Goggles with built-in GPS

February 17, 2010

With the Winter Olympics underway, I thought I would post something fitting. Whether you’re into snowboarding or not, these goggles are pretty cool. The head mounted display gives you a load of information and will tell you how to get to the nearest bar (hopefully). Check them out here

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@handypearce


Don’t text and drive

December 24, 2008

So I talked about how they can stop you from talking on the phone while driving here.

Soon they will be able to stop you from texting as well.

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A $10 application called Textecution for Google’s Android mobile platform that will sit in the background and use the phone’s GPS system to detect whenever the phone is moving faster than 10 MPH, at which time the app will deactivate the phone’s SMS capabilities.

Once the phone comes to a standstill (say, at a stop light) the driver will be allowed to text again within a few seconds.

The application has been designed primarily for adults looking to keep their teens in check.

When parents install Textecution on their child’s Android phone, they are asked for an ‘admin phone number’, which will be contacted if the child ever needs to temporarily deactivate the app (like if they’re on a train or in the passenger seat). To grant the exception, the parent simply sends an SMS message saying “Allow”.

May our streets be safer from now on.


Get your stolen Laptop back

December 3, 2008

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Laptop Cop, which lets you remotely control your computer and delete files if it is stolen, now has a geo-location feature based on WiFi-hotspot triangulation technology from Skyhook Wireless. It is the same technology that is used in the iPhone (along with GPS and cell-tower triangulation) to determine your location for geo-aware apps. Now you can tell the cops exactly what door to knock on.

check it out here.

Unfortunately it isn’t free. so if you just want to know where your laptop is you can download loki (here).


OpenStreetMap – people working together in harmony

November 29, 2008

It started four years ago in the UK as a project to create a free and editable world map. What began as a few geogeeks wandering the streets with their GPS’s has turned into a global movement with over 75,000 registered contributors.

http://www.openstreetmap.org/

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check out the animated gif on how it developed over the past 2 years here

I find it impressive how committed some people are:

Most impressive has been the takeup in Germany: 300 volunteers mapped 99.8% of Hamburg (German), and there is now a German-language OpenStreetMap book. (I am sure it will be 100% soon – they are german 🙂 )

There are other things too – like a OpenCycleMap which takes the base OSM data and renders it slightly differently, giving emphasis to features relevant to cyclists.

As a result in many parts of the developing world OSM is now the most comprehensive online mapping available, for example see this comparison of online maps of Baghdad.

There are more examples on how OSM is better than the others:

Mashad in Iran (OSM, Google)
Kinshasa in the Dem. Rep. of Congo (OSM, Google)

I find it very interesting and I am glad there are so many people out there that spend their free time making our lifes easier.

Update – great implementation of this using Silverlight thanks to: http://deepearth.soulsolutions.com.au/
(Credit : http://twitter.com/soulsolutions )


Nokia 5800 Music Xpress first thoughts Vs iPhone

October 7, 2008

I held off buying an iPhone 3G, partly because I really like my N95 but mainly because the iPhone lacked a few features I use like video calling, MMS etc. The 5800 MusicXpress is the latest challenger so here’s the first look:

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What’s good about the Nokia 5800?
– GPS, Bluetooth 2.0
– Flash 9 built in to web browsing (yeahhhhh!)
– Video Calling, VGA res 30fps
– 640×360 screen
– MMS
– TV out
– 3.2 Mp camera with dual flash Carl Zeiss
– Touch screen (but does not look as good as iPhone
– Accelerometer (for switching landscape / portrait modes)
– Weight (109g)
– Price (est 279 Euros)
– All you can eat music downloads coming soon (here)

What’s Bad
– Can’t see any multi-touch in use.
– Nokia just don’t get UI as well as ‘others’ do. It’s still clunky.
– No transitions (moving between any content causes page refresh).
– Fonts + Menus still too big! (This phone has great resolution but Nokia just made everything bigger Argh! Nokia… please – when browsing contacts some of us want the option to not have to scroll through 500 pages of contacts when we could simply see more on one page).

Accelerometer Game on the Nokia 5800:

Verdict:
Q: Should I buy a Nokia 5800 instead of an iPhone 3G?
A: If you want heaps of features then it’s a YES. If you are obsessed with having an eye-candy interface then it’s a NO.


City Sense – social media, GPS enabled phone app.

October 2, 2008

LBS (Location Based Services) are relatively untapped at the moment but nice to see some interesting social LBS apps appearing. CitySense (here) have an app showing you where to go based on density of activity in San Francisco. It’s not the first, there have been a few – loopt.com have been offering social GPS tools for a while and even Optus had their GPS friend finder app (which unfortunately was a rip off charging >50c to show you the location of a mate).

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Now that data plans are looking healthier and there are more phones with GPS, all we really need is better batteries – we all know GPS sucks the juice big time making these apps on your phone a little painful to have running. Alternatively it would be easier for us all if telcos could offer triangulated GPRS data to third parties. Yes, I know… privacy issues but nothing that couldn’t be overcome through permission based apps. IMO proprietary systems like CitySense will probably see limited success until the telcos finally switch onto the need and wide ranging consumer potential for LBS.

Credit to Jon Moss (Appleofmyi) for his post (here) on Citysense. Thanks Jon!