Tuesday, July 15, 2008

uPhone: Explore the Open Mobile Space

Sometimes I question what really deserves attention nowadays.

1. No, the iPhone is not in my "to get list", not even close.

2. I may consider hacking an iTouch with a mic and Wi-fi based VOIP plus free SMS.

3. Or to look at an OpenMoko and its Linux-based environment. Or some of the new LiMo phones.

4. But the short term is just too much hype. What about listening to what Doc Searls has to say at his EOF column in the LinuxJournal:

"Why chase the iPhone, when we can free the world with open mobile things"

Following on that, check the Bug Labs blocks: (after the Ethernet and Wireless blocks are shipped) it will include pretty much all you need to hack your own [U, mine?] phone. LinuxJournal also has a nice introduction to the currently available components. Hackable to the extreme.

And check out Chumby for that matter, which could easily make my list.

5. Oh, and there is Android. Open Sourced? [Update: Yes, it is now.]

6. Or even an Open J2ME.

7. And don't forget Open Symbian, according to Nokia. [Have you looked at the Greenphone Open Source codebase?] And Motorola's OpenEZX, its Open Source effort.

So, it is an open space out there, you don't need to get yourself locked up.

More Links @ Del.icio.us

Thursday, May 22, 2008

iPhone Geotagging, 3D Maps, Geohashing

Biggest GPS drawing in the whole wide world (thanks to DHL). Via AdLand.

iPhone OS 2.0 should include geotagging capabilities in its Photos and Maps apps. From AppleInsider. Photo by Steve Garfield.

Check xkcd on GeoHashing (or more seriously, Wikipedia).

CA Senate voting to legalize GPS on windshields. Via Engadget.

3D Maps on a LBS Game? Check Planet 9 Studio's RayGun and its GeoFeeder server, via VentureBeat.

Marketing breaks another frontier in UK. Now mobile phones are being tracked so consumers habits can be "studied". On the TimesOnline.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Where, Android LBS, Geo API’s

Location-based apps shine among the 50 Android apps picked as finalists (slide show pdf). Photo by Zack Klein.

Meanwhile, Verizon picks Limo and MobileCrunch show the differences between Limo and Android.

Talking Google, now Real Estate info on Google Maps.

Yahoo launches Internet Location Platform. Via APB, with Google's Ed Parsons take on Yahoo WOEID (Where On Earth ID).

Where 2.0

John McKerrell blogged the conference and also a bit of WhereCamp 2008.

His coverage from Where 2.0 includes a talk from Dan Catt about geotagged photos.

Dan's blog: GeoBloggers also explains Yahoo's WOEID, and his work with geotagging at Flickr including a slideshow of the Where presentation.

Where was also covered at APB and Radar.

Among the news Ublip, a tracking platform and Veriplace, a Location API with privacy concerns.

Dash API

Dash Opens its API, Via Programmable Web, Webware

Webware also put together a lazy list of Geo Sites.

Blackberry users with Garmin Mobile for life.

Butterfly GPS DIY project. Via Make

Boeing loses GPS contract for Lockheed Martin.

PC Mag covers Geotagging Gadgets.

Apple Patents Speculations by ArsTechnica, PhonesReview and IntoMobile.

Geotagging at Ovi's upload site from Nokia which launches the first compass phone.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Geotagging: New camera not required with Eye-Fi Explore

If your digital camera has a SD slot, you may be able to use it for geotagging with the Wi-Fi SDIO Cards from Eye-Fi.

For a hundred bucks you can add wireless capabilities to your current digital camera.

The magic behind the Eye-Fi SD cards is provided by the Atheros AR6001GL.

The AR6001GL combines a 2.4Ghz radio transceiver, the frequency range used for 802.11b/g wireless access points with upgradeable firmware.

The card carries 2Gbytes of Flash memory for your photos.

Insert one of the cards into your digital camera SD slot. By turning the camera on, the card will receive about 3.4 volts to start the bootstrap sequence.

