Waze – Twitter for navigation

Lately I’ve been addicted to a pretty neat application called Waze. It brands itself as a social navigation app and has apps for the iPhone, Android, Windows Mobile and Symbian. I actually played with both the iPhone and Windows Mobile app and both work pretty decently. The app is pretty addictive. You essentially get points for numerous activities such as simply driving around, sharing event such as speed trap, recording new roads and yes, even editing the map. The mobile app works like it’s supposed to although I surprisingly had more problems connecting to the GPS with the iPhone than I did with the Windows Mobile which is quite rare. The web application is simplistic. You have a dashboard that shows you your previous trips and then you can choose to click them to view those trips. You could also choose to use those trips to enhance a current map by filling out roads that are missing and so on. I like the idea of editing my maps but I find the experience quite frustrating at times. Hopefully over time, they will continue to improve on it. The mobile app also integrates with both Twitter and foursquare.

Although maps are pretty sparse in Toronto and thus rendering navigation pretty useless in my area, it is easy to see the use of Waze. Every once in a while, I’ll get an alert stating that segments of the 401 have medium traffic followed by the speed of an anonymous user at the time. People can also report various things such as accidents on the roadways. One of the issues is that it’s technically illegal to operate Waze while driving so it works best when you have another driver in the car with you. For me, I typically just turn on Waze before I start driving and keep on driving. The neat thing about this is outside of giving up some privacy, it typically doesn’t really detract me from doing what I normally do anyway.

To me, what is probably most intriguing about Waze is the social experiment it represents. I’ve always been of the opinion that most people are most interested in controlling their privacy and not so much containing it. Most people are willing to give out information about themselves usually if it benefits them in one way or another. Given its ability to provide real time data to its users, it’s the equivalent of Twitter for navigation

Tweaking my Apple Magic Mouse

One of the biggest change in my technology profile after working for Zoocasa is that I’ve now started to become quite a Macbook fan boy. When the Apple Magic Mouse was released, I opted to get one because one of the things that I really like about the new Macbook’s is that I really like the gesture concept on the trackpad. I was hoping that the Apple Magic Mouse would offer the same. However, I was quickly disappointed with the minimal amount of gestures offered by the Magic Mouse out of the box. It really offered no more features than any other mouse in the market.

Enter three handy utilities that extend the functionality of the Magic Mouse: MouseWizard, MagicPrefs and BetterTouchTool (BTT). MouseWizard is not free but it’s relatively cheap to obtain – it’s only $2.50 to purchase it. MouseWizard actually doesn’t come with many additional gesture support – all in all, I count 5 new gestures but the one cool thing it can do which I like is that you could do your whole hand to call the screensaver which I use to lock my Macbook. That is neat. MagicPrefs is free and definitely more extensive at least in terms of available gestures that you could invoke. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get most of them to work for me. My favorite is BetterTouchTool so far because it allows you to not only configure the gestures on your mouse but also on the multitouch touchpad of your Macbook.

For the time being, I have programmed my mouse to activate Spaces on a two-finger tap, Show Desktop on a two-figer swipe up and Application Expose on a two finger swipe down for the mouse. For my mouse, I have the five finger tap setup to show the login screen.

Happy 2010

Happy 2010 or specifically, Happy Twenty Ten. Apparently, this is the proper way of calling this year. It IS simpler to say admittedly. 2009 went by really fast but with some major changes in my life both personally and professionally.

Personally, we welcomed David into our lives in late October. I usually don’t talk that much about my personal life on thekunit.com for personal reasons but David is a massive change in my life. It’s really easy to understand why babies are called a “bundle of joy” because they simply are. They love so unconditionally and falling in love with your child is the easiest and most natural thing to do. However, they do require a lot of care but as parents we do it with so much joy because they are that worth it. Since David has been in my life, free time isn’t as readily available and between work and caring for him, there’s very little time for extra-curricular activities.
Professionally, I’ve left Zoocasa for Canpages.ca. I leave Zoocasa with a heavy heart because there are a ton of really good friends I’ve left behind like Saul Colt, Jason Lewin, Angelo Berios, Gerry Power and Tanzeeb Khalili who have all made huge impacts on me personally and professionally but I look forward to the new challenges that come in my new role. Canpages has traditionally been a phone directory publisher but it has designs to be something more. As an example of this, it’s recently purchased start-ups like ZipLocal and Gig Park. Canpages is a relatively unknown company in Ontario but it’s quite renown in the Vancouver area. I’m quite excited to be joining Canpages and look forward to the year that’s ahead of me. 
While I’m not necessarily a fan of New Year’s resolutions, I typically like to set goals for myself. For 2010, here are some of the things that I hope to do.
Blog less and more
I’d like to blog more frequently but probably not as many long blogs. The truth is that I do write a lot but very few blogs make it to the site because they are never in the state of completion in my mind. Given that I no longer have the hour commute to work, my blogging time is reduced greatly. But I still would like to blog as I explore new tools, technologies or thoughts. So I’ll try to shorten my blogs and make them into a series of blogs tied through a topic or tag. I still hope to blog at least 12 times a month. That’s the goal and we’ll see how well I do on that.
Be more present
One of the big differences between my role at Zoocasa and my role in Canpages is that I see more of an opportunity to explore other technology opportunities for Canpages. In my role at Zoocasa, my role was mostly limited to just trying to execute development. While it’ll be my primary role here at Canpages as well, I’ll also be able to try to explore other technologies and potentially form partnership with other organizations as well. I’m quite excited about this. So I’d like to be more present for start-up events. It’s also a great way for me help build the Canpages tech brand which I’m actually quite excited to do.
Be more social
I seem to have shrunk into a corner socially after March of last year. I think it’s time for me to re-engage the social media universe. 
With that, happy 2010 everyone!