GPS lessons

GPS devices are more popular than ever – whether it’s the GPS driven map in your mobile phone or the one built in to your dashboard or the one suction-cupped to your windshield. The good thing about GPS units is that it makes it quick and easy to get just about anywhere. The bad thing is we’re becoming more and more dependent on them and in a short time, most people won’t know how to read a map or give good directions. In any case, GPS units are …

Facebook feature idea: Check Ins

Facebook has done a good job of letting people “Check In” at businesses with Facebook Places. Aside from seeing if friends are at the same location or even nearby, it’s a great opportunity for businesses to connect with current or potential customers. There is one feature that’s missing though… allowing people to “Check In” to movies and TV shows. Currently, a person can only check in to a business that has an address or location. The GPS functionality in the phone keeps people from randomly checking in to …

Mobile data throughput – agency or application?

I’m no fan of “big government”, but I do like the idea of a government agency monitoring, reporting and holding accountable any company that sell products or services based on measurements – or an application that can do the same thing. In California there’s an agency called the “Office of Weights and Measures”. They make sure that 1 gallon of gas at the pump is actually 1 gallon – and that is actually costs what the posted price says it does; They also make sure that a grocery …

Smartphone / Android / iPhone Game Cradle…

As I’ve been doing some software testing using PSPs lately, an idea hit me… What if there was a game cradle for Android and iPhones that had buttons and a joystick and other game controls? A quick mock-up of what the Smartphone Game Cradle could look like I’m not a gamer myself, and I don’t play games on my Android phone, but I see a lot of people doing it, so it seems like it could be a good idea. Both Android and iPhones support Bluetooth connectivity, so …

Streaming media and home entertainment…

I’ve recently helped a few friends get setup with "media centers" as their home entertainment systems. They’ve all been centered around using a small form-factor computer to ‘power’ things, and central to that is Microsoft’s Windows 7 and Windows Media Center. I was lucky enough to be a software tester at Microsoft around 2001 testing the first version of Window Media Center Edition (MCE) and it was exciting back then. It’s now been 10 years – and it still hasn’t caught on. But, I’m confident that’s about to …

2D barcodes, winners and losers

Although 2D barcodes (also called QR codes – short for Quick Response) aren’t new, but they still haven’t caught on in the US. I’ve been asked by a lot of people "What is that?" when they see a QR code. To answer those people, they are postage stamp size or larger mathematical image that smartphones (with a high enough resolution camera) can read and convert to characters. Those characters can be a web address or a block of text or just about any input that a smartphone can …