By having software running on this SD card Eye-Fi makes it act in fact as an SDIO (Secure Digital Input Ouput) card, a bit smarter than plain storage.

"Activation/Setup": Shake Well Before First Use

But before inserting it into the camera, you first need to activate the card and set known Wi-Fi locations with a list of the available SSID's. (Support to static WEP 40/104/128, WPA-PSK, WPA2-PSK).

The cards should connect automatically to hotspots from the WayPort network (First year service included with Explore, $19 a year afterwards).

The low-end card allows upload to a running PC/Mac connected to the same access point (Eye-Fi Home, see below). After that you can upload photos to websites like Flickr and other photo storage services (Eye-Fi Share).


If you are talking to an access point, even better if you happen to have access to a database with matching location of SSID's & MAC addresses of Wi-Fi hotspots, like the one Eye-Fi licensed from Skyhook Wireless.

Obviously we are talking about pictures taken somewhere close by and/or around a wi-fi spot. Yosemite or that deserted beach won't quite make it.

Three Eye-Fi SD cards are being offered currently:

  • Home (~$80): uploads to computer,

  • Share (~$100): same plus uploads to web service,

  • Explore (~$130): same plus geotagging firmware marking your EXIF tags of your pictures with the corresponding Access Point  latitute/longitude (and maybe altitude?).
DPreview tried the Eye-Fi Share SD card last November.

The Geotagging version (Explore) is the one announced this week.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Geograffiti, Seero, deCarta

Artist gives its whereabouts away. Via Mercury News.

Geograffiti: Leave voice mail at some place, using the MyVoxApi. It extends the bulletin-board idea from HereCast. Via Mashable, MobileCrunch.

Also from Mashable, Seero Widget for GPS-enabled video streaming.

getting another round of cash.

: News on the Map.

Ohararp SMD GPS Video Tutorial on Instructables.

LinuxJournal published a tip from Peter Verthez about running Garmin's MapSource under Wine on Linux.

One more piece in the Dash puzzle: Where 2 Get, route planning provider.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Dash, jPhone, nuviPhone

Garmin offering nuviPhone to AT&T. Via Engadget.

Dash video from Web 2.0.

Sun working on a Open Source Phone, the jPhone. From an interview to Engadget.

Theoretical memristors developed at HP Labs. Via Wired


Microsoft released a free tool for geotagging.

It requires .Net Framework 3.0, validation and runs on XP and Vista systems.

Initial download of 2.8Mbytes follows extra 31Mbytes for the .Net runtimes.

You can tag photos with "track route files from the most popular formats (NMEA, GPX, and KML)".

MS also published a tutorial on Geotagging with its Expression Media 2, a "professional asset management tool to visually catalog and organize all your digital assets for effortless retrieval and presentation."

A similar package from Microsoft that uses .Net Framework 1.1 is available here.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Lightpole, Open GPS Tracker, TellMe

Got a Helio Mysto? Try checking for movies at Fandango's with MS TellMe. Works with GPS-equipped Blackberries too. (Via PC Mag and Washington Post)

iPhone users can try Geopedia. New drop of the SDK posted during the week.

Ogleearth listed a series of sites that publish/map GPS tracks among them GPSies.

Curious about what's inside a Garmin nuvi 750? Check EETimes "Under The Hood".

Make pointing to an Open GPS Tracker:

[BTW, Maker Faire is this weekend.]

Parallel Kingdom, GPS-based RPG game coming up for iPhone and Android phones.

Among the startup's announced during Web 2.0 check the Location Based Social Network BrightKit and the concept behind Elkin (via Wired).

Lightpole shining its light along the week: VentureBeat, CNET

Nokia has a free beta geotagging software available for download: Location Tagger.

[Update] Second Galileo satellite launched.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Nokia Touch, iPhone GPS

Symbian announced support for touch UI coding for its S60 platform. What about multi-touch?

