Yelp Monocle – Augmented Reality arrives on the iPhone 3GS

Via Scoble, the latest version of the Yelp iPhone app adds an Easter egg: “Monocle” mode, which you activate by shaking three times. Live camera view, slaved to the compass, which overlays Yelp listings for the direction you’re pointing.
I’ve tried it, and it works. Not many businesses around where I work, but it works. Can’t wait to play with this some more, and I’ll try to get a video demo up soon.

Hat tip to @marshallk for using my screenshots in his post over on ReadWriteWeb, which was the first big site to break the news, and to Scoble, who broke the news before anyone.

Posted via email by way of Josh Bancroft’s Posterous


Josh’s Lifelog for 2009-08-26

  • It’s Tuesday, the day where I say “Live TV is going to be the death of me…” πŸ™‚ (but I love doing @isntv!) #
  • Shooting Intel Software Network TV live shows today #
  • Shooting Intel Software Network TV live shows today [pic] #
  • Sorry for the duplication as I continue to experiment with Posterous. I turned of FF posting to Twitter, which is what was causing it. #
  • I had a weird issue where Posterous posted duplicates of a photo several times to my blog and Facebook. Anyone ever run into that? Fix? #
  • Testing – How many times and where will this end up? #
  • Posterous is still posting duplicates to my blog: I’ve removed/re-added the autopost for it. Other ideas? #
  • RT @marshallk: First iPhone Augmented Reality App Appears Live in App Store (but only useful if you’re in Paris! Hrmph.) #

Augmented Reality Is Going To Be Big, But It’s Already Here

My friend Marshall Kirkpatrick has been writing some interesting posts on the topic of “augmented reality”. In his latest, “Is Augmented Reality Golden or Garbage” on ReadWriteWeb, he takes a look at the hype the term has been getting, and whether or not it will live up to the excitement (my short answer: “yes, but not in the way you might think”).

I wrote up a comment in reply to his post, and as often happens with me, it bloomed into a more-or-less fully formed post on my thoughts on the matter. So I’m reposting it here.

i think Augmented Reality is going to be *huge*, but a lot of people I see making arguments for or against aren’t using the definition I use when I think or talk about AR.

To me, augmented reality is the ability to overlay information, tied somehow to the physical world. It doesn’t necessarily require a live video view with stuff overlaid on it.

Some apps that are out now (some for a long time) that I consider augmented reality:

  • Google Maps (web and phone, esp. with GPS), Yelp, Where To, or any other app that lets me find out more about what’s around me in the real world.
  • Geocaching (esp. the iPhone app – I tell my kids it’s a magic treasure map, and when you think about it, it is)
  • Pocket Universe for iPhone, which lets me point my phone at a point in the sky, and identify the stars and planets there
  • Brightkite and Foursquare and their ilk – Beth Goza let me play with Brightkite in Layar on her Android phone at Gnomedex, but even without the live video view, these apps let me see what friends and strangers are doing and saying, tied to physical points in the real world
  • Waze for iPhone, which lets me see other people’s traffic experiences and reports, and shows me which roads people haven’t yet driven (encouraging me to do so, so I can be Pac Man and get points for eating the dots there! πŸ™‚
  • Browsing nearby photos on Flickr, or looking up nearby articles on Wikipedia
  • Update: Oh! I forgot to mention one of the coolest AR apps out right now. The Zillow iPhone app is really, really cool. If you’re shopping for a home, it could be really useful, but mostly, I just like to freak people out by pulling up their house, telling them how much they paid for it, how much they pay in taxes, how many square feet it is, and what Zillow thinks it’s worth compared to their neighbors. πŸ™‚

There are lots of other examples, but I think people who define AR as “pointing a camera at something, and getting information inserted into your live view” are thinking a little too narrowly.

I can’t fully articulate why, but AR feels to me like it’s going to the be the “big thing” in the coming months. It’s going to cause unforeseen evolutions in how we connect with each other and interact with our world, in the same way that Twitter and Facebook have (if not to the same degree).

