Beancurd Stick Veg Delight

by Gong Liu June 26, 2009 22:49

GPS Phones and Real Time Location Based Social Networking

by Gong Liu June 21, 2009 08:16

Pharos Traveler 137 GPS Phone 

Recently I was on a hunt for apps and services that could best illustrate the power of Pharos' adward-winning Traveler 137 GPS phone (I work for Pharos as you may notice from my profile). The spec of the phone is as follow. You can get more info about it here.

ShoZu App and Services 

My hunt led me to ShoZu. According to their website, ShoZu is the leading provider of mobile social media services that connect mobile consumers with their online social networks, personal blogs, photo storage sites and other Web 2.0 properties from the handset. In other words, with ShoZu app and services, you can, from your cell phone, upload/publish photos, videos, and blogs to multiple social networking, photo sharing websites, such as Flickr, Picasa, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc. The GPS in your phone comes into play when you geotag your photos, videos, and RSS feeds before uploading. Geotagging is the process of adding geographical identification metadata to these media. Both Traveler 137 OS and ShoZu app are capable of geotagging. Geotag-aware websites (such as Flickr and Picasa) can then pick up the metadata in the media and display them on a map for your friends and followers to see. The following figure shows various components and players involved.


To use ShoZu, you need first to create a ShoZu account. Currently, ShoZu account and services are completely free of charge. The following screenshot shows my ShoZu account settings. 


A destination site is a website or an email account that accepts uploads. In my case, I set up 5 destination sites Flickr, PicasaWeb, Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, and an email destination. When I take a photo using my Traveler 137, I can choose to upload it to any one of these destinations. The best part of ShoZu service is that it allows you to specify multiple CC sites so when you upload a photo to one destination, it goes to all your CC sites as well. ShoZu does the distribution using their own servers so you won't incur any additional costs in terms of bandwidth usage and upload time. As shown above, I set up 3 CC sites, Facebook (CC), MySpace (CC) and Picasaweb (CC).

For some destination sites, you need to specify an exact location for your uploads. For example, the following screenshot shows that if I upload a photo to MySpace account, it should end up in the album called "ShoZu", which I created in MySpace account beforehand.


Once you set up your ShoZu account, you can upload photos and videos to your destination sites via MMS or email without the need of installing any additional software. However, by installing a ShoZu client app, you take full advantages of ShoZu services. For example, you can post to blogs, queue up multiple uploads at the background, and upload bigger images or video clips than allowed by MMS.

To download and install ShoZu client app, please follow these steps:

1) Go to the app download page in ShoZu web portal and select your phone by manufacturer and model. In my case, Traveler 137 was not in the list. I just selected a phone with same OS and similar form factor (HTC's Max Quartz), and it turned out working just fine.  


2) Enter your cell phone number


3) Once you hit the Continue button above, in a short while you should receive a text message containing a download link, as shown below (left).  


4) Tap the link to start downloading. Once the download completes, Mobile OS starts the installation automatically. And once the installation completes, ShoZu app activates itself automatically. It then pulls out your destination sites from your account settings and displays them in a window as shown above (right).

To use ShoZu app to upload a geotagged photo (or video clip) is as easy as 1-2-3.

1) Start the camera app in your Traveler 137 (or other GPS phone)

2) Make sure the geotagging feature is on and the GPS is locking on a signal (changing from to  )

3) Aim and shoot. That's it!

Note: depending on your ShoZu app options, you may need an extra step to comfirm the photo or add description before sending it

On the Receiving End  

Once you upload a photo to ShoZu, usually in less than a minute ShoZu is able to distribute it to the destination site of your choice and to all your CC sites for your friends to see. Here comes the real fun part if the receiving sites support geotag, as the photo can be displayed on a map and your friends will know exactly where you took it. They can switch to satellite view or even 3D street view to get to know the surroundings of your location. Most photo sharing sites support geotag. For social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, you will need 3rd party apps to achieve this. 

The following screenshot from my Flickr account shows a biking trip I did in Redondo Beach and Hermosa Beach. I took numerous geotagged photos with my Traveler 137 along the way and sent them out immediately via ShoZu. My friends on several networks were able to learn lots about my trip (when and where) before I even got back home! That's what I call some amazing technologies!


The following screenshot from my Picasa account shows the same set of photos. 


Click the View in Google Earth link (assuming you have Google Earth in your computer) and you can view the photos in Google Earth as shown below. With Google Earth you have more options. For example, you can do a slide show with the photos or you can save the trip as a KML or KMZ file and publish it on other websites.


The following screenshot from my Facebook account shows the same set of photos. They are simply less interesting without the maps. However, I'm sure there are some 3rd party Facebook apps that are capable of handling geotag.   



GPS phones, such as Pharos Traveler 137, bring the real-time location-based element to the mix of technologies that power the current social networking phenomenon. Whether you are a photo sharing enthusiast, a social networking lover, or a sexting addict, a GPS phone might just be the thing for you. 

