Monday, August 31, 2009

In flight Wi-Fi

I am currently on a flight from San Jose to Chicago, and the flight has in-flight Wi-Fi, provided by Gogo Inflight Internet. When I tried to connect to the wireless network with my linux laptop, I wasn't able to get it to work. I decided to connect to the network with my iPhone, so I could do a Google search to find a solution.

I created an account from the iPhone, and the paid for access. One of the terms of service is that I would be able to use this account on any mobile device, but wouldn't be able to use this on my laptop.

I found a solution and it tried it, and it appeared to work. (I will post a link to the site when I land) I did notice something interesting. I was able to use my existing login to the wireless network.

Another interesting thing is that while I am in flight, the iPhone's location is reporting that it is still at San Jose airport. I wonder if the network connection is routing through satelites back to the originating airport. It will be interesting to see if during the return flight the iPhone's location is Chicago or San Jose.

Parental Controls and SqueezeCenter

We have installed Squeezebox Booms in each of the kids' rooms.  This works great to be able to access all of our music in their rooms.  The kids like it as the presets are set to various childrens music, so they can easily listen to any of their music.

The problem is that our son is starting to explore our music. Some of the content is rated as "explicit", and we really would not want him coming across the music.  Now I am going to try and find a solution that would let me specify a list of artists that shouldn't appear on a given Squeezebox.  If this doesn't exist, I will look at writing a plugin to create this.

Monday, August 24, 2009

EveryTrail and Trails

About a year ago, when I got my iPhone, we went on a family vacation to Greenhorn Creek Guest ranch.  On one of the rides, I was thinking that it would be cool to write an iPhone application that would track my progress on the trails.  I never got around to writing one, but I found the Trails iPhone application.

Trails lets you record your progress while you are out on trails.  This application will record and show stats about your route, while recording.  In addition, you can take pictures and set waypoints along the route.

The main reason that I bought Trails was because you can export the data from the app itself.  You can either send an email with a GPX file attached, or you can export directly to EveryTrail

EveryTrail is a web site that lets you post and share routes.  I have posted three of my routes from our recent trip to Greenhorn Creek Guest Ranch at the end of this post.  I do like the service, and I could see using this again.

EveryTrail now has their own iPhone application.  I haven't tried it yet, but the price(free) is a lot better than Trails' price ($3.99).

There is one thing to be aware of when using these applications.  The battery on my iPhone 3G only lasted 3 hours while recording the trail.  I started to use my mophie battery pack when recording.  Then I didn't need to worry about the battery running out.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

GPush

The iPhone supports push notification of new emails, bit only for Exchange and for Mobile Me. Apple could implement this for IMAP accounts, with the IMAP IDLE command, but this would remove one of the features that differentiates Mobile Me from the other mail services.

GPush is an iPhone application/ service that enables push notifications when receiving new emails at a gmail account. To configure the application, you enter your gmail credentials in the application, and then it validates them with google. When you then receive a new message on that account, a notification will be sent to your phone, and the GPush application icon will display the count of the number of unread messages.

One main reason I am interested in this application is to potentially save battery. I currently have my phone set to check mail every 15 minutes. Theoretically, with this application, I can turn off periodic checks, and I will be notified when a new message is receives. Then I would launch the mail application to actually download the messages.

Unfortunately, it doesn't work that well.  I have only received about 10 notifications on my iPhone, for emails that I have received, even though I have received many more email messages.   This seems to be a problem on the GPush servers, as I receive more push notifications on the iPhone from Boxcar for direct messages that I receive on Twitter.