16 March 2006

I like Thursdays

Thursdays are Technology Guardian day. Thursdays are also fencing day, and nearly the weekend day. And I'm pretty sure my socks match today as well.

So - what's new? Well, I got very excited by Flagr last night after I discovered Swansea, where I was at uni, is in high-res on Google Maps (although Cardiff isn't, which is very odd). I've added loads of flags for places I used to hang out at uni, including the site of my very first gig, my two student houses, the student's union, and more. I'm hoping to scan some old photos this weekend (or tomorrow - I have the day off) and add them.

I'm not entirely sure of the purpose yet - I'm not using the system for anything more, at the moment, than misty-eyed reminiscence; although from a social history point of view maybe that's good. Why anyone would want to know how great I found watching Singleton Hospital from random girls' bedrooms is beyond me at the moment though. I did mark a pub where Dylan Thomas used to drink, though.

The Flagr bods have said on their wishlist pages that grouping of flags will become a possibility, and that's a more interesting development - if I can add flags to a group of, for example, great lost venues (The Monkey Cafe, Swansea... the Boat Race, Cambridge...) then that's more interesting than one man's random "I got drunk here" stories. In the mean time I'll keep adding flags and hope coherence or a theme appears when I reach some undefined critical mass.

Other news... well, the Guardian has an article on UK mapping data which is very interesting. I'll be popping along to FreeOurData.org.uk and seeing what's happening there.

Origami gets a mention too - Microsoft's project for "ultra mobile PCs" (basically something between a PDA and a laptop) which - as Rik was saying to me the other day - has interesting implications for real-time Google mashup things, especially when Cambridge's Wi-Fi cloud is up and running. It's also got interesting web usability/user interface implications. Are touch screens going to become big? Will we stop using mice? Will web designers get used to 800x480 resolutions? Will touch screens mean scrolling becomes a pain again, and we'll have to make sure we work above the fold? It's as much down to what becomes standard on devices as anything - an Apple-style click-wheel could make all the difference. A touch-screen virtual click wheel or gesture-based browsing experience might also help. Let's hope Origami doesn't go the way of tablet PCs.

Exciting - but probably expensive - times ahead.

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