Bye Bye Sprint, Cell ya later!

Thinking about moving away from Sprint now that I can hopefully unlock my Treo 650 from the evil clutches of the marginal Sprint signal here in Southern Oregon.   With a theoretically robust national network and a top of the line phone you’d think I’d get a signal on, say, all the key cities on the main drag here which is Highway 101.  But it is not so – I’ve had connetivity problems even in Medford which is the largest city on I5 for hundreds of miles.

I’m also underwhelmed by the Treo 650, though I’d have to say the Google maps integration is nothing short of brilliant.    When I tested some iPhones in Atlantic City I was blown away by the mapping feature from Google.   Treo 650 mapping is inferior due to the small touchscreen but still very, very nice – one of those applications that Ben Franklin would have flipped his wig for (and then probably improved on – that dude ROCKED as a technologist!)

So, when Google gets busy with the new phone or software I’m gone, Sprint.  Unless you sign up with them and get me a better phone with better features and cheaper cost.   I’m not holding my breath on that.

Go Google Go. Mashups for the Masses

Google Maps strikes again with enhanced mashupability.   Google maps is clearly the leader in mapping which is curious because there are many other excellent mapping systems that are similar: Yahoo maps, MSN maps, Mapquest, and several more.

Google, as usual, offers simple integration with websites, very easy navigation, speed, and more.  It “feels” easier and more effective than the others even though I’m not sure it really is.   I remain puzzled by some of the approaches taken by others in the mapping space.   When in doubt just do it like Google does and you’ll have a great, heavily used product.

James Kim’s body found in Rogue River Wilderness.

The comments section has a lot more about this story.

James Kim is not alive. My sincere condolences go out to his wife and children. I know their safety was his top concern and he’d be so glad to know they made it out of the wilderness safely. Based on the best info I have today from a TV interview with the local pilot who found Kati and the kids it was James’ footprints down the road that he left on Saturday that initially alerted the pilot to the approximate location of the car. In my book, that was a heroic walk.I know the condolences, thoughts, and prayers of people all over the world are going out to the family of James Kim.

Kim Family Website

A lot of people are asking me a lot of questions here in the comments section and I’ll try to answer them when I know more. I’ve only had limited contact with some searchers and Scott, who worked very hard on a very noble effort to help coordinate information and many volunteers who were involved in the “unofficial” search. He was a close friend of the Kim’s and I think this must be a very difficult time for everybody closely involved with them. We should all hope to have such sincere and hard working friends, family, and rescue workers in the event of our own personal misfortune.

Oregonlive has a detailed account of the confusion surrounding the search effort.

KGW and Oregon Live have more coverage of the Kim Family story which has now captivated many people all over the world. However as local info comes in I’m alarmed by how it appears some big news places are misreporting important facts. Key story items to clarify 1) James Kim was dead when he was found. MSNBC initially suggested he was left overnight in the woods because searchers could not reach him. This is almost certainly false. 2) It remains unclear exactly when James died. Coroner suggests it was about two days which would have been Sunday night or Monday morning and probably before the ground search began. 3) The pilot that found Kati and Kids was a local resident who owned his own chopper and was not associated with the search directly. He stated on TV that he was very familiar with the area and felt for “the kids”.

Here is a link to a good series of images from another site showing the Rogue River area near Black Bar Lodge where the Kims were finally found but I understand ONLY FIRST IMAGE has correct car location. The initial reports of car location were wrong.

Another image showing the location and James’ walk – thanks Greg.

(I’ve removed an image I had here which did not have correct car location. For many days the correct location of the car and therefore the length of the walk by James Kim was reported incorrectly.)

The comments section has a lot more about this story. A LOT more!

Kim Family Search summary

Family help website is here:
Tip Line – (800) 452-7888
Outside of Oregon
503-375-3555 and 503-731-3030

[MOM and Kids are SAFE.   Looking for James in Bear Camp area as of 3pm Monday]

1:12 pm Monday, December 4, 2006.
Even here in Southern Oregon the news has been spotty on the search for the Kim family, which based on noon report at the family website now appears to be focusing on the area around Galice and Glendale in the mountains just east of Interstate 5. A news conference is scheduled for 3pm today in Merlin, Oregon.

A treacherous route through that area appears on many maps as a “shortcut” to the Kim’s Saturday night destination of TuTuTun lodge on the North Bank Road of Gold Beach, Oregon. Google map of the area here.

At 1:30 am on Saturday a cell phone tower with a range of 26 miles, in Glendale Oregon, recorded a “ping” from the Kim’s phone. This is very consistent with them being lost in between the Galice and Glendale area. Also consistent with the notion that the Kim’s tried to take the Merlin to Galice to Agness to Gold Beach route but were lost in logging roads.

The area is large and very remote, and even the main route through (Galice to Agness to Gold Beach) gets very little traffic and is NOT clear much of the winter. This main route was searched last week but my understanding is that now they are focusing on the areas north and West of Galice over to Glendale. The Stivers family was lost in this same area in March of 2006. They were rescued but only after walking part of the way out since searchers had underestimated how far they’d gone down a logging road.

Volunteering: Keep checking the family website for news but it appears to me at this time that authorities are not encouraging people to go to the Galice area to help search, worried that there could be more people lost.

An FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) has been set up at the Kim Family Site, though they say they may not be able to keep it updated too often. I heard from them that they are trying to coordinate a lot of activity over there.

The family site also has a Guest Book section to offer support to the family.

Oregon State Police News Bulletins

I’ll continue to post news here as I get it.

Mashup Camp Attendr Mashup

Jeff Marshall has a great application,, Attendr, showing those coming to Mashup Camp tomorrow.   He’s brought a great solution to one of the key conference problems – finding and identifying folks you want to meet.   Unfortunately only a small number have uploaded info so it’s not as helpful as it could be.

Solution?    We need a standardized info set for everybody who … wants to share their info.

Is this a solution?    Plaxo seems to be doing the best “user friendly” stuff along these lines and after meeting Joseph here at Mashup U today I say …. we can trust them.

Mashup University – MapQuest OpenAPI

Mapquest is up next with Antony Pegg and Joe Hughes.

Most popular mapping site on web with 50 million unique users per month, 1.25 billion page views (wow). More mapping than all competitors combined. Top 10 internet brand.

Mapquest Business Solutions.

OpenAPI. Mapping, Geocoding, and routing in a single API. Sounds great. But commercial limitations sound like they may be restrictive? As with all map providers you should talk to them if you have great commercial aps – they generally like to see innovations more than apply restrictions to developers. Integrated into AJAX style scripting interface.

Shows a great icon set for plotting data points.

Joe Hughes is up now with demo of the “Load Remote” feature of the API using a service side module with third party traffic feed.

ChefMoz/Mapquest demo with restaurant listings plotted with opening times.

Move developer tools and demos: 

Speed Limit – won their API contest: