Archive for the ‘Releases’ Category

New Fixes and Features on Billmonk

October 30, 2008

Hey Billmonk friends!  We’ve been a little quiet on the blog because we’ve been listening closely to your suggestions and requests.

Today, we’re happy to let you know our product and engineering team has fixed over two dozen bugs.  We worked on the Amazon library, text related issues, automated email and errors related to reporting payments.

We also added a number of features you requested.  You can now tag library items, have a percentage option in a bill split, convert shared bills into itemized bills and disable debt shuffling for yourself.

The number of Billmonk users has grown quickly beyond what we expected, so we’ve a hired a manager to take care of things on the product front.  You can also look forward to email customer support and a fancier Facebook widget in a couple of months.

The original Billmonk was great, but the future Billmonk is going to be positively grand!

We really appreciate all the suggestions and requests you’ve shared with us and as always, please contact us with any issues or ideas.

A shiny new look – with graphs!

August 7, 2007

We took the monk to the salon, where, at the hands of our intrepid graphics designer Christina, he received a long-awaited and much anticipated makeover. I dare say, he now looks simply dashing!

While the most obvious changes are the look-and-feel (different color scheme, new page templates, snazzy logo), we also updated the navigation by adding a left navigation bar, and merged the “friends” page into the “home” page.

As a bonus feature, Scott pulled a tactical ninja stunt and added graphs to the home page. In addition to adding more pretty colors to the site, it also makes it easy to visualize the proportion of debt.

Please let us know what you think! We’re sure to make minor adjustments in the weeks to come.

billmonk_new_ui.png

Geeking with the ReviewMonk

July 10, 2007

We are a big fan of code reviews at the BillMonk office, they are a good way to help find early bugs in our software and learn to write better code. We also use Subversion to store our source code, but could never find a good code reviewing tool that fit our needs — so we wrote our own! And since BillMonk is built on open source software, we thought it would be nice to give back. So if you’re also a geek, and have a need for a code reviewing tool, check out ReviewMonk at billmonk.com/geek or go directly to the SourceForge page.

Introducing Itemized Bills!

May 23, 2007

Shared bills are great when everyone’s share is roughly equal, but have you ever been out with your friend who got the T-bone steak compared to your Caesar Salad? We have too.

Itemized Food

You can now enter itemized bills into BillMonk! Just take your receipt home with you and enter all the items individually. Then tell us who owes what for each item, and we’ll do all the math. You can even enter the tax and tip you paid for the bill, and we’ll divide it up fairly.

Itemized Bill Example

New SMS features

April 3, 2007

BillMonk’s SMS interface has gotten a revamp! This update contains a bunch of new features that work together to make the SMS interface a lot more useful.

  • Dynamic groups
    SMS commands that take groups (like “victim” and “shared bill”) will now let you specify the list of participants explicitly. Instead of setting up a group on the website with a name like “LunchMoney,” you can specify a list of people like “joe,jon,bob.” For each person, we’ll search the names and contact info of all your friends — so for example, “joe” could refer to joe@example.com, as long as you don’t have any other friends with “joe” as a name or email address. Social groups are always changing, and this feature helps accommodate that fact. Of course, you can still use static groups if that works for you.
  • Smart victim choosing
    We already have a victim feature that will tell you who should pick up the next tab. Right now it works by seeing who owes the most within a group of friends. That works alright, but it turns out we can give you a better answer if we know the amount of the bill you are paying. So now you can optionally tell the “victim” command the amount of the bill, and we’ll give you an even better answer for who should pay that bill. You can read more about the details of victim choosing in the FAQ.
  • New ‘choose’ command
    This is a new command that combines the power of Smart Victim Choosing and Dynamic Groups. In a single command, you can say:
    sms_choose.jpg
    If you SMS this to BillMonk, we’ll choose the best victim and record that they paid a $25.31 bill. Then we’ll SMS you back a message that says who should pay. It’s one easy step for victim choosing and recording a shared bill — perfect for lunch outings when you don’t know who should pay!

All of this is documented on the newly redesigned Mobile Phone page

Repeating Bills are Here!

March 6, 2007

BillMonk now allows you enter bills that repeat on a weekly or monthly basis. Simply tell us what day it repeats on (e.g. ‘Thursday’ if weekly, or ‘the 1st’ if monthly), and the bill will automatically be recorded on a regular schedule.

Roommates will especially love this feature for helping to track rent and utilities, but it’s also ideal for a ton of other activities like managing club dues or remembering to pay the dog-walker.

create-a-repeating-bill1.png

Specify how this bill should repeat when you create it.

 

list-of-repeating-bills1.png

View all your repeating bills, including when they last occurred, and when they will repeat next.

Download library, friends

October 23, 2006

We already let you download a spreadsheet of your financial transactions. Now we also let you download a list of what things you own (including what is checked-out), and your friends (including their email addresses and how much you owe them or they owe you). With this, you can back-up all your BillMonk data, and do with it whatever you like. After all, it’s your data.

library-spreadsheet.png

BillMonk speaks your language

October 17, 2006

The site is now available in multiple languages. Choose between German, French, Spanish, Polish, and English (with US and UK flavors). Lots of others are in the pipeline: Telugu, Czech, Dutch, Portuguese, Slovene, Swedish, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, and whatever other languages you, the noble volunteer translator, can offer!

Yes, all this hard work was done by volunteers. They put up with our constant additions and frequently cryptic phrase fragments to produce over 4,000 high-quality translations in less than two weeks. Meet the heroes!

We didn’t put up the entire site for translation because it is huge. We focused our efforts on getting the most commonly accessed content out now, and will fold in the less vital pages and emails over time.

The translations you see are a work in progress. Feel free to dive in and contribute, wiki-style. If certain phrases on the site are grammatically wacky, please blame us, not the translators. 🙂

We’ve learned a lot about translations and languages in this process. Major kudos to Adam for educating us about Polish and its cases, accusatives, and pluralizations (yup! there’s more than one plural!) And, once again, a big thank-you to everyone who so generously gave their time to make BillMonk available around the world.

Extreme money-math: “even plus/minus amount”

September 14, 2006

Working tirelessly alongside a team of top Caltech scientists, we have cracked the split-bill problem. You can now specify your participation as “even plus/minus amount.”

As any experienced restauranteer can attest, it sounds so simple to say “Jill will cover for Joe, Bob will pay $10 more because he got the lobster, and Joey owes $3.50,” but calculating this frightening mess of shifting averages and combined totals is not just a nightmare, but is also demonstrably impossible. Or so said conventional wisdom.

Our new money-math engine makes this sort of problem a thing of the past. Tell us how you think shared bill ought to be split:

  • Even
  • Evenly, but paying for multiple people
  • Even plus/minus amount (new!)
  • Fixed

…and we’ll do the work for you.

split_plus_minus.png

(Can you identify the obvious falsehood in the above image?)

Facebook Integration and Profiles

September 5, 2006

Just in time for back-to-school, we have added user profiles and Facebook integration (using their recently released APIs).

  • Create a profile including a picture, a bit about you, your websites (e.g. MySpace page), and your birthday
  • Add your Facebook friends
  • Merge your Facebook photo and details into your BillMonk profile
  • Sign in to BillMonk using your Facebook id

We also tidied up “Your Account” to make it easier than ever to control your contacts and settings.

Meanwhile, we’ve been chugging away at some backend features which you don’t see at all, but which enable a lot of other exciting new features and make things run better.

So sharpen those pencils, get ready for school, and try out the BillMonk-Facebook integration!