Catching watch thieves with Shannon Coates Your watch can be your next Buddy Finder!

Shannon Coates is on the Timex Team and she now can add smart detective to her resume. Meet the Florida native who now resides in Portland.

Source: www.slowtwitch.com

GPS Tracks down the thieves once again, but with a twist. This time it wasn’t ‘find my phone’, but ‘find my watch’. The catch with this is that the watch does have to have its own communication capability. Now please note, some watches rely on a Bluetooth connection to your phone, meaning if they are more than about 10 yards away from your phone this isn’t going to work.

Spend a little more and get a phone that comes with a SIM card and you can now track your watch anyone in the world where there is cellphone connectivity. Also great if you are on a run or a ride, need help but aren’t sure where you are (great if you are touring or going for a run on a beach, track or country road). All you need to do is advise emergency services, or the friend or family member that you share the Internet account details with, like you do with Where’s My Phone. You do don’t you?

This is something that most smartwatch owners wouldn’t be aware of and on that basis most crooks wouldn’t know either. The latter being a good thing, although they might be less inclined to steal the watch in the first place if they knew and the same for receivers of stolen goods.

So lucky Shannon gets her watch and belongings back and we get another great lesson in how GPS protects your valuables and another criminal faces the consequences of their actions.

One of the things I have frequently blogged about is tracking elderly people with dementia or other conditions, locating children who should be home from school, or teenagers who borrowed the car for half an hour to pick something up from a friend or a shop and aren’t back a couple of hours later, or people who are into sport such as running, cycling. The buddy finder concept has just found another great tool.

If you haven’t set up Where’s My Phone yet, you can find a link for iOS, I have it set up for my iPhone and my iPAD (I think it might be standard on the latest models) here and for Android here. Not needed for you? What if there is an emergency like an earthquake, floods or other disasters?

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Posted in GPS Tracking, Track phone, Track Smartwatch., Track watch, Tracking kids | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Best Outdoor And Camping Apps and Everything You Need for a US Road Trip

These outdoor and camping apps can help you find a stellar place to camp, explore US parks, find a place to fish or do some stargazing.

Source: www.verizonwireless.com

I would have loved this list when we did our USA road trip 3 years ago. There was good information on the ranger stations, but to be able to point my phone at the Pharr Mounds on the Natchez Trace, or to be able to get the historic story of the Civil War reenactments that we passed driving through Tennessee would have been awesome.

Most of the information I could find was in the style of old school maps and charts, but when you are exploring a 444 mile route through 3 States, more info would have been awesome. I was thinking there should be an app, but this link gives you a list of useful apps for your outdoor experience, based on your interests. Feels like America is growing up. Check these out if you are going to do a road trip.

If you’d like to know what I learned about apps and finding your way around on a US road trip, check out this link for everything you need.

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Social Media Comes to the Rescue in the Wellington Floods

5m ago @CallahanMusic_ tweeted: “Just a shout out to the people affected ..” – read what others are saying and join the conversation.

Source: twitter.com

One of the great things about communities is how they rally together in times of need. Yesterday there were serious floods on the approaches and throughout the Wellington region (as well as Taranaki which had a tornado last night to add to the excitement). Hashtags, such as #WellingtonFlood (follow the link above) have popped up sharing information on Twitter in real time and the same has happened on Facebook .

Whilst the roads are open, rail services have been cancelled because of slips and flooding, they will not be replaced with buses for safety reasons and the NZ Transport Agency is asking people to reconsider travel today if it is not essential in both Taranaki and the Wellington region.

Sites quickly popped up on Twitter and Facebook last night with hundreds of people and organizations offering accommodation and shelter for people who were unable to get home. Even the Wellington public library opened last night for people who were stuck after all of the hotels in town reported to be full.

Traffic Operations Control Centers, Contractors and Emergency Services have been working throughout the night and there are a wide range of services available from the NZ Transport Agency. These include regional Twitter and Facebook accounts, FREE email route and area alerts, webcams, traffic times, Highway Info pages advising road closures and much more. Here are links to these .

The Agency welcomes engagement on the real time traffic social media sites, including pictures and information you would like to share. The NZ Transport Agency has 7 Twitter pages and 5 Facebook pages providing information for the regions of New Zealand.

Most heartwarming to me were the many offers of help, people inviting total strangers into their homes, offers of free food from cafes and restaurants and other assistance. They don’t have a lot of disasters in Wellington, although it is on the earthquake fault zone, but when they do, it is great to see the resilience and support of the community.

I have frequently blogged about readiness for disaster, especially around earthquakes  and having emergency kits . The thing is that most people don’t think it will happen to them. Then of course it does and access to even simple things like fresh drinking water can be an issue. For those who have been through this latest incident, it would be great for them to share what they ran out of, or what they needed. You might not want to invest in sandbags, but food, water, gas, torches, battery powered radio are a few examples of essentials. Are you ready?

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Sign of the times? Employee fired after removing GPS tracking app from her smartphone

A troubling lawsuit coming out of California alleges that a woman was fired from her job after she uninstalled an app that her employer requested all employees had to download. The troubling aspect…

Source: bgr.com

This story is doing the rounds at the moment because of the pending lawsuit and because of the pending lawsuit  don’t want to get into detail about this specific case.

