Nowcado Update: New API

We’ve released another update to Nowcado! You’ll want to make sure you update to this latest version as the previous versions will be unsupported very soon. Update or get it now for Android or iOS.

This one was a bit of “Spring cleaning” on our side (it is Spring now, right?) that reorganizes some of the database to streamline server calls and improve app performance. The only noticeable change for you, besides being faster, is that we have redone our searching algorithm to be much more forgiving of spelling errors and partial words. You may see more results, or in a slightly different order, for certain searches. (See details in our post from yesterday.)

Nowcado Search Algorithm

For those interested, we thought we’d explain a subtle change in Nowcado’s (get it for Android or iOS) search results coming in the next update, in case you notice the behavior is somewhat different and were wondering why.

We have noticed and heard some feedback that the current Nowcado search results are too strict and unforgiving of small spelling errors, especially involving whitespace and partial words. This is because each word in the search bar was only allowed about 1-2 characters flexibility.

Instead, we will now be using ngrams. It works by scoring each product based on the degree to which the letter sequences in your search bar match the letter sequences in each product’s name and category. For example, searching for “whiskey” will now match against “whiskey”, “whi”, “whis”, “whisk”, “his”, “hisk”, etc. The more matches there are, the higher the relevancy score. The ordering of the search results will be influenced by each product’s relevancy score, price, and distance (weighted depending on which sort you specify).

This could mean that you see a few products that aren’t very relevant (i.e. “pineapple” flavors match “wine”), but only near the bottom of the search results. We feel this is much more preferable than giving zero results for a minor misspelling of a brand. This change also allows us to easily tweak the scoring of results in the future, based on common patterns that we see that seem less than intuitive.

Go Lady Terps, Beat Tennessee!

Congratulations to the Women’s Basketball team, making it to the Sweet Sixteen yet again!  We’re definitely looking forward to tomorrow and what is sure to be another great game among the several we’ve had against tough competition this season.

Senior Alyssa Thomas is already the highest-scoring player ever in Maryland history, and you know with the team’s depth and a kick-ass coach like Brenda, we can take Tennessee head on.

For those like us who will be watching and cheering with a favorite drink in hand, be sure to restock with Nowcado (get it for Android or iOS now)!

Confectioners Sugar / Salt Hack

It turns out that the sweetness of sugar is actually consistent across sugars. The only thing that changes is the coarseness, or in the case of brown sugar, the use of molasses. The only sugar you should ever really need to buy is simple plain sugar!

In order to make confectioners sugar (or powdered sugar), all you need to do is run your regular granulated sugar through a blender until it has a fine, powdery consistency. Feel free to use this in yesterday’s drink recipe, or indeed any recipe that calls for confectioners sugar.


This also applies to salt, as all salt has the same salinity. The only thing that changes is the granularity. Run your kosher salt through a blender to make table salt!

Whiskey Sour

Here’s another great, simple recipe from barnonedrinks.com.

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz blended scotch whisky
  • 1/2 tsp confectioner’s sugar/powdered sugar
  • 1/2 lemon

Preparation:

  1. Shake and strain all the ingredients into a sour glass. Optionally garnish with a slice of lemon and a cherry.

Get a great deal on the whisky for the recipe with Nowcado for Android or iOS.

Brown Sugar Hack

You can avoid getting specialized brown sugar for yesterday’s drink recipe with this trick. All you need to do is take plain old granulated sugar and add molasses to it. The ratio is approximately 1 tbsp molasses to 1 cup of sugar for light brown sugar, and 2 tbsp molasses to 1 cup of sugar for dark brown sugar or packed brown sugar. Simply mix them together until the ingredients are well combined. This trick can of course be used in any recipe that requires brown sugar.

Hot Buttered Rum

Here’s a great recipe from cocktails.about.com for hot buttered rum, a classic drink.

Ingredients:

  • 1 small slice soft butter
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • Optional spices to taste: ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, allspice
  • Vanilla extract
  • 2 ounces dark rum
  • Hot water

Preparation:

  1. Place the butter, sugar and spices at the bottom of an Irish coffee glass or mug.
  2. Mix well or muddle.
  3. Pour in the rum and hot water.
  4. Stir.

Get a great deal on the rum for the recipe with Nowcado for Android or iOS.