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Jonathan Erickson

Dr. Dobb's Bloggers

Barcelona Bound, or I'm In Motor Scooter Heaven

May 26, 2008

 Forgive me, but I'm trying to figure out how I ended up here in
Barcelona. Not that Spain is a bad place to be. Quite the opposite.

So maybe it started a week or so ago when I meandered into the office,
leading the boss to ask "Who are you?" Wiseacre that I am, I jokingly
replied "Juan," exhausting my total command of the Spanish language. And
the next thing I knew, I was Barcelona bound.

Now recall that I recently swore off talking about programming
competitions (except for our own Dr. Dobb's Challenge, of course).
Wouldn't you know, but while working my way through tapas bars up La
Rambla, I stumbled into the Forum Nokia Innovation Summit just in time to
see the winners of the 2008 Mobile Innovation Competition receive their
5000 Euro prize money. Congratulations to Chiara Sammarco and Gian Paolo
Perrucci of Aalborg University, and Balint Toth and Akos Viktoriusz of
the Budapest University of Technology and Economics. For details, see
this write-up.

Since I was there and the good folks from Nokia hadn't yet asked me to
leave and there was the promise of free beer to come, I couldn't think of
any reason to leave, especially with the S60 Summit cranking up just as
the Innovation Summit was winding down. And I'm glad I did, because I got
to sit in on several really interesting sessions, including Petro
Soininen's discussion on Location-Based Services. When it comes to mobile
devices, geo-anything is a big deal these days. According to Nokia, 53
percent of the users surveyed want phones with built-in navigation
services. I'm probably among that 53 percent, having been using the
mapping/location capabilities on my cell phone to find my way around
Barcelona. Which is one reason why Nokia is supporting the idea of
Location-Based Services in both hardware, with built-in GPS and
Bluetooth, and software, via tools for C++, Java, and Python. Yes,
Python. As Petro said, "development is not just about C++ and Java
anymore." In particular, two Python modules are available from Nokia, a
Location module and a Positioning module. In addition, Petro pointed
attendees to PyS60, an S60 version of Python.

At the consumer level, Nokia just recently released its Maps 2.0
application, which uses vector maps provided by Navteq and TeleAtlas,
covering over 200 countries, with over 70 of them navigable. Thank
goodness Barcelona is included.

Putting aside maps, Python, and location services, what I like best about
Barcelona is its...motor scooters. Just about everyone rides scooters
here. Young girls, old men, and everyone in between. As for me, just tell
the boss that my new office is a back table in Cafe Salambo. The place
with a scooter parked out front. Love that free wi-fi, cheap cafe con
leche, and motor scooter.

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