So, you can definitely count me in the camp that says AR is Golden, not Garbage. πŸ™‚ What do *you* think about Augmented Reality? Hype bubble or next big thing?


Josh’s Lifelog for 2009-08-25

  • Man, I’m here early even by Intel standards. Waiting for the shuttle to Folsom. At least I unlocked “School Night” in Foursquare! πŸ˜‰ #
  • Could there be anything worse than working on status reports and PowerPoint at 5AM at the airport? (not me, but around me) Me? I’m tweeting! #
  • Apple really ought to make the keyboard clicky sound on the iPhone off by default. It’s screams “hey, I’m using my iPhone!” πŸ™‚ #
  • I admit, I used the keyboard clicky sound for a couple months, two years ago when not everyone and their dog had iPhones. πŸ™‚ #
  • But I think the keyboard clicky has reached “Bluetooth headset” status. Not cool or distinctive anymore, just annoying. πŸ™‚ #
  • At least Bluetooth headsets and car systems are *useful*. πŸ˜‰ #
  • The worst part about Gnomedex? Returning to real life, surrounded by muggles – normal, non-geeky people. I get so spoiled at Gnomedex! πŸ™‚ #
  • @LEMills Heh. My iPhone email signature now says “Sent from my prosthetic brain” (used to say “my littlest computer”). πŸ™‚ in reply to LEMills #
  • I changed my iPhone email signature to “Sent from my prosthetic brain” in honor of and inspired by @caseorganic’s Gnomedex talk. πŸ™‚ #
  • At Intel Folsom for the day. Working from the FM5 cafeteria if anyone wants to say “hi”. πŸ™‚ #
  • @buckmasterflash You were right – the automatic paper towel dispensers in Folsom *do* sound really weird! #
  • @caseorganic YGM (actually, two – accidentally sent the first one blank πŸ™‚ in reply to caseorganic #
  • @Intel_Eric Ask and ye shall receive. πŸ™‚ in reply to Intel_Eric #
  • Finished my meetings in Folsom (trained a bunch of bloggers for ISN), about to head back to the shuttle to the shuttle. And hopefully a nap. #
  • @psteinb Oh, rest won’t come for a while. I’ve got to get ready for your show tomorrow! πŸ™‚ in reply to psteinb #
  • @canine I’m thinking more about the app roll idea, but for now check out or AppsFire (the app). in reply to canine #
  • @rachelbancroft just flew over (on the ground now). Did you see me? πŸ™‚ in reply to rachelbancroft #
  • Beth Goza shows me Layar Brightkite augmented reality on her Android phone #
  • Beth Goza shows me Layar Brightkite augmented reality on her Android phone [pic] #
  • Playing with the PicPosterous iPhone App #
  • Playing with the PicPosterous iPhone App #
  • @mike_strock No, there’s duplication right now when I use Posterous. I need to fix my tubes. Just a config issue on my part. in reply to mike_strock #
  • @jrnoded MiFis are awesome. You’re going to love it! πŸ™‚ in reply to jrnoded #

Experimenting with Posterous

I've been experimenting with Posterous, which offers a nice set of "tubes" for posting things (text, photos, video, audio, etc.) via email, and routing it to various places through its autopost feature. I just enabled autopost for, so now, when I post photos/videos/other stuff, it should appear here, and at least make things a little more interesting than the one-post-per-month pace this blog has been seeing. Feel free to read/interact here, on FriendFeed, Twitter, or wherever your tubes come together.

