I installed a new app on my N95 the other day from the Nokia Beta Labs: Location Tagger. This is one of the things that should have been built into the camera application from day one on a GPS enabled phone, but I’m glad to see they’re catching up.
The photo on the right is my first test of this new feature. The photo was automatically geo-tagged (so, if you visit the photo’s page in Flickr, you can see it placed on a map). Flickr seems to be confused about the city (it thinks Alameda is Oakland!), but it shows up in the correct place on the map.
Why was I at Starbucks? Well, I stopped by to see whether AT&T had disabled the free Wi-Fi for iPhone users. The special free login page has indeed gone, replaced by the older iPhone login page, though it did still let me on using the iPhone credentials I had stored in my Devicescape account 🙂
Finally, I finally signed up for Twitter, and added the Twitter feed to the left column on the blog. Since it is connected to my IM client (Adium, for those wondering), I can send it short messages about what I’m up to, and they’ll end up here on the blog as well as on my Twitter page.
Well, to be more accurate, free for AT&T iPhone users. If you have your service through AT&T still, then you should get this login page when you connect to the attwifi SSID at Starbucks, or anywhere else. Enter your 10 digit AT&T mobile number and you’re online.
Devicescape users can add the special ‘AT&T Wi-Fi (iPhone)’ credential type to their account, and they will get online automatically.
There have been rumours around that the same will be enabled for anybody with an AT&T mobile data plan at some point; I expect the iPhone is being used as the test platform here since they already had mobile pages for the iPhone (my N95 still sees the full page).
Update, May 4, ’08: Seems that the web page has been taken down now (guess too many folks were abusing it by changing their browser agent string and getting online with non-iPhone devices).
As seems to be the case in many airports these days, there is Wi-Fi coverage all over the lounge area in Terminal 3 at London’s Heathrow, but you’d better make sure you have a full charge on your batteries if you plan to use it as even at the dedicated BT and T-Mobile hotspot ‘zones’ the power sockets have no juice.
And forget finding sockets anywhere in the main waiting areas – there’s none to be found (they’re all hidden under special covers in the floor). I have to wonder what the point of providing the Wi-Fi is if they don’t also provide the power for the laptops.
Still, it did work well for a quick connection from my N95 earlier – I connected to the BT Openzone, fired up Truphone and made some free international calls to let people know I’d arrived safely!
I’ve spent the day walking around downtown San Francisco testing the new Slacker Portable Player with Devicescape enabled firmware on it so I can sync my radio stations at public hotspots as well as at home.
Notice the top line of that that screen shot where it says “Signing in” – that’s Devicescape at work, getting me online here at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf on Market Street. And once it is done, it logs me out too.
For those that haven’t heard of Slacker before (where have you been?), they have a flash player for your browser that lets you choose one of their radio stations to listen to, or customise one of your own. The portable allows you to sync a few stations onto a device you can put in your pocket and then take with you. Internet radio for when you’re not connected. Next time you’re near Wi-Fi, just connect and it will re-sync getting you new tunes to listen to.
How is this free? Well, they limit the number of times you can skip forward per hour, and might also throw in some commercials (though I’ve yet to hear one). If you want the freedom to skip as often as you like, or the guarantee of no commercials, they have a monthly subscription premium plan too.
Arrived at Sugar Bowl this morning to discover that my iPhone has no service here. Oddly though, my N95, which is also on AT&T, does have coverage, and in fact pretty much full signal strength.
Luckily, here in Judah Lodge there is free Wi-Fi (SSID: EXWIRE or exwire depending on where you are). That too is a little strange as the same network is available in the main lodge, but there it is a paid hotspot network instead (which I have now added to Devicescape’s collection as well).
Also, if you’re going to provide Wi-Fi, especially paid Wi-Fi with a 2 hour minimum and day pass option, you really need to make sure that there are plenty of power outlets available as well.
Not actually as bad as I had expected given the forecasts on my iPhone before I left for Toronto. Instead of snowing as forecast, today was in fact beautifully bright and sunny. It was cold though. Very, very cold. The highest temperature I saw reported on the car’s external thermometer was -5°C. There was snow on the ground, but the roads were clear for the most part.
Right now I am sitting at Toronto airport, hooked onto the airport’s Bell hotspot Wi-Fi thanks to Boingo. I also have my Nokia N95 hooked onto the Wi-Fi through my Boingo Mobile account, allowing me to make Truphone calls to folks back in California for free. And, of course, Devicescape manages the login here from the N95 (and also earlier on my iPhone when I checked my email).
I have a couple of Devicescape updates for everybody tonight (and I’ll also post some more photos soon, but you can check most of those out in my Flickr stream anyway.
The video to the right is a video shot by our friends at Nokia that shows Devicescape logging in automatically at a T-Mobile hotspot. Here’s another one shot at San Jose airport.
Both of these videos used the T-Mobile network, but Devicescape also works on most of the other hotspot networks you’ll find around the world.
SF New “Mobile” Tech
The other thing I wanted to mention was that I presented at SF New “Mobile” Tech last night here in San Francisco. If you were there, thanks for coming (especially all the folks who already had Devicescape running on their devices).
Devicescape for your Apple iPhone
First thing, Devicescape announced today that the iPhone version of its hotspot login software will be available very soon. Check out the Devicescape blog post for information about getting on the list for downloads if you’re interested in trying that out.
Since there are now much simpler ways to get the iPhone ready for third party software, I suggest that people don’t use my iPhoneOpener software anymore for this purpose. Instead, I recommend iNdependence for Mac users looking to get ssh/sftp setup, and the Nullriver Installer.app for those on Windows or Mac OS looking to just add cool third party apps to their iPhones.
After a few days of work, I now have a pre-alpha version of Devicescape‘s hotspot login agent running on our iPhone. It is not ready for release, but it is doing basic logins, and has a simple UI (though mostly a status screen at the moment).
The screenshot shows a connection to a FON AP, but I have also logged in to our in-house test hotspot, the T-Mobile one in Starbucks across the road and a German T-Mobile hotspot we have in our shielded room for testing against.
Still more to do on this (at the very least a button for logging out of the network would be useful), but it is a start.
None of this would have been possible without the progress made by the folks at the Phone Dev Wiki of course, especially on the toolchain.
Thanks also to Eric Sadun for the screenshot utility.
Lots of progress recently on the iPhone front (been busy with that, and a couple of other research projects for work, hence the lack of posts). Tonight I uploaded the source for a little tool called iOpener that combines the jailbreak function with the installation of the dropbear ssh server.
It is based on the well documented iPhoneInterface app developed by the folks at the iPhone Dev Wiki, but removes the shell function and replaces it with pre-programmed commands (the same way the jailbreak app automates the process of getting out of the chroot jail). It also employs the same trick as jailbreak to enable iTunes to function correctly as well (and therefore also supports the latest versions of iPhoneInterface).
For now you can download it from here. I’ll re-host it somewhere on bluedonkey.org soon. Next target for me is to get Devicescape‘a hotspot login application running on the phone… Since we have a Mac OS X version, I’m hoping it will port easily now there is a toolchain in existence.