Month: January 2007
I don’t know how I managed to miss this last week, but the Photosynth team has released a Firefox plugin for the Photosynth tech preview. I just tried it out, since I am a regular Firefox user, and it worked great for me. So, if you haven’t tried the Photosynth preview yet, especially if it was because you are anti-IE, then head over to the Photosynth Tech Preview site and give it a test drive.
In our research work we would really have a ton of uses for Photosynth, so I’m hoping that a full beta will be out in the not-too-distant future.
You’ve probably already read or seen the news about archaeologists’ discovery and excavation of a neolithic village site at Durrington Walls (site of the world’s largest henge) on the Salisbury plain near Stonehenge. Still, it’s pretty cool that they’ve finally got some signifcant remains of domestic sites that may have used by the people who built Stonehenge and other religious sites in the area. Although the monuments themselves are amazing, for archaeologists it’s even more exciting to find evidence of peoples’ everyday lives, including their houses, tools, cooking vessels, and even organic remains. The new village site is so extensive, archaeologists expect to continue excavating until at least 2010.
Field and Stream has this rather whimsical little quiz about survival in the wild. You are the world’s unluckiest hunter, lost and alone in the woods with little supplies or equipment. Can you survive? There are some tough wilderness questions in there, so give it your best…
Unfortunately, I was confronted with my two worst things – orienteering, which I can’t do, and snakes, which I can’t stand. Apparently I am pretty good at building fires though! I got an 8 out of 18, so the wild isn’t my best local for survival. That’s why I carry the moniker “Virtual Explorer”. Give me a mouse and keyboard and I’m good to go!
Today on Directions on the News there was an item about how VRCO has released their next version of Conduit for Google Earth. The Conduit software is a translator that allows COTS software (OpenGL based) to pushed through a graphics cluster to be projected onto multiple screens. WVU tasked FakeSpace/VRCO to implement Conduit for ArcScene and ArcGlobe (and hopefully AGX soon) a year ago as part of our CAVE hardware installation for our GeoVirtual Laboratory. Click on the picture to get a larger version of the image to get an idea of how GIS information (in this case a historic reconstruction of Morgantown, WV in 1900 created by Sue and our undergrads) can be viewed on multiple 8×10 ft screens running active stereo to give you a 3D experience. It is great to be able to zoom from a landscape overview (shown), down to street level where you are immersed in a nearly 1:1 representation of the area. We are still working on a VSTV episode that will highlight the technologies used to build and display the project from creating the buildings in SketchUp Pro to showing the final ArcScene project in the immersive environment.
The AAG, UCGIS, URISA, GITA, and the GISCI have teamed up to create a rebuttal to MAPPS’ stance in MAPPS vs US. You can find the details or donate to support their legal costs at the AAG website. We are trying to get a few interviews from these organizations prior to the pending court date. If we get to talk to folks we will put up a special episode when possible.
Yeah, I was catching up on the ViaVirtualEarth blog, and they mentioned a new mashup called Blawg and, of course, I had to check it out. I mean, lawyers blogging….and podcasting……what could be stranger and yet potentially amusing? Blawg’s front page gives a directory of law-related blogs (there are currently 1222, with 886 active) and a nice Virtual Earth mashup that maps some of the blogs and podcasts.
Head over and check it out, and maybe you’ll get some cool legal tips or news……such as the fascinating world of North Carolina Trial Law!
New York City distributes approximately 1.5 million condoms each month in regular wrappers, but is still faced with large numbers of people who are contracting STDs and HIV. In an effort to increase free condom usage in the city, officials have decided to distribute an “official” New York City condom, complete with snazzy design for the wrappers.
One of the leading ideas for the NYC condom wrapper design: NY subway maps! Yes, that’s right, in the very near future, someone may ask a passer-by in New York how to get somewhere on the subway, and they can whip a handy condom out of their wallet or purse and show the way!
No word yet on when the final design will be decided upon, but here’s rooting for the world’s first geo-themed condom!
Imagine being asked to form a discussion group with your friends to decide what life should be like in 2025? Okay, now imagine that with no Star Trek references. Science Horizons UK is a government group asking UK citizens to do that just and submit their information to the government. Its a year long project “to explore some of the ways that our minds and bodies, our homes and communities, our work and leisure time, and people and our planet could be affected by new science and technology in the future. We will be asking people to talk about the future with each other and tell us their hopes and concerns about the way science and technology could affect our lives.” It has an animated, interactive on-line component but it’s more of a structured dialogue than a free flowing brainstorming session. Also, all the stories sort of make me laugh, look up George and his jogging cap (GPS). It might end up telling people more about what their government thinks about them, then what they think about the future of technology. As an aside Earth:2025 is also an interactive webgame and Columbia’s Earth Center developed a map predicting the worlds population change in 2025.
This BBC article on the future of mobile phones in Europe is interesting because it talks about technologies that are used in Japan and the U.S. such as “”buddy finders” that alert you when a friend is in the same area or systems that track your morning run to show you how many kilometres you have covered and how many calories you have burned” and “location-based advertising, mobile blogging, location-based games and services that will allow you to geo-tag photographs with their locations”. The article explains why these services aren’t available in Europe right now and why Europeans will have access to some of them in 2007. What was interesting to me was that these services were available in the U.S., so I did some checking to see who offers them. A Dec.2006 Newsweek article talks about “All Seeing Eyes” and what it means for personal privacy. According to Newsweek, “No nation is farther along than South Korea, where SK Telecom uses the technology to call customers strolling by its Seoul airport lounge, inviting them inside. This beckoning from out of the blue evokes the intimate Ã¢â‚¬Å“awarenessÃ¢â‚¬? of the wireless networks depicted in Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Matrix.Ã¢â‚¬? Cool Matrix images aside, isn’t this more akin to a mesh of real life pop up ads and someone wearing a sandwich board that says ‘eat at joes’ Especially if you lent your phone to your grandmother.