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Geek chic and a present from NASA

Posted By -NO AUTHOR- On 01/26/1999 @ 1:00 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled

Geek chic

The University of Toronto’s Steve Mann has designed computing devices
integrated into clothing and eyewear (eyeware?) that let users see and
access e-mail, process images they see through their eyeglasses, even
perform communications functions as they move from place to place. The
Ottawa Citizen
reports
that the wearable computers act as cell phone, pager, dictating machine,
alarm, daily planner, camcorder, high-resolution still camera, Walkman
and more. Professor Mann is currently seeking investors. You can find
out more about the project at his Web
site
, which offers technical discussion and
sociocultural commentary in abundance as well as some of the first
artistic fruits of the medium. Try also the more general
wearable-computing Web resource Wearables
Central
, currently featuring a best-of-1998
products roundup, and the venerable-by-Web-standards, excellent, and
frequently updated MIT Wearable Computing Web
Page
.

Your passport to the solar system

The Solar System Simulator uses
NASA technology to create a color image of any planet or satellite as
seen from any other body in the Solar System, at any moment between the
years 1600 and 2400 AD. Choose a place to stand, a time to look, and a
planet or satellite to gaze at (say, Io as seen from Jupiter at 2:05 PM
GMT on May 7, 1970), and the Simulator will render you a
to-the-best-of-human-knowledge JPEG image at 75% quality. Many of the
pictures thus produced are aesthetically as well as technologically
breathtaking. The Simulator is some serious software. It’s a project of
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the
lead U.S. center for robotic exploration of the solar system). Descended
from the SPACE mission-design software package (a set of computer
graphics programs designed to simulate spacecraft trajectories and
produce various photographic and video products), it’s currently being
used in NASA/JPL’s Mission Architecture section as well as by the
Shuttle Radar Topography, Cassini, Galileo, and other missions for
trajectory animation and mission visualization. It’s also right out here
on the Web for you and me to play with. At times like these, even after
all the hours I’ve spent surfing, I am seriously bowled over by the
sheer exhilaration of the online world. Through it access to
technologies of a level once restricted to an elite few is now freely
available to the individual, to the layman, to the citizen of every
nation. Don’t pass this one up; it’s a joy.

Focus: New York

New York will be an important battleground state in the presidential
primaries, with New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Governor George
Pataki spoken of as potential candidates. The race to succeed retiring
Senator Daniel P. Moynihan also will be hotly contested. Chris
Chichester’s Empire Page, a Web site
devoted to New York State politics, delivers the latest information on
all of New York’s political developments along with a strong selection
of other New York political news and opinion. Updated daily to provide
easy access to New York’s top political and governmental stories, it
also features an impressive collection of over 125 links to New York’s
elected officials, print media, broadcast media, judiciary, political
parties, public interest organizations and government agencies. The site
caters expansively to all comers — “independent, Democrat, Republican,
liberal or conservative,” as its front page invites — in the capacity
of a useful New York information clearinghouse. Chichester’s own, more
opinionated commentary, available through his weekly “Provocations”
column and editorials, is
also worth a gander — if for no other reason than that he has achieved
the distinction of being one of the vanishingly few to tell it like
it is
regarding Al Sharpton.
A likely bookmark for New Yorkers and state-politics junkies.

Free stickies; put your magazine on the Web

TurboNote’s on-screen “sticky” memo notes for Windows 95, 98 and NT
are handy, with a Quick Launch feature that allows double-clicking on
URLs in notes to open sites up straightaway — and the price is right.
Download them here. Then check
out TurboPress’ automated print-to-Web publishing
service for
transferring print periodicals to the Web, including management of
ecommerce, subscribers, advertisers, etc. I plan to email this one
directly to a couple of my favorite periodicals which, infuriatingly,
have hesitated to get their feet wet online as yet. You’re losing out,
guys. …


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