Where technology & philosophy intersect!

I just finished watching Steve Job’s WWDC 2010 keynote address. It sure is a great to be in the business of technology at this time in history. How amazing is it that we have 2 of the most powerful, interesting, creative, cutting edge companies the world has ever seen (Apple & Google) both driving as hard as possible to advance the art & science of mobility and the Internet?

For me, this picture says it all..

As a philosopher come technologist this picture will be forever burned into my consciousness. I, too, believe the greatest products do not come, simply, from the greatest engineers. Great products exist at the cross roads between brilliant technological innovation and the human beings that are destined to use the technology.

Companies that forget the importance of the “liberal arts” in the continuum of technological advancement do so at their own peril.

Google Voice + Gizmo5 + Fring + iPhone/Android

I am sure I’m not alone in my never ending quest to find the perfect telecommunications balance between convenience, cost, and functionality. It seems clear to me that we are very close to a point where simple phone calls are essentially free. Now, before I get into the details to explain the title of this post, please keep in mind that I am 100% on-board with the fact that Internet access, be it at your office, your house, or on your mobile device, costs money. This is why I wrote “essentially free.” 😉

To make this work, you are going to need to have a Google Voice account, a Gizmo5 account (recently purchased by Google), and a Fring account. (You are also going to need an iPhone or an Android capable device.) 

Step 1: Login to Google Voice and add your Gizmo5 number. It is critical that you choose “Gizmo” when you set-up your number with Google Voice. On your Gizmo5 account, make sure you DO NOT have any forwarding set-up. This caused me endless headache.

Step 2: Verify your Gizmo5 number.

Step 3: Go to Fring and install their software for your mobile device. I’ve got this working on my iPhone. While I cannot confirm, I’m sure it will also work on your Android device.

Step 4: Fire-up the Fring application on your mobile device and click the “More…” option.

Step 5: Go to “Add-ons” and choose SIP

Step 6: You will need your Gizmo5 username/password. I used my actual username, but I think your full 10-digit SIP number will work as well. In the “Proxy” field, enter proxy01.sippphone.com.

Now, make sure you keep the application running on your mobile device and try initiating a call through Google Voice, targeting your “Gizmo” number. If all goes well the Fring application will ask you to answer and, like magic, you are making a call, on your mobile device, using NO cell minutes!

I’d love it if someone with an Android device would give this a try and let me know if it works as easily as it did on my iPhone.

Apple is getting into the map business!

Thanks to some good detective work on the part of Seth Weintraub from ComputerWorld, it looks like our friends at Apple have spent some of that cash they have sitting around to get themselves into the map business. What’s particularly interesting, and perhaps important/significant, is how this move clearly puts Apple and Google at odds over who should provide mapping software/data on the iPhone, iPod Touch, etc. Unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock for the last couple of years, you know the business of mapping has become massive. Mapping software and the tiles (a.k.a. the maps themselves) not only help people get from point-A to point-B, they are key when it comes to driving local commerce.

Here is some background from CNet (http://bit.ly/apple_placebase_20091001) on the Apple acquisition of Placebase.com.

I don’t think it takes a genius to see that Apple wants Google’s mapping software off the iPhone platform. Correct me if I’m wrong, but aside from Google Maps, does Apple have anything from any other company that comes as part of the base/default application set?