By now, most of you are familiar with the unique and novel Google Street View program. We use it here on Firegeezer to show contemporary sites of buildings and areas that we're talking about in a report. Also, millions of people (myself included) have used it personally to check out old neighborhoods where we lived as children to see how they look today, and of the old school is still there. Using the "travel" button we can move along the street and view entire towns as if we were riding there ourselves. A lot of fun.
There is a photo-artist who has found another way to have fun with the GSV. Jon Rafman of Montreal has the cooperation of Google in a project to look through the millions of street snaps that the Google SV cars have taken (and continue updating) on their travels. He is culling the odd, the wacky, and the visually attractive shots and assembling them into a collection that he calls "9 Eyes." I suspect the title comes from the multi-lensed cameras that are perched on top of the camera-cars.
While publicly updating his progress in the work, he has released 25 sample photos of his collection and the New York Daily News published them recently.
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You can view the entire 25-image story in the Daily NewsHERE. They are fun and I'm looking forward to seeing the entire complilation when it's made available.
Now we need to make our apparatus bay views and get things checked out for today. Monday is the long checklist, remember. Are any of our readers out there using e-tablets yet for the daily check list? If you are, please let me know. Meanwhile I will get more coffee going for us and then see you back in the day room after we finish.
Yesterday we were talking (HERE) about Google's next phase of Street View, namely the backpacks that will be carried on forest trails and through museum galleries and theme parks. Today I want to pass along a related innovation that Google is racing Apple to be the first online with, 3-D maps.
Both Google and Apple now have technology to create 3D maps that include buildings. Neither has rolled the product out yet. Today at Google's San Francisco office, we saw Google demonstrate its new 3D mapping product that will use its own library of aerial imagery to build fully-modeled 3D cities.
The ability to fly through a city and see all its buildings and trees as if you were "flying in your own private helicopter" is incredibly cool. In the demo we saw, most buildings looked close to photorealistic, although some (in particular the AT&T ballpark), had strange artifacts showing.
This 3D feature would be a great spiff forAndroid users and a great reason foriPhone users to download a new Google Maps app for that platform. Except for one thing: Very soon, this won't be a unique feature. Apple bought C3 Technologies in October, and that company does exactly what the new 3D feature in Google Maps does: It turns aerial photos into 3D models.
Google / CNet
CNet also points out that while Google's brand is made to fit the Android cellphone platform and Apple's is adopted to the iPhone, the real competition will be aimed at the automotive market where more and more cars are being made with the GPS mapping screens in them, along with the aftermarket devices. That's where the money will be made, with features like showing you the nearest gas stations or restaurants, for example (plugs for businesses that will pay a small fee-per-notice for the service. A sort of billboard in your car, if you will.)
While Google had a big head start in this latest competition, it was announced just yesterday that Apple and Tom Tom, the Netherlands-based portable GPS device maker, have formally signed an agreement to use Tom Tom's technology in Apple's devices. Another eZine, ZDNet is reporting this morning:
The deal was announced after Apple launched a number of upgrades to its software and laptop product range, including new map functionality — and after the company admitted to using military-standard camera technology to create 3D cityscapes.
The three-dimensional citycapes and turn-by-turn navigation are assumed to be the domain of TomTom, and has previously been a feature that was considered highly developed in Google’s Android models rather than the iPhone.
So is this the beginning of the end for Magellan, Garmin and Tom Tom? There's no telling how all this will travel, but it will be fun to watch.
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NHL Stanley Cup Finals
Los Angeles Wins Championship
A dominating 6 – 1 win at home gave Los Angeles their first-ever Stanley Cup win last night.The sixth game of the championship round was more or less settled halfway through the first period when New Jersey's Steve Bernier did something both careless and stupid. He boarded Kings player Rob Scuderi and compounded his infraction by targeting Scuderi instead of trying to play the puck, and he hit him from behind, smack on the numbers. That drew a 5-minute major penalty along with a game misconduct. The Kings were determined to take advantage of the extended penalty time and they did, scoring three goals during the power play and pretty much putting the game out of reach.
Here's the game-changing penalty the doomed the Devils
All they had to do was play their stingy defensive game that got them that far, which they did. Just 90 seconds into the 2nd period they scored goal #4 and stayed hunkered down, stifling New Jersey through most of the period until the Devils scored their lone goal with just over a minute left.
In the third period the Kings kept their defense solid while the Devils knew they had to get another goal soon if they were to have any chance for a comeback. With four minutes left in the period and still no breakthrough, the Devils pulled their goalie for an extra attacker, but it only took about 15 seconds for L. A. to force a turnover and seal the deal with an empty-netter. Then 15 seconds later, and with the goalie back in the net, the Kings made it 6-1 with a beauty of a wrist shot by Matt Greene.
NHL.com relates: The victory caps one of the most remarkable postseason runs in League history. Los Angeles was in 11th place in the Western Conference with 14 games remaining in the regular season, and the Kings didn't earn a spot in the postseason until during Game No. 81 (of 82-game season, ed.).
