Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Hybrid automobiles

I just had a nice experience on my scooter. I'm very aware of the fumes and odor coming from cars around me when riding around town. This morning, I was behind a Toyota Highlander and noticed that I couldn't smell any exhaust. I looked at the badges on the back of the Highlander, and sure enough, it was a hybrid. As I followed the Highlander down the road, I imagined a world without such an oil dependency; what a better place it would be.

Now I just need an alternative fuel scooter.

Hybrid automobiles

I just had a nice experience on my scooter. I'm very aware of the fumes and odor coming from cars around me when riding around town. This morning, I was behind a Toyota Highlander and noticed that I couldn't smell any exhaust. I looked at the badges on the back of the Highlander, and sure enough, it was a hybrid. As I followed the Highlander down the road, I imagined a world without such an oil dependency; what a better place it would be.

Now I just need an alternative fuel scooter.

Hybrid automobiles

I just had a nice experience on my scooter. I'm very aware of the fumes and odor coming from cars around me when riding around town. This morning, I was behind a Toyota Highlander and noticed that I couldn't smell any exhaust. I looked at the badges on the back of the Highlander, and sure enough, it was a hybrid. As I followed the Highlander down the road, I imagined a world without such an oil dependency; what a better place it would be.

Now I just need an alternative fuel scooter.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Where 2.0 day two

Steve Morris gave an interesting presentation describing the "disappearing data problem." He explained how public data, geo-spacial data in particular, is rotting away in decomposing physical formats, or incompatible/proprietary file formats. There's a lot of it, but whether it will be usable is a major challenge. There are a handful of data translation/conversion/revitalizing firms out there, contracting to bring data into the present, and to attempt to future proof it.

Someone mentioned that someone else is looking at combination SD storage/WiFi cards that will automatically encode lat/lng into images that a camera takes; the lat/lng encoded via WiFi node triangulation or a more simple MAC address location lookup. Furthermore, the card could transmit the images to the network for the user. Way cool idea. I wonder how much of a battery drain the cards would be.

Ron Langhelm from FEMA did a great job illustrating how big of a challenge disaster relief can be when you show up to a location sans power, clean water, streets, or infrastructure in general. His job is to act as an incident cartographer. Imagine showing up in New Orleans during the Katrina flooding in 2005, and having to update various agencies as to the extent of the damage, and predict how much more worse things are going to get (e.g. how much further the water is going to spread, 2D, and how deep it's going to get, 3D). They use a variety of off the shelf tools/products, and build whatever else they need, in the field.

I had a good conversation with someone at Mozilla who has built a JavaScript object that understands GPS (constrained by whatever GPS capabilities the device that Gecko is running on has of course; generally very limited right now). I urged him to carve out some time at the next Where 2.0 to talk about the GPS Service. What a great way to get developers thinking about location via traditional web development tools/languages!

Where 2.0 day two

Steve Morris gave an interesting presentation describing the "disappearing data problem." He explained how public data, geo-spacial data in particular, is rotting away in decomposing physical formats, or incompatible/proprietary file formats. There's a lot of it, but whether it will be usable is a major challenge. There are a handful of data translation/conversion/revitalizing firms out there, contracting to bring data into the present, and to attempt to future proof it.

Someone mentioned that someone else is looking at combination SD storage/WiFi cards that will automatically encode lat/lng into images that a camera takes; the lat/lng encoded via WiFi node triangulation or a more simple MAC address location lookup. Furthermore, the card could transmit the images to the network for the user. Way cool idea. I wonder how much of a battery drain the cards would be.

Ron Langhelm from FEMA did a great job illustrating how big of a challenge disaster relief can be when you show up to a location sans power, clean water, streets, or infrastructure in general. His job is to act as an incident cartographer. Imagine showing up in New Orleans during the Katrina flooding in 2005, and having to update various agencies as to the extent of the damage, and predict how much more worse things are going to get (e.g. how much further the water is going to spread, 2D, and how deep it's going to get, 3D). They use a variety of off the shelf tools/products, and build whatever else they need, in the field.

I had a good conversation with someone at Mozilla who has built a JavaScript object that understands GPS (constrained by whatever GPS capabilities the device that Gecko is running on has of course; generally very limited right now). I urged him to carve out some time at the next Where 2.0 to talk about the GPS Service. What a great way to get developers thinking about location via traditional web development tools/languages!

Where 2.0 day two

Steve Morris gave an interesting presentation describing the "disappearing data problem." He explained how public data, geo-spacial data in particular, is rotting away in decomposing physical formats, or incompatible/proprietary file formats. There's a lot of it, but whether it will be usable is a major challenge. There are a handful of data translation/conversion/revitalizing firms out there, contracting to bring data into the present, and to attempt to future proof it.

Someone mentioned that someone else is looking at combination SD storage/WiFi cards that will automatically encode lat/lng into images that a camera takes; the lat/lng encoded via WiFi node triangulation or a more simple MAC address location lookup. Furthermore, the card could transmit the images to the network for the user. Way cool idea. I wonder how much of a battery drain the cards would be.

