My own little hunk of Cyberspace

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


Olympics + High Definition TV = Made for each other.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Google Technologies - Innovation at it's Finest

Everyone knows that Bill Gates and Steve Jobs don't get along, but they can band together to take on a common threat - which right now - appears to be coming from Google. Gates sees any software that doesn't require Windows as a threat, and Jobs is concerned about the rumors that Google and Napster are "talking" - which Google denies - but Napster does not. But there is no doubt - Google is leading the way when it comes to innovative web technologies.

Google seems to have figured out the recipe for making technology practical to use for the average consumer. Through acquisitions, they were the first to combine satellite imagery with global positioning; the result being Google Earth. They developed KML files that allow coordinate data to be overlaid on the images, producing (at least in urban areas) vivid overhead images with pinpoint accuracy. Most people have played with Google Earth by now - but to see it's utmost potential - one must do a "flyby" in the streets of New York, where they have overlaid vectored 3D representation of the structures on these images. It is truly amazing.

Realizing this technology's potential, Volkswagen is partnering with Google provide a three dimensional GPS navigation system to allow VW drivers to be able to use the surrounding topography to help orient themselves. I'm sure this is just the beginning of a blossoming technology. Can you say Farfignugen"”?

What brings this closer to home for me is my love for Geocaching. As soon as I downloaded the first version of Google Earth, I emailed the fine folks at Groundspeak, who developed and maintain the Geocaching site, and welcome users to suggest enhancements. I expressed what a great thing this new Google tool was - and how cool it would be to combine this with Geocaching. They responded that I was one of many (probably thousands!) of people who had suggested this integration. They promised they were working on it. Well - now it's here. It's way cool.

One of my caches in Pocahontas State Park

What's great about Google tools is there is no bias - no taking sides - you don't need Vista or Mac OS X to take advantage of their technology, and it is hardware independent. They keep Gates and Jobs honest by raising the bar, and may actually bring (or force) the two giants closer together. Go Goooogle... Go Goooogle...

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Sweet Sweep of the Hokies

It was a close one, but the Hoos were able to hold on in OT and sweep the Hokies in basketball. JR Reynolds had the game of his life, and the Hoos needed every point and assist.

Early prediction - Dave Leito is coach of the year in the ACC. Book it!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Monster's Worst Nightmare

If you are one of the millions of people that own monitor capable of High Definition (HD) (or bought one last weekend in time for the Super Bowl!) then you have probably been exposed to the unbelievably expensive and lucrative DVI and HDMI video cable market. And if you bought from Best Buy or Circuit City, then they probably did their best to convince you to buy from Monster Cable. Even at Walmart, a six foot HDMI Monster cable sells for $80. You can buy an upscaling DVD player for less than this - but it won't work without an HDMI cable. Monster Cable is undoubtedly receiving huge profits from the HD craze.

However, thanks to IBM engineers, this market could soon be suffering a crash. IBM is developing a new Wireless chip technology known as silicon germanium. This could mean that one day - your DVD can stream a flawless, 1080p signal direct to your monitor at several gb/second. Due to the price of today's digital cables, if the pricing of this new technology can remain reasonable-the possibilities are endless. Wireless speakers, receivers, cable systems, etc. Imagine a single wireless DVD player that can stream a signal to any room and multiple monitors. Hopefully, we'll see adapters that can convert existing systems over to this new standard, but most likely - it'll mean buying new integrated components. Especially if Sony gets involved in it!