"iphone app" entries

Burning Man Gets an API (and a Whole Lot More)

An API! SMS! Foursquare! An iPhone app! They are all coming to Burning Man this year. Will the festival be the same?
The annual tech-art festival in the Nevada desert, starts on Sunday. Normally the attendees leave their phones and laptop behind, but this year that may not be the case. As I ride from Seattle to Black Rock City, NV I am getting SMS from friends on the playa. In anticipation of wifi and possible data connections Foursquare has rolled out Black Rock City as a city (@sfslim is already the Mayor of The Man). If AT&T’s service doesn’t work then attendees may be able to take advantage of OpenBTS’s local SMS project. Most of the attendees aren’t there, but the tech is already making its presence known.

Touch Traveler: London, Paris and only an iPod Touch

Recently, I spent two weeks vacationing in London and Paris with only an iPod Touch for communications and connectivity. Mind you, I am not suggesting that this was a wise thing to do, but it's what I did, and this post captures the good, bad and ugly of the experience. First off, the revelation (for me) was how much the Google Mobile Maps App on iPod Touch completely changes the equation when traveling. Moreover, Maps allows you to visually navigate in Real-Time (very different from the experience on my Blackberry), all the while push-pinning favorite destinations, and determining routes in just a few clicks. It is the consummate reality augmentation application for travel, a sort of "magic compass."

Four short links: 18 August 2009

Four short links: 18 August 2009

iPhone App Backstory, Cookie Resurrection, The Entrepreneuralism Lickmus test, and An Interesting Database

  1. The Making of the NPR News iPhone App — interesting behind-the-scenes look, with sketches and all. Station streams, however, presented a larger challenge. To begin with, NPR didn’t have direct stream links for any of its stations, so we built a Web spider that identified and captured more than 300 iPhone-compatible station streams. After that first pass, we worked with our station representatives to manually test each stream. In the process they found enough new streams to double our database. All of these streams are delivered to the app from NPR’s Station Finder API. (via mattb on Twitter)
  2. You Deleted Your Cookies? Think Again (Wired) — Flash keeps its own cookies, which are harder to delete. Several services even use the surreptitious data storage to reinstate traditional cookies that a user deleted, which is called ‘re-spawning’ in homage to video games where zombies come back to life even after being “killed,” the report found. So even if a user gets rid of a website’s tracking cookie, that cookie’s unique ID will be assigned back to a new cookie again using the Flash data as the “backup.” (via Simon Willison)
  3. Would You Lick It? (Rowan Simpson) — clever example of what it takes to be an entrepreneur.
  4. FluidDB — a shared “in the cloud” database built around tags: an object is a container for a set of tags which are name:value pairs, tag names have simple namespaces (e.g., “gnat/review” is the “review” tag in my namespace), all objects are world readable and writable but there are ACLs for tags, values can be any type (string, number, URL, Excel spreadsheet), and there’s a simple query language. I’m curious to see what applications spring up around shared data. They’re in limited alpha, controlling the # of users, so register now to play before everyone else.
Four short links: 14 August 2009

Four short links: 14 August 2009

EPub FTW, SQL Horror, Computer Vision Explained, and A Massive Dump of Twitter Stats

  1. Page2Pub — harvest wiki content and turn it into EPub and PDF. See also Sony dropping its proprietary format and moving to EPub. Open standards rock. (via oreillylabs on Twitter)
  2. SQL Pie Chart — an ASCII pie chart, drawn by SQL code. Horrifying and yet inspiring. Compare to PostgreSQL code to produce ASCII Mandelbrot set. (via jdub on Twitter and Simon Willison)
  3. How SudokuGrab Works — the computer vision techniques behind an iPhone app that solves Sudoku puzzles that you take a photo of. Well explained! These CV techniques are an essential part of the sensor web. (via blackbeltjones on Delicious)
  4. Twitter by the Numbers — massive dump of charts and stats on Twitter. I love that there’s a section devoted to social media marketers, the Internet’s head lice. (via Kevin Marks on Twitter)

Playnice: The Unofficial Latitude for the iPhone

Last week Google launched Latitude for the iPhone as a web app. They were held back from releasing a native app by Apple’s overbearing application approval process. However, this doesn’t matter that much as all location apps are currently hamstrung by Apple’s lack of background location updates. Luckily for iPhone customers there are developers out there trying to solve this problem.

