Posts tagged as "london"

Mapstraction, Maps and Me

It's been a while since my last blog post; my day job at Nokia has been taking up almost all of my time and what little time has been left has been spent with my family. But in between day job and family time there's evenings spent in a hotel room and hours spent on a plane, mainly between London's Heathrow and Berlin's Tegel airports. It's in these periods of time that a combination of my MacBook Pro, running a combo of Apache/MySQL/PHP with MAMP and TextMate has allowed me to rediscover the pleasure of what I used to do for my day job before Yahoo! and before Nokia ... and that's to write code.

What's In A Name? The Internet vs. The Real World

In the real world we own our name. I've got a birth certificate somewhere which confirms who I am and, short of changing it by deed poll, this name will remain with me until I shuffle off this mortal coil. Although there's quite a few Gary Gales out there on the Internet, this one is inextricably me and no-one can take that away from me.

But in the online world we don't so much as own our names, we ... lease them. I've "owned" the domain name continuously since April 2001 but it's not ownership as we understand it in the real world. If I don't renew my domain every so often it'll lapse and someone else, should they wish to, can take it over. This is an arrangement I can live with as it's the way the Internet domain name system works, like it or hate it. I will, at least, get some warning to renew my claim on (temporary) ownership of the domain as there's a financial arrangement at play. I pay some money and, domain grabs notwithstanding, I keep the domain for the duration of the period I've paid for.

The Non Golden Rules of Geo (Redux)

Back when I used to work for Yahoo! I wrote a lot of posts for the Geo Technologies blog; for reasons partially explained in my last post, that blog is now offline, presumed dead. But one post that seems to keep catching people's imagination is the one in which I, somewhat tongue in cheek, codified the Six Non Golden Rules Of Geo. Much to my satisfaction, it keeps getting mentioned, although the full original post is inaccessible, as is the rest of that blog. Nate Kelso reproduced part of it, as did John Goodwin but until earlier today I'd not been able to find the full post.

Step forward the aforementioned John Goodwin who, with a bit of internet detective work, managed to find a mirror of the post. While I much prefer to link to blog posts rather than reproduce them in full, in this case I'm plagiarising myself and making an exception on the ground of inaccessibility, and have mirrored the post in full here. It's worth mentioning that this post was originally written in February of 2009, when I was still working for Yahoo! so it's a little out of date and was originally posted as ...

The Opposite Of Geolocation Is ... Relocation?

First a disclaimer; there's one elsewhere on this blog but this post merits another. I used to work for Yahoo! as part of the Geo Technologies group. I now work for Nokia as part of their Location group. The opinions and ideas expressed in this post are absolutely just my own, and should not be confused with, or taken for, those of my current or past employers. It's just me here.

You may not have realised it but Friday May 27th. was a sad day for the Geo industry in London. Even without the benefit of knowing what was going on from ex-colleagues inside the company, the signs were there if you knew where to look for them and how to read them.

Before the Internet, companies, teams and projects could fade quietly into anonymity and into oblivion. But on the Internet, everything is in public and it's much harder to hide the tell tale signs. API updates and bug fixes cease. A web site or blog stops being updated or goes down altogether. A Twitter feed stops being an active living thing and becomes merely a historical record. Ex-colleagues start following you on Twitter or you start getting connection requests on LinkedIn whilst other colleagues start polishing and updating their LinkedIn profiles.

And May 27th. 2011? That was the day that the last of the remaining members of my old team at Yahoo! Geo Technologies left the Yahoo! office in London and that was the day that Yahoo! ceased to have a Geo presence in the UK.

The Cloud May Be About To Get Stormy

If you read the technical media and the blogosphere, we're all on an inexorable march towards The Cloud. No-one seems exactly sure what The Cloud is, but we're going there. As I wrote in a previous post, I use a simplistic definition for The Cloud; any form of storage that I connect to over a network connection classes as Cloud storage. It is, perhaps, an overly simplistic definition, but until a more formal and agreed definition surfaces, it will suffice for now.

