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GPS Tracking for the Rest of us…

June 23rd, 2009 | Category: cypher-sec.org

Many feel the pain of losing a valuable device (such as an expensive cellphone).

Many don’t want, can’t afford or simply don’t feel the iPhone is worth the money, but would love the feature capability of tracking down their device when left somewhere like a bar, restaurant or cab.

First off (I love all my Mac stuff, so I’m NOT a hater)… despite what people think of my “devil’s advocate posts”. :P

On with the info: I personally use and prefer my Nokia N95, of which has had many functions the iThing brought out through “marketing” before and for a while now as well as doing some of them much better. ;)

One of those is the ability to track your device live and in the background, using it’s GPS, A-GPS or wifi. I ran into this 1st company while looking for a way to record my runs and biking times and trails. The application I started with on Symbian is by a company called 3DTracking. There product is great! It’s light on the processor, runs in the background, starts at boot (without the new handler’s knowledge and has features such as speed, direction and gps sat connection info, live tracking (obvious) recorded tracking, use of internal GPS or bluetooth GPS and distance in Miles or kilometers. The site you would track your device from (for free) is http://free.3dtracking.net and you can view it from nearly any device with a browser available today (although the site is built more for a computer screen’s size).

If you have a Symbian OS and want to give this a try, head on over to their site… I’m sure you will like it.

And, for those that don’t have an iThingy or a Symbian Device, you can always use Google’s Latitude (which works on many more devices than the above two and has been out longer then the iPhone’s app/function also. (I have to plug that since so many think the iThing is a god send that existed no where before “marketing”).

Anyway, with Google’s Latitude, you have the same features that 3Dtracking has (mentioned above) less speed (so far). Additionally, it’s viewable on just about any device for that “live tracking need” where “presently” you can’t view the live tracking info for an iThing from another iThing. And, like 3DTracking you can set the Latitude function of the google Maps app on your device to run in the background providing you with the same up to the date info you would need to find where your expensive device has walked off to.

It probably goes without saying, but (like any electronic or antenna based device)… you need a few things for this to work; power (to power the antenna and device so it does not die mid-search) and well, the correct antenna(s).

While you can use google Maps Latitude or 3DTracking from many mobile devices (including computers)… without cell coverage or an auto connected wi-fi hotspot, it cannot update it’s location info and thusly won’t be as “accurate” since that data could be delayed and reported when a connection is available to upload it’s location. So, THIS is where you will have to pay the cell company for data or hope the cell phone is in a location with wifi and your device was previously set to just latch on to an open network.

Keep those things in mind, you’re going to need a data connection (cell or wifi) that can report back the position of the device whether it’s found with the built in GPS, AGPS or wifi antenna(s).

And, if you think the iPhone can do these things without a data connection or visibility with the sky, think again. GPS is satellite based, and if you’re in poDunk (spelling) with no cell coverage and no wifi, in a covered storm hole the device can’t report back yet where it is, much less triangulate (which requires cell service or wifi hot spots) or “pinpoint” using GPS (not AGPS “triangulation”).

That’s a separate note, but in case your curious, AGPS is “assisted” global positioning. The A in assisted triangulates using cell or wifi connections to speed up GPS searching and or provide you with approximated location data while the GPS satellites are connecting to your device.

Hope that helps in your search to be like or beat out the iThings of the world. ;)

Below are two shots I snapped from my ‘puter using both 3DTracking and Google’s Latitude on my N95 at the same time. You can see how close they are (I’m across the street in a building). That is relying on week GPS (since I’m in the building) and Assisted GPS (triangulating me using cell and wifi locations). But both within… oh, 50ft of me.

Please let me know your thoughts and if this story or the noted items are helpful to you!

3DTracking’s PinPoint (click to see larger)

3DTracking

Here is a shot using Google Earth with 3DTracking and yes, it too is live!  So cool!
I’m in a brick building with no windows, (goes to show how well the wifi/agps/cellular triangulation works)!

googleEarthLive

Google Latitude’s PinPoint (click to see larger)

GoogleLat

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Novatel MiFi gives you a personal 3G Wi-Fi hotspot

December 09th, 2008 | Category: cypher-sec.org,social network,technology

Shared by thecolor

this is cool and all, but personally, I use JoikuSpot (joikuspot.com) on my Nokia N95, and it provides me with exactly the same thing, no extra hardware. It’s available for many other devices as well.

Novatel MiFi

has just announced the future release of their new MiFi 3G portable hotspot, and we are officially excited. Using the MiFi, you’ll be able to grab the signal from your EV-DO Rev. A or HSPA account, and share it over Wi-Fi to a group. For example, you can hit up Starbucks with two buddies, break out the MiFi, and all three of you can hit the Internet without paying for Starbucks Wi-Fi three times. The MiFi device itself looks just as awesome as its usage scenarios, as it just as long and wide as a credit card, and isn’t really that tall. Novatel is also touting that the battery will last for 4 hours when used actively, and 40 hours when on standby. Nice.

Mark our words – we are going to be keeping an eye on the news leading up to the Novatel MiFi official release. Expect to see if available for purchase in for first half of 2009.


