WWDC 2007

WWDC logo © Apple

In a few hours, I’m off to the Apple World Wide Developers Conference in San Francisco. A whole week of unlimited Mac fun, learning, meetups, sessions, labs, meeting people and seeing San Francisco for the first time. If you’re there and would like to meet, call me. Or use the contact form. Or the comments below. I’m brilliantdays at AIM, oyvindsolstad at Skype and sol24 at Yahoo.

I’m especially interested in Mac apps for productivity and digital creation (video, graphics, sound). I will be posting about everything here at brilliantdays, in English. And at NRKbeta in Norwegian. Also, I’ll be twittering if you’re into that. Finally, here’s my Facebook badge:

WWDC links

Here are some useful links if you’re off to WWDC.

Apple’s official WWDC site
Attendee WWDC login
Moscone Center website
Moscone West floor plans
Moscone West on Google Maps (street view)

Wikipedia entries for GPS

Today I saw this: Geocoordinates from Wikipedia for Google Earth. It has coordinates for Google Earth for 52 175 English Wikipedia entries. So when you tarvel around in Google Earth, you get lots of clickable entries from Wikipedia. Very useful!

Which reminded me of something I thought about this summer while driving around Norway with my family. Our TomTom ONE told us exactly where to go at all times, with great precision. My partner is an excellent map reader, but with the GPS onboard she could enjoy the scenery and the summer.

Every time we approached a turn, the GPS told us which way to go.

Now, what if it could tell us about the places we approched? What if it worked like this: For every geographical place in Wikipedia, there was a condensed text-version, that took – let’s say 30 seconds to read. When you’re planning a route, your GPS searches Wikipedia for entries that are along the route, and downloads these condensed versions to the unit. Either if connected to a computer before going, or via a mobile phone when driving. A text-to-speech unit in the GPS unit then reads up these texts, like if a guide was sitting there next to you. Or, if bandwidth weren’t an issue, Wikipedia hosts 30-second mp3s with this information.

Would this be possible? Of course. Maybe not today, or next month. But as GPS-units get better processors and if Wikipedia adds the right tags, it would be very easy to do.

Write in your books

Kottke links to a new series from Moleskine: City guide books with lots of blank pages for your notes, adresses, stories and drawings. Great idea!

Moleskine City Guides

I wish more books came with blank pages. More space for notes. Books like “Blink” and “Freakonomics” – books that triggers tons of ideas as I read them.

Maybe Moleskine could do some research: Which books would be popular with their biggest fans? Wouldn’t it be cool to have “Blink” with the Moleskine black binding, and lots of extra blank pages? Two extra blank pages after each big idea. Six extra pages after each chapter. And tabs included to mark those special pages. I would buy it. All my books are full of notes and drawings. Books are to be used.

Japan #3: Did J. K. Rowling visit Kyoto?

I visited Kyoto, Japan lately. We walked the “The Philosopher’s Trail” in Kyoto, a walk next to the river in Kyoto, with lovely Sakura hanging over you.

Philosophers path.

A bit down the trail we found these rocks dressed with pieces of cotton:

Stones with clothes.

So my daughter (for whom I have read the six Harry Potter books twice each, and number two three times) says:

“Hey look dad, they are wearing pillows just like Dobby!”

Dobby shows up in the second Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

And the first Harry Potter book is called Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (the original title)….

Just a thought…!

Adding GPS data to your photos

Eirik blogs about a trip to France where he stored GPS points everytime he took a photo. Back home he merged the GPS information with the photos, and made an interactive map of the trip. Nice!

Now, what if there was an easy way to do what Eirik has done?

EXIF to the rescue
As you may know, EXIF is the standard used to store camera data in every digital photo. EXIF makes it possible for programs like iPhoto to tell you that this picture was taken April 2nd, 2005, with a Canon Powershot S50, aperture 5.6 and so on. The EXIF standard has a tag for GPS data, and there’s even a proposal to make a more “human” location data tag in EXIF, like “At Aunt Mary’s cabin, Nordfjord, Norway”.

Superb camera site dpreview has a good page about EXIF. Sites like Flickr reads the EXIF data, and displays it when you look at pictures, like this one I took last year. Flickr will display the correct date I took the picture, even if I didn’t upload it until later.

Tunnel art

Jeffrey Early has made a Mac OSX application that let’s you put GPS data in pictures EXIF data. Add a comment if you know any Windows or Linux programs that does the same. Jeffrey writes that “Apple has confirmed that MacOS 10.4 will support the GPS metadata tags in photos. This will open up a whole realm of opportunities for users and developers to take advantage of the position data on photos.” Excellent! I couldn’t find on the 200+ New features page for Tiger at Apple, but it’s probably there.

Jeffrey also made a photo album with maps, to show an example how to combine photos and GPS data.

A GPS in every camera and cameraphone
In a few years, most cameras and cameraphones could have small GPS units inside, that stores the exact location every picture is taken. But already now Flickr should add maps, especially now that Yahoo has bought Flickr. So when I add GPS data to my pictures before uploading them to Flickr, I could have a small map next to the picture. Clicking this will list every other picture at Flickr taken at the same spot, or within 50 meters, 500 meters, 5 kms etc.

I blogged yesterday about Gary Turner’s GPS/Flickr/Mobile wish. With Yahoo and all the data already in Yahoo maps, and GPS already in the EXIF standard, why wait until 2015? Why not this friday?

Just a little wish to Yahoo maps and Google maps all others making übercool maps on the web: The world. Not just the US. Every street in Europe, Asia and Australia is already in a database somewhere. I want to make my own “Google sightseeing” of the neighbourhood.

Update As of 1st of August 2006, Sony has launched cameras with a GPS unity connected to them. More about it here.

Get the best seats – always

Always have Seatguru open in a tab or window when you book your seats on a flight. Excellent site with pictures of seats on most major airlines. It lists which seats that have power, more space for your legs etc.