Where you live might decide where you get your AM cup of joe (unless you get your fix from a local favorite). Numbers Run has a neat series of maps that shows the number of store locations (Starbucks Vs. Dunkin Donuts) by zip code. Living in New England I can already tell you that I don’t need a map to find a Dunkin Donuts. They’re in every gas station, grocery store, shopping plaza… I think one is going in at the end of the hallway in my department! To be honest, I’m looking forward to visiting the zip code with the largest number of Starbucks next month for the 2011 ESRI UC in San Diego, CA.
Ok, maybe not ‘cheap’… but a lot less than the Microsoft Surface. Engadget reports about a new product by a company named Merel that has created a multitouch table for a bargain basement $3,995. That’s a steal! It’s got a 3.2ghz Quad Core processor, 720p 32 inch display, and a dedicated Radeon HD video card (a card which I personally find fairly nice).
If you ask me, this is possibly the first brick in tearing down the financial wall keeping surface-esque tables from reaching the house. The key to pushing these out to every home is finding the ‘magic app I can’t live without’.
We have tweeted about and talked about and shown the History Channel’s How the States Got Their Shapes often since the original 2 hour special aired and have sat entranced as Brian Unger has taken us through the first six episodes of the season. BUT…we probably need to take a step back and make sure to give the credit of the shows concept to Mark Stein who published the book of the same name back in 2008. In addition, Mr Stein has just released How the States Got Their Shapes Too: The People Behind the Borderlines which, as the name suggests, looks at the people who were most influential in creating the borders in the US. In the mean time, while we take some time to read the new book, you can check out a presentation Mark Stein gave to the Library of Congress about the first book.
On this memorial day weekend the History Channel is kicking off a week of Civil War themed shows. While watching I thought I’d see if there were any interesting maps available on the intertubes. What did I find? Some wonderful animated maps from the Civil War Trust ! The maps are flash based and progress through some key battles of the war. The site also provides users historical maps and new digital maps that are static.
Additionally, the site has available BattleApps. The BattleApps are virtual Civil War tour guides for the war or specific battles for the iPhone or iPad. The apps are location aware and throughout the tour one could view video clips from the national park service and see locations of troops of both the North and South. Another great example of giving old paper maps a new lease on life with digital innovation!
Augmented reality is one of those technologies that has seemed like it would be next big thing for the last couple of years, but it has proven pretty difficult to translate from WOW factor proof-of-concept prototypes to actual commercial implementations. When I saw this demo video of Sony’s Smart AR, though, I have to say I was pretty impressed with how good the AR model looks in the real-world environment it’s being projected into, and how responsive it is. The SmartAR seems to be able to handle movement in the 3D space really well, and the virtual object is not tied to the marker surface, which is really important in making the augmented reality compelling. Another aspect of SmartAR technology allows a user to capture an image of an object and then access additional information about that object through the device. For Sony, of course, implementing technology like Smart AR for gaming and other commercial uses is certainly a main focus, but I can see tons of other applications for markerless, high-speed augmented reality.