Sunday, October 29, 2006

Lula

A bit out of topic but let just say that I'm washing hands tonight:

Poor States of Brasil gave Lula another four years of resource sharing in the Presidency. Lula had the nerve to celebrate in Paulista Ave. The heart of Sao Paulo.

Don't take me wrong. But for a Paulista this is a slap in the face. We are all about real sharing but we are not stupid or blind or easy to fool.

So to watch a new mix of Fidel and Saddam Hussein celebrate his win in a State that could do a lot better without any of the others (this was a thought in 1932 that caused what is celebrated as "Revolucao Constituicionalista") is a bit much.

Look at the numbers and see clearly where are the States that serve the Federal Union and how they voted for Social Democrat Geraldo Alckmin, and those who feed from it voted Lula. It is easy to see which States carry the Union on their backs.

Minas Gerais being the only exception on this rule, and the one State that could have made a difference. Acre was a close call and Rio is a lost case. Cariocas have to go where Globo tells them to. It is the current fad. (Who knows what troubles Getulio and Dom Pedro might still be causing to that City.)

And Globo is the one TV channel that drives Brazilians in wherever direction powerful hands want them to go. This wouldn't be their first time on this business. Globo is the only staying power.

For the first time since I could cast a vote I didn't. (BTW, in Brasil you have to vote, no choice.) Could I have changed anything?

Lula has PCC, Globo and the poor on his side. What else does he want?

Save the poor? Oh, yes give them fish. No way to catch them. Keep them leashed.

Poor is being kept poor for a reason. Lula is only keeping alive the long tradition of Coronels. What about education?

Even if that's all that is said to be happening. It is only a front for more corruption. How much of the Federal money is really trickling down to those asking hands?

In a country in dire need of individuation, to use the ignorance of the masses for its own benefit is a lot worse than being dirt.

But won't be far fetched to imagine militares and students changing the country before an impossible civil war ensues. I wonder what Paulo Francis would see coming.

Lula divides Brazil in winning poor States and losing rich States. Feed the hunger of your poor. But don't give them a way to make a living. Now lets watch the MST and the PCC throwing their parties. And see who will foot the bill.

When would I ever imagine that a 1964 in 2007 wouldn't be such a bad idea.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Fair enough: News

The new P903i from Panasonic offer some interesting new features now available to NTTDoCoMo subscribers. This article from AP, mentions that if lost "the user can track it with its onboard GPS. After entering the phone number into a Web site, the owner will see a map showing the phone's rough location". It also seems to only work for its owner plus other security features.

Spot from Skylab [Mobilesystems Ltd.] is now available for Blackberries. In fact more than those. Also smartphones and all. I tried Spot on the little i415 and PPC. The PPC version didn't quite made it, gets no GPS support or it would become freebie.

If you got a Bluetooth GPS receiver around might be worth to invest some time on their products.

Also, iST Inteliggent Spatial is trying to grab someone's attention and interess on their work producing LBS Frameworks, among other deliverables. If you got the money, they deserve your time too. Check their "iPointer™ Campus tour at the University of Maine in Orono".

Taiwan is looking past Sirf chipsets for (cheap) mainstream models production. Time for the second place to show up. [Update: Looks like u-blox is taking it.]

Sony came up with "gesture commands" on the UV-N51. By crossing the screen with your finger you can get directions to home or closest POI from an available (user defined) list. First at TrustedReviews.

And call for papers for the GPS World Conference programmed for June 11-13, 2007 in Rosemont, Illinois. Deadline for submission: Dec 6th.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Take News

Not many if you don't mind skipping gadgetry. For that there are plenty out there, sorry.

Some of note: F-1 competition, something that US doesn't have much of a clue about what it stands for, approved use of GPS for 2007. Indy already uses it.

The other is starting to make into the consumer space, use of GPS in farms. Probably its best real need.

And ViewRanger made the news in Britain by winning Nokia's LBS Challange. Ordnance Survey maps.

TomTom is suing Garmin in Europe to get things in a level ground, or just take it to the ground. Whichever comes first.

There are a couple of notes on GPS stolen. Fancy, expensive and visible gadgets. Need to be in the dashboard in those areas it seems.

And talking about farming, don't take your Garmin as a necklace with logging on if you don't want people to know your whereabouts.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Mapping the Vote, Sensor Web

October issue of GeoWorld (also available online) points out tools from websites like FairData that can help visualize where are those votes that can make a difference in Nov 7th.

