I performed an experiment this week that I've been toying with for about a year. Last March, I got a GPS receiver from a buddy of mine, and started playing with the idea of having my laptop send email check-ins to brightkite.com every 10 minutes.

Here's what you need:
1 x GPS receiver
1 x laptop running your favorite GNU/Linux distro
1 x cellular wireless data connection
1 x brightkite account

Here's my DeLorme GPS Receiver:

And my Comms Unit (including 3G data access):
NxCAS at work

And, the laptop:

The most important bit is the scripts. First, we need to pull the data from the GPS receiver. Here's my FollowMe script:

# $HOME/GPS/scripts/FollowMe.sh
# last updated: Thu Mar 17 22:00:10 EDT by slacker@tyr

# start gpsd as root
sudo gpsd -n /dev/ttyUSB1

DATE=`date +%y%m%d-%H%M%S`
mkdir ~/GPS/$DATE

# poll gpsd every $INTERVAL minutes


while [ $X -eq "1" ]
echo rw | nc -i 3 localhost 2947 >> $GPSDUMPFILE
gpsbabel -i nmea -f $GPSDUMPFILE -o gpsdrive -F $GPSDRIVEFILE
# for debug
LAT=`echo $CURRENTRESULT | awk {'print $1'}`
LON=`echo $CURRENTRESULT | awk {'print $2'}`
echo "@ $LAT,$LON" > $RSLTFILE
# email result to brightkite
mutt yrcode@bkite.com < $RSLTFILE
sleep `echo "$INTERVAL * 60" | bc -l `

To be honest, I was planning on being more detailed in this post, but now I'm not feeling it.

Anyway, the result was pretty sweet: lnxcwbyOtR on twitter and on brightkite. Oh, if there are any specific questions, lemme know :-)

Yesterday, I drove up to New Jersey to visit a customer, and a potential customer. The business end of the trip went very well, but I'm going to focus on the personal stuff.

When I travel, I try to find Hampton Inn's to stay at. That way, I get the Hilton points, and they are easy to find, and consistent. The Hampton that was nearest to where I was working was on Passaic Avenue, in Harrison, New Jersey. Nice hotel, and there was a bar in the lobby. I got to the room, and here's the view I had:

A Jersey View

I don't fault Hilton... There's only so much you can do with a location just across the river from downtown Newark. :-)

I availed myself of the Manager's Happy Hour at the lobby bar. The view from the back patio of the hotel was lovely:


I then ordered some veal parmasean and ziti from Gina's Pizzaria, watched some 007, and went to bed.

The next post, will be about the geeky fun I had with my mobile comm unit, GPS receiver, and my laptop.

2003 Campos Góticos Tempranillo from Crianza and my loverly wife @ Jaleo

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