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.

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