Four short links: 30 July 2009

Four short links: 30 July 2009

Brooklyn Museum, Early Release, Toy Chest, Open Science

  1. iPhone App v1.3 Released — revealing glimpse into how third-party apps (such as this iPhone app, built on the Brooklyn Museum’s API) reflect on the institution providing the API. Brooklyn Museum has dealt with this sensitively and intelligently, a model to all. As always, I want to marry the Brooklyn Museum and raise a posse of online apps.
  2. Embrace the Chaos — I can never be told “release early, release often” enough. When to release? As soon as you’ve got something that’ll be useful to other people.
  3. Toy Chest“Toy Chest” collects online or downloadable software tools/thinking toys that humanities students and others without programming skills (but with basic computer and Internet literacy) can use to create interesting projects. (via Simon Willison)
  4. What, Exactly, is Open Science?In general, we’re moving towards an era of greater transparency in all of these topics (methodology, data, communication, and collaboration). The problems we face in gaining widespread support for Open Science are really about incentives and sustainability. How can we design or modify the scientific reward systems to make these four activities the natural state of affairs for scientists? Right now, there are some clear disincentives to participating in these activities. (via Glyn Moody)
Four short links: 17 July 2009

Four short links: 17 July 2009

  1. NodeXL: Network Overview, Discovery and Exploration in Excel — Excel plugin for analysing graph data within Excel. Visualization and data wizardry come to the corporates who live in Excel.
  2. Managing the Environmental Crisisa comment by Edwin Winge: “Public involvement does offer long-range benefits, the most pragmatic of which is that it results in better decisions. Park Service managers have discovered through experience that when they are willing to modify their professional judgements by considering ideas and opinions (values) of concerned citizens, the final decision that results is not only more acceptable to the public, it is also more satisfying to the Service.” A banner quote for Gov 2.0, from the father of O’Reilly’s Sara Winge. (via timoreilly on Twitter)
  3. Dopplr Social Atlas for iPhone — an iPhone app that gives you the recommendations by Dopplr users for places to eat, things to do, places to stay around the world.
  4. Microformats Dev Camp — July 25-6 (weekend following OSCON), in San Francisco at the Automattic offices. (via Tantek)

The Promise and Peril of MobileMe

Anyone tried MobileMe? Last night, I signed up for the free trial, got it syncing between my laptop and iPhone, and was incredibly impressed by how well and quickly it worked. An appointment added on one nearly instantly showed up on the other — so much better than having to fire up iTunes to have my schedule in sync. The power of the cloud! Or whatever. You know, useful.

Four short links: 6 July 2009

Four short links: 6 July 2009

iPhone Maps, Tooth Milling, Scratch Updated, Newspapers for All

  1. Offline Mapping App for iPhone — carry Open Street Maps maps with you even when you’re not in 3G/wifi range. (via Elisabeth)
  2. My dentist used an in-office CAD & CNC mill to produce a new tooth for me today (Nat Friedman) — hello, future!
  3. New version of Scratch released — Scratch is an excellent way to teach kids how to program (I’ve had success with lots of 7 and 8 year olds). The new version includes keyboard entry, webcams, and support for Lego WeDo. The user interface has also been changed to work on a Netbook’s 800×600 screen. Kudos to the Scratch team! (via scratchteam on Twitter)
  4. Newspaper Club – a Work in Progress — blog for the Newspaper Club project. “We’re building a service to help people make their own newspapers. This is the blog where we’re alarmingly honest about where it’s all going wrong.” I can’t figure out whether this is a brilliant decentralisation move that will disrupt the newspaper industry, or a paper form of steampunk. (via Simon Willison)

The Next Wave of iPhone Apps

This is the biggest week of the year for iPhone users, as Apple released iPhone OS 3.0 on Wednesday and will be launching the new iPhone 3GS on Friday. The iPhone OS 3.0 Software Update provides a significant number of enhancements to the operating system including spotlight search, cut, copy, & paste, voice memos, support for landscape keyboard usage in Mail, Messages, Notes, and Safari, MMS and tethering for carriers that support these features (AT&T late summer for MMS, tethering TBD), and dozens of other improvements.