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Cellphones Portables (Apple)

Tracking a Move Via "Find My iPhone" 216

Posted by kdawson
from the unintended-consequences dept.
dmolnar writes "I recently helped my girlfriend move her stuff from Chicago, IL to Oakland, CA. The movers were scheduled to arrive at 8AM on the 5th of July, and we were stressing the day before about all the things that could go wrong with a move. We realized that if we knew where her stuff was, it'd make us feel better. This is a story about using the $99 iPhone to track the move ... and about a somewhat surprising potential use of Find My iPhone to track your friends' iPhones without them noticing."
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Tracking a Move Via "Find My iPhone"

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  • Much cheaper... (Score:5, Informative)

    by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @02:51AM (#28687291)

    Personally I would have gone with something from deal extreme, a GPSSMS bridge. It costs the same as the iPhone, but without the contract. You could have bought simple card from Walmart.

    Not to mention it would have been designed for this and probably last a bit longer. Put in eBay after you're done and recoup some of the costs.

    What does a iPhone cost without the data plan? (Say the phone broke and you need a new one, not to mention you just signed up for 2 years)

    http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.25332 [dealextreme.com]
    http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.21686 [dealextreme.com]
    http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.11314 [dealextreme.com]

  • Iphones are not $99 (Score:5, Informative)

    by diakka (2281) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @02:52AM (#28687301)

    Do people really buy in to the BS about an Iphone being $99? IT's only $99 if you sign your soul away for 2 years. The mobile carriers here are so fortunate to have an ignorant populace that is eager to go through the mental gymnastics required to truly believe that their iphone only costed $99.

  • Google Lattitude (Score:4, Informative)

    by iffer (559606) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @03:25AM (#28687475)
    Won't google lattitude achieve exactly the same thing? I have it installed on my BB and I can get the location of half a dozen of my friends that have added me to their "friends" list on their devices (both BB and iPhones). There is also a google maps gadget you can use to check the location from your PC. What advantages do you get from using MobileMe and Find My iPhone ?
  • by Werrismys (764601) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @03:29AM (#28687497)
    The "find my iphone" feature requires a MobileMe account. MobileMe is an expensive set of web based services that can easily be substituted with Flickr and Google's stuff. So, 79â a year for tracking my phone i n case I lose it? No thanks.
  • Re:Much cheaper... (Score:5, Informative)

    by speedtux (1307149) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @03:32AM (#28687523)

    Isn't the whole point of the article about current users utilising existing features in new and innovative ways. i.e. with a marginal cost of zero.

    That would be using one of the many location tracking features that have been out for years for other smartphones. The total cost isn't $99+2 year contract, but simply $200 for the phone and no contract.

    These days, the simplest of the bunch is probably Google Latitude.

    No expensive iPhone needed.

  • by speedtux (1307149) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @03:37AM (#28687555)

    So.... how do you use any phone with out service? The contract really means nothing the US since AT&T is the only major GSM carrier in the US that supports all of the features of the iPhone.

    You can get an unlocked Nokia N78 for about $230 with no contract. Then, buy AT&T prepaid. It's a lot cheaper than an iPhone with a 2 year contract and has the same functionality.

    What carrier would a person switch to without losing features?

    Works fine in Europe, where phones and service are a lot cheaper, all carriers are compatible, and people can switch freely (unless they sign a contract, which also exist if you want the phone discount). There's no reason it couldn't work here.

  • Re:$99 iPhone ? (Score:2, Informative)

    by StackedCrooked (1204878) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @04:00AM (#28687669)
    675 EUR for an iPhone 3GS (32 GB) that is unbound to a provider or contract. That's the price here in Belgium.
  • Re:Moving company? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @04:19AM (#28687769)
    Well, a friend of mine lost his stuff in a move, and it took the moving company some eight months to find it. They wouldn't admit it was lost (so he could claim insurance and buy replacements), but I don't know what else it was doing for all that time. So, in at least one case, it would have been helpful to be able to tell them "it's on pier 8 in Rotterdam" (or wherever). The original author wasn't trying to control the people doing the move, just wanting to know how it was going.
  • So much for RTFA... (Score:3, Informative)

    by KlaymenDK (713149) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @04:27AM (#28687803) Journal

    "As for returning the iPhone, I keep meaning to, but somehow it has become...precious...to me. Maybe Apple will claim a new iPhone user out of all this after all."