Symbian also announced support for SQLite and Location Based services through its API's.

NYTimes articles on Google Earth. Via GoogleLatLong.

Flickr now with geotagged videos.

Microsoft announces Clearflow service at maps.live.com for smart traffic information.

Simba: GPS for iPhone and OS 2.0 will include app for "live location tracking".

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Cocoa Touch: Beta 3 Drop

New SDK drop today, includes a tutorial that shows how to develop your first app using Interface Builder.

If you want to check a good tutorial on Object Modeling that explains IB on a MVC context (with Core Data behind the Model Framework) check these links: Core Data Programming Guide and Cocoa Design Patterns.

Monday, March 31, 2008

CTIA week: Dash, Local Search & Rumor

Waiting for news from CTIA this week to see how many useful PR's would come up but seems like Dash is the real deal (Amazon only, $400 plus monthly service fee).

Dash has enough features to change the PND landscape.

First you have Linux in the form of OpenMoko, plus a GSM phone from Jasper Wireless (a M2M operator) included, so the data is fresh.

From this PR it seems that deCarta and Inrix are behind the traffic data for it.

Then you have an API for application development. RSS Feeds, Twitter, whatever you care for is a possibility or already implemented.

Cool stuff. Review by Walter Mossberg at the WSJ.


Garmin even announced a way to send location data from Google and Mapquest to their devices. Not the same, but something to say this week...

WSJ also talked about LBS Privacy (via APB) and Loopt closed a deal with Verizon.

Facebook gets more cash and VentureBeat wonders if LBS in China will be coming next.

Radar talks about location-based writing projects.

Desktop-based Local Search

If you are trying to find out what's is open, you got two choices with What's Open and GeoSpot which uses an Ajax-based interface to fill-in the what, where & when input fields and position the map based on the selected search result option. What about support for mobile?

Remember PowerBuilder? If you still playing with it here is an article about how to write code for its PocketPower version using GPS coordinates from a Bluetooth device (TomTom, Garmin).

TI gives Sirf some competition, Assisted-GPS chip combined with Bluetooth and FM (via GPSWorld).

Forbes also painting dark clouds for the GPS Biz.

And to close under the rumor mill category: next iPhone will have A-GPS from Global Locate.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Travelogue: iPhone SDK & Cocoa Touch

I have to say that Steve Jobs had its vision (with its meaning as large as a full moon) the day he entered Xerox Parc's Place sometime back in the 80's (79 in fact).

You know beauty when you see it.

He got a hold of that creative hippie energy floating in the air and like a grown-up Harry Potter made beauty and truth come together in pure reality. He is a visionary that as Wired published recently can push people enough to turn those visions, truth.

Jobs is capable to translate what everyone is hardly wishing (and therefore imagining) into a single piece of touchable reality. (Photo by Roman Lily).

Parc Place

What amazes me is the beauty of seeing Cocoa, OOP, MVC, Event Handling, Model/View bindings through the Observer/Observed pattern (KVC, KVO) all in a single & same place, platform.

Until now you had one or other aspect implemented in a different platform without giving you the whole picture. Ever.

A Mac running NextStep is what Jobs saw at Xerox.

He built on it and you can see that by looking at the way Cocoa Frameworks are put together.

The language is clean, clear. Get used to the NS and go ahead delving into the code.

Java brought a lot of that class, beauty to fruition. But the Mac puts the experience in a unique context.

It is all in one single, same box.

Flawless Not

BTW, not saying that the Mac is flawless.

Everyone & everything has its flaws, don't want to sound "too rosy".

It is just that beauty (com'on, it IS a piece of beauty - an expensive one) does help put you in a positive, constructive, creative mood.

Even the logo, it seems... But I'm only reminding you of the obvious, pure common sense.

Interface Builder

Apple released a new version of the SDK today. It includes a new version of Interface Builder, a drag & drop user interface design tool that will certainly make development simpler and faster. (Those Barbarians getting their way...).

