Archive for the 'magic wand' Category

Most useful tool while on holiday: GPS phone + Google Maps

August 10, 2008

Last week, while enjoying a fanastic holiday in Sicily (Italy), I found out that there was just one item I couldn’t have missed: my GPS-enabled N82 mobile phone – working seamlessly together with Google Maps.

Even though we had enough maps and card-reading skills on board (I simply love maps and both my boyfriend and I are good at navigating), we have been thanking Saints Nokia and Google a few times for having helped us out.

Being used to Dutch traffic and roadsigns (all extremely well organized), Sicilian traffic and wayfinding takes some getting used to.

Apart from really needing all your sensors to stay concentrated on traffic alone [‘Keeping your lane” doesn’t really exist, there were easily 5 rows of traffic on a 2-lane + safety lane motorway], road exit signs are simply very hard to find. And usually placed after an exit, amongst all kinds of other highly distracting signs.

We therefor used Google Maps, together with regular maps and route descriptions from our picturesque yet sometimes quite remotely located Agriturismos and hotels.

It works so easily. Just press “0” and the GPS tells you immediately where you are. Zooming in and out, scrolling – it is all so incredibly intuitive. The fact that you can choose any level of (non)-detail via Google Maps makes it very easy to get an overview of the entire journey and of the details.

Satellite mode

We also used the ‘Satellite’ mode (= Google Earth) multiple times, for example to find ourselves a nice beach on our way to the next destination or  to locate the ‘teatro Romano’ (lower right on the picture) from our location near the ‘teatro Greco’ (upper left) in Sicacusa.

Again, the roadsigns at that point didn’t help us out, Google Earth did.

We didn’t even use the ‘search’ option for finding restaurants this time – this time we simply chose to follow our real life eyes, ears and nose to find lovely places to eat and drink…

So, where will this lead to?

Currently, there were no usable other mobile location services available for Sicily yet, apart from some very simple (but not so interesting) Lonely Planet content. But how would we have loved to get more information about the wonderful monuments ready at hand. However, this is just a matter of time- I’m sure that by next summer many of these services will be available. In the iPhone app store, you can already try out Wikime (link to article in Dutch).

My dream would be to point the camera of my phone at all of the archeological sites which make Sicily (and many other tourist destinations on this planet) so special – and see in the screen of my camera:

  • how this site looked like in the old days
  • how the people looked like, and what they were doing at that moment

This type of ‘Augmented Reality’ via your regular mobile phone is also only a few years away.

It could radically change the way we live our holidays… If we want to, of course. Luckily there’s always the possibility to switch off your mobile, simply get lost somewhere in the middle of nowhere and phantasize about how life and the historic sites could have looked like a long, long time ago.

The Mobile Gateway

July 13, 2008

I got this image from Nokia’s paper on Nanotech which I found on the new blog of Nokia’s CTO. It is the first time I have seen Nokia use model of a future vision after the well known Fixed Mobile Convergence model Nokia used last decade.

I really like the two sides of this model: LOCAL and GLOBAL. Showing the contextual part and the virtual part. It opens a complete new business for Nokia.

This must be so liberating for Nokia to finally have a vision to pursue. Hopefully it will bring Nokia out of the defensive chair and into a new ‘game changing’ era of innovation.

Personally I use the below slide to show the next step after hooking the internet onto the mobile phone. Due to a lack of the correct term I call it the contextual services phase. Basically adding the LOCAL part of Nokia’s vision.

Is being “connected” becoming a “sense”?

July 13, 2008

With all the possibilities of communication, location based services plus the growing penetration and low costs of anything mobile the notion of being connected will result in a paradigm shift. It is the food we need to develop, to grow and to create. It is a new sense. And not just in Europe…

JP Rangaswami on his blog Confused of Calcutta gave me the title for this post and has good thoughts on this:

You see, I think connectivity, particularly ubiquitous always-on mobile connectivity, can make a real difference in terms of health, education and welfare, and that it can make a difference today. The days of “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers” and “there is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home” are long gone. Today the BRICS have bricks in their hands, the bricks are getting smaller and they’re always on.

Too often, when people try and make this point, the objections are common and predictable. “You don’t get it, these people need food first. They’re starving.”. And so the debate about connectivity gets waylaid. Ironically, this is often done by people who then pump up the volume about the importance of biofuels in solving the energy crisis…. the same biofuels that then drive grain prices up and make staple food harder to afford for many people…..but that’s another debate.

All I was thinking was this. Is connectivity becoming like sight and hearing and speech and mobility? And if so what does that mean for the endless debates we appear to be having about what the internet and the web are?

Short Video: Is It a Phone or a Magic Wand?

July 9, 2008

The history and Future of Mobile handsets in a 3 minute video. Found via Bruce Sterling at Tarina.

The future of mobile phones is perhaps… not a mobile phone at all, but rather a contextually aware and active mobile magic wand. It’s not about skins anymore. Not even about features, open source, multi-touch or iPhoney. It’s about who is going to make the device interact with your environment as well as capturing it in context. It’s a wand, I tell you. You know what, it’s going to talk with the clouds rather than with native applications. It might or might not link with the global brain.

But what I know for sure, it’s going to combine cloud computing, augmented reality and the internet of things in a meaningful way.