Blog 2017-10-13T00:26:17+00:00
 
1301, 2015

A Letter To The President Of The United States On Educational Data With Curveu

January 13th, 2015|

The following is a letter written for the President Of The United States, regarding Curveu’s background, the Student Privacy Data Act, and the future of where Curveu can go.


Mr. President,

My name is Daniel Brooks; I am 21 and have a few questions for you regarding education and the rumored Student Privacy Act. My friend, Douglas Bolm, and myself dropped out of school and ironically created an education website and iOS application to help students understand their school data.

First, I would like to present a little background on us. My senior year of high school, my school switched Student Information Systems to one called Infinite Campus. This created a lot of outrage because the school paid a lot of money for a system that was overly complicated. Unlike our old system, this new one did not show the students’ grades on one screen for a quick glance or clearly provide the student with their exact grade. So instead of complaining, I took a Silicon Valley approach and created an iOS app called SJ PIV. This app effectively acted as a web browser that grabbed the data that the students cared about. The app worked with great success and even got me front page in the San Jose Mercury News.

After about a week in college, and due to some other issues I had at college, I dropped out and decided to start a business with my best friend Douglas Bolm who also felt the same way I did about education. We felt that education is fundamentally flawed because it does not hold the teachers fully accountable. For instance, if I failed a test in my high school chemistry class, there was no way to tell, unless the teacher decided to tell us, how many students got each grade. This made it hard to determine whether I was the only one who did poorly or if the rest of class did as well, meaning it was the way the teacher taught. And then there was no way to even begin to get this point across to our parents.

So we decided to start our own business called DABSquared, LLC. Our first product started out as a new type of Student Information System with the students and teachers in mind as a first priority instead of all the reporting that is required by state and federal governments. After various meetings with the San Jose School District Technical Administrator, and then the founder of Google AdWords, we pivoted to create a wrapper or shell for the existing Student Information Systems. This would allow us to create a great interface for students without having to worry about all the reporting data. Henceforth, http://www.curveu.com was born.

Curveu’s ideology is simple, built by students for students. Once setup, the first items students see are their grades for the most recent semester or quarter. To a student and parent, that is the most important information and what should be the front of any Student Information System. Not only does Curveu provide student grades, we go a step further and auto link your class with other student classes based on the data we receive from our data grab methods. This allows us to provide the students with data that they have not had access to before. For instance, if you can get your whole class to sign up for Curveu (In order for our features to work completely other students in your class have to sign up so we can grab their data and link you together) you will see graphs on overall grades and on individual assignments. Like the example above, students can now explain to their parents that the entire class failed a specific test and that it was the way the material was taught or the way the test was designed, instead of the student not studying or some other reason.

Also, unlike most systems your school data is kept so you can always access each year from the moment you start using Curveu. This allows us to eventually do items like compare your class average to a previous year, or keep track of a specific teacher’s class average throughout their teaching career. While those two specific features are not completed due to DABSquared’s resources, this is just a very small fraction of what you can do with student data. Imagine using Curveu in a college and comparing the science dorm GPA versus the English dorm GPA. The possibilities are endless with the student data.

Which comes to why I am writing you. Curveu deals with lots of student data given to us with consent given by signing up to our site and providing their student credentials. Will the Student Data Privacy Act prevent us from doing these comparisons? Will it also prevent us from anonymously releasing data on teachers, schools, and districts? And then there is also a way we can make it a standard to provide first class data like this to parents and schools. The data all exists, but Student Information System vendors that are looking just for the million-dollar check from each district and nothing more lock it down. Currently, Curveu is limited because we have to get students and parents to signup and understand why we need their username and password, but if we had a way into the data from the School Administrator side, the type of user-friendly data that we could generate would be incredible. This would have the possibility to change how we judge our teachers as teachers and how students are classified. Why hold a student responsible for an F grade when a majority of all the teachers’ students are receiving low grades. Doesn’t that typically mean something is wrong with the teacher?

Mr. President, I hope this email finds your desk and that one day we may be able to talk and discuss how we can facilitate change in our education system through user-friendly data and systems.

