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This is your life and its ending one minute at a time …

Archive for March 2009

My Idea of Next-Gen Location-aware services

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Given how busy we are/tend to be, you would have found yourself in one of the following situations.

  • I was right there and I forgot to ……
    I am supposed to buy/inquire about some product I’m planning on buying and I promised myself that next time I am anywhere near that place I will do it. Well guess what, I forgot; only to be reminded way after I was away from that place. And now its late to go back, let me do it another time.
  • I was right there and I didn’t know about ……
    I am a big fan of ‘so n so’ line of clothing [who have a store near by]. But I’m kinda low on GREEN as of now, will buy it if there is any good sale on it. I will keep checking their website and ads on newspaper for those deals until then. Fast-Forward a couple of weeks. I hear my friends/peers/neighbors talking about their recent shopping experience and how great the sale on ‘so n so’ was. Huh ? OMG I wasn’t aware of that sale, can’t believe I missed it.
  • I’m feeling lonely here in this new place, I wish I could find some company / a Date ……
    I’m in this totally new place, I don’t know anyone here. I came alone to this club thinking I could socialize and maybe find someone special, but it doesn’t seem to be going as planned. I can see so many people here but I am feeling shy and do not know how to approach nor am I aware as to who is willing to be approached.
    Meanwhile just a few clubs down the road. A young single lady engaged in the same monologue with herself.
  • In the 3rd scenario, is there a way to connect the both of them together ? Well technology seems to have the potential to play cupid. How ? Read on.

    The mobile devices i.e PDAs, Smartphones etc of the contemporary world are equipped with GPS functionality, WiFi / 3G connectivity acting as a premise to a whole new way of Advertising/Communication/Social Networking. Below is an account of my ideas on how we can overcome each of the above described scenarios [assuming that all these functionalities are enabled all the time]

  • Location-aware Reminders
    You start the application on your Mobile Phone/Smartphone. You start creating a Reminder, but unlike any other reminders we are so familiar with, you DO NOT specify the date/time to alert you. Instead you are taken to a map where you are prompted to mark a point-of-interest [POI] & specify the desirable radius around the same. What this basically means is that, you are telling the system to remind you when you are within the specified radius of your POI.
    For example
    POI : Social Security Office, Radius : 500 meters , Reminder : Collect SSN card
    What this translates to is ‘ Remind me to Collect SSN card when I am within 500 meters of Social Security Office ‘.
  • Location-aware Advertising
    From a user’s perspective
    You start the application on your mobile Phone/Smartphone. You specify what ads you are interested in, so that you can recieve notifications related to those. The application runs in the background and is always Aware of your location. You go shopping to a mall, DING! You are prompted of a discount sale that is going on right now at one of your favorite stores. You can choose to act on it by reading more information about the ad or you can just delete/ignore it. If your are feeling overwhelmed by the amount of ads on the air, then you have an option to be more specific.
    From the advertiser’s perspective
    If you are the owner of a store and want to AIR location-aware ads to people who subscribe to it, you have to 1st register on the system. The registration is completed after a few authentication checks and you are provided with an account. Using this account you can login to the system [which is a web application] and post ads. You can post ads which are limited in the amount of information permissible, like max no of characters, and an option to specify the duration of the ad. You are charged a minor fee for posting each ad, thus acting as revenue for the system.
  • Insta-Date / I-Stand-Alone
    You login to the system after registration, which involves certain authentication checks, and then post your profile for others to view. You have the option to make your profile visible to only your friends or those kinds you are interested in meeting.
    In the previously explained scenario all they have to do is register on the system and set their status as ‘ Available ‘. Using the location-aware capabilities on the smartphone, the system shows the list of all the ‘Available’ people to the user. He can go on and filter it based on a few criteria like sex, age, ethnicity etc. He looks that the other lady [as mentioned above] is also willing to meet new people. He sends her an invite to start communicating/chatting. She receives the request, she checks his profile then has an option to start a dialog or just ignore him.
  • Well I guess the technology just played cupid for the both of them.

