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Dodgeball: Text Your Location To Friends 227

Posted by timothy
from the marco-polo-marco-polo-marco-polo dept.
iseff writes "I was listening to NPR yesterday in the car and they ran a piece about this new service called Dodgeball. It's essentially a social networking site, except it's based pretty extensively on text messaging. When you go out for the night, you txt the main dodgeball server your location. It then txt's your friends where you are so they can meet you. It can also tell you who is close-by where you are and how you are connected to those people. It seems like a more 'sticky' and applicable use for social networking when compared to Friendster or orkut (which are always very popular when they launch and then quickly fade). Could this maybe be a decent use to social networking that will last? Or will this bust just as fast?"
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Dodgeball: Text Your Location To Friends

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  • Ring them? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Coopa (773302) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @07:50PM (#10073852)
    If i'm waiting for friends and i have a mobile, why wouldn't I just ring or sms them anyway?
    • Re:Ring them? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Phezult (729465) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @07:55PM (#10073889)
      Ah, but if you have more than five friends, it could become taxing to do it yourself. Why not be lazy and let a server do it for you?

      It would be cooler if the phone had an integrated GPS, you sent the coordinate with "the touch of a button," it figured out the location (which bar) and then notified your friends with the place name. This lets you be even lazier! Their phones could even provide walking directions if they're already drunk...
      • Re:Ring them? (Score:5, Informative)

        by bentfork (92199) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @08:17PM (#10074117)
        GPS? it almost does. Remember WAP/WML and our friends at http://www.openwave.com/ [openwave.com]?

        They have this thing called a 'location server' and if you (wap developer) pay the service provider ( verizon, telus... ) they will add a extra header your wap/wml requests that contain your current location. ( accuracy depends on positioning methods that are being used, cell-id, EOTD (enhanced observed time difference), AGPS ( assisted GPS ) and can range between 1000 meter to 5 meters.

        I thought it would be a blast to play with, but I have not found any way to get the info for free without using their 'simulator' deck viewer.

        • Thats what openwave does?

          I walk by their office every day, looking at it, wondering what they could possibly be doing.

          -Tim
        • cool, I wonder if that stuff would work with the operators around here.. they've been pretty touchy about their locationing methods based solely on gsm(which works pretty well, worked pretty well like 6 years ago though already iirc, wondering what they could do with it without getting in potential legal trouble. they offer stuff like what's the nearest resteurant etc).
        • efficiency? (Score:2, Informative)

          by nbert (785663)
          a service provider in Germany has been doing something like this for years. If you subscribe to their service you basically get a username and pass which you can use to access a map on their website displaying your phone's current position. So if your friends know the pass they are able to spot you. IIRC they rely on 3 cells in your phone's range (cell-id I guess) to locate you, so the results can be quite inaccurate.

          However it never became popular for obvious reasons. I guess nobody likes to reveal his/he
        • The procedure is : Steps :
          1) Open my celular phone [kddi.com]
          2) Select the button to create an email
          3) Select a group from the phone list , or select all the people i want to send an email
          4) Compose the email, say anything , typing in japanese on the phones is easy because of sentence completition. English is just a pain in the ass.(I am a native spanish speaker)
          5) Attach my GPS Location ( in this phones you can attach files, photos, GPS location, Movies etc.)
          6) Send

          The receivers , of the mail , can just
        • Here [howardforums.com]

          or here [wirelessadvisor.com]

          I recently bought an LG VX6000 from Verizon, and after digging around for a while, learned how to get my GPS coordinates by messing around with settings, then dialing a special 922 number (careful, sometimes in some areas, it forwards to 911). Not exactly a practical way to gather it, but it works.

          Anyway, those sites have just about everything you'd ever want to know about any cell phone from any company. The free WAP service that you can get on most Verizon phones is pretty sweet.

      • by mottie (807927)
        but if you have more than five friends

        who the heck has more than five err.. yeah.. thats a really good point, this will really help me easily let my fans know where i'm going.

      • an even better version could take breath alcohol readings when you talk into it, figure out when you're drunk, and then talk to your car and tell it not to let you drive.

        (or alternatively, figure out that you have gotten behind the wheel and are driving a car and send the cops your gps coordinates)

        Either way, it would mean less drunk fsckwits that i have to share the road with.

