Tagged: mobile-computing

Second Life Running on Nokia n800

Second Life running on the Nokia n800

Check out the mobile wizardry of Second Life resident Wrestling Hulka, who has a limited version of the virtual world running on the Nokia n800. [Via Metaversed, from whom I’ve stolen the pic above.] Cool stuff. Recall there was another mobile client for Second Life that was developed earlier in the year. 3pointD hears that others may be working on similar apps — although I’m not sure I need an “immersive” experience on my mobile device. What I definitely would like, however, is the ability to interact with people who are in the virtual world via my phone and functions like instant messaging, my virtual currency account, etc. That’s far more useful, but is apparently less sexy and more difficult, since I don’t hear as much about people developing these kinds of functions. We can only hope.

Touchscreens that Touch Back Reach Out at SID

A year ago or more I blogged about a company called Immersion that was developing touchscreens that touch back — i.e., touchscreens for mobile devices that give haptic feedback when the screen is touched, so that you can actually feel the “buttons” pictured on the screen and users know they’ve input something. Simple idea, but a really nice usability feature, I imagine. Now Immersion has unveiled its TouchSense system at this week’s international symposium of the Society for Information Display (SID) in Long Beach CA. No word yet on who will be using the tech in their devices, but it seems only a matter of time before this or something like it is fairly widespread.

Hamsters Are Gamers, Humans Are Pacman

Check out this video of a game called Metazoa Ludens that you and your hamster can play together. The hamsters apparently dig it. (There’s also a PC World story with more details.) It’s a bit like Mice Arena, only perhaps not quite as much fun, since in Metazoa Ludens your avatar isn’t being chased by a giant rodent, as in Mice Arena. Still, it’s an interesting use of 3pointD-related technologies, and it comes from the cool Mixed Reality Lab in Singapore, who also brought us Human Pacman, which is possibly even cooler, and features full-on Rainbows End style “Head Mounted Displays” that show you the playing field in front of you, as below:

Head-mounted display view of Human Pacman

3pointD Turns 1: On The Metaverse Ahead

No April Fool’s joke this: 3pointD turned one year old today! It was in the early hours (early minutes, actually) of April 1, 2006, that I posted my first Hello, World! here. Something like 1,400 posts later (can that be? WordPress must be over-counting) and our mission remains the same: “At its most fundamental level, it’s about connecting people in new ways, and about giving them the tools to get more out of not just the Web but out of the real world around them.”

That’s still true, but in the year since then, the 3pointD space (aka the metaverse) has begun to resolve itself a bit — which is perhaps not surprising, since the word didn’t actually mean anything a year ago. What I’ve been trying to describe over the last year is the general direction of the future of connectivity. I still feel, as I wrote last March on my old blog, Walkerings, that “Web 2.0 is over like a hipster neighborhood when The Gap moves in,” and that there’s a new neighborhood to be colonized. That’s of course an overstatement for effect, but I don’t think it’s off the mark. Over the next several (many?) years, the most exciting developments in technology are going to be those that leverage our ever-increasing digital access to places both real and virtual to develop better connections between people in various ways.

The question is, What’s that going to look like? I hate making predictions, but as my birthday present to the blog and its readers, I’ve just spent the evening going out on a limb. You can read the details below or you can jump directly to a brief, fun scenario at the end of the post. Enjoy. Continue reading

SXSW Xcript: Where the F is Mapping Now?

Dan Catt’s mapping panel was a very cool session that was difficult to synthesize at the speed it went by, but I think I got most of what the panelists said. All very 3pointD.

Moderator: Rev. Dan Catt, from Geobloggers.com and Flickr
Tom Carden from Random Etc.
Aaron Straup Cope from Flickr
Jerry Paffendorf from the Electric Sheep Company
Ian White from Urban Mapping Inc.

Catt first asked everyone without laptops to stand up and shake their hands in front of them in order to wake up, then groan quietly like a zombie, then louder than the person next to you. Two questions before you sit down: Who objects to swearing, say boo. Those who don’t object to swearing, say Fuck Yeah. (You can imagine which was louder.)

Cope talked about how we tell where things are. Shows a quote from Douglas Coupland’s Shampoo Planet. “History and geography are being thrown away.” Cope: This is wrong.

