Archive for September 2009
I haven’t received my invite yet, but I did sign up. So my fingers are still crossed and I’m hoping I see the invite in my gmail inbox soon. And I some other people I know signed up too, because what’s the use of this exercise if you aren’t collaborating with another person.
In this morning’s blog post, Rasmussen did say there were still some key features missing from Wave that the company has yet to implement. At the moment you can’t remove a friend from a wave, define groups of users or configure the permissions of users on wave. Rasmussen said that they’d be rolling out those features, along with a draft mode and more, over the next few months.
For those following the announcement of the Apple iPhone 3GS and it’s API for Augmented Reality someone has finally put a killer app into the world for all to use. Finallly all the happiness and promise that is Augmented Reality is now availble on the Apple AppStore. The prototype called Nearest Subway is now called Bionic Eye as told by this article in Wired dot Com:
Remember the amazing augmented reality application demo for the iPhone that we saw back in July? It was called Nearest Subway, and it overlaid floating representations of nearby New York subway stations onto the live video coming in through the camera of the iPhone 3GS. These appeared to be hanging in space, pinned in place by the 3GS’ compass and GPS.
That application is now available to buy, for just $1. There have been a few changes – it’s now called Bionic Eye, for instance – but the jaw-dropping virtual signage is still there, and the subway stations have been joined by other points of interest, hotels, fast-food joints and, splendidly, Hooters.
I once believed micro-payments would liberate a number of smaller Internet based ventures. Whether it was bloggers, podcasts or screencasts, DIY videos, someone would pay a fraction of a cent to watch something that really helped them out. But no matter how many people talked or wrote about micropayments, nobody took ownership of it and did anything about it. If it was do-able and profitable somone like PayPal, Google or Yahoo would have done something by now. Smarter and more connected people have gone through the list of reasons why micropayments haven’t worked. And yet, hope springs eternal and some silver tongued soothsayers are promoting micropayments as a solution to the decreased subscriptions for daily news. So just to let everyone know, micropayments will NOT save daily newspapers.
If you want to go back through some of the reams of text that have been written about micropayments for news, Clay’s essay from 2003 is a good place to start — especially since it lists the half-dozen or so attempts to create such a system that failed miserably. (Are you listening, Steve Brill?) There’s also a good roundup at the Freakonomics blog from awhile back that is well worth reading.
Back on July 8th I posted an article talking about the benefits of a new battery technology I had read about on weblog called Technology Review (originally published on June 26th from MIT). It think it may have originally been linked to either Slashdot or The Register. The blog entry was essentially like a press release from a company in California named PolyPlus. They had just announced the project to create single use high energy density Lithium-Air batteries for the military (most likely for radio communications in the field). The key technology was a new way to wrap the lithium cathode in a waterproof seal while still exposing it to the surrounding air encapsulated in the battery. It seems now some other big monied interests have caught onto this new battery chemistry and are going to produce it as well, but maybe not as a single use battery but instead as a rechargeable battery.
IBM is in the news touting the promise of the lithium-air technology as a potential technological nirvana for autmobile drive trains. Estimates are a 10X increase in energy density per kilogram of battery electrolyte material. If this can be achieved, watch out electric vehicles here we come.
Lithium-ion batteries have the potential to deliver about 585 watt-hours of electricity per kilogram, while lithium-sulfur has a theoretical potential of about 2,600 watt-hours, and lithium-air batteries might reach targets well above 5,000 watt-hours.
If they can be perfected, lithium-air batteries would be ideal for transportation applications, given their potential for high energy capacity and low weight. And, unlike zinc-air batteries, it should be possible to make them rechargeable.
There is no doubt 64-bits is nice architectural change but it doesn’t mean you’re receiving all the benefits of the change. If Apple doesn’t quickly upgrade it’s vast stable of killer multimedia applications, it doesn’t really matter how good Snow Leopard is. Even after installing Snow Leopard it is hard for me to notice a significant difference. I would settle for some extra quickness or capability in iLife that wasn’t possible before Snow Leopard.
Add to this the fact you need a full 64-bit clean environment to really guarantee you are in 64bit mode. The boot-up environment known as EFI was n ot 64-bit clean until after 2008. The Intel CPU wasn’t 64-bit clean until after 2007. Two strikes against me as I was an early adopter of the Intel Architecture and am relegated to good ol’ 32-bit compatibility mode. Unless I decide to upgrade of course, which isn’t going to happen because I have a sworn duty to first replace my wife’s old PC after Windows 7 is formally released. Once that purchase is done and out of the way, then I will consider getting a re-furbished post 2008 Mac Pro tower with a fully OpenCL compatible graphics card. There’s just so many considerations, you need to keep writing all of them down so you don’t lose track.
Of course, Apple itself needs to deliver 64-bit versions of its own Logic Studio, Final Cut Studio, and Aperture, too. The company was previously outpaced by its third party developers in the move to PowerPC, and to a lesser extent, in the move to Intel Macs. Apple’s position as both a platform vendor and an application developer should help it to deliver practical, usable tools for its own developers.
A very smart tip as to how to make grocery shopping/dinner prep a lot more smooth on a weekly basis.
It looks like the iPhone OS 3.1 is going to do nothing more the open up the video feed on the camera so that you can overlay data on top of that video. In essence, the Augmented Reality is using your iPhone’s video as a “desktop” picture and placing items on top of that. Acrossair’s iPhone App, Nearest Tube uses the OpenGL libraries to skew and distort that data as you point the camera in different directions, thus providing a little more of a 3D perspective than say something like Layar which I have talked about previously on this blog. Chetan Demani, one of the founders of Acrossair also points out going forward any company making AR type apps will need to utilize existing location information and pre-load all the data they want to display. So the nirvana of just-in-time downloads of location data to overlay on your iPhone video image is not here,… and may not be for a while. What will differentiate the software producers though is the relevancy, and accuracy of their location information. So there will be some room for competition for a quite some time.
He went on to say that it’s pretty simple to do AR applications using the new 3.1 APIs, due out in September. ” It’s a pretty straightforward API. There’s no complexity in there. All it does is it just switches on the video feed at the background. That’s the only API that’s published. All we’re doing is using that video feed at the back. It just displays the video feed as if it’s a live camera feed.