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JudoGeek Blog - Waze... download and install it now! Lance Wicks
Lance Wicks
Kiwi,
Judoka,
Geek,
Husband
Daddy!

JudoGeek Blog

Waze... download and install it now! 

Mazdaspeed3-6135

Hi All,

so over the past month or so I have been trying a new iPhone app called Waze, which is the subject of this post. Waze is (to quote the website) "...a social mobile application providing free turn-by-turn navigation based on the live conditions of the road...".

The differences between Waze and say TomTom are considerable, but all starts with the fact that the maps and the traffic reports are created by the userbase, AKA you.

Once you install Waze, you run the app on your phone; be that an iPhone, Android, Windows Mobile or Symbian. When the app is running your GPS position is used to place you on the user generated map. If the street is not on there already, you can add it.

What is really cool, if you get caught in traffic; Waze knows about it and can let everyone else know! When you see a speed camera, accident, police, etc. you can report it yourself and up it pops for everyone to see.

Now, there is more magic to it than that. There is the Twitter integration, Foursquare integration. There is also the points system, which makes driving around to and from work, the shops, whatever like playing Pacman for real.

In short, Waze rocks!

It's very early on too, so I can't wait to see it grow! And here are some of the ideas I reckon might be cool.

More Twitter: At the moment it's one broadcast from Waze to Twitter. It'd be cool if say my @replies and DMs appeared on the screen? Maybe see tweets on your route? I wonder howe many people are tweeting about the traffic?

More Foursquare: It'd be kinda cool to be able to navigate to Foursquare locations. Also, what do you think of the idea of Waze identifying Foursquare locations nearby and asking if you want to check-in?

Open Street Maps: Now, there may be background as to why Waze is not using or contributing to the Open Street Map project, but I can't help but think it'd be a cool collaboration!

Alerts and Actions: I used to have on my Jailbroken iPhone an app called iComing. It alerted me when I reached certain GPS coordinates. That meant things like alarms, sending a text message. It'd be cool it Waze would say text my wife when I hit the motorway turn off for home. Maybe Tweet a message if I am going under 40 MPH on a certain piece of a road, or get near the office.

More Social features: So being able to follow people/friend them. Stuff like that. Ahem... NoseRub... Ahem. ;-)

So there you have it, thats my two cents worth on my favorite application on my mobile at the moment. I love Waze and I reckon it's going to get better and better. I hope so anyway, because to be frank, the actual navigation/routing is pants for me at the present. I've been editing the map to try and make it better... so hopefully as they come online it'll get better. Also not seen any of the automatic route optimisation etc... presumably because at the mo the maps around me are not up to scratch?

But even with those points, I love Waze. So give it a go, it's free and really has potential.

---
Photo by liquoredonlife
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DojoList... Internationalisation and testing added. 

Although time has been short recently, I have started making some changes to my Dojo listing code, which I wanted to add to the blog.

Firstly, I have added some simple internationalisation support.
As of version 0.3.0 simple Internationalisation using Gettext is added. The language support is in the /locale/xx/LC_MESSAGES/ directories, using the standard two letter abbreviations for languages, i.e. en for English, es for Spanish etc. Native speakers can assist the project by editing the messages.po file in the directory. The .po file is then used to create the .mo file.

Basically, I have since gone through most of my views and replaced echo statements with the gettext abbreviation _('........'); statement as below.

<?php echo _(“Home”); ?>

The next step was/is to create tranlation files using:

xgettext ../../../views/*.php

Then run :

msgfmt messages.po -o messages.mo

I then needed to add some simple code to the app to manage which language is displayed. Including the translation is a case of including


// Specify location of translation tables
bindtextdomain (“messages”, “./locale”);

// Choose domain
textdomain (“messages”);


in the main index.php file and also selecting the language using:

<?php
// Set language to Spanish
putenv (“LC_ALL=es”);
?>


This all works pretty smoothly, if the .po file is blanked, then it defaults to the original. So for English, I have not had to add anything. So all I need now is people to translate the text. :-)

Automated testing.
I have added a /tests/ folder to the project and included the simpletest framework to make testing my code simple and easy. So far I have done very little except get it in place and working.

I have started by adding some basic tests to the Dojo model.

My intention is as I progress to write my tests first and then write the code to implement the features I want. It's good practice, but I am lazy and have nt been doing it.

