Friday, 30 May 2008

Facebook and Plazes

Those that know me, also know that I love Plazes and that recently I set up a Facebook Profile (Search for me on the link, but I am not one of these people that accept friend requests from people i don't know! so don't be offended).

Well, I'm as happy as I could be with this little gem of an app as they not only have your plazes linked to Google Earth and Google Calender, but I now have it my Outlook calender and on my Facebook page. Nice one Plazes.

I love it when people do what people want instead of the corporate stuff we usually get where a great ideas go into the mixing pot, gets kicked around by managers, accountants, shareholders and anyone else that seems to think they need their say, and it comes out a shadow of it's former self with a load of limitation that make it almost pointless. But not pointless enough not to want it, oh no, you still want it, it becomes a need, and then a frustration because it just doesn't go far enough...
Written and submitted from the office

Friday, 23 May 2008

Re New Google Earth

OK, so I've done some work on GE 4.3 now, and although the sunlight feature is great, and the stability on Vista seems sorted, there are a couple of questions I have.

Why do buildings not cast shadows? Without this it is another "nice but useless" feature. OK, maybe not useless, but it certainly limits it. When I publish a building to GE it would be great if we could see how any proposals will be effected by the sun. How much of the back garden will get the sunshine for example, or will that corner of the car park need lighting at dusk? These would be really useful. On the plus side I love the way the sun light changes colour as it nears the horizon. As I say, looks fab, limited use.

The second, more fundamental question, is why have they reduced the number of points you can get out of the surface from 10000 to 5000? This is a real bugger because any surfaces I get from Google now are lower resolution and combined with the massive inaccuracies place it's use at the limit of acceptability too. With just the accuracy issue, it was passable for "flying the Kite" as an architect would say, but now I'm not sure it has that use.

Another plus is the new navigation. It's really smooth and easy to do with just a standard 3 button mouse (with a wheel). Will still use the space pilot though.

Written and submitted from Home

New Google Earth

Have you downloaded the new version of Google Earth?

I did just a few days ago, and on first impression it looks more stable than the last version on Vista, so I might be back using it instead of NASA's Whirlwind with the Microsoft Virtual Earth plug in that has been prefered due to the stability problems that drove me mad.

The first thing I liked about it was the sunlight feature. Realtime sunlight, cool! Take yourself to the ground and pan so you can see the sky in the west and then watch the sun set. If you can't wait, press the play button and it will take you through 24 hours in a few seconds, The shadows are cast by the terrain and as the sun nears the horizon, the colours change. It even cast shadows on the buildings but not by the buildings sadly.

I like this a lot

Written at home and submitted automatically

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Android

The Google Android Challenge contenders are in and there are some really exciting things on the horizon. For those of you who don't know what Android is (and can't be bothered to search my post to find out) it's the mobile operating system by Google. The phantom "G-Phone".

Amongst my favorite are "FreeFamilyWatch" by Navee Technologies LLC. This great little app checks your location against crime stats and air quality. It also shows your speed. There is very little info, and I haven't looked into it deeply but it looks like there is a manager screen so you can keep a check on other members of the family with a quick view of there location on a map and an option to call them. Brilliant app for worried Dads like me.

Another one I like is "goCart" by Rylan Barnes and "AndroidScan" by Jeffrey Sharkey. Two separate developments that scan bar codes with the phones camera and then allows you to search for online stores and reviews. Every time I go to buy anything I do spend a lot of time in the shop searching for better online deals and reviews. This would save a lot of time and frustration as the database will always return the correct results. I note that GoCart had a wish list, this is only a small step away from a handheld, and more importantly, cheap device that you could use to scan every packet of grocery you throw away and store it ready for you to press the order button.

I love the Idea of "LifeAware" by Gregory A. Moore, Aaron L. Obrien & Jawad Akhtar. Location based social networking. Shows where your friends are and lets you know when they have arrived at a defined destination (the pub for example). Brilliant use of LBS. The key here will be little or no set up. Tell your friends where and when to meet via the app, then the phone will do the rest (hopefully... we will have to wait to see)

"Locale" by Clare Bayley, Carter Jernigan, Christina Wright & Jasper Lin looks quite cool to. It uses conditions such as Battery level, Time and location to dynamically set up your phone. So... it's midnight and your at home, the the phone goes into low battery mode and turns down the ringer volume. I hope this one links to you diary so you don't have to set your location twice.

I can't wait to use them already

Written and submitted from Home