Saturday, September 17, 2011

New Nokia app lets you look straight "through" the Earth...

When Nokia CEO Stephen Elop announced earlier this year that the company would be abandoning the Symbian OS platform, nobody would at the time have predicted the kind of stuff that we are now seeing on new Nokia handsets.

Quite the opposite in fact - being a long time Nokia supporter, I got nicely bombarded from all quarters about what a sinking ship Nokia was fast becoming.
Even so, when it came to upgrade time, I stuck to my guns and patiently awaited my shiny new Nokia E7.
Thankfully, it was the right choice - for me at least. Not everyone likes the same stuff - that's just life and human nature.

Having already laid massive praise on the E7, I was getting a bit bored with the apps on my phone this week, so I decided to head over to Nokia Beta Labs - the place where Nokia puts up their pre-release apps.
Apps that you find here are often experimental and can be buggy, due to their Beta nature.
Not a problem for me - I don't mind a bit of Beta testing if it means some funky new apps for my phone!

The one that caught my eye is called "Nokia 3D World Gaze" - the title alone got me interested.
Now Augmented Reality is nothing new - in simple terms, it allows capable devices to give their users feedback about the world around them, or their immediate surroundings, by making use of GPS, AGPS, Accelerometers, Compasses and the Internet.

For example - you could point your phone at the sky, and the screen would display the constellations, star names and Meisser objects accurately, at that precise location, at that exact time of day or night.
It's a world of information in your hands, and it makes for a lot of fun in this new Nokia app.

Nokia 3D World Gaze first locates you via GPS and AGPS. It then works out your orientation via compass readings.
What you get is a virtual of view of the world around you, when you hold your phone up to the horizon, or even down, looking "through" the Earth.
Ever wondered where you would end up if you were to drill a hole straight down through the Earth, until you came out the other side?
Well guess what, if you are in South Africa, then it 'aint China!

According to Nokia 3D World Gaze, it is in fact, Hawaii!
The application also features layers that you can turn on and off - a News layer which provides contextually relevant headlines, a Photos layer which pops up photos of places in the area where you are aiming your phone at, and a places of interest layer, which provides info about places of interest related to where you are currently looking.

The software is nicely slick as well - move the phone around in a different direction, and the view and content update is quick and seamless.

Check out some screenshots:

Well done Nokia - this is some seriously cool software, and it is good to see that despite partnering with Microsoft (which in itself will prove a great move, I think), there is still a whole lot of work being done to keep Symbian competitive while Nokia devices still carry the software.

The recent Symbian Anna update has also added a lot to the operating system, with the upcoming Symbian Belle update promising a whole lot more.
Keep 'em coming Nokia!
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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

It's raining cats and dogs in JHB... watch out you don't step in a poodle... :)

Ok ok I know that joke was totally lame, and right now I imagine that a whole whack of people just unsubscribed from my blog due to shockingly bad humour...

Lightning is a highly visible form of energy t...Image via Wikipedia

Regardless, Johannesburg is getting its first real taste of summer rain.
Complete with crazy lightning and booming thunder, all hell broke loose a few hours ago on the Highveld as the fury of the heavens was unleashed.
Thankfully, this means more green and less brown in our scenery.

On the downside (Part I), we now have seriously slippery roads to contend with (especially after these first showers), so exercise extra caution on the roads and give yourself just a bit more space to brake in an emergency.

On the downside (Part II), IT Consultants like myself are now called upon (usually frantically) in cases of lightning damage - something that we know about all too well.
Let's face it - if your PC / Mac / ADSL modem / Printer / [Insert IT Gadget Here] has been zapped by lightning, all you can really do is hope that your data is still intact.
Motherboards, RAM, printers and modems can all be replaced, but data is a different story.

So if you are one of those souls reading this right now who does nothing to backup their data, you had better get in touch with me to arrange a decent external hard drive to store all of your valuable data on!

Summer really is the best time of the year, as long as people drive properly, and as long as lightning leaves our computers alone :)

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Damn you, hot pies!

As I type this, my delicate tongue still feels the after-effects of the wrath of a tasty but well over-heated pie, which I consumed yesterday afternoon.

Yummy as chicken and mushroom may be as the innards of a pie, their yummyness is severely hampered when said pie is only slightly cooler than the surface of our sun.
To add to my gripe, consider that a pie is something that you would normally buy when in a rush.
This fact places it firmly in the fast food category, hence the word "fast".

Why then, are pies heated to within an inch of global meltdown, prior to being handed over to ravenous rush-hour consumers, who want nothing more than to wolf down a mouthful of fast food, rather than a mouthful of lava...?

Let me now take this even further...
A pie served at a comfortably warm temperature can quite easily be consumed in a non-messy fashion.
Minimal puff pastry bits on the ground, clean-ish hands... you get the idea.

A pie served at a hellish temperature leads to a lot of fumbling, half-biting, cursing, spitting out bits that have already seared the inside of your mouth, blowing on the pie, dropping bits that have now melted the skin off your hands... you get the idea. It's a mess, and it takes time to eat.

So, in conclusion:

- Hot pies burn the mouths and hands of innocent human beings;
- Hot pies are messy;
- Hot pies waste valuable time, because they take time to eat.

Please, pie-makers, serve your tasty treats at a more comfortable temperature!
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