After what seems like an eternity .. the Inquisitive Mind is back

Owing to mostly shifting into a new place to well hopelessly waiting for the internet connection to be fixed, my 60 days of non connectivity to the internet caused a lot more heartache that I would have imagined. In the past few months I have started working on a few freelance projects of my own, mostly to do with social media marketing, corporate identity design and presentation design and execution. You can imagine that freelancing nearly went out for a toss, however I got things done and (fingers crossed) have done them to the content of my clients.

The other big reason why I was out of the internet was well, a trip to Istanbul and a fabulous event called “2 Fast 2 Curious” which was a follow up of the widely successful Fast and the Curious, a sort of a treasure hunt mixed with activities and a touch of ‘The Amazing Race’.

As one would imagine there is a lot of work that goes into pulling off an event like that and also a lot of time to add into the losses. So well, blogging and related activities started to take a slip. However, I am back now, and am really looking forward to get back to try and tingle your senses with newer posts and newer topics along with some inquisitive posts for those days when you are feeling .. well Inquisitive.

Thanks to all of you who have been reading the blog through the silence, and I promise there is a lot in store in the coming year. I have been learning some serious programming, including some beginner work on the Android Platform to make an app for the phone and such, so lets hope they do show some results. Also to look forward to would be some unique wallpapers from the Inquisitive Mind, mostly the better part of my Photography Attempts, photo-blogged at Moments Frozen in time.

Before I finish up this post, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all the best compliments of the season and hope the new year bring you all the good luck and great results for all of your hard work. Now I am already excited for the year ahead, are you ??

Some Dubai Maps that you can use

One of the irritating facts about maps is the fact that it is difficult to actually locate a place of importance. We have been planning a small vacation and every time we look at a map, especially on Google Maps, it does show the location of places and definitely helps in finding out routes if you know where you are going. Now if you don’t really know where you are going and just want to discover things, Google maps by itself is not very handy. But the community has woken up to fill in the gap, people have started using Google Map Maker to make special maps of places of interest and the sort. Here are some Maps for Dubai

Dubai Consulates


View Dubai consulates in a larger map

Map of parks in the UAE


View Parks in the UAE in a larger map

Maps of UAE Shopping Malls


View UAE Shopping Malls in a larger map

Map of Golf Courses in Dubai


View Golf courses in the UAE in a larger map

Map of Museums in Dubai


View Museums in the UAE in a larger map

UAE rain flood hotspots


View UAE rain hotspots in a larger map

Hope the above maps are useful, Please let me know of more that you can think of.

The Google phone and how it is made

When I heard rumors of the Nexus One, or the then Google Phone I thought it would be so cool. But then Google did not really admit to making one of these. I guess the Nexus One had to come, considering that the Google Android Platform for Mobiles really took off really with the announcement of the Android Phone. I guess the Nexus One gave the manufacturers the confidence that Google was behind the phone and the Operating software, so the Software must be worth implementing. I have said this before, the future operating system for the Mobiles is not the blackberry or the iPhone Os, but the Android. Anyway here was the video that demoed the Nexus One for the first time.

Moving On, I don’t think most of us imagine how big an effort it takes to actually manifest a phone from concept to actual production. I had thought about the manufacturing process as something of using multipurpose machines that would churn out different phones, but having to program and make robots purpose built for each phone types makes the whole process so much more mind Blowing.

Continue reading The Google phone and how it is made

India and Green .. Bangalore

[tweetmeme] Recently I stumbled upon a map created by Green2Tech which highlights the best Green Tech startups, and incidentally the only company worthwhile mentioning on the entire eastern hemisphere is a startup in Bangalore, India. Again, India, whoo hoo. More information about the company and its relevance after the map below :

Reva, the Indian electric car company, with its namesake vehicle, was the startup from Bangalore that was mentioned in the list. I am as intrigued as you are about this. If you haven’t heard of Reva, you’re about to. The Bangalore-based company’s cars are getting popular in congested urban areas (like Delhi and London), and are gaining traction in island destinations (like Cyprus), where vehicles with shorter ranges and low environmental impact are particularly attractive.

With the governments of Italy, Japan and the UK offering strong incentives for buyers of EVs (the US is catching up, and Reva is testing that market as we speak), Reva is looking to the future. It’s researching lithium-ion and lithium polymer batteries to extend range and increase performance. And its cost is relatively low — $9,000 for a range up to 80 kilometers (about 50 miles) per battery charge, according to the New York Times.

Reva got its start in 1994 as a joint venture between the Maini Group India and California-based AEV LLC, and after an extensive R&D period, its first commercial vehicle went to market in India in 2001. More recently, Draper Fisher Jurveston invested in the fledgling brand, and led a $20 million round of financing for the company in 2006. It’s about time the Indian electric car company, which has one of the best-selling electric vehicles in the world, opted for a few higher-end, better-performance options.

….Reva is launching a lithium-ion-battery-powered electric vehicle for the European market, along with a fast-charging station that can charge the lithium-ion battery 90 percent in one hour. According to a press release, Reva’s lithium-ion electric vehicle will be available for pre-order starting this coming February, with deliveries starting in May in Norway, the UK, France, Cyprus, Greece, Spain, Belgium and Ireland.

Another feather in the cap of Bangalore, will be better known the real “green” garden city of India.

Confusing Dubai now made a little simpler with Google

Dubai is a place of extremities, on one had you can go out for a Desert Safari, or go down the depth of water to check out the sea life at some of the best under water aquariums and on the other hand you could enjoy a refreshing ski down the artificial ski slope. All within a day’s work. But for a new comer into the city, apart from the taxi or ask a friend there are not too many great options available for getting around the city. Until now, The Roads and Transportation department of Dubai along with Google (Maps to be accurate) have found a solution for this issue. It’s not perfect, but still being worked on since Google Maps as a product is evolving daily. And as RTA suggests on their Bus Stands, Dubai is a Map that gets updated every day.

