On the iPhone as a platform

A couple of thoughts on software expandability, vis a vis discussions about the iPhone. I agree that allowing third party developers to create applications for the iPhone would be fantastic. However, I think some of the criticisms leveled against the iPod as being a ‘closed platform’ are a bit unfounded.

Dave Winer says:

The iPod is a wonderful product, but damn it’s time we made one that could run our software, could run any software, so users have choice, and so you don’t have to buy new hardware to get software features, and so the market can grow at the rate of innovation, not at the whim of one marketer.

The iPod is a *music* platform, and in that case, it is completely open. Sure, buying songs from the iTunes Store includes proprietary DRM, but the iPod functions perfectly well with every popular music format you throw at it, sans DRM.

So for the thing the iPod was designed to do, it is an open platform. Look at the podcasting phenomenon. The iPod didn’t need to be an open software platform to enable that innovation.

I think (or hope) that when the iPhone is released, its perceived limitations as a software platform will likely reveal opportunities in the areas where it is open: music, video, internet and voice.

(these thoughts are my own and not my employer’s)

PixTrak: the Dan Smith Tracker is live!

So PixTrak, the Dan Smith Will Teach You Rock & Blues Guitar Tracker is now live.
Here’s how it works:
Spot a Dan smith poster. Take a picture and send it to ds@pixtrak.com with the address in the body: i.e., 721 Broadway. Works great with cameraphones and MMS, but you can also use regular old-email if you’re so inclined.

To see the posters that have been spotted so far, or if you don’t know who Dan Smith is, visit
http://pixtrak.com/ (now with RSS!) and join in the fun! For more about the project, you can check it out here: http://uncleleron.com/wp/projects/pixtrak/

Let me know if you experience any problems, and rock on!

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Following up on last weeks apps for uploading images from cameraphones, Merkitys is an open source image uploading application that works with Flickr. It attempts to providing ‘meaning’ or context to your images by tagging them with location data. It can do this in several ways. First of all, you can type your current location. More conveniently, Merkitys keeps track of cell tower locations and lets you describe them (so when I’m at home I can set name that cell tower ‘home’, and note that it is in brooklyn, ny. Lastly, Merkitys will interact with a bluetooth gps receiver to tag your images with even more specific geosat data.

It also interacts with your phone’s calendar data, so if I take a picture during class, it will automatically be tagged as occuring during that event. It even will scan the bluetooth network and tag based on the bluetooth devices you are surrounded by. Over time this could provide some intersting data…

It’s a fascinating concept, and one that I think will make location-based apps more useful — using the intelligence of the platform to contextualize the events of your life.

Merkitys is for nokia series60 phones…