Friday, October 30, 2009

iPhone Notification Thoughts

Apple created their Apple Push Notification system to allow applications to present information to the user, even when the applications are not running.  This helps reduces the amount of CPU usage on the phone, which will help prolong battery life

I would like to see a few things added to this:

  • Better support for multiple notifications.  Currently only the last notification is shown. There are a few things that could be done

    1. Create a view that aggregates all of the new notifications since the user last looked at the phone

    2. Create a prioritization scheme that would make sure that the most important notifications are visible first

    3. Allow developers to expire previous notifications for their applications



  • Support to send information back to developers.  Since using Apple's Push Notification requires  developers to have a server that keeps a persistent connection with Apple's servers.  This connection could be used to send information from about the iPhone back to developers

    • For example, this could be used to send location data back to developers.  This would allow Loopt or Google Latitude to update a users location without running an application in the foreground.

    • Having this implemented in  this manner, it would allow the users to have control over this data

      • Users should be able to go to settings application and disable this feature for all applications, or for particular applications

      • Apple could control the frequency that the GPS would be turned on, so they could conserve power appropriately.





Iomega MiniMax

We have been using our Mac mini a lot recently. In addition to the kids using it to play games, I am using it for iPhone development, and we use it to manage our photos and family videos. Since I keep it behind the monitor, it is a pain to get to the USB ports. I normally, just leave the cables for the USB devices connected to the USB ports on the back of the Mac mini, and just make the other ends lose and acceptible without moving items around. The problem with this is the Mac mini only has 4 USB ports. With the external hard drive, iPhone cable, standard USB cable for digital camera, there aren't enough ports for the mouse and keyboard.

So I went looking for a USB hub that would have the same footprint as the Mac mine.  I found the Iomega MiniMax Hard Drive.  This external hard drive has both USB and FireWire hubs.  It fits perfectly under my Mac mini, and has allowed me to to everything that I have wanted.

Google Voice for cell phones

I have been having a problem receiving my voicemail on my iPhone.  My wife would leave message on my cell phone, but my phone would show no indication of a waiting voice mail message.  Also when I call in to get my voicemail, nothing appears their either.  I think that this is a problem with AT&T and not my iPhone.

Google made it available to use Google Voice with existing cell phones.  With this you can now have your voicemail sent to Google voice, and you can listen to it from your phone or your computer.  Also Google Voice will create a transcript of your message, and you can received that via email or sms.

I have been using Google Voice for a little bit, but this functionality allows me to receive messages from callers that don't know my Google Voice number in my Google Voice inbox.







[via Engadget]

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Ping!

On Friday, I saw that the Ping! iPhone application was available for free. Ping is an iPhone application that let's you have SMS or instant message conversations with other people with iPhones or iPod Touches. Ping! uses Apple's push notification service, so don't need to leave the application running to keep receiving messages.

The benefit if using push over tradition SMS messages is that it is cheaper, if you only want to talk to people who also have iPhones or iPods.  This is also especially true if you have a limited number of text messages per month on your plan.   Also for iPod users, since they don't have access to SMS, this may be a viable solution.

I don' think that I will be using this application that often. Since I already uses SMS with people who are not using iPhones, I don't know if it would be worth it to use a separate application for the subset of my contacts that have iPhones and also have Ping! installed.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Disabled gallery2

I have disabled our installation of gallery2, as I hinted to before.  We have changed to use flickr and facebook to share photos with our friends and family.  The main reason that I disabled it was because all of our photos, that we decided to share, were publicly available.  gallery2 does support user authentication, but it is hard to have family create accounts on the site.

Since most people that we are sharing photos with have flickr or facebook accounts, that was a hurdle that we didn't have to go over to allow us to restrict access to our photos.