Yes folks, there's a flight simulator built into Google Earth and by Jove it works. Just try ctrl-alt-A or maybe ctrl-windows-A when over a location and a screen will appear giving you some options. It works, and it's as realistic as Google Earth itself. Big wow factor. I picked it up from Techcrunch, here.
OK - I really like this idea. First let me paint this picture. You have a sqillion MP3s, videos and images on your PC and no backup. Or you backup onto another PC or a storage unit. Or maybe you backup on a few DVDs. Whatever, it's a pain. But if your main PC dies you lose the lot, so you take the small pain over the big, big pain.
Now Drobo is a smart storage box that takes 3.5inch hard drives in standard bays. That's not new - you can buy big external HDD boxes that plug in via FireWire or USB anyway. What distinguishes this one is its smarts. It hides the complexity of RAID and other redundancy methods inside so you don't need to know. Instead it just handles whatever goes wrong. Lose a drive? No problem, Drobo has made a backup. Need more space? No problem, slide another HDD inside and Drobo will format it and start sharing the load across the other drives. Seamlessly, apparently (I haven't tested it but others like CNET have). And from your PC it just looks like one volume, not a collection of drives. Yippee! I want one!
The SMH is spruiking the end of the computer, as the young people of Japan adopt smaller form factors in lieu of PCs. They suggest that this trend will spread across the world. I tend to agree, although by 'computer' we have to accept that they mean 'PC'. And I have some reservations.
Japan is a smaller, more densely populated country that Australia, so wireless communication is easier - and cheaper. This applies less so to the US, but similar geographic factors do apply. The Japanese also use a different keypad, which restrains the immediate spread of the exact same gadgets. And again the content provided - or perhaps desired - is different because the culture is different. Aussies will not necessarily see small form factor mobile computers as such an asset, especially without the content to drive their use or the network and bandwidth to deliver that content. We certainly lag in bandwidth - and both Australia and the continental US are geographically huge, making it more difficult to saturate the market with wireless gadgetry. It's a big factor in take-up.
I do think the computer as we know it is dying, if slowly. It peaked around the year 2000 and hase been collapsing since. It's morphing into a notebook-size and will probably shrink further, but purely for practical reasons at least 30% of the PCs will 'always' need full-sized keyboards, or at least a new way to input data. I'm certainly not going to want to type all day on a Palm Pilot, Blackberry or Blackjack-sized keypad - or smaller! I even use a full-sized keyboard with my notebook/laptop. Perhaps a direct brain-computer data feed is what I need instead?
I think those direct feeds will come, but not inside the next 5 years. I almost said 10. Almost. But when on the train or bus - sure - small is a goer. Even when jogging or cycling (maybe not cycling). An all-in-one mobile-sized pocket 'computer' is certainly the way of the future for PCs if we get all the ducks lined up...
Check out IBM DeveloperWorks online - and especially Spaces, a new social-networking-Web 2.0 collaborative developer area. I'm not that technical - I understand maybe 45-50% of what's going on but I love to stay informed of what's at the cutting edge. This is a great site to visit and browse but as I say it's for developers and those interested in coding with IBM products or open standards. (And yes, I work for IBM and these are my views, not necessarily the company's.)
Songware? It seems odd that a great live band like the Who would find itself promoting software-generated songs, but apparently Pete Townshend has been working - nay dreaming - about this for 30 years. Who's next grew out of Lifehouse - Pete's idea of a connectedness that expressed itself through songs... and was for Pete a glimpse of a future world where connectedness was pervasive, electronic and creative. Which brings us to The Method, software that apparently takes personal data like a birthdate, a photo, an audio file and a beat and produces music.
Pete talks about it here on MP3.com... The legendary Who guitarist and songwriter said... that he is set to launch a new Web site that he has been thinking about for nearly 30 years. Dubbed The Method, Townsend said the site will use music composition software to take a person's physical attributes and compose a brand new, personalized piece of music for that person.
"I've been thinking about this for such a long time," he said. "The gathering that the Internet offers is meditation. You lose yourself when you're listening to good music." Townshend said he hopes the site will provoke more people to take advantage of the immediacy of the Web.
And Yahoo! says this: Rocker Pete Townshend on Wednesday unveiled an Internet-based software program that will help music fans compose personalised tracks at the click of a button. The Who guitarist/songwriter said that with a voice recording, a digital image and a rhythm clapped into a microphone, his new "Method" software will create spontaneous digital music and allow anyone to be a composer, and possibly a rock star. "You can put data in and get a piece of music out. It's as simple as that," said Townshend, a technical wizard who pioneered the use of the synthesiser more than 35 years ago on the classic tunes "Won't Get Fooled Again" and "Baba O'Riley." The project, which started percolating during his art school days in the 1960s, was developed by mathematician/composer Lawrence Ball and software developer Dave Snowdon.
From May 1, users will be able to get free access to the Web site (http://www.lifehouse-method.com) for three months, and will be able to compose instrumental tracks that they can e-mail or post on their Web sites. From August 1, it will become a subscription-based service.
Right Brain (40%) The right hemisphere is the visual, figurative, artistic, and intuitive side of the brain. Left Brain (70%) The left hemisphere is the logical, articulate, assertive, and practical side of the brain
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