Sincerely,

Daniel Brooks and Douglas Bolm

DABSquared, LLC


Update 1/12/2015 7:40 pm: I also forgot to note that Curveu.com is a free service. While we do charge $1.99 for a premium version of our app to manipulate your grades and view statistics on the go, the site and all of it’s features is free on the web for the foreseeable future.

Please note that while we try to have as many schools as possible in the curveu.com system, not every school is compatible and in order to keep the sign-up process simple it requires a lot of data entry to get your district and school added. Because of the data entry required school requests may take a while to process.  Note that curveu.com is also now a side project for DABSquared, LLC as we were not able to get venture funding to continue the feature set full-time. We are working on a curveu.com update that will make it look like a lot of sites you see today, but that is taking longer than expected due to paying contracts that DABSquared needs to focus on.If you like curveu.com and it’s features you are welcome to donate to help keep Curveu running via the PayPal button below. DABSquared, LLC currently absorbs all hosting charges in order to keep Curveu free to the users and every little bit helps.

1709, 2014

TestFlight and iTunes Connect Woes

September 17th, 2014|

TestFlight-Homepage

Acquisition And Announcement

When Apple bought TestFlight back in February 2014 I didn’t think much of it. Then, of course, they killed their Android beta service and that got me thinking that Apple may actually be doing something with it. Then at WWDC 2014 Apple debuted what I  think was one of the best features as a developer, TestFlight in iTunes Connect.  Finally Apple was going to allow beta testing within their walled garden. They were going to allow internal testers and external testers all without the pain of AdHOC provisioning profiles, device UUIDS, and a hassle setup. All you needed was an Apple ID and an invite.

Beta Launch

About a week ago before the launch of the iPhone 6 Apple finally turned on iOS beta testing with TestFlight in iTunes Connect with the “real” TestFlight Application. This was great news, so naturally we started testing it within DABSquared. It was incredibly easy. All we had to do was:

  1. Add user’s Apple ID as an iTunes Connect User
  2. Wait for them to accept and join
  3. Flip the switch on the User for internal tester
  4. Add them as an internal tester on your app.

This was a lot easier than before:

  1. Invite user to TestFlight
  2. Wait for them to accept
    1. Walk through with them how to add their UUID to TestFlight
  3. Download an export file with all the latest UUID’s
  4. Import the UUID’s into Apples Developer Portal (Hope you still have space for devices)
  5. Go to each AdHoc profile you have and enable the new devices
  6. Regenerate and download each AdHoc Profile
  7. Open the new profiles with Xcode to add them to your KeyChain
  8. Generate a new build and upload to TestFlight OR Attach the New Provisioning Profile (Note: This way adds more steps to the end user I won’t get into)

It is also better because once your testers approve a build all you have to do is submit it to the store. No more having to then go to a separate build using a the AppStore Provisioning Profile. Everything is done with the original build you upload to iTunes Connect. So you can be absolutely sure that the build your testers used and approved is the one that gets submitted to the AppStore. No developers messing up builds or uploading the wrong file after testing. This adds a ton of safety for owners of companies. I can not tell you how many times I have had something build with my AdHoc profile and then days later after testing realized the AppStore build does not work, requiring changes with development.

Problems

As with all new products and services there are always issues. This one however, is a real drawback for us at DABSquared. Here at DABSquared, we have many clients all with their own iTunes Connect accounts. The issue though is that iTunes Connect only allows an Apple ID to be associated with one iTunes Connect account. This proves a major problem for companies with a lot of clients because you can not be an Internal Tester for all of them. So the question is why did Apple design it this way? Of course this is the way that iTunes Connect has always worked. If you look at Apple’s old documentation, before the new iTunes Connect debuted, it has never allowed an Apple ID to be associated with multiple iTunes Connect accounts. Apple has always allowed an Apple ID to be associated on multiple developer accounts and provides a sector for it when you login.

Apple’s Solution

After encountering these issues we filed a bug report with Apple stating:

Currently an apple id can only be associated with one iTunes Connect at a time. This causes an issue with the new TestFlight ability with internal testers (I assume the same for external as well). As a developer I have multiple clients and I need to be an internal tester on all of them.