After talking about Augmented Reality applications and especially one application in the UK where users can point their phone and get information about where they are and where they need to go, its bit of a primitive technology. But, it is going to help out a lot of people anyway. I remember the time when I just came into the city, and during my job hunt getting to places from anywhere seemed like a challenge. I am certain I would have found it easier if this was available then. However here is a 8 step process on how you can use Google Maps for planning your route using Public Transport available in the emirate.

Step 1 : Go to

and click on the ‘set default’ option. Type in Dubai and hit the save button. This will set your Google Map to automatically head to Dubai. This will enable Google Maps identify that it is Dubai indeed that you are looking for directions all the time. Future usage is something I want to be able to cover as well.

Step 2: Select Get Directions option and Select “Public Transport” as an option in Google Maps. The cars option is still being worked upon and might be a little bugged, but the Public Transit option was worked on with RTA and Google and so is in ship shape.

Step 3 : Using your mouse scroll across the city to find your destination or you can even enter it in the point B part of the destination (where Google will suggest you landmarks that are close to where you want to reach). You can double click, zoom or use + and – buttons and icons to the left of the screen just like you would use Google Maps in general. This is similar to operation on Google Earth on your desktop for zooming and finding locations.

Step 4 : Similar operation for starting point location, except that you will select ‘Directions from Here’ In the right click menu or enter into Point A on the screen. Then click on “Get Directions”. This will show all possible directions and routes that you can take using the public transport system.

Step 5 : Click on the individual journeys to find out details about the journeys themselves. This will always show you the route for the time that the search is being made. Not often would you use this feature.

Step 6 : To customize the list of journeys based on timing further, you can click on ‘Show Options ‘ where you can enter the timing of the departure or arrival and the time when you intend to be in that place.

The detail now shows the comprehensive instructions for getting around using public transport in Dubai. Including details like what is the time taken for individual lengths of the journey.

Google Maps is making a difference in the way we are doing our business, in some cases like a colleague in Australia, who wanted to buy property; used Google Earth and Google Street view to avoid the trip to Australia as he was in Dubai. He could make decisions like is it a good neighborhood ? Is there parks etc close by ? What amenities are available in the neighborhood etc. The only hindrances to this now, is how often does Google update the maps and pictures and the accuracy of the information. Especially now that Google Map builder is available for public usage where you can mark up routes on the map to be added into the Google repository.

Have you ever travelled into an unfamiliar part of a city or another country and got lost? Stopping to ask directions from the local people is often the best way to get back on track. Lalitesh Katraggadda’s talk at TED India shows us that by using simple tech tools, locals can provide this knowledge, catalogue it, and store it to make it readily accessible to others. Making maps helps people find their way, indexes resources, and makes society run more efficiently. Check out the talk here.

What could have been of the iPad

In my last post about the iPad I showed my disappointment at the device and what is greatly missed in the iPad. What it could have been is not just my vision, it’s the vision of Mac Funamizu who made the concept photos for a hand held iPad kind of device which could change the way tablets would have been viewed (Petit Invention). I think in a move of premature ejaculation from Apple, the iPad was launched. Not because it was ready but more because of the pressure or 2 years worth of rumors. However, historically Apple have improved features on the future upgrades and releases of their devices in the past. We hope that they will do something like that for the iPad, because I believe it can be made awesome with some tinkering. i.e. 2 cameras.

 

So what could it have been, some application examples here definitely make the vision clear so to speak. So instead of text I will let you feast your eyes on these pictures for an application called the looking glass on the device. If at all the iPad had a camera, someone would have made one of these, or at least some of these functionalities could be added. All courtesy of Petit Invention.

Integration with Maps would mean information about locations in a blend of “street view” type functionality

 

 

Integration with Maps would mean information about locations in a blend of “street view” type functionality.

On further exploration it could even provide details of people you are following, on your friends list, or twitter feeds etc.

 

 

Or just accepting meeting requests it can guide you to that location

 

Just looking at monuments or tourist destinations providing information about the place.
Linking with Google sky it could chart out constellations in the sky or identify planets based on your geo location.

 

 

Real time information from Wikipedia for anything that the ‘Looking Glass Sees’

 

 

Nutritional value of foods that you are eating, such that the Diet freaks are always pacified.

 

 

Information about general foods that can be added by people all over the world, making the database better

 

 

 

Access to translation of languages, Thesaurus, Dictionary while reading making the experience even better

 

 

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Sharing digital photos etc a breeze, as it just connects to other known devices remotely, Bluetooth, wireless or something else that has not been invented yet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Imagine an IKEA catalog and checking if furniture ‘fits’ and how it looks before buying it

 

 

 

Real time and predicted weather information

 

 

 

As street view changes and grows, it can add historical information about a place, like what a place looked in the past.

 

 

To be able to ‘listen to conversations’ and convert it to text is an awesome application for the hearing impaired, don’t you think.

 

 

It could do interpretation of multiple people

 

 

 

Or just sounds

 

 

 

Even directional text for conversation outside the ‘looking glass’

 

 

The inclusion of one piece of hardware into the iPad can introduce immense possibilities into the device. Considering that this was a post made by in January 2009, Apple had over a year to think about including this. Mr. Jobs if you are reading this, please note it, since tones of people are also writing about this, blogging about it, sharing it, including myself. You know what people want. I guess now it the turn of the Microsoft Courier to work on some of this, hello…… if you are listening, this is what I want !!