What the iPhone 3GS means

So the iPhone 3GS is about to drop. (I just got an iPhone 3G, so I’m eligible to return it and get this new one.) This is what’s most important about it:

GPS (which determines the device’s location) + digital compass (which determines the device’s current direction it’s being pointed in) + tilt sensors (which determine what angle the device is pointed at) + video camera = augmented reality.

The screen shows what the video camera is “seeing”. You point it at a building. The sensors “know” you’re at longitude X latitude Y, facing 35 degrees from true north, phone pointed directly ahead. It queries Google Maps, finds out what building/object is closest to longitude X / latitude Y, at a 35 degree angle.

It puts that information on the screen, overlaid on top of whatever you’re pointing your camera at. What’s this building? It’s the Chelsea Hotel. Click here for the Wikipedia entry, or the Yelp entry. Here’s a photostream of Sid Vicious being escorted out of this building in 1978 after allegedly murdering his girlfriend. Oh, he walked right by where you’re standing.

That person walking in front of you? They have Supermagical Bluetooth Person App open. That’s Susie. She’s also a big Arcade Fire fan.

Do you see where I’m going with this? Always on augmented reality.

There’s also the fact that, if you can store position, direction and angle in DCIM, every picture taken in any given space with an iPhone 3GS can be used to recreate that space in 3D. If you can pull the focal point and direction out as well, you might even be able to actually recreate 3D objects from a collection of 2D images. Like they did in the Matrix sequels, only without the massive budget. No processing. Just calling up pics and arranging them via their own metadata.

I now have a nerd boner.

He just keeps saying he's "the Firestarter"

New Venture Bros. is up on Adult Swim for your (lo-res) viewing pleasure. Brilliant.

Bonus quiz: how many of the 80s video icons in the steam tunnels can you name? I got Michael Jackson in “Thriller” of course, the dude from Alphaville’s “Forever Young”, and of course the Art of Noise (with the little girl dressed like a hooker). I think the general is from the “99 Luftballoons” video, but I can’t be sure. And I think I saw Simon LeBon.



And Rose shows up, and Sarah Jane, and Martha, and the Torchwood crew…and DAVROS! And they shoot the Doctor, and….!!!!


I love Doctor Who so much.

This week's Doctor Who episode…

…was the best I’ve ever seen, and maybe the best Doctor Who episode ever. The second part of a two-parter, it’s about what happens when Donna and the Doctor show up at the Library, which stores every book ever written and is the size of a planet. But it’s empty — empty except for a small team of explorers, led by one Dr. River Song, who seems to know the Doctor…intimately.

It was fun and heartbreaking and strange, and romantic and amazing. And worth watching, if for nothing else than to see a woman who can literally knock the Doctor on his ass.

God, that’s a good show.

Later tonight: episode 2 of the third season of The Venture Bros. Whoo-hoo!

Finished Life On Mars

Both seasons, and God, was it good. A good cop show, a good weirdo show. Bittersweet, lovely ending.

Now, if they’ll release it on DVD in America, you can check it out.

I've Been Watching Too Much British TV Recently

After watching two episodes of Life On Mars in a row, I almost called my dad “Guv” when he came into the living room a few minutes ago.

Reminds me of when Alex was in the middle of watching the first season of The Wire on DVD and, when his mom called him up, called her “nigga” during conversation.

He said she simply paused and kept talking as if it hadn’t happened.

Life On Mars?

I checked out the first episode of the 2006 BBC series Life On Mars, which I missed on BBC America and had heard good things about. And indeed, I wasn’t disappointed: judging by the first episode, this looks pretty interesting.

The short version: a Manchester cop named Sam Tyler is tracking a serial killer. Unfortunately, his girlfriend (and fellow police officer) is captured by the killer, who strangles his victims a day after kidnapping them. Driving away from the scene, Sam begins to cry. He pulls over to the side of the road and gets out of his car…and is promptly hit at high speed by another passing vehicle.

He wakes up…only the freeway overpass he was under is gone. The road he was on is gone. He’s wearing a tight leather jacket and a shirt with a butterfly collar, tight bell-bottoms and some sort of ridiculous boots.

Oh, and it’s 1973.

He’s still a cop, and when he turns up at his station — only to discover it full of chain-smoking men with terrible haircuts who look like Monty Python extras — he also finds that his serial killer — the one he’s pursuing in 2006 — has killed a woman in 1973. So can he stop this guy, using the relatively primitive criminology of the time…and keep the killer from murdering his girlfriend, thirty years later?

Good stuff. Sam Tyler is played by John Simm, who did an absolutely kick-ass turn as the Master in last season’s finale of Doctor Who. All in all, this looks pretty promising.

Apparently this is being made into an American series as well, though I’d rather see this version out before checking out the American one. And there’s also a sequel series, called Ashes To Ashes, that’s running now on the BBC.