Tag Archives: GPS
The same ubiquitous traces that make it easier for us to track ourselves make it easier for other people to track us. So we always take an interest in stories of accidental self-exposure. Here, without too much comment, is a link to today’s notable incident. It comes from the world of GPS tracking; specifically, from a highly competitive business sector where, we gather, salespeople commonly pose as customers to gain knowledge of what their rivals are doing.
In this case, a sales guy from one company got a bit too aggressive, and his target took revenge. Using server records, IP searchers, a Plaxo and LinkedIn profile, and some archived Craigslist postings, the folks at GPS insight published a pretty embarrassing account.
Rob Donat, the President of GPS Insight, has done this sort of thing before. Last year he noticed a single order he described as “fishy,” and figured out that it was coming from Jim Duncan, President of NavTrak, another competitor. Donat posted the record of his investigation on his blog.
There is a lesson here that probably doesn’t need to be spelled out.
“Nike +” is the monitoring system embedded into specific Nike shoes which allow you to record data about your runs. In one version (not the Sports Band) the system transmits this information to your iPod, and soon to your iPhone.
Apple has filed patents for improving the system. According to Engadget which publicized the filed patent application, the newest features of Apple’s include additional sensors in the shoe.
“The system relies on integrating GPS and additional shoe-based sensors into the system measuring your stride, the condition of the shoe, and perhaps even blasting you advertisements along your run route. The system can measure your velocity with accuracy in the range of 0.1 MPH, and let you know if you’re a toe-planter or a heel-planter when you run.”
Also according to Engadget, Nike + Apple are extending their system so it can communicate with gym equipment. “Nike and Apple worked with major gym equipment manufacturers to make their cardio equipment Nike + iPod compatible so gym members can easily track and record workouts on cardio equipment like treadmills, stair steppers, elliptical trainers and stationary bikes. According to Nike’s own announcement, Life Fitness, Precor, Star Trac and Technogym are already on board and working on iPod-ready equipment, while participating gyms (including 24 Hour Fitness and Virgin Active Health Clubs) are supposedly set to starting rolling ‘em out sometime this summer.”
Nike’s site currently lists 10 locations where gyms are compatible with NIke + gear.
Smack in the middle of the arena of self-surveillence is this tiny flash-stick-sized location tracker, the Trackstick. It is tiny. Gets lost in your coat pocket, or backpack. You carry it around wherever you go. Once a month you download its records from its built in USB port and plot your course on an online mapping service, like Google Earth.
The device has no display and its small AAA batteries are cheap — but they will last only one week. You can find a Trackstick II for about $180 at Google Earth store. I have not used one, so can’t verify how well it picks up satellites in your pocket.