behave or she'll frisk you a lot Voyeur who has an obsession with law enforcement? Cop whose walkie ran out of juice? Local reporter looking for a scoop? Paranoid meth cooker who would like the peace of mind of knowing whether or not the cops are suiting up for a raid? Really bored?

If you said yes to any of those (well first I’d note it’s weird that you talk back at your computer) and you also have an Android phone, check out PoliceStream which is on the market (just Google Goggle the bar code police lady or if you’re on your phone click this). The app aggregates and plugs you into live police, fire and EMS dispatch radio streams, at the moment maybe 1800 of them, and lets you tune in either by scrolling through a huge list or by hitting the Map thing which brings up a Google Map which triangulates to your location displaying the nearby stream sources so you can tap one and tune in. It also comes with a cool list of all those police 10 codes which is kind of useless because they vary heavily by agency and jurisdiction, but hey, cool.

Apparently it’s trialware. At some point, hopefully after I get tired of it, it will try to persuade me to drop $2 on a license but I’ve been screwing with it for a few days and so far no coercion. But if I’m still hooked by the time that hits, well, I’ll have no choice I suppose but to drop all that cash. I wrote the developer a minute ago to ask when the cutoff hits so I can mention it in a plug I’m doing for it on a very very heavily trafficked and important blog, but no response.

The reviews/comments in the market are very mixed, from one to five stars (3.5 average), some say it’s perfect and awesome, others say it force closes all the time and sucks and that it never gets updated, and I say it’s worth a minute or two (if you’d refer the first paragraph to see if this applies to you) to fire up and see what happens. Don’t get me wrong here, when I fire up a review like this it’s not necessarily because I’m dying to make you want to try the thing. Maybe I’ve just got nothing else to write about and that thing happened to have been the last thing I’d used. Or maybe it’s a rather badass app.

In just a half hour or so spread over a few days I’ve heard it all and have become quite jaded with humanity … shots fired, suspicious briefcase floating down the Hudson River, an assault with the vic (that’s police lingo for victim) who caught a partial on the perp’s tag, what else.. Well I guess that’s it for the highlights. You have to hear it live though, just writing about what I heard like that doesn’t do it justice.  ;)

I don’t know why but I’m intrigued by people who know how to change letters into words on the fly. Delta, Alpha, Victor, India, Delta, Kilo; Sierra, Uniform, Charlie, Kilo, Sierra. I had to wikipedia that, the official letter to word alphabet (coming up with the actual two words they spell out was really easy for obvious reasons). When I’m on the phone with customer service or Chinese takeout I fumble and have to get awkwardly creative like “Innuendo, Napalm, Nitrogen, Eccentric, Robbery, C-4 (that one generally confuses them), Iridium, Tiananmen, Yo-yo” .. I’m no good at it. So thanks to this little app I’ve now have an even higher degree of appreciation for Johnny Law and his radio jargon.

Doug Simmons

5 COMMENTS

  1. I love listening to police scanners just to hear all the sh*t that goes on. I wish there was something like this for windows mobile. Maybe there is and I just dont know. I will try and look for it.

  2. I just heard a good one, a report of some woman standing in front of a building on Broadway in just a thong, no top. Wish I had been near by.

  3. I hear where you’re coming from but how am I supposed to lay Sergeant Sexy onto a one dimensional barcode? Hard enough as it is to get her in there without having to lower the opacity so much that she’s invisible just to get the Goggling to pick up the code and not her buxom.

  4. hate to tell you this simmons, but goggles doesnt really work as good as other barcode scanners… firstly, you have to press a button to take a picture of what you want to scan with goggles, secondly it gives you this lame “im scanning your image” look and takes forever to get that blue bar to and from the right side of the screen, and thirdly, IT JUST GOOGLES, forget bringing you directly to market!

    ill let you in on a secret doug, theres an app called “barcode scanner” made by zxing team and this puppy not only 1) doesnt make me “take a picture” (aka press an unesseccary button) just hold the camera over the barcode (yes normal ones or the square boxy ones like above) 2) it doesnt do the gay image scanning nonsense wich saves me time and doesnt annoy me. and of course 3) it gives me options as to whether or not i want to open in browser or send to an email or SMS address, oh and when i hit “open in browser” it knows to open the market for me when its a market link

    just had to get this off my chest, pisses me off to see you recommending sub-par products to readers :) (probably due to the kool-aid overdose but still, google goggles sucks comparably, aside from maybe googling a brand name with a picture instead of typing it… oh yeah, its faster to type it…)

  5. For the interested: Barcode Scanner / ZXing Team is from Google too. I am one of the developers and we started this project inside Google. The other developer still works there and runs Google Shopper. Google Goggles is a slightly different group. But all 3 use the same barcode scanning code.

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