Jan 31, 2011

Kindle 3G - First impressions

Finally, after months of waiting, I have the Kindle 3G in my hands. And it has been well worth the wait.

The screen is a pleasure to read from, coming almost close to a printed book in terms of resolution and sharpness. Having read an e-book for more than an hour in a sitting, I came out of it without a headache or eyestrain. The Kindle truly delivers on Amazon's promise that within a few page turns (virtual, of course), you will disappear into the book. I know I did.

The experimental web browser is just that, experimental. The pages take some time to load, but it helps if images are turned of and you are reading the mobile version of the page. But then again, I didn't buy it for browsing the web, and it is more than a nice-to-have.

I only wish that Amazon brings down the Kindle book prices than their physical copies, still can't see the rationale of a digital copy costing as much as the real thing. However, if you are a bibliophile and can't have enough of the printed word, the Kindle is the best gift you could buy yourself.

Jun 26, 2009

Sixth Sense - Virtual information, real world

Augmented reality finally seems to be coming to the real world. In an amazing demonstration of the possibilities, Pranav Mistry and Patti Maes of MIT Media Lab show how simple off-the-shelf components can be put together to make your own wearable gestural interface.

Called Sixth Sense, the device consists of a camera, a pocket projector with mirror and a mobile phone. The phone remains in the user's pocket, and uses visual input from the camera and the projector acts as the monitor. It can be programmed to recognise hand gestures and virtually any surface can be used as a screen.

With these basics in place, Sixth Sense can seamlessly plug in information from the virtual world to the real world. For example, a person browsing through a new bestseller at a bookstore can project Amazon ratings and reader reviews right onto the book and make instant decisions on whether to buy the book or not. You can check your flight timings by just holding the ticket in front of the camera. The system will scan the ticket and retrieve the current status from the Web, through the mobile phone's data connection.

An extremely interesting application of ubiquitous technologies, Sixth Sense has amazing potential to change how we see and interact with the world around us. By supplementing the real world with meta information and an easy-to-use interface, this is one technology that really lives up to its name. [Sixth Sense demo]

Jan 5, 2009

Change is good

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” - Charles Darwin

Some people hate change. They just can't let go of the familiar and even bother to try and learn something new. Evolution takes care of them.

ZDNet's Ed Bott gives a good example of change in the technology world. In his Microsoft Report blog, he recounts how his colleague gripes about the user interface changes in Windows 7, the latest version of the operating system, which is still in development. As Bott himself notes, you can't please everyone. But to all those people who keep on complaining about how they have to keep up with the changes in software or hardware or everytime their favourite website has a new design, just remember Darwin.