skud: (skud)
skud ([personal profile] skud) wrote2012-05-15 04:00 am

Huh! OSM on iOS

Mirrored from Infotropism. You can comment there or here.

Somehow I missed this back in March (see also: not being very functional online lately), but it seems like Apple is ditching Google Maps in favour of OpenStreetMap. They’ve already started using it in iPhoto and word is it’ll replace GMaps throughout iOS in the not-too-distant future. Official announcement, more commentary and analysis from searchenginewatch.

This is great, because it saves me from trying to figure out how to do it myself. I’ve tried a couple of OSM apps for iOS but haven’t found a particularly good one. They tend to be slow, ugly, and of course not integrated with other apps. So, I’m looking forward to seeing what Apple delivers.

I’ve been trying to get away from using too many Google apps since they showed their true colours last year. Opting out of the Google monoculture only to buy into an Apple one wouldn’t seem like a win, except that the underlying data is open licensed, which makes a big difference as far as I’m concerned. In some ways this reminds me of a project I worked on at Monash University, lo these many years ago, where the policy was, “use whatever proprietary crapware you want, as long as it supports open standards.” At the time we used it to choose Netscape SuiteSpot (pause to laugh — but it supported POP, LDAP, iCalendar and the like) over Microsoft Exchange. I don’t now what Monash is using these days for email, but I bet the transition was made easier by the fact that they could drop in anything that supported those same standards.

Like the open standards that underpin the Internet, OSM’s open license means a variety of apps and platforms can be built on it, and users can choose between them. And, with any luck, corporations like Apple will contribute back (with money or staff or just a vague aura of legitimacy) bring OSM the same sort of respectability that Linux and other open technologies have gained over the last decade or so.

So anyway, once I can cut over to OSM on my phone, the most important Google apps I have remaining are mail and docs. With regard to mail, does anyone have an alternative which is:

  1. as searchable as GMail is, or nearly so, and
  2. has decent keyboard shortcuts?

I rely heavily on those features, and would find them pretty hard to live without. I’ve tried IMAP with Thunderbird and in the past, and am not particularly happy with them, so let’s assume those are off the table for now. I’m actually almost tempted to go back to a command-line based solution, perhaps offlineimap and mutt with some heavy indexing.

cesy: "Cesy" - An old-fashioned quill and ink (Default)

[personal profile] cesy 2012-05-14 06:11 pm (UTC)(link)
If you find an alternative to Gmail, let me know? I tried Zoho and Fastmail, but both of them had deal-breakers for me - too much cost to store what I'd actually want to be able to search, or couldn't import enough of my Gmail history.
terriko: (Default)

[personal profile] terriko 2012-05-14 10:24 pm (UTC)(link)
I'd also love to see a more searchable client, esp. on my phone. I've gotten a nice little system with Thunderbird + Nostalgy to get me some keyboard shortcuts on the desktop, and the search is passable enough, but only because I keep the mailboxes I want to search relatively small.

Mind, a friend of mine looked into improving search for webmail clients and discovered that all the people who'd written brilliant papers about text search algorithms had gotten hired by google and never published again. I think my friend gave up on the better-webmail project in disgust since he didn't have time to do the research independently himself.

[personal profile] puzzlement 2012-05-14 10:50 pm (UTC)(link)
notmuch seems to have got a good reputation using for search, I don't know if FOSS webmail has already got to Xapian or not.

[personal profile] puzzlement 2012-05-14 10:48 pm (UTC)(link)
Just commenting quickly: IIRC Mairix used to be what mutt users did for searching, now people seem to be into notmuch, but last I heard it doesn't integrate enormously well with mutt in fact, and there's some frustration about mutt being one of those mature projects that is well, good in the sense of doing what it intended, but is not changing to keep up with competing workflows (ie, no interest in a workflow resembling that of Gmail's).

A quick search indicates that at least they're trying, when it comes to notmuch:

I still use mutt+procmail+offlineimap, but that's really massive user interface conservatism on my part, basically. And one still needs a phone client, too.
wrdnrd: (legend [Doctor Who])

[personal profile] wrdnrd 2012-05-14 10:50 pm (UTC)(link)
Have you seen [personal profile] arduinna's giant post from the end of february? Google and privacy and alternatives: giant post o' doom Item #3 is email alternatives.

I've been looking for an alternative to Google Maps that will allow me to create and save travel maps. Your link to OpenStreetMap got me poking at MapQuest, which may work. Hmmm.
etfb: (Default)

[personal profile] etfb 2012-05-14 11:35 pm (UTC)(link)
I used to use Fastmail before Opera bought them, and I only switched to GMail because the FM techies were a little too fond of implementing breaking changes to the whole codebase on a whim and then going off to the pub. I presume their Norwegian overlords have put an end to that silliness, so I'd love to switch back and be rid of my dependency on the ColourBorg. The trouble is that it's apparently impossible to get my mail out of GMail. IMAP is like Christianity: a lovely theory that's never been put into practice. I want to connect tab A to slot B, pull a lever and have a file appear in my Downloads directory with all the mail messages in mbox format and all the attachments suitably munged so they're simultaneously attached and accessible. Thunderbird won't do that for me, so I'm stuck.
etfb: (Default)

[personal profile] etfb 2012-05-15 09:35 pm (UTC)(link)
Ah! POP would do it. Yes, I'll give that a try.

Fastmail's web UI was always fast, hence the name. No graphics by default in the design, just text. Table-based layout of course, but you have to expect that. I don't know about searchability: I moved from there to GMail shortly after GMail appeared, because I wanted the larger capacity and couldn't see why I'd keep paying for somewhat unreliable service. In those days, search was not a huge factor in my decision making.

Now, I think I might move back, just to avoid the Borg, but I'll want to know that it can handle spam well, that there's a good app for my Android phone (yeah, I know, irony warning) and that it still has the advantages it used to have.