Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Bought keyhole..

Despite saying just couple of days ago that the Keyhole application is mostly eye candy, I ended up buying the one year subscription.. The amount of material available from the tool is just amazing. E.g. checking out the places in the world you have been is good fun.

Of course, more detailed images from Europe would make this app a real killer! If e.g. Finland and UK would be covered in detail I would pay even more..

Example image:

Monday, November 22, 2004

Apple Store London grand opening

Apple Store London was opened Saturday 20th. Of course we were there! 8) OK, we were not so HC to queue from early in the morning (in the rain). But, in 5pm getting in was easy. Couple of piccies follow.

(Boy, I WANT that 2x30"-display & 2x2.5GHz G5 -setup.. and and and...)

Link to official photos from Apple website

Friday, November 19, 2004

Keyhole - a view to the world

Tried out the Keyhole 2 LT. It is an application which combines satellite imagery, mapping, address/GIS information and renders the result to 3D. User is able to literally zoom around the Earth, while the application loads and processes the satellite images related to current 3d view in the background. If the accurate information is available on your area, you can zoom to the level where you can clearly see your house!

The graphics rendering is very impressive delivering WOW effect. If a comprehensive international map and image information would be offered this could be the killer mapping application. Now the accurate imagery is offerd only in the urban areas of north America and only some selected locations in Europe.

Most of what the app delivers is just an eye candy if the user is just after a map information. If you are just after map of certain area go for MultiMap or similar, free and fast. However, if you want to combine the map inforamtion with other images, e.g. statistical data, weather maps/radars, POI:s, etc. there might be some real value here. The real target for the company is clearly the enterprise usage: newspapers, TV and internet publishers can use the 2D/3D images or animations in their news stories. (The enterprise version of the product has much richer feature set, and much bigger price tag..)

For me this is a good technology demonstrator where the mapping and GIS systems might be heading. Make this information available to the mobile devices, combine it with GPS or other location information.. It could really help you finding youself around if you can see the accurate satellite map overlay of the area around you combined with the direction information.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Picoblogger 1.0

This is small review of PicoBlogger 1.0, moblogging software for the Series 60 mobile phones made by the PicoStation Inc.

PicoBlogger is much more finished product than some others in the market. The user interface is rather consistent and usable. The application also concentrates on what is important before adding other finesse: snapping the pic and posting it. When everything goes right doing that is really straightforward and easy.

One has to concentrate on the phrase "when everything goes right". There seems to be some trouble ahead when there is anything exceptional you want to do, or if the phase of the moon is just not right.

I might be a bit biased on this as I use only -service. Some of the problems might be because of the implementation of the blogger service itself, not the way how picoblogger handles the protocol.

The good things:

  • It works! 8)
  • UI is clean and intuitive (with some reservations)
  • Photoblogging is easy and straightforward: Launch app, snap picture, write title and body text and post.
  • Setup is easy with, the software can fetch the information of your blgos from the account.

The gripes:

  • Instability in posting or saving the draft post: Sometimes the software goes to deadlock and the image and posting is lost
  • The images posted to blogs are stored in picostations own server, not the server defined in account. (The image upload works with the other supported blog services)
  • If the posting fails because of the server end error, you cannot edit (or export) the unsuccesful post, you can just try to re-send
  • Strict copy protection system, perhaps over the limit of usability.
  • To use and register the product you have to create an account to the picostation service. IMO this is unecessary step when the usual case is to use this with own blog service anyway. It raises also concerns of some unecessary call-home functionality.
  • Non-existent image manipulation options.
  • The HTML source of the posts seem to have some incompatibilities with templates.

The wishlist for the future additions is long. One has to remember these are not shortcomings of picoblogger, it is good to start from few features that really work, compared to buckets of buggy features. Also, I have a strong vision what a moblogging application should be like to Really Work (tm):

  • Enable the use existing images for posting.
  • Enable the saving of the images taken with picoblogger.
  • Enable the usage of digital zoom in the viewfinder.
  • Add basic image manipulation: Crop, rotate, resize (It is to be noted I have yet to find a single S60 application that does these functions well..)
  • Add the support of proper image upload in combination of the service
  • Add the support for posting a thumbnail with a link to bigger image
  • Add the possibility to move the unsuccesfull posts to drafts (= enables editing them)
  • Add the possibility to upload also other objects: Voice and video clips, text files and perhaps also other documents.

PicoBlogger is a good product, and I would say it is the best moblogging software there is for Series 60 phones today. The potential of it is even bigger, if the main gripes are corrected in next versions. I would not wholeheartedly recommend it to the users but it is definitely worth to give it a try!

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Konfabulator for Windows!

Hihii! Konfabulator for Windows has arrived after a long wait! I have waited this eagerly even before the Windows version was hinted to be under development. Somehow the alternatives like DesktopX have been bit too intrusive to the system in a way I disliked - they changed the overall look and feel of the rest of the system. (Here I must confess I did not give them really big look. Also I haven't really checked Kapsules)

OK, its mostly eye candy, but I have already some small widgeds in my mind which I have to find or code myself..

Now, only if somebody would bring Exposé equivalent to Windows. ..or bring me the G5 PowerBook. 8-)

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Interactive walls

A project started as a thesis project of italian Dario Buzzini has ended as an commercial product of interactive wallpaper. From the images and description from his site it seems that one can change the patterns of the wallpaper by touching it. Moving your hands leaves a trail to the wall.

The scoop does not give further details what technology is used to display the pattern on the wall, nor how the "wallpaper" is controlled. Whichever way this is made commercially available I would like to see it in real life!

Anyway I am very tempted to think that intelligent materials which allow the user to change the color and pattern electronically without repainting, will be THE thing in the not so far future.

Monday, November 01, 2004

New books to reading list kindly delivered the books on the image today. So, the next on my reading list are "Microserfs" and "Generation X - Tales for an Accelerated Culture". Being an repsetentative of both nerds and GenX (kinda), I think these books should be interesting read.

The last book I have read was Uhrilento by Ilkka Remes. It was the first Remes book I've read and while not perfect it was well good enough for me to give some other of his book a try..

Security by.. fake cameras?

Found this from the local Morrisons supermarket: Three "realistically moving" "security cameras". I do not know what to say.. Who is fooling who with these? 8)