Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Mayhem

If you have 10 days free to play games then how about going for $30,000 worth of prizes playing Entropia this festive season:

Join the Christmas carnage and compete for a pristine land area south of the scenic New Switzerland. Help the Imperial Government to cull Atrox and Exarosaur herds, and thwart the smuggling Mulaak'f by wiping out as many as possible between Friday December 21 18:00 UTC and January 1 00:00 UTC.

The Government will award 1 point for every Exarosaur killed, 3 points for every Atrox, and 10 points for every Mulaak'f put into an irreversible coma. These points will be awarded regardless of maturity or location on Calypso.

The fierce colonist to have accumulated most points by Jan. 1 00:00 UTC will receive the new land area on Amethera.

The second prize winner will receive a complete Shadow Armor Set, and the third prize winner will receive a large amount of raw materials, with a Trade Terminal value of 10000 PED, for the new Make Up and Material Customization systems.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Comet Bigger than the Sun


"A comet that has delighted backyard astronomers in recent weeks after an unexpected eruption has now grown larger than the sun. The sun remains by far the most massive object in the solar system, with an extended influence of particles that reaches all the planets. But the comparatively tiny Comet Holmes has released so much gas and dust that its extended atmosphere, or coma, is larger than the diameter of the sun."

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Microsoft moves on F# functional language

Microsoft plans to integrate F#, a functional programming language developed by the Microsoft Research group, into its Visual Studio application development platform, said S. "Soma" Somasegar, corporate vice president of the Microsoft Developer Division, in his blog.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Avatar Machine

"The virtual communities created by online games have provided us with a new medium for social interaction and communication. Avatar Machine is a system which replicates the aesthetics and visuals of third person gaming, allowing the user to view themselves as a virtual character in real space via a head mounted interface."

Monday, October 08, 2007

Gemalto and Far EasTone partner on SIM-based NFC trial in Taiwan

"Gemalto recently announced a partnership with Taiwan's Far EasTone Telecommunications to start Asia's first mobile contactless SIM-based NFC (near field communications) trial."

Dutch Supermarket Mobile Phone Payment Trial

"LogicaCMG has announced 'a pilot project at a branch of the Dutch supermarket, C1000 in Molenaarsgraaf, near Rotterdam where 100 customers will be able to pay for their shopping by mobile phone."

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Larger Text

You've heard of web 2.0, over at discovery you'll see web 0.1 back at work. In an attempt to recreate the 80's they have introduced unreadable small text with a "make it the right size button mofos" which you have to click on every page, I love this kind of interaction. Ahh for User Mode in Opera.


and I've forgotten the real article I tried to read there and wanted to link to

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Boffins develop Terminator-vision goggles

"If you've ever wondered what it's like to trip on acid or experiencing life through the eyes of the Terminator, then a team of Russian inventors may have the gadget for you. The team has created a pair of virtual reality goggles that enables users to experience the world from a completely different perspective."

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Sir Norman : Boldly Going

"The Foster + Partners and URS team has won an international competition to build the first private spaceport in the world - The New Mexico Spaceport Authority Building."

Friday, September 07, 2007

Arctic Ice Melt Gets Stark Reassessment

"Summertime sea ice in the Arctic Ocean is on track for shrinking by 40 percent below 1980 and 1990 levels by the year 2050, say oceanographers. That's twice as fast as the rate of loss estimated in the most recent assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)."



The Old Model

This NOAA illustration showing one model of future sea ice loss in the Arctic is not even the worst case scenario. A new report by scientists taking a closer look at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on ice loss suggests the ice may be melting at twice the rate predicted by the panel.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

All of these are extinct...

Rare river dolphin 'now extinct'

A freshwater dolphin found only in China is now "likely to be extinct", a team of scientists has concluded.

The researchers failed to spot any Yangtze river dolphins, also known as baijis, during an extensive six-week survey of the mammals' habitat.

Baiji Tribute courtesy of Another Chance To See





NASA's animation of China's Three Gorges Dam construction over the years



Chinese Promotional film



A trip to Three Gorges Dam Project

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Ordnance Survey and Google Statements on Virtual London in Google Earth

The Ordnance Survey have stopped London in 3D becoming available in Google Earth, read more over at Digital Urban



Monday, July 30, 2007

Iconic London - 3D Tube Map Update


Over at Digital Urban we have something very good

GeDenim launches RFID-based loyalty programme

"GeDenim, a multi-brand lifestyle and clothing retail network that targets the 15-25 age group through ten stores in and around Paris, France, is to launch a contactless loyalty programme called GSPOT. The programme uses a branded, interactive smart token, interactive POS materials, and promotional contactless kiosks."

RMV ticket just three clicks away by mobile phone

"Following the successful year-long pilot of the RMV HandyTicket in Frankfurt with over 5000 users, the Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund transport network (RMV) is now ready to trial the next phase linking in with the global futuristic technology of Near Field Communication (NFC)."

RMV NFC-HandyTicket Parkour

Embedding this video is not allowed for some weird reason (guess the PR is over 50 and hasn't got a handle on the interwebs yet, but hey, he can read email and sees this as a major achievement though he still wallows in delight at his ignorance about programming video recorders), anyway, trawl over to youtube for this NFC advert

Mobile payment - targeted coupon delivery in a few hundred milliseconds

"Rather than simply doing a basic, boring payment transaction, the demo shows the payment terminal also delivering a targeted promotion to the customer, based on criteria set by the merchant. Enter the amount on the POS terminal, tap the phone and the payment receipt is printed, which now includes an offer that says “Buy one value meal, get a free dessert”."

Friday, July 27, 2007

Google LatLong: Where in the world is...

