Monthly Archives: March 2010

new iphone version (1.5)

other platforms are rolling out over the coming week.
a lot of the changes are under-the-hood tweaks you won’t see (speeded up login, minor bug fixes).

However there are two features you will notice.

  1. The map pushpins for your friends are now clickable.
    What this means is…errrm…you can click on them 😉 – to very quickly call and text your friends from within the echoecho application.
    echoecho - new map view

    echoecho - new map view

  2. You may have noticed a new requirement when you first installed echoecho – asking for an additional piece of information – Your Name
    echoecho - new map view
    This is due to the idiosyncracies of iphone. On any other phone platform when you send an echo to somebody that doesn’t have echoecho – the invite SMS will come from you (Assuming you are in that person’s address book they are more likely to respond). However on the iphone that is not the case. Apple doesn’t allow third party applications to send background SMS messages.

And there you have it. 1.5 builds on all other platforms will follow shortly – then when everything is inline we can go straight into 2.0 (which we’ve been planning continuously)

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LBS – beyond early adopters…

In a recent post on RWW (original post) Jason Finkelstein (Wavemarket) touches on a very valid argument about moving beyond the check-in LBS models.

Although he pushes the particular argument towards carrier-assisted location services (no surprise there since this is one of the core strengths of his company – as it happens it’s a very tough model to scale – but that’s a subject for another discussion) regular readers of this blog will know that I agree with the basic principle.

Until location services are actually usable (and useful) by people outside of the SXSW fanboys then for all the growth and blog traffic they generate – their overall impact will be small.

There’s another article peripherally connected to the subject by the NYT here – but it’s interesting how easily a technology journalist can misinterpret basic service functionality while simultaneously trying to explain it simply.

To paraphrase….”Foursquare came in handy for Jordan when she came into a bar and could not find anyone she knew.”

Hmmm…lemme see how this would play out in the real world. Here is that LBS interaction – in words.

“Hey – I’m HERE !!!! Anybody want to hang out…anybody. ok now I’m HERE !!!!!”

Is this just me – or is this a bass-ackward way to approach a problem. As I said before – if the issue is finding your friends/colleagues/family (as many agree is the case) then let’s make tools that accomplish this correctly.

Otherwise it’s like trying to have a meaningful conversation with someone via an RSS feed (or slightly more laterally – like driving forwards while looking in the rear view mirror wondering where your friends are ;))

just when you thought RIM was a safe platform…

well ok fine – it was never that safe – see our post about RIM annoyances here – we finally discovered why a some users were complaning about using echoecho on North American CDMA networks.

It’s because in their infinite wisdom – many of these networks disable 3rd party application GPS access.

Yes. You read that correctly.

Verizon (and Sprint, Bell, Telus) don’t want anyone (other than themselves) being able to access the location of a users handset. This idea is so exceptionally boneheaded – the only thing that’s more surprising about this than the fact that it exists – is the fact that it’s not RIM’s fault.

This is clearly an operator level decision – since GSM blackberries appear to function fine.

So in case anyone is wondering why there is a shortage of location based solutions developed for RIM platforms in North America – here’s your answer.

(please note – there are some modern CDMA blackberries where this functionality has been reactivated but even as recently as february 8th 2010 – official Verizon reps have posted that they are trying to figure out how to monetise their location API

HELLO!!! – Verizon – it’s not 2001 – do you guys understand what Android/Iphone devices can do?

Frustrating – especially because it’s the worst kind of walled-garden, overprotective backward thinking I have seen on a modern smartphone platform (of course many may argue that CDMA as a whole fits that category – but that’s another debate)

There are (as ever) some blogosphere hacks around this issue – but having not tried them I cannot endorse any of them. (here’s one)

As for echeocho – we are of course developing a workaround – but due to the CDMA network’s restrictive behaviour – the positional accuracy will not be as high as other blackberry devices.