Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The wonders of digital technology

Thanks to Cybergabi for photo

I can't claim to have found this, my digital partner here Andy, pointed it out.

It's fascinating how technology seems to be affecting our lives, be it Sky+ boxes which mean we no longer have to watch ads, or low cost satnav which means there's no excuse to get lost again (particularly good for me because I keep getting lost). The fascinating thing is how governments and councils seem to be adopting technology for real good. Anyone who has used Transport For London's journey finder will know just what a marvel it is, but I digress you probably already know this but perhaps not the efforts being made to make the world live in that little bit more livable...

"In March last year, a city council project in Lewisham was initiated, which allowed residents to send camera-phone pictures to their local council to report stray garbage, unwanted grafitti, etc.
Two new spottings show that the concept is catching on. The local government of Amsterdam's Geuzenveld district just launched an online tool that lets people pinpoint neighborhood problems on Google Maps. After filling out an online form, a marker is placed on a Google map of the area, along with information on how the complaint is being dealt with.

The district is counting on the service to save time and money. Currently, a street lantern that's out of order will lead to numerous calls and emails to the district (roughly 40% of all complaints are sent by email/internet forms). Once people get used to checking the map to see if someone else has already reported an issue, the amount of redundant notifications will presumably decrease. Geuzenveld also hopes residents will feel more involved now that they're actually able to track how their complaint is being followed up, and that local maintenance crews will be motivated to keep the map as empty as possible, solving close to 90% of all issues within 2 days.

New York, meanwhile, isn't one to fall behind. Later this year, the city's 911 call centers will be able to receive camera-phone pictures and videos taken by residents and visitors, straight from the scene of a crime. 311 non-emergency call centers will be similarly equipped at a later stage, allowing New Yorkers to document and photographically report on 'quality of life problems'".

Time to smile

I have no idea why, but this made me smile. I received it in an email, usually the stuff I get is rubbish, but I like this one. It's light and simple. If you stumble upon it, I hope it does the same.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The mobile phone killer?

So Apple has finally announced the launch of the worst kept secret, their new wait for it...iphone.

They are of course predicting that it's going to revolutionise the market. I have no idea if it will or not, I guess time will tell. The thing is, I just don't think it's quite as revolutionary as Apple are making out. I suppose it's because it does all the things that I was expecting, plays music, film, you can make calls, it's got a camera and you can surf the net. Don't most phones do this already? So what else does it do that is so life changing? Well it has a touch screen which is clever, removing the need for a touch pad (and hence a bigger screen), and it has some nifty portrait to landscape functionality. And that's really it. I know you could argue that when the iPod launched it wasn't really doing anything that new, it was more that they'd changed the parameters by the way you do it. I just don't buy that the iphone is in the same league.

Furthermore the iPod was (and still is) as I've waxed lyrically before amazingly, jaw droppingly beautiful. The iphone isn't. It looks pretty smooth, but it's not beautiful, not like the iPod or the original iMac.

Maybe I'll change my tune when I get to see one in the flesh, but I'll be really surprised if this is the handheld device that changes everything.

Total 24 immersion

There are only a few TV programmes, that I will do everything in my power to avoid missing, Lost, Battlestar Galactica (don't knock it till you've seen it), but above all else 24.

It's not quite as good as it used to be, but for pure escapism on a Sunday night, nothing beats it. Those of you who are fellow 24 fans will know it launches on Sky in about a weeks time, so surprise, surprise there's some pre-build up interactive interest. They're not the first to do it of course, Lost has had for a while a pretty decent interactive / immersion element, a website and various puzzle spin offs that give you more story beyond the TV show. It's quite possible that 24 has as well, but I've missed it until now.

But they've taken it further, you get to play agent, and you get phone calls! So cool!

I'm not going to ruin it for you, if you want to find out more go to fill in your details (including your real phone number it's vital you do this), enter in passcode: 99k36f and wait to see what happens.

Good luck fellow CTU agents.