Desktop Apps, Chat Service Update & Streaming Video Support


Streaming

Teams can now broadcast on Bola.io using services like livestream.comtwitch.tvYoutube.com or preferably – streamable.com and mycujoo.tv by adding their streaming-URL to the team’s settings. Public Profiles now feature a streaming video page with chatroom integration in both portrait and widescreen layouts.

As a bonus we gave logged in users the ability to add custom streams to the video player area and generate a new stream page so members of the team can watch other content together.

bolaRT chat service

Along with the streaming support we have overhauled our IRC-based chat service and client, building a mobile-optimized standalone version aswell as a initial set of Mac/Linux/Windows desktop wrapper apps along with it. While we recommend a native IRC client or the bookmarkable version, you are of course free to give them a click.

Bola Professional Desktop Apps:  Mac | Windows | Linux
bolaRT 
Chat-Only AppsMac | Windows | Linux | Mobile Bookmark


How can my Team use the Chat outside of Bola?

The name of your teams chatroom matches your team URL (the part after nach bola.io/)” with an # prepended (Example: http://bola.io/apaara_servers -> #apaara_servers) – but feel free to create other channels or invite non-Bola users. To protect your privacy we don’t store or keep any logs on the chat servers.

The Connection- and Configuration-Details for the bolaRT team-chat can also be found in your Team-Settings aswell as in The FAQ (#3).

Advertising on Bola. We do it better.


Our platform runs as a free public social news network on one side – but also as complex productivity application on the other. Our userbase are not (only) social media vistors, but also registered users of a service and application that is provided by Bola to everyone for free.

This allows us to handle and balanced advertisement and monetisation significantly different compared to other websites or services and we hopeto change how it is perceived, understood and recognized by you and the users.

We are a great place to explore new ideas and concepts. We are working on a full range of innovative advertising products and placements that we will submit the community for input in the upcoming weeks – it will be glorious.

Meanwhile we stick to some pretty simple rules:

  • You, our users are not stupid.
  • We don’t sell you out. At least not for cheap clicks.
  • If advertisers don’t have genuine knowledge of – and recognisable interest in – our platform, community and goals they can’t advertise to you.
  • We actually custom build, recreate or re-tailor ads and interactives for our clients – and you.

We believe this is worth much more than a mindless click. So if you ever see an ad or brand advertised on bola, we hope can actually give it’s message a sincere consideration.

 


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Oh and hey – if this is the crowd you want to:

  • Talk to (or get a answer from)
  • Advertise to
  • Sell to
  • to advertise YOU

then get in touch – we can do amazing things.

Why you should pay for a bola subscription


“Heres our product! it can do x,y and z. That should be worth abc to you. If you are cheap just use the free edition.”

So why pay?

Support. We actually listen.

We go to extraordinary lengths to make our users happy regardless of their subscription tier, and made it a habit to include and consult the community in our decision-making, roadmap-building and commercial direction. We are a small team after all, and our users are proven to be smart (and loyal) – so why not?

By upgrading to a paid account tier you not only allow us to continue dedicating the time and effort to make Bola a better experience for you and the rest of the community, you make it happen faster and with the input of the entire user base. And looking at our Roadmap – faster would be pretty cool.

Impact. Don’t believe the hype.

We love tech – but we are also critical about technology and conscious of it’s usefulness to and impact on society, economy and social behaviour. This makes us even prouder to be building a tool that works towards integrating sports and other traditionally static or time-consuming group activities with the growingly connected, flexible and fast-paced lifestyle of todays connected world.

We go to great lengths to avoid being dependent on revenue generated by passthrough type banner or keyword advertising one one side  and public/institutional funding on the other – and always kept the “so much bigger” general group-activity and business markets for another day to focus solely on sports, although some of the work that went into Bola 6 is justified and validated by those prospects.

Upgrading will help us out in building a better advertising and monetisation model for Bola – at least one that’s much better that crippling functionality forcing you to pay or adding a bazillion advertising networks and slots to it. And hopefully one that includes teams and pays tribute to traditional sports sponsorships.

Pricing. *Kinda Free.

We don’t structure pricing on seats and quotas, time-limit or otherwise cripple our products usability. We believe Bola is affordable enough, especially for clubs, organisations or shared among peers, and it offers a lot of cool features and customisability to make paying for it worthwhile.

We also offer a full, feature-complete-although-limited version available for free (forever). Not only to make you sign up, participate and then maybe upgrade – but because we think it’s useful and important.

Creepiness. Never. Nein.

We don’t do creepy stuff in general. Period. Colon:

  • Like collecting, selling or otherwise exploiting your activity on our site.
  • Like directly linking to your profile images. Or running facial recognition on them.
  • Like analysing the words in your posts in order to guess your current mood and present the right ad to you.
  • Like claiming super-duper encryption of your data on our servers when we don’t control the pipes connecting them to you.

Some mildly creepy stuff that we do that make total sense:

  • We use geolocation (if available) to show better “partner content” to you (just kidding, they are banners – but more useful ones).
  • We use geolocation (if available) to tag news and reports so you can filter them accordingly.

We work on providing a growing list of privacy measures and sacrifice google analytics hits to the tracking options of our users, currently store user data in Swiss datacenter.

Last but not least there is now (finally!) a page on Bola that goes into more details about our paid offering and may seduce you into upgrading.

So with all that said – We hope you upgrade!

Love,
The Bola.io Team
Bola.io – Where everyone wins

Announcing the Bola 6.0 Test Cycle


We’re happy to announce a new major revision to the Bola Platform – our heavily sports- and team- focused web application slash social thing. While we’re introducing our current and longtime users to the new features first there’s a wealth of information and in-depth views on our tools and individual updates prepared that we will release in a weekly series of posts here and on Bola.io itself.

