Random Tips & How To's

How To Use Your iPhone to Stalk Yourself

It looks like the privacy hippies were finally right about something, your mobile phone really is a pocket sized tracking device.

Turns out that as of iOS 4.0, iPhones have been tracking your physical movements and logging it along with the phone’s backups.

A small team of researchers have discovered these logs in iTune’s backup files, they’ve released a handy little app that collects all the data from your user folder and plots it on a map. and further information available here.

Here is the visualization of everywhere I’ve been since Sept 28, 2010:

You can see lots of activity in and around Winnipeg (including trips up to the Gimli and Victoria Beach), a flight to Toronto and subsequent travel around southern Ontario and a road trip to Minneapolis. It’s fascinating.

I’m not sure if this is a terrifying privacy hole or a neat little hidden feature. I’m leaning towards neat feature, since the data is stored locally on your computer and can be encrypted automatically by iTunes.

At this point in time a method for disabling the “feature” does not exist. I expect Apple will be responding in short order.

Design Web Development

Confirmed: TrueType Font Support on Mobile Safari on iOS 4.2

Thanks to Matt Wiebe for mentioning the rumour that Mobile Safari on iOS 4.2 supports TrueType fonts and providing a handy link to test:

A screenshot from my install of the iOS 4.2 GM seed on an iPhone 3G:


Flash On iPhone with Cloud Browse, Sorta

Double-U Tee Eff, it’s cnettv flash video streaming to my non-jailbroken iPhone, in Firefox? Yup. This is all thanks to the Cloud Browse app.

The app details don’t give any information about how this is actually working. As far as I can tell the app makes a VNC-type connection to a virtual machine on Amazon EC2. Works like a charm.

Get it while it lasts though, seems like the sort of app Apple might pull from the App Store.


iPlayPhone is Free!!

In celebration of one year in the app store iPlayPhone is now free!!!

[iTunes Link]


iPhone OS 4.0 Predictions

Apple have borrowed one or two ideas from the jailbreaking community in the past – the app icon rearranging functionality comes to mind, I’m sure there are others. I think many of the new features we’ll see in iPhone OS 4.0 will be based on functionality added by the community.

Don’t have time to fully explore these ideas in a blog post this morning, but here’s a breakdown of my ideas/wishlist. In order of probability.

  • Background processes
    • Not much of a hit to battery or CPU performance with simple apps like twitter or IM clients. Apple could tweak the OS to handle background processes even better.
    • All new smartphones have this ability. iPhone needs it to stay competitive.
  • Themes
    • New source of revenue
    • Could be what the paint splotches on the invite are alluding to
    • Only reason not to do it would be inconsistent UI. But, with themes officially supported Apple could apply their stringent review process.
  • Lockscreen
    • The lockscreen functionality is really cool.
    • Current jailbroken functionality doesn’t seem fully baked. I think Apple could make major improvements.
    • A dashboard widget type interface would seem to make sense.

// end stream of consciousness.