Check the Release Notes, full complete support for UIKit views and controls didn't make for this rev.

But you can as a basic starting point, create Views, drag and drop controls and run the simulator. This sample is a good starting point.

From here

Did you check the introductory videos? Look at least the "iPhone OS Programming Guide" and the "Cocoa Fundamentals Guide".

Finally, get used to the Smalltalk-ish implementation of the C syntax. To say the least, it is cute.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Geotagging with Nikon SLRs, Geotate

Hans Strang, Geotate's CEO gave a pretty interesting interview on LetsGoDigital, about SnapSpot, a geotagging firmware product (NXP spun-off Geotate to concentrate on its core chipset design business).

The trick behind Geotate's approach in its low-power consumption is that it only stores GPS data from a particular location without processing it, letting that happen by the time the customer uploads its pictures to a PC.

According to the interview, in order to do that the camera has to turn itself off (and not cause radio signal interference) for about 200ms while Geotate's software grabs the corresponding GPS data.

Nikon SLRs

If you want to spend some money before cameras with Geotate's software reach the market in the next semester, look for Nikon models with the MC-35 connector like the:

  • D1H (~US$1,5K),
  • D1x (~$2,5K),
  • D2Hs (~$3,4K, but not the D2H which lacks GPS support),
  • D200 (~$1,5K),
  • D300 (~$1,7K),
  • D2x, D2Xs, and
  • D3 (~$5,5K).
Now get a GPS receiver that connects through the MC-35 to the camera's body. If you want to try making your own check:
  • EpicBlog's version for the D200.
  • There is a similar DIY project at DPreview.
  • And a third and fourth project ideas here and here.
  • Finally, this setup uses a GlobalSat BR-355.
But if you don't want to try your hand in none of the projects above, you can get a GPS receiver that connects to the MC-35 plug directly with the:

HoudahGeo announced, a geotagging software for MacOSX.

And a new site for geotagged panoramicas with Panoye (via AppScout).

Fat Tuesday: Sirf, MetaCarta, Nokia, Microsoft & IBM

Om thinks that the GPS party is over with Sirf announcing layoff's, not so fast I would say agreeing with a comment that points out that the Mobile TV business is at fault.

Do you care for it? Kids do, prob. But I agree that watch a movie while waiting for or in the subway is pretty handy.

Fat News Tuesday

Across the Blue

If you want to have a taste of phones available in U.K., check issue #70 of PDA Essentials (and its GPS Advisor supplement).

The accompanying CD includes GPS software for the PPC (and Symbian, Palm) from most of the packages covered here plus free GPS Utilities from Efficasoft.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Some Hills in the GPS News Flatland

Seero… geotagged video.
WikiNear, developed with Yahoo’s FireEagle gives you Wiki pages near your current location, via Mashable.
Lightpole via apb, mobile location search app.
British GPS Game via Psfk by Locomatrix.

And something I forgot to mention at the time it came up re the Amazon Kindle: it includes a CDMA chipset and you can use it to obtain its position. See Hacking the Kindle, via CNet.

Upcoming Events

MakerFair May 3rd, 4th
San Mateo Fairgrounds

Where 2.0
Burlingame, CA
May 12-14

WhereCamp 2008 May 17th / 18th
Googleplex Campus
Mountain View CA.

Playing with Cocoa?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Nokia: A company that knows where to go

And may take you for a ride with them. The new phones are including geotagging software (N78) and true + assisted GPS, plus the upload/sharing site Ovi acquired with Twango and to make it all possible providing their own A-GPS backbone implementation.

By providing its own infrastructure for location data, applications running on Nokia phones can obtain accurate location data anywhere in the World, even US without depending on the carriers benevolence to get data from an actual device.


Meanwhile, Motorola joins a technical forum to push the Enhanched GPS standard from Cambridge, UK based educational research & private groups collaboration effort.