        Another version could detect the presence of drunk members of the opposite sex via a signal sent out by their phone.
        • by tftp (111690)
          Another version could detect the presence of drunk members of the opposite sex via a signal sent out by their phone.

          If you need an electronic device to detect the presence of members of the opposite sex (drunk or not) then you probably wouldn't be capable of making any use out of a successful detection :-)

        • Re:Ring them? (Score:2, Interesting)

          by scambaiter (703904)
          funny that siemens is already working on an alcohol testing mobile phone [mobiledia.com].
      • I have been wondering what happened to this stuff. I worked at motorola when the FCC reg was passed and we had to start planning how we were going to solve the 911 locating problem. Left before any of the code started getting written and switched industries.

        So has anyone worked with this service yet? I am very interested in some uses for products I am developing.

      • GPS doesn't work inside a bar. Or anywhere inside, for that matter.
      • Ah, but if you have more than five friends, it could become taxing to do it yourself. Why not be lazy and let a server do it for you?

        Because you don't need to? Most phones will let you put multiple people on the To: line for a text message. Hell, mine lets you put e-mail addresses as well.

        And most folk here (in the UK) are paying less than 5p per text message (mine is around 2p), it doesn't cost much.

        Text messaging has become the defacto standard for meeting up with folk in the UK. This is true for j

    • Re:Ring them? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by xneilj (15004) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @07:55PM (#10073893)
      You clearly don't go out with a large (constantly changing) group of friends.

      Sure, when there's 2-3 of you regulraly going out it's easy to coordinate. Once you have 20-30 people in a group of friends, some of which are coming out on a given night, and some which aren't then it gets extremely tedious to:

      a) Invite that many people to begin with and not forget anyone.
      b) Keep track of who's coming out that night and who isn't.
      c) Continually update people who haven't yet arrived as to where you are right now.
      • by lucabrasi999 (585141) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @08:01PM (#10073955) Journal
        Once you have 20-30 people in a group of friends.....

        ...you have to start coming up with better excuses to avoid them.

      • Re:Ring them? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Coopa (773302)
        Yeah, I suppose. I regularly go out with the same group of people and don't organise it myself (anymore), I ring one person, they ring another and it all filters through. Hopefully.
        • Re:Ring them? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by netsharc (195805)
          In an efficient world, if everybody's assigned 2 people to call, and none of them overlaps, you'd get the message spread through 1,3,7,15,(2^n - 1) people very quickly. Of course that's if the minions agree to everything the alpha-creature says, if there are competing alpha-creatures (when you think of college jocks), you'll never get off the phone, and you'll never get all of them in one place!
      • by maggeth (793549)
        Once you have 20-30 people in a group of friends...

        You need to stop reading /.
        Take your promotion of your successful social life elsewhere pal!


      • Once you have 20-30 people in a group of friends

        The intersection of the set of all people with 20 or more close friends, and the set of all people who are tech savvy enough to want to use wireless mobile devices to automate their social functions, is the null set.

    • Re:Ring them? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mdvolm (68424)
      Well, if you're in a bar it's extremely difficult to have any sort of phone conversation. Sending text messages is a much better form of communication in this situation.

      Plus, you get the fun of reviewing your conversations in your stored messages the next day.

      "Did I really say that!? Shit!" -- Any given weekend
    • Re:Ring them? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Mattsson (105422)
      But as I understand this, the service will send you info about people who you haven't planed on meeting and also about people who are connected to people you know.
      Like getting a mess that tells you that one of your friends brothers are at that café across the street...
      Or maybe you're at a place with some friends but it turns out they only played really lousy music there, so you take a look in you phone to see if anyone you know are at a nearby place, without having to sms or call all of them.

      If this s
    • Or email, for that matter. Create an alias that has all your best friends' email addresses and badumboom, badumbing, they know.
  • Or... (Score:2, Funny)

    by xNoLaNx (653172)
    will bad ryhming end your hopes for honest replies?
  • by LoztInSpace (593234) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @07:50PM (#10073857)
    I M IN MOMS BSMNT. LOL.
  • by sik0fewl (561285)
    Could this maybe be a decent use to social networking that will last? Or will this bust just as fast?

    Yeah, why don't I go eat some hay. I can make things out of clay, or lay by the bay, I just may. Whaddya say?

