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July 01, 2006

Halloween.tv goes beta - your guide to haunted houses

It's with great excitment and pleasure that I share with the readers of Janney Family our latest web production - Halloween.tv [beta].

So what is the purpose of Halloween.tv you ask? Simple. It's an elegant solution for finding a Haunted House near you, utilizing Google Maps and Skype to make it easier then any other web site providing the same service. My hope is people, and haunts for that matter, will see this the same way and as a benefit to both parties.

To find a haunt, you simply pull up the map, find your state, click on an orange marker and from there you'll get all the details you want about that particular haunt. In addition, if a phone number is provided and you have the Skype client, you can click the phone number and "Skype out" - fancy way of saying make a call from your computer - to that location. It's that simple.

Going forward, we have plans on how we can provide more features and improved functionality when it comes to finding haunts, but also other tools and topics that would interest the Halloween community at large. With the support of a good friend, the back-end will also be more sophisticated soon as well. We should see increased performance and a cleaner way of managing haunt records. There's close to 100 records already in the XML file, which is pretty decent coverage across the US. New records are added almost daily.

Up to this point, the project has taken about four weeks and a few late nights that I'm sure Sam would rather forget. I'd been wanting to use the domain for awhile now, I've owned it for six years, and the stars finally aligned for what I felt would be a unique and fun project.

It's also been a great learning experience as I've gained exposure to the Google Map API and re-visited technologies I don't get exposure to as much as I did previously in my old role. We're also trying a different host for the site too, using mediatemple to handle the heavy lifting. So far, so good. If all goes well this summer with Halloween.tv, we might move Janney Family over.

On a final note, this project is in beta so we'd love to hear any feedback people might have about the site. So feel free to pay it a visit and drop us a line. And yes, the domain name Halloween.tv is no longer for sale.

Posted by paul at July 1, 2006 09:26 AM in Paul rant

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