In my home I now have a "home computer", for a while in the kitchen, now in the living room. Of course I have had computers in my home since the 70s, but this one is different. It's an old cheap laptop I picked up, not powerful at all. What's different is how I use it.
I recently read it costs about $150,000 to put in traffic lights here in California. That's a heavy duty pole, the lights, the power, the connection to other lights and the vehicle sensors. Seems to me modern technology should be able to make that a lot cheaper. New lights are all LED (the energy savings pay for themselves quickly) but that should also mean smaller safer power lines with special digging under the road. (Wonder if they could do it with light pipes and have no electricity up there.)
We're not there yet, but let me write my notes about what future digital cameras might do to help us organize our huge collections of photos:
- GPS and compass in the camera knows where it is, and where it was pointing. Thus, if standing on the south rim of Grand Canyon and pointing north, probably a picture of the Grand Canyon. Organize your photos on a map.
- Record audio said while taking photo if special button pressed. Later, upload audio to PC where it's able to do speaker-dependent speech to text at its leisure to caption the photos.
- Face recognition. No, I'm not kidding. While this is Big Brother technology, and not very useful in airports, one thing it can do is try to find similar faces. So once you tag your mother, it will be able to search your photo collection for other shots with your mother. This is much easier than trying to take a random person and see if they are on the FBI wanted list.
For some time I have been musing over the design of an ideal home A/V system using digital technology. Sadly it's not coming, in part because it's illegal under the new Broadcast Flag rules.
To read my design of this system, and the musings of the legality of it and why that presents a problem, see a draft on an Ideal A/V digital system
Transit idea #2. Air travel is getting to be like hell, with searches and the need to get there so far in advance of the flight to be sure you will get through security that it cancels much of the benefit, turning 40 minute flights into 3 hour ordeals. High Speed train advocates point out the downtown-to-downtime time of the train on routes of 300-500km beats or is competitive with the plane, and it's true.
There is much talk of Location Based Services and geographical annotation these days. We either see scary LBS (network tracks you all the time, sends you Latte coupon when you walk near Starbucks) or query based services -- "based on where I am, where's the nearest good place to eat?" That's something Vindigo does without nearing a GPS, and does it fairly well.
I've been wondering about proactive location based services and annotations that work for you and protect your privacy.