location

Post image for PocketFinder – A Cellular & GPS Locating Device That You Throw in a Bag and Start Tracking Your Loved Ones

Technology is really great sometimes. Not only have devices gotten smaller, they have become more powerful and more useful. Think about cell phones – do you remember the size of them back in the 80’s? They were simply HUGE and clunky. GPS technology has gone the same way and are now so small, they can be integrated into a smartphone.

GPS’s are simpler as well and now provide uses beyond just providing map guidance. Instead of pulling in map data via a cell phone connection, it can push out GPS location information via a cellular network to provide tracking. This is exactly what PocketFinder has created and the service they provide. And they do it for pets, people and vehicles.

Since I look for solutions that make a family environment better, I’m going to focus my attention on the “people” version.

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If you are a parent, the safety and wellbeing of your children is your top concern. And you will go to all lengths to ensure that. With technology as a tool for this, you can make your kids just a little bit safer by using it. Many kids nowadays have cellphones and there are services that you can get through your cell providers to help you track their whereabouts. For anywhere between $10 and $25 per month, you can track your kids via their cell phones. Sometimes though, your kids might not be old enough for you to justify buying them a cell phone and paying for that service or entering into a lengthy contract.

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Post image for How To Configure Location-Based Reminders on the iPhone with iOS5

I kept hearing about how with iOS 5, you could set up Reminders that would trigger when you arrived or left a particular location. It’s a pretty neat concept. You can program in an address, like your work, and set up a series of to-dos that magically remind you when you are geographically near that location. Or perhaps, you are at a vacation home and need to have a checklist pop up as you leave the location (e.g., did you check to be sure the hot tub was set to low). It’s a smart use of GPS technology to let your brain focus on other items at hand.

So I was very excited to set up some shopping lists that would pop up when I arrived at my local supermarket. Only, I had a problem, I couldn’t figure out how to put in the additional geo-location details to my to-do’s or reminders (and I’m supposed to be good at this stuff). After a bit of digging, I figured it out (and I’m a bit surprised that Apple seemed to bury this functionality into the app).

Here are the steps to create and configure a Location-based reminder:

1) Create a new Reminder. Remember, choose an iCloud-related list. I tried to do this with a Task list that was synced with my Outlook/Exchange profile and the location setting does not show.

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There is a lot of great free software out there that provides tremendous value. Smart programmers always want to showcase their talents and I love the fact that there is a never ending stream of interesting applications coming from the developer community. I won’t even start to mention some of the free Mac apps that I use that help me day to day, there are too many to mention. However, I discovered this great little golden nugget yesterday for those people who have a Mac laptop and who frequently bring it to different locations. These could be students or business people or just those on the go.

It’s called AirPort Location, and the premise is this. It runs in the background (requiring AirPort WiFi to be on an enabled). Once it detects a WiFi “fingerprint” (essentially, either one particular WiFi ID or a series of detected WiFi IDs or some other environmental variables) it then automatically configures your Mac environment (based on however you set it up in the application) to that environment. For example, at home, you may have a certain default printer, want your Mac to automatically attach to a networked storage device, want you screen to be a particular brightness, and certain apps to be launched. When AirPort Location detects your home WiFi, it will set up your environment that way. Then, when you go to work, once AirPort Location detects THAT WiFi environment, it changes your Mac to meet THOSE settings.

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While there is a bit of a learning curve, some trial and error involved and the documentation could be a bit better, it definitely DOES work. You have a wide variety of things you can control like:

Airport_config_options

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