I don’t know about you, but I’m always sending Google Maps locations to people who are coming to visit. I usually type in my postal code and send a link to the resulting map, with a bit of explanation:
“Here we are. Well, actually, we’re not quite here, we’re at the end of the street and on the other side of the road, but this should give you an idea of how to find us.”
Here’s how I got this:
After this you have a handy URL short enough to memorize, that you can email to friends, dictate over the phone or even send in a text message, and that will bring them right to your front door!
Most ordinary users don’t need their digital camera to have more than about 3 or 4 megapixels. Even at that point, the quality of the optics is more important than the number of pixels.
But those who disagree with me, or who aren’t ordinary users, might be interested in the upcoming offering from Seitz:
At 160 Mpixels, taking nearly a GB per image, it dispenses with flash cards and uses a Mac Mini in a satchel instead.
But any temptation I might have had to splash out 29,000 euros on one of these vanished when I realised that it wouldn’t quite fit in my pocket.
Thanks to Frank Stajano for the link.
The new FireLite Xpress is a portable hard drive with a difference.
It has a cholesteric LCD display on the front.
These displays are generally low-resolution, monochrome and exceedingly slow to update. So what’s their raison d’être? It’s this: once the image is on the display, you don’t need any power to keep it there. This means that they can be used for static information on things which don’t have a battery.
The display can be set to show a variety of useful stuff – the label of the disk, the amount of free space, the date it was last updated, and so forth. Just under 100 quid in the UK. A very nice application of the technology.
Here’s a site which does a simple job but does it rather nicely:
It helps you work out the best time for phone calls or videoconferences which span multiple timezones. You just enter the location of the participants. It’s not too hard to do this in your head for a simple phone call, but when you get more participants and you don’t know the timezone of some of the countries, it can be more challenging!
Thanks to Mike Pearson for the link. He’s in New Zealand.
My holiday reading was James Surowiecki’s The Wisdom of Crowds. A splendid tome.
There’s a standard pattern for a lot of trendy business books these days. You come up with one basic idea. You explain it in the 30-page introductory chapter, which is all that most execs will get around to reading. And then you repeat the idea with different examples for the remaining chapters, until you have enough pages for a publisher to be able to sell the early versions in hardback to people with good expense accounts.
The Wisdom of Crowds doesn’t really fall into this mould. Yes, there’s a single simple idea here, but throughout the book Surowiecki expands it, contradicts it, explores it from other angles and tries to work out when it is and isn’t valid to a greater degree than I’ve seen in most other similar recent works. He also writes rather well, which makes the whole process more enjoyable. Recommended.
Mmm. So the Pope quotes some words from a medieval manuscript and emphasises that they are not his own. In response, a Somalian cleric named Abubukar Malin says that “whoever offends our Prophet Mohammed should be killed on the spot by the nearest Muslim” and calls for revenge on the Pope. Which seems like a suitably proportionate response, and was no doubt calculated to improve Islam’s image around the world.
As for Mr Kapusuz, the senior Turkish politician who says that the Pope, for quoting somebody else’s words, should now be put in the same category as Hitler and Mussolini, one can only wonder what kind of history lessons he ever had. Still, this is a very serious insult to the leader of one of the world’s great religions, and he wasn’t even quoting somebody else, so I guess he should probably be killed on the spot too. No doubt he’s anticipated that as a likely response from the Vatican.
“The opposite of play isn’t work. It’s depression.”
Brian Sutton-Smith, University of Pennsylvania
I’ve always assumed that there would be a lot of disgruntled early users out there when the price was dropped almost to half of what they had paid, but it turns out that Apple gave a $200 coupon to all registered users of the first, more expensive, version. What a nice company!
Now, I wonder what’s happening to Aperture in ten days’ time…
© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser