Meet the Tripsers!

Jen Grasso

Jen runs everything at the Triposo HQ in Berlin. She grew up between New York and Boston but has called Berlin home for 8 years. 

What do you do at Triposo?
I'm the Office Manager - I do everything the boys don't!

Where do you call 'home'?
I left the States as soon as I finished college and spent the next few years traveling around pretending to be an artist until I eventually made Berlin my home.  

How did you get the travel bug?
Growing up in suburban America where everything is the same day in and day out can make one a bit stir crazy.  I traveled to Europe as a teenager which  opened a whole new set of doors.  I left for New York as soon as I could and never looked back.  

Where do you dream of travelling to?
I'd like to see the Northern Lights and the midnight sun, get Indian food in India and Dim Sum in China, but a small tropical island wouldn't be bad place to start. 

Memorable trip?
The most relaxing was my tour of the bath houses in Budapest. 

Travel advice you've been given/learned along the way?

Talking louder and slower in a foreign language doesn't mean people will understand you any better.

What do you always take when on the road?

Band-Aids. I'm a bit of a klutz so I try to have at least a couple on hand for when I inevitably hurt myself.   

What do you collect when you travel?

The tackiest thing I can find.  And how to say "Cheers" in different languages.  I'm up to 12 or 13 now!

Meet the Tripsers!

Dmitry Koval

Our team is growing fast - last week Dmitry joined the team from Kiev, starting with the fun of a team Jamboree in Spain!

How was it to spend your first week of a new job at a villa in Spain with the team?!
It was a fantastic way to start! We brainstormed and discussed product ideas during the day, had beers in the evening and exchanged visions about the best travel guide on the planet. The guys are awesome to work with and to hangout with too!

What do you actually do as a Software Engineer for Triposo?

I download a bit of Internet, hash it, crunch it, shake it, add some salt, pepper and beer to make the best travel guide!

Where do you call 'home'?
I was born and raised in the industrial city of Donetsk in Ukraine. There are two big things about Donetsk - coal mines and football. And perhaps beer. For the last seven years I lived in Kiev, it’s a fantastic city with a lot of history and all the old bits of architecture that I love. Now I’m living in Berlin to work at our Berlin office. I call home a place where I come back in the evening and discuss the day with my wife :)

How did you get the travel bug?
I think it started with my father was taking me on trekking trips in the Caucasus Mountains several times a year. I just got hooked to seeing new places and having new experiences.

Memorable journey?
Road trips in the Indian countryside and trekking in the Caucasus Mountains in the early 90s, when a lot of men had machine guns hanging over the shoulders!

Where do you dream of travelling to?
Besides the Moon, on the shortlist I have Tibet, more Greek Islands, Kenya and Kamchatka. Speaking of dreaming, of course the North pole/South pole.

Travel advice you've been given/learned along the way?
If anything goes wrong - it’s even more interesting! Irritations are short, memories are forever.

What do you always take when on the road?
My big and heavy Canon DSLR, a couple of lenses, a bunch of memory cards, chargers and all that stuff. But there’s one thing that is always with me no matter what and it is my pocket moleskine with the pen. It has dents and scratches from all the places its been to with me.

What do you collect when you travel?
Essentially all the things that make a place unique. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s not and people may call the police :)

The Sitges Hackathon

The Hackathon is a traditional element of our Jamborees, so we did one in Sitges last week. Since our team has grown considerably we had different teams of people all working on a cool project. The purpose of the hackathon is to do a project and finish it in one day, but we always see that it takes a bit of time to publish what we've done. But now the results of the first project are in.

Douwe spend one day on comparing how similar languages are:
We've had phrasebooks in the Triposo apps for a long while now, based on the content from Wikitravel. So I went ahead and wrote a script to extract from those Wikitravel pages for each language the phonetic version of the words one to nine. I then calculated the similarity between all language pairs by calculating some sort of edit distance between the corresponding pairs of words.
Given the very straightforward approach used and the fact that all of this was done in just one day, the results are quite amazing. This is the image Douwe produced that shows how similar languages are:

Read the whole story on Douwe's blog

Triposo 2.0

The 2.0 version of our App has just hit the Appstore worldwide. We're so excited about it and about all the new features that we can't wait to hear from you guys traveling out there what you think. Let's look at the three most important ones:

The iPad

We've loved the iPad and iPad users have loved our app from the start. The iPad is such a great device for a travel guide. It may not be the device that you carry around when you hit the streets, but it's close to perfect for reading in the airplane or getting some inspiration in your hotel. So when we were redesigning the iPad app it was this behaviour we had in mind. You use the iPad to get inspired about the place you are visiting, but also to read about the history or the architecture, and you bookmark all your personal discoveries. These are synced to your phone so when you visit the town you won't have trouble finding then.

Your bookmarks

The bookmarking functionality has been very popular from day one - and with the way the new iPad works we expect it to become even more popular from now on. But if you are somewhere deep in our guides it took quite a few taps to go back to the bookmark page. So we changed that. From now on, they are just one tap away. Tap left bottom corner and you will see all your bookmarks.

The travel log

We know how important it is to keep track of what you do when you travel. So far the only thing you could do in our app was keep track of the places you visited. It's a great feature and it's a hassle free way to create a great looking travel log even when you are offline, but we think we can do better. So what we did is make it easier. We made it easier to add the pictures you take to your travel log directly from the first screen of the app. We made it easier to do checkins, we made it easier to add little notes. And we made it easier to edit what you added before. Finally, we made it much easier to see your complete travel log. Both on iPad and iPhone it's now its own mini-app within the Triposo app and everything you want to do, you can do it right there.

And then there's the countless little improvements we've made we can't mention in this post or it would be our longest blog post ever - just download our app and enjoy. You can find it here:

The Sitges Jamboree

We believe you need to keep on traveling yourself to make a travel app. You just can’t do it in an office. So one of the things we do on a regular basis is organize Jamborees: get togethers for the team in an exciting place. The past year we’ve been in Amsterdam, Berlin and Morocco and and now we are in Sitges, just south of Barcelona for a week.

The whole team in a big house, code all day, brainstorm all night about the next release (codename Aubergine) and do some traveling ourselves to experience first hand what the problems are that need fixing. To give some idea of how these experiences make our app better, let's go back to the beginning of the year.

During our January Jamboree we had the whole team in an old Riad in Marrakech to work on a new release. In the weekend we were going on a day trip to Essaouira and we were looking for the place where the grand-taxi’s leave. And we can’t find it in our own app.We had been building our travel app with great suggestions for sightseeing and eating out and testing it in places we knew well. And we had forgotten what it felt like to be in strange city where no-one speaks English and everything’s broken. What it felt like to be really lost. That same night we started coding and added a new section to the app. Maps with practical places: bus stations, pharmacies, police stations. The kind of things you just need when you're lost.