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  • Joe 13:26 on July 17, 2009 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Global Positioning System, GPS, , ,   

    Working on Layar: Augmented Reality Browser 

    #layar is on tv!
    Image by marcfonteijn via Flickr

    Layar Developer

    Only a few days ago I mentioned Layar as the ideal platform for rapid development of Augmented Reality applications. I applied for a developer key and was granted one of the limited 50 available keys for the initial launch phase (thanks SPRXmobile!).

    With this grant comes an understandable NDA, so I can only speak about the program in very general terms. Just let me tell that the platform looks really flexible and developer friendly. I’m excited to be part of this initial community and will update my experiences as soon as I’m allowed to share them!

    In the mean time, if you have an idea for a (commercial) Augmented Reality application feel free to contact me, we might be able to work something out on the short term.

    About Layar

    Layar overlays realtime local information on top of the real world seen through a mobile device’s camera. It locates it’s position through a combination of the phone’s built-in compass and GPS.
    Layar is currently available only for the Netherlands in Android Market. In case you live elsewhere, here’s a demo video.

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  • Joe 12:08 on July 9, 2009 Permalink
    Tags: , , GPS, , , WebKit   

    Idea: port TwittARound to Android as Layar app 

    Update: this idea is realized now the 2.0 Layar client is live (Aug 17th, 2009)!

    Lately, there’s a lot of buzz going about TwitARound, an Augmented Reality app for the iPhone. Quote from Gizmodo:

    …nearby live tweets show up on the horizon, and you can see where they’re coming from, as well as how far away they are. It uses the compass along with the accelerometer GPS to do its location thing, so it’s restricted to the iPhone 3GS in this implementation, even if it is developed almost entirely in WebKit.

    Judging by this description, there is nothing that prevents this from working on any Android powered device.

    Even better, there exists this nice new Android app, called Layar, which can load augmented reality layers from a supposedly simple data file (coded in json serialization). They will be opening their API shortly by giving an initial 50 API keys for some lucky developers. I applied for one with this idea, hope to test it out soon!

    More about TwittARound in this youtube demo:

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    • Raimo 15:44 on July 9, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Great idea!

      Saw your form request… 😉


  • Joe 14:41 on June 9, 2009 Permalink
    Tags: Firefox 3.5, , Geolocation API, Google Gears, GPS, ,   

    Firefox 3.5 does geolocation! 

    Firefox crop circle
    Image by KonMan via Flickr

    Since early beta release of Firefox 3.1 there is experimental support for the experimental W3C Geolocation API.

    Now Doug Turner, one of the engineers who is behind the Geolocation support in Firefox, wrote a nice background story geolocation in Firefox 3.5 (hacks.mozilla.org). A very interesting read, and it turns out that geolocation is not only for mobile devices, but also available in regular Firefox versions, using wifi or IP address mapping.

    Using Firefox 3.5 or another location aware browser? Give it a try by clicking the button below, a map with your current location will be loaded…


    • Firefox 3.5b4 has an annoying bug (#490046) which lets you get your location only once per run.
    • Privacy is an issue, Firefox asks for permission by showing a notification bar on top of the screen. Click “Tell them” to proceed…

      Click "tell Them"...

    Map your location…

    What the script does…

    // call native geolocation API:
    // callback initializes a google map with the geo data:
    function callback(position) {
        var point = new GLatLng(position.coords.latitude, 

    Google provides a similar Geolocation API implementation through Gears.

    Got another browser where the API works? Please leave a comment!

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    • Joe 09:45 on June 10, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Update: indeed, the bug has been fixed in Firefox 3.5b99 – but some requests return a very unaccurate estimate, while others are perfect within only a few meters error.
      I guess in some cases Wifi is used, while in other cases generic Geo IP tables are used (e.g. if the Wifi lookup times out?).

    • Doug Turner 03:14 on June 23, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      exactly. if a wifi position is found, that is the location that is shared with the website. if no wifi position is found, a location based on IP is shared.

      Keep in mind, all of this is optional — we don’t share anything until you click “share location” in the notification bar.

      Hope that helps!
      Doug Turner

    • Johan Sundström 04:13 on June 24, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Works fine in the iPhone 3G mobile Safari (OS 3.0) browser, too.

      • Joe 06:54 on June 24, 2009 Permalink | Reply

        Cool, thanks!

        It doesn’t work out of the box on Android’s Webkit browser on the G1, need Google’s interface for that apparently.

