Lately I’ve been working on making my websites more accessible for advanced mobile devices. I started with an iPhone theme for my blog, then got my industrial design portfolio mobile. Last weekend I sat down and tried to tie it all together.
Now my main www.ocell.net landing page is very mobile friendly thanks to the iWebKit development package. This links to my design and photography portfolios which are mobile thanks to iShowPro. I used to use iWPhone to format my WordPress blog (what you’re reading now) for the iPhone, but when I realized it wasn’t testing for the Palm Pre and Android browser user agents I went out in search of an alternative. Now I am finally on the WPtouch bandwagon, and I have to say, I’m extremely impressed. In fact, the WPtouch version of this blog has more functionality than the desktop version… something I hope to address in the future.
Also, thanks to @vara411 for confirming that the mobile version of www.ocell.net does load properly on a Palm Pre. The phone call link even launches the Pre’s phone app. You have to love when standards are honored across platforms.
Part of my focus on getting the loose ends tied on my mobile interface is because of the 2009 IDSA National Conference in Miami next week. I’m hoping that having a viable mobile site will give people an easy way to see my work and interests from their mobile devices, on location.
For about a year, my iPhone has been automatically geo-tagging my camera phone snapshots, and I’ve hardly been thinking about the fact that it’s happening. Tonight this tweet from @darrellwhitelaw inspired me to open up iPhoto and take a look at the map that represents my cellphone photos from the last year. I played with the photo mapping of iPhoto 09 a bit when it first came out, but I hadn’t looked at it since. I have to say, it’s pretty rewarding to see a ton of pins spread out around the country. I certainly haven’t traveled much, but this map presents three locations I’ve lived in the last year. It’s so easy to drill into an area and view all of the photos associated with it.
I’ve been wondering why all consumer cameras don’t have a GPS chip integrated. The chip could serve to geo-tag photos with coordinates that could be deciphered by desktop software and image hosting sites like Flickr, something that could be done after the fact and doesn’t require an active data connection on the camera itself. Secondly, having GPS on a camera would provide a perfectly accurate time and date stamp for every picture taken, even taking time-zone changes into account. Camera manufacturers: please feel free to steal this idea right away and do it. I know it’s not a new idea, but I don’t understand why it’s not being done. Modern GPS chipsets are extremely low power, fast to acquire positioning from a cold start as long as you haven’t moved too far from the last acquisition, and are small enough to fit in modern cellphones so a point and shoot camera would be trivial. The Nikon P6000 advanced point and shoot did this a year ago, so I really hope it’s a feature that saturates the market soon.
Viewing all of my iPhone photos tagged on a map, with no effort required on my part, was so rewarding. I just hope I can have the same experience with all of my photos in the near future.
I don’t have a real solid task management system in place right now, but I’m still a big fan of Remember the Milk (RTM) and still use it pretty frequently. The RTM iPhone/Touch app [iTunes Link] recently got an update that added push notifications, so now you can have task reminders sent directly to your mobile device. For me, this is killer. You could have RTM remind you of things through e-mail before, but with push notifications your todo reminders can live in their own space without invading your e-mail inbox. Notice that I can now select my iPhone as my notification destination in the RTM Reminders settings.
Thanks for the heads up from zzztimbo on Twitter, who linked to this story at TechCrunch. The first useful application of push notifications in an iPhone app hit the store today, as AIM with push is now live. I haven’t messed with it much, but I think a lot of people have been waiting for this. Hit the update link in the App Store to grab it, or click here to install it for the first time [iTunes link].
I’m especially happy to see that the notification sound can be disabled. I hate that patented AIM Soundâ„¢.
So the Palm Pre came out today, and I’m mainly jealous of one feature on the handset… Synergy. This is the system that takes in contact information from several sources (Google, Facebook, etc.) and merges it all into one comprehensive address book. The iPhone doesn’t handle contact information quite as gracefully, but today I set out to give myself some illusion of the functionality by finding a way to easily import Facebook profile pictures into my Address Book.
A quick Google search later I came across this DownloadSquad article pointing to the free application AddressBookSync. As DownloadSquad notes, there used to be an app called Facebook Sync that would import all information from Facebook contacts into the OS X Address Book, but it was pulled when Facebook cited Terms of Service violations. AddressBookSync doesn’t pull in much contact information, but it will import profile pictures, birthdays, and location from Facebook into matching names in your Address Book.
I installed the app and ran it and quickly synced 71 photos, birthdays, and locations to my Address Book, and subsequently, to my iPhone. I really love having images that my contacts personally picked to represent themselves pop up when I get a phone call from them. I hope that some day this type of functionality will be an over the air sync option inside of the iPhone itself. Until then, AddressBookSync is a fast manual way to make sure that Palm Pre users aren’t having ALL the fun.