Monday, April 25, 2011

"iPhone SpyPhone?"—The Music Video!

I constructed a somewhat modified version of Pete Warden's iPhoneTracker tool, and used it to produce this video. I've visualized ten months' worth of location data from my iPhone 4's consolidated.db, as it was added to the database in this, and while it could be said to be "tracking me" in a very general way (like at a city level), it's far from "tracking my every move", in either time or space.

(Sigh. The iframe for the embedded YouTube video doesn't appear on Planet GNOME, at least not for me in Chromium. Here is a direct link to the video on YouTube.)

What do you think?

I've got more information on how I produced this on my main blog, including links to
  • a pre-built version of the modified iPhoneTracker I used
  • the source code changes I made
  • a higher-resolution version of the video which you can download (Quicktime format)
  • and, as a bonus, a downloadable archive of The Wired CD, Creative Commons-licensed music from artists like David Byrne (whose "My Fair Lady" was used as the soundtrack for this).

(If you liked this, consider voting it up as a submission on Slashdot, please!)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

iPhones and Location-Gathering: NO CALL FOR PANIC.

You've undoubtedly been reading a lot of histrionics about the fact that there's a file on your iPhone (if you have one) which contains a database of time-stamped longitude and latitude coordinates, with attendant speculation that the iPhone is "tracking your every move". It's not.

See my posting on my main blog to get all the details on what it is doing.

Monday, April 18, 2011

What Does a Dead Parrot Have to Do With Software Development?

Read my new article, "What Monty Python Taught Me About the Software Industry", on Software Quality Connection to find out...

Friday, April 15, 2011

What Are Your "Technological Holy Grails"?

Harry McCracken posted an interesting article on his "Four Technological Holy Grails". I came up with some of my own. What are yours?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Removing/Configuring Facebook Apps: Do You Know How?

I know a number of folks in the community are Facebook users—despite the dire warnings of some about "CIA plots" and the like—but with the dramatic increases in "rogue" apps there and "like-jackings" and such, I'm not sure everyone knows how to remove an application you don't want, or to configure one to limit the information it can access (when it's possible to do so).

Facebook seems to want to make this as difficult as possible, by hiding the settings in not-easy-to-locate places, by moving things around, etc. Accordingly, I wrote up a quick guide, with screen shots, over on my other blog, for those who are interested...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Good News for Facebook-Haters!

The growth of like-jacking, spamware and malware links, and the like on Fa(r)cebook continues unabated. Before long it'll be like this:

For more on this, and what to do about it if you've gotten unfortunately caught by something like this—and it's getting harder and harder to tell, in some cases—see here...

Friday, January 21, 2011

This Is Not An Energy Converter

This makes hot, crispy bread. (Image, courtesy of Zalgon.)

Lurking on the Gnome marketing list, and seeing some of the silliness going on, I'm reminded of one of the things which people regularly seem to misapprehend about what they're doing. Maybe they're unclear on their goals.

I'd thought marketing was about "getting new people to at least try out what you're offering", but a lot of what I see still seems to be more about "getting the people already using what you're offering to feel validated about the choice they've made" ("Made of inspiration, made of easy"? Really?)

That, and the rant I witnessed this morning, about how the "i" in everything made by Apple stood for "idiot"—under completely mistaken circumstances, as it happened—encouraged me to write a posting about what Apple is really selling, and why they sell a bunch of it.