Tag Archives: electronic communications

Driving directions

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Yes, these are ads. And not even new ads, but they are new to me. The first reminds me of an overly prescriptive, talkative GPS unit:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ljFfL-mL70

and this one reminds me of times when the GPS unit gets confused and says, essentially, “I give up; you are on your own;”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdcJVuylmsM

But GPS-enabled talking directions, while interesting, have limits. Not so with GPS-enabled written directions. Say you want to travel from Seattle, Washington, to Yokosuka, Japan. One of my coworkers pointed out that this can be very entertaining. Here is Google’s suggestion:

wpid-seattleyokosuka1-2011-09-1-22-00.png

Seems pretty reasonable except — why is it 34 days? Travel down Washington 99 N to — what? Kayak across the Pacific to Hawaii?

So once in Hawaii we travel across Oahu and continue to the shore,

wpid-seattleyokosuka2-2011-09-1-22-00.png

and then do some more kayaking before emerging in Japan near Choshi, and take various highways, tollways and such,

wpid-seattleyokosuka3-2011-09-1-22-00.png

and at Step 52 we reach Route 16, the main highway for the Miura peninsula. It all makes sense.

Except, maybe, for the kayaking.

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Posting via MacJournal

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MacJournal is an inexpensive application that allows you to blog — or create a local journal on your Mac, or both — using a full, native Mac application. There are also iPhone and iPad versions, but we’ll ignore them and stick with…

The Mac version of MacJournal allows you to write text, incorporate graphics, sounds, links, and other things.

We’re going to start off small with some links:

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=39.101672,+-76.654406

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=33.105775,+-117.313155

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=33.100213,+-116.999352

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=33.100239,+-116.999414

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=32.708186,+-117.164559

which may — or may not — be as meaningful as any other links. If this works, we may venture on to more robust fare.

Such as: useful graphs. Or at least a useful graph:

wpid-wpid-ymca-2010-07-29-22-131-2010-07-29-22-13.jpeg

It suggests a whole new kind of hobby: electronic scrapbooking.

[Added later] By the way, most of this blog was created with MacJournal and then uploaded, via MacJournal, to WordPress.

Time traveling communications

A Web log (blog) is a form of time-shifted information. In our busy modern world, we are too busy to attend concerts, so we have iPods. We are too busy to listen to the phone, so have answering machines. We are too busy to watch TV, so have video recorders.

Most of these time shifts are scheduling issues. A hundred years ago, if you wanted to talk to Farmer Jack up the road, you walked up the road. Chances are, Farmer Jack was there and you could talk to him. Where else would he be? Going into town was an event, it took planning (horse had to be fed, saddled, shoes checked, etc., or the buggy had to be readied, horse harnessed, etc.) You had to have a reason. “Joy riding” wasn’t an issue since riding wasn’t that much of a joy; you had to have a reason to leave home, and most people worked within a few hundred feet of their home — or closer.

But today we work an average of 45 minutes from home. We are gone from home for ten hours a day or more. There is an excellent chance someone stopping by our home to chat will be met with a locked door and silent house. If they call on the telephone, they will usually be answered by an answering machine, not a person. If a sporting event is scheduled at a good time for people on the East Coast, it is probably a bad time for people on the West Coast.

Time-shifting devices help. Watch the Lakers-Celtics game “live” via a device that records the event to hard disk, then allows you to play it at your leisure. Listen to phone calls at your convenience, not that of the caller. Read your E-mail at your convenience, not that of the sender.

Web logs are another time-shifted medium. Much like a newspaper (which is not “news” by the time it is in print; many of the events documented are days old, and in some cases weeks old), a Web log can be read at your convenience. You can read it an hour after a posting. Or a week. Or a month. Or a year. Unlike a newspaper, a Web log can have longevity; a posting might be up for days or weeks or months or years, while a newspaper’s life is a short one.

While this suggests Web logs have certain timeless features, they are also severely limited. They require a level of technology far more sophisticated than that needed to produce a book or a newspaper. You need computers for hosting, computers for viewing, electrical plants to power all this, and a massive, horrendously complex telecommunications network to support everything.

More limiting yet: topics. The average Web blog — and there are hundreds of millions of them — has just one entry. The first.