Friday, June 27, 2008

A very cool visualization of book relationships.

I ran across this link I know not where. It's a huge image of 735,323 books arranged in a big grid, colored by category.

A view like that might be really fun to browse around through Zoomii.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Zoomii now blazing fast on Firefox 3!

The fix is in. Firefox 3, which once chugged like a steam engine, now
runs Zoomii with buttery-smoothness. Excellent.

For the technically inclined, the reason seemed to be that Firefox 3
is just really slow at drawing stretched images which are overlapped.
I worked around the problem via the canvas element.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Waterloo readers: I'm going to be on the Radio!

570 AM at 1:50pm for 6 minutes on the Gary Doyle show.

A big thank you to my friend Ray Vander Veen for hooking this up.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Post-Launch Blog Posts

Since yesterday, when I opened Zoomii to the public, it's been a bit of a whirlwind. Starting with just two blog posts, and one tweet, word has rippled out to bring over 6,000 people to the site. The site seems to be running smoothly, but nerves keep me glued to my monitoring page and blackberry. Sleep? Hah! :)

There's also been a number of posts that mention Zoomii. These are a few of my favorites:

Thanks everyone!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Zoomii Grand Opening Day!

Today the doors swing open! No more logins required!

The grand pre-opening went flawlessly: no technical glitches, a lot of happy people, and great feedback.

To start off the day, here's a great post about Zoomii on the Amazon Web Services blog, written by Mike Culver, an AWS evangelist I had the privilege to meet in Toronto last year.

Enjoy the store!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Grand Pre-Opening Day

I've been working on Zoomii a long while - full time since December 2006. I never thought it would take as long as it has, but it's also turned out better than I hoped, I've learned more than I expected, and I've met a lot of great people.

Today the doors start opening. First to the 110 people who already have accounts, and the 200 people waiting for accounts. Then, in a few days, to the general public.

A huge thank you to everyone who's helped Zoomii get to this point with feedback, encouragement, ideas, and investments. I truly appreciate it.


A Multitude of Improvements

There's been a long quiet period on this blog but we've been busy all along improving Zoomii. Here's some of the highlights:

A Video Tour shows up when you first enter the store. If you've banished the how-to dialog, you can see it at

The Navigation Bar gives easy access to categories, search, your wishlist and cart. It also lets you get around the store without dragging and using the mousewheel; handy if you actually don't have a mousewheel.

Bigger Selection - We don't have all of Amazon's millions of books yet, but we're up from about 45,000 to over 150,000 searchable for Americans on, and almost 140,000 for Canadians on

The Category Picker was once part of the store map, which meant it flew out of view as soon as you clicked on a category. The new one is accessible wherever you are in the store.

New Categories. The 'Bargains' section has the most-discounted books in the store. The 'Missing Categories' section has the top-ranked books that we haven't had time to put in the right category. It's also a fun grab-bag of otherwise random books.

The Wish List is a great place to collect all the books you want to buy, but just not quite yet.

You can now use the Escape button to close dialogs, cart, wishlist, search, and details. This just makes things quicker and easier.

We've also made a host of improvements behind the scenes to keep your experience fast and responsive, even when we get linked to by sites like and ... We hope. :)

Enjoy the store!

Welcoming a New Team Member

I'd like to welcome a new and valued member of the Zoomii team, Evan Brian Thiessen. He's been with us since May 10th, 2008, and while his probation period has caused us some sleepless nights, my wife Sonia and I have decided to make him a permanent member of our team. He doesn't have much experience, but we feel he has a lot of potential for growth in the future. He's already proved an invaluable boost to morale and has contributed many valuable grunts and giggles during meetings.

So welcome, Evan! :)