Phone-in Geolocation: almost working…

It’s a hasty and rather brittle thing, but I seem to have the asterisk side of the equation functioning at a minimal level, including recording audio to go with the latitude and longitude that I dial in when I call. Aside from the beautification and cleanup to make it more intuitive, all I need to do is test the “convert the recording to mp3” call and whip up a quick frontend to display the data. Then all of you loyal fans (and/or secret conspirators) can follow along on my long but hasty journey complete with audio. Aren’t you lucky? (Don’t answer that…) If my schedule works out well enough, I may even be able to do a travelogue update from New Belgium Brewing Company along the way.

The basic process is that I whip out my trusty cellphone, call home, and dial the appropriate extension. I then key in my latitude and longitude, and then record up to a five minute bit of audio to go with it. The script then sticks the latitude, longitude, and timestamp (local to the server) at the end of a comma-separated text file and will then invoke a background process of LAME to convert the file to mp3 for online listening. I’m probably only going to have time for a really simple web interface for the moment since I’ve got to hit the road by lunchtime tomorrow after some work in the morning, but once I’m back from this trip I’ll hopefully have a chance to spiff it up.

UPDATE 20081223:If you’re bored, and you watch you MIGHT see an update or to show up during the day, assuming everything works. Unfortunately I won’t actually know if it worked until tonight when I stop for the evening and get online to check it out…

ANOTHER UPDATE 20081223 (late): Now that I’ve stopped for the evening, I’ve fixed the stupid last-minute typo that was keeping the page from working. The audio isn’t automatically being converted to mp3, so until I get time to figure that out the audio parts of the updates won’t show up until I have time to log in and start the conversion by hand. Hopefully be able to fix that (and spiff up the display page) in a day or two.

Any questions, comments, or suggestions (or requests)?

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The Author is (currently) an autodidactic student of Industrial and Environmental microbiology, who is sick of people assuming all microbiology should be medical in nature, and who would really like to be allowed to go to graduate school one of these days now that he's finished his BS in Microbiology (with a bonus AS in Chemistry). He also enjoys exploring the Big Room (the one with the really high blue ceiling and big light that tracks from one side to the other every day) and looking at its contents from unusual mental angles.

2 thoughts on “Phone-in Geolocation: almost working…”

  1. All I ask is that you drive carefully and return home safely. The weather is not cooperating with lots of travelers this year and I don’t want you to become one of them. The tracking will help with my worrying, but I’m Mom and that is my job. Unfortunately, it doesn’t end just because you have gotten older. (I’m not sure you will ever grow up and maybe that is a good thing.)


  2. “Growing up” is for people with nothing better to do…

    I was going to mention that it MIGHT be that if you keep an eye on you MIGHT see updates with locations and audio popping up from time to time as I drive (probably 2-3 times today, assuming it works).

    That’s a big “MIGHT” there because I haven’t actually tested the final thing yet. The individual bits seem to more or less work as far as I can tell without actually doing an update. By the time I get around to doing the update I’ll be away from the computer and won’t know if it worked or not…

    I can check it when I finally stop for the night, assuming I have internet access where I stop.

    And, yeah, I want to return from the trip with me and my possessions unharmed, too.

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