We are a small team – and Bola is a big application. While this let’s us all “have nice things” most of the time, we are also prone to serious bottlenecks at other times, especially in testing. It’s not only a tradition but also a necessity at Bola to “release early, and often” and involve our users in Beta testing, bug hunting and fine-tuning the final release. In return we involve them in collecting ideas and adding/tweaking functionality to their linking.

You can propose to us (Not like that silly) ! If you want a certain feature or function changed, tweaked or added, or know how to fix it and improve (both together preferred), get in touch – our track record of implementing community ideas and wishes is pretty awesome.

Redesign

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“If we would have surveyed our community about a redesign the most likely answer would have been don’t change anything.”

It’s a familiar situation for many websites that have been around for a longer time, and one that gets more complex with the amount of functionality and user interaction a site requires. We all know of high-profile sites that didn’t survive major UI and layout revisions too well or without often very vocal complaints of the community.

But sometimes they have to happen.

Bola has always prided itself with sticking close to our user base, and we show it not only in our communication style and frequency but also in the features we implement and direction we lead. Or sometimes follow. But in this case.. We didn’t ask them at all. While true, in reality we went a step further by assuming we are them. Well.. for the most part. The other part in return we dictated. But we have put a lot of extra effort and consideration into making sure our longtime users not only recognize „their“ Bola – but feel back at home immediately and intuitively. Have mercy.

The New Features of Bola 6

Besides the visual rework we have developed many extensions and additions to the functions of our tools which we will highlight in detail in individual posts published here in the coming weeks. Here’s a list of the most notable changes:

  1. Link, embed and upload from many popular 3rd party sites & services
  2. Webcam capture & image editing suite/effects
  3. Team group-chat & realtime support
  4. User-level logins & multi-account authentications
  5. Team-to-team contact forms
  6. Short message and link posting with URL/content recognition 
  7. Visual score/statistics
  8. Bigger Image Sizes, External media sources, mixed galleries and more storage
  9. Recurring Events (Weekly/Monthly/By Day/Week)

„Where is..“

In the same place as before!  Almost to the Pixel in some cases. And thats a testimony to the quality of the old application layout our community feels at home in. And we hope it shows that we treated it accordingly. In fact Bola wasn’t redesigned – it was reinterpreted and modernized.

„Whats better?“

More features than we can put into this post. Not only that – Bola is cleaner, more readable, lighter in terms of elements and images and also a bit more toned down. It makes more use of screen estate, allowing easier navigation and use of our tools and does that on many different devices, from Hi-res desktop computers to low resolution phone and tablet displays. It allowed us to add a bunch of cool features in the recent months, and will enable many more to be added in the upcoming months.

Although the reasons for the redesign are technical in nature the changes are mostly on the user-facing part of the app: Easier embedding, linking and importing content from 3rd party sources, better structured, more readable content, new layouts and UI.

“It’s slow/broken/not looking right!“

Um, Yes. Actually we break Bola many times a day! Most of the time this happens away from you, but some things slip through every so often and hit one or the other individual.. Or all. If that is you – fret not!  We tend to make up for our stupidity in code by unbreaking things in record time. In order to improve our reaction time even more we have made a realtime (IRC-)channel available for users to ask questions, get help, report problems and errors. Just hop in our chat via the support page or life ring icon in your teams irc – or write us a mail.

Speed: The beta currently uses a lot of bandwidth and connections which can slow things down. We’re still changing things daily, and to make things easier for us we will wait until the end of the beta before we hit some magic switches to speed things up.

Page Rendering: We’re using the same code for all devices from mobile phones to desktops/laptops, browsers and operating systems. It’s not unusual for elements or layouts to look „wrong“ or „broken“ in this phase.
But – we’re planning to keep the old design alive and even back port some features every once in awhile for as long as theres a justifiable demand. You’ll be able to switch back and forth at any time!

Feedback welcome!

We’re always thankful for feedback, ideas, opinions and feature requests – Feel free to get in touch anytime using the “Support” Page on Bola.

Have fun,

The Bola-Team: Thomy, Manu and Nico

Bola.io – international availability


Hello World,

We are happy to announce the rollout of the localized version of the bola.io application for sports teams and group activities.

Bola.ch   apaaraSERVERS   Home_mid

Bola has it’s roots in a series of pioneering social web applications developed by apaaraGROUP AG.

Big in.. Bola originates and is heavily in use in Switzerland, where hundreds of teams are using the application and its individual tools to manage their day-to-day communications, event scheduling and reporting.

They also use it to share awesome reports, stories, pictures and videos of their group or team’s activities in the form of news posts, event reports and media galleries – making Bola a unique service that seamlessly and naturally bridges leisure and productivity.

A  labor of love. We enjoy building the tools and providing the place where local and amateur sports teams collect, publish and share these things with a like-minded community and hope you find the time to check it out.

Break. Neck. Speed. We have a tightly packed roadmap and our development moves very fast at the moment, so some things are still missing translations or language filters and we do break things every once in awhile for short periods.

We run self-bootstrapped – thanks to our loyal community, customers and selected national advertising partners which are stoked on  and genuinely interested in us helping people keep up their sports activities – the Bola tools are completely free to use!

We love talking to you – Feel free to e-mail us if you need help, have questions, comments, feature requests or grand business proposals to share with us, e-mail us at info@bola.ch or catch us lurking on Freenode IRC #bola.

We are Bola – Nice to meet you!