  • by jmcmunn (307798) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @07:55PM (#10073891)
    Is it that hard to call a few people on the phone, or heaven forbid talk to someone at work or school to make plans? I don't understand this recent fascination with multi-tasking on your phone. I must be out of touch with the hip crowd, because I only use my phone to talk to people. No games, no sms messages, no camera.

    Sometimes I even turn my phone off when I am out somewhere. It's no fun to always feel like you're pinned down by technology. These days no one gets to unplug and have time to themselves because no matter where you are there are 5 ways to get ahold of you.

    Just my 2 cents.
    • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @08:13PM (#10074082) Journal
      I don't understand this recent fascination with multi-tasking on your phone. I must be out of touch with the hip crowd, because I only use my phone to talk to people. No games, no sms messages, no camera.

      Adolescent primates try out new things and see how they work. (Typically one of the things they try is breaking one major taboo.)

      Sometimes it works out very well. Then they are wildly successful and teach the rest of the primates (starting with their family and cronies) about a new food source, technique, etc.

      Sometimes it's a disaster. Then they die.

      Most of the time it's just interesting to them and maybe fun for a while, then it gets old and gets dropped.

      Adolescence is the right time for this sort of behavior. Adolescents are mature enough that they're not likely to fail just through lack of strength, knowldege or skill. But less of the rest of the tribe's resources are sunk by their loss, and their loss is less damaging to the tribe's future, than if they pull this and lose later in life, say once they have young to raise and others who have become dependent on them. Thus do post-adolescents become more conservative, and less experimental and risk-taking, once they have accepted major long-term responsibilities.
    • The worst specimen of this type is the person who carries out massive conversations via text message. I mean, sure it might end up cheaper in the long run by about 30 pence, but you say so much less and in such a less personal manner. To me, all text messages look the same, like it's the same stereotypical airheaded idiot typing them and giggling. Not sure why, that's just the image they conjure up.

      There's still a chance to unplug, though. You turned off your phone. Even before mobiles people used to let
    • No games

      Good if you're stuck on a train or plane with nothing to do. Why should I need a game boy if I have a phone, which is just a tiny computer?

      no sms messages

      It's pretty cool to get a page when a production system at the office stops working and starts losing money.

      no camera

      Could come in handy for a car accident for evidence.

      It's convenient to have a bunch of things like that in one semi-easy-to-use device.

    • In the piece, the guy they were talking had a buddy list with about 40 others. Trying to call them all just to say that he is drinking a beer at the corner pub is kind of silly.

      The other "feature" they talked about was getting text messages from people who is on one of your buddies' buddy list. That way you can hook up with friends of friends.
    • Is it that hard to call a few people on the phone, or heaven forbid talk to someone at work or school to make plans?

      You talk about lazy, then immediately mention the telephone, a device used for long distance communication. You could just as easily write a letter to tell your friends, or call it out in the public square. Different technologies add ease - telephone is easier than a letter (or trekking across town when you really want to meet your friend in the middle). This is easier than calling up 40 friends.

      Just because a technology is old doesn't mean it's any better, and just because it's new, it doesn't mean it sucks.
    • I've been using Dodgeball for a few months now here in Portland. You use it when you want friends to join you, not when you're out on a date or having a private evening. On more than one occasion I've found myself with evening plans (playing pool and drinking beers) only because someone broadcasted a message through Dodgeball. You can call all your friends (or hope your friend calls all of his friends including you...) or you can just send an SMS to everyone when you get somewhere. "Hey I'm here, if you
    • i have a group of friends that i made when we started off at one place of work. as time went by many of us left that company and moved to other sectors/companies/careers (not time went by, it was all in the space of ONE YEAR!!)

      when i was at the first company i helped create a tradition of going out to a pub at least once a month. it was a way to ensure that we all got out, and that we all met on a fairly regular basis. not everyone makes it to all of the crawls. the crawls when we ALL get together are rare
  • Network Assumptions (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ejaw5 (570071) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @07:57PM (#10073908)
    This assumes all the people you associate with share the same network (ie click) without any overlap from other networks. But I suppose as you introduce and get introduced to more people you start to expand.

    Again...maybe you don't want others (even if they're your friends) joining in on your party for the night.