Recent work with a research lab from Berkeley, CA GPS-equipped Nokia phones were used to identify traffic patterns using phones as sensors.

Standards Help

The problem about mobile implementation here is that US lacks and lags behind other countries and cultures that are currently leading the race.

Japan has gadgets that Americans can only dream about.

Europeans don't need to dream so much as that Nokia is feeding them with enough quality models. Like the N96 with the new Maps 2.0 for pedestrians and enough third party Symbian-developed software.

Even South America has more choices, models, services and opportunities than north-americans.

Location Gold

By holding to this piece of gold, the location data of a device; the carriers hold the whole location-based service industry from benefiting and expanding. It is crazyness.

Without enough critical mass to get location services started and having customers only from their own service to talk to, companies ahead of its times like Helio burn through more cash than this bubble is willing to spend.

Location data from devices (and application) should be made available for free. Be it CDMA or GSM.

What else out there?

But ARM-based Android phones will, right? Then you have all sort of arrangements for that piece of gold that location became.

Unless Microsoft decides to crash the party to ship their own Java-based models now that Danger's IP is theirs. But that doesn't seen to be the case.

Or maybe the new beautiful iPhone SDK generated apps will make everyone happy until the Elections.

Motorola may feed into the whole Linux Mobile movement and hopefully will.

And Nokia is also playing its card despite its reliance on Symbian. Trolltech wasn't bought for show only. Plus, Nokia thanks to this purchase becomes a member of LiMo, the Linux Mobile Foundation.

Back at the farm

Meanwhile, Nokia by offering the whole solution with real, useful devices and with infrastructure and software + map data to back it up will keep going with its dominance for some good years ahead.

At least, they (and you) know what business they are in.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

ModBook: Stylus driven Tablet Mac with GPS, Camera

The ModBook from Axiotron, uses Wacom-based touch screen technology. For about the price of a MacBookPro, cool gadget for geotagging (US & Canada currently).

gpsxd & gps2gex still make a good free choice on tracking apps.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Geotagging & Cameras

ATP releases a SD card writer with geotagging capabilities.

Or if you have enough cash, get the Nikon D300. [photo by Sam Obeid].

This Crave interview shows Canon’s viewpoint on GPS.

Nokia has a free Location Tagger for photo geocoding

GE will be launching a low-cost geotagging camera model sometime during Summer: the GE E1050g (via ThinkCamera)

Meanwhile from PMA, Geotate from Taiwan promises a cheap GPS camera, from CNET Asia.

To allow for these developments, British start-up Air working on breakthrough semiconductor technology lowering power consumption 100x for GPS chipsets in digital cameras (article).

Location: Privacy, Geotagging, Services

Want to send targeted location ads, alerts? Check for SquareLoop running on Sprint.

Would you take mobile ad’s?

AllPointsBlog talks about GPS-based Pizza Tracking through Papa Johns TrackMyPizza.

FindWhere buys Dutch-based Livecontacts (Navteq Global LBS Challenge finalist) customer base and platform. Available for Nokia phones, Symbian-based devices and uses GSM location.

Livecontacts allows you to pinpoint your location and find out what’s nearby.”

GPSed: “a real-time GPS trip tracking and social networking application for GPS, digital photography, and mobile users”.

For Nokia N95, 6110 Navigator, Blackberry 88×0 (Perl), 8310 (Curve) and portable Garmin, Magellans through GPX, PLT (?) and KML file formats.

Plus geocoding Windows-based utility Take’n'Pin to be uploaded to Flickr, Picasa and previewed on Google Maps.

Myrimis: “real-life location based social network” using Nanonavi software from Nanomatic (too many brands, confusing story).

SunsetGPSLogger from Vodaphone R&D: "Requires Windows Mobile 5/6-based Smartphone/Pocket PC and any Bluetooth/built-in GPS receiver, .NET Compact Framework 2.0 runtime and above."

E911 Privacy Concerns: CNet touches the subject in a clear and precise way. It is a legal matter now.