Since moving to Camarillo for college in August, I missed both SHDH20 and SHDH21 due to the increased distance between the Bay Area and where I live. However, since I’m back in San Luis Obispo for winter break, I was able to attend SHDH22. Instead of spending my time socializing and learning, I actually came with an agenda of things to do.
A few months back I registered the domain http://picturesofpeopletakingpictures.net because my friends thought it would be funny. (Alcohol was also involved and it seemed like a good idea at the time). I still don’t know what I want to do with it, but I put wrote up a small script using Rails that queries flickr and displays a random picture tagged “picturesofpeopletakingpictures.” It turned out to actually be a huge pain in the ass because the flickr gem I used had their own API key built in. Once I hacked together a fix for using my own, I got it working pretty quickly. When I uploaded it to my web server, nothing worked. Duh I forgot to freeze the flickr gem! Nope that wasn’t the problem. Apparently you have to use a folder structure like ~/flickr-ver_num/lib/flickr.rb. The library had ~/flickr-ver_num/flickr.rb. After struggling with that for at least 45 minutes, I had it up and running. Anyways, if anyone has suggestions of something better, leave a comment.
I started on a project that could turn into a DevHouse competition. More on this later if it actually happens.
Lastly, I started looking at the Android Java Framework by Google for Cell Phones. I mean why not? Google has some pretty good documentation and tutorials that I was able to follow and I end up writing a Hello World program!
We have all heard the exciting news regarding the official announcement of Apple’s iPhone. If not, check out the stevenote on Apple’s website. I know it sounds clichÃ©, but it is truly a revolutionary product in all sense of the word. This product will change the way we use our mobile devices and retrieve information. No more worrying about having to stop at an internet cafe or stop to get directions while on vacation. No more having to juggle between multiple devices in our pocket. No more having to wait for trivial information like movie times and weather.
After absorbing all of this, I started to think about how microformats fit into the picture. Now that we are able to retrieve a full XHTML webpage with Safari on a mobile device, we are also able to retrieve microformatted data. What does this mean in terms of how we add contacts to our address book, add events to our calendar or find a location on a map? It sounds like the processes can be streamlined. With hCard we can add a new contact (including a photo for quick recognition!) or find out the location of a business with Google Calendar. With hCalendar we can add an event to our calendar (assuming the calendar supports adding new events). All of this can be possible without typing anything or syncing data from our Mac/PC. Of course all of this is theoretical, but imagine how easy organization will be. It will be exciting to see if microformats ever make it to consumer devices for purposes such as this.
It was already demonstrated that the iPhone already has the ability to dial numbers from locations found on Google Maps. It seems that Google uses their own closed standards/algorithms to parse the information from websites and somehow sends the extracted information to the iPhone. What about the rest of the sites out there that have just as good information to offer? If the move to an open standard like microformats is made, similar functionality can be had on any website that implements the appropriate microformat.
Oh also, I bought an Apple TV today as an impulse buy. It ships out on March 2nd!
My last post was not only an announcement of Taxi Driver playing at The Fremont here in SLO, but also an experiment. I generated the HTML for my post with the hCalendar Microformat creator. Once I created my post and viewed it, a greasemonkey script kicked in and I was able to automatically add it to my gCal. Although many popular browsers don’t have built in support for Microformats, there are scripts and plugins to give added functionality for streamlining tasks.