Ron Langhelm from FEMA did a great job illustrating how big of a challenge disaster relief can be when you show up to a location sans power, clean water, streets, or infrastructure in general. His job is to act as an incident cartographer. Imagine showing up in New Orleans during the Katrina flooding in 2005, and having to update various agencies as to the extent of the damage, and predict how much more worse things are going to get (e.g. how much further the water is going to spread, 2D, and how deep it's going to get, 3D). They use a variety of off the shelf tools/products, and build whatever else they need, in the field.

I had a good conversation with someone at Mozilla who has built a JavaScript object that understands GPS (constrained by whatever GPS capabilities the device that Gecko is running on has of course; generally very limited right now). I urged him to carve out some time at the next Where 2.0 to talk about the GPS Service. What a great way to get developers thinking about location via traditional web development tools/languages!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Great hotel experience!

As I was checking out of the San Jose Fairmont hotel this morning, the Registrar asked me if I'd had taken some cashews and M&Ms from the mini-bar; I was shocked! Usually the front desk is clueless about mini-bar purchases. I had the cashews the day before, so someone could have known I'd taken those, but I'd literally grabbed the M&Ms just minutes before checking out; no-one could have known I'd taken them.

I asked him how he knew that, and it turns out the mini-bar in my room had weight sensors which detect when an item is removed from its place. Very cool!

Although I suspect it was expensive to deploy throughout the hotel, I'm pleased to see the stagnant hotel industry innovating. I'm constantly double charged when I buy something from the mini-bar because I tell the Registrar at checkout, then the maid indicates that an item was taken as they clean the room. The weight detection is a great solution to this problem; nice work Fairmont!

Great hotel experience!

As I was checking out of the San Jose Fairmont hotel this morning, the Registrar asked me if I'd had taken some cashews and M&Ms from the mini-bar; I was shocked! Usually the front desk is clueless about mini-bar purchases. I had the cashews the day before, so someone could have known I'd taken those, but I'd literally grabbed the M&Ms just minutes before checking out; no-one could have known I'd taken them.

I asked him how he knew that, and it turns out the mini-bar in my room had weight sensors which detect when an item is removed from its place. Very cool!

Although I suspect it was expensive to deploy throughout the hotel, I'm pleased to see the stagnant hotel industry innovating. I'm constantly double charged when I buy something from the mini-bar because I tell the Registrar at checkout, then the maid indicates that an item was taken as they clean the room. The weight detection is a great solution to this problem; nice work Fairmont!

Great hotel experience!

As I was checking out of the San Jose Fairmont hotel this morning, the Registrar asked me if I'd had taken some cashews and M&Ms from the mini-bar; I was shocked! Usually the front desk is clueless about mini-bar purchases. I had the cashews the day before, so someone could have known I'd taken those, but I'd literally grabbed the M&Ms just minutes before checking out; no-one could have known I'd taken them.

I asked him how he knew that, and it turns out the mini-bar in my room had weight sensors which detect when an item is removed from its place. Very cool!

Although I suspect it was expensive to deploy throughout the hotel, I'm pleased to see the stagnant hotel industry innovating. I'm constantly double charged when I buy something from the mini-bar because I tell the Registrar at checkout, then the maid indicates that an item was taken as they clean the room. The weight detection is a great solution to this problem; nice work Fairmont!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Where 2.0 day one

Here's my summary of day one, of two, at the Where 2.0 conference in San Jose, CA, USA.

It's the data! If there's a recurring theme at the Where 2.0 conference this year, it is data. From geo-spacial format and feed standardization (e.g. GeoRSS) to its sources. Comparing and contrasting this year's conference to last year's shows how far things have come. Formats and standards are emerging, albeit at low levels, when last year everyone had their own. With that said, one area that continues to plague the mapping/geo-spacial technology and product space is the walled garden of mobile network carriers. Sadly, handset, latitude/longitude, based applications are still far from reality; carriers didn't even bother attending this year's Where 2.0.

The keynote was delivered by Mike Liebhold, and he discussed two primary points: one, standardization of data types among anyone that has geo-spacial data, and two, his desire to see the Star Trek tri-corder become reality. The first point is a given and obvious; it needs to happen. The second point is pretty neat. He shared with the audience how he views meta-data as he views the world around him. He sees the data associated with everything he sees. So, for example, if you see a glass on a table, you imagine its associated data: color, type of glass, weight, date of production, location of production, etc. Pretty wild. I find myself doing this sometimes.

I thought it was cool that Mapstraction is providing a mapping API abstraction above Google, Y!, and Microsoft mapping APIs. With a single-line code change, you can swap out which mapping API you are using.

Imity is building a Bluetooth based phone application that detects Bluetooth devices (e.g. phones) that are near you, and builds a buddy list that you can navigate and send messages to. They're using the Bluetooth radio range as a mechanism to derive a "social network" around where you are.