I've just this evening merged the branch I was using to develop the localisation into the master branch on http://github.com/lancew/DojoList

Go take a look at the code there, or see it in action at http://dojolist.org

Lance.
:-)

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Maintaining momentum... 

Hi everyone,
long time no bloggage I know. The bloggage Blockage has been the result of a whole heap of things. Work, Judo, Life all conspiring to keep me away from this blog.

My pal Chris posted recently that he is clesaning up his digital life, I think I could do with doing that... heck doing it with my analog/real life would be good too.

As some of you know, I have been working for a client since October last year, based an hour or so from home, 5 days a week; with increasingly regular overnight trips around the UK. This is due to come to an end in March and it has had me thinking about momentum.

The new client work has been great, good for my business and challenging work. But it has been all consuming, very little time has been left free to me to keep other aspects of my business rolling and also to pursue other things like open source projects.

So with the end of this client work looming, I have the opportunity to look forward and try and set some direction in my commercial and personal life. For example, I have been working on another language version of my PlanetJudo.com website (French this time). Once that goes live, I want to finish the PlanetJudo iPhone app I have had a varying levels of completeness for months and push it to the Appstore.

I also want to bring the DojoList project to a releasable level. I have started on rudimentary multi-lingual support. Which has been helpful as the next step in PlanetJudo's future is a big refactoring to incorporate languages better and be a single application with language support. Rather than 3 copies of the same app customised to each language as it is now.

Also on the list is a new car (or two), more podcasting, more coaching, more clients. Too much to handle I suspect, so some good planning is required. I am also wanting to do a Judo research project for the next IAJR symposium (and potentially preparing and poster fo the EJU research symposium that may take place in April). I also need to put some time and energy into JudoSpace, the training company I am a director in.

Phew...

And all through this the big issue that ove rthe last few months I have totally lost momentum on pretty much everything except this main client I have.

So the big question/goal/challenge for the next period is this, how do I maintain/develop momentum when faced by the real life day-to-day issues of things to do.

My hope is that once I get free of this project I'll be able to set things up to allow me to do what needs doing whilst also maintaining momentum on my projects.

Any suggestions or experiences in this area would really help me understand the problem better and help guide how I tackle it all. So please do email or comment.

Lance.

p.s. Now that this project is coming to an end, I'm looking for projects to work on. Preferably in Hampshire, but as the past few months have proven, I can cope with commuting (to a degree). Web stuff, Server stuff, Coaching stuff, please let me know.
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What is on my iPhone redux. 

Some time ago I wrote a post about what is on my iPhone. I thought I'd re-visit the topic, in part because I shall (eventually) be upgrading to the 3GS, or possibly a Palm Pre or Android? But realistically, it'll be the iPhone 3GS as it is still the best phone I've ever owned.

So here is my little bit of FanBoi-ism, hope it's interesting to you.

First and foremost, JAILBREAK YOUR IPHONE!!!!!!
Let me repeat, Jailbreak your iPhone, It's absolutely the best thing you can do, it opens a whole new world to you... as will become apparent in the rest of this blog post.

Winterboard.
This is a silly, but great thing to have on your phone. Winterboard allows you to "Theme" your iPhone. So being a geek, I have the LCARS theme on mine. So it's all Star Trek all the time. (Uhuru tells me when I have voicemail LOL.

EchoFon.
This is from the Apple store and it is my Twitter client of choice. It's was TwitterFon but had a name change. It also has push notifications now, which is great.

Growl for iPhone.
GrIp is fantastic, it's is subtly awesome. If you use Growl on your Mac you'll know what it does. GrIp pops up little pop-up boxes when you get emails, etc. Depending on what modules are installed.

xGPS
I've been driving up and down the country alot lately and I use xGPS exclusively now. There are other navigation apps out there, but xGPS (on Cydia) is free and it works great. So, so far I have not been tempted to the paid options... though it may come.

Ringtone Shuffler
Again on Cydia, this paid for app is great fun. It basically does what it says on the tin. You get a random ringtone everytime someone calls you. Now I have too many ringtones from Cydia and Audiko, so it's always a laugh in the office when the phone rings.

Runkeeper Pro
I don't use this anywhere enough, but it's awesome. Basically it's a GPS tracker. You run, it counts the miles. But it is so much more than that, the website rocks, the Pro version has great audio cues when you hit time and distance markers. Give the free version ago, or go straight to the paid version... you will eventually anyway. :-)

PDAnet
Tethering is a rip off, an absolute rip off. How charging you extra to use your phone as a modem has been allowed by OFCom I do not know! I could do it about a decade ago with my old mobiles, and it didn't cost extra, so why is it costing me extra now???
Well... here is the solution! PDAnet (via Cydia) allows you to use your iPhone to get on the web. The unlicensed only allows HTTP, but spend the $15USD (one off payment) and everything works. Compare that to the what £15/month O2 think they can charge and it's an easy choice!

iComing
I have left my favourite till last. iComing (on Cydia) is, amazing and powerful. And I am only just scratching the surface in what it does so far. iComing is a real innovation, try it!
iComing in simple terms "does stuff" based on your location.
So for example, I send a SMS text message to my wife automatically with it when I take my turn-off on the motorway, so she knows I am almost home. Because iComing sits running in the background, you set it up and it keeps checking where you are and fires of the actions you configure when you are in the right place.
iComing can send Twitter updates, update your Twitter location too. It can also just alarm, send an SMS, ring a phone number, turn your wifi on/off, turn Mail on/off, chaneg your ring tone volume, turn 3G on/off, turn Airplane mode on/off, turn Bluetooth on/off.
I can't wait to see the app develop, it'd be awesome to be able to for example run scripts or open (via curl even) websites. Imagine the possibilities of being able to access any API out there via iComing and "do stuff" when you are in certain places??

I wrote ages ago about how I thought location/context was the future. That dropped down on my priority list, but iComing reminds me how cool location/context on your phone will/could be.

So there you have it, a short list of the stuff on my iPhone that I love. There are about 7 pages of apps on my iPhone, but these are the key ones for me at the moment... okay and the Facebook app I admit it! ;-)

Lance
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From Hack to Software Project (the early days of DojoList). 

Free Software Free Society
Those of you who follow this blog or my Twitter stream will be aware of my DojoList project. DojoList is quickly morphing from a quick hack I started writing to create a Google Map for the Hampshire Judo Association website to a real "Software Project".

After initially starting with all my own PHP, I quickly moved to a MVC Framework (LimonadePHP). This meant that I did not have to "Re-invent the wheel" structuring the code. And it has been helping keep my code more modular and tidy.

I started from the beginning using version control, which is something I do on virtually anything I type now. So I have been using GitHub to host my source code. Git is great as I can commit changes even when offline. I don't use 99% of Git and the more I use it the more I love it.

Due to my original target server being an icky WIndows IIS server, I made the decision to keep the application simple with the bare minimum of dependencies. So rather than using MySQL or similar to store the data, I decided to use files. Specifically, I am storing the data in XML. XML is parsed from bog standard PHP and also gives you structured data that is nice and portable.

As the project has reached a certain level of usability and completeness, I have had the opportunity to do some refactoring. Specifically, I have moved some code from within my controllers to the model for the Dojo. It's a small refactoring, but there is a great feeling when you look at your code and can go "yep that's much cleaner". It also meant that when I wanted to add a view for an individual Dojo, it was less than an hours work as the code was all seperately and tidy.

I have started using the PHP_CodeSniffer tool. I have always liked the Perl::Critic and Perl::Tidy tool in Perl, so using PHP_CodeSniffer to push myself to the PEAR Coding Standards is great and I hope it will mean that it'll make the code more friendly to others who want to use the code or better yet contributing to it.

Last, but not least, I am using the AGPL license for the project. WHich like it's brother/sister the GPL is an Open Source license that protects the code and also gives others permission to use the software, to change the software, to improve it, etc etc. JUST AS LONG AS YOU SHARE! I'm no expert on licensing, but I like the fact that the AGPL protects my effort and still give you permission to hack. Better yet it means if you improve it, you need to share your improvements, so everyone benefits!

I recently rolled DOjoList out into "production" and have a couple of organisations that have already expressed interest in using it on their websites! (WOW!) I just setup http://www.DojoList.org (ORG not COM, don't go to the .COM version, go to the .ORG domain ok). I want to use it as a home for the project, but may also use it as a service for those people who don't want to install it on their website (for some reason).

As you can see from the length of this post, the transition from a quick hack to a proper project is interesting and exciting and I am learning a lot. I hope that the interest in the project continues to grow and that will drive me to improve not only the code by my own ability to create it.

Lance
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