    Watch enough Seinfeld and you'll notice the buddies of Jerry, George, Kramer, and Elaine often clash. Obviously something like this wouldn't go too well in this case.
    • You could have some "fun" with this - halfway through the night, send out a "broadcast" saying the Coppertone Girl [komar.org] and her friends are at the bar you are hanging out at - would be hilarious to see the rush of guys come streaming in!
    • Good geek karma for you, sir. You had to use the fictional events of a sitcom to explain a common social situation.

      All joking aside, you're absolutely right. It's the same reason the AIMers use 'Out' as their away message, rather than 'At the grocery store on 46th street, across from Chase'.
    • why? sms's can be sent easily to other networks in properly built cellular network systems so that can't be the problem. and they don't need to access your networks data to get data you just sent to them(i don't know how sophisticated their location stuff is, if it's done in arrangement with the operator then it can be very precise - gsm signal strength based locationing isn't exactly new feat either).

      *Again...maybe you don't want others (even if they're your friends) joining in on your party for the night
    • >> Again...maybe you don't want others (even if they're your friends) joining in on your party for the night.

      Er...in that case, wouldn't you just skip the whole 'txt the server' part, and leave no one the wiser?

      Which isn't to say that your point is invalid: I'd like to see 'privacy' implemented as some sort of access lists: you've got a standard list of friends it forwards the message to, and then maybe you've got an extended list (for the big parties), etc. Of course, you should be able to include
    • Also, I don't want to meet with people IRL that I meet online.

      They are all creepy.

    • watch enough seinfeld. ah yes, this is slashdot, where no one has friends, but know about a show where the characters have them....

      but seriously, i'm thinking that you could have multiple groups set up for this, so if i'm wanting to hang with work friends i could access that account vs my drinking friends vs my clubbing friends vs and so on... to prevent the clashing of which you speak. i can't say my groups of friends really clash, but they're of completely different mindsets - straight arrow grad stu
    • You have this all wrong.

      You send messages to the Dodgeball server.
      The Dodgeball server sends messages to your friends.

      It works as a passthrough, and works with any service provider.

      And if you don't want other people joining in on your party for the night, don't invite them. You don't have to login wherever you go. But there are sometimes when you are at a bar or club and think "the more the merrier".
  • by macdaddy (38372) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @07:57PM (#10073911) Homepage Journal
    What's the name of the service that lets people check out profiles of people near them via their cell phone and IM them to meet them somewhere? I heard about that on TV I think. This good-looking woman looked at profiles of singles in her immediate area, found one she wanted to meet, and IMed him to meet her at some street-side cafe or something like that. Is that an actual service now or just something some marketing guy thinks will happen someday? It could be cool. Then again you could be IMing the next David Berkowitz [wikipedia.org] to meet you.
    • This good-looking woman looked at profiles of singles in her immediate area, found one she wanted to meet, and IMed him to meet her at some street-side cafe or something like that.

      Hmm, sounds like high-tech prostitution. I can see it now:
      Incoming text message:

      female, brunette, 5'11", corner of 5th and Main, $100/hour, $50 extra for bondage
  • by Infonaut (96956) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @07:57PM (#10073912) Homepage Journal
    Every time someone comes up with a new technology application on the 'Net, people want to judge whether it will be successful or not without thinking about the NUMBER ONE factor - how does a business succeed based on this technology?

    This is why Silicon Valley VCs keep fucking up left, right and center. They can't seem to figure out that a business has to make money, regardless of the technology in question.

  • Step 1. Comment how this falsely assumes that Geeks have social lives.

    Step 2: Insert comment about text messaging from your parent's basement.

    Step 3: ???

    Step 4: Karma!

    Step 5: CowboyNeal

  • by enrico_suave (179651) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @07:59PM (#10073929) Homepage
    I saw these guys presentation at Oreilly's etech conference in Feb... and it does a whole host of geolocation type services.

    IT's really quite slick the little sms/email query system they came up with.

    It has access to geocoded data, so if you tell the service about your location, besides telling your friends where you are, it can tell you that their's 50 cent drafts down the block... or you can ask it where the closest bar with a pac man or pooltable...

    Obviously, this makes the most sense and is the most useful, in a dense urban area filled with younger/hipper crowd with a mobile phone less than 3 years old =P

    There are a lot of cool geolocation based social implications... cool spontaneous flash mob type stuff.