I'm also, in some cases inadvertently, a reasonably prolific user of Cloud storage. I store large amounts of data in The Cloud; photos, software, general data, web pages, databases, emails and so on. With safely secured backups of course, as Cloud services are just like any other computer resource; sometimes they fail and go offline.

iOS Location Caching Round-up - Conspiracy Theories: 0, Smart Location Caching: 1

More a meta post, or what Kuro5hin would have called MLP (meaningless link propagation), this post started out as a comment to one of my previous posts on the iOS location caching controversy but soon expanded way beyond a comment into a full blown post.

Firstly, let's get the conspiracy theory out of the way; this theory has been presented in a variety of ways but all of them seem to think that your iOS device is tracking your location and that the reason for this is some shadowy request from government or intelligence agencies. Perhaps the most eloquent case for this was on Frank Reiger's blog.

Now I love a good conspiracy theory as much as the next person and Frank’s blog post was a great read. But I have to take issue with the two main points he raises. Firstly there’s “if it was a bug then it would have been fixed … it hasn’t been fixed so it can’t be a bug and must therefore be deliberate“. Secondly there’s “not only has the bug not been fixed but the file even moved location without being fixed so it must be (even more) deliberate“.

Location's "Ick Factor"; First iOS And Now Android

Two days ago I wrote about the "discovery" of a cache file on iOS devices that stores the position of cell towers and the associated media coverage surrounding this. Note that I use "discovery" in inverted commas here. As Sally Applin pointed out in a comment on my previous post, this "discovery" is not new and a paper on this by Alex Levinson, Bill Stackpole and Daryl Johnson was published in January 2011 as part of the Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences. Maybe sometimes researchers don't read other, existing, research on a subject before publishing.

iOS Location "Tracking"; Gross Invasion Of Privacy Or Media Sensationalism?

Oh dear. For a few years now I've been talking about how the privacy aspect of today's location technologies is something that may just catapult location into the mainstream, and possibly tabloid, media and probably for the wrong reasons. I envisaged this as being something salacious and potentially titillating, such as two Z List celebrities involved in a high profile divorce case, where they claimed to be in two separate places but their phone's A-GPS showed the complete opposite. If you were at Where 2.0 in San Jose this week or reading the headlines on the web sites of the BBC, The Guardian or BoingBoing, you'd be forgiven for thinking that just such a location media event had happened. But has it? The headlines certainly seem to think so ...

iPhone tracks users' movements ... says the BBC iPhone keeps record of everywhere you go ... says the Guardian Got an iPhone or 3G iPad? Apple is recording your moves .... says O'Reilly Radar iOS devices secretly log and retain record of every place you go ... says BoingBoing

... and when I use the word "says" in reality "screams" would be more accurate.

Communicating To The Communicators (At The CIPR Social Media Conference)

Regular readers of this blog will be aware of my comfort zones when it comes to speaking at conferences. If there's maps, geography or location involved, however tenuous the connection, I'm well within my comfort zone. But speaking to a room full of seasoned communicators, such as Public Relations professionals? That's way outside of my comfort zone.

Nonetheless, on Monday of this week I found myself at the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, in London's Russell Square, at the CIPR Social Media Conference 2011, allegedly talking about something called The Smartphone Web, to just such a room full of seasoned communicators.

Mapping The Might Have Been

The moment you make a map there's a fairly good chance that it will be out of date. There's nothing wrong with this; anyone who works in the cartography or mapping fields will tell you that one of the biggest challenges in making maps is not making the map, it's keeping it up to date once it's made. Geography is constantly moving, changing, flowing thing.

One of the most fascinating aspects of old maps is not so much looking at what's changed since they were made, though that is fascinating enough, but of what might have been but then never was.

Regular readers of this blog may have worked out that out of all the maps there are, my favourite is the London Underground Tube map. A browse through the London Tube Map Archive shows just how much the Tube network has expanded and contracted over the years and how stations have changed not only in name but sometimes in position as well. But some of these maps also show what was planned but which was never realised; as Trent Reznor once put it "all the what abouts, the might have and could have beens". Take a look at this map of the network from 1938.