Updates to the Google Earth images comes to us in the form of cryptic clues

  • Two states known for their majestic peaks have gotten an upgrade.
  • I can now see where my favorite maple syrup is made.
  • Certain Florida beaches (and 1 mountain) are looking much improved.
  • Try counting the warthogs in the Boneyard.
  • Peek inside the home of the Brew Crew.
  • You can read the Skin's logo painted on their field.
  • An historic state capitol building is now in high res.
  • This city was named after the Native American name of a nearby mountain, "Tacobet."
  • A "far away" city that played a key role in trans-Saharan trade can now be seen close up.
  • The town where Jane Austen spent her final years is much clearer.
  • The topic of Vincent van Gogh's Cafe Terrace at Night is now bright as day.
  • Take a look at "la ville noir," where Cointreau was invented.
  • Only a third of this country's land is arable, but you can now view the entire country in high res.
  • From 1880 to 1884 this German city was home to the world's tallest building.
  • Rockets may be used to disrupt rain clouds over this city next summer.
  • This country received an impressive terrain update, you might call it Lord of the Terrain.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Spitzer Finds Evidence for Planets with Four Parents

"How many stars does it take to 'raise' a planet? In our own solar system, it took only one -- our sun. However, new research from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows that planets might be forming in systems with as many as four stars."

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Mother Goose Rocks

Mother Goose Rocks - Head & Shoulders, Knees & Toes by Mono with ME2

Well the pope joins in, checkout Bush getting it wrong, I'm really unsure who any of this is aimed at, if you get time checkout Wheels on the Bus done in the style of Madonna

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

University adds RFID tags to mobile phones

"Slippery Rock decided to implement the NFC technology after focus groups found students were more likely to carry their mobile phone than any money.

'It is easy technology,' said Barry Welsch, Heartland's manager of IT. 'The tag always stays in the consumer's hand - in this case, it's a phone.'

The system is expected to work across the campus, which is approximately 2.4 square kilometres in size."

Retro-fitting mobile phones with RFID

"The promise of NFC is about easily using mobile phones as a part of daily life: ticketing, paying with a credit card, opening doors, sharing, printing and downloading in the physical world. But until NFC technology is widely adopted, are there opportunities for using some of the features of RFID-interactions without the integration into the handset?"

Nokia supplying Octopus contactless card accessory

NFC Forum works on controller interface

"The NFC Forum, a non-profit industry association dedicated to advancing near field communication technology, has begun work on a specification for a host controller interface (HCI) between contactless controllers and application processors in devices."

Mobile Payments to generate almost 11 billion of transactions by 2011

"Juniper Research predicts that P2P fund transfers and mobile payments in the developing world, together with the commercialisation in 2009 of NFC (Near Field Communications) based mPayments will generate transactions worth approximately £11 billion."

Korean Telco Signals Move To NFC

"KT Freetel, South Korea’s second largest mobile network operator, will move ahead with plans to test phones that support Near Field Communication technology, according to France-based chip supplier Inside Contactless."

Monday, July 09, 2007

WikiMindMap

WikiMindMap is a simple mindmap to navigate through Wiki content.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Woman runner-up in one-horse race

A grandmother won second prize in a cake-baking contest at a fete, only to discover she was the only entrant.

She said her own baking was subject to another strange decision.

"About 11 years ago I entered a show with some fruit scones. I was the only entrant but I came third."

Friday, June 29, 2007

Mysterious Clouds Creeping Out of the Arctic

"A new NASA satellite has recorded the first detailed images from space of a mysterious type of cloud called “night-shining” or “noctilucent.'

The clouds are on the move, brightening and creeping out of polar regions, and researchers don't know why.

'It is clear that these clouds are changing, a sign that a part of our atmosphere is changing and we do not understand how, why or what it means,' said atmospheric scientists James Russell III of Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia"

More information: Strange Clouds at NASA, AIM mission webpage

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Astronomers look to quark stars for a fifth dimension

"Since 1981, underground detectors on Earth have recorded sporadic showers of muon particles coming from the direction of Cygnus X-3. The cygnets are a puzzle because no known particles could last the 37,000-light-year journey from Cygnus X-3 to Earth without decaying."

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Mastercard PayPass trials new mobile Tap N Go system in NYC

"Mastercard is rolling out their trial of a new 'Tap N Go' mobile payment system through their Mastercard PayPass infrastructure in New York City."

Digital Credit Card Tested

"Cellular South in Jackson, Miss., joined USA Technologies in Malvern, Pa., this week to announce a two-city consumer trial of WirelessWallet, a service that will let consumers make purchases and payments from a cell phone.

The trial involves 75 customers who will test the concept at 50 retail locations in Memphis and Jackson, according to a statement from the Cellular South. They will use handsets from Kyocera Wireless Corp. that will act as a digital credit card. A customer will be able to tap a phone against a Near Field Communication-enabled wireless reader."

The Mobile Phone Charger Powered by Wind

"Orange is presenting an interesting mobile phone charger at Glastonbury festival in UK. developed at the University of Texas at Arlington, the charger can fit on your tent easily so that you have no worry on your mobile phone battery life when you go camping."

And if you can't make it in person check out the BBC Glastonbury website where you can watch the live sets.

Sucia

Update: Sucia is the company that is providing the NFC posters at JR Shinjuku Station

Mobiles to get a taste of Oyster

Mobile phone companies Orange, O2 and Nokia are in talks with Transport for London about using phones instead of Oyster Cards to pay for tube tickets.

Handsets loaded with bank account details would be swiped over a reader to buy tickets from Oyster Card machines, and swiped again at the barriers to pay for journeys.

The handsets use 'near field communication' technology, which involves a short-wave radio activated when phones are touched against a screen or reader. They will be available at commercial levels from next year, and are already compatible with London Underground ticket machines.

mobile suica2



from RFID in Japan

NFC wristband

"Mobile telecoms firm O2 is launching a trial of near field communications (NFC) technology at a music festival later this month that will see select guests given a crystal-studded wristband embeded with the contactless technology."

Building blocks for the identity utility

"Neil McEvoy calls for the creation of an identity utility, to be used by government, business and individuals alike. Neil mentions that the NFC-equipped mobile phone could be the critical device to make this a reality, because the mobile phone can act as both the identity provider and the identity consumer. So will there be enough mobile phones, and will enough of them have NFC, to make this a realistic vision?"

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Dramatic Look

Second Earth

"The World Wide Web will soon be absorbed into the World Wide Sim: an immersive environment combining Second Life and Google Earth."