Apple support said I would need to make multiple apple ids and then log out and in on the TestFlight app on my phone. HOWEVER, upon further investigation I do not even see the ability to logout and switch apple id accounts within the TestFlight application.

THIS IS A MAJOR ISSUE FOR DEVELOPERS. This makes it so that I cannot start using the TestFlight feature on many of my clients applications.

A few days later we received this response:

Engineering has determined that this issue behaves as intended based on the following: If you’re not a part of the company, sounds like you need to be using external testing where any email address can be invited to beta test a version. The testflight account used on device is the same one that’s logged into the iTunes store. It can be changed from settings –> iTunes & App Store Please update your bug report to let us know if this is still an issue for you.

This posed a few issues for us at DABSquared, because:

  1. External Testing actually isn’t available yet (Why would apple suggest something we don’t even have the ability to try yet?)
  2. External Testing is supposed to go through an Apple review process making the build turn arounds much slower than internal testing
  3. Signing out and in of iTunes can get cumbersome and the device will most likely stop receiving push notifications for new builds.

This is actually all quite surprising because this goes away from the core way TestFlight used to operate. With the old TestFlight we could have multiple accounts for our separate clients all linked together without having to sign in and out on the devices.

So whether or not this is intentional, poor planning, or a bug we hope that everyone will comment on our OpenRadar and submit the same bug to Apple to help escalate it.  Here’s to hoping we can get iTunes Connect with TestFlight to work how we, the developers with clients, use it every day. Not just how Apple uses it.

1709, 2014

The Beginning, Part 1

September 17th, 2014|

contact

Welcome to the new DABSquared Development blog. Here the DABSquared Team will start to blog about their insight in the development world. Anything from Apple to Android or Swift to PHP, this will be the place to read about it.

To start off once a week we will post a little bit about how DABSquared started and came to be.

 

The Beginning

To start off lets talk about how DABSquared was started. We were started as the brain child of Douglas and Daniel. They both came from different backgrounds, Daniel in technology Douglas in Graphic Design, and saw tasks in ordinary life that needed improvement. They started off together in middle school modding xboxes and creating custom Halo 2 maps (Before there was such a thing as the iPhone). Then as they went to different schools they slowly went their separate ways seeing each other every now and then. Then in Daniel’s senior year of high school he developed IC Connector for the iPhone which allowed students to view their grades from Infinite Campus on the go for the first time. It was the first of its kind of application to hit the market. Realizing that he only had the skills to make an app functional and not look good Daniel contacted Douglas and he began to create the IC Connector logo and helped reskin the app to something that looked appealing at it’s time. The app became an immediate success with Daniel being featured in the San Jose Mercury News for it and even a cease and desist from Infinite Campus. (Just to change the name. It was originally called Infinite Campus Mobile).

After the success of IC Connector and Daniel’s graduation (Doug had graduated 2 years before him) he went on to pursue Computer Science at Cal Poly, however within the first week it was not the right fit. He dropped that week and came home to pursue app development.

While still attending community college Daniel and Douglas decided that, while IC Connector is great, it did not solve the real problem. The issue with the Student Information Systems (SIS) was that the interfaces were old, clunky and outdated. The schools were running 90’s technology in the age of the smartphone and internet. Douglas and Daniel saw a wealth of Student Information on grades and class performance that were available, but not used. This became their driving factor, to fix the SIS Systems and to make available to the students, parents and teachers something they never had before.

Douglas and Daniel started by trying to develop a full blown SIS System after school and their day jobs. They built a small TUFF Shed office on Daniels backyard and met up after work and school every night to develop a solution. The first version of the application was called Project Grades. It was intended to be a full SIS replacement program that they would sell to the schools and districts incredibly cheap by undercutting the competition.

After meeting with the Director of Technology at San Jose School District they realized how hard of a task it was going to be. They were informed of all the standards that a SIS System needs to fulfill in order to be adopted by a school district. Once they learned of all the standards they consulted with one of their mentors at google, who directed them to make a layer on top of the SIS. This layer would have all the new features they were planning while allowing the school to still use their old and outdated system. This layer would later be called Curveu.