From that point, the Kings were nearly unstoppable. Los Angeles became the first No. 8 seed to win the Cup, the first team to defeat the top three teams in its conference and the first team with any seed to win the first three games of all four series, including the first two on the road in each round.
Here are the highlights from last night's game:
We had better make our own highlights now and get started with this equipment check. I'll replenish the coffee pot and then see you back in the day room.
Love 'em or hate 'em, you have to admit that when it comes to online maps, Google is the prime innovator and leader in digital mapping. One of their major services is the Google Street View, a massive project that they accomplished in an amazingly short period of time as thousands of specially-equipped cars drove up and down countless millions of streets and highways throughout the civilized world taking photos of the passing views. How they were able to patch those trillions of photos into a seamless view where you can even turn onto side streets and continue your path is a real mystery to me.
A lot of people, myself certainly included, have used Street View to travel through neighborhoods where we lived as children to see if the place looks the same and perhaps follow the path we took as we walked to school. A few months ago we posted about Google's continuing explorations by mounting their strange cameras on bicycles to map trails and other off-road paths where the cars cannot go. Now they have added still another Street View concept by developing a backpack sort of camera that will permit the documentarians to walk through shopping malls, museums, airport terminals and theme parks. I love this kind of imaginative thinking.
That's not all that the GoogleMap people are up to, either. Tomorrow I will show you what's happening with the latest in GPS and Street View technology, 3-D maps. That's even more amazing.
But first we have to get this morning's equipment check started, you know. Monday checklist day. I'll check out the Bunn-O-Matic and make sure it's ready for a day's work too. See you back in the day room.
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NHL Stanley Cup Finals
The New Jersey Devils turned the Finals into a contest again Saturday night, beating the Kings on home ice in a typical hockey playoff game. It was all defense and capitalizing on mistakes leading to the Devils' 2 – 1 win. Now the Kings' commanding lead of 3 games to zip has retracted to a one-game edge and you can bet that the mental pressure on Los Angeles is quite heavy, indeed.
All they've had to do is just win one game and it's still the case, but two straight losses gives New Jersey a lot of confidence. But tonight's game will be the last one played in Los Angeles in this series, so they have to close it out tonight. A loss to the Devils will give New Jersey a big edge in the game 7 if they have to play one.
Game 1: Los Angeles – 2, New Jersey – 1 OT.
Game 2: Los Angeles – 2, New Jersey – 1 OT.
Game 3: Los Angeles – 4, New Jersey – 0.
Game 4: New Jersey – 3, Los Angeles – 1.
Game 5: New Jersey – 2, Los Angeles – 1.
Game 6 at Los Angeles Monday, 8 pm Eastern.
Have you played around with the Google Street View much? Or at all? Once in a while you will see me post the GSV of a site where an emergency incident occurred where you can look at the building as it was. One of the strangest, and most fascinating challenges that Google undertook was to send specially-equipped cars driving up and down almost every street in North America and most of Europe, taking 360º photographs as they travel along. By incorporating the pix with the Google Maps feature on the internet they can show you a location from farthest away on the map, then zoom down to the site itself and switch from map graphic to the photo of the location.
But the biggest feature from the entertainment angle is the ability to "travel" along the street just like you are doing the driving and then pause and look around in all directions. When you reach an intersection you can make a turn and start along the cross street. You can spend hours with this doing things like following the same route you took when you were a child walking to school.
After I got the hang of how to use GSV, I sought out all the places where I have lived since I was born and I was surprised to find out that every one of them is still there. There are endless ways to use this feature, and of course it's free. Looking at how commercial areas have changed over the years is interesting, too.
While we have been "driving" up and down the mapped streets lately, Google has been out and about too. They announced earlier this month that they have designed some mountain bikes that are equipped with a trailer housing the unique camera rig and have been determinedly pedalling along hiking trails, parkland walkways and garden paths recording the same type of information. The idea for this new twist to mapping came from one of Google's employees. Dan Ratner, senior mechanical engineer at Google told, "My day job is working as a mechanical engineer on the Street View team, but I do a lot of mountain biking in my spare time. One day, while exploring some roads less traveled, I realized that I could combine these two pursuits and build a bicycle-based camera system for Street View. The result? The Street View trike."
Ratner demonstrates his creation (AP)
The trikes are not easy to use, though. As you can tell from the photo, they are a bit off-balance and very heavy. In order to get the things around and along the unpaved trails and paths, Google has hired professional athletes to muscle the vehicles around.
Those views are starting to appear now online and we will soon be able to "take a walk" into places where we have maybe wished we could visit, such as famous parks or extensive gardens. I have read where they are even converting some snowmobiles, too. Just think, we can go skiing without breaking our leg! This internet thingy is a great show, isn't it?
Let's put on our own show now and get this equipment checked out. I'll fire up the Geezer Coffee View and get a fresh pot started. See you back in the day room in a little while.