Things are moving along in the space at large though. Not as much hype/buzz in the air this year, as compared to last year.

Google maps API announced support for geocoding (both AJAX and REST access). They've also introduced enterprise, paid, services for the API as well; phone/email service and support, full control over presentation (no ads!), US and Canada only, pricing is based on transaction counts.

How much of the web is rooted in geography? Last year the MetaCarta CEO said that 80% of the web references a physical location. This year he said the "average web-page has three good geo-references." There was another guy that has done some New Zealand GIS system construction who said that 20% of the web references a location. Clearly, the jury is still out.

Where 2.0 day one

Here's my summary of day one, of two, at the Where 2.0 conference in San Jose, CA, USA.

It's the data! If there's a recurring theme at the Where 2.0 conference this year, it is data. From geo-spacial format and feed standardization (e.g. GeoRSS) to its sources. Comparing and contrasting this year's conference to last year's shows how far things have come. Formats and standards are emerging, albeit at low levels, when last year everyone had their own. With that said, one area that continues to plague the mapping/geo-spacial technology and product space is the walled garden of mobile network carriers. Sadly, handset, latitude/longitude, based applications are still far from reality; carriers didn't even bother attending this year's Where 2.0.

The keynote was delivered by Mike Liebhold, and he discussed two primary points: one, standardization of data types among anyone that has geo-spacial data, and two, his desire to see the Star Trek tri-corder become reality. The first point is a given and obvious; it needs to happen. The second point is pretty neat. He shared with the audience how he views meta-data as he views the world around him. He sees the data associated with everything he sees. So, for example, if you see a glass on a table, you imagine its associated data: color, type of glass, weight, date of production, location of production, etc. Pretty wild. I find myself doing this sometimes.

I thought it was cool that Mapstraction is providing a mapping API abstraction above Google, Y!, and Microsoft mapping APIs. With a single-line code change, you can swap out which mapping API you are using.

Imity is building a Bluetooth based phone application that detects Bluetooth devices (e.g. phones) that are near you, and builds a buddy list that you can navigate and send messages to. They're using the Bluetooth radio range as a mechanism to derive a "social network" around where you are.

Things are moving along in the space at large though. Not as much hype/buzz in the air this year, as compared to last year.

Google maps API announced support for geocoding (both AJAX and REST access). They've also introduced enterprise, paid, services for the API as well; phone/email service and support, full control over presentation (no ads!), US and Canada only, pricing is based on transaction counts.

How much of the web is rooted in geography? Last year the MetaCarta CEO said that 80% of the web references a physical location. This year he said the "average web-page has three good geo-references." There was another guy that has done some New Zealand GIS system construction who said that 20% of the web references a location. Clearly, the jury is still out.

Where 2.0 day one

Here's my summary of day one, of two, at the Where 2.0 conference in San Jose, CA, USA.

It's the data! If there's a recurring theme at the Where 2.0 conference this year, it is data. From geo-spacial format and feed standardization (e.g. GeoRSS) to its sources. Comparing and contrasting this year's conference to last year's shows how far things have come. Formats and standards are emerging, albeit at low levels, when last year everyone had their own. With that said, one area that continues to plague the mapping/geo-spacial technology and product space is the walled garden of mobile network carriers. Sadly, handset, latitude/longitude, based applications are still far from reality; carriers didn't even bother attending this year's Where 2.0.

The keynote was delivered by Mike Liebhold, and he discussed two primary points: one, standardization of data types among anyone that has geo-spacial data, and two, his desire to see the Star Trek tri-corder become reality. The first point is a given and obvious; it needs to happen. The second point is pretty neat. He shared with the audience how he views meta-data as he views the world around him. He sees the data associated with everything he sees. So, for example, if you see a glass on a table, you imagine its associated data: color, type of glass, weight, date of production, location of production, etc. Pretty wild. I find myself doing this sometimes.

I thought it was cool that Mapstraction is providing a mapping API abstraction above Google, Y!, and Microsoft mapping APIs. With a single-line code change, you can swap out which mapping API you are using.

Imity is building a Bluetooth based phone application that detects Bluetooth devices (e.g. phones) that are near you, and builds a buddy list that you can navigate and send messages to. They're using the Bluetooth radio range as a mechanism to derive a "social network" around where you are.

Things are moving along in the space at large though. Not as much hype/buzz in the air this year, as compared to last year.

Google maps API announced support for geocoding (both AJAX and REST access). They've also introduced enterprise, paid, services for the API as well; phone/email service and support, full control over presentation (no ads!), US and Canada only, pricing is based on transaction counts.

How much of the web is rooted in geography? Last year the MetaCarta CEO said that 80% of the web references a physical location. This year he said the "average web-page has three good geo-references." There was another guy that has done some New Zealand GIS system construction who said that 20% of the web references a location. Clearly, the jury is still out.