October 3, 2012

Passbook and Cineplex

Last night friends and I went to watch Looper, a great movie everyone should watch. I was eager to try out Cineplex' integration with iOS 6 Passbook, so I volunteered to purchase tickets for the group prior to the show. Over all the purchasing experience was easy, and the Passbook integration did what I expected - I no longer had to print a ticket, memorize or print a booking number.

I purchased the tickets from the Cineplex mobile app, I received the usual confirmation email, but also received a "booking ID" ticket in my Passbook. The theatre, Cineplex Southland Mall, Regina, SK, had its main box office closed, with instructions to go to the concession instead, while unusual, I strongly believe this made the experience less painful. We could stand in line for concession AND get our pre-purchased tickets. This was awesome, I encourage Cineplex to always allow pre-purchased tickets to be picked up in this manner, as it removes an entire waiting experience from my visit.

The staff member printed our tickets, holding up Passbook and scanning the booking code, sold us concession, and discounted my concessions scanning my Scene card that the Cineplex app also adds into Passbook.

I thoroughly enjoyed this experience and commend Cineplex for jumping on this opportunity so quickly.

Cineplex scans your booking reference, you get tickets
I have a few suggestions, perhaps these are already being worked on:

  • Allow pre-purchased tickets to be picked up from concession, removing that extra line to pickup tickets from the box office or ticketing machines would make the experience a lot better for customers
  • If this isn't a possiblity, at least let me just walk up to the usher and scan my booking ID there, verify it's in order, and let me enter.
  • Taking the online ticketing experience a bit further, put the tickets directly into my Passbook, not a booking reference.
  • The purchasing aspect of the Cineplex app could use some style tweaks, it feels extremely disjointed from the rest of the application. Some margins on the side and between elements may not make it feel so jammed up, and the alignment of form elements is off.
Purchasing experience could use some style love
While playing with the PassSource - a service that lets you create your custom Passbook items - I discovered there are technical limitations that may exist in companies that could prevent them from jumping on the Passbook band-wagon as fast as they would like.

Linear barcodes, most common version would be a UPC code on the products you buy from the store, were scanned with laser-based scanners that identify the barcode based off the reflected light from the bar code (white reflecting more than black, thus a pattern emerges, which can be decoded into the numbers each bar represents). This process doesn't work on back-lit surfaces, like a phone screen, and the traditional scanners get lost in overload, and can't identify anything at all.

Newer, camera-based scanners don't have this problem, as they take take a picture of the code presented, process that and identify what's in front of them. Due to this form of processing it allows for more complicated bar codes, called matrix bar codes, such as QR Codes. This requirement of two-dimensional scanners, which allow bar codes to be read off items like phone screens, are a hurdle that involves potentially purchasing new scanners.

It will be interesting to see how things evolve en route to emptying my wallet of reward cards, membership cards, and messy paper tickets. Ticketmaster has tried with their app, but the Passbook integration is venue-dependant, which goes back to the barcode scanners being an issue. Glad to see they're committed to it though.

The Passbook experience is nothing new, but it's executed very well giving companies an easy tie-in to bring customers a fantastic experience. Opening and presenting Passbook is so much nicer than having to search my email inbox for reference and booking numbers. I can not wait for AirCanada, or WestJet, to hop on board (no pun intended) very soon.

September 30, 2012


My team mate, James Chambers, describes the Regina Hackathon that's part of Prairie DevCon 2012. I had a blast, it was tonnes of fun. We ended up winning in the "Best Windows Phone Application" category for our geo-location-based game DiscovR. Thanks to the organizers, it was fantastic. Look forward to meeting a bunch of new people at the conference tomorrow and Tuesday.
Regina Hacking is Awesome (James Chambers)

September 27, 2012

Mozilla Persona

I want to play with this a bit, but my first impression is awesome, one-login across the web, without having to throw my information in a social network like Google+, Twitter, or Facebook. I hope this will essentially replace other one-login services.
Mozilla Persona

August 28, 2012

Apple vs. Samsung

I am quite happy to see that Samsung got what they deserved, in some aspects. The first two Galaxy phones were, in my opinion, incredibly close rip-offs of the iPhone in appearance. I'm glad this was ruled in favour of Apple.

I do not, on the other hand, agree with the rulings towards gestures and feel. I strongly feel these two can not and should not be patentable.
Apple vs. Samsung (Engadget Editorial)

August 14, 2012

It's lonely in space...

Just a reminder what has been accomplished. This rover is the size of a small car, and it took an amazing effort to get it on the martian surface safely.
Mars Rover: Curiosity 360 Panorama

August 6, 2012

NASA's Curiosity touches down

Congratulations NASA; you've done it. This is an incredible feat in engineering and sciences. I hope this mission restores confidence in NASA and we'll continue to see incredible missions pushing the human race past the brink of the unknown.
Mars Science Laboratory Lands on Mars (NASA)

iOS 6 divorces YouTube

Finally, is all I can say. The native iOS YouTube application, by Apple, is easily the worst YouTube experience.
Why is Apple ditching YouTube? (The Next Web)

July 24, 2012

Money Press

Q3 sees another increase in profit for Apple. Staggering $8.8 billion net profit this quarter. Interesting to see desktop sales on a 13% decline, and laptops slowing to 2% growth.
Apple 2012 Q3 (apple.com)

July 19, 2012

Come a long way...

This posts shows colour pictures of a 2002-2004 iPad prototype. They're right, it's come a long way since the prototype showing how much work (and how fast technology shrinks) went in to a device like this.
iPad Prototype Colour Picture (TUAW)

July 18, 2012

Office 2013

The biggest shortcoming is the lack of live-editing of a shared document. Regardless, there's nothing like Office, every other office suite is a Fisher Price toy in comparison.
Office 2013 Overview (arstechnica)

July 17, 2012

March 29, 2012

Putting Apollo 11 Into Perspective

Jeff Bezos, Amazon co-founder and multi-gazillionaire, announced that his expedition team has located the F-1 rocket engines, used to propel Apollo 11 towards the moon, at the bottom of the ocean. They intend to raise these rockets - providing they don't disintegrate after having been in salt water for over nearly 40 years - and donate them to the Smithsonian. 

After hours of drooling on Wikipedia about the Apollo program I thought I'd try and put the Apollo program into perspective. Specifically, the size and incredible power of the rocket used to launch humans onto another celestial body.