  • Joe 11:42 on February 20, 2009 Permalink
    Tags: , Camera, GPS, HTC G1, IPhoto, Memory card, T-Mobile G1   

    How to make iPhoto recognize your Android G1 

    T-Mobile G1 Google Android

    Image by netzkobold via Flickr

    Making photo’s with the Android powered HTC G1 is nothing special, but the recorded GPS postion in the images is a really nice feature when you import them in iPhoto ’09 (note: you need to tell the G1’s camera application to record the GPS location, which is off by default).

    I had just one minor annoyance with the process: after mounting the Flash card over USB, the card shows up under finder as expected, but iPhoto does not recognize it as a camera device or media card with images.

    Now Hackszine has a nice blog post with a potential solution: Get your T-Mobile G1 to show up correctly in iPhoto. It all boils down that you have to rename the directory dcim at the root level of the Flash card to DCIM (all capitalized).

    Update: Hackszine deleted their older blog entries (why the heck would they do that? It’s for sure uncool). Here a quote from the original post:

    Every time I plug my G1 phone into my Mac to download photos, iPhoto shows me only the videos that are on the phone, and I have to manually drag the photos from the Finder to iPhoto. It’s only a minor annoyance,but fortunately the fix is very simple. If you navigate to your G1 in the Mac OS X Finder, you’ll see that the DCIM folder (the usual home of photos on a digital camera) is titled “dcim” (lowercase). I made it uppercase, unmounted and remounted it, and iPhoto popped up with a list of the photos on the phone, ready to import.

    Posted by Brian Jepson | Jan 6, 2009 05:49 AM

    To my frustration this was not working for me. Just one more step solved the issue: inside the directory dcim is a sub-directory called camera. Just symlink this directory to some well-known camera manufactor’s default images directory name, and you’re set.

    Commands, in Terminal (let’s say you named the phone’s Flash card G1):

    $ cd /Volumes/G1
    $ mv dcim DCIM
    $ cd DCIM
    $ ln -s camera 100NIKON
    $ cd

    Next, take some pictures with the phone. Then start iPhoto and mount the phone’s Flash card; you will get the “import pictures” screen as you would expect.

    Note: based on Dutch release version of T-Mobile G1 (first edition) and iLife ’09, YMMV!

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    • lmjabreu 19:55 on February 24, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Is your sdcard ext3-formatted?

    • Joe 21:18 on February 24, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Hi @lmjabreu,

      The volume appears to be “msdos” formatted (what is that, FAT 16?), according to Disktool:

      disktool -l
      ***Disk Appeared ('disk2s1',Mountpoint = '/Volumes/JOE G1', fsType = 'msdos', volName = 'JOE G1')

      Does this matter in your experience?

      (I wasn’t aware that you could format the card in ext3 format, might be interesting though).

  • Joe 08:12 on May 31, 2007 Permalink
    Tags: Cory Doctorow, data web, GPS, Henry Story, , , semantic web tools   

    Context as Metadata 

    Context - (c) Jeremy Noble More than a year ago, Henry Story blogged about Keeping track of Context in Life and on the Web. It is about the context of the story you’re telling, as essential background information for the general audience and distracting bloat for the initiated at the same time.

    The conclusion is that, using a semantic web approach, you could provide links to as many contextual facts as you like, without the need of directly exposing these to the observing end user. Just use those links for queries and matching algorithms wherever appropriate.

    In other words: don’t bug me with redundant metadata if I don’t need it. This might be even more true for content creation: just read Cory Doctorow’s Metacrap article again and you know why.

    Years ago, almost immediately after I bought my first digital photo camera, I started to realize why metadata is important. In a few words: taking pictures is easy, storage space is cheap and deleting images is a pain. You need to carefully compare and make sure to pick the best one. So, hundreds, soon thousands of images started to pile up in the form of un-imaginatively named blobs, like “IMG_1123.JPG”. Essentially, these images get lost as the proverbial needle in a haystack.

    Now you could put all those images in folders, labeled after an event, date, person or whatever. But this is a tedious job and only provides a very flat view (you don’t even want to think about creating nested or linked structures on your file system).

    Then, I soon found out that every digicam image has embedded EXIF meta data, which proved to be of huge value for tracing back those lost images. If I know that a shot was made during some event, I only need to look up the events’ date and browse all images shot during that period.

    Then iPhoto came around, with the possibility to add tags (with a terrible interface, use Keyword Assistant instead!), ratings and multiple album folders. Providing even more metadata and control to find your images at a later time.

    There’s just one problem left: entering and assigning all that meta data by hand is still much work if you have hundreds of images to go. Errors are quickly made and hard to detect when you’re focused on other things, such as composition and image quality. (More …)

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