A thunderhead towers at knee level, throwing tiny lightning bolts at my shoes. I'm standing--rather, my avatar is standing--astride a giant map of the continental United States, and southern Illinois, at my feet, is evidently getting a good April shower.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Rain at Le Mans

"After lying in second place since the first Audi crashed out at 7:45 this morning, the Peugeot No 7 came into the pit at 12:39 with an apparent engine problem. At this time the car is still in for fixing and the second Peugeot will take second place from Gene/Villeneuve/Minassian."



Le Mans 24 Hour offical site

Le Mans on wikipedia

Motorola Joins GSMA “Pay-Buy-Mobile” Initiative

Motorola, Inc. (NYSE: MOT) today announced its intention to participate in the GSMA Pay-Buy-Mobile Initiative. The Company will potentially participate in all trials facilitated by the GSMA which will drive forward developments on mobile payments.

Motorola will also provide feedback to GSMA Near Field Communications Technical Guidelines white papers, and work with standardisation bodies such as ETSI and the NFC Forum to further provide input to the development process.

Near Field Communications and the associated applications, including payment, are a strategic focus area for Motorola. Motorola is committed to working with the GSMA Pay-Buy-Mobile Initiative and the broader industry to facilitate the development and implementation of a NFC ecosystem.

A map of Learning to Think Spatially

"final project presentation for MAT 259: visualizing information, Professor George Legrady"

Optical illusion house

Saturday, June 16, 2007

His Holiness Pope Gregory XVII

His Holiness Pope Gregory XVII:
"No one shall be able to slow down his pace, for he has been chosen by God as His active instrument, violent and destructive towards the enemies of the Church."


Don't ask, I just like his hat, turns out this bunny was held as the anti-pope just can't make this stuff up

The Spanish entry on wikipedia mentions that anyone who has seen Jesus Christ Superstar is excommunicated, given that Christopher Biggins was in it, makes sense

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Public donates to UW scientist to fund backward-in-time research

Here we go again:

"The most creative branch of the military-science-industrial complex (known as DARPA, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) also rejected Cramer's proposal. Officials at DARPA told the UW physicist his experiment is 'too weird' -- even though they recently gave money in support of a project aimed at creating Terminatorlike liquid robots."

sorry about the writing at the other end

EveryScape - Better than Google Street View (?)

The folks at Digital Urban have posted about a new contender to Google Street View called EveryScape

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Stanford Prison Experiment

What happens when you put good people in an evil place? Does humanity win over evil, or does evil triumph? These are some of the questions we posed in this dramatic simulation of prison life conducted in the summer of 1971 at Stanford University.

Hacking Google Maps Street View

"Google Map's recent 'street view' development has led to a new trend of 'street view' spotting. A number of sites have sprung up to track the interesting and sometimes weird images that Google have captured."



Virtual Tourism has gone a step further and hacked the actual 'street view' images and produced a fully interactive 'street view' Google Gadget. The gadget shows a different image from street view every day and can be added to your iGoogle page by clicking on the Google button."

Weird Converter

The weight of 1 blue whale = 353.5353535353 polar bears and the length of the world's longest snake is 8.35208 giraffe's necks.

World Monuments Fund

100 most endangered sites, 2008

A Wirelessly Powered Lightbulb

"Researchers at MIT have shown that it's possible to wirelessly power a 60-watt lightbulb sitting about two meters away from a power source. Using a remarkably simple setup--basically consisting of two metal coils--they have demonstrated, for the first time, that it is feasible to efficiently send that much power over such a distance. "

Strong impression



Playing around with a virtual car in the real environment. What you see is the mixed image shown on displays around the stage. The technology making this possible is called augmented reality. The music is by "My Fearless Friend". Source: Augmented Blog

Barcode, RFID and NFC technologies explained

Sirit Signs NFC Contract With BenQ

"Sirit Inc., one of the leading provider of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, announced recently that it has secured a Near Field Communications (NFC) contract with BenQ Corporation ('BenQ'), one of the largest consumer electronics original equipment manufacturers (OEM)."

NFC technology takes main stage at O2 Wireless Festival

"This year's O2 Wireless Festival will be the first in the UK to use Near Field Communication, a new technology that brings Oyster card-functionality to mobile phones, making it possible for people to swipe their handset to pay for purchases, download content or even share information. O2 will be using the trial to examine its potential as a future solution for mobile ticketing."

NFC Developers Announce Licensing Fees

"Makers of mobile phones and other consumers devices supporting Near Field Communication technology would have to pay up to $.49 per device they ship under a licensing-fee program announced today.

Three companies that claim “essential” patents on NFC launched the licensing scheme, which other developers of the short-range wireless technology may join later."

Reveal Me





via ogle earth and Pruned

A book will never let you down

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Immersive Media - Street View Technology

Google Mapplets - Developers Demo

Google Gears - Offline Functionality for Web Apps

Entropia Universe Enters China to Create the Largest Virtual World Ever

"One of the World's Largest Virtual Economies Partners With Chinese Cyber-Giant to Create a New Network Capable of Handling 7 Million Concurrent Users and $1 Billion in Commerce Annually

Entropia Universe, the safest virtual world utilizing a real cash economy, has been chosen by the Beijing Municipal People's Government supported online entertainment company Cyber Recreation Development Corp. (CRD) to create a cash-based virtual economy for China. The landmark deal was negotiated for almost a year and will bring an outside virtual world into China for the very first time. Entropia Universe was chosen over several other proposals, including one by Second Life.

The new project will permit up to 7 million concurrent users logged into the virtual universe with an overall aim to attract some 150 million users from all over the world. Entropia Universe, a three-dimensional universe on the Internet intended for entertainment, work, commerce, community building, culture, and much more, is expected to generate over $1 billion annually in commerce from this partnership."

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Google Maps Street View

First 4D Virtual Human Created, Dubbed CAVEman

"Scientists at the University of Calgary have created the world’s first complete object-oriented computer model of a human body. Recently unveiled, the 4D human atlas, dubbed the CAVEman by the team who created it, allows scientists to literally get inside their experiments by translating medical and genomic data into 4D images."

"CAVEman resides in the CAVE, a cube-shaped virtual reality room, also known as the “research Holodeck”, in which the 4D human model floats in space, projected from three walls and the floor below."

