as fantastic as wordpress is, i’ve decided to go it alone and build my own blog. it lives at http://www.colmmcmullan.net so please visit there from now on.

if you use rss, you’ll want to update to http://www.colmmcmullan.net/blog/rss too.

thanks.

i’m flying to copenhagen tonight for the reboot conference tomorrow and friday.  i remember reading about it at university and aspiring to go some year so i’m pretty excited.

the topic this year is ‘free’.

i feel as though my next objective should be to have something to talk about at one of those conference things.  i guess i should blog/flickr/twitter more.  baby steps.

if you follow me on twitter, you might want to turn me off tomorrow morning :)

it was touch and go for a while. i installed a few jailbreak applications one after another without exiting the installer and shortly after the iphone application launcher kept rebooting itself every 10 seconds. an infinite loop of rebooting and no way out i could think of. this meant i couldn’t uninstall anything or reset anything and neither itunes nor ziphone was registering a connected iphone… big uh oh.restarting the iphone by holding both home and hold didn’t help either. every time the home page came up it popped up the

Edit Home Screen. To rearrange icons, touch and hold any icon until it starts to wiggle, then drag icons to desired locations. Drag an icon to the far right to create additional Home screens. Press the Home button when done. Dismiss 

it was only a matter of seconds after pressing dismiss that it restarted the home screen and popped up again. i did manage to become quite the whizz and even once managed to get as far as choosing

Erase All Content and Settings 

from the reset menu in the general menu of settings (if you think about how much time i had between reboots you might find the speed of that menu traversal mildly impressive). however, the erase was cut short by YAB (yet another reboot).my guess is that the addition of new applications messed with the first home page, somehow overloading it with more than the maximum 16 apps. even if i edited the home screen in the few seconds i had, none of the icons gave the option to delete and none would move to the second page. eek.google told me that some other people had the same problem: http://www.iphonealley.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4701 and all hope was not lost since some people had managed to get out of it. somehow. they didn’t provide much detail. typical.then (hallelujah!) i found this: http://www.haklabs.com/2008/jailbreak-update-to-iphone-113/#comment-22996to break the loop and restore your iphone you need to do the following:

  1. turn off your iphone by holding down the home and hold buttons for about 10-15 seconds. make sure it’s off and not rebooting.
  2. plug your usb lead into your iphone but not your computer.
  3. hold down the home button.
  4. still holding down home, plug the usb lead into the computer.
  5. fire up itunes and restore iphone to original settings.
  6. breathe.

i’m sure this will be the solution to other iphone jailbreak/crashing/unresponsive/weird problems. hopefully someone out there who gets themselves into a tricky spot like i did will find this useful.

it’s pretty clear i didn’t follow up my initial blogging enthusiasm. there’s a number of reasons for it, none of which are particularly interesting.

today i twittered that i am “frustrated that the future isn’t here yet… feeling it’s partly my own fault.” [1]. this was prompted by an article in the guardian describing the future of london’s bus services [2]. i also watched the video introduction to nokia’s conceptual design of ‘morph’ – a fascinating device which would interact with the environment around it in ways unimaginable using devices available to buy today [3].

so how to we get from where we are now via london bus to morph? not like this:

“The priority is to get all the buses equipped, then we can start thinking about what we want to do with the real-time passenger information.”

knowing what products to build on the data so people can have the best possible experience is non trivial and i don’t expect TFL (on their own) to get it right. however, knowing what to do with the data is a complete no brainer: set it free and let people help you create the right products.

the first thing london bus plan to do with the data is to have a spoken announcement every time the bus is approaching a stop. i hope they reconsider. why go with something so intrusive from the outset? why not start by putting the next stop on a scrolling LCD or TV screen only? why not allow people to decide the best way for them to access the data themselves?

personally i’d love an application that allows you to use a mobile device to select the stop you want to get off the bus, then it interrupts the song i’m listening to or beeps my mobile phone whenever i’m one stop away from the destination. i could also share with a friend that i’m meeting the unique identifier for the bus that i’m on so they track the bus and know when i’ll arrive with them. that would be beautiful. for me. will TFL think of me and build that application? no. but by keeping the data to themselves they prevent me from building it for myself and sharing it with others.

a closed system distances a company from their own customers – who are the people that know best what direction and products they should be focusing on.

openness creates the potential to interact with services and our environment how we want to – which improves services and makes me a happier customer.

[1] http://twitter.com/colm/statuses/764540124
[2] http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2008/feb/28/research.transport
[3]
http://uk.gizmodo.com/2008/02/28/nokia_morph_phone_concept.html

i’m excited. there’s this thing. and i think it’s cool. and you all have to think it’s cool too… deal?

in brief: multimap twitterbot and our video presentation from hackday (an iphone spoof)

ok. as a little side project that’s been going on, we’ve created the multimap twitterbot as announced on the multimap blog today. i honestly think it’s really useful. you can get directions (what we call a ‘route summary’ so it should tell you the main roads you have to take), find and get directions to your nearest *everything* and also it’s a handy way to get links to the multimap site. there’s instructions on the user guide page, let me know if you have any difficulty with it and i’ll help you out.

i’m delighted that it’s now out in the wild and if even one person finds it useful or cool i’ll be more than happy :)

this all ties in with hackday (see my photos)… it seems the done thing to blog about what you hacked so here goes…

richard and i spent our time integrating the twitterbot with the newly announced yahoo fireeagle. basically we used fireeagle to store a user’s location meaning they could set their location once then just do messages like ‘to closest wikipedia’ rather than ‘to closest wikipedia from sw1′ or whatever. even though it’s still very much beta, fireeagle looks fantastic and i’m really excited about where it’s headed (i was lucky enough to sneak a chat with the extremely approachable mor naaman and tom coates about it at the 24 hours of flickr event).

anyway, i absolutely loved the video presentation we made about it (a parody of the apple iphone ads), thanks to RK’s fabulous editing skillz we were able to put together something i don’t think we would have bettered in a week’s work… take a look at the final product: http://richardkeen.net/mm_twitterbot.mov

so to finish off, please try the twitterbot…!

breaking news! the guys at twitter blogged about our bot! yippeee!

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