Friday, July 24, 2009

Google Latitude on iPhone

I "installed" the Google Latitude web app on my iPhone, and it works pretty well. In fact, I don't see any major downsides to it not being a native application. Apple limits the capabilities of native applications so much, that this app can do almost everything that a native app can do.

I would love to see some features added to Google Latitude and their mobile application. I think that with these minor additions, it could compete with services like Loopt.

  • Add the ability to update "status" from the mobile application.

  • Enable export into other social networks like FriendFeed and Facebook


Google's Latitude has one things that the other location based social networks don't have. With other social networks, the user has to maintain a completely separate friends list. Since Google Latitude uses your Google Contacts you don't have to do this separate maintenance.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Evernote iPhone app when offline

I while on this flight, I wanted to review some documentation. Wanted to write some notes, so I thought that I could use the Evernote iPhone application. I figured that the next time that launched the app when my iPhone has a network connection, the note would be synchronized to the Evernote server, and the. I could access that note on any of my PCs.

Unfortunately, the Evernote application will not let you do that. Even though you can access already created notes when you are offline, you can't create or edit them.

I would like for this to be fixed. Other applications do not have this problem. For example, Remember The Milk let's you create, delete and edit tasks offline. The Wordpress application lets you write new posts and pages while offline ( I am doing that now). That seems like the right model as the apps are still functional when offline.

Boxcar & WHSTweet

I don't use Twitter as an immediate type of communication. I generally don't receive direct messages from people that I know, as I know that other people do. I still see Twitter as a passive communication medium.

Boxcar is an iPhone application that enables Apple's push notifications to be sent when your Twitter account receives a direct message or a reply. At first I didn't see that this would be useful for me. But then I remembered that I have installed WHSTweet on the two Windows Home Servers that I maintain. This add-in enables the server to send Twitter messages when the server has an error or warning.

Using Boxcar with WHSTweet is a perfect combination. Now my phone will let me know as soon as my server has a problem. There is less of a chance that I will miss the tweet from the server now.

Tripit for iPhone

I have used tripit for a while.  I don't travel that much, but when I do tripit makes it very easy to get an consistent itinerary for your trips. For example, if you make reservations for air and hotel at separate times, all you have to do is forward each individual itinerary to tripit and it will generate a "trip" with all of your information. In addition to that, tripit makes it very easy to share your itinerary.

Normally, you just use their web interface to access their site, and they even have a mobile version that looks good on the iPhone. But that web site doesn't help you if you don't have network access.

I just saw that they have an iPhone application that syncs with their site to get the list of current or upcoming trips.  I downloaded it and it works great. I can access my itinerary even with out network access (for example now I am flying somewhere above Kansas.). This is great if you need to know when your connecting flight departs.

I also like the fact that they use OAuth for authentication. I could easily revoke access to this app if I ever lost my phone.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Comcast iPhone application

Comcast just came out with an iPhone application[iTunes link].  This application lets you check your comcast.net email, sync your comcast address book with your iPhone's.  The one feature that I am really interested in is to be able to listen to the voicemail from our comcast phone.

This adds one feature that I enjoyed with Vonage.  With Vonage you could configure the voicemail system to email the voicemail audio file to an email address.  This made it very easy to listen to voicemail messages, while not at home.  This iPhone application lets you listen to voicemails.

One feature that I would love to see is this application use Apple's push notification to deliver notifications of new voicemails.

[via TUAW]

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Media Center Extenders?

Now that it seems that support for Media Center Extenders is wanning, I need to figure out what I want to do about our setup.  I have been pretty happy with Media Center Extenders for thing that are recorded on the Media Center.  But, for other things the Extenders don't do that well.

I have not had good luck getting movies to play on our Extenders with MyMovies.  Also, I haven't gotten vmcPlayIt to work, in order to play Hulu and Netflix content on the extenders.

I was thinking ing that what I want is a simple DNLA audio and video player.  This would support playing content recorded via the TV tuners.  Also, since PlayOn is a DNLA server, these players could play Hulu and Netflix content. Also, with Windows 7, other content would be transcoded.

The only problems that I see with this solution are:

  • I don't think that it will be possible to play live TV, or control the tuners.

  • Hopefully it would be easy to configure the heirarchy of the content.  For example, I would want recorded content to grouped by series.  Also, I would want to see the meta data for the content.

Abandoning gallery2

I think that soon I will be abandoning our use of gallery2.  A few years ago we started using gallery2 to share our photos with friends and family.  gallery2 allowed us to upload the photos and let our friends comment on them. When I set this up, there weren't many other photo sharing sites.

Now, we upload all of our photos to flickr for backup purposes.  And we select some of those photos to share with friends and family.  In addition we have started to use facebook to share photos.  The one good thing about using flickr and Facebook is that it is easy to set up permissions to allow only the people that you want to see your photos.  The one downside is that there is another company that I would have do deal with for the photos.

I will probably not be uploading anything to our gallery2 installation, but leave what is there now there.  We will probably just be posting things to flickr or Facebook.