Thursday, 1 August 2013

Removing Social Features

I started the Carbon Diet project just over six years ago, in 2007. I do still want to do things with it as an Open Source project, but it's overcomplicated and unfocused, that complexity makes changing things harder.

So, with this in mind, I've been looking over how people are using the site.

First, not many people are; that's not a surprise at all. What is a little surprising to me is that the core features of energy purchasing and meter readings are still being used on a regular basis. Somewhere out there, some of you are finding those features useful, which is great!

The other aspect of the site is the social side. The social features built in were useful in 2007, but today they are outdated and completely unused. These days, new projects hook into existing social networks, not force people to build their own again. Not a single comment, friendship, or group has been created in the last 2 years. To me, that says we can safely remove those features.

Another feature that's not being used are the energy-saving actions. This was always a bit badly implemented, and as there is a lot of energy saving advice around these days elsewhere, we can safely remove that too.

That will clear out a lot of the more complex code within the application, and let me focus down onto the bits people are using, and which I want to explore further.

I intend to remove the social features and actions, and refocus the app on allowing users to track their direct emissions. I also want to reconsider the reduction side, adding targets (possibly via some sort of quota system).

I hope that this will make the app more useful and more usable for those of you who are using it, and maybe take it in a more interesting direction for the future.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Server move and some updates

Today, you may have noticed that the site went down for a little while. During this time, we moved servers to Appfog, using AWS in Ireland. This was partly for convenience of maintenance, and partly to keep emissions lower. We will move again when a lower-carbon datacentre becomes available that we can use with Cloudfoundry.

We've also updated to the latest version of Rails, fixing some critical security issues and paving the way for a major cleanup of the code, and hopefully some visible site changes. I intend to do a redesign, and may also clean up some of the less-popular features to focus on the main app.

You may notice your avatars have changed; if you'd previously uploaded a file to us directly, you won't have it any more. You can set an avatar now using

We apologise in advance if there are any errors with the updated site; we'll be keeping a weather eye, and will fix any as soon as they turn up.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Version 0.12 released

After breaking everything and putting it back together, I've released version 0.12 of the Carbon Diet site. This version has a great new vehicle emissions algorithm in it, as well as a huge amount of behind-the-scenes hacking, fixing code rot and getting ready for new features.

The vehicle algorithm has changed, so you will probably notice a difference in your graphs. The old method used to assume that you only fill up your car when empty, so the amount you burnt since you last filled up is the amount you filled up with last time. That's not actually very realistic; it's much better to assume that you fill your car full every time, and that the amount you *just bought* is what you've burnt since your last fillup. Hopefully this will even out some of your graphs and give you better results. Huge thanks to Paul at for the suggestion.

You might also notice that many of the URLs have changed. I've learned a lot since the site first started 3 years ago, and have been trying to bring it up to date with current best practise, and get a solid foundation to build more features on in the future.

Hope you like it, anyway!

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Change of DNS provider

I've finally got sick of my existing DNS provider - while they were great 5 years ago, their website has slowly rotted away into uselessness, so I'm moving on. There shouldn't be any disruption to services, but I thought I'd let you know just in case you get anything strange happening over the next few hours.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

New support system: Tender

I've upgraded the Carbon Diet to use a great new integrated support system called Tender. You can create your own discussions, questions, and search the FAQs easily. In time, it will replace the existing (and very out-of-date) forum completely. One advantage is you don't have to log in separately to use it, which is an improvement.

I've had to make a change to the privacy policy to handle this; because we know automatically sign you in to Tender, we do provide some details to them, but this only happens when you actually go and visit the support site.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

iPhone interface

Well, I've recently got around to a little bit of development on the site, and added an iPhone interface for adding data while on the move. It's much like the old mobile interface, but improved for use with the iPhone.

Now, if you visit on your iPhone, you'll get the new site. It still needs a bit of tweaking, but fundamentally it's working.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

The Carbon Diet is open source!

Well, I finally got round to it. The Carbon Diet is now open source software, under the Affero GPL v3 license. This means you can download and improve the code, and get it uploaded onto the site! You could even install your own copy on another server, and make any changes you like as long as you release the source code to your changed version.

I was waiting until I'd tidied the code so that it wasn't embarrassing any more, but then decided that was never going to happen, so I've gone ahead just done it. There's lots of work to do - 72 issues on the list - but now that it's open source, if you'd like to help make it better, I'd love to have you on board :)

The developer area is linked from the site in numerous places (the "code" tab at the top, for instance), or you can just follow this link straight to github to get the code.