"if there’s one thing the latent sysadmin in me loves, it’s tearing out a perfectly functional existing production system and implementing something new from scratch!"
I've been a long-time fan of the Eye-Fi SD cards. My primary use for them is to have all my photos automatically uploaded to Flickr from my camera. It turns out I'm lazy and having to manually copy photos off an SD card and upload them is too much work.
I've had the Eye-Fi Pro X2 card for years. I have it configured to upload everything to Flickr marked "private". I recently got an email saying that they are discontinuing the X2 product line in favor of their new "mobi" line, which will essentially brick the cards. I, as well as many others, were upset by this news.
Their new "mobi" line seems to be completely different, and heavily promotes subscribing to the Eye-Fi cloud service, something that I have no interest in. I don't want to use their tools to store and manage my photos. I want to send them to Flickr, or even better, my own website. Sadly their new cloud service doesn't even support uploading to Flickr.
I started looking into other options, but the state of wifi-enabled SD cards is pretty terrible right now. There are a handful of other brands of cards, but they all are limited to downloading photos directly to an iPhone/Android, rather than uploading from the card to something on the Internet.
The one promising card I found is the Toshiba FlashAir, which has the ability to write custom code that runs on it. I wrote up my initial experiments with it, which were only mildly successful. I tried to pick up that work again, but did not have any luck. There's almost no visibility into the code that's running, so it's very hard to debug. I decided it's not worth it to sink any more time into making that card work.
I decided to again look into the new Eye-Fi card to see what it's actually all about. It seems that my initial understanding of it was completely wrong. I managed to get a Eyefi Mobi Pro card for $36, including a year of their cloud service, so at least worst case I can write that off as paying $3/mo for a year of their service.
After some experiments, I learned that everything I read about the new Mobi card was actually totally wrong! Here is my understanding of the difference between the two cards.
The card connects to a configured wifi network, and uploads the photos to the Eyefi servers. The Eyefi servers then upload to Flickr, or whatever I've configured. The upside is that the card can upload to the internet without my computer or phone helping. The downside is that it requires Eyefi servers to be involved in the process. Also they are shutting down these servers in September presumably because they never figured out a way to make people want to pay for them.
The card connects to a configured wifi network. If my computer is also on that same network, the app on my computer will download the photos from the card. If I have an Eyefi Cloud account, my computer will upload the photos there as well. The upside is that I don't need a Eyefi servers in order to use the card. The downside is the card can only upload photos when my computer is on the same network.
So for now, I'll try out this Mobi card and see if it ends up being useful even though it can't connect to the internet on its own.
My wish is for a wifi SD card that can join a wifi network and upload to an FTP/HTTP server itself, without going through a third-party cloud service and without another device helping it out.
Before iOS 8, when an iPhone scans for nearby Wi-Fi, it transmits its unique MAC address as part of the search. Watching for MAC addresses is one of the techniques that is used to locate devices in retail settings.
A new change in iOS 8 makes it so that when a phone is scanning for nearby Wi-Fi access points, it will use a random MAC address rather than announcing the device's permanent address.
This is a huge win from a privacy perspective, since it is no longer possible to passively track devices by their MAC addresses as they wander around a store. Most articles are touting this as Apple "striking an unexpected blow against location tracking," or "stopping marketers from spying on you."
However there is another explanation for this change, and one that makes more sense from a business perspective.
By disabling the ability for third-party companies to track devices using the MAC address, this ensures the only way to track devices indoors is by using iBeacon technology.
So while this is a positive change from a privacy perspective, really it's just a way to ensure mobile marketing firms are required to use Apple's iBeacon technology and are further locked into Apple's ecosystem.
I've been logging GPS data for about a year and a half. I use an app on my Windows Mobile phone to log the GPS data, and my phone has a wifi antenna that stays in the "off" position most of the time. I met with @donpdonp the other day and he introduced me to the geomena.org project. I realized it should be possible to log access points along with my existing GPS logging. It was easy to install Airomap on my phone, so now I can log wifi points too!
So far I've only made about a dozen trips with the wifi antenna on, but I've already logged 2200 unique mac addresses, and 427 open access points. And this is only on my normal route to and from work, I haven't made any special wardriving trips yet. Here is a heatmap visualization of the access points I've logged so far.
This uses a custom tileserver I wrote to provide an additional data layer to the map. Hotter spots on the map correspond to more open access points in that area.
This is a version which shows each access point as a marker on the map so you can click on them.
Most of the access points appear to be in the middle of the street, because most have been seen only one time by my logger, which was in the middle of the street. As the access points are seen repeatedly from other positions, the points will adjust to a more accurate position. You can already see this happening for a few points which appear in the middle of blocks or on streets through which I did not drive.
Again, these maps are still in their infancy, since I've only logged a few days worth of points on very narrow routes. But it's amazing that I've already driven by 2200 access points just in the normal course of the day. I'm looking forward to continuing logging data and eventually importing it into the geomena database. It's easy to see how quickly we could map out the entire city with just a couple people running loggers!