• By Sin Mei C
  • October 11, 2013

This Week in Context (20131011)

This week: apps judging your driving style, smart connected CO detectors, a car that won’t drive unless it knows you’re concentrating, improvements to 4SQ’s recommender system, Quantified Finance, Hexoskin and OpenRemote as glue for the Internet of Things. 

  • Smartphone apps that monitor how you drive
    It would be nice to get a discount on car insurance in exchange for my (imho) very gentle & environmentally friendly driving style. However, I’m even more interested in putting that data “into context”. Do I drive differently when I’m stressed? On mondays compared to fridays? Does the degree to which I press the gas relate somehow to the amount of sleep I’ve gotten? The time I’ve already spent on the road, .. ? I’m looking forward to such ‘driving style tracking’ apps becoming available in Belgium, because I do believe that getting insights into and feedback on my driving style, might help me improve it. (Ann) — First test results are in: TJ’s a safe driver.
  • Data Broker Giants Hacked by ID Theft Service
    Much noise & outrage on the internet about Adobe’s ColdFusion source code falling in criminal hands. Less so about the same group of criminals (SSNDOB, which specializes into data and identity theft) gaining access to big data broker’s networks, such as those of  LexisNexis Inc. and Dun & Bradstreet. (And, quite ironically, to the National White Collar Crime Center ‘s databases too.)
  • NEST introduces smart CO detector
    CO Alarms are useful, but they have problems that cause them to alarm when not required, for example when cooking, for these reason, we disable them, they are annoying. That’s the idea behind the NEST smart smoke detector. It should keep the main functionality of CO alarm, but be smart and detect pattern differences, so only alert when there is really a problem. You can silence it by waving at it. It will inform your smartphone where the problem is occurring and it will shutdown the heating systems. In the future, when we have automatic windows, I can envision, they can open these . (Roel)
  • ‘Attention Powered Car’ won’t drive unless you’re concentrating
    The headset interfaces with custom software installed in the car, with any lapses in concentration resulting in the vehicle slowing down safely to about 9 mph as a way of alerting the driver to his or her inattention. In fact, the car — a Hyundai i40 — will only run at full capacity when it senses that drivers are giving their full attention to the task at hand. (TJ)
  • Foursquare continues gradual rollout of its recommender system
    Late last august Foursquare announced a new feature that is able to ‘ping’ you intelligently at appropriate moments with relevant information. Just took a seat at a restaurant? Foursquare might suggest you the most popular dish there. Arriving in a new city or neighborhood? Foursquare will tell you which places you’ll like. The latest update to the app brings this functionality to the iPhone version (select Android users received it in september), but because this is still a very gradual rollout, only a few thousand users are currently able to experience the recommendation feature. This makes sense since these proactive recommendations have been a hot topic for a very long time. Because while they provide a clear opportunity for Foursquare in the form of  sponsored recommendations, nobody wants to waste their phone’s battery life to be spammed with useless recommendations. So if Foursquare intents to make recommendations a success it has to do them just right, and it’s for this very reason that the company is currently being extremely cautious in rolling out this feature. Expect a follow-up from us once we get access to the feature ourselves. (Maarten)
  • Glue for the internet of things
    OpenRemote (www.openremote.com) is the professional open source middle-ware for an Internet of Things. You can Integrate any device or protocol, and Design any user interface and intelligent system. User interfaces are available for iOS, Android and for web browsers. Cloud-based design tools allow easy upgrades, and make your product Future proof. (Stevo)
  • Quantified Self Finances
    Level is a real-time money-maker app that integrates with your bank accounts and provides analysis about your day-to-day spending in a quantified self style/approach. The key differentiation is simplicity, because handling finances day-to-day can quickly become a burden. It’s possible to track and control spending and savings, set goals and plan for budgets. (Roel)
  • Hexoskin: The first wearable movement, respiration, and heart activity tracker.
    The price tag is on the hefty side, but the sheer amount of sensors and tracking that this shirt provides is quite amazing. Especially for being just that, a shirt you can put in the washer… I just wonder, once this starts tracking you and apps start providing useful feedback, will you ever want to take it off? (David)

Last but least, if you read Dutch and are interested in social media and its privacy implications, you might want to buy the book ‘Hier vloekt men niet, Facebook ziet alles‘ published by the Davidsfonds.  The book talks about the vast amounts of data Facebook & others gather about its users and privacy settings, but also covers subjects such as how this new ‘transparent society’ influences identity, and what regulators and the social media companies themselves could (and should) do to put users back in control of their personal data.

Do you have news related to context-aware machinery & machinations, quantified self or the Internet of Things you want me to mention in next week’s This Week in Context? Tweet it @getjini, or share with us on Google+.

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