The same issue covers the work of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) with the Sensor Web Enablement specification. From the project page:

"Developers will use these specifications in creating applications, platforms, and products involving Web-connected devices such as flood gauges, air pollution monitors, stress gauges on bridges, mobile heart monitors, Webcams, and robots as well as space and airborne earth imaging devices."
Check for actual examples at this thread in the Google Earth Community.

In fact, if you are looking for an open spec check the article on GML (Geography Markup Language).

Monday, October 16, 2006

News Backlog

Business Week published a report on Location based technologies which translates mostly into how RFID is being used with one section on tracking truck cargo and another pointing out that Europe is ahead of the game.

Anick Jesdanun from AP reported on sport gadgets by comparing Timex BodyLink, Garmin ForeRunner 305 and the GPS-less Nike/iPod bundle. Anick liked Timex better.

EETimes has been talking about GPS integration for GSM phones recently including mentions of NXP Semiconductors (Philips), Sirf, Zoran's Approach 5C and TruePosition.

Rand McNally is remaking itself while celebrating 150 years with its own GPS Navigator device plus new online offers for teachers among its new products.

MIT's TechReview had an article on GPS for small planes after the recent accident in Manhattan. FAA has a working standard proposal

"[...] called Automatic Dependant Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) that would allow the GPS data to be broadcast and received by air-traffic controllers."
Comments pointed out that implementation might take longer than the author seems to indicate. Check the FAA ADS-B website for more.

Trying to get your J2ME app to compile in the Sprint SDK without the required GPS classes? Alexander Pruss put together a set of dummy classes that you can use now to get past that. But you'll still need to hit their PDE servers to get position data.

If you want to use a Palm Treo for tracking check this implementation suggested at the OpenDMTP website.

Engadget published a while ago a good recipe on how to make your own annotated multimedia Google Map with GPS data.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Roger Waters: Don't Waste Two Years


Proposition J [pdf]
.
Show Review, but read "A Saucerful Of Secrets' instead.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Georgia Tech SWAN

What if you want to find your way inside a building where resolution requirements are higher than those provided with GPS today? Georgia Tech has a good answer for that with SWAN.

AP is running a story on it:

"Georgia Institute of Technology researchers are trying to pick up where GPS leaves off. Its System for Wearable Audio Navigation, or SWAN, consists of a wearable computer connected to a headband packed with sensors that help sight-impaired users know where they are and how to get where they're going."
Here is the Georgia Tech research site.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

iPod Phone with GPS

PC Magazine has a pretty interesting article on Apple, iPod phone (GPS being added?), HSDPA and T-Mobile.

The article hints that "T-Mobile, [and] not Cingular, will host Apple's much-rumored iPhone project."

First on T3, MobileGadgetNews

Real Estate gets LBS and more on satellite imagery

Zillow.com can now show in metropolitan areas around the country the average market price of a house. Or you can check through your cell phone using SmarterAgent software.

Real Estate are the first to make use of LBS into their portfolio.

In a similar vein but with a lot more possibilities of data mashups is Neighboroo.

Earth Pics

Newsweek puts in perspective the digital imagery provider/consumer story. And look closely where it says that Microsoft bought Vexcel, maker of "top-of-the-line, 500-pound digital cameras used by aerial mappers".

BTW, what exactly is Microsoft business? In fact, it seems directed after Google, Vexcel has besides the cameras, 3D modeling software as SketchUp.

Across town A9 it seems is out of the blockview market, they closed shop. Not their business.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

LBS week wrap-up

deCarta's developers conference was a great way to learn about the mapping ecosystem.

So not to repeat it all, take in short form that if your business plan needs money to implement a project that for its survival depends on phone carries, rethink your plan.

Or better, just really scrap it. If carriers have a say in it at all.

Just forget them. They decided to lock their platform to exclusive partnerships closing it to most inovattive business. Need argument? When will they let mobile games happen? What about location-based games?

But if you really want to try, it seems that Networks in Motion and their NavBuilder development platform found a way in (at least through Verizon).

Tellus got lucky with their J2ME implementation turned in VZ Navigator.

You can try your luck with TeleAtlas LBS Innovators Series backed by DowJones Wireless Ventures.

Carriers Lock-in

This blog has been pointing out about API restrictions for a while now.

Carrier should learn to be flexible through the fate of those companies that decided to stop at the middle of the innovation road. Phone carriers should realize the true meaning of the growing level of VOIP adoption.