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Wirecard Explains How Virtual Banking Will Work

"The virtual banking world now has the backing of an actual bank. German bank Wirecard is among the four investors that recently purchased banking licenses issued by the virtual community of Entropia Universe."

"Only real life banks are able to offer a unique set of new and exciting but also trustworthy and secure services to the users of virtual worlds," Marsalek said. "The future growth and reputation of virtual worlds significantly depends on the sustainability of the services provided to their users and we believe that real life banks, such as Wirecard Bank, can add substantial value to the overall game play experience."

Friday, May 25, 2007

Near field communications is the talk of the ID world, but what will it take to turn the talk to action?

"Every time you turn around you see an NFC pilot program cropping up somewhere in the world. What you haven’t seen are many full-scale commercial rollouts. In fact, those could be counted on one hand. Sure, near field communication technology is still relatively new – but in a world where new innovations quickly become yesterday’s news, could NFC be starting to show its age?"

Step into the open ocean



If your using Firefox then goto the TED website to watch the video

Flexible, full-color OLED

"On May 24, Sony unveiled what it is calling the world’s first flexible, full-color organic electroluminescent display (OLED) built on organic thin-film transistor (TFT) technology."

Battle at Kruger

Space Tornado -- Physicists Spot Interstellar Shock Wave Using Spitzer Telescope

"The spirals of a 'space tornado' may be the first step in the formation of a new star. The structure, observed with NASA's Spitzer infrared telescope, is a shock wave created by a jet of material slamming on a cloud of interstellar gas and dust at more than 100 miles per second, heating the cloud and causing it to glow. Physicists say the jet may have been generated by magnetic fields."

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

google earth: Principado de Mónaco


This weekend we have the Monaco Grand Prix and for anyone wanting to check out the local area and the route of the track in Google Earth download the KML file by APG from the Google Earth community (You will need to install Google Earth which is free and is part of the Google Pack). Originally posted in 2004 this is one of the first collections of placemarks that really took advantage of Google Earth to show related information of an area and was a real eye opener for me at the time.

See the post in the Spanish Google Earth blog which reminded me of this set of placemarks.

Panoramic 360 Movie


Over at map.movin360 the folks have created a panoramic video driving from Strecke Hauptbahnhof to Potsdamer Platz. The video is linked to Google maps so you can watch the progress and as it is a panoramic you can view any point of the journey from any angle. Go play, it's good...

The civil war in four minutes

ABC's virtual site 'griefed'

"ABC Island, the third-most-visited commercial site in the online game that has more than six million members globally, was found as a 'bombed, cratered mess' yesterday.

Craig Preston, head of technology for ABC innovation, said only the digital transmission tower was left standing on the island, which cost the ABC tens of thousands of dollars to create."

Maldives opens first virtual embassy on Second Life

"The Maldives Tuesday became the first country to open an embassy in the virtual reality of Web-based Second Life, a fantasy world inhabited by computer-generated residents, the Maldives mission to the United Nations in Geneva said.

The Maldives thus pips Sweden to the post; the Scandinavian country had hoped to be first off the block when it opens its own virtual embassy May 30."

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

New easy-to-use and safe NFC-enabled services from Elisa

"Elisa is the first operator in the Nordic and Baltic countries to test Near Field Communication technology (NFC technology) where a SIM card is used as a security platform. SIM card, provided by digital security leader Gemalto, enables safe transactions and payments, and makes it possible to transfer services from one telephone to another."

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Innovision's Topaz winner's choice at European NFC Competition

Topaz(R), designed and developed by British firm, Innovision Research & Technology, was used by the overall winner of Track B - 'Most Innovative NFC Proposal of the Year 2007', at the first European NFC Competition held last month as part of the NFC Developers Summit at the Wireless Information Multimedia Application (WIMA) 2007 event held in Monaco.

Topaz, mandated last year by the NFC Forum as the Type 1 Near Field Communication (NFC) tag, has proved to be a popular choice at the first European NFC Competition and was the tag of choice for the track B winners the 'Seeing Eye Phone', an innovative use of NFC by the Technical Research Centre of FInland, VTT.

MasterCard announces strong Q1 growth in APMEA

"Payments solutions provider MasterCard scored in Taiwan in the first quarter with the introduction of PayPass for mobile phones with near-field technology (NFC) - a first in Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa, the company said in its latest report."

RFID in Japan: SuiPo

NFC posters at JR Shinjuku Station


More info and pictures here

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

MNOs, Brands and Media Owners Wake up to Smart Posters


"Glue4 have launched a full personalised Smart Poster service, including handsets, deployment, operation and the analysis of user data, harnessing the untapped potential of mobile and outdoor marketing.

Fully interactive NFC smart posters include a range of advertising media tagged with the next generation of wireless technology. The chip passes information and services to viewers on demand, in this case through their NFC-enabled mobile phone. This could be mobile top-up, handset configuration or fault fixing. In addition, the information could be a link to any partner brand’s product details accessed through the mobile internet or a money-off voucher. Brands could also use the interaction to encourage viewers to vote, buy tickets, pass on information virally etc."

Video of Dr. Neil Garner talking about smart posters, token styles and how the market for innovative applications for RFID tags is just beginning.

Opera Mini - Introducing beta program for upcoming version

Opera Mini is a free mobile Web browser designed to bring the real Web to the world's mobile phones. The free Opera Mini mobile Web browser launched worldwide in January of 2006, and is available both as a free download from www.operamini.com as well as through pre-installments on selected handsets from leading operators and handset manufacturers such as T-Mobile and Nokia. As of April 30, 2007, 15 million people had downloaded and used Opera Mini to browse the Web.

Enhanced navigation is the next step in the evolution of mobile Web browsing. That's exactly what Opera's developers are exploring for the next version of Opera Mini. Opera Software invites everyone to sign up for testing the beta version of the upcoming Opera Mini. Please submit your email address here. Testers will be notified by email at a later stage and asked to submit their views of the Opera Mini beta via an online form.

Ten more years of technology

"Ten years ago there was a biometric ATM installed (in Swindon, my home town and the payment city of tomorrow). Ten years ago we had already started using credit cards on the Internet. Ten years ago we were already talking about mobile payments and the strength of the customer proposition around the GSM handset: many people thought that would be the next big thing, remember?"