It's all just a bit of experimental plumbing…

Posted via email from Josh Bancroft’s Posterous


Josh’s Lifelog for 2009-08-23

  • Philosophical observation: At its best, Gnomedex is about friends, awesome stories, big ideas, and “why” over “how”. Not about business. #
  • @chrispirillo was showing off – augmented reality using your webcam and Google Earth 3D models. VERY COOL. #gnomedex #
  • @grigs We wish you were here to! The Portland Contingent is strong here, but we could always use some more cool PDX geeks! #gnomedex in reply to grigs #
  • The Sonar Ruler iPhone app is cool (measures distance via echolocation), but I’ve found that PocketMeter (same concept) is a bit better. #
  • This pic I took of @chrispirillo at Gnomedex 6 will live forever (just showed up in @comcastcares’ preso) πŸ™‚ #
  • That pic has made it on screen at every Gnomedex since 2006. I’m so proud. πŸ™‚ #
  • I’m totally digging Mark Glaser (PBS, @mediatwit) talking on Hacker Journalism. Strikes many chords with me. #gnomedex #
  • Interesting that the term “hacker” seems to have swung back around from derogatory to favorable, probably on its way to buzzword. #gnomedex #
  • @jmoriarty Oh, I got attribution. @chrispirillo jumped up, pointed at me, and yelled “HE’S the one that took that @#$% picture!” #gnomedex in reply to jmoriarty #
  • I wish @davewiner, one of my favorite media hackers, was here, and I could hear his thoughts on this talk on hacker journalism. #gnomedex #
  • It also strikes me that PDX rock stars @aweiss, @stephstricklen, and @TheSquare would have a lot to share about hacker journalism. #gnomedex #
  • @kentgiard I have the GorillaPod suction attachment. It works pretty well with my iPhone 3GS. I’m going to post a video/photo review soon. in reply to kentgiard #
  • My #gnomedex hacker journalism idea: Twitter Storm Team. Twitter’s adding geo data, map them. I already search #pdxtst to know the weather. #
  • @bethgo on stage at Gnomedex now, talking about Nerd Craft. Stuff made with hands. Beth is awesome. πŸ™‚ #
  • OH @bethgo: “I mean, who *doesn’t* want a felt Sarlacc Pit?” πŸ™‚ #gnomedex #
  • OH @bethgo: “I actually belong to the Lord of the Rings Sock Club. It’s called Lord of the Strings.” #gnomedex #
  • Twitter auction for @bethgo’s knitted Sackboy. Tweet your bid to @bethgo with #gnomedex tag before noon. Proceeds go to #blamedrewscancer #
  • @bethgo I bid $50 for your Sackboy. #gnomedex πŸ™‚ #
  • Now @micah is on stage at Gnomedex. He’s the guy who started #FollowFriday. Getting a mixed reception, from those who love or hate #ff. πŸ™‚ #
  • OH @micah: “Personal brand = be you. If you ever spend a dollar on someone who tells you otherwise, I’m sorry, but you’re dumb.” #gnomedex #
  • @harrisja But SMS is only ever written and consumed on a phone. Why do that instead of something that spans the web, PCs, and phones? in reply to harrisja #
  • @harrisja I would argue that the web is more ubiquitous than SMS. Are we starting a Twitter argument when you’re sitting 5ft from me? πŸ˜‰ in reply to harrisja #
  • Fighting off a nasty headache. Thanks to @rachelbancroft for bringing meds over to me at Gnomedex. #watchoutforexplodingbrainbits #
  • Empty Gnomedex Auditorium during lunch #
  • Empty Gnomedex Auditorium during lunch [pic] #
  • iPhone apps I shared on stage at Gnomedex were: BargainBin, PocketMeter, Sonar Ruler, and Boxcar. #
  • Could have shared a bunch more cool iPhone apps, but I thought I’d only have time for one. @chrispirillo put me on the spot and I blanked. #
  • Audioboo is a very cool iPhone app for posting short audio bits (<5min) to Twitter, but I love the RSS/podcast feed it generates. #gnomedex #