Novatel MiFi gives you a personal 3G Wi-Fi hotspot originally appeared on Gear Live on Tue, December 09, 2008 – 10:59:19

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Google (gMail) Video Chat…

November 13th, 2008 | Category: conference,gmail,google,gTalk,video,video chat
It’s been a long time coming, after all, we’ve had video conference / chat since before the internet, skype has it, AIM and MSN has/d it… however, after trying Google’s gMail Video chat, I must say, I’m impressed.Installation was near instantaneous, and almost completely behind the scenes. I had no idea it was installed (most likely a few seconds later) when I had clicked the “Install Voice and Video Chat” button, as it wasn’t until I wondered what was going on, and moved my browser out of the way that I saw the completion dialog box behind chrome.      

That was nice and quick, just needed a more obvious confirmation.

As for usage… well, nothing seemed to really tell me that the settings are within the “chat” portion of your gMailsettings“, but that wasn’t to hard to figure out.      

I started off like this… installed, hmmm, what do I do now? Friend IMd me… oh cool, an opportunity, within the browser (gMail),

gMail Settings
I started chatting and then clicked “video and more”, Video and More
this enabled a smaller turn up (kinda like a clock rotation / pop up)… once I did that, it was then blatantly obvious to click “video chat” or invite the friend to video chat.My chat-hort was unaware it was out yet, so we had an audio conversation at first… smooth and easily understood. I was on a wired connection and he wi-fi at $bucks and once I told him the great news, he immediately clicked on the red text at the top of his gMail or iGoogle page that said, “| New! Video chat |” and his download was as instantaneous as mine.      

We were off, with the install there was not even a need to restart the conversation, it just worked, immediately! Now that is seamless!

I made a few adjustments in the “Camera” settings drop down, and it immediately changed in the chat session I had going… no hang up, no reboot, no hassle at all, it just worked. Again, SEEMLESS!

Google, I must say, it’s an impressive addition to the already easy and clean gTalk (chat) function already available. NOW, I want to see it available as a mobile application (and please don’t fall into the iPhone only trap, at least make it for Symbian devices as well.  Otherwise I’ll just continue using Fring and qik.com for video confrencing on my Nokia N95-4 8GB.  ;)

Oh, and on a slightly sadder note… I have two PPC macs, and this does not work on PPC.  :(  So, I was restricted to using it on my PC, since I don’t have an intelMac.  :(  I feel like I’m being left out with fewer apps being made for PPC.

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AT&T Sucks, giving free Wi-fi to iPhone customers only!

October 30th, 2008 | Category: Apple,AT&T,ATT,Cingular,EDGE,GPRS,HSDPA,technology,Wi-fi,wireless
AT&T has decided to give away their massive wireless network to iPhone users. Yes, I said, JUST iPhone users. Personally, I just think this sucks! Granted it’s only an opinion.  

For years there have been customers using wifi capable handhelds, and paying carriers through the nose to use their data service just so they’re mobile (not laptops) were more than just a calling device. But whenever they are at an airport or location that does not provide the faster more efficient connection for free, they’re forced to use the slower and more frequently annoying 3G, EDGE or GPRS connections OR pay for the wifi they find.

I’ve dumped nearly $100 a month in their pocket for 5 years just for the use of 3G, and since the release of the iPhone (and 3G capable device) the cellular data connection has only gotten worse. With that, I have owned multiple devices that have wi-fi capability, simply due to the poor and getting poorer data connections they provide.

NOW, I find out through iPhone users that they have received a message (click image above) indicating they can get (as an iPhone user) free wifi on any of the massive number of AT&T wifi hotspots. Personally, this just makes me steam!

AT&T, if you can’t bring enough to the party for everyone, don’t bring any at all.

Sorry iphone users, I love everything Apple, but the stupid @$$ deal they’ve made with this carrier!

Just call it what it is, give it another Apple name, “Free iFi”!

AT&T Sucks, giving Free wifi to iPhone users ONLY!
   
 

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Starbucks Free Wi-Fi…

March 03rd, 2008 | Category: AT&T,ATT,Wi-fi,wireless

Update… based on discussions with a few different Baristas… (although not totally educated on how this change over will work)… several employees have indicated they feel the “card” StarBucks is referring to is the coffee card, not a Credit Card.

This is good news, as I’d gladly re-fill my coffee card (if not already filled) as opposed to signing up for a StarBucks C.C. to get 2 hours of free wi-fi. :)(not gunna happen).

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Free Wi-Fi in the brew for Starbucks

February 12th, 2008 | Category: AT&T,ATT,Wi-fi,wireless

StarBucks changes the face of public-access Wi-Fi by picking AT&T to be its new in-store service provider over T-Mobile.Of course, I’m sure you have to be an AT&T customer already (this excludes wireless only customers, asI know I can’t get on an AT&T wi-fi connection at the airport with just my wireless account)… but the 2 hour deal is nice, as I know I drink coffee there… (at least I think I do). ;) I have no problem filling up the bazillion plastic cards I have from StarBucks (or their counter jockies will just push one on me, I’m sure,) “Would you like 2 hours of free wi-fi today, just buy this on your StarBucks card” . (sorry AT&T, I’m not signing up for your service, unless you can include it in my Wireless plan) as that’s all I have at the moment. I must add though, you have to make it as easy as the free spots… ’cause I don’t want to have to wait in line for my coffee and my wi-fi, “order up, single-tall-skinny-caramel-latte with w-fi” Patience is out the window with todays group of techies… order, sit, (and the precious minutes that you’re waiting), you could have blogged this or more fun, killed a game of Pac Man. :)Really, they are not all that quick at making coffee sometimes, even with their new fangled poor milk-pump flavor-push button-drip. :)

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