Cover your tracks

Now we all know it's only a matter of time before machines rise up and overthrow the human race in an orgy of blood-spilling and pain the likes of which humanity has never seen before.

Optimists seem to think we'll at least be kept alive as either slaves or fuel, but I'm not convinced by their arguments.

With technology pushing the ever expanding horizons of the possible further towards the limits of our imagination, it's probably only a matter of time before someone drops the ball, and the machines kick off.

In the meantime, technology is bloody useful, so we might as well take advantage of it before we meet a painful death.

Missing out on running this years London Marathon because of injury a couple of weeks before was a bit of a blow.

But, thanks to this blog and Twitter, there were a fair few people I 'met' online who I wanted to support, so I tried to find the best way of tracking them on race day and ended up trying to use the official Adidas tracker.

This didn't work brilliantly (one of the alert texts I got said someone was only halfway - two hours after he'd finished!

To my childlike and possibly naive mind, it shouldn't be so hard to track runs – especially with more and more phones having GPS built in, so, ever determined to use the interweb for exciting things, I decided to see what else I could find.

I've got a BlackBerry Storm (good fun, but turns out the screens not a fan of being dropped onto very hard surfaces) so I had a jolly fun time looking for exciting mapping applications that could meet my geeky needs.

And by Odin's beard did I find a few!

So, to pass the time I've been road-testing them, and my fave thus far is GPSed. When I say road-testing, I don't mean by actually running – my knees still screwed.

So, with probably more glee than necessary, I've been 'running tracks' for exciting things like, the trip to work (image below), a walk around the park, train journeys, and even around Ikea.

A track, is basically anything you want to track yourself. You tell GPSed to start, and it locates satellites (most I've had were 11!) to triangulate your position with freakish accuracy.

As you're running it shows you where you are, what direction you're going in, and how fast. When you're done, click stop and it saves all the info for you which you can upload to their site to look at properly later.

Apparently you can upload it to other things too, but I don't have anything else to upload to so haven't had the chance to try it.

It's been quite fun working out which mornings I get to work quickest and how fast I trudge around the park.

There have been a few glitches though – the train journey passes through a signal black hole so I got a freakishly straight line for part of one track. That has implications for the speed figure calculated, but as it was only for a short space of time, I don't think it was significant.

And I was on a train, so I probably don't really need to know how fast I was going.

Overall, I've bene finding it good fun, I just need to be able to try it running. No doubt I'll then find numerous faults, and once again berate myself for being crap at reviewing things.

Now, I'm sure it's only a matter of time before someone, or something, uses the technology for evil, but until the machines rise up and become our overlords (and I for one welcome them) I hope a few of you agree that this is one of the potential useful things we can enjoy before our painful and untimely deaths.

1 comment:

  1. 11? I thought there were only 12 GPS satellites...