Cope: Geography helps set the stage for an experience, history gives an experience context and nuance. We have theselocation devices that tell you where things are. I could care less where the nearest Starbucks is. I don’r eally care about driving directions either. But if I’m at a place, I would love to be able to see what came before and have a sense of its history. Continue reading

Comverse Puts Second Life On Mobile Phones

Comverse develops Second Life for mobile phonesReuters’ Second Life correspondent, Adam Pasick, reports that Comverse has developed a version of the virtual world of Second Life that runs on a mobile phone. It sounds like the technology is imperfect at the moment (as is SL itself) and requires a PC to be running Second Life at an intermediary position, but it’s an interesting and potentially exciting step toward opening Second Life up to yet more uses. A full Second Life client on a cell phone might be overkill, but a streamlined client would be a great extension of the communication functions of Second Life. It also sounds like Comverse has SMS and Instant Message add-ons in the works that will allow those interactions with SL, though exactly how those fit in isn’t yet clear. Comverse has also developed a version of SL to run on IPTV platforms. Wow, they’ve been busy, and Pasick reports that this was all done in advance of the open-source SL client. Much of this technology will be demonstrated at next week’s 3GSM Conference in Barcelona, Pasick reports. Wish I could be there.

RFID Goodness: Digitizing the Ginza

RFID tags coming to Tokyo's Ginza districtThe All Points Blog links to a report in PC Advisor about a new program to outfit Tokyo’s high-end shopping district, the Ginza, with 10,000 RFID tags and other digital beacons. The project, led by Ken Sakamura, a professor at the University of Tokyo, will bring location-based information to people carrying prototype readers developed for the trial. From the article: “Bringing the terminal close to an RFID tag on a street lamp will pinpoint the user’s location and the system will be able to guide them to the nearest railway station, while walking past a radio beacon in front of a shop might bring up details of current special offers or a menu for a restaurant.” This is more of the kind of thing we were jawboning about at the Metaverse Roadmap summit. This is the metaverse all around us, the physical-world extension of the metaversal computing power we think of as residing mostly on our desktops or laptops. The Ginza project should be an interesting test of just how useful such technology can be at the moment.

A Virtual World For Your Mobile Phone

Matt Mihaly is blogging about a new experimental virtual world from the makers of Habbo Hotel. Called Mini Friday, it’s designed to work on Nokia mobile phones. The experiment is admirable in its simplicity: “We are trying to find out if real-time virtual worlds make sense on mobile devices.” I’d wager they do, although they may be better off when linked to a PC-based world as well. It seems to work for Neopets (insofar as Neopets actually constitutes a virtual world). I know of several other virtual world / MMO companies that are contemplating adding a mobile component, or already have one in the works. As processing power increases and storage and display become more efficient, it would seem to be inevitable. We like having the option of checking our email and even browsing the Web while we’re on the go, why wouldn’t we want to have the option to check into a virtual world?

Vernor Vinge Paints the Future at AGC

Award-winning science fiction Vernor Vinge, speaking at the Austin Game Conference, gave his vision of a future in which connectivity was literally in the air around us. Author of Rainbows End most recently, Vinge painted a picture of ubiquitous connectivity similar to the one narrated in that novel. So well connected will we be, according to Vinge, that “post-human” capabilities will arise from groups of people networked together. “It will be a very glorious thing to be an early post-human artist,” Vinge said. “Virtually every aspect of purpose, faith and fantasy could have a constituency in such a world.” His vision was compelling, though it remains to be seen how quickly it will be realized, or whether the discrete functions Vinge described won’t more likely take fuzzier forms as they come about. Below a transcript of his remarks: Continue reading

Google Maps Flight Sim: Goodbye, A-to-Z?

London's Big Ben in Goggles, the Google Maps Flight Sim

3pointD has been missing London lately. So it was with no small amount of joy that we discovered that London is one of the cities featured in the especially cool Goggles: The Google Maps Flight Sim, created by London-based Flash developer Mark Caswell-Daniels (and linked in Glitchy links the other day). Goggles lets you fly a cute little cartoon plane around a Flash-based world built from Google Maps data. It looks better than the screen grab above, which is a bit juddery because it’s grabbing as the picture’s moving, but above all it’s a fun way to tour a bunch of the world’s great cities (and two more far-flung locations as well). You can speed up and slow down, bank, climb and dive (with a cute little explosion when you crash) and even fire little bubble shots from your forward-mounted bubble-gun. A massively multiplayer version of this would be outstanding. But read on for some slightly deeper thoughts on mapping technologies. Continue reading