    In short, I wish I thought of it =( bastages!

    e.
  • by TheSpoom (715771) * <[ten.00mrebu] [ta] [todhsals]> on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @08:00PM (#10073950) Homepage Journal
    Why was "FBI" just added to my friends list?
    • When one messages their location, determination of the privacy and use of this information should be up to the sender, though that is not clear from the site. Further, the ability to form secure groupings would seem to me important.

      SNs still need a distributed, trusted identity infrastructure that enables full user control over their information and potability of authentication and (profile) data storage providers.
  • by glpierce (731733) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @08:04PM (#10073990) Homepage
    I can see this becoming annoying quite quickly. If you had just one friend who used this, but you actually had a life (that wasn't completely dependent on them), you'd constantly get pathetic messages on your phone, despite the fact that you don't want to hang out with them every night of the week. It would only take one overly extroverted person to annoy dozens of normal people.
    • "It would only take one overly extroverted person to annoy dozens of normal people."

      With a name like "Dodgeball", you ought to be able to strike them with something if you want them out of the network.

    • by Moraelin (679338)
      What could be even more annoying than being spammed by a friend, is being spammed by someone you don't even like. Stuff that comes to mind, off the top of my head:

      1. Most of these "social networks" are based on the fundamentally _false_ assumption that if A is a friend of B, and B is a friend of C, and C is a friend of D, then surely A and D will also get along just fabulously.

      Which is complete idiocy. Humans are not that one-dimensional personalities. It can well be that A and D are completely opposite p
    • er...well done - you've just described email, or POTS, or mobile *calls*, or the telegram system (RIP), or fax, etc etc etc

      IT's just another communication system - why do Yanks/ (.ers) get so het up and Luddite about the mobile 'phone

  • Just add GPS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by G4from128k (686170) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @08:05PM (#10073994)
    If they added GPS to the mix and an autotrack function (with "do not disturb/do not track" toggle, of course) then people could use the service without having to stop all the time and text the server. The minute you move more than 50 feet from your "official" location, the GPS would recompute and resend a new update. As long as you are in motion, it sends a "Not stationary" message. Once you arrive, it notices the stabilization in position and sends the new locale (maybe reverse lookup to provide a street addy or the name of the club).

    Just don't tell your employer that you have this.
  • There goes my alibi (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TheOtherAgentM (700696) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @08:06PM (#10074006)
    What if I don't want people knowing where I am at all times? Unless this is something you can turn off, I don't see people climbing on board too readily. Think about all those people that are unfaithful within their social circle. It would be kind of strange to know your significant other is always within a couple miles of someone else in your social circle. If nothing is going on, I bet you still find people that get jealous off of this "evidence." Too much technology is a bad thing sometimes. I know. I just read it. I can't believe I said it either.
    • What if you don't tell it where you are? What if you don't cheat on your freaking partner? What if you read the part that said you tell it where you are? So tell it your somewhere else when you're off cheating. If you don't know to do that, then you're too stupid to be cheating. And if you are smart enough to do that, but are still cheating, you're too stupid to be in a relationship.
    • Personally, I've found that people get jealous based on no evidence whatsoever, so 'evidence' is unlikely to change things much.
    • What if I don't want people knowing where I am at all times? Unless this is something you can turn off, I don't see people climbing on board too readily.

      You can turn this off whenever you want to. In fact, you never have to login if you care to mask your location.
  • And it's free (Score:2, Informative)

    by JPMRaptor (644111)
    for now at least. See their FAQ: http://www.dodgeball.com/social/help_basics.php [dodgeball.com]
  • by TheDarkener (198348) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @08:09PM (#10074035)
    Is that the people participating actually leave their houses on the weekends...

    Dodgeball_SMS(7:30p)Slashdotter_Location: Bedroom
    Dodgeball_SMS(8:00p)Slashdotter_Location: Bathroom
    Dodgeball_SMS(8:30p)Slashdotter_Location : Bedroom
  • by rudy_wayne (414635) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @08:10PM (#10074046)

    for stalkers.

  • by otisg (92803) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @08:15PM (#10074095) Homepage Journal
    Hah, usefulness of social networking sites. I always wondered what the point of Orkut was.

