Friday, August 20, 2010

Location, How Public Should One Be?

After seeing the "Current Location" widget on Chris Luhmans blog Everyday Riding, I gave it a little thought and decided to give it a try. It uses Google Latitude and you have only a little bit of control as to how much information you want to give away. No information, city only or full location information. I.e. as accurate as the gps in your phone. I chose the middle option of naming the city only. I also loaded a small program on my phone called Longitude that updates Google every 90 minutes or so based on the phones location. The 90 minute interval is sort of a compromise of location and battery life. Since I was headed up to Barrow, it seemed like an opportune time to try out the service. One of the side benefits, supposedly, is you could know where your phone is. In order for this to be of real use, you have to have more accurate location information fed from the phone. I tried it and you could tell which side of the street I was walking. Maybe a little too much information...

As I mentioned, I'm in Barrow for a while to try and get as much done on the video podcast, webcast solution as possible. There are so many small pieces, it's hard to figure out all of them before you actually plug things together. And since there isn't anyplace up here to get small pieces like cables or adaptors, all I can do is make lists, order more pieces and come back again. I now have two Sony cameras mounted to the ceiling with serial cables for remote pan/tilt/zoom and video feeding back to the Tricaster Studio. The video output from the Tricaster feeds, via s-video, to a Dac-10 which is Firewire connected to a Mac Mini. The Dac-10 is a wonderful unit that allows you to convert any video source to something else. Unfortunately, it isn't made anymore. I just brought up the unit from my office to get things going. The Mac Mini runs Podcast Capture which uploads the captured video to a OSX Server running Podcast Producer. Last night, I configured Podcast Producer (along with the associated XGrid, NFS and OpenDirectory) and it runs beautifully. This is a dual Xeon server with 12 GB of memory and it really does a great job with the encoding. Over three times as fast as the older server I had set up last December. It took a while figuring out how to get the content moved off the system volume but now it just cruises! I like it when things just work. The Tricaster optionally runs a service that you can configure to connect into. Your content will then be available from them. The obvious benefit is bandwidth. This site has two satellite T1 connections so bandwidth is limited and there is a lot of latency.


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  2. Great. So those people who worry about their licence plates being shown on the Internet can now tell Google and the world exactly where they are all the time.
    It's not a matter of the corporations stealing our privacy, it's a matter of us giving up our privacy on a platter.

  3. Conchscooter,
    I was wondering the same thing. There are a bunch of social networking apps out there such as FourSquare and Twitter that could advertise where you are at any given time. I think you are correct in that it is us volunteering to give up our privacy. I noticed that it may be a generational thing as younger generations don't seem to care about giving up privacy. Just look at the success of sites such as Facebook. It isn't just the geeky types using it anymore and no one seems to care about their terms of use. You give up a lot using these sights.

    Anyway, thank you for stopping by and commenting. I think that this is an interesting topic...