Friday, May 11, 2007

Hybrid World Lab slides

"This week at the Hybrid World Lab at Mediamatic, Timo gave five presentations related to NFC, physical, tangible, social interactions and design methodology."

Designing between things, places and people (pdf)
Introduction to NFC phones (pdf)
Physical hyperlink technology (pdf)
Tangible and social media & Mobile social software (pdf)
Context, scenarios and prototyping (pdf)

Some more slides from the Hybrid World Lab by Nicolas Nova

High-Tech Solution Catches Old-School DVD Thieves

"Meanwhile, NXP, a leading promoter of near-field communication technology, is betting that RFID-enabled optical disks will boost NFC's penetration. Optical disks can use either high-frequency (13.56-MHz) or ultrahigh-frequency (915-MHz) RFID inlays. NFC technology taps short-range HF RFID tags. Reynaerts said consumers might one day use an NFC-capable mobile phone to purchase antitheft-enabled DVDs integrated with HF RFID inlays.

Under that scenario, he said, a consumer might receive a promotional pack of 10 DVD disks from a service provider and decide to watch only three of the films. The consumer would use an NFC-enabled mobile phone as a scanner to activate the selected disks and would return the rest."

MIIKOH Partners with TWINLINX to Create New Smart&Secure RFID Chip

"Smart&Secure RFID tags address the physical security issues inherent in RFID applications today,' said Jacek Kowalski, founder and CEO of TWINLINX. 'TWINLINX is committed to furthering the successful adoption of RFID across the market, which will require the use of tamper-indication to prevent product theft and counterfeiting."

European consortium created to foster NFC interoperability : Contactless News

"Europe is looking to get a head start on creating an NFC ecosystem, thanks to the recently announced creation of a new consortium with the unlikely acronym, StoLPaN."

UPEK Joins near Field Communications Forum

UPEK, Inc., the world’s leading brand of fingerprint authentication security solutions, today announced that it has joined the Near Field Communications (NFC) Forum, a non-profit industry association that promotes the use of NFC short-range wireless interaction in consumer electronics, mobile devices and PCs, as an associate member."

thisplacement : Bowl

"“Bowl” is a project looking on containers in the home as possible touchpoints for NFC-technology. The project investigates how specific objects and behaviors in the home can be utilized as interfaces for digital technology. It focuses on bowls, both as containers and as devices for sharing and presenting."

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Yahoo! Pipes Adds Geo Data Support

"Yahoo! Pipes, the graphical, web-based RSS re-mixer (Radar post), has significantly increased its geo support. They now provide a map output that plots your data on a Yahoo! supplied map. Pipes will also export geocontent in KML, which means that Pipes content can be used in Google Maps and in Google Earth. It also means that Pipes will start to appear in the increasingly important geoindex of Google."

3D City - Map View

One more from digital urban showing the detail of the 3D buildings in Virtual Earth

Brighton and Swindon Flythough



Movie clip of the first UK 3D cities in Microsoft's Virtual Earth. More info over at digital urban

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

First Ever Virtual Banking Licenses

A quick update, the identity of the owners of the virtual banks in Entropia are:

* Avatar Janus JD D'Arcwire, representing a real life bank
* Russian Internet Payment Provider MONETA.ru
* Entropia celebrity and famed virtual night club owner Jon NEVERDIE Jacobs
* Famous cross-world virtual celebrity and entrepreneur Anshe Chung
* The anonymous "Jolana Kitty Brice"

So it looks like a real bank (against all expectations) has joined the fray. Not sure why the secrecy though, time will tell.

The virtual Entropia Universe banks will work similarly to real world banks. Initially, they will be provided with secure systems enabling them to lend money to participants and collect interest, design and name their own virtual bank building(s), utilize the extensive advertising opportunities available, and make their own personnel available through avatars that can interact with and provide service to other avatars. In order to get the virtual banks operational, each winner must add $100,000 as operational capital. As the only virtual universe whose currency has a fixed exchange rate with the US Dollar, Entropia Universe is providing a means for interested investors to be proactively involved with a real economy on a financial and creative front. The funds acquired in Entropia Universe can easily be withdrawn into real life cash.

With over 580,000 registered accounts, Entropia Universe had a 2006 turnover of over 360 million dollars. MindArk PE AB's Business Development Director David Simmonds enthused, "We are thrilled to welcome these five new partners to Entropia Universe. As we continue to set records in the virtual realm, the next two years will be a prosperous, successful time for all parties involved." MindArk CIO Marco Behrmann continues, "This further proves the Entropia concept of having a secure, reliable, and stable economic environment for doing business. The five banks will have integrated services within the mechanics of Entropia Universe and will not just be virtual advertising spots." More information about the virtual banking licenses is available here.


About the Winners

MONETA.RU is an Internet payment provider that was established in Russia in 2005. The website of the company is www.moneta.ru. The company's main goal is providing the most secure and comfortable online payments for its customers -- merchants and online shoppers -- on the Russian and CIS market. At the moment MONETA.RU is experiencing a rapid development due to being a payment gateway that aggregates all the most popular payment systems and solutions available on the Russian market and therefore providing the most powerful payment tool for merchants. Online shoppers use MONETA.RU as an e-wallet and enjoy the most complete list of available deposit and withdrawal options. All transactions are processed with the maximum speed and comfort, and are protected by the cutting-edge security system of MONETA.RU. The company's development strategy lies in orientation of partnerships with foreign companies. MONETA.RU is the first and only Russian processor of online payments which was purposely founded to assist overseas companies with entering the Russian and CIS market and sharing its enormous potential.

Bank NEVERDIE, The Gamers' Bank™, is one of the first financial institutions to exist entirely and only in Virtual Reality. Founded in Entropia Universe, Bank NEVERDIE is operated by famous gamer Jon "NEVERDIE" Jacobs, expanding upon a diverse virtual entertainment brand that includes the Club NEVERDIE asteroid space resort, shopping mall and nightclub, the NEVERDIE Mega Championship stadium, a virtual arena for sporting events and live concerts (currently under construction), Phasm Forest and Kingfisher Beach. In addition, Jon "NEVERDIE" Jacobs is involved in the "MMOWC" Massive Multiplayer Online World Championships, an annual global event to find the Best Online Gamer in the World, and the VWAwards: The Virtual World Awards, a virtual red carpet event that honors creativity across all platforms in virtual reality, and www.RealityPort.com, a web based portal into virtual reality.

