February 2006 Archives

Japanese Lemurs

Noriyo Asano has a difficult job. She's translating Ambient Findability into Japanese, a task made particularly tricky by the way I play with the English language. Here are some of the phrases Noriyo has questioned:

Technology has entered the shadow lands of Lost and Found, and we ain't seen nothin' yet.
One man's paradise is another man's oblivion.
I'll bet it's easy and fun, in a disturbing sort of way, like shooting fish in a barrel.
Documents enable us to stand on the shoulders of giants. Information is heady stuff indeed.

Translation is inevitably a lossy process, but hopefully by collaborating we can do better than Google's automagic translation of Noriyo's blog. You've gotta love the Rosenfeld Media post!

Anyway, I'll soon find out what got lost in translation, because thanks to Toshikazu Shinohara of Sociomedia, I'm headed to Tokyo in April for the 2006 Design IT conference and the Spring of the Japanese lemur.

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Bookless Libraries

Today, NPR's Talk of the Nation will discuss the Bookless Library. Karen Schneider provides details and a pre-show perspective. In related news, George Monbiot warns that RFID implants are creating libraries of people.

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Enterprise Search Summit

The advance program for ESS 2006 is now available. I'm already looking forward to my annual stroll through Central Park. See you in New York!

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The Wayfinding Place

An online collaboration between seven contemporary voices discussing how humans find their way in ever-changing and increasingly complex public spaces.

Universal Symbol for Wayfinding

Looks like an interesting place to visit!

Strange Connections

I'd like to thank Livia for that last pointer, though it is a bit disturbing when your friends start sending you articles about stalking.

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The Long Tail of Place

As the geospatial web goes mainstream, I suspect we will wander the long tail of place, migrating beyond the usual points of interest covered in travel guides, following roads less traveled to unknown places that indulge our idiosyncrasies.

There are undoubtedly scores of small and unusual restaurants, bars, shops, museums, rivers, parks, and paths that will become more traveled thanks to Google Maps and the imminent mass annotation of physical space.

While we're on the topic, you might want to pre-order The Long Tail now, and grab The Adventures of Long Tail while you're at it.

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Google Book Search

Mary Sue Coleman delivered an inspiring address yesterday to the Association of American Publishers. Here's a snippet:

I have spent 45 years in higher education, from being a freshman at a small liberal arts college in Iowa, to leading of one of the premier research universities of the world. I have been involved in groundbreaking medical research, have worked alongside some of the brightest minds in academe, and have dined with Pulitzer Prize winners and Nobel laureates.
Google Book Search is the most revolutionary enterprise I've ever experienced. It has the potential to transform the flow of knowledge, and there is no greater gesture a university can make.

Now that puts Google Book Search in perspective!

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Mobile Findable Objects

Bronson Healthcare in Kalamazoo, Michigan is using what Bruce Sterling calls the Cisco Spime Tracker to solve the wheelchair location problem:

A quick glance at the screen shows exactly where the tagged wheelchairs are located...Patients wait no more than a few minutes for a wheelchair, and we save $28,000 a month by eliminating searches.

Cisco explains that "hospitals are unable to find between 10 and 15 percent of the devices they own...devices are mostly misplaced rather than stolen."

Strange Connections

Johns Hopkins University enables wireless Internet access on their campus shuttle buses, while simultaneously providing real-time shuttle bus tracking in Google Earth. I recommend watching the buses with your kids while singing the wheels on the bus. It's probably even cooler when you're actually on the bus.

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