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Schneier on Security: Alerting Users that Applications are Using Cameras, Microphones, Etc.

2010 May 24, 6:26"What You See is What They Get: Protecting users from unwanted use of microphones, cameras, and other sensors," by Jon Howell and Stuart Schechter.

"We introduce the sensor-access widget, a graphical user interface element that resides within an application's display. The widget provides an animated representation of the personal data being collected by its corresponding sensor, calling attention to the application's attempt to collect the data."

Not sure how well that scales...PermalinkCommentstechnical security privacy research

Widget Packaging and Configuration

2010 Mar 26, 2:28"Widgets are client-side applications that are authored using Web standards, but whose content can also be embedded into Web documents."PermalinkCommentsw3c spec widget web application technical

Yahoo! Media Player

2009 Mar 10, 11:26I've seen Yahoo's media player javascript widget around but until I read the dev. instructions I didn't appreciate it. You just include their js file and it finds all your links to mp3s (finer grained and more explicit control available too), adds them to its playlist, and sticks a simple play/pause button on each link.PermalinkCommentsmp3 music ajax design yahoo javascript

G1 Android Phone

2008 Nov 9, 11:29

T-Mobile G1 Wallpapers by romainguy
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.

PermalinkCommentstmobile personal api phone technical g1 android google

Chumby will be cool, despite its name

2008 Feb 19, 1:51

Bedside ChumbyI signed up for the pre-release beta and purchased a Chumby last year. Chumby looks like a cousin to a GPS unit. Its similar in size with a touch screen, but has WiFi, accelerometers, and is pillow like on the sides that aren't a screen. In practice its like an Internet alarm clock that shows you photos and videos off the Web. Its hackable in that Chumby Industries tells you about the various ways to run your own stuff on the Chumby, modifying the boot sequence (it runs Linux), turning on sshd, etc, etc. The Chumby forum too has lots of info from folks who have found interesting hacks for the device.

When you turn on the Chumby it downloads and runs the latest version of the Chumby software which lets you set alarms, play music, and display Flash widgets. The Chumby website lets anyone upload their own Flash widgets to share with the community. I tried my hand at creating one using Adobe's free Flash creation SDK but I don't know Flash and didn't have the patience to learn.

Currently my Chumby is set to wake me up at 8am on weekdays with music from ShoutCast and then displays traffic and weather. At 10am everyday it switches to showing me a slide-show of LolCats. At 11pm it switches to night mode where it displays the time in dark grey text on a black background at a reduced light level so as not to disturb me while I sleep.

I like the Chumby but I have two complaints. The first is that it forces me to learn flash in order to create anything cool rather than having a built-in Web browser or depending on a more Web friendly technology. The second complaint is about its name. At first I thought the name was stupid in a kind of silly way, but now that I'm used to the name it sounds vaguely dirty.

PermalinkCommentschumby review flash linux

Schmap - Photo Inclusion - Customize your Schmap Widget!

2008 Feb 16, 11:30The Schmap San Francisco Guide used a couple of my Flickr photos.PermalinkCommentsme photo san-francisco photos schmap
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