 

To Be Continued… 

 

 
1301, 2015

A Letter To The President Of The United States On Educational Data With Curveu

January 13th, 2015|

The following is a letter written for the President Of The United States, regarding Curveu’s background, the Student Privacy Data Act, and the future of where Curveu can go.


Mr. President,

My name is Daniel Brooks; I am 21 and have a few questions for you regarding education and the rumored Student Privacy Act. My friend, Douglas Bolm, and myself dropped out of school and ironically created an education website and iOS application to help students understand their school data.

First, I would like to present a little background on us. My senior year of high school, my school switched Student Information Systems to one called Infinite Campus. This created a lot of outrage because the school paid a lot of money for a system that was overly complicated. Unlike our old system, this new one did not show the students’ grades on one screen for a quick glance or clearly provide the student with their exact grade. So instead of complaining, I took a Silicon Valley approach and created an iOS app called SJ PIV. This app effectively acted as a web browser that grabbed the data that the students cared about. The app worked with great success and even got me front page in the San Jose Mercury News.

After about a week in college, and due to some other issues I had at college, I dropped out and decided to start a business with my best friend Douglas Bolm who also felt the same way I did about education. We felt that education is fundamentally flawed because it does not hold the teachers fully accountable. For instance, if I failed a test in my high school chemistry class, there was no way to tell, unless the teacher decided to tell us, how many students got each grade. This made it hard to determine whether I was the only one who did poorly or if the rest of class did as well, meaning it was the way the teacher taught. And then there was no way to even begin to get this point across to our parents.

So we decided to start our own business called DABSquared, LLC. Our first product started out as a new type of Student Information System with the students and teachers in mind as a first priority instead of all the reporting that is required by state and federal governments. After various meetings with the San Jose School District Technical Administrator, and then the founder of Google AdWords, we pivoted to create a wrapper or shell for the existing Student Information Systems. This would allow us to create a great interface for students without having to worry about all the reporting data. Henceforth, http://www.curveu.com was born.

Curveu’s ideology is simple, built by students for students. Once setup, the first items students see are their grades for the most recent semester or quarter. To a student and parent, that is the most important information and what should be the front of any Student Information System. Not only does Curveu provide student grades, we go a step further and auto link your class with other student classes based on the data we receive from our data grab methods. This allows us to provide the students with data that they have not had access to before. For instance, if you can get your whole class to sign up for Curveu (In order for our features to work completely other students in your class have to sign up so we can grab their data and link you together) you will see graphs on overall grades and on individual assignments. Like the example above, students can now explain to their parents that the entire class failed a specific test and that it was the way the material was taught or the way the test was designed, instead of the student not studying or some other reason.

Also, unlike most systems your school data is kept so you can always access each year from the moment you start using Curveu. This allows us to eventually do items like compare your class average to a previous year, or keep track of a specific teacher’s class average throughout their teaching career. While those two specific features are not completed due to DABSquared’s resources, this is just a very small fraction of what you can do with student data. Imagine using Curveu in a college and comparing the science dorm GPA versus the English dorm GPA. The possibilities are endless with the student data.

Which comes to why I am writing you. Curveu deals with lots of student data given to us with consent given by signing up to our site and providing their student credentials. Will the Student Data Privacy Act prevent us from doing these comparisons? Will it also prevent us from anonymously releasing data on teachers, schools, and districts? And then there is also a way we can make it a standard to provide first class data like this to parents and schools. The data all exists, but Student Information System vendors that are looking just for the million-dollar check from each district and nothing more lock it down. Currently, Curveu is limited because we have to get students and parents to signup and understand why we need their username and password, but if we had a way into the data from the School Administrator side, the type of user-friendly data that we could generate would be incredible. This would have the possibility to change how we judge our teachers as teachers and how students are classified. Why hold a student responsible for an F grade when a majority of all the teachers’ students are receiving low grades. Doesn’t that typically mean something is wrong with the teacher?

Mr. President, I hope this email finds your desk and that one day we may be able to talk and discuss how we can facilitate change in our education system through user-friendly data and systems.

