I finally replaced my old regular cell-phone which was literally being held together by a rubber band with a fancy new G1, my first Internet accessible phone.
I had to call the T-Mobile support line to get data added to my plan and the person helping me was disconcertingly friendly. She asked about my weekend plans and so I felt compelled to ask her the same. Her plans involved replacing her video card so she could get back to World of Warcraft and do I enjoy computer gaming? I couldn't tell if she was genuine or if she was signing me up for magazines.
I was with Sarah in her new car, trying out the phone's GPS functionality via Google Maps while she drove. I switched to Street View and happened to find my car. It was a weird feeling, kind of like those Google conspiracy videos.
The phone runs Google's open source OS and I really enjoy the application API. Its all in Java and URIs and mime-types are sort of basics. Rather than invoking the builtin item picker control directly you invoke an 'intent' specifying the URI of your list of items, a mime-type describing the type of items in the list, and an action 'PICK' and whatever is registered as the picker on the system pops up and lets the user pick from that list. The same goes if you want to 'EDIT' an image, or 'VIEW' an mp3.
I wanted to replace the Google search box gadget that appears on the home screen with my own search box widget that uses OpenSearch descriptors but apparently in the current API you can't make home screen gadgets without changing parts of the OS. My other desired application is something to replace this GPS photo tracker device by recording my location to a file and an additional program on my computer to apply those locations to photos.
I just upgraded to the Zune 3.0 software which includes games and purchasing music on the Zune via WiFi and once again I'm thrilled that the new firmware is available for old Zunes like mine. Rooting around looking at the new features I noticed Zune Badges for the first time. They're like Xbox Achievements, for example I have a Pixies Silver Artist Power Listener award for listening to the Pixies over 1000 times. I know its ridiculous but I like it, and now I want achievements for everything.
Achievements everywhere would require more developments in self-tracking. Self-trackers, folks who keep statistics on exactly when and what they eat, when and how much they exercise, anything one may track about one's self, were the topic of a Kevin Kelly Quantified Self blog post (also check out Cory Doctorow's SF short story The Things that Make Me Weak and Strange Get Engineered Away featuring a colony of self-trackers). For someone like me with a medium length attention span the data collection needs to be completely automatic or I will lose interest and stop collecting within a week. For instance, Nike iPod shoes that keep track of how many steps the wearer takes. I'll also need software to analyze, display, and share this data on a website like Mycrocosm. I don't want to have to spend extreme amounts of time to create something as wonderful as the Feltron Report (check out his statistic on how many daily measurements he takes for the report). Once we have the data we can give out achievements for everything!
Eat at least ten different kinds of animals.
Meet at least 10% of the residents in your home town.
Visit a city in every country.
Survive at least 80 years of life.
Of course none of the above is practical yet, but how about Delicious achievements based on the public Delicious feeds? That should be doable...