a glob of nerdishness

May 19, 2010

HTML 5.0 Transitional

written by natevw @ 9:18 pm

Today I officially accepted a full-time job as “Web Application Developer and GIS ExpertJourneyman” — employee number seven — at &yet. Since meeting &yet (when it was just Adam Brault) a little over a year ago, it’s moved in my regard from “cool local website company” to “top-notch team” to “dream employer”.

To be honest, though, the job offer was mostly unexpected and I’m still adjusting to the task of becoming “dream employee” instead of an independent contractor. Writing shareware for Calf Trail was a chance to explore all my ideals. Especially the one about money not being important. Working with &yet is about combining diverse talents and perspectives into one team that shares responsibility for breadwinning — and fantasticmaking, of course.

I’m deeply grateful that I’ve been led to and then given this opportunity. While desktop software still interests me as a hobby, times were shifting and I’d already chosen the open web over giving 30% ownership of my livelihood to a corporation who squish liberty like bug. Joining &yet mostly means a much greater chance of success in this next stage of life.

We’re still working out the details, but the basic gist is that I will be moving all my paid geo, web and technical writing services to &yet. Calf Trail will remain, for the time being anyway, but mostly as a home for some desktop and photo management experiments. (More about that later, and I’ll be posting the official “Calf Trail” plan on the company blog when Calf Trail has an official plan.)

So, yeah…uh…that’s today’s nerdishness news. DRAMATIC CLOSE

September 2, 2009

Use Trail Location as a Core Location testing framework

written by natevw @ 8:55 am

Trail Location is a subproject I’ve been working on at Calf Trail. Its primary goal is to be a drop-in replacement for Core Location that can use position data from any location service.

This enables a number of new possibilities.

But first a demonstration

More interesting location data in the simulator

Testing a Core Location app in the simulator is really boring. Apple might eventually wire the simulator up to Snow Leopard’s Core Location implementation, but that would just move your app from Apple’s headquarters to yours. Trail Location lets you send your own test data, which your app receives just as from Core Location.

Trail Location includes a sample app for your device that can send locations to the simulator as you pan around the map. It should also be easy to make an app that plays back recorded location patterns.

Send real GPS data to an iPod touch during development

This one’s a bit more complicated, but worth mentioning. The first two iPod touch models (hopefully NOT the third, but we’ll see) don’t have GPS chips and rely exclusively on Skyhook positioning, which is based on visible wireless networks. With Trail Location, you can use a laptop and a GPS receiver for better results in rural areas. (I bought an Amod ABG 108 Bluetooth GPS mouse for about $20! Unfortunately, you can’t use a Bluetooth GPS directly even with a second-generation iPod touch, because it would degrade the core experience or something.)

Trail Location includes a sample Mac app that can pass locations from gpsd to a listening iPhone app via WiFi.

Better Core Location on the desktop?

Snow Leopard adds the Core Location API to Mac OS X. This is interesting, because while on current hardware the Core Location framework itself is still limited to Skyhook positioning, the rest of the Mac platform is much, much more developer friendly. Trail Location could serve as the glue that connects third-party apps to third-party GPS receivers using the same well-designed API that Core Location provides. Just like you can use your device to send data to Trail Location on the simulator, you could use an iPhone as a GPS mouse for a desktop app.

Eventually, I hope Trail Location can grow mature enough to be left in code that ships to end-users, giving more people the benefits of an open location platform. Currently, you should consider it as an alpha release, NOT ready for anything but debug builds. Right now the code is overbuilt (debatably) but under-implemented (definitely). We’ve released it now so that it can help other developers test their Core Location apps, and so that any progress towards the long-term goals can be influenced by other developers. Get the source at Google code; it’s shared under a non-viral license but your patches are welcome.

January 9, 2007

Newly lingering iPhone question

written by natevw @ 1:53 pm

For emergency (i.e. 911) purposes, cell phones are required to be trackable within 50-100 meters. Some phones use GPS to meet this requirement. Will the iPhone? And will it be enabled “client-side”?