A Year of Geo-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.

My iPhoto Map

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.

3

Apple Keeps Ignoring the iPhone’s Bluetooth

Jake Jitchener (aka Kitch) made a twitter post tonight that reminded me of an issue that I brought up back in October of 2007. Apple’s iPhone does nothing to interact with Mac computers through Bluetooth, and has still issued no updates to fix the issue.

I’m not talking about new features that would take time to code, I’m talking about features that already exist in the Mac OS, and work very well with other phones. Address Book on the Mac already has the ability to pair up with a Bluetooth phone to place calls and show CallerID information on-screen. This doesn’t work with the iPhone though, it lacks the required profiles. I’m sure that these profiles could be added with a software update, but I can’t figure out why they weren’t there to begin with. Apple is normally so good at selling a whole solution of products that work together seamlessly, but the iPhone seems to work outside of this philosophy. (For instance, we still can’t sync Notes or To Do’s?) I hope Apple gets its act together with the 2.0 firmware update.

You can buy software (BluePhoneElite 2 by Mira Software) to at least use your Mac as a headset for your iPhone, very handy if you keep your phone docked at your desk. BPE2 is $25.

Term Abuse: Brick

I grabbed an iPhone, and I’ve got a few unofficial third-party apps installed on it, so I’ve been watching the news surrounding the 1.1.1 firmware update to see how things are working out for hacked iPhones.

In the last few days there has been a HUGE issue of misinformation about the term Brick. It seems like most of the iPhone community is completely abusing the term, using it to describe any issue that the phone may have.

I read one poster stating that he had tried a few third party apps, and that they had “bricked” his phone. He had to do a restore from iTunes to get the phone working again. Technically, if all he had to do was restore the phone, that’s not a brick… that’s a crash, a corruption, a bug, whatever, but it is not a brick.

A brick is a device that has malfunctioned to the point that it cannot be recovered. Ever. Toss it in the recycle bin or use it to hold down a stack of papers, because it’s not going to be useful for anything else.

So why is this an issue? Because it’s like crying wolf. If someone ACTUALLY gets a bricked device, how can we tell the difference between someone who forgot to put the SIM card in their phone? When both situations are being called a “bricked” phone, it’s very hard to get a clear sense of what’s going on. So many people are stating that the 1.1.1 update has “bricked” their phone, but that Apple can restore it if you get lucky. Again, this isn’t a brick, and there are obviously methods of recovering the device.

If you want to know what a Brick really is, read the psp-hacks.com forums for a while. There is plenty of language there that can give you the true context of a brick.

/rant

1

Changes

I’d really like to redesign my whole web presence. Right now all of my different ventures, the blog, my portfolios, and several other projects, are all completely disjointed. I think that’s just an effect of how I have developed them, independently as my experience and curiosity dictated.

I’m constantly taking mental notes as I browse the web. There are a lot of approaches that work very well, and of course, a ton of approaches that completely fail. I need to spend some time, sit down, and write out what I need. I feel like some sort of content management system will make things easier. I’m not quite sure how you get a design to look seamless across different software packages like WordPress, Gallery, and Joomla, but I’m sure it’s possible.

Anyway, this is more of a rant than anything… a heads up to anyone who may keep an eye on this space. I hope to wrap it all into one coherent online identity. Stay tuned for a lot of development.