  • @sethlong BargainBin is the app I showed, that lets you do add apps to a wish list with a target price, and does push notifications. in reply to sethlong #
  • I would have shown the Waze iPhone app, but @TylerPruit beat me to it. πŸ™‚ #gnomedex #
  • @seanbohan No, but that’s a cool idea (iPhone app to track battery usage on a per app basis). #gnomedex in reply to seanbohan #
  • Oh, I also shared BNO News (Breaking News Online) on stage at Gnomedex – best push notifications for news I’ve found. #
  • Someone really needs to port to other cities. Like Portland. Hint hint PDX hacker nerds. πŸ™‚ #gnomedex #
  • The Android Tricorder app Teresa shows at Gnomedex ( beats the pants of of any of the iPhone Tricorder apps I’ve seen. #
  • Oops. Wrong URL for the Android Tricorder app. This should be it: #gnomedex #
  • @chrispirillo getting molested on stage by a marketing guy on stage at Gnomedex: #
  • I’m loving this “open 1 minute sharing” time at Gnomedex. Seen some awesome stuff, and the marketing/pitchy stuff is fun to laugh at. πŸ™‚ #
  • Note the differences between headlock guy pitching SnagIt and @kegill pitching Skitch. Doing it wrong. Doing it right. πŸ™‚ #gnomedex #
  • I hogged the show and tell, and went up a second time for more iPhone apps. Showed Autostitch, Pocket Universe, and Geocaching. #gnomedex #
  • That was for the people in the stream who were asking for more cool iPhone apps. πŸ™‚ #gnomedex #
  • I *loved* to hear the “oohs” and “aahs” when I was showing off Pocket Universe. It gets that reaction all the time. πŸ™‚ #gnomedex #
  • @kegill Kathy, I though you did it right. You’re awesome. At least you didn’t try to put Chris in a headlock. πŸ™‚ in reply to kegill #
  • @kegill It was BargainBin (watches for deals on the app store, does push notifications for your watch list). in reply to kegill #
  • Since a bunch of people have asked, my screen saver is (searching for Gnomedex) coupled with IdleWeb (Mac). #
  • @gwalter Aww,,, That’s about the nicest thing anyone has said about me. I *love* what I do, and I’m *so* grateful that I get to do it. πŸ™‚ in reply to gwalter #
  • Go do some good. Help people who need it. You don’t need to be told how. Opportunities abound. Serve. Give. I need to do more. #gnomedex #
  • @caseorganic is on stage to talk about cyborg anthropology and prosthetic culture. She’s awesome. You’ll love it. #gnomedex #
  • @BMW It’s OK. You have dual Portland/Seattle citizenship. We understand. πŸ™‚ #gnomedex in reply to BMW #
  • I am a cyborg. I always have been. My phone and computer are my prosthetics to adapt me to live in the connected world. #gnomedex #
  • @caseorganic: “Omit Unnecessary Cyborgs” – Got laughs due to Clippy, but I LOL’ed at the Strunk and White reference. πŸ™‚ #gnomedex #
  • @caseorganic is blowing our collective cyborg minds at Gnomedex. I’m going to need to watch this 2 or 3 times to absorb it all. #
  • @caseorganic: “I left out a bunch of technical info, because it’s late, and I figured your brains weren’t formatted properly.” #gnomedex #
  • @caseorganic: “I never go out, I prefer reality to come in and see me.” #gnomedex #
  • @kk is giving us the Gnomedex 9 awards in photos. He printed award tokens on @bre’s Cupcake CNC. Hilarious! πŸ™‚ #
  • I’m bummed that Gnomedex is over. Again. Can’t wait until next year! Thanks @chrispirillo and all the others who worked so hard! πŸ™‚ #
  • Oh man. I think the valet farted in our car. That, or something died in here… #rolldownthewindowsquick #
  • @marshallk Wait, you were at Gnomedex? How did I not run into you?I suck! Sorry to have missed you… in reply to marshallk #
  • Amazed at some of the night shots the Canon T1i can take from the balcony. I’ll post some up later. Very nice. #