Augmented Reality on a whole new level

Some people (actually, a lot of people) are really hooked up to First Person Shooters. I tried a few of them, even finished Call of Duty. But the real kicker is the Multiplayer mode where you can join online battles with online friends who you might, or might not know. FPS is no doubt one of the most popular genres played.

Trouble is that you just sit behind your computer, pretty passive. While for some guys sitting behind the computer is their way of life, most of us need some exercise so now and then, just to stay fit. But what about that addiction to frag your opponent while outside? Well, enter the world of Gunman.

Gunman is also a FPS but with their new iPhone app they took it outside, in the real world. Using augmented reality you can hunt your enemies in the streets and virtually blow each other’s head off. Choose your game, wear a colored T-shirt and hunting season is open.

Check out this video, their website and on iTunes (direct link to iTunes)

Where is the tablet?

Since a few months I see a distinct increase in web exposure of the so-called ‘tablet concept’: a thin, 9 inch in diameter computerlike device without keyboard, intended to be used as a replacement of reading books and magazines, and allegedly competing against the ever popular Netbooks. There is an increasing number of eBooks or eReaders introduced in the market and the buzz about Apple developing such device is heating up day by day. But what is this ‘tablet’, and how does it compare to the current portfolio of eReaders such as the Kindle?

I believe that a successful ‘next generation eReader’ (i.e. tablets/MediaPads or whatever it will be called) will be characterized by the following features:

  • Rich media experience. Thus inclusion of video, audio, pictures
  • Flat, no buttons. Have you ever seen a magazine with buttons?
  • Always connected. People want to subscribe to newspapers and get the latest news instantly.
  • Touch based. A lot of gestures to be learned
  • Disruptive for the printing industry. There we go again. First the music, now printing

If there is a party that can pull this off it might be Apple. Sources say that the device was finished but got stuck on negotiations with the service provider for the wireless connection. Rumour has it that Apple will introduce the device somewhere in the first half of next year.

What would be the business benefit for such a device? Will this be a step closer to a paperless office. I guess that all depends on the functionality and price of such a device. After all, in a business environment the tablet will compete more or less with a laptop or desktop computer (since most people are staring at their screen 6 hours a day anyway). For mobile workers or sales representatives however, this may be a dream come true. Imagine going to a customer and show your newest product in the tablet. No printed cheesy brochures, always up to date and immersed in rich media. And what about conferences? In pharma many conferences are organized for the Health Care Professional. It is known that Big Pharma spends big on these conferences, so why not invest in a tablet to include when participating at the congress? Put all clinical data on it, conference program, information about the venue, etcetera. And since they have the device anyway, why not let them subscribe to your valuable Clinical Data Channel, so that the newest data is pushed to the HCP automatically?

So many possibilities. Or am I too much in overdrive here…? Don’t think so. Have a look at the following video and just amaze yourself where the future is going.

Have you already donated to Wikipedia?

Wikipedia. Who doesn’t use it? The online encyclopedia with more than 750,000 articles is visited by 340 million people monthly. “That’s one-third of all people on the Internet”, says Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia in his personal appeal to the internet community. “Wikipedia is the fourth most visited website and yet we only run it with 35 employees”.

Finding a business model for Wikipedia has always been a challenge. One can only imagine the amount of data requested by those 340 million people. Wikipedia’s budget is about $10 million per year, but apparently that will not suffice in the maintenance and development of the platform.

Therefore Jimmy is -again- asking for our help. In his personal appeal he’s asking for your donation to help his nonprofit organization thrive. Your donations with a minimum of $35 can be given here. Your money goes to people and technology, is stated in their FAQ site

The internet is a kind of YingYang. If there’s white, there’s black. If there’s full there’s empty, love versus hatred and of course pro versus anti. So there’s also groups anti-wikipedia donations, most notably some people on ‘Greg’ started a discussion on the reason why you should not donate money to Wikipedia. In short:

1. Your donation, via Google Adsense, will fund Wikia, which is not a charity.
2. Wikipedia is really a roleplaying game, with no accountability.
3. Why not donate to Citizendium instead, as they have real life details.
4. Wikipedia alleges that Brazil, Israel and Saudi Arabia practise apartheid.
5. Grade-school children can read Wikipedia’s pornographic articles about such things as anilingus.

My deep knowledge on Wikipedia does not reach far enough to have a strong opinion on these allegations. Some of them may be true, to a larger or lesser extend. What I do know is that Wikipedia contributed significantly how we collaborate, find and use information on the internet and spurred the Web 2.0 trend. The term ‘wiki’ is now common language in our vocabulary and I’ve gathered a lot of information about many subjects from their website. And for that I thank them.

With a donation.

Chrome for Mac is here – So how does it compare?

Traditionally Mac users had to wait a few months for their version when new stuff came out for Windows. Due to the ever-increasing popularity of the Mac platform this is rarely the case anymore. Enter the world of Google…

That Apple and Google are not so close friends anymore became obvious when Google decided to develop their own phone, the Android, directly competing with the iPhone. They even announced the development of their own OS: Chrome OS. This OS would specifically be developed for the ‘cloud’ and netbooks. A very light, Linux-based Operating System. A preview has been released a few weeks ago.

But it doesn’t stop there. Google has also introduced a new web browser, Chrome. This browser is specifically developed for easy and fast surfing and is hitting against the bloated Internet Explorer. Since Chrome was not available on the Mac for about 15 months the position of Safari was not jeopardized. Until today.

Today Google released the beta version of their web browser also for the Mac. Time to put all three main browsers on the Mac to the test: Safari, Firefox and Chrome.

In the test I used the latest versions of all browsers. The visited sites were cached first, after which I timed reloading the page (except for, which I also loaded without caching). See the graph below:

I must say, I’m impressed by the results of this first version of Chrome. Overall the browser beats Firefox and Safari on many aspects. Given the notion that this is only a beta I’m wondering what’s in store for the 1.0 version. Another neat feature of Chrome is the fact that you can type your Google search into the url bar. It will recognize that you are searching for a word or phrase and show you the Google results. No doubt there are more interesting features but I guess I need a bit more than just an hour testing.

Whether I will switch from Safari to Chrome I don’t know. I know my way around in Safari quite well and I really like the way Safari deals with bookmarks. Also, my Killer App 1Password is not yet available for Chrome.

Apple once claimed that Safari 4 was the fastest browser. It’s time to reshuffle the cards a bit. For now it seems that Chrome is entering the top three on a number one position, followed by Firefox. Apple, I guess it’s time to let Safari 4.5 out of the cage. I will be using Chrome intensively but my main browser will remain Safari for now. At least till 1Password becomes available for Chrome, too.

Disclaimer: This was not a scientific test. Your milage may vary. Tested on a MacBook unibody 2.4 GHz , 4 GB RAM, 10.6.2

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