Pimp My Ride

by Gong Liu June 17, 2009 05:27

I have two bikes, a 1993 Specialized road bike and a 2000 Trek mountain bike. I got them from garage sales and Craig's list. I'm too cheap to buy new ones. A good bike costs thousands. Can't believe it. I like the MTV show Pimp My Ride very much. I think they should have a similar show for bicycles too. I'm definitely interested in getting my bikes pimped. How about a decent front shock with matching color for my mountain bike and some carbon parts for my road bike? For accessories? Oh, I like computers. Maybe they can get me one of those mind controlled computers with a hi-res head-up display so I can browse the internet and play video games while I'm riding my bike. That would be so cool!

1993 Specialized Allez Pro Road Bike

I got this bike from a garage sale not long ago. It was in really bad shape when I got it. Stored in the garage for years and years, full of dust. All the moving parts were jammed. I had to give it a good clean, replaced the saddle and the handle bar stem, put in new handle bar tapes and new tubes, and had it tuned up and lubed. It's finally in a roadworthy condition again. It definitely shows signs of age, but surprisingly the gears are still very smooth, and the brakes and other mechanical parts function well. The bike weighs only 19.5 lb, comparable to even today's high end road bikes that have lots of carbon parts. The ride is responsive and fast. I had a hybrid Schwinn bike before that I bought new from Target. Boy, it was heavy and slow. I had to get rid of it after I had it for about a year. I have now realized why everyone else on the road seems riding faster than I do - they have better bikes.  

General Info
Model Year 1993
Bicycle Type Road race & triathlon
Suggested Retail Price $1,408.00
Weight 19.5 lb
Sizes 58 cm
Colors Light grey
Speeds 16
Frame & Fork
Frame Construction Lugged steel
Frame Tubing Material OS chrome-moly thin-wall
Fork Brand & Model Direct Drive aluminum blade
Component Group Shimano 600 Ultegra STI
Brakeset Shimano 600 Ultegra brakes, levers
Shift Levers Shimano 600 Ultegra STI
Front Derailleur Shimano 600 Ultegra
Rear Derailleur Shimano 600 Ultegra
Crankset Shimano 600 Ultegra, 39/53 teeth
Pedals Shimano 600 Ultegra clipless (not sure)
Rear Cogs 8-speed, 12 - 23 teeth
Chain Unspecified
Seatpost Specialized Direct Drive
Saddle Selle Italia SLR, carbon fiber shell, titanium rail (not original)
Handlebar Specialized Down In Front
Handlebar Stem Forté 1" quill stem 110 x 26 mm (not original)
Hubs Shimano 600 Ultegra
Rims Mavic Open 4 CD
Tires 700 x 20c Specialized Transition A
Tubes Forté LunarLight presta tube (not original)

2000 Trek Span-on Anniversary Edition Mountain Bike

This bike was made for the occasion of the 80th anniversary of Snap-On, a company providing tools for Trek. The original owner is a Snap-On sales person. He got the bike in 2000 as part of his employee benefits. But he never got chances to make good use of it. So I got it in practically new condition. I like its golden color. The ride is very smooth. The only problem with it is the lack of a front shock, making it unsuitable for trail rides. It is my work horse. I ride it to and from work quite often. The bike does not have a normal model number (it's a special edition). However, based on its setup I guess it's equivalent to a Trek 800 or 820.

General Info
Model Year 2000
Bicycle Type Mountain bike, non-suspension
Suggested Retail Price $299.99
Weight 29.2 lb
Sizes 19.5"
Colors Golden
Speeds 24
Frame & Fork
Frame Construction TIG-welded
Frame Tubing Material Chromoly, butted
Fork Brand & Model Trek
Fork Material Chromoly, unicrown crown
Component Group Mountain mix
Brakeset Aluminum linear-pull brakes, aluminum linear-pull levers
Shift Levers SRAM 5.0
Front Derailleur Shimano Altus C90 top-swing
Rear Derailleur SRAM 5.0
Crankset Shimano Dual SIS, 22/32/42 teeth
Pedals VP Components
Bottom Bracket Shimano
Rear Cogs 8-speed, 12 - 23 teeth
Chain 1/2 x 3/32"
Seatpost Alloy
Saddle Velo
Handlebar Alloy
Handlebar Stem Alloy
Headset 1 1/8" sealed mechanism
Hubs Alloy
Rims Bontrager Corvair, 32-hole
Tires 26 x 1.95" multi-terrain
Spokes Stainless steel, 2.0mm
Bike Computer Schwinn 12-function
Taillight Planet Bike Superflash 1/2 Watt

Tofu with Preserved Duck Egg

by Gong Liu June 15, 2009 21:58


A seasoned computer professional. A tofu culture evangelist...
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