Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Is New Technology Up To Par?

Are you an early adopter of technology?  I've decided I'm just on the front fringe of mainstream - after all, people develop and test this kind of stuff and they ARE the real early adopters...  I'll also say that I don't slavishly adopt every new technology as it comes along, but some technology just seems to cry out to be used, and used NOW! and so I end up among the first arrivals quite often, sitting around asking each other "nice, but what do we do with it?"

That's how I feel about Google Latitude (another link ) right now.  It NEEDS to be used, and that fairly quickly.  I wrote in a past article about GPS phones and what can be done with them, about some of the convenience that can be realised by using location awareness to advantage.  There are life-saving technologies that can be implemented (read my scenario near the end of the article) if only people used geolocation properly and there was a standard besides NMEA0183 which is just a very old school way to get latitude and longitude data down a serial pipe.

So imagine my disappointment when I went to Google Latitude and entered my PC location manually, then went to Google Maps.  Surprise surprise - Google Maps knows shit about my location, despite both having access to Google Gears and my location data.  Pity.  I fired up the petrol price tracker and - once again - it can't find its own ass with both hands and Google Maps, let alone my location so it can do something useful like find me nearby petrol prices...

Then too I have a GPS in my car but it stubbornly won't reveal a location to my cellphone or laptop or PDA - it's a walled garden, an island, a stand-alone.  Same with the GPS module I've painstakingly cobbled together out of the guts of a GPS enabled device, a serial to USB dongle, and seemingly miles of wires and cable.  It gets as far as the laptop, and languishes there.

Isn't it time this changed?  I think it should, and soon.  I'll soon be posting an article that I hope will generate a lot of discussion, but it's a bit controversial and I'm still working on it.

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