Scripting News for 1/19/2007

Jeremy Toeman: iPhone appeal drops daily

After four years is it really necessary to continue to say “Radical Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.” Isn’t that like saying Compassionate Conservative President George W. Bush?? 

Two-way mapping 

Like everyone else (and the guys in Lazy Sunday) I use Google Maps to plot out routes, even walking routes, which isn’t something it’s really good at.

Yesterday I used it to map out a route to the BART station, it was a long walk, so when I returned I took a cab home. He took an odd left turn, and then when I realized what he did, I saw that this was a much better route. The road was wider, no traffic lights, less traffic, and it was a straight road, no curves and bends. It was probably faster, and it was definitely easier on the nerves.

So I went back to Google and looked at it on the map, and it’s even more direct than the route they mapped out.

So — when does mapping become a two-way app? I’d be willing to tell their software that I have a better route, it’s one that comes from living here, and being a cab driver here.

A missing product? 

Last weekend I went to a Marc Canter’s birthday party, it was great, but it would have been even better if they had my favorite soft drink.

I know what the host likes, it’s good stuff, but I prefer a little artificial sweetness and bubbles. These days I really like the black cherry vanilla flavor Diet Coke.

It’s not his fault, there’s a missing product. I have the same problem when I shop for a party — how to stock up on at least three or four of every popular soft drink, beer or wine. The missing product? A 24-pack that’s got a variety of stuff. A couple of Sprites, Diet Pepsi, Tejava — you get the idea. Of course Coke would have their own special pack, and Pepsi would have theirs. No problem. I’ll buy three of each.

BTW, I got Marc a Sansa 2GB MP3 player. Expect some convergence over there in CanterLand. 🙂

11 responses to this post.

  1. In a VRM world, we could all sign on for your missing product proposal and muscle the vendors to produce it.

    Opportunity Knocks #3. Implemented. What’s the next step?
    I’ve got a lot of time over the next 10 days.


  2. Gmap Pedometer [1] is a bit nicer tool for plotting walking routes. Still built on google maps, though.



  3. Posted by Chuck Browne on January 19, 2007 at 3:17 pm

    How can I tell Google that they need to update their maps? I live in a fairly new (~1.5 years) subdivision, but I have to paper-hack the map so friends and family can get to my house. I don’t see anything on the site that tells me when they incorporate changes, just a few after-the-fact mentions.


  4. RE: Isn’t that like saying Compassionate Conservative President George W. Bush??

    I don’t get it. Are you trying to make a point, besides trying to rip on our president??


  5. RE: Isn’t that like saying Compassionate Conservative President George W. Bush??

    Are you suggesting that Al Sadr isn’t a “Radical Shi’ite cleric”? Or are you just saying that people already know he is one, so they don’t need to keep telling us?


  6. Posted by stephen bove on January 19, 2007 at 5:15 pm

    Prada phone anyone? looks better, and will be to market earlier in europe…


  7. Posted by Greg Spira on January 19, 2007 at 5:20 pm

    As far as maps becoming a 2 way app… I’ve been waiting a long time, and no real progress has really been made over the last ten years. In areas I am often familiar with, I often know shorter, quicker ways to take parts of routes, and I would like to able able to tell the mapping programs to know there whenever I go between B and C, I want to take my route, not the official sanctioned route. But none of the on-line maps let you manipulate their directions in any way except by plugging in intermediate stops.

    And if you can’t program in information for your own use, we’re a long way from the sites learning from its users.


  8. Forget Google maps for your directions. Get a GPS device.

    This Christmas I was given one (this one) as a gift. It’s small enough to carry in my pocket, and came with a car mount so I could put it on the dash while driving. It’s spooky how good it is at telling me how to get from one place to another.

    Something like that would give you better directions than you could get from a web based map service, and you’d be covered if you decided to wander off your original itinerary — it automatically recalculates your routes if you make an unplanned turn. And the technology has come far enough that you can get a good one for a couple hundred bucks.


  9. I agree with Jason on the GPS – I have a Garmin Nuvi 350 and it’s both great to use and very portable. The other key advantage is if you make a mistake en route, the portable units adjust and get you where you need to go – online mapping is so 2005.


  10. Posted by Suraj K. Rai on January 21, 2007 at 12:28 am

    I live in Tokyo and I have thought about this exact thing over the last year. For the best directions, every cab would be equipped with a GPS and some sort of transmitter to a central server where the GPS would continuously track the directions the driver took from the start of the journey (when the meter is turned on) to the end. This information would then be continuously updated onto something like Google’s database giving a real-time view of the best way to get from one place to other .. would also automatically take care of days when there are constructions or accidents etc …


  11. As it only covers London this probably won’t be that useful for you, but there’s a website called that’s trying to build good pedestrian routes around the city. Every other mapping site I’ve seen is car only, but walkit invites suggestions for walkers.


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