So Long EPFL!

Posted: September 28th, 2005 | 1 Comment »


Service-Oriented Architectures Based on Jini

Posted: September 26th, 2005 | No Comments »

Jim Waldo gave a talk in the NYJavaSIG May meeting about Jini being the base for Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA, buzzword alert!).

While Jini does enable all of the advantages promised of a service-oriented architecture, it also enables some others that are somewhat more surprising, such as much higher levels of reliability and the ability to change, upgrade, and extend the system without there being any service interruption.

Mobile Phone as Sensor

Posted: September 25th, 2005 | 1 Comment »

The mobile phone is the most ubiquitous mobile device and there are millions of them in use around the world. Not surprisingly engineers are researchers are trying to add all sorts of sensor to them. Mobile phones have a huge economy of scale. The cost to add a sensor to a handset is marginal compared to the entire manufacturing cost of the phone. They have built-in capability to geotag (GPS, cellid) the collected data and transmit them (to a GIS for example).

Such an experiments is ran at the Berkeley Sensor and Actuator Sensor Center. They launched an effort to develop a carbon monoxide sensor for cell phones. Eventually, a combination cell phone/CO detector could enable environmental scientists to monitor and track pollution across densely populated urban centers.

Similar project is Reality Mining that captured communication, proximity, location, and activity information from 100 subjects using Nokia Series 60 phones.

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Movement and communication visualization of the Reality Mining subjects.

Mobile Development and Airport Bathroom

Posted: September 25th, 2005 | No Comments »

In Inferior Bathroom Technology and UI In The Mobile Space, Shawn Conahan talks about his experience in mobile development with a nice quote:

The mobile environment is like an airport bathroom – it requires a specific technology approach to accommodate a specific use case that is very different from your bathroom at home. The current technology meant to enable us, while nifty, actually slows us down.

Spatial Information Management – Then, Now, Next

Posted: September 25th, 2005 | No Comments »

Via Cartography, DirectionsMag carries an article on the development of geo-spatial information and the directions it seems to be heading. Where the map was once the data, now the data produces the map.

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One scenario of the evolution of cartography

Relativity, Uncertainty, Incompleteness and Undecidability

Posted: September 25th, 2005 | No Comments »

Carlos Castillo, a postdoc at the University of Pompeu Fabra presents the four principles of Relativity, Uncertainty, Incompleteness and Undecidability.

I am especially in:

Measure implies interacting, and interacting implies a certain alteration. At our scale, that alteration does not matters, but when we go to the very small, this alteration is a very important part of the rules.

Classical mathematical logic deductive system, and actually any logical system consistent and expressive enough, is not complete, has “holes” full of expressions that are not logically true nor false.

If we want to write a “perfect” program, that never hangs, then one way is to test it to try all different inputs, but this is often impractical as there are too many combinations; besides this, there is a deeper problem and that’s that even if a long time has passed, we can never know for certain if the program is still doing something useful or if it has “hung”.

A Blind Spot
These fundamental principles should not be taken as limitations to science, and they do not exclude the existence of an objective reality. They are rather limitations to some operations, such as making a measurement or working with formal logic, that have to be taken into account to understand natural phenomena. Uncertainty and undecidability govern our capacity of making predictions, while relativity and incompleteness are related to the fact that references are necessary, but prevent us from doing certain operations.

Non-geographic Mapping

Posted: September 25th, 2005 | No Comments »

Jonathan Harris has come up with Flash animation that illustrates a world map that alters based on travel time (between 27 cities). The animation is one step short of a real cartographic anamorphosis.
 Blogger 2332 1061 1600 Nongeographicmap

Technologies of Cooperation

Posted: September 25th, 2005 | No Comments »

Howard Rheingold, Andrea Saveri and Kathi Vian put together a report (PDF) and visual map of technologies of cooperation. They talk about technologies, the power of these tools derives from the social practices they amplify specifically the ways people, machines and institutions can cooperate. They mention eight key clusters:

- Group-forming networks
- Social software
- Social mobile computing
- Self-organizing mesh network
- Community computing grids
- Peer production networks
- Social accounting tools
- Knowledge collectives

 Cooperation Tech Of Cooperation Map

Renaissance Geeks

Posted: September 25th, 2005 | No Comments »

Engineers that only have technical knowledge are vulnerable on the job market. Techies not only have to learn people skills, but also have to become renaissance geeks. They have to understand computing, but they also typically need deep knowledge in multidisciplinary fields. According to NYT’s A Techie, Absolutely, and More the job outlook is brightest for those skilled in the application of technology.

Definition of Pervasive (Gaming)

Posted: September 25th, 2005 | No Comments »

In What is Pervasive Gaming?, Annika Waern, SICS, coordinator of IPerG, talks about ways to define Pervasive Gaming. He covers more the term “pervasive” than “gaming”. He mentions a design-oriented definition:

Pervasive games are new game experiences that are tightly interwoven with our everyday lives through the items, devices and people that surround us and the places that we inhabit.

… a more technology-oriented definition:

Pervasive gaming integrates the technical approaches of computer gaming with emerging interface, wireless and positioning technologies to create game experiences that combine both virtual and physical game elements.

… and a slogan

Physical presence and virtual experience

I have the feeling that in these definitions, the term pervasive is losing its substance. Ubiquitous or pervasive environments are more than the ones claimed by these definitions. The original meaning of these terms are:
Pervasive: having the quality or tendency to pervade (to become diffused throughout every part of)
Ubiquitous: existing or being everywhere at the same time: omnipresent

The father of ubiquitous computing, Mark Weiser, mentions that ubiquitous computing forces the computer to live out here in the world with people. Currently, the art is not as mature as Weiser hoped. This lack of maturity (will it ever be mature?) and underlying imperfections are an interesting for the user-centered study of pervasive applications.