For example, Sprint could start by making the Blackberry 7520 and others that includes GPS and can run Java and its Location API an open platform for developers. Why not give it a try?

As I already mentioned VC's also say that LBS should be integrated as part of something else, a feature. Not an application per se.

Free Content?

On the major event play watch out for Google and Microsoft as obvious as that may sound. In their current fight for digital imagery content where Microsoft (and it seems Google too) have exclusive rights over satellite content from DigitalGlobe.

GeoEye seems to be the place to go look for satellite imagery.

By exclusive I mean this contract doesn't allow free distribution through channels or anyone else that might try to access it for free. Only business, or paid consumers can have access to the content.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

deCarta Conference drilling down

Jeepx will be covering the deCarta Developers Conference being realized at Mission Bay UCSF Life Services Conference Center at China Basin. Along the way you can see that the huge SBC Park parking lot is now being converted into housing, streets and new development.

A dog friendly park now follows the channel flowing below the old metal bridge at 4th St. You can get there through Muni or try a ride on the UCSF color coded shuttles. Or walk from the Caltrain Station at 4th Street.

Last Conference deCarta (then still using the Telcontar name) took everyone to SBC Park on a baseball theme. This year we had the Exploratorium to play with and an opportunity to hear the MythBusters live. They even shared a non exhibited part episode on "Do Girls Pass Gas?". Well, maybe not totally correct, but well.

Killer LBS App

Anyway, on a more serious take the 250 attendees heard more than once that LBS is here but with a twist: nobody really wants an LBS app, but some app with LBS integrated to it. More on this in future posts.

Today on a panel driven by John Giudice from TeleAtlas you could hear so far the best direction to where LBS apps can go to help everyone and take off. Among the panelists was Craig Lauer, VP of Engineering at Qualcomm's fleet tracking unit.

In a straightforward approach he suggests to follow the collaboration sharing space and from POI data to life patterns have a way to store historic data about recommended venues.

In practice and in Craig's words: "We need to get rid of the clutter".

Craig continues somehow like this: "Let's say you are at a bus stop and by pushing a button ( in whatever generic device you carry/own/evangelize) you start a geospatial search where based on the historical patterns from the last 12 people doing the same route you get back a result something like this:

"The next bus will arrive in 20 minutes but if you walk down the block you will find a cool movie theater showing good stuff."

Casting, Counting Votes

Based on the same concept inaugurated by Google in using links of popularity a contextual analysis of the real-world can be performed.

Today local searches involve selecting among layers of categories which is just too much. As Craig puts it so plainly: "Let's keep it simple, people already voted about what they do and even wrote about it."

So why not continue casting votes and counting them doing something which is already working like Wikepedia and write, review, edit, put this data out there in an documented and shared format and through an open data access api, let everyone collect, organize and share this material?

How does anyone makes money? Well, you package it in whatever color someone is willing to pay for.

Remember HereCast? Their point is about using position to drop a virtual note on a real building. Maybe it is time to leave the virtual note around here, and figure out a way to find it when you get real at the building.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Dumont 1907

Brasil had firsts taken away from its proud self-steem several times, but none hurts more than the one Santos Dumont accomplished in 1907, coincidentally the same number of the Gol Flight where a Boing 737-800 got hit by ironically a Brazilian made plane piloted by a north american.

Too much irony and pain for a country that still can, come first.

Trimble Licences GPS Technology

Nokia announced an agreement with Trimble on patents. According to some this should help Nokia leverage negotiations on another set of licenses (from Qualcomm) expiring in 2007.

Trimble patents relate to location-based technology and Assisted GPS on WCDMA and GSM.

Thing is A-GPS techologies (and possibly patents) on CDMA are quite a different type of beast than those required by unsynchronized networks as GSM and W-CDMA.

The leverage it seems might then happen when Nokia starts licensing the technology (allowed per Trimble's agreement) to other, non-CDMA vendors.

AllSport GPS

Down to consumer level products, Trimble announced AllSports GPS a while ago.

The software runs on a range of true GPS and A-GPS models from Nextel (including Boost), Sprint and SouthernLINC.

The idea is to use Trimble Outdoors website and the software on the phone to "measure distance, time, speed, and calories", and then create routes with speed and elevation profile. You can keep workout data on the phone itself.

AllSports GPS works also with MotionBased sports training website.