Monday, October 12, 2009

iPhone Voice Memo App Broken

One of the cool features of the iPhone OS 3.0 was the built-in Voice Memo app.  No longer would I need to deal with a separate app and having to transfer the files around awkwardly as they just sync with iTunes nicely.  WooHoo!

Well, it was a woohoo for only a bit, as I discovered this weekend that the Voice Memo app seems to stop recording around 25-30 minutes now.  A bit annoying as this caused me to miss about 10 minutes of what I was recording as I didn't notice it right away.

"Why might this be the case?" I asked.  A bit of Googling revealed this thread on Apple's discussion forum where the consensus is that OS 3.1 broke this and introduced somewhere around a 74.3 MB file size limit.  Depending on what you are recording this causes it to stop somewhere between 25 and 35 minutes it would appear.  Worse, reports are that when it stops you can't start recording again for a minute or so.

So, what was a cool app that solved a real use case is now useless for anything that might go over 20 minutes.  Back to using 3rd party apps as it doesn't appear Apple has even acknowledged this issue let alone said when it might be fixed.  Has anyone else ran into the problem or found a solution other than a 3rd party app?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Amazon Public Data Sets

I follow the Amazon Web Services Blog and recently saw several announcements about new Public Data Sets being available.  What is a public data set you ask?  From the web-site:

Public Data Sets on AWS provides a centralized repository of public data sets that can be seamlessly integrated into AWS cloud-based applications. AWS is hosting the public data sets at no charge for the community, and like all AWS services, users pay only for the compute and storage they use for their own applications.

What is cool about this is that it greatly simplifies getting access to large sets of data that while public in the past, were difficult to work with as you had to download, install, load, and otherwise provide the infrastructure for and manage all the data yourself.

The one that caught my eye was the Daily Global Weather data set.  Now, I haven't used this yet and there are other great resources for local weather station data like the Weather Underground (where I upload my station data by the way), but this is a great way to gain access to a bunch of historical weather data.  Other data sets include census data, Wikipedia data, geographic data, and more.

One drawback for data sets that are continuing to be updated each day, like historical weather data, is that you aren't accessing a continually updated data store, rather you are creating your own EBS volume from a snapshot.  This means (if I understand all this correctly) that if you need the most recent data, the snapshot must be updated regularly and you would have to update your EBS volume from it manually.  Or perhaps there are tools to assist with that.

All in all, a useful service, and a great move by Amazon to drive more users to EC2.