Entertain your kids with the navigation system

Nokia N95 running TomTom Navigator

Our four year old son has been very interested in the navigation system I am running while we’re out driving. He leans over to follow it closely and it’s actually great entertainment for a little boy that sometimes finds it boring to drive for hours…

I am running TomTom Navigator on my Nokia N95. I have tried a lot of different navigation systems and TomTom is by far the best one. Everything else I’ve tried looks and handles ridiculous in comparison. A quick disclaimer here is the fact that I think It’s so amazingly good that I’ve even bought a tiny bit of shares in TomTom.

Because the N95 is equiped with video out it was fairly easy to enhance the entertainment effect of my navigation system. The video output can be used for more than utterly stupid experiments.

I simply connected it to my son’s small DVD screen. Wow! Seven inches of pure joy for the small ones in the back. Changing view, colors and the language of the navigation voice keeps them happy.

Running the navigation system for the kids

You need a Nokia with video out, a navigation system running on your nokia, a DVD system or screen for the kids with video in and a couple of cables. And some slightly geeky kids.

Nokia Video Cable
The Nokia video cable (no, you can’t use any A/V-cable)

Video Cable
The video and audio input cable for the screen.

RCA connectors to splice the two.

And there you are…

Entertain your kids with the navigation system

Sony ripping off my idea

Possibly not, but four years ago I travelled through Alsace in France with a digital camera and a Garmin GPS. After the trip I matched the time stamps in the GPS track with the time stamps of the images from my camera. Giving me a pretty exact position of where all my pictures where taken. By using some software I was also able to place all the pictures on a map.

I documented this here more than a year ago.

Now Sony has made a device that does exactly this. Cool! I should have been working for Sony… :-)

(Thanks, Dr. Strømme)

Sony ripping off my idea

Panoramio – place your pictures on Google maps


I have mentioned GeoBloggers here before. Now meet Panoramio, a similar and very user friendly service. It lets you place your pictures by simply click the map and upload.

Very nice navigation, search function and cool layout for the pictures with both the picture, satellite photo and map.

As a test, I just uploaded a beautiful picture from the Sognefjord in Norway. And of course I had to upload the picture of Odda as well.

The name Panoramio does not indicate that the pictures you upload have to be panoramas. (Even if my picture of the Sognefjord is a nice – yes… panorama.)

Panoramio – place your pictures on Google maps

Why your camera phone will outperform your compact camera – bigtime!

The companies making mobile phones know it. They have a huge advantage over all other gadget vendors. The mobile phone has become the device that you really can’t do without. If you forget your iPod while heading off for work it’s not that serious. If you forget your digital camera, you’ll not return unless you really, really need it that day. It is the phone that makes you turn around and travel all the way back home to get it. So, they have a very valuable place in your pocket.

The only reasons for not having all your gadgets in the same device are:
1. Size
2. Price
3. Quality
4. Usability

There is absolutely nothing that indicates that it should be impossible to make a device that has a reasonable price, good usability, perfect size and includes the functionallity of my phone, MP3-player and digital camera in the near future. However, there is another huge difference between my Sony Digital Camera and the one in my Nokia Phone.

The operating system
The camera in my Nokia is a camera with an operating system. Basically that gives endless possibilities to system developers and third parties making additions and extra functionallity. Marking my pictures with data from my bluetooth GPS. Giving my camera advanced direct blogging functionallity. Supporting new image formats. Analyzing and recognizing patterns in the picture. Combining the camera with the networking functionallity of UMTS, GPRS and bluetooth.

All of this is impossible in my Sony Cybershot DSC-P150. I need to buy a new camera to give it new functionallity.

The same goes for my MP3-player. The stupid dependence on firmware from Creative is an example. With an open API in my MP3-player someone would have fixed that before Creative could put down their first meeting in the group that makes firmware.

So, even if you don’t want all your gadgets in the same device, gadgets without an operating system are sooo last century…

Why your camera phone will outperform your compact camera – bigtime!

Yellow Arrows, celltracking and moblogging

Annelogue points me back to a project I read about in Wired some months ago. The disussion at her site suggests ways to place the Yellow Arrows geographically.

I just installed a small program on my Nokia 6630 mobile called CellSpotting. It works like this:

Your mobile is always connected to a mobile transmitter somewhere. These transmitters have unique ID’s and are called Cells. By reading what Cell you are connected to and do a lookup in a database on that particular cell, your location can be roughly determined (I think at a level of detail down to a couple of hundred meters).

With CellSpotting installed on your mobile you can always hit a “Go cellspotting” button. What it does is that it makes note of the cell you are connected to and do a lookup in a database on the web. If someone has spotted that cell already and submitted a description you will recieve that description. It could be anything. Info on nearby points of interest or simply a greeting. If the cell is “undiscovered” you can fill in info on the cell yourself. Anyone visiting that cell after you will get your info if they hit “Go CellSpotting” in the cellspotting application.

Now, if the people behind the CellSpotting program could enhance it with the following two features:

1. A possibility to let people snap a picture with their phone and add to the description of a cell
Would be great fun to be able to look up pictures of the surroundings where you are. Both because it would help you decide if the walk to the park described would be worth it and because having pictures from the actual spot you are, from different seasons and different points of time could be interesting in its own way.

2. A possibility to record the latitude and longitude and add it to your spot if you have a GPS connected to your phone

3. Some kind of possibility to send a mail from your phone with the cell and a link to the description in the CellSpotting database. Would be great information to add when moblogging

….anyway. CellSpotting is kind of Yellow Arrows… without the arrows.

Related post:
Odda GeoBlogged!

Yellow Arrows, celltracking and moblogging

Aerial photo of Odda and the Folgefonni glacier

I shot this nice photo of norwegian fjords, glaciers and mountains on my way from Bergen to Oslo. It is a part of the Hardanger Fjord called Sørfjorden. This fjord leads into the industrial centre of Odda. The white mountains to the right in the picture are parts of the Folgefonni glacier.

This could have been very nice to add to Geobloggers …if I had the GPS coordinates and GoogleMaps would extend their service with proper maps and satellite photos of Europe as well.

Related post:
Travelling with a GPS and a digital camera

Aerial photo of Odda and the Folgefonni glacier