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Scripting “Find My iPhone” from Ruby

July 23rd, 2009  |  Published in Uncategorized

When the iPhone OS 3.0 came out with new Mobile Me features allowing you to remotely discover the location of your iPhone and send it a message and an alarm, I hoped that there’d be an API. While there’s no official way to access it, the enterprising Tyler Hall and Sam Pullara dug out their HTTP sniffers and figured out how the javascript on me.com talks to its backend service.

Their code is written in PHP and Java respectively, two languages I’m not particularly comfortable in. Translating from their source code, I’ve produced a ruby version and packaged it as a very simple gem. It lacks real documentation or elegant error handling, but it’s easy to figure out.

Use it like this to locate your phone:

$ sudo gem install mattb-findmyiphone --source http://gems.github.com

>> require 'rubygems' ; require 'findmyiphone'
>> i = FindMyIphone.new(username,password)
>> i.locateMe
=> {"status"=>1, "latitude"=>51.546544, "time"=>"8:06 AM", "date"=>"July 23, 2009", "accuracy"=>162.957953, "isLocationAvailable"=>true, "isRecent"=>true, "isLocateFinished"=>true, "statusString"=>"locate status available", "isAccurate"=>false, "isOldLocationResult"=>true, "longitude"=>-0.05744}

Important Message on the iPhoneAnd to send a message:

>> i.sendMessage("Unimportant message")
=> {"status"=>1, "time"=>"8:17 AM", "date"=>"July 23, 2009", "unacknowledgedMessagePending"=>true, "statusString"=>"message sent"}

Finally, if you look in the examples directory you’ll find a short script that uses the location data to update Fire Eagle via its API. Fill in the example YAML files with the appropriate credentials and it’ll do the rest.

Of course the code’s all open source and contributions via Github are very welcome.

iPhone coding for web developers

March 28th, 2009  |  Published in iphone, talks, Uncategorized

This week the London Flash Platform User Group ran an evening of iPhone developer talks. My talk, “iPhone Coding For Web Developers” seemed to go down well. As a web developer, I’ve found the iPhone development environment exciting in its power and possibilities, but also perplexing in its lack of basic facilities that I’d take for granted in a modern dynamic language.

This talk (based on a previous blog post here) goes into some detail about how I use HTTP, JSON and other web-oriented tech in my iPhone work.

Conference season 2008

February 7th, 2008  |  Published in Uncategorized

JFK-SAN-AUS-SFO

The March 2008 US conference season is nearly upon us. I’m just on my way back from representing Dopplr at Social Graph Foo Camp (find out more by listening to the Citizen Garden Podcast I participated in after the camp), but I’ll be back here again in three weeks.

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Last call for XTech

January 25th, 2008  |  Published in Uncategorized

It’s that time of year again – today is your last chance to put in a proposal for XTech 2008 in Dublin. You can read all about it in the Call for Participation. This year, along with the traditional core Web and XML technologies of XTech, we’re focusing on “The Web on the Move” – the emerging portability of data, applications and identity on the internet.

I’m writing my proposal today – I’m planning on pulling the very loose ramble I presented at Barcamp London on messaging architectures into a proper talk. For 2008 I’m very excited about Erlang, XMPP, message brokers such as ActiveMQ and clientside messaging with Comet. The future’s asynchronous and highly concurrent.

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Hardcore Hardware Hacking Weekend

July 9th, 2007  |  Published in Uncategorized

If you’ve seen me talk at a conference recently (perhaps XTech or ApacheCon Europe) you’ll know that I’m very interested in what happens when the coders who made the web get to script the real world. Cheap and powerful hardware prototyping is now within the reach of anyone who can code a webapp or configure a Unix box.

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20:20 talk on hardware hacking for software people

May 19th, 2007  |  Published in Uncategorized

I just got back from XTech 2007 in Paris. It was an excellent conference this year and I’m really proud of having contributed in a small way by being on the programme committee. Every year the speaker lineup gets better and better.

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Stemtags is back, thanks to Camping

December 10th, 2006  |  Published in Uncategorized

Nearly two years ago, I wrote a utility to check your del.icio.us tags for duplication using Porter stemming. Until today, the application had stopped working completely due to the fragility of the screenscraping code it was using. For fun, I’ve done a rewrite using Ruby and Hpricot, with all-new fragile screenscraping code based on the del.icio.us JSON feeds (thanks to Lenny Domnitser for pointer those out to me). I web-enabled it using Camping, a nice mini-framework for when webapps don’t need all the bells and whistles of Rails.

Here’s the result.

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Video of a lightning-talk on my Second Life work for Nature

December 9th, 2006  |  Published in Uncategorized

Last month I went along to the Google Open Source Jam in London. It was a very entertaining evening with a great crowd. At the last minute I decided to give a quick show-and-tell on the work in progress at Nature.

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My last.fm hack discussed on BBC Radio

July 14th, 2006  |  Published in Uncategorized

Thanks to Tristan for pointing out a little snippet on the Phill Jupitus 6Music Breakfast Show this week. The Internet’s Dave Green talked a bit about my last.fm hack as part of his “zomg teh internets!” section.

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What I do for a living

June 5th, 2006  |  Published in Uncategorized

My name is Matt Biddulph. Since October 2005, I’ve been an independent freelancer, open to new work. I’m currently based in London but I’m open to travel and have worked remotely for clients in a number of countries. I specialise in the design of software systems for the internet. I have a particular interest in digital media, social software and data on the web.

I’m an experienced developer in most of the languages and systems you’d expect from more than ten years of work in the industry: Ruby (and Rails), Python, Java, Perl, Unix, databases, web servers and so forth. These days I spend as much time consulting on the design and modelling of systems as I do writing code for them. I write about my personal experiments in technology here on hackdiary, and it’s always a good reflection of my interests at any given time.

Before I went freelance, I spent several years working at the Press Association and the BBC. There’s a lot more about that period in my CV.

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