Sincerely,

Daniel Brooks and Douglas Bolm

DABSquared, LLC


Update 1/12/2015 7:40 pm: I also forgot to note that Curveu.com is a free service. While we do charge $1.99 for a premium version of our app to manipulate your grades and view statistics on the go, the site and all of it’s features is free on the web for the foreseeable future.

Please note that while we try to have as many schools as possible in the curveu.com system, not every school is compatible and in order to keep the sign-up process simple it requires a lot of data entry to get your district and school added. Because of the data entry required school requests may take a while to process.  Note that curveu.com is also now a side project for DABSquared, LLC as we were not able to get venture funding to continue the feature set full-time. We are working on a curveu.com update that will make it look like a lot of sites you see today, but that is taking longer than expected due to paying contracts that DABSquared needs to focus on.If you like curveu.com and it’s features you are welcome to donate to help keep Curveu running via the PayPal button below. DABSquared, LLC currently absorbs all hosting charges in order to keep Curveu free to the users and every little bit helps.

1709, 2014

TestFlight and iTunes Connect Woes

September 17th, 2014|

TestFlight-Homepage

Acquisition And Announcement

When Apple bought TestFlight back in February 2014 I didn’t think much of it. Then, of course, they killed their Android beta service and that got me thinking that Apple may actually be doing something with it. Then at WWDC 2014 Apple debuted what I  think was one of the best features as a developer, TestFlight in iTunes Connect.  Finally Apple was going to allow beta testing within their walled garden. They were going to allow internal testers and external testers all without the pain of AdHOC provisioning profiles, device UUIDS, and a hassle setup. All you needed was an Apple ID and an invite.

Beta Launch

About a week ago before the launch of the iPhone 6 Apple finally turned on iOS beta testing with TestFlight in iTunes Connect with the “real” TestFlight Application. This was great news, so naturally we started testing it within DABSquared. It was incredibly easy. All we had to do was:

  1. Add user’s Apple ID as an iTunes Connect User
  2. Wait for them to accept and join
  3. Flip the switch on the User for internal tester
  4. Add them as an internal tester on your app.

This was a lot easier than before:

  1. Invite user to TestFlight
  2. Wait for them to accept
    1. Walk through with them how to add their UUID to TestFlight
  3. Download an export file with all the latest UUID’s
  4. Import the UUID’s into Apples Developer Portal (Hope you still have space for devices)
  5. Go to each AdHoc profile you have and enable the new devices
  6. Regenerate and download each AdHoc Profile
  7. Open the new profiles with Xcode to add them to your KeyChain
  8. Generate a new build and upload to TestFlight OR Attach the New Provisioning Profile (Note: This way adds more steps to the end user I won’t get into)

It is also better because once your testers approve a build all you have to do is submit it to the store. No more having to then go to a separate build using a the AppStore Provisioning Profile. Everything is done with the original build you upload to iTunes Connect. So you can be absolutely sure that the build your testers used and approved is the one that gets submitted to the AppStore. No developers messing up builds or uploading the wrong file after testing. This adds a ton of safety for owners of companies. I can not tell you how many times I have had something build with my AdHoc profile and then days later after testing realized the AppStore build does not work, requiring changes with development.

Problems

As with all new products and services there are always issues. This one however, is a real drawback for us at DABSquared. Here at DABSquared, we have many clients all with their own iTunes Connect accounts. The issue though is that iTunes Connect only allows an Apple ID to be associated with one iTunes Connect account. This proves a major problem for companies with a lot of clients because you can not be an Internal Tester for all of them. So the question is why did Apple design it this way? Of course this is the way that iTunes Connect has always worked. If you look at Apple’s old documentation, before the new iTunes Connect debuted, it has never allowed an Apple ID to be associated with multiple iTunes Connect accounts. Apple has always allowed an Apple ID to be associated on multiple developer accounts and provides a sector for it when you login.

Apple’s Solution

After encountering these issues we filed a bug report with Apple stating:

Currently an apple id can only be associated with one iTunes Connect at a time. This causes an issue with the new TestFlight ability with internal testers (I assume the same for external as well). As a developer I have multiple clients and I need to be an internal tester on all of them.