Since 2004, the Anshe Chung Studios (ACS) has been the global leader in virtual real estate development on open virtual world platforms. Originally founded by Anshe Chung as an entirely virtual business in Second Life, it has evolved into a real company with more than 60 full-time employees turning over millions of dollars per year with virtual real estate, content development and virtual financial services. In 2007, ACS received high profile venture capital investment and has begun to branch out into additional virtual worlds. Besides thousands of virtual world residents and pioneers, ACS features key clients such as Fortune 100 companies, churches and governments, whose entry into virtual territory has been designed and developed by ACS.

About Entropia Universe

The heart of Entropia Universe is a distant planet named Calypso, which encompasses two continents with animal-filled wildernesses and large expanding cities that offer a variety of entertainment and social interaction for its participants. In Entropia, participants can create their own persona, or avatar, via a character generation system, and then have the option of choosing a suitable life and virtual existence for their avatar. Characters are able to enter the evolving worlds of Entropia Universe, which are full of unexplored and uncultivated lands. Participants can join a community or even create a civilization of their own. Entropia offers a new avenue for individuals to pursue dreams, fantasies, and adventures in an astoundingly 'real' virtual universe.

In December 2004, Entropia Universe set a world record, certified by the Guinness Book of World Records, when it sold a virtual Treasure Island for $26,500 USD as the largest virtual dollar amount spent, to 22-year old Australian David Storey, a.k.a. "Deathifier." In October 2005, the sale of an asteroid based space resort for $100,000 USD to famed gamer, Jon 'NEVERDIE' Jacobs, set a new record for the most valuable virtual item.

Entropia Universe is a registered trademark of MindArk PE AB. MindArk supports and monitors the services and maintenance of the Entropia Universe site. MindArk began in April of 2003 in Sweden, and has expanded to have partners throughout the world. Entropia Universe was launched in 2003 and has reached over 580,000 registered accounts. MindArk offers the Entropia Universe software to users free of charge with no monthly costs or associated subscription fees. For more information or to download the free Entropia Universe software please visit www.entropiauniverse.com. For more information about Entropia Universe's developer, MindArk, please visit www.mindark.com.

Monday, May 07, 2007

RFID's "Lack of Maturity" a Good Thing

"One interesting concept, demonstrated by RFind, was a new approach to RTLS. Rather than having tags periodically report their position to readers spaced at regular intervals, a tag entering the area would communicate with other tags (embedded in the ground and on other objects) to determine its relative position. The 'new' tag would then broadcast its location data to a single access point then shut down until its location changed. "

Read more RFID Connections

A graphic language for RFID

"RFID is being used for an increasing number of interactions with everyday infrastructures. From travelcards, keyless entry, passports and micropayments to content downloads, smart posters and digital wallets on mobile phones. Attempts have been made to represent these interactions graphically from isolated groups in academic, commercial or technical contexts. No clear or definite language has emerged."

Contactless infastructure is enabling rapid adobtion of NFC

"Frost & Sullivan research suggests that one third of all mobile phones will be NFC-equipped in a span of three to five years and 2008 will be the tipping point as far as commercially viable volumes are concerned. Certain uses of NFC will only make sense if there is adequate infrastructure, that is, enough NFC-enabled phones and NFC forum-compliant devices to support it according to the report."

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Power station harnesses Sun's rays

"A concrete tower - 40 storeys high - stood bathed in intense white light, a totally bizarre image in the depths of the Andalusian countryside.

The tower looked like it was being hosed with giant sprays of water or was somehow being squirted with jets of pale gas. I had trouble working it out.

In fact, as we found out when we got closer, the rays of sunlight reflected by a field of 600 huge mirrors are so intense they illuminate the water vapour and dust hanging in the air."

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Virtual bank sells for $99,900

Over in Entropia today 5 licences being auctioned for the world's first virtual banks expired with the highest bid at $99,900 going to a currently unknown avatar Yuri.

Jon NEVERDIE Jacobs who paid $100,000 for a Virtual Space Resort built upon an Asteroid with a nightclub, multiple hunting areas, a stadium, and a 1000-room hotel was one of the winners of the auction and provided live streaming of the auction from his virtual nightclub. (Once the bidding was over he cued up Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd and Money's to Tight to Mention by Simply Red)

Another winner was Baroness Anshe Chung who maybe is the same as the first virtual world millionaire in Second Life.

All told the five licences fetched $403,961:

Bank 1 - 999,000 ped Yuri iNTellect Efremov - $99,900.00
Bank 2 - 950,001 ped Jolana Kitty Brice - $95,000.10
Bank 3 - 900,002 ped Jon NEVERDIE Jacobs - $90,000.20
Bank 4 - 590,608 ped Janus JD D'Arcwire - $59,060.80
Bank 5 - 600,000 ped Baroness Anshe Chung - $60,000.00

Phones are better than cards

"As a mechanism for retail payment, mobile phones have it over plastic cards: a card is merely a receptacle for the consumer's data, whereas a phone can initiate a payment or accept on, can act as a channel for the customer and can manage payment-related data."

Demonstration of NFC from Master Card on Flickr

Link to photos

Zigbee Vs NFC

Zigbee is giving NFC a run for it's money

ZigBee mobile devices include mobile telephones and personal digital assistants with embedded ZigBee technology or using a ZigBee SIM card. These devices act as a mobile terminal and/or as a sensor control device anywhere there is a ZigBee network or ZigBee
access point. Potential applications currently in development include:

* Secure Mobile Payments: Mobile users pay for goods and services by waving handset in front of scanner and entering a pin number

* Information Delivery: Users receive news, downloads, (messages, ring tones, images, etc.), advertisements from network operators or localized information such as weather, traffic updates and movie show times based on their current location or neighborhood

* Health Care Monitoring: Continuously monitored health data is recorded on a handset and transmitted to the patient's doctor. In an emergency situation, such as the absence of patient response or alarming vital signs, the mobile device can be programmed to immediately alert emergency services

* Peer-to-Peer Small Data Sharing: Small files such as ring tones, images, address book contacts and other information provided by telecom operators is shared easily between two ZigBee-enabled mobile devices


Download the full press release: Zigbee Alliance Members Connect With Telecom Market (pdf)

First Data makes strategic investment in NFC outfit Vivotech

"First Data has led a series C funding round in US contactless payments outfit Vivotech.

