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23 December 2008

Turf Bombing on your iPhone

The creator of Turf Bombing emailed to let me know this creative web application now supports iPhones with Locatable installed.  This is a great concept that blends real locations with a virtual game that can be played on both laptops and mobiles.  (And you'll probably have an advantage playing on an iPhone with GPS, as WiFi-based locations are often far less accurate.)
Here's a brief description of the concept:
Turf Bombing is a location-based turf battle game which rewards and encourages traveling and learning about different neighborhoods.  Gangs are assigned by the zip code of your home address. The goal of each gang is to gain as much territory as possible.  Territories are acquired as players plant time bombs at different locations in physical space. If the bomb is not diffused by a local gang member in time, the bomb will explode and the territory will be turned over to the gang that planted the bomb. 

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FireEagle + Relocatable

Last month I was fortunate enough to see a presentation at Google headquarters UK from Yahoo!'s FireEagle team, part of the inaugural location-based developer meetup session.  (That's right, not only did Google let Yahoo!s in the building, they even gave them food and drink -- of course, we all had to sign an NDA to get into the meeting room, presumably so we wouldn't wander about jotting down random scrawlings on people's whiteboards).  As you might know, FireEagle is a permission-based location storage service.  It's sort of like a depot where you can save your most recent location, and allow other (FireEagle-enabled) web sites and services to access it.  They are apparently close to launching a Facebook application, for example, that lets you locate anyone in your friends list who has a FireEagle account.
There are several FireEagle-related apps in the AppStore but they also suffer from the Apple restriction of not being able to run in the background, a condition that can only be avoided on a jailbroken phone.  This is exactly the scenario that got me to write the Relocatable application in the first place, and sadly, it's not one that is likely to be resolved soon.
For those of you who are interested in always-on updates to FireEagle via your iPhone, Robbie over at BaseX.be has a recipe for you.  He goes through the full process, including jailbreaking, installing Locatable/Relocatable, and setting up some python scripts to send your location data to FireEagle automatically.  Good stuff!
Speaking of FireEagle, I'd love to see a web-only solution also, using the W3C API and Locatable.  This would be more of an on-demand app, e.g. a bookmark for iPhone Safari that when loaded would save your current location.  Any takers?  Let me know and I'll put a link up here.

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