Apple support said I would need to make multiple apple ids and then log out and in on the TestFlight app on my phone. HOWEVER, upon further investigation I do not even see the ability to logout and switch apple id accounts within the TestFlight application.

THIS IS A MAJOR ISSUE FOR DEVELOPERS. This makes it so that I cannot start using the TestFlight feature on many of my clients applications.

A few days later we received this response:

Engineering has determined that this issue behaves as intended based on the following: If you’re not a part of the company, sounds like you need to be using external testing where any email address can be invited to beta test a version. The testflight account used on device is the same one that’s logged into the iTunes store. It can be changed from settings –> iTunes & App Store Please update your bug report to let us know if this is still an issue for you.

This posed a few issues for us at DABSquared, because:

  1. External Testing actually isn’t available yet (Why would apple suggest something we don’t even have the ability to try yet?)
  2. External Testing is supposed to go through an Apple review process making the build turn arounds much slower than internal testing
  3. Signing out and in of iTunes can get cumbersome and the device will most likely stop receiving push notifications for new builds.

This is actually all quite surprising because this goes away from the core way TestFlight used to operate. With the old TestFlight we could have multiple accounts for our separate clients all linked together without having to sign in and out on the devices.

So whether or not this is intentional, poor planning, or a bug we hope that everyone will comment on our OpenRadar and submit the same bug to Apple to help escalate it.  Here’s to hoping we can get iTunes Connect with TestFlight to work how we, the developers with clients, use it every day. Not just how Apple uses it.

1709, 2014

The Beginning, Part 1

September 17th, 2014|

contact

Welcome to the new DABSquared Development blog. Here the DABSquared Team will start to blog about their insight in the development world. Anything from Apple to Android or Swift to PHP, this will be the place to read about it.

To start off once a week we will post a little bit about how DABSquared started and came to be.

 

The Beginning

To start off lets talk about how DABSquared was started. We were started as the brain child of Douglas and Daniel. They both came from different backgrounds, Daniel in technology Douglas in Graphic Design, and saw tasks in ordinary life that needed improvement. They started off together in middle school modding xboxes and creating custom Halo 2 maps (Before there was such a thing as the iPhone). Then as they went to different schools they slowly went their separate ways seeing each other every now and then. Then in Daniel’s senior year of high school he developed IC Connector for the iPhone which allowed students to view their grades from Infinite Campus on the go for the first time. It was the first of its kind of application to hit the market. Realizing that he only had the skills to make an app functional and not look good Daniel contacted Douglas and he began to create the IC Connector logo and helped reskin the app to something that looked appealing at it’s time. The app became an immediate success with Daniel being featured in the San Jose Mercury News for it and even a cease and desist from Infinite Campus. (Just to change the name. It was originally called Infinite Campus Mobile).

After the success of IC Connector and Daniel’s graduation (Doug had graduated 2 years before him) he went on to pursue Computer Science at Cal Poly, however within the first week it was not the right fit. He dropped that week and came home to pursue app development.

While still attending community college Daniel and Douglas decided that, while IC Connector is great, it did not solve the real problem. The issue with the Student Information Systems (SIS) was that the interfaces were old, clunky and outdated. The schools were running 90’s technology in the age of the smartphone and internet. Douglas and Daniel saw a wealth of Student Information on grades and class performance that were available, but not used. This became their driving factor, to fix the SIS Systems and to make available to the students, parents and teachers something they never had before.

Douglas and Daniel started by trying to develop a full blown SIS System after school and their day jobs. They built a small TUFF Shed office on Daniels backyard and met up after work and school every night to develop a solution. The first version of the application was called Project Grades. It was intended to be a full SIS replacement program that they would sell to the schools and districts incredibly cheap by undercutting the competition.

After meeting with the Director of Technology at San Jose School District they realized how hard of a task it was going to be. They were informed of all the standards that a SIS System needs to fulfill in order to be adopted by a school district. Once they learned of all the standards they consulted with one of their mentors at google, who directed them to make a layer on top of the SIS. This layer would have all the new features they were planning while allowing the school to still use their old and outdated system. This layer would later be called Curveu.

 

To Be Continued…