Microsoft Research Shuts Down AURA

Microsoft Research Communities shut down the AURA project on June 30th! This was news to me as I just saw it last weekend at the Communities and Technologies conference. Here is a description of AURA from the Microsoft Research Site:

AURA – Allows populations using mobile devices to collectively author and access annotations on physical objects.

What they mean in English is that "AURA let you scan stuff at the grocery store. Upload images like Flickr and provide ratings on the objects." So in theory you could walk around Wal-Mart rating objects real time and perhaps connect with someone in the store who had experience with that particular object. Diapers are expensive you know.

Anyway, this is what the AURA page now says:

Microsoft Research AURA project and all AURA services have terminated
as of June 30, 2007.
The Microsoft Research Community Technologies Team thanks you
for your interest in this research project, and hopes that it
has been a valuable resource.
Please feel free to contact us with any questions or feedback.

So, if you are thinking about this as a business model perhaps think again?

One thing that I *know* was broken with the AURA model was the "last mile" – it only worked on Windows Mobile Devices. And even those needed lenses to allow the camera to focus on something as close as a barcode. So it wasn’t convenient. And now it is gone. Hmmm.

Adobe Hosting iPhoneDevCamp


  Adobe Hosting iPhoneDevCamp 
  Originally uploaded by eschipul

In San Fran for iPhoneWebDev version of BarCamp. Barcamp is a self organized conference. To put this in perspective. To explain the power of social software tools. This iPhone conference with 400 people in attendance was organized by volunteers in a three week period.

Let me repeat that – three volunteers started a process that resulted in corporate sponsorships and over 400 attendees with no money and only social software tools.

I’ll keep posting as things progress. It should be interesting if a bit intimidating.

iPhoneDevCamp in San Francisco – yea!

Headed to San Francisco this morning for BarCamp and mainly the iPhone Developers Camp. iPhoneDevCamp Attendees over 325 at the moment and the Adobe Guest wireless supports 200. And oh ya, all of us will have wifi enabled iPhones to make that a 640-200=440 deficit. Oh THIS is going to work. But hey, with all of those innovators in the room we will come up with something.

Resources read, cached on the browser or printed are:

  1. Select iPhoneDevCamp wiki pages
  2. iPhone Developers Guide from Apple
  3. iPhoney emulator installed on the MacBook
  4. I am *not* installing WebKit as I am counting on Safari to do that for me.
  5. Installed Aptana web dev IDE on the Mac. This is new to me but it has an iPhone plugin so I am going to test it a bit.
  6. Looked up how to reboot the iPhone. Hold "home" button (bottom front) and "sleep" button (top of phone) down for 8 seconds.

A couple of other iPhone thoughts on this and social software. First note the graphics from Apple on the developers guide. The iPhone is a view port and it doesn’t have "windows" – it just has a view port.

It does not support Flash or Java Packages as far as I can tell. So fly out navigation appears to be a serious issue. Will learn about that at camp I suppose, but I do know our nav is not working on the iPhone. Luckily we have a sitemap, but we need a more prominent link to it.

Note the barcamp wiki is locked down for edits on any page besides attendees. I have ranted on this before, the point is that complete freedom on the Internets (heh) quickly attracts spam links. Attacks are part of the system. Just noting a common theme that goes against what we verbally talk about. Wikis are great if moderated in some fashion IMHO.

And now for another quick trip to San Fran. Hopefully Continental will bump me again!