Category Archives: Tools

Geocaching App

“Geocaching is a global treasure hunting game where participants locate hidden containers, called geocaches, hidden outdoors and then share their experiences online”


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Yet another iPhone killer app

Supposedly the day iTunes died (yeah how many times have we heard that one).

Interesting though, seems Spotify are getting serious about iPhone app development.

But alas like all things it’s not available in New Zealand, yet. As the song goes, ‘one day we’ll know’…

Nice web site thought.

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iPhone Killer?

Not being any friend or student of the sciences, I have devised a couple of nice inventions, which I really should have put my name to. The first, rather whimsically was coloured swimming pool water, way back in 1985. Quite possibly around before that, but what kid couldn’t resist jumping into a slime or lime coloured swimming pool. I soon gave up on that one, more a case of apathy than anything else.

The other leads us nicely into the next iPhone ‘killer’. As I said, knowing next to nothing about science, more specifically physics and chemistry, but having a pet loath of power cords, I always (from about 1997) thought it would rather wonderful if the device which had just run out on you could be charged by just being in the vicinity of a power source. Most people I mentioned this too came up with the line similar to “this is why you’ll never win the Nobel Prize for Physics, you need power cords”. This idea has rattled around in my brain for years. Sure devices which wern’t solid state had some form of motion charging or powering, but for devices such as a walkman (originally) and iPod or iPhone latterly, this seemed like science fiction, I mean apart from static electricity and lightning, power doesn’t jump (does it?), and not wanting to have mini lightning bolts flying about my living room for the sake of not wanting power cords about the place, I soon laid this idea to rest.

Well long story short, this is how I introduce the next iPhone killer, my long lost invention, wireless charging!!! Bloody brilliant, why didn’t I think about that, hang on I did….

Since day one of the introduction of the iPhone people have been looking for the ‘killer’ replacement, the phone that the more traditional cell phone manufactures will come up with that will conquer the iPhone.

Since the debut of the iPhone, I’ve maintained that it’s not the iPhone itself which is so revolutionary (although hard to argue it isn’t), rather the responses to the iPhone’s revolution in cellular technology, which will revolutionise the portable media/cellular device market.

Not being of Stephen Fry’s ilk or wealth, I don’t and can’t afford to own dozens of iPhones and other cellular devices, so I’m not really in the market at looking what the traditional cell phone manufacturers are producing. That is until I read the specs of the latest offering of possibly the most punished of all ‘smart phone’ companies, Palm. The Palm Pre, is a nice looking device, somewhat more of a chubby cousin to the iPhone. Similar GUI and size for that matter, seems some people are impressed with the demonstration or hands on playing with the Palm Pre.

However for me, to see that the good folk at Palm had trawled through my thoughts in the middle of the night (either that or my revolutionary invention was to one day be discovered. The Palm Pre has, well what do you know he’s getting to the point, wireless charging. Sure you still need to lay the phone down on it’s charging station, and like the cooking pots, the induction process charges the phone. Not quite charging from a long distance, and still not setting ourselves free from the shackles of charging devices, this is a start, and a nice response to the iPhone.

I like the design, but what is the software running it like? And I still don’t get the need for a pull out qwerty keyboard, the touchscreen version is just awesome on the iPhone.

So glad to see someone has finally taken my ideas and run with it. Now if I could only get someone to listen to my word association football (see Monty Python) MP3 player….

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Google Street View launches in NZ

If that’s not your wife you are kissing in Google Street View, you have nothing worry about.

Google Street View is here, and I love it. I love it for the fact that it’s also available on the iPhone for the first time too, and it’s even nicer on the iPhone than it is on the big screen – believe me it is.

I loved the irony of the woman on TV3 news today moaning that her privacy had been invaded. Didi anyone else notice the irony of her going on National TV to tell us that’s her son on the front step of her house and that she doesn’t like it. My god woman, you’ve just told the whole country about it, till then only you and your family were ever likely to know or care about it.

