Archiv für den Monat: Februar 2008

Trip to Zipfelbob’s home

I wrote about how spring is driving away winter really early this year. Well, we thought we should do a trip to Zipfelbob’s home. May quite well be the last chance for some Zipflbob action this season. Since I presented the flower shot yesterday, here is another proof for global warming – end of February and we’ve got the butterflies coming out. Hope the little bugger will find some of those flowers we saw yesterday, otherwise he’ll have a hard time waiting for the nectar to become available.

Butterfly

The slopes that are more exposed to direct sunlight loose snow earlier. So while there is still a fair bit of snow on the slopes that get only a few hours of sunlight during the day, you can pretty much walk on browns grass on the sunny slopes already.

Sunny and shady

And here we are – this place is called „Zipfelsalpe“ and it is where Zipflbob was born. Seriously this is where Zipflbob grew up and went to Zipflbob school. He also met his first Zipflbob girlfriend here, before he decided to look for a dignified rider, leave home and see the big world to enjoy the real adventures.

Zipfelalpe

He used to play on the roof – he actually still enjoys doing that.

Zipflbob’s home

Too bad we didn’t have much more time to take Zipflbob out on the home slopes for some spring riding. I’m sure he really appreciated the trip though!

Zipflbob spring riding

Spring is coming

Seems like winter season is slowly but surely coming to an end. Decided to go far a late afternoon walk up some mountain to watch the sunset, which we thought should be good today. There was still some snow left on the upper slopes of the mountain, but in general it was more of a spring walk than a winter tour. The flowers also have to adjust to global warming and they seem to do OK.

Flowers

Anyway – managed to reach the top about 20 minutes or so before sunset. So how do you kill time and not start getting cold?

Shadow Hand

Of course you take in the view…

Panorama view

And you practice a bit of mountain parkour.

Mountain Pacour

Until  it is finally prime time…

Sunset

Sometimes, the light that you get just after sunset is even better.

Evening sky

Then it was time to get moving – snow sliding into the dark – should have brought our Zipflbobs, damn – next time we will!

Late descend

Context based recommendation services

OK, just thinking… Mobile phone beeps. Not the text message beep though. Different beep. It’s the get up and get moving, I’ve got a great idea beep. Oh no I think – I’m really tired and exhausted – it’s been a long working week and I’d greatly appreciate some sofa time. Ah well – let’s see what is recommended right now. I open the message, the application starts and I’m told that I’ve got 10 minutes to put the running shoes on and get ready for some action. Oh dear, I haven’t even finished my cheese cake. 10 minutes later I get new instructions. Start running down the street at a warm-up pace. So I do. Turn left at the church. Follow the road. Sure. Oh yeah, one of my favourite songs to get me motivated starts playing. Now I’m there. 5 more minutes and I see a group of runners a few hundred metres ahead. I’m told to catch up. Shouldn’t have had cheese cake before, damn it. Increase the pace and eventually catch up. At least it’s heaps more fun running with a bigger group now. Now I realise… everyone’s got the phone and the earplugs. This is all planned and scheduled. Not bad – figured out that I hadn’t gone for a run in a while, was lazy all afternoon, there were 2 hours of daylight left and the groups was about to pass by. I’m sure I won’t have to finish the loop back home by myself. At least not until the last few hundred metres.

Location based services and context

It is not just about the location. It’s about the time of the day, the time of the year, whether you are tired or not, whether you are happy or not, whether you seek specific information or whether you just browse to kill time. It’s about the temperature, the climate, the current whether conditions, your immediate surroundings, whether you’re hungry or not, about your likes and dislikes, whether you’ve got money to spend or whether you are on a tight budget. Is it a working day or are you on leave? How about what’s next on your schedule and what you just did before. How about your hobbies? All kinds of other preferences? Did you ask for it or not? What’s your cultural background? How old are you? How tall? Are you a male or female? Married? Engaged? Single? Who are your friends? Your family? What languages do you speak? Can you hear? See? What do you already know? What have you experienced before? Are you moving? At what speed? I could go on and on… How much of all this context is really considered today? How much of it can be derived from location? At least partly? How much can be derived from time?

Temporal tags

Tagging has not just become popular – tagging is often described as a very important concept to enable a successful transition from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0 (whatever both of these terms may actually mean to Joe Public). There are a lot of interesting discussions about multi language tags and geographic tags already – at the moment, I’m quite interested in practical applications of temporal tags. Consider temporal tags as tags with some kind of time stamp. There could be temporal tags for birthdays and other calender events – tags could also be generated based on weather reports. Or how about tagging a big sale in a local store – tagging a scheduled airline flight with „cheap seats“ – but only as long as there are actually still cheap seats left…. I think this may have some interesting applications in location based services applications – combine it with the geo bit and you can think up all sorts of cool Google Earth applications or Google Maps and Virtual Earth mash-ups, which could display spatio-temporal information based on an analysis of geo tags and temporal-tags. Geotagging ourselves as fit or exhausted based on a just-in-time analysis of our heart rate monitoring device with the information from the device automatically generating tags and and feeding them straight into the web to let all the people know that, on my daily run, I’m on my last leg 2km away from home – the ultimate exhibitionism, tagged for the Web 3.0 world right in place. Hold on – would I be tagging myself then? More thinking and research to be done before this can go into production…

Day out in Zürich

Haven’t really seen the city before – it’s nice to go for a lakefront walk on a sunny day and then enjoy a stroll through the narrow alleys down town. Can’t believe how many shoe shops and jewellery stores there are. I guess it’s one of the more wealthier cities in Europe and I think I heard about Zürich being one of the best cities in terms of quality of life. Google chose the city for their European development headquater – or at least one of their many headquaters. Wonder where they have their office – I reckon it would be cool to have it on an artifical island in the lake, connected with a giant fibre network cable. Then they could have an underwater creativity room with glass windows, watching fish getting hooked and sparking ideas about how to increase the immersive experience for people using Google Maps and Google Earth. I still love the phrase „dive into the map“ – thought it is a great metaphor for the new kinds of digital earth applications or earth browsers or virtual globes or whatever else they are called these days. Yeah, dive into the map. So Google could have a giant water gate with a virtual world map in that underwater think tank and in one of their many creativity breaks, the engineers that form our future could zoom the map to their favourite place and dive right in… Hmm. – it would work great as long as their favourite place was the peer to their office – if it wasn’t… hmm probably another few years to go for the Google Labs thing until they figure out how to teleport you – until then, a virtual cave like thing – holodeck you may call it – will have to do the trick. I will need to keep working on my dive into the map metaphor. It’s far from perfect and even farther from working. Wonder if the city of Zürich would let them set up an island – imagine they possibly would since they plan all sorts of crazy things in Switzerland now, like that hotel on the Jungfraujoch. I’m getting worried…

Zuerich

Skylift ticket

All you need is just a little patience. One of my friends once told me that you have to watch out that you open the security lock in time, before getting off. There have been cases when people weren’t quick enough to lift the lock and ended up going up and down all day until someone finally switched off the power. You can practice at home using a rolling pin and an office chair. No further descriptions – use your own fantasy!

Skylift