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Tag Archives: GPS

Apple Fixes “Life-Threatening” Bug, But Could There Be More?

Apple Maps, found in all iOS 6 devices, is quite probably the company’s most infamous failure to date. It’s been plagued with glitches, bugs and general design flaws from the get go. The latest, perhaps most embarrassing hiccup comes courtesy of a few unfortunate motorists in Australia who got stranded while looking for the town of Mildura. It turns out that Apple Maps gave them a location in the middle of the desert, some 44 miles away from the actual coordinates. To be more specific, the Australian Murray-Sunset National Park in the middle of summer is a hot, and inhospitable place; perhaps worst of all, the erroneous location of Mildura was in a zone absent of cellular coverage. Some motorists got there, presumably ran out of gas, and were unable to either call for help or drive away. In some cases, they were stranded for 24 hours. Sure enough, the police got in touch with the Cupertino giant to inform them of the potentially life-threatening situation, and the latest information is that the glitch has been fixed. Great.

But the damage and loss of trust in Apple’s product remains. What if there are other such “bugs”? Of course there are those who argue that one shouldn’t rely on GPS alone and we should use common sense. But in a situation like this, one that didn’t involve driving off road, are the motorists really to blame?

Apple’s stock has been mostly stagnant since April and a string of high profile layoffs makes one wonder if this could be the start of the world’s most valuable company’s decline, or just a regular bump on the road.

VIA [ CultOfMac ]

‘There’s No Place Like Home’ GPS Shoes Will Take You Places

GPS Shoes

Some people say they’re willing to go wherever the road will take them, but what if they get lost somewhere along the way? Well, if they have a pair of these There’s No Place Like Home GPS shoes, then they won’t have a problem, because these soles will help any wandering souls find their way, no matter where they want to go.

The GPS shoes are UK-based designer Dominic Wilcox’s newest project, which has been embedded with a GPS system so you can just feed in where you want to go (via a custom mapping program that’s been written especially for these shoes) and the shoes will tell you which direction to go after you click the heels together. (Sound familiar?) The right shoe measures how far (or close) you are to your destination, while the left shoe points you to the direction where you’re supposed to go.

Check out more images of the GPS shoes as well as a video from Wilcox explaining the entire concept.

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SPOT Connect Gives Your Smartphone Satellite Access

It’s all well and good that you’re the adventurous type, likely at any time to be found camping in the Amazons, spelunking in the Yucatan or trekking in the Himalayas, but bringing your phone with you on those adventures might just be more dead weight in your backpack. Cellular reception is not universal. Satellite phones are notoriously expensive, so maybe the SPOT Connect can be a good compromise.

Simply pair your smartphone with SPOT Connect, and get connected to a global satellite network that lets you send messages and GPS coordinates from virtually anywhere on the planet. Update Twitter and Facebook. Send email and text messages. Request non-emergency help from professional service providers. And in the case of a critical emergency, send an SOS message requesting emergency assistance.

You’re limited to 41 characters at a time for custom messages, and you can save a 120 character predefined message. Not a whole lot, but should be enough for quick updates. More important than letting your buddies in on which caves in Namibia offer the most guano/sq.ft. coverage is the fact that you can transmit your coordinates to the GEOS International Emergency Response Coordination Center (IERCC) in case of emergency. That right there is reason enough to spend the $169 that the device costs. Plus the $99 yearly for the subscription to the service.

It works with iPhone and Android devices.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ GearPatrol ]

Dick Tracy Phone Watch For Kids Is Also Homing Beacon

By David Ponce

You want to be a good parent and like technology? Put the two together and make your own life easier. The above Mobile Phone Watch lets your kid make and receive calls, but also has a GPS module. Why? So you can know where they are at the press of a button. You can also set up a Bluetooth-based alert that will sound an alarm as soon as your kids wander off range. Also, you can set up a virtual “fence” that the kids are not supposed to exit; if they do, the watch will send you a text. Finally, there’s a panic mode button that will send the GPS coordinates to the parents along with an SOS message.

