iPhone lost for 18 months found

About 18 months ago, I sat on a bench in Brisbane and my iPhone 7 fell out of my pocket.

Someone picked it up.

Two nights ago the Queensland police e-mailed me and said they found it.

We had traced the phone using findmyphone, but it was an apartment complex about 2 km away and couldn’t get a specific signal.

I had filed a police report with the serial number, but insurance wouldn’t cover it, so I figured it was just another technology tragedy (also why I use a computer from 2012 because I’ll just drop it, why I used an iPhone 5 for years, because I’d just drop it, why I have to concentrate when I walk, because I’ll just fall over).

And then, after 18 months, the phone shows up at the West End police station.

They wouldn’t or couldn’t tell me how they came into possession of it, my beautiful wife drove me to the police station, and daughter Sorenne now has a nice upgrade to her iPhone 5.

And since this is personally weird post, here’s a picture of when I was about 3 on Grandpa Homer’s tractor (the asparagus baron) that my mother sent along. She’s 77 and flying to Australia to be with me for a week.



New DineSafe iPhone app makes Toronto inspection data more accessible

A local developer named Matthew Ruten has, according to the Torontoist, found a way of making DineSafe information even more accessible: using the City’s open data, he’s created an iPhone app that lets users view the health-inspection histories of whatever restaurants happen to be near them.

The app, which is called “Dinesafe,” has been available in Apple’s app store for 99 cents since last week. It uses the iPhone’s GPS capabilities to spit out dinesafe.app.13DineSafe information on whatever restaurants happen to be closest.

The app displays restaurant names and addresses next to handy colour-coded graphics that let a user know, at a glance, how often each place has run afoul of inspectors. (Just as on the official DineSafe website, green is good, yellow not so good, and red the worst.) Flicking through the different restaurant profiles is more or less what reading Yelp would be like, if all Yelp reviews were written by bureaucrats.

Ruten wrote in an email, “The DineSafe signs that you see in the windows of restaurants don’t give you any idea how that restaurant has performed historically, so this app makes that information available.”

Popular NYC diner owner says inspector made up violations after being recorded

In the classic he said/he said situation the owner of a popular New York diner, George’s, says that an restaurant inspector started making up infractions after the owner began documenting what he believed was an unfair inspection. According to the New York Post, owner Bill Koulmentas challenged some of the violations he was being cited for (including poor sanitation and temperature abuse of time/temperature control foods) and pulled out his iPhone when he felt the inspector was going to far. End result was 65 demerit points and a closure.

“They can do anything they want,” [Koulmentas] said. “Something’s out of control here. It’s lies, lies, lies.”
Koulmentas said the ordeal that prompted him to break out his cellphone camera began at about 9:30 a.m. yesterday, when Inspector Kenneth Reid began writing one trumped-up violation after another.
When the inspector crawled under a dishwasher and reported finding 13 roaches in the wall, Koulmentas said he did the same and couldn’t spot anything.

“I’ll give you $1,000 if you show me a roach,” Koulmentas protested.
Having experienced a similarly overzealous inspection a month earlier, Koulmentas said he decided to document what was happening.

Out came the iPhone.

Health Department spokesman John Kelly defended the inspection as legitimate, noting that George’s — which has been in business since 1950 — had accumulated 56 points under another inspector last month.
“The inspector recommended closing the place [back then],” reported Kelly. “The supervisor said let’s give him an opportunity to fix the problem. Basically, he caught a break.”

In August — barely five months ago — the eatery was awarded the top grade of “A.”


Has the iPhone changed the way people poop?

Old question. I don’t need no stinkin’ iPhone, I haul my 17-inch MacBook Pro computer to the bathroom, as some started football quests observed on Sunday. Been doing it for a decade (thank you, wireless).

When Chapman first got a blackberry in 2005, he e-mailed me and proudly proclaimed, “I’m in the bathroom” (but not exactly like that).

A new study reveals that 27 per cent of Americans use their mobile devices to check Facebook while in the bathroom.

One commentator wrote, “Some people engage in personal reflection, others scribble on walls and some like to look at pictures of ex-girlfriends and wonder how things could have been. I say good for them. Enjoy your Poopbook.”

Me, I’m a bigger fan of clean sheets and working in bed.

As noted by Canadian comedy troupe Kids in the Hall long before these mobile devices became widely available (like the landline phones by the toilets in fancy hotel rooms) there’s nothing like clean sheets, a mug of cold beer on a hot day, and a good dump in the morning. These are some of life’s greatest contemplative moments and should be used to check e-mail. Or improve your putting. Whatever, just wash your damn hands.

There s an app for that: restaurant inspection grades coupled with complete data

Providing information about food – or anything else – needs to be layered to meet the needs of individual consumers.

Most people don’t care. But some want everything.

The mandatory posting of restaurant inspection grades is a way to provide a snapshot of information to diners as they enter an establishment. But with all those newfangled portable gadgets out there like iphones and ipads that baffle me but my 2-year-old can handle with ease, some are trying to provide additional information – for those who care.

Bakersfield.com reports that Kern County Environmental Health officials in California are backing up the letter grades they issue to restaurants with some technological muscle, giving diners the power to access detailed inspection reports of food businesses through their mobile phones and other data devices.

County regulators started printing a small, square "QR" code on all of the letter grade cards they post in the front windows of food establishments.

If your phone or data device can take a picture and surf the Internet, then downloading a QR code reader application will allow you to use your camera to scan that box of data (right, photo by Casey Christie, The Californian).

Public Health Department Director Matt Constantine said the code on the posted grade cards sends the person scanning the information to the county’s inspection report page, where they can input the name of the restaurant and pull up the establishment’s inspection history.

Restaurants are already required to keep a paper copy of their most recent inspection report on hand and give it to anyone who asks for it.

So far only a few restaurants — Tahoe Joe’s in the Marketplace, a Starbucks on Olive Drive, 24th Street Cafe, among others — have the codes on their grade cards.

Michelle Rowley, who stopped by Bonnie’s Best Cafe in downtown Bakersfield Thursday to pick up a phone order, uses the grade cards all the time and loves the idea of having more access to information.

"I won’t eat at anything less than a ‘B.’ Sometimes I wonder how some places get an A," she said.

A quick cell phone search, triggered by the grade card in the window nearby, shows Bonnie’s Best has a stellar 99 point A grade with only a couple "non-critical" problems — a leaking faucet in the food prep area and an improper wastewater disposal practice.

Rowley said she was actually surprised that the county had come up with such a clever way to use technology to serve the public.

"It’s more technologically advanced than I would expect government in California to be.”

iPhones to help clean up barf in the UK

My iPhone is a Blackberry with an iPod nano duct-taped to the back. Amy has an iPod Touch duct-taped to her Blackberry. iPhones are only available through AT&T, and we’re happy with T-Mobile.

The Brits have a problem with vomit: people do it too often and in public, often outside the pub.

So, as reported by The Register,

Digital democracy charity MySociety has launched an iPhone app version of its successful FixMyStreet website. FixMyStreet encourages users to upload pictures of graffiti, fly tipping, dog fouling and other eyesores and hazards. It passes the information on to authorities, and claims about half the reports result in action.

On iPhone, the process has been simplified by combining the picture with GPS data to instantly report problems over the air, rather than having to visit the FixMyStreet website and pinpoint the location on a map. The relevant council will be alerted automatically.

I want an iPhone app for food safety violations so the authorities could be quickly alerted to food safety problems in restaurants, grocery stores, farms and my mom’s kitchen.