doing as they add new communities outside of open source software.

On the other hand, Catincan is focused on improving open source projects. We feel the best way to do this is to give users an incentive to back projects. In our model the project developer is rewarded for their time while users get a better product by backing a specific feature. Granted, in the early going many open source crowdfunding efforts will not match a developer’s hourly rate. But, closing the gap is important and we have to start somewhere. Already we’ve had multiple developers raise over $1,000 for their projects. In the end, we want open source software to be the default choice over closed enterprise solutions.

Of course, for this promotion there are some caveats. The data we’re using is from earlier this month, the voucher can’t be divided into more than one pledge, linking your Github account is required to confirm identity and if we weren’t able to confirm your weekly giving amount we can’t issue a voucher. Here’s all the terms.

Last, we want to be clear that Gittip did not participate in planning this promotion. We sent Chad an email asking if he’d be interested but we had concerns about planning such an offer in public. He was enthusiastic about the offer to Gittip users and wished us well but explained that he couldn’t participate in planning anything in private. He did offer to work with us to improve Gittip’s API so the process would be easier. We’re hoping we can host the crowdfunding effort for this issue and we certainly back the feature as well.

Open Source Crowdfunding Goal Reached: AltDrag 1.0

AltDrag-1.0-funding

Congratulations to AltDrag users, and its developer Stefan Sundin, for reaching his funding goal of $1,000. The funds will enable Stefan to devote time to further improve the project and release version 1.0. Supported by its users and the open source community, AltDrag brings Linux functionality to Windows. Users can, “hold down the Alt key and then click and drag any window. Besides just moving windows, you can resize, maximize and close them too. AltDrag simply allows you to do more with less mouse movements.” Check out AltDrag on Google Code.

But beyond just feeling good that an open source project has some valuable time set aside for it, we want to help others understand how the goal of $1,000 was reached. That way more open source developers can apply some of the same methods. Here are a couple things that were different in this funding effort.

First, in his crowdfunding description, Stefan became the first developer on Catincan to align pledges with feature requests and bug fixes. Every $10 pledged enabled a user to have one vote towards a feature request or open issue. For pledges of $100+ Stefan would discuss with the backer via video, voice or email for 1-2 hours any new features for AltDrag with him coding it live on the spot.

Second, while we advise developers to integrate some kind of notification of their crowdfunding effort into their project, AltDrag was the first to do this. This is especially important for projects without a mailing list or blog with a large following. For AltDrag, Stefan notified users of the crowdfunding on Google code but also added a screen to the Windows installer that was dedicated to informing users of the funding campaign.

Some developers don’t want to do this because of a fear that they’re being too “salesy” but this isn’t pushy at all. The fact is, if a project’s users don’t know about potential improvements they can help make happen, they aren’t even being given a chance to show their support for the developer and open source. Users should at least be given the courtesy to be informed. And, because different users interact with projects in a variety of ways, developers have to communicate to them in a variety of ways (issue tracker, social media, mailing list, etc).

So from this open source crowdfunding success a couple takeaways are: 1. Give users a voice in the project. Make yourself available to them, understanding that your time is not 100% free and it’s ok that this special attention has a cost. And, 2. Notify your users in a variety of ways, keeping in mind how they interact with your project. You don’t have to become a salesman or marketer, just give your project’s users a chance to support your work and see what happens.

Let The Funding Keep Rolling In

One of the early pieces of feedback we received from developers listing their open source projects was the desire to allow pledges after a funding goal has been reached. Based on that feedback we’ve enabled overfunding for all features listed from this day forward. Payments will be dispersed when a feature’s funding period expires (60 days after listing).

Making this change allows backers to pledge if they want to show their support for a specific feature, even if it’s goal has already been reached. This change also gives more freedom to developers in terms of stretch goals. Already we’ve seen some creative uses of the platform and believe this change will only increase that.

Have an idea for how open source projects can get more funding? Don’t be shy! Share it with us and if it fits in the platform we’ll work to make it happen.

Now Processing Bitcoin Payouts

A good portion of the tech community has come down with Bitcoin Fever. Almost everyday there is a new headline related to the digital currency on Hacker News.

From the start, one of our goals has been to make Catincan work for developers across the world. The Open Source community is not restricted to the U.S. and therefor, we can’t wait for U.S. based payment processors to play catchup. At the same time, we’ve heard some developers are concerned about using wire transfers and PayPal to receive funds if their goal is met. Therefor, going forward we will now process payouts in bitcoins if requested by a project’s developer.

For example, if a funding goal of $1,000 is reached and the developer has requested a payout in bitcoins, we will purchase $1,000 worth of bitcoins the day the funding goal is met. From there, we’ll transfer the bitcoins to the specified exchange account.

Thanks to everyone for their suggestions. We’re glad we could add this payout method for those that have requested it.

New iFrame Crowdfunding Meter Widget

Based on user feedback we’re now happy to provide an embeddable widget that shows the crowdfunding progress of your feature. This functionality was requested by users wanting an easier way to show their project users that a feature was up for funding and relevant information such as the percentage funded and days remaining.

Here’s an example embed code that can be found at the bottom of your crowdfunding page.

catincan-embed-code

The iframe code can be found on your feature’s crowdfunding page. That’s also where the title in the widget links to, making it easy for your users to learn more about and back your feature.

Thanks to everyone that has taken the time to provide their feedback so far and we hope you continue to let us know how we can help you reach your funding goals.

Soft Beta Launch

Today we’re excited to flip the switch, take our landing page down and put our first beta of Catincan out into the world. We’ve contacted numerous developers that were kind enough to give us their insights. We’ve listened and plan to keep listening because we don’t have all the answers ourselves. Making open source software self-sustaining is a difficult problem.

As a token of our appreciation we’re offering a couple big incentives to developers who may not sure if they want to put a feature up for funding right away:

1. First 6 months is completely free.

2. First 25 open source projects that have a feature successfully funded will have Catincan fees waived for life.

For the first 6 months, this includes our payment gateway fees. It was something we debated but in the end, it was a fairly easy decision. We want to show our commitment and appreciation for those early adopters that join us, spread the word and help us squish any small bugs that still remain.

To learn more about who Catincan is for, what projects can put up features for funding just visit our FAQ. If you have any questions, concerns or ideas just send us a message at support@catincan.com.