    In any case, take a look at Simpy [simpy.com] (demo [simpy.com] or tour [simpy.com]) for an example of a useful social (networking tool) that is centered around bookmarks (i.e. something that is actually useful).

  • Anybody know how this works? I mean, without one of the new GPS-enabled cell phones, how do they determine your location? Maybe the tower ID is hidden somewhere in the header information when it's converted to email?

    I've been looking for a way to determine the approximate location a photo-message (MMS) was taken, didn't think there was a way to do this.

    If they are basing this on which tower a person is going through, how do they handle different service providers? Did someone actually map all the NYC tow
    • You tell them your location. At least that's what I gleaned from reading both the /. blurb and the article, and the site. Though maybe I missed something.

      Oh, and yes, cell phones can be tracked by the tower they're being routed through. I think it used to be within 1 mile but I'm sure they can nail you down closer now.
    • I think they determine your position based on the base station thru which you connect to the telco's network.
      I wonder if they can use signal strength (measured from three closest base stations) to further pinpoint your exact location.
  • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @08:16PM (#10074106) Journal
    Use of this service leaves a record at the server of your location, movements, and who you are associating with.

    Maybe the fun is worth it. Maybe not. But if you subscribe, you might want to be careful about who your friends are. If they screw up with the law, the law might just decide you're a gang member, vandal, or terrorist. B-(
  • by man_ls (248470) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @08:21PM (#10074140)
    This sort of thing seems more like the killer app for augmented reality (computer-assisted vision) than for cell phones and SMS messages.

    Caveat emptor: Augmented reality does not yet exist in a workable fashion (but it's getting there.)

    Combine one of these: http://eyetap.org/
    with a geolocation service, and you could do things like, looking at a building and gathering information about its ammenities, contact information (a phone number, a Zagatsurvey rating, etc) and also a list of who, on your contact list, may be inside/in the proximity.

    a kind of personal tracking sort of thing.
  • We have glorified hide and go seek which adults can play without looking like fools.
  • Dodgeball? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wobblie (191824) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @08:32PM (#10074202)
    I think this service would be more useful for avoiding encounters with people whose company you abhor.

    Hence the name "dodgeball."
  • by bild (32863) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:07PM (#10074820) Homepage
    In Bruce Sterling's short story "Maneki Neko", everyone has a pda/cellphone thing with pervasive wireless networking and GPS. The folks in the story are part of a P2P network whose symbol is 'Maneki Neko', and whose function is to automates a gift economy.

    Say you're in the coffee shop, buying a cup. The PDA buzzes, says 'buy two'. So you do. You walk out with two, it buzzes again: 'give it to the hung-over chap on the bench'. He's psyched, even though he didn't order it, it's what he needed. Since the network has some idea of what you have purchased, what you need, where you are, what you've been doing, and what you have extra of, it efficiently moves goods (and without spoiling the story, personal services) around without there being anyone in charge. And since we have databases, fourteen people don't show up with coffees for the poor lush.

    In the story, the main character is having a baby. Unsolicited baby clothes (for the correct sex) show up in the mail, along with toys, etc, sent by total strangers, because their PDA told them to. Presumably they had extra, or their child had outgrown it, or whatever. And since the network often benefits them, they have an incentive to comply with its requests, when they can.

    Now other than the rampant privacy problems involved in a world that has such devices and services working seamlessly on a global scale, doesn't it sound cool? And since we're going to end up with a world that has such devices and services working (we hope) seamlessly on a global scale, should we not make such a thing?
    • Sure, it sounds great. Now let's see, I'm a pretty decent database admin, and I have a good friend who'se a security expert. So, if he can break into the central server, and I doctor up the database just a little bit, I should be on the receiving end of LOTS of little gifts and social services. . . sounds great!

      I especially like the social services part - gorgeous girls dropping in from all over to improve my nonexistant love-live, because their pagers told them to.

      Yeah, I see your future, and as long

    • Some replies to those who never read the story, yet commented on the summary.

      There are several such networks, and entering one is volunterly. The compete with each other, and in particular with the conventional economy, to which they are a threat since the gift economy is not taxed.

      A gift network can only be corrupted to the level where it no longer benefits the members, after that they will obviously leave.

