Really…it is what happens.
I admit it, I love steampunk mods. If I had lots of spare time, and a little cash, I’d love to try my hand at creating a few cool gadgets myself. But in the meantime, I will have to be content to admire the handiwork of others, like the project John Knight is showing off at Maker Faire Detroit. Dubbed the “Electromagnetic Geospatial Globe and Remote View with Obligatory Goggles”, it’s Google Earth meets steampunk, with Google Earth running on a tablet, and controlled by the cool brass globe outfitted with RFID tags. Better than me trying to describe it, check out this video:
The FTC is mandating that in 2011, light bulbs get new labels that emphasis luminosity more so that watts. If you take a look at the labels shown at the link, it features quit a bit of new information to help buyers determine the best bulb for their needs. The emphasis on lumens over watts is a good change, as it’s the actual measure of light instead of energy usage. I personally like the “average yearly cost in electricity” of the bulbs. From the example, I’m not sure $7.23 for a incandescent bulb will hurt many people’s wallet, but think how many light bulbs you have in your house. The total can become a healthy chunk of change each month!
Assuming you don’t live in a metal box that’s trapped under a heavy rock buried far, far into the Earth’s surface, you should be aware Apple is launching a new phone in the next day or so. Part of that is the role out of a new iPhone OS – OS 4. It’s available for most of the current iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch devices already and can be downloaded as of… well, now. However, what you might not be aware is if you install the OS, you’re agreeing to allow Apple to collect anonymous location information about you. The information is supposed to be used to help make their location services better, as well as to sell to location providers to do the same. The information is collected in near real-time and there’s literally no way to opt out (other than the obvious opt out of not using one). Think you’re safe with Android? Think again. Google has been collection location information (sometimes not so anonymously because it includes your phone number) for a long time.
To me, this represents one of the great potential downsides to the mobile phone market. There’s a lot of value in information about you and companies will most likely be fairly aggressive to collect the information. There isn’t really a functional way to opt out of these systems without grossly crippling your phone. We hope that phone carriers and phone manufacturers use this information responsibly and protect the rights of their customers. Unfortunately there’s a long history of corporations NOT being so responsible with customer information, despite intentions to the contrary. For me, the take away from this change in the iPhone’s terms of service is that we, as consumers, need to more aware of the value of our information, and take as many steps as possible to protect that information. That being said, if I had AT&T, I would be second in line (behind Jesse, most likely) to grab the new iPhone. So it’s hard to practice what I preach at the end of the day.
BBC News has a great graphic showing the fastest supercomputers around the world, sorting them by Country (where they are located), speed, OS (Linux in a landslide), application, processor manufacturer, and system manufacturer (IBM has more but Cray has faster). It is pretty interesting to see all of this information, though I would like to see a comparison between these supercomputer numbers and the total computing power behind a Google, Amazon, or Microsoft cloud system. In the geospatial arena, while it is nice to have the supercomputing muscle behind global, 3D, or large network models, most of our daily activities take place on a smaller scale that can run locally or across copper and still perform admirably. But that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t like to have a supercomputer in the closet for those special occasions.
I say that we should have more clothing that incorporates navigation aids.
While I continue my research in the area of immersive virtual worlds and serious gaming, I have also been doing a lot of work recently in the area of digital cities, and trying to implement the idea of a “smart” 3D city or town landscape that can be used as a visualization and collaboration tool for municipal management and planning. Once again, an IBM project has grabbed my attention by combining serious gaming and digital cities into one cool project: CityOne. Today I saw a press release announcing the CityOne project, a SimCity-like game using real world data that will be designed to bring together players of the game to help work through and solve real problems facing cities around the world. IBM will be introducing CityOne at Agility@Work Zone at Impact2010 in Las Vegas this week (this is the IBM software conference for business and IT, not to be confused with another conference called IMPACT 2010, which some blogs and sites have linked to by mistake)
Check out the CityOne preview:
“To see a world in a grain of sand” – William Blake’s lyrical words take on a new meaning when you watch this video of IBM researchers demonstrating their new nanomill technology, which uses a tiny silicon tip to carve out objects and features as small as 15 nanometers. While it’s probably not going to revolutionize map-making, the nanomill can be used for numerous high-precision applications in electronics, optics, and medical research.
From the IBM press release, the demonstration includes a “Complete 3D map of the world measuring only 22 by 11 micrometers was “written” on a polymer. At this size, 1,000 world maps could fit on a grain of salt. In the relief, one thousand meters of altitude correspond to roughly eight nanometers (nm). It is composed of 500,000 pixels, each measuring 20 nm2, and was created in only 2 minutes and 23 seconds.”
Saw this whimsical little video on Gizmodo, and had to share. In Japan, everything is cooler, and Google Street View is no exception!
Wired news is reporting that modern GPS sensors have be able to determine the Chilean city of Concepcion has been moved 10 feet to the west from the recent earthquake. Apparently this area is prime area for seismic activity due to its location over a subduction zone. The hope by researchers is to quickly get more GPS stations on the ground in that area so more precise movements can be detected.