Month: December 2006


Lazy New Years Eve

Episode 76 has been recorded, but I am taking the day off to lay on the couch and catch up on my favorite web comics, so it won’t be edited and online until Monday.

Have a festive, yet safe, New Year’s Eve.

Outside.In – mapping neighborhood information

One of our faithful listeners, Ed, emailed us about Outside.In, a project that is seeking to bring together the myriad of local information that can be available on the Web, using location as a unifying theme: “The problem is: there’s no single place that unites all those different voices, that grounds them all in specific locations. With help from you — suggesting and tagging neighborhood data, and suggesting ways that we can better organize the web geographically — we think can help unify the divided space of hyperlocal content.”

Outside.In is currently U.S. only, but there are 56 cities and over 3000 neighborhoods represented. The key difference, I think, between Outside.In and a project like Platial is that Outside.In is focusing on offering a central location-based platform for gathering, organizing and presenting information like local news, events, and issues, while Platial focuses on users identifying and sharing places.

Outside.In has some real heavyweights behind it, including founder Steven Johnson, who is the author of The Ghost Map, and John Seely Brown, a former Chief Scientist for Xerox and director of PARC. They’ve got a good idea and I especially like the local neighborhood blog roll for some of the cities. Outside.In has a lot of potential and they’ve already made a good start, so it will be interesting to see how they do in the long term in the increasingly crowded social networking space. The really cool thing would be to take Outside.In mobile, and provide the local information to people who are actually visiting or moving about in the neighborhood.

Tokyo Ubiquitous Network Project

Starting next month, stores in the Ginza district in Tokyo will be beaming coupons, special notices, and other information to shoppers and passers-by through the use of RFID tags and wireless transmitters. The initiative, called the Tokyo Ubiquitous Network Project, will allow shoppers to rent a prototype reader or get messages on their own cell phones. The phone or reader’s location Shoppers can either rent a prototype reader or get messages on their cell phones. The phone or reader’s location is identified by the RFID network, and then matches it to information provided by shops within a certain proximity. People will also be able to access maps and visitor information in different languages by bringing their cell phones or readers close to street lamps with embedded RFID tags.

The service will be available as a trial from January 21st to March 10th and, according to the article, has generated significant interest from stores in Ginza. This is the first large-scale trial of RFID-based LBS services for conveying localized business information that I’ve heard about, and I’m anxious to see how successful it is. I am also certain that there will be others in the near future, as a lot of the innovation that we have seen in the law few years starts to bear results.


A preview of things to come – inhabited island inundated by rising sea levels

First off, I haven’t blogged in about a week due to my annual holiday visit to my parents in North Carolina, and again I have to say, that you never really appreciate your high-speed internet until you’re stuck at a place with dial-up, excruciately slow dial-up at that. So, now that we are back in Morgantown, I can get back to work.

While catching up with all my blog and news sites, I came across a reference to this article in the Independent, about the island of Lohachara, just off the coast of India in the Bay of Bengal. It was home to about 10,000 people, who have been evacuated to another island after rising sea levels completely submerged the island. Two-thirds of the neighboring Ghoramara Island has also disappeared under the sea. According to the article, Lohachara Island now has the dubious distinction of being the first inhabited land area to be submerged as a result of global warming: “Rising seas, caused by global warming, have for the first time washed an inhabited island off the face of the Earth.”

In the coming years, it is expected that a number of other inhabited islands will be submerged, as well as many low-lying coastal areas. It is a sobering thought, especially as we all too rapidly approach the point where some experts say the impacts of accelerated global warming will be irreversible.

Via Tech_Space

Top 8 Earth Science Stories for 2006

‘Tis the season for top 10… or 8 in this case… lists! Discover has a interesting run down of the top stories for earth science for 2006. Global warming tops the list, as one would probably expect. My personal favorite is King Tut’s main jewel might not have been from Earth at all!

Hands Across The Water

HandsAs today marks the 2 year anniversary of the Indian Ocean tsunami, I wanted to point out a great project, both in effort and quality, over at Hands Across The Water. This is an album of Celtic/Folk/Country performances that were done to support the tsunami relief effort. The album has been out about a year now, but I just found out about it. There is some great music on the album and the proceeds go to a great cause. You can find in stores, online and at the Hands Across The Water website.

David Pogue on phone GPS tracking

David Pogue, NY Times tech funny man, talks about location based tracking of kids using cellphones. He talks about the phones, the pricing and the mapping backends that are used by the different services. Head over to Mr Pogue’s site to watch the video.

David Pogue, New York Times technology columnist, CBS news correspondent

Here, there be dragons

Over the last couple of days I have been reading Here, There Be Dragons by James Owen which can be found in the young adult section of your bookstore (why is it always on the opposite side of the store from Scifi/Fantasy). The thing that grabbed me was a dragon on the cover, but what sucked me in was the subtitle the Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica. Besides being a great rainy day read there is a strong geography undercurrent (the Cartographer of Lost Places is great) plus it is great for adult readers because of the allusions to classic literature throughout the book. There is some sample text available on the webpages.

Here, There Be Dragons
by James Owen
Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
ISBN: 1416912274

VSTV Episode 6 – Happy Holidays

The VerySpatial crew wishes you a happy holiday season…

Click here to download VSTV Episode 06

Update: Please excuse the typos 🙂

Why my PSP sits alone in the corner

I know I shouldn’t punish my PSP for something that Sony is doing, but I figure if I am not buying new games then Sony isn’t getting money. Why is the PSP being punished you ask…well I could say that it is because the PSP GPS hasn’t made it state side yet, but the real reason is the PLAYSTATION®Store. Why is the PLAYSTATION®Store so bad…it isn’t, it looks like it would be great except for the fact that I have to drop the money to buy a PS3 just to buy a PSOne title to play on my PSP. I bought the PSP for Death Jr and a few other titles, but since then the PSP hasn’t seen much attention beyond my plans to play PSOne classics on it. Final Fantasy 7 in the palm of your hand would be great…if I could even get to the store to see if it is available.

Eventually Sony will realize that there is a PSP/PC market in the states that will exceed their PSP/PS3 customer base for quite a while, until then I will be sure to dust off the PSP occasionally.

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