The scale of the funding was undisclosed. First Data has also committed to use Vivotech's Near Field Communication (NFC) terminals, wallets and over-the-air provisioning for mobile commerce."

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Rare - and oh so beautiful - F1 car comes up for sale


"The first ever Lotus 72 Grand Prix car, as campaigned by both John Miles (Team Lotus) and double World Champion Graham Hill (Rob Walker Racing) in the 1970 season, has been consigned by H&H Sales for its July 25 sale at Kempton Park Racecourse."

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

MyMap results in Google Earth


While playing around with Google Earth doing some research for a new blog on Google Earth in Spanish I found that the Google MyMap results are now being displayed in Google Earth.

As you may recall you can create your own set of placemarks in Google Maps using the MyMaps feature.



The default name for a new set of placemarks in MyMaps is My Saved Places, so a start is a quick search for that plus a location in Google Earth which should return a few results to play with.

Next you need to scroll down the results, past the spam and get to the web results.



Choosing one of the results shows the placemark on the map. Note the address points back to the MyMap URL.



Clicking on the link in the placemarks info bubble pulls the whole placemark collection into Google Earth and puts them in My Places|Temporary Places.

You can now view the whole collection in Google Earth. Very neat.

Retail Locations Using RFID Technology in Dressing Rooms

Retail Locations Using Automated RFID Technology to Close the Sale by Providing Product Information to Customers in Dressing Rooms:

"Other notable areas reported include the use of smart shelves; Hot Spots and kiosks; RFID handhelds used by store associates; dressing rooms outfitted with RFID readers; and self-checkout. Pilots by retailers are on the increase, with other consumer-oriented industries implementing, such as museums, sports facilities (e.g. ski resorts, golf courses, etc.), and sporting events operators."

near future of mobility

"Are you not designing lots of new things that will just add to our information overload?
The NFC/touch based interaction issue is attempting to reduce our reliance on visual information overload. We are currently in the middle of a bleeping, distracting, attention seeking device-era, and I’m quite hopeful that in the near future our devices will become less noisy and more respectful of our time and peace."

Monday, April 30, 2007

Integrate the GPS into a Tiny Sim Card

"Start-up company BlueSky Positioning is set to help mobile operators meet new European Union emergency call legislation, and could also help realise the promise of location-based services (LBS) across the wireless industry. Launching today, BlueSky Positioning new approach incorporates a highly accurate GPS receiver and proprietary antenna into the SIM card."

Following publication of a significantly strengthened EU directive, expected later this year, EU member countries will have just 18 months to implement a law requiring operators to identify the precise location of callers to the E-112 emergency services, potentially to an accuracy level of just a few metres.

Enabling high-accuracy location technology could be an enormous challenge for operators - there are 500 million mobile phone users in the EU. To comply with this legislation would mean a massive handset upgrade programme – a hugely expensive and complicated task.

BlueSky Positioning has developed patent-pending technology and processes to embed Assisted Global Positioning System (A-GPS) capability in the SIM card (USIM in the case of 3G handsets), with minimal impact on signal strength and battery life. This means that operators need only replace the SIM cards, not the phones themselves – a far more manageable solution.

Barclays targets taxis with wave-and-pay tech

"Barclays and Computer Cab have teamed up to develop a near field communication payments system for taxis, where passengers can pay for a fare by pressing their NFC-equipped credit or debit card against a reader, in the same way many Londoners pay for fares with an Oyster card."

Winners of the first European NFC competition

"The NFC Forum, a non-profit industry association that advances the use of Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, and the SmartTouch project, have announced the winners of “Touching the Future,” the first European NFC competition."

Previous articles:
Point In Time has been accepted for presentation
WIMA 2007 NFC Competition Finalists Announcement

Prague or Berlin ? Behind the scenes of the SIM industry

"Undoubtedly, the NFC-related hype that surrounds the SIM industry has a long way to go, given that it will take another five years for NFC-enabled handsets to reach critical mass. Perhaps it’s wiser to reflect on the many uses that the SIM can be put to, utilising not tomorrow’s, but today’s technology, such as T-Mobile’s use of the SIM for m-banking applications supported by 80% of banks in the Czech Republic."

Paying by mobile, that’ll do nicely

Not satisfied with replacing your landline, MP3 player, camera and alarm clock, mobile phone manufacturers have now set their sights on supplanting your wallet. Their new generation of phones will link to your credit or debit account as part of a joint initiative with phone operators, banks and credit card companies. They predict this one-swipe payment technology will potentially replace cards and cash and make it possible to go shopping armed only with a mobile phone.

Spain's collection agents practice public humiliation


"In fact, the success of the Cobrador del Frac has spawned a slew of rival companies: Town Criers, Buddhas, and even Pink Panthers.

The Monastery of Collection is one of them. Of its 28 employees, four regularly dress as 16th-century monks, though in special situations – such as a recent collection against the municipal government of Madrid for failure to pay its cleaning services – the company will send out extra monks."

Sunday, April 29, 2007

KDDI to Offer Hitachi Mobile Phone with Fingerprint Sensor


"Hitachi's new 'win' series phone, the W51H, will integrate AuthenTec's AES1510 fingerprint sensor as a standard feature.

Additionally the sensor enables secure and convenient near field communication (NFC) transactions used for mobile ticketing and check in, stored value, mobile credit, and Internet commerce payments."

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Mouse brain simulated on computer

"US researchers have simulated half a virtual mouse brain on a supercomputer

The vast complexity of the simulation meant that it was only run for ten seconds at a speed ten times slower than real life - the equivalent of one second in a real mouse brain.