    These are just a few of the ideas that I have engendered, there are many more ideas which can stem outta these. Well come to think of it there might already be systems of these kind or having some flavor of it, but this never stops me from ‘DREAMING ON’. I am planning to start creating these systems myself on Google Android, just hoping for the best.

    Having said all these I can confidently say that the future of Location-aware services is looking very promising, not to forget the Cool-Factor involved. Well what can I say, this is just the beginning of a new era of communication …


    Written by supreeths

    March 21, 2009 at 2:32 AM

    Google Android Development Hands on – My Experience

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    Ever since Android emerged out of Google to the public , i.e. November 2007, I have been hooked onto it. Why ? Just cause it is GOOGLE ? Well read on.

    Flashback : Mid 2007
    At that time I was very much into mobile phones and everything that had to do with it. Found myself frequently checking out all the newest models, rumors and articles. At that time I owned a Windows Mobile device which ran on WinMob 2003. This decision of mine at that time and place was quite a difference in opinion as the majority of the Asian market was dominated by Nokia running on Symbian OS. I would constantly engage myself in arguments with my peers as to which one was better. It felt as though everyone of them were patrons of the Nokia brandname. I felt that the User Interface of the Symbian OS was quite simple, on the other hand Windows OS was very Power-user friendly, felt more robust. Also I felt that Symbian wasted/squandered most of the real estate available for display, had too many blanks & spaces making it look very basic and kinda naive.

    My interest in mobile technologies lead me to start writing applications for Windows mobile [this was prior Android]. I would find it kinda hard to develop because of the lack of good material / tutorial or developer support, it was kinda hard to understand the basic architecture. Also since I was working at that time I could not give it my all. Then came the revolutionary IPhone which swept everyone off of their feet with its intuitive interface and the likes. That got me thinking, well let me start developing on the IPhone. Then again I started searching, reading articles one after other & signed up for Apple Developer Center, saw a few samples. Then I went on to download the SDK which was a .dmg file [Macintosh OS X Disk Copy Disk Image File] and I used a windows machine. My efforts to figure out how to use that on a windows machine proved unsuccessful and also I had to learn Objective-C to develop apps. Well that was the last time I ever thought of even wanting to develop for IPhone.

    And then came Android, which required JAVA and had a seamless integration with IBM Eclipse. A combination I was very much familiar & comfortable with and something which I would prefer anyday. Once the SDK was released downloading it and installing it was a BREEZE I tell you, it just felt right. Then I started developing petty applications going through the simple, easy-to-understand tutorials on the android website. Meanwhile at this time I had started applying for my Master’s Degree and kinda got occupied with that.

    Fast forward : October 2008.
    I am here in San Diego CA, come 22nd T-mobile G1 [1st Android device] is being released for public consumption. Did that get me excited or what. Bought the device the very same day, this rekindled my passion to develop on the mobile platform. I kept myself updated with everything that had to do with Android throughout my 1st semester at school. Then after that I really plunged into serious android development in January 2009 and 20 days later I released my 1st app on the Android Market.

    Personal Ledger
    An application to track everyday monetary transactions. For more info on this please check my website. All the ratings and download statistics are synchronous with that on the Android Market.

    From a developer’s perspective this is the best platform to start publishing your applications, atleast that’s what I feel. The architecture is kinda easy to understand with documentation/tutorial helping you each step of the way and not to forget a very responsive & dedicated developer community.
    It was that simple – DEVELOP, TEST & RELEASE no other hassles.

    Having said all this I truly believe in the future of Android and I would not think twice about patronizing it.

    In Google I trust.
    Android Rulezzz !!! 8)

    Written by supreeths

    March 3, 2009 at 2:28 AM

    My Vision of the Future Mobile Phone …

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    Mobile phones were ‘ Merely a luxury ‘ a decade ago, but now the mobile revolution has swept across the globe making it an obvious necessity in the contemporary world. Below is a small account of what I believe the characteristics of future mobile phone/smartphone are going to be.

      Radio-frequency identification (RFID)
      RFID is the use of an object (typically referred to as an RFID tag) applied to or incorporated into a product, animal, or person for the purpose of identification and tracking using radio waves.
      The future mobile phone will each have an embedded RFID chip which is unique to the device just like the IMEI number.
      So what are its potential uses in our everyday life ?