      So in summary: It does not go against human nature, unless you believe that "helping other in or
  • by doom (14564) <doom@kzsu.stanford.edu> on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:28PM (#10074926) Homepage Journal
    Well, it's nice to be right about something for once. It looks an awful lot like one of my predictions is coming true, and roughly on schedule, see this usenet post from January 1, 2001 [google.com]:
    Well excuse the tangent, but this reminds me of something I've been thinking about lately. It strikes me that the really compulsive cell phone people seem to be just nervously checking each other's movements. E.g. "I'm on the train, no it isn't late, I'll be there in 20 minutes." (I paraphrase... actually it seems to take them about 5 minutes of repetitious back-and-forth to get out a simple message like that.)


    I predict that within five years, you will see people voluntarily wearing location transponders, so that people can take out their palm computers, and quickly identify the locations of all members of their virtual tribe. "Oh, look, Jason, Chelsea and Talbot are all over at the Roaring Sushi Dome. Let's go join them there."

    Then you get into the evolution of customs for things like initiation into the tribe, rules of etiquette for when you're allowed to have your transponder on or off, quasi-legal proceedings for ejection and shunning, and so on.

    And I guess this is somewhat reminscent of some stuff from the middle novels of Benford's "Galaxy" series (e.g. "Flushed down the Toilet of the Gods", or whatever it was called).
    • I've got news for you - this stuff is already here. Just not as you predicted.

      Right now, through simple things like triangulation (and other more complicated algorithyms obviously), the cellular network knows approximatly where you are at any given moment within about a block or less area (in a metro area). Combine this with Parlay/OSA [parlay.org] (open service architecture), which is (sort of) an API which allows you to use Telecom networks in applications and we see that there isn't really that much need to wait for

  • Where's the integration with the AGPS (that supports E911) in mobile phones? I want my phone to text the raw GPS signals, that it can barely decode, to a server, and have the server text that to my friend database. We can find each other without those annoying/expensive voicecalls that boil down to "Where are you? What? Can you hear me now? Where are you?". IBM was muttering about an "Engine 18" tech for my Treo 600, but I haven't seen this for any smartphone yet.
  • Recently on NYCWireless (http://lists.nycwireless.net/pipermail/nycwirele s s/2004-August/008643.html) I posted about an idea that would make this even easier: area wifi tells people where you are. In effect, your PDA keeps searching for a network to broadcast its position. When it finds one, it checks a node db to see if its a community or public node (like nodedb.com) Poof. Automatic cross-reference of person with location. In general, IM services should get most centralized. Not like Passport (prop
  • And not a service to find people to play dodge-ball with, which was my first reaction upon skimming over the blurb. A service to look for opportunities to get hit in the face with a ball just wouldn't make sense.

    About 4 years ago when I was on a contract job at MS Research, they were talking about locating people on your buddy list by looking up the location of the cell repeater each person was using. There was a bit of discussion of the Big Brother aspect, and I don't think it was ever implemented. The id
  • Ties to GPS (location based automation coupled with city map's which can be used for activity for example if he's in a house is it a friends house I.E. party or grandma's?) and a smart solution for determining when you are interested someone is nearby and what they are doing.
  • UK got there first? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by andrewjscott (808484)
    theres been a similar service up and running in the UK for a few months already (albeit underground...whatever that means) www.playtxt.net [playtxt.net] where u can flirt with people nearby when your out on the town (friends or others) via txt message or even MMS. just checked out the Buzz Junction thing- playtxt looks a lot more advanced than that. dont think playtxt is the states yet but i read somehwere they were going over the pond soon.
  • Alot of people point out, why not just call your friends up. What this system does is lets "internet friends" know where you are, so lets say you have 5 friends in real life, but hundreds on this site (your a bit of a shut in, we know) This will let those "internet friends" find you and meet up.

    Say there is someone who you have as a friend listed in your city, and you get a message from them saying, at mall, while you are in the mall, this would allow a great way for social interaction with people you ha
  • by igrp (732252)
    I think there are two basic problems here. One has to do with age difference, and has to do with people's backgrounds.

    Most mobile services are marketed towards the young & hip crowd (which used to be the 14-21 age bracket but now could be more accurately described as 7-24 for females and 6-18 for males). Many /.'ers, on the other hand, are either Seniors in HS, are in College or work. Having the coolest new gadgets for your friends to admire tends to become less important with age (as priorities chang

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