Interesting New Mobile Alert Technology

The All Points Blog flags this InformationWeek article about the wireless crisis alert system that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is building. As All Points points out, one of the technologies under consideration is especially interesting because it doesn’t need to track users’ locations to tell whether they should receive a message. Instead, an application on the device simply filters out messages that don’t apply. Continue reading

Talk GIS in London With AGI

If you’re going to be in London in September, you might want to drop in on the Association for Geographic Information‘s AGI 2006 conference, being held September 12 – 14. The AGI includes not only geospatial industry members, but researchers, academics and simply interested individuals, as well, and its annual event will include speakers from Google, Microsoft and others who’ve been poking around in the field. The conference will include cool-sounding panels on the state of geospatial services in 2010 (“geospatial semantic grid” and “invisible GIS”) and “Geography: Revolution or Evolution?”, and will include two open debate sessions that the public will be able to participate in. If they can afford the 500-600 pound registration fee, that is.

Haptic System Looks to Expand Mobile Screens

Sylvie Noel at Population of One blogs a haptic feedback system for touchscreens that could bring greater screen real estate to mobile devices. The system is from a company called Immersion that’s been making haptic feedback systems for gaming consoles and similar stuff. Their VibeTonz system can now provide tactile feedback when you hit a “button” represented on a screen. That means the entire surface of your mobile device could one day be a screen, with “keyboard” elements popping up only as needed. Nice idea.

The Missing Mobile Link to Cyberspace?

The New York Times writes about “a missing link between cyberspace and the physical world” that comes in the form of a very 3pointD a GPS-enabled cell phone available in Japan that ties geolocative information into Internet-based data about your surroundings.

If you stand on a street corner in Tokyo today you can point a specialized cellphone at a hotel, a restaurant or a historical monument, and with the press of a button the phone will display information from the Internet describing the object you are looking at. . . . The phones combine satellite-based navigation, precise to within 30 feet or less, with an electronic compass to provide a new dimension of orientation. Connect the device to the Internet and it is possible to overlay the point-and-click simplicity of a computer screen on top of the real world.

Continue reading

Movie Times Mashup in Virtual Earth

show|time|maps movie times mashup in Microsoft's Virtual Earth

Via Virtual Earth links to show|time|maps, a really nice movie listing mashup that uses Microsoft’s Virtual Earth to produce a map of movies showing in your area. You can’t see this in the screenshot, but what’s nice about this little app is that when you mouse over a movie title, the squares where it’s next showing light up on the map with the cinema name beside them, and the showtimes show up in the window on the bottom left. (There are other navigation options as well.) I like how this mashup is so closely tied to time. Would be great on a portable device. At least, a portable device in Los Angeles or Austin TX, which are the only cities on the app at the moment.

Will Identity Issues Shape the Desktop?

Lili Cheng of Microsoft, who formerly ran the Social Computing Group there; Tom Ngo, CEO of NextPage; Chris Thomas, chief strategy officer at Intel; Gary Bennitt of Goowy; and Kevin Lynch of Adobe spoke about the future of the desktop at the Supernova conference during a lunchtime roundtable. Much of their discussion revolved around whether data would be centrally stored in future, or stored locally in a number of locations. Interesting privacy and identity issues came up (they start about halfway down this post), and panelists’ remarks also shed some long-term light on how the 3pointD world might become more mobile and distributed, and just how long that might take. Continue reading

A Supernova-Sized Wireless Explosion

The future of wireless and wireless broadband was the subject of a Friday midday panel at the Supernova conference in San Francisco today. The panel was moderated by Om Malik of GigaOm (and for a few more days part of Business 2.0, and featured Clint McClellan of Qualcomm; Juergen Urbanski of FON, “a wifi peer-to-peer grassroots community movement”; Pierre de Vries, a fellow at the Annenberg Center at USC who used to work on wireless technologies at Microsoft; and Selina Lo of Ruckus Wireless. Continue reading

SoonR for Mac Coming SoonR, Not LatR

Here’s a 3pointD tidbit that was kicking around among one or two people at Supernova today: SoonR, an application that lets you use your mobile phone to make Skype calls and access files on your PC, will reportedly announce a version for the Macintosh this week. While SoonR, which is one of the companies being featured at Supernova on Thursday, isn’t the micro-miniaturized ubiquitous computing app that folks were envisioning at the Metaverse Roadmap summit, it does extend a certain amount of mobile computing functionality to ordinary cell phones, and SoonR users have been clamoring for a Mac version for some time. Seems that time is now, according to those who apparently know.