    Where does it say he threw it away? That would be an idiotic thing to do in any case.

  • Re:Much cheaper... (Score:3, Informative)

    by YourExperiment (1081089) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @04:37AM (#28687863)

    What does a iPhone cost without the data plan? (Say the phone broke and you need a new one, not to mention you just signed up for 2 years)

    From reading the article (I know, sorry!) it seems they believed there was a clause in the AT&T contract which allowed them to cancel within 30 days and keep the iPhone.

    I think they might have been mistaken about that, since AT&T are unlikely to make much money giving away iPhones for free. To use everyone's favourite analogy, it's like renting a car for a week, but if you cancel within 24 hours you get to keep the car.

  • UK Phone Contracts (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @04:38AM (#28687875)

    My Contract Mobile is less than £15.00 per month with 200 minutes included.
    Compare that to Vodaphone Pay as you go at 37p per min. It does not take a rocket scientist to work out the crossover point (40mins approx). I generally use between 100 & 130 minutes per month. That is not exactly expensive

    However back on topic, I wish I could get an iPhone for the equivalent of $99.00.

  • by YourExperiment (1081089) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @05:06AM (#28688031)
    That's very nice Mr. Cowardon, but you're not the demographic I'm talking about. I'm referring to the people who sign up to £30 or £40 contracts without even thinking about it, so they can have the very shiniest new handsets. Perhaps the minority require a thousand SMS and several GB of data a month, but I expect they're in the minority.
  • Re:Cheap GPS logger? (Score:3, Informative)

    by corsec67 (627446) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @05:25AM (#28688129) Homepage Journal

    I bought a Garmin Venture CX for a similar purpose; to record where I have been so that I can interpolate the location of pictures I took with where I was, based on the timestamp of the picture.

    It has a feature where every day can be logged to the MicroSD card, so while the built-in memory is a bit limited, you can have basically unlimited storage in the MicroSD card.
    Get some good batteries and it lasts a while. (Hybrid batteries like the Sanyo Eneloops are very much recommended.)

    No Bluetooth, but it does have a USB interface that works well in Ubuntu, and as a bonus you can power it off a laptop/cell phone charger. My GPS has spent a while on the dash of a firetruck plugged in recording where I have been.

  • Re:Much cheaper... (Score:5, Informative)

    by digitalchinky (650880) <dtchky@gmail.com> on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @05:33AM (#28688167)

    So all your belongings are in boxes, including this GPS with SMS bridge business you speak of, all of which is buried under clothes or whatever, sitting deep inside a moving truck which just happens to be built out of sheet metal, strengthened by a steel or alloy frame of sorts (Last time I checked, all of them were built this way) A nice little Faraday cage yes?

    Your solution would not work, this guy lucked out in that the system was using cell towers to triangulate the phones location, if it was true GPS it would not have worked.

  • by dzfoo (772245) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @06:00AM (#28688289)

    That clause is predicated on your good faith intention of actually keeping the item until, for some reason, you decide it did not meet your expectations and so you return it. If you intention from the start was to take advantage of this clause by using the item and returning it before the deadline, you are not acting in good faith; your intent is to defraud the company.

    It would have been an easy case for AT&T to make, given the guy's confession and all.

    Check out "Wardrobing" or "renting":
              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Return_fraud [wikipedia.org]

              -dZ.

  • Re:Much cheaper... (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @08:48AM (#28689437)

    Yeah, well, actually, lots of moving vans aren't built entirely of sheet metal, they've got plenty of non-metallic components - sometimes roofs, sometimes the walls are plywood or other composites, etc. All metal's often too expensive, and too heavy.

  • Re:Much cheaper... (Score:2, Informative)

    by dmitrygr (736758) <dmitrygr@gmail.com> on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @09:24AM (#28689941) Homepage
    A faraday cage blocks signals IFF it is grounded. Last I checked trucks are on RUBBER wheels on a non-conductive road. Even wonder why you get cell reception in elevators? Same reason. Please go redo your college physics course.
  • Re:Much cheaper... (Score:2, Informative)

    by gpalyu (995482) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @11:09AM (#28691359)
    You can get a free MobileMe 60 day trial too.

The greatest productive force is human selfishness. -- Robert Heinlein

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