Category: Technology

Backyard Space Photography

Picture from 30km

From the excellent Google Earth Blog, Frank links to another great example of what the process of democratising technology has achieved.

A group of guys launched a fully instrumented sensor package below a helium balloon, which was tracked in real time using google earth and produced some stunning images. The video on their site of the launch and recovery of the balloon, are great fun – you can just sense the excitement !!

Ok so this may not be a practical remote sensing application yet, but it’s amazing.. pictures from 30 km high, a third of the way to space, taking with a Canon Digital camera you could buy on the high street.

Written and submitted from home, using my home 802.11 network.

In praise of the iPlayer


In the past I have been very critical of the BBC approach to making their programmes available online, which until December required you to use Microsoft DRM, and hence was PC only. However in December the beeb released the streaming version of
iPlayer using the latest Adobe technology to allow users to watch selected programmes online for a week after they are broadcast, and this is a cross platform service.

I must say this is really well down, the interface is simple and well designed, the quality of the video is very good and the flexibility such as service offers the viewers of the BBC is massive, along with on-demand services offered by virginmedia my cable supplier, my household rarely watches live broadcast TV, other than the news, choosing what to watch, when we want to watch it.

We are not alone the BBC reports today that 3.5 million shows have been streamed or downloaded since Christmas Day. Interestingly the number of people streaming the programmes outnumber those downloading using the Microsoft DRM by a factor of eight.

This could be interesting in context to the expected announcement from Apple that they will now support movie rental from itunes, is it that the video market unlike music is one where we don’t feel it necessary to “own’ the media, or is it now the fact that access to the cloud is so pervasive we don’t mind accessing information when we need it and then throwing it away.

Either way again, you can’t help but draw comparisons with how geodata is licensed, and ask similar questions, for example as a developer building some new houses, would you not want to license the data for just the period of build ?

Written and submitted from home, using my home 802.11 network.

Someday all hotel rooms will come with an iMac

City Inn with iMac

This week I ended up unexpectedly staying a night in Manchester and chose the City Inn Hotel close to the station (No drunk Manchester Utd players is always a plus point in my mind), anyway I was amazed to see rather than the usual hotel room TV, a iMac sitting on the desk.

It was running a highly customerised version of Front Row which allowed me to watch TV, but it also gave me full user access to MacOS, so i could surf, email, charge my iphone etc.

Very neat !

Written and Submitted from the Google Office, London.

More trouble for Galileo as Mrs Dunwoody attacks

One of the most formidable and well respected members of British Parliament, Gwyneth Dunwoody has attacked plans by the European Commission to fund Galileo, the European version of GPS.

The Commission is stepping in to fund the initial phases of the programme as a plan to obtain funding from potential commercial operators of the system failed.

Even if funding is found to launch the system the question as to what the eventual business model looks like is still unanswered, unlike GPS there is not Dept of Defence to write the cheques if all else fails, and the day to day running of the system will need to be funded.

From my time in Government, I remember nobody wanted to end up in front of Mrs Dunwoody, you can understand why !!

Written and Submitted from the Google Office, London.

So where will you be at 6:02pm GMT this Friday

Me, I will be at the back of the line outside the Regent Street Applestore, in the line for my iPhone hopefully I will do a few lives blogs using my brilliant Three USB broadband modem – which is just great and has replaced by dependence on BT Openzone.

This wireless internet thing seems to have arrived !

Is it just me or has the tech and mainstream press missed the point on Android – It’s an opensource platform for mobiles and as such a potential alternative to the current closed nature of mobile networks and devices..

If you don’t like your current mobile then build your own !!

Written and Submitted from the Google Office, London.

Watching the tech world go by…

As blog readers you are not doubt aware of Technorati, the aggregation site of the worlds blogs, well now they have a rather neat feature which allows you to watch postings in real time..

You can really sense how in particular the technology media landscape is changing, when was the last time you found out about a new technology development from something other than a blog?

Even major vendor announcements are made through blogs rather than the traditional established PR routes of the past.

I sense in the Geospatial technology area this even more the case !
Written and submitted from the Googleplex , Mountain View.