The researchers say that although the simulation shared some similarities with a mouse's mental make-up in terms of nerves and connections it lacked the structures seen in real mice brains."

Not quite there yet then

Virtual Gun Sells for $7,501 Dollars

"It seems that a heated bidding war broke out during the auction for the Improved M2870. Sixty-six bids were placed on this handgun with the top bidder being Da. His winning bid was $7,501.00 dollars or 75001 PEDs (Project Entropia Dollars.)"

Friday, April 27, 2007

Momentum builds around GSMA’s pay-buy mobile project

Nokia, the world’s largest mobile phone maker, and a further 10 mobile operators have thrown their weight behind a GSM Association initiative to enable the worldwide use of mobile phones for payments at retail outlets.

KPN, Maxis Communications Bhd, mobilkom austria, O2, Orange, SFR, SingTel, SKT, Vodafone and Wind have joined the 14 mobile operators* that initiated the project in February. The handset vendors in the programme include Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics, which both plan to participate in the first trials scheduled to begin in October.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Astronomers may have found the first Earth 2

"For the first time, astronomers have spotted a cosy alien planet that might be hospitable to life. The planet is not much bigger than the Earth, and it enjoys balmy temperatures of about 20 C (68 F) as well as spectacular scarlet sunsets.

'It's the smallest, lightest planet known at this time,' says Stéphane Udry from the Geneva Observatory in Switzerland. 'And it's just at the right distance from its star for liquid water to possibly exist on its surface.'"

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Welcome joins Near Field Communication Forum

"Welcome, leader in card marketing at the moment of payment , announced today that it has joined the Near Field Communication (NFC) Forum, a non-profit industry association advancing the use of NFC technology, as an Associate member."

Mobile phone ticketing enters new phase

"Working closely with project partners YourRail, Cubic Transportation Systems, Mobiqa and ts.com, Chiltern Railways is the first rail company in the UK to offer barcodes on mobile phones as an alternative to paper tickets."

JupiterResearch Finds Limited Consumer Interest in Mobile Banking

JupiterResearch has found that despite renewed efforts on the part of financial institutions, overall interest in mobile banking services is limited. Just eight percent of online consumers who own a cell phone are interested in using mobile browsing to check account balances.


And to be honest I'm not surprised, why would anyone need to check their bank balance by mobile phone. Of course there is a big push here from the financial institutes to scrap ATMs.

Plans for SIM Storage in NFC Handsets

"Vodafone and the smart card manufacturer, Giesecke & Devrient (G&D) have announced that they plan to jointly develop a secure storage element for NFC-enabled mobile phones. This element, intended for trusted applications in NFC mobile devices, is the SIM card, with Vodafone and G&D driving the necessary standardization forward."

NFC in the real world - Moving to System on Chip Integration

"According to Innovision Research & Technology, creators of Topaz for NFC, the most effective way to integrate NFC into mass-market electronics devices is through System on Chip (SoC) implementation in other common chipsets, for instance Bluetooth, WiFi and Ultra Wide Band."

Universal Envelope Identifier - "Smart Stamp" Technology Converges Internet and Mobile Phones with U.S. Postal Mail

"The Append microchip-based 'Smart Stamp' system links supplemental text, audio and video files to envelopes. Elliot Klein of Intellareturn Corp. declared this will one day 'transform how we utilize envelopes and the postal mail.' The Smart Stamp service can be sold as a book of self-adhesive labels or pre-manufactured into envelopes, taking envelope manufacturers into the wireless ecosystem with new business models to store, control and deliver rich-media content.

Using Near-Field Communication Technology ('NFC') and printed conductive ink antennas combined with mobile phones and other wireless reader devices, Append services bring a new intelligent mail 'Smart Stamp'service into the mailstream for adding supplemental text, pictures, audio and video to sent postal mail."

More haste, less speed

"As predicted the much vaunted aero upgrade promised by Nick Fry for Malaysia did not produce the miracle Honda clearly hoped for, and this was seen again in Bahrain where both cars performed dismally, a downward spiral of performance, eco marketing and driver morale."

Monday, April 23, 2007

We don't need no stinking NFC phones

"One can easily envisage a near future in which citizens are given a boring old-fashioned dreary plastic ID card by the state but have the option of downloading same into their phone for a few euros if they want to transact online."

Developing Practical Wireless Applications

It seems somewhat paradoxical that we feel obligated to create a new wireless product that will simplify our experience in some part of our business or private life. With a new wireless technology in mind we dutifully begin brainstorming to determine what we will ultimately create. On occasions the direction we take seems to be mired as we quandary over the value added proposition for the consumer. What benefit will it really bring? And, why ultimately should the consumer pick it up from the shelf and place it onto the counter ready for purchase?

A sense of practicality needs to be injected into the whole ‘making wireless products’ process as we choose to drive the future of wireless development forward. In that respect, Developing Practical Wireless Applications will guide the most eager of developer, the most fervent of business analyst, the most enthusiastic product planner and the most politically focused manager through choices in respect of which wireless technology to use. Ultimately, this book will guide you through each technology with an aim to enable you to make an educated choice regarding your would-be wireless product.

Furthermore, you will glean from the subsequent chapters a detailed breakdown of each technology. In some places you will find exposure, right down to the deepest of layers, enabling engineers to understand the inner workings of each technology, whilst intermediate readers will enjoy an understanding of the peripheral discussion surrounding a technology.


From free e-book: Developing Practical Wireless Applications

TouchPro

Over at eyeka someone called smo has uploaded various video presentations on NFC applications. TouchPro shows how the key holder industry is going to be changed by NFC.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

thesystemis




Drawn - an installation for hands and ink, zachary lieberman (2006)

Inside Contactless teams with Mobile Distillery for NFC development

"Inside Contactless, a leading provider of advanced, open standard contactless chip technologies, and leader in NFC technology, announced its partnership with Mobile Distillery, a specialist java mobile porting software company, to develop an interoperable Java ME solution for NFC developers."

London Contactless Launch: Where Are The Merchants?

"According to a Card Technology article (see “London Contactless Launch: Where Are The Merchants?”), no UK merchants have yet announced their intention to accept contactless cards, even though the planned launch is only six months away."

Why are merchants not on board yet?