This week end I bought an iPhone. I never bought a phone so far, I wanted to feel I could still be lost. As mentioned in an interview for neo-nomad, I did not own/use/carry a cell phone. I was exclusively on Trillian and Skype. It started becoming an handicap, friends want to organize things, my research group needs to reach me in a blink, I felt too unreachable!
I am still working on the design of my own gear. Well, yesterday I tested the Apple Macbook air, it feels like two sheets of paper maintains the all thing together. Too fragile. Very light. The design is too beautiful to be touched, held, hugged and smashed. When design becomes a constraint, it kind of misses the point. After all, materials are socially constructed through a sensory education and tools.
The iPhone, on the other end, looks beautiful and sturdy. The only inconvenient is its shiny screen that easily becomes a repository for oily molecules. Other than that, it is traveling in a brown sock in my bag. What better casing than a sock! It can protect anything, and I just slide the iPhone in and out of it and feels part of the smooth iPhone finger tip design! I could not help it: I took pictures of the Stuff-my-love and Terminally Juvenile-iPhone combo!
The expected features are awesome. I spent an hour at the Apple store bombarding the salespersons with questions. I am satisfied. Now that I’ve used it, I love it. One of my fear to use the roaming data versus wifi is gone. It is fast enough! I can read my pdf on it if the data comes from the mail. One thing that bothers me is that I cannot import my bookmarks from firefox, I cannot download my pics/movie from the web, etc… So to fix that problem I looked at some third parties apps. I made a list at the end of the post. If you recommend some necessary ones, let me know. Apple lists the popular ones, but unfortunately not popular to my taste.
Now the 2008 updates are pretty cool. I wanted to design a GPS system connected to an iphone. Well the map location works pretty well. The newest version of Maps allows you to find your approximate location using information from Wi-Fi networks and cell towers. Drop a pin on the map then drag it to a specific location to get directions and real-time traffic information and search for nearby points of interest. The new Hybrid map view lets you see major street names on top of satellite imagery.
A few samples to code the iPhone.
As a start I selected a good list of iPhone apps. My favorite ones so far are the Erica utilities, a collection of handy command-line utilities. picSnap snaps one picture (jpg) from the command line. sendFileByMail takes a file to send by mail. It opens the mail program, creates a new message with that attachment, snap2album snaps a picture of your screen and adds it to your Photos library on the iPhone.
The essential one seems App.Tapp. It supports installing, updating and uninstalling applications from multiple sources.
iFlickr is pretty neat too. This is an app to take pictures on your iPhone and upload to your Flickr account.
Mobile-RSS is a native iPhone application which remembers all your feeds and give you an easy interface for viewing, adding, and removing.
Also why not the Nes.app, a fully functional, feature-rich Nintendo emulator, or the Sketches, a way to sketch a simple diagram as a quick reminder. “Scribble your thoughts quickly, select a picture from your photo album to draw notes on top, you can even erase your drawing by shaking your iPhone, as if it were an etch-a-sketch!”
And to finish by a pedometer, an experimental iPhone application to measure steps as you walk. SiffyTech author of this app, also provides us with their source code.
Those will be my first try. Many more to test!
Posted by Cati Vaucelle