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Mobility Digest Reviews: Damn I Love Locale

Control freak and an Android phone owner? Got something for you: Locale. On the app’s description in the market it simply reads, “In March 2005, Judge Robert Restaino jailed 46 people when a mobile phone rang in his courtroom and no one admitted responsibility.” At first I thought, Huh, interesting anecdote but a strange choice for an app description, particularly one that costs $10. A few moments pass and it hits me that the moral of the story is that were those 46 people all using Android and Locale, those people would not have been incarcerated, and being incarcerated really sucks because I doubt they let you keep your phone and even if they did you couldn’t charge it. Also if they had Locale the developer would be a little richer – which you can make happen too by Google Goggling that bar code thing, but maybe hold off until I finish my sales pitch.

With Locale you can tell your phone, when it’s under a condition (or an array of conditions), to do something (or an array of things). Offering myself as an example, I am using Locale to fire up wifi if my phone is connected to the cell towers it connects to in my apartment and to shut it off when that changes. When it’s suppertime Locale stops my phone from text-to-speech reading names of incoming mail.

I’ve got it set to kill the notification light and mute everything but the ringer between 1am-6am in addition to killing push email and other data keep-alive activities and dropping the brightness for nocturnal viewing, killing wifi, killing bluetooth and ramping down to 2G. Mutes everything during my shrink sessions, triggers a NewsRob RSS sync when I wake up in time for my morning bathroom ritual which involves reading, mutes the speaker if the phone is face down. In the car dock, full brightness and 80% volume; otherwise automatic brightness.

When I finally get my soon-to-be wife a Google phone, the first thing I will do is set up Locale to hit my web server with a GET string that hits me with an alert (or I could just have it email me quietly I suppose) when she’s within five hundred meters of the apartment, a condition I could either define with GPS, cell tower triangulation or a specific cell tower connection for no additional battery drain, enough of a warning to fire up the window fan full blast, hide the ashtray and douse the place with Glade, gargle and drink some Listerine, wash my hands and face, the whole drill and she’s none the wiser.

Alternatively I could make good on my pledge to quit smoking, and I could set Locale to remind me with a notification a good five hours ahead of time that I’m about to marry her so that I can go to CVS, buy a few things of those Listerine strips and slap one of those patches on my ripped bicep to quit smoking within enough time to wear the scent out of my lungs for that special kiss on the alter. Man, I can do anything with this thing. I love it. Damn.

Doug Simmons