Quick and sort of crazy story of a guy in Las Vegas whose house seems to be some sort of default GPS coordinate for some lost Sprint phones:
Dobson was told that cellphone GPS systems don’t provide exact locations – they give a general location of where to start your search. And for some reason his house is that location for his area.
People keep turning up at his house and demanding he give them their phones back.
Often the stories of unintended consequences of technology are much more interesting than the intended ones.
Gizmodo has a glowing review of Pinwheel, Caterina Fake’s new company (Fake was co-founder of Flickr and Hunch). From the sounds of it (and the big photo at the top of the Gizmodo post) it’s a way to annotate the world around you. This is an interesting idea to me for a bunch of reasons. First, way back in the day I was fascinated by Yellow Arrow which was a version of this idea before people had smartphones with internet and GPS. You stuck an arrow sticker up and it had a unique SMS code that you could use to get whatever data was associated with it. Looking back in the archives, I guess I first spotted Yellow Arrow in 2004 in Wired and wrote more about them and Flickr and annotation a year later in 2005 (oh blogs, aren’t they grand).
Anyway, back to Pinwheel. About a year ago I was having a conversation with a friend of mine about how I thought someone needed to start a location-based media company. As more and more services became about understanding your location and giving you valuable information based on this it seemed logical that someone would start to focus on the creation of media with coordinates attached to it. I was thinking of this not as something that was competitive with Foursquare and the like, but rather as the natural extension: Location is a platform, Foursquare is an API for it and this is one of the businesses that will be built upon it.
Having never played with Pinwheel it’s hard to say where it fits in that location stack (does it compete with Foursquare or complement it), but it’s interesting to see stuff starting to pop up like this and I hope it’s awesome and interesting and pulls in data from outside just what people add directly to it.