That’s a lot of functionality in a fairly cheap package: $80. The hard part will be to convince your kids to actually wear the thing.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ DVice ]

Find My Car Smart App For The Truly Forgetful

By David Ponce

There are a ton of apps that help you find your car once you’ve forgotten where you parked it. They all suffer from a fatal flaw: you have to tell them where you’ve parked as you leave your car. Let’s be honest here: after a while, you’ll also start forgetting to do this. So that’s why the Find My Car Smart app one-ups them all. Using Bluetooth 4.0, the application works with a paired-up USB adapter that shuts off as you turn your car’s ignition off. The program on your iPhone 4S notices this and makes a quick note of your GPS coordinates. If you later can’t recall your spot, launch the app and find out. Yes, you do need an iPhone 4S as that’s the only iDevice that uses Bluetooth 4.0, now known as Bluetooth Smart.

The app and related USB dongle and car charger are on the one place where people with good ideas can connect directly with the marketplace: Kickstarter. However, the funding goals have been more than reached and you can get yourself the entire kit for as little as $30. Shipping in January 2012.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Engadget ]

DeLorme InReach Can Save You When Stranded In Nowhereland

By David Ponce

Surviving by yourself in inhospitable conditions is really only fun on TV. There’s only so much of your own pee you can drink, so many camel testicles you can eat and so many carcases you can crawl into before you realize that you really should have packed something like DeLorme’s InReach two-way satellite hookup before leaving for a trek across the Sahara. For $250 and a $10 a month subscription, you can send distress SMSs to pre-designated recipients along with your GPS coordinates, with a delivery confirmation. If you happen to also be carrying an Android phone, you can pair through Bluetooth and actually send and receive messages. There’s an SOS button in case all you’re able to do before passing out is to press a button. Finally, the InReach is rugged, waterproof, shock-resistant and buoyant.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Crave ]

Drunk In London Much? This App Will Wake You When You Reach Your Bus Stop

By David Ponce

Getting around in London on public transport just got a little easier. The BusChecker app not only gives you countdowns until your next bus arrives at any of the 20,000 London bus stops, but it packs a neat feature that any drunk/sleepy person could use. See, with iOS 5s region monitoring feature, you can simply get on the bus, tell the application where you’re going and doze off. An alarm will ring as you reach your station. Whether you’ll be awoken from your slumber is another matter altogether.

Aside from that, you can keep track of your bus on a map. BusChecker is around $3.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Wired’s Gadget Lab ]

MyRingGuard Can Save You In Case Of Emergency

By David Ponce

This is a great idea. The MyRingGuard is a prototype silicone and plastic ring that sends a distress text message along with your exact GPS location to a pre-determined set of people in case of emergency. They can then decide to either come to you, call 911 for you or walk around their apartment while flailing their arms, in agony over how to best come to your help. Say you’re out running late at night and trip and injure yourself. Or you fear for your safety for whatever reason. Instead of reaching for your phone just press your thumb to your index finger and the ring will communicate through Bluetooth and send out those distress signals. Think of it as a sophisticated panic button.

Currently the MyRingGuard is in the crowdfunding phase, not on your usual Kickstarter but on another social funding site. For $39 you can get a ring, though you’re free to contribute more to attain the stated $30,000 goal. However it appears to only work with Android powered phones at the moment.

[ MyRingGuard Funding Page ]

Tagg Pet Tracker – Keeping Your Pet Safe with Technology

By Eric Evdosin

Do you have a dog or cat that likes to stray away from the yard and you are always trying to find them? The Tagg Pet Tracker combines GPS and wireless technology to make keeping tabs on your pet simple. You use the GPS to help build a defined “safe zone” for your pets. Whenever they stray outside of this area you are quickly notified by text and/or email.

The Tagg Pet Tracker is tied into the Verizon data network giving you coverage in most parts of the country. This powerful combination of GPS and wireless communications takes away the fear of losing a pet and allows you to walk directly to where they are playing their game of pet hide-and-seek. The Tagg Pet Tracker retails for $199.95 and includes a full year of service.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Crnchy ]