Publish Your Own Book with Blurb

If you’ve ever wanted to publish your own book, then Blurb is for you. I tried this service and jsut received my very own hard-cover book of our family history. It is gorgeous and professionally done!

It’s so simple, it’s scary. You just go to the Blurb website, download the free software and assemble your book. You can choose from a number of templates and themes, from photo books, to portfolio books to text and photo books. When you have your book ready to publish, you just upload to the Blurb website, pay for it, and they print and ship it!.The charges are pretty resaonable, too. My hardcover book with dust jacket was 45 pages and cost $29.95 (There was a free shipping special on mine, so I don’t know what the shipping is). Longer books cost more, and there is a handy chart to help you figure up the cost. They also offer softback bindings, which cost less.

I really love how my book turned out and, to bring it back to geography and geospatial technologies, I can imagine how easy it would be to make a lovely book of maps and photo guides. (They do tell you not to use copyrighted material of course!)

9/11 Sites, Then and Now

National Geographic News has a short but interesting photo gallery detailing different sites from 9/11, both on that day and now. The shots are the same shot from the same angles (more or less). I think the shots are a good testament to the human ability to overcome any situation, ultimately.

Beyond those images, the site also carries a number of other photo galleries featuring events and issues around the world. The site is worth spending a bit of time delving into. I know from some of the work Sue has been doing in historical GIS, these photo essays and galleries might someday become immeasurably valuable to historians.

VirtualCity Toronto – a cool combo of Google Maps and street level photos

I really liked A9’s Block Level street photos that let you see what the central areas of various cities were like, and we actually used them a few times to see what our hotels were going to be like at conferences, and I was sad when the services was discontinued. Not much has been going on with Microsoft’s Windows Live Local Street-Side photo service recently either.

That being said, I ran across a really cool Canadian site called Virtual City, which combines Google Maps with a photo interface like A9’s Block Level photos above the map window. The beta showcases maps and street-level photos for Toronto, Canada. There are 2 rows of photos, for each side of the street it appears, and clickbars at either end of the photo rows to allow you move along the street. As you do, the pointer on the Google Maps interface moves with you. According to the VirtualCity website, 4 million photos were taken in Toronto to assemble the street-level photo tours. Another 3 million were taken of Montreal (although there don’t seem to be as many streets in Montreal that are mapped) The company plans to expand sometime soon to photograph select cities in the US.

All I can say is, the site navigated pretty smoothly for me, and I burned about a half hour just moving around the map and looking at the photos. I really like being able to get a glimpse of a place before I travel there, and I would actually use VirtualCity if it included cities that I was traveling to.

Around the World with the Airbus A380

If you’ve ver wanted to know how a new commercial aircraft gets its final certification, you’ll love this really neat little website, which is documenting the route proving trials of the new jumbo jet Airbus A380. It is basically flying the final mission around the world this week, which will prove that it can perform on long-distance commercial routes. The website has a cool travelogue interface that lets you follow each mission as the A380 and its crew and passengers (all aviation professionals) complete the missions. There are diary entries and photos from the flight and each destinations, and a progress updater that scrolls along the bottom. The A380 landed safely in Sydney, Australia, with the next leg of the journey to take it to Vancouver, British Columbia. Definitely check out the site if you have a few minutes, it’s actually pretty cool.

Via Tech_Space

Animal Tracks

An interesting article in the BBCl on tracking snow leopards by satellite led me to other interesting sites. You can adopt a cute loggerhead turtle complete with satellite tracker on its head and a google map. “On a North Carolina beach, researchers fix satellite tracking devices on 300-pound loggerhead turtles that come ashore to lay eggs. Learning more about their migrations could help to protect them.” Space Today includes a long list of animal tracking sites including ones for elephants, manatees, whales, swans and fish. NOAA TOPP has near real time tracking. Of course, if you just want your cute overload you can go here.

Microsoft Expression

I haven’t had a chance to play with the package, but it looks like an interesting attempt by Microsoft to create a modern web design tool that supports CSS, XML, etc. I firmly believe that FrontPage was the worst software ever created (that I used at least), but Expression Web looks promising. If you want to get a quick demo check out the Nov 22 overview on the ScobleShow video podcast. There is also an open beta available on the Expression page.

Microsoft Expression – Home

IBM funding 3D internet project

I am starting to catch up on some things I’ve missed while we were getting ready for the SEDAAG conference, and this project is one I’m really interested in. An article from November 13th discussed IBM’s announcement that they will be funding a project to create a “3D internet”. This project will be part of IBM’s $100 million InnovationJam initiative, which will support projects in a number of areas, including Web 2.0, visualization, and even research related to console processors, such as PS3 and XBOX 360. IBM already has a presence in Second Life, but in this project the company will focus on creating an open source 3D world.

Although there’s been a lot of research into this area, when a company like IBM, with its R & D resources, decides to get involved in developing 3D worlds, they have the capabilities to do things that the rest of us can only dream about.

Via vnunet.com