Dec 02 2008

Location Based Services in Ireland

Category: Location Based ServicesTeknovis @ 6:22 pm

I spent several years (maybe even too many) working in the area of Location Based Services (LBSs). Indeed, I first started working in this area before it become the next “killer application” area! I spent my time working on both the technical enablers of LBSs, and the commercial groundwork for a start-up company. Happy memories ;)

This morning I read an article titled Location, location, location – geo-commerce is here and now. The article starts with the usual scenario describing how LBSs will revolutionise our lives by changing the way we make every decision. It also claims that now is the right time for LBSs to make an impact. Different people have been saying this for years now, so I suppose that somebody might be correct some day! Maybe I am just to cynical!

The article focuses on two Irish companies that are currently developing LBSs for mass market consumption based on mobile phone and PDA technology:

  • ICAP Media has developed an “opt-in mobile-phone marketing platform” that supplies the user with discounts that can be redeemed in nearby businesses. Unfortunately, this just sounds like location aware spam to me :(
  • Tagggit has developed a virtual tagging system that allows users to leave tags in specific locations. These tags can then be read by the same user at a later stage, or shared with other users who are in the same location. This seems like a commercial application of the Stick-e Note Architecture developed by University of Kent researchers in 1997!

There are many other companies also developing LBSs in Ireland.

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Nov 28 2008

The Technology behind Barack Obama

Category: Internet,SecurityTeknovis @ 2:49 pm

The Register describes some security vulnerabilities in two of Barack Obama’s websites in Congratulations, Barack – Now fix your websites. The most significant security issue that the article highlights is the fact that the administration pages load the Google Analytics JavaScrip file urchin.js. from the Google website. In theory, this means that Google can use this JavaScript file to do almost anything that they want with Barack’s websites. Not a good situation :(

Apparently, many readers did not share the author’s view on this security issue. So the author wrote a follow-up article that provides more details, and opinions of experts from OWASP, in Google Analytics – Yes, it is a security risk.

Independently, it seems that Barack is currently in negotiations in order to continue using his PDA! Apparently, communications devices are banned in the White House, and there are accountability and traceability issues associated with their use! That is an inconvenience! More details about this in Obama tries to stay connected.

Finally, I have heard that a considerable number of websites have appeared that are designed to help the Obama family choose what type of puppy they will get :) Gosh, it must be nice to have enough time to be able to create websites like this!

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Nov 17 2008

HTC Max

Category: Mobile ComputingTeknovis @ 11:49 pm

HTC has unveiled its latest PDA – the HTC Max. Most of the features are similar to its latest PDAs, but the HTC Max has one significant additional feature – it supports WiMax!

I have heard lots about the data capabilities of WiMax, but I have not heard of any details of any live networks. I did hear that the telcos are quite concerned about WiMax, and the “over-the-top” possibilities it offers to users.

The full details of the HTC Max are described in HTC unwraps ‘world’s first’ WiMax, Wi-Fi phone in Russia.

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Nov 14 2008

Notebook to HTC P3600

Category: Windows MobileTeknovis @ 11:19 am

I have always been a very organised person for most aspects of my life, regardless of whether these aspects are real-world or digital. Unfortunately, I am also quite a forgetful person :( So notebooks and diaries were always a big part of my life! These ingenious tools enabled me to know where I was supposed to be, when I was supposed to be there, and what I was supposed to be doing there!

So it made perfect sense for me to buy a PDA when they first became available. That was so long ago that I cannot even remember what make and model it was! I am probably one of the few people who had a PDA before I had a mobile phone! Since then I have had several, but I usually use each one for a few years. I normally wait until there is a significant technological advantage to me in having a new one. So the technological advantages that have caused me to upgrade to date are:

  • The introduction of a colour screen (even if it was only 256 colours!)
  • The ability to use the PDA as a mobile phone (and carry one less device)
  • The ability to use WiFi (I cannot live without it now!)

Finally, I suspect the next technological advantage that will cause me to upgrade will be a touch-screen, mainly because it will only require one of my hands. The fact that they look so slick is an added bonus :)

So what do I currently use? A black HTC P3600 (otherwise known as the Trinity) running Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0. HTC actually make a lot of the branded PDAs for other well known manufacturers. This is what it looks like:

HTC P3600

HTC P3600

I am not going to write a full review here, because there are already plenty of reviews online. Also, I do not think that it is still available to buy! Instead, what I will do is write about the features that I use most often, the useful applications that I have installed, and the bugs I have found in it that are not well documented anywhere else on the Internet!

Perhaps the single questions that I am asked most frequently about it is “Should I get one?“. My answer to this is always “Yes, if you are the sort of person that currently makes lists on paper and keeps a diary“.

In general, mobile phones and PDAs are devices that I have a strong personal interest in, and I have worked with them in the past in a professional capacity. So I expect to write about them a lot on this blog!

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Oct 23 2008

3D Desktop by BumpTop

Category: SoftwareTeknovis @ 10:38 pm

I came across this very interesting 3D desktop demonstration today by a company called BumpTop. You can also watch one of BumpTop’s creators demonstrate BumpTop at TED 2007. (Indeed, the TED website contains many interesting videos!)

Although I really like the look of BumpTop, and I imagine that it is even more impressive in reality, I am not sure how useful it is for organising files. I am saying this from the perspective of somebody who is ultra organised! My computer desktop only ever contains three application shortcuts, and I am really good at using file structures! Even my real desk must be clear before I leave it!

I was thinking about applications for BumpTop on tablet PCs and PDAs, but again I cannot see any benefit to me.

I think the application of BumpTop that would most appeal to me is inside the application! For example, I enjoy digital photography, and many times I will have lots of images from a single shoot simultaneously. These photos will all be stored in the same directory because I use a directory per shoot. However, when I am editing them I often create temporary shoot-specific groupings.

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