    • Authentication of a Ticketed entry
      You have purchased a ticket to a play/movie through the internet. While you were buying it the system had prompted you with an option to tag your ticket with the RFID feature on your mobile phone. If you accepted it, then after a few authentication steps you have finally tagged your mobile phone to the ticket you have bought. Now you go the venue of the event and enter a gated entry which is equipped with an RFID scanner. You just walk through the scanner, it identifies your purchase and opens the gate.
      Are you a frequent Metro user ? Have your mobile phone’s RFID with Metro currency. So that everytime you take the Metro you don’t have to search for cash. All you have to do is just walk through the turnstile equipped with an RFID scanner to gain entry. This technology is already been in practice but not introduced to the mobile counterparts, check these links RFID to Ride N.Y. Subways, Soccer Fans Use RFID Cards to Gain Admission and Buy Food and check for more on
    • Replacement for Currency cards
      Have the RFID embedded in your Mobile phone tagged to your bank account. Use it just like you use a credit/debit card at outlets which are equipped with RFID scanners to make purchases.
    • Retrieval of Lost Mobile phone
      All the above features would certainly provoke you to think about the possibilities of your mobile phone being stolen and misused. Well just report that your mobile phone is stolen to the system, so if the culprit next time gets scanned by one of the RFID scanner it notifies the authorities by raising an alarm immediately and he can be apprehended ensuring the safety of your phone & identity.
      Embedded Biometric Scanners
      I am sure by now you would have come across some form of Biometric scanner in your daily life, be it a Finger-print scanner / Iris scanner / Facial recognition / Hand scanner / Voice recognition. The most common among those would surely have to be the Finger-print scanner, which is being widely used for authentication & identification purposes. Just as a reminder of how technology is advancing, I have a Finger-print scanner embedded in my laptop. The best part of it is that I no longer have to type in the username/password everytime I want to login [ which can get really annoying at times esp for people who are as lazy as I am ] to my accounts which could be an email/messenger/any password protected websites. Just a swipe of my finger, checks if authentic user then based on the website/app I’m running looks up the previously stored username & password and BHAM I’m logged in. How cool is that ?

      Well now just image the same for a mobile phone.

    • Embedded Finger-Print scanner
      A small finger print scanned is embedded into the face of your mobile phone. This can be used to authenticate entry into your mobile phone or used to authenticate other protected applications.
    • Facial Recognition / Iris Scanner
      A camera mounted on the face of your mobile phone could act as a means to authenticate entry into protected applications. This feature can also be used by law enforcement officers to identify criminals on the fly.
      This is pretty much a software implementation, advanced image processing, rather than hardware like the ones discussed above. There are advanced in this field already by a company called Neven Vision, which was a worldwide leader in the field of image recognition. The company, founded by Dr. Hartmut Neven, had its headquarters in Santa Monica, California and offices in Japan, Germany and the U.K. Google has bought this company and we can expect these technologies hitting the mainstream in the near future. For more info on Neven Vision check out these links Google and Neven Vision , Presentation by Neven Vision
      Solar Powered battery backup
      One of the most frustrating things about mobile phones is the battery backup on most of the devices. The more features the mobile phone have, like GPS/Radio/Accelerometer/WiFi enabled, the more battery consumption leading to the frustration of not using the phone to its full potential ALL the time. Well this frustration can be reduced if not get completely rid off, by embedding solar cells in the phone which can charge whilst we carry on with our daily life.

    All of the above visions are very plausible considering the recent advancements in the Mobile technologies. Many of the discussed visions might already been in development/practice, these are just my visions of what the NEAR future is going to be. It is going to more than just a Phone and evidently more than just a Luxury, an acquired necessity. It is going to be an integral part of our life, so that leads to the question, Are we going to be ‘ Carrying it ‘ or ‘ Wearing it ‘ ?. Well see for yourself what the future has in store for us according to the visions of Nokia and Cambridge Nanoscience Center, Morph concept.

    The future of Mobile technologies is looking very promising. I can’t wait to see it and be a part of it.

    Written by supreeths

    March 1, 2009 at 10:45 PM