I love google street view for several reasons;

1) I’m a geography and technology buff. Any chance to give people a greater understanding of their surroundings through the use of technology is a plus for me.
2) I love reliving past holidays, it’s like a panoramic image of holiday snaps I didn’t take or couldn’t because of the flat battery in the camera, or even checking up on places I used to live.

I love Google Street view for warning me about the quick sand on the Champs Elysées, i found this gem on my iPhone while waiting for the dentists, and I thought I had problems.

quick sand Paris

One of the best free toys to waste the hours away waiting for that connecting flight- why not check out if your hotel actually has that beach view they promised over the internet.

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iPhone 2.2 Software Update

Apple pulled a swift one on us and has released version 2.2 of the iPhone software.

Some cool things (some things still missing – cut and paste), possibly the biggest is google street view. Yes I know it’s not available in New Zealand yet, and only people doing things wrong actually need to worry about it (I mean if that’s not your wife you are kissing, ain’t my problem buddie), but I can’t wait for it to get here. The google camera car has been spotted for quite a while cruising around New Zealand, and blow me down with a feather, one of the first cities in NZ to get street-viewed is going to be Dunedin, classic.

To see what a google car and all that equipment looks like, check this out, and how web 1.0 is the bucket on the top of the camera pole.

Anyway there’s a whole heap of other features in the 2.2 software update:

Enhancements to Maps
– Google Street View
– public transit and walking diretions
– display address of dropped pins
– share location via email
Enhancements to Mail
– resolved isolated issues with scheduled fetching of email
– improved formatting of wide HTML email
Improved stability and performance of Safari
Podcasts are now available for download in iTunes application (over Wi-Fi and cellular)
Decrease in call set-up failures and call drops
Improved sound quality of visual voicemail messages
Pressing the Home button from any Home screen takes you to the first Home screen
Preferences to turn on/off auto-correction in Keyboard settings

Of course Macrounmors are all over this, with links about upgrades etc.


Besides, Google St View is fun if not for anything else, going back to holiday spots and getting a ‘live’ view. I ‘walked’ from our Hollywood hotel to the Hollywood Bowl where I saw The Who play, it all came flooding back, brilliant.

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How we view the world

Google have announced that their vastly popular Earth visualisation tool for the web is now available for the iPhone. Anther report here from CNet, which provides a full review.

Features include;
• Tilt your iPhone to adjust your view to see mountainous terrain
• View the Panoramio layer and browse the millions of geo-located photos from around the world
• View geo-located Wikipedia articles
• Use the ‘Location’ feature to fly to your current location
• Search for cities, places and business around the globe with Google Local Search

This is big for me for several reasons.

Firstly my life and understanding of life is all about connections, and the increasingly hypermediated existence that I live. I love being able to call information up when and where I need it. Don’t laugh, but the free wikipedia app is one of the most used on my iPhone – how else can you settle an argument that Burkina Faso is in fact landlocked and gained independence from France in 1960. Also as a person who travels a lot and is a dedicated geography freak, the more tools that enhance our understanding of the environment the better I say.

Played with if for a few minutes now, and as I suspected, the faster connection the better, so I’m sticking to my home wi-fi at the moment.

I love being able to tilt the phone to get the oblique view of the earth, it feels more real than the action of clicking a button on the desktop version. If anything it’s a little too sensitive to movement.

So along with the latest development of the iPhone 2.2 Firmware Beta 2 which has fully enabled Google Street View, wiki and google earth, so many of my geographical craves are being satisfied.

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so what can the iPhone teach desktop computers

For a start, how boring is it to scroll back up to the top of the page. I have this incredible desire to double tap the top of the page to get back to the top (you know the navigation and links etc).

There are many things that people learned from HCI, user interfaces and GUI, all from the traditional laptop/desktop OS method of doing things. But this is now changing and the GUI and HCI that is created by mobility of technology and ideas, has created a whole new way to interact with our technology and information.

More to come, and I’d love to hear your thoughts about what the iPhone is now teaching us about technology and information.

So number 1 for me is;

  • Double tapping top of screen to get back to top of long web page (or desktop window for that matter, and forget keyboard strokes, I want mouse interaction baby).
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