What I do want to have out in the open is that there are employers monitoring their staff. There are good reasons in many cases and there are situations where there should be more of it. For example field health personnel such as midwives or nurses who visit people in their homes, justice department employees who visit people in their homes, Police and other emergency services.

Applications where people opt in for their personal security, health and safety make a lot of sense, but people should have a choice in this. It is one thing to track a business vehicle, often these come with benefits and responsibility.

However tracking people without their permission when they are off duty is not appropriate. Tracking them without their knowledge also concerns me. In the past I met with high profile businesses who specifically wanted a solution because they did not trust their staff and were prepared to buy workforce automation software, not for tracking business, but to make sure their staff weren’t taking unapproved time off. I had and have a problem with that.

It will be interesting to see what comes of this lawsuit, irrespective of the specific claim. When it is a system that tracks a company vehicle, that’s fine with me. When it tracks a person based on the location of their mobile and they are tracking what that person does in their personal time AND they don’t have the right to refuse it, that denies them of basic rights and as appears to be alleged in this case, creates a risk of abuse of that information.

What do you think?

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Posted in GPS, GPS Tracking, Tracking staff | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Google’s self-driving cars have been in 11 accidents because humans are dumb

The viability of self-driving cars will likely be debated and scoffed at for a long time, but at least we know they’re not distracted by their cellphones. In an article…

Source: thenextweb.com

This is exactly the point I have been trying to make in recent blogs. If people were predictable and rational there wouldn’t be a problem, but we are in fact predictably irrational.

Whether it is accidental, due to distraction or deliberate http://thefuturediaries.com/2013/04/19/boy-racers-make-sport-with-driverless-cars/ autonomous cars need to expect the unexpected, just as we often assume the other person is not a skilled driver.

If there is a skill that driverless cars need to have it is to recognise when drivers are anxious or stressed. https://solomoconsulting.wordpress.com/2015/05/09/how-to-teach-an-autonomous-car-to-drive-gizmodo/

In Traffic Operation Centers whenever there is congestion, they see people swapping lanes because they are frustrated with the slow traffic, then they find the lane they were in seems faster, so they swap back. Drivers stuck in motorway gridlock will frequently try things like reversing back to the last off-ramp or driving up the safety strip. A computer just wouldn’t understand the logic.

It may be that driverless cars need to have their own lanes, like the bus or priority lanes in order to navigate safely. Of course a smarter option might be more efficient public transport, perhaps with driverless shuttles taking passengers from their homes to public transport hubs.

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Posted in Autonomous cars, DistractedDriving, Driverless Cars, Public Transport | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

SentryWorld – New Golf Car Fleet Enhances SentryWorld Experience

Up your golf experience with our brand-new Club Car fleet featuring GPS navigation. http://t.co/hnsTPLONaM http://t.co/XVhSHrsDDu

Source: www.sentryworld.com

Whilst I visualized this being maybe something along the lines of Google Glasses, this in some ways is even better in that you don’t have to buy it. It navigates you around the golf course (maybe signs would be cheaper and what does everyone else use?).

It gives you a video fly over of the hole, tells you how far away you are from the hole and tips on how to play it. Better still it delivers food to you. What more do you want.

It’s getting pretty close to games you can play on your TV, but of course there is always the fresh air and the exercise getting on and off your golf cart.

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How to Teach an Autonomous Car to Drive – Gizmodo

Driving a car is easy. Engine on, eyes open, foot on the gas and you’re all set. So why is it taking autonomous cars so long to learn?

Source: gizmodo.com

So we can deal with inaccurate maps as long as we invest in $200,000 LiDAR and other technologies to confirm to the car computers that what surrounds them is not exactly what the map shows, that’s cool.

Computers are logical, when they work correctly. I used to sell expensive supermarket scanning systems and I remember one such processor that consistently made incorrect mistakes in totally transactions, It turns out that it had a faulty chip in it at we decided it was possibly the result of an electrostatic charge somehow having occurred which damaged it, but didn’t fry it. It didn’t happen every time, but no one complained when they were under charged, we found out when it overcharged by a factor of a few thousand dollars! We couldn’t fix it, we had to replace the board and it worked fine for the first month or so. What if that was a faulty circuit board in an autonomous car that sometimes made the car go slow and other times made it take off at maximum speed, but worked fine for the first month and then started to intermittently behave erratically.

What if people behaved erratically around the car that was interpreting behavior of other vehicles as logical. That fourth car that ran the red light, people who race around the corner on the wrong side of the road? What if people learned about their weaknesses and did it on purpose as in this story.

Maybe they need to understand the chaos theory behind the human driver. I’d like to see an Infographic showing the logic differences between an autonomous car and a human driver who is late for work, didn’t get much sleep, had an argument with his wife, drops his shaver as the light changed and he was reaching for his cell phone. I’m talk about the average human driver, not a boy racer, someone who is overtired, intoxicated or on drugs.

What will happen when the first driverless car is involved in an accident?

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Posted in accidents, Autonomous cars, driverless vehicles, Motoring, risk | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment