another random user sends word that a set of newly-granted Apple patents published by the USPTO includes an alternative to the near field communication (NFC) technology that has begun to pop up in mobile devices. From the article: "Apple has received a Granted Patent relating to techniques for triggering a process within a portable electronic device that identifies itself for purposes of establishing communications with another device that is in proximity. At the moment, NFC is the technology that's getting all of the attention lately in respect to making it easier for two mobile devices to share information. While Apple is likewise doing research with NFC, they're also working with an alternate methodology for which they've now gained a patent for. In accordance with Apple's newly granted patent, a method for network device discovery monitors a compass output in a portable electronic device. As the portable device and an external device come closer to each other, a magnetic field signature is computed based on the monitored compass output. A determination is then made as to whether the computed signature could be associated with or implies that a previously defined type of electronic device (with which a network device discovery process can be conducted) is in close proximity. In other words, as the two devices come closer to each other, their respective magnetic characteristics cause the compass output to change in a way that implies that a network device discovery process should be initiated between the two devices."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
adamengst writes "In this TidBITS article, Matt Neuburg explores how Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard changes how the operating system handles preferred application bindings, dropping support for the creator codes that have been part of the Mac OS from the early days. He also explains how to work around the problem, if you want, for instance, text documents created with BBEdit to open in BBEdit even when TextEdit is the default handler for text files."
blackbearnh writes "With the release of the 3.1 iPhone OS, application developers will finally be able to develop augmented reality (AR) apps. In other words, Terminator Vision is right around the corner. O'Reilly Media recently talked to Chetan Damani, one of the founders of Acrossair, about how they developed their new AR application, Nearest Tube, which displays the closest London Tube stations over a live video overlay on an iPhone 3GS. According to Damani, developing AR applications on the 3GS is dead easy, and the real trick will be developing good augmented reality apps. 'It's all about who's going to have the most amount of data and the most valid data. So there's the obvious types of apps which you're going to launch and those are the find me my nearest bar, find me my nearest event, find me the nearest tube stop, find me the nearest ATM. And those sorts of apps are all going to be around. But they're only going to be useful for when you're trying to look for things. So if we want to get users to use augmented reality a little bit more, we have to start introducing other bits of functionality, things like show me the offers available in a particular high street. Show me when I'm walking down a high street if there's a table available at a particular restaurant. And it's that sort of interactivity and providing that real-time data in this augmented reality view which is going to start getting people to use it a lot more rather than just for show me where the nearest area is.'"
An anonymous reader writes "COLLADA — the group creating open 3D data standards — announced their latest contest winners at Siggraph 2009. Ordinarily this wouldn't interest me, but the grand prize winner, NaviCAD, really did submit something rather interesting — an iPhone app that lets you explore Google 3D Warehouse models. Of course there's the pinching for zooming in/out, but it also uses the motion sensor to control the view. If you are walking around the inside or outside of a building, as you look around in the real world the view on the iPhone displays the corresponding view."
Toe, The writes "Apple has submitted a patent application for technologies which would detect device-abuse by consumers. The intent presumably being to aid in determining the validity of warranty claims. 'Consumer abuse events' would be recorded by liquid and thermal sensors detecting extreme environmental exposures, a shock sensor detecting drops or other impacts, and a continuity sensor to detect jailbreaking or other tampering. The article also notes that liquid submersion detectors are already deployed in MacBook Pros, iPhones and iPods. It does seem reasonable that a corporation would wish to protect itself from fraudulent warranty claims; however the idea of sensors inside your portable devices detecting what you do with them might raise eyebrows even beyond the tinfoil-hat community."