There were a couple stories on News.com today that I thought were pretty interesting. "Mapping a revolution with 'mashups'" was one of them. Granted, we've seen a bunch of stories in the news recently about online map capabilities, and I've even ranted here about a couple of them. What makes this news story any different from the others? Wellll, let me tell ya....
Today's mapping article provides more links than you can shake a stick at - ok, maybe not that many, but it's the quality that counts, not the quantity... right? According to the article, "Already, hundreds of mashups overlay maps with everything from such practical information as gas station prices, hurricane movements, hot springs sites and crime statistics to the more entertaining if not frivolous, including photos of urinals, UFO sightings, New York movie locations, taco trucks in Seattle and Hot People by ZIP Code, a mashup of Google Maps and the HotorNot.com Web site.
I was way too intrigued by the photos of urinals and Hot People by Zip Code to pass them up. Who creates these maps? Who takes the pictures of these urinals? Who decides who's hot and who's not? I had to click and click and click and click. It was addicting! People could literally spend hours looking at these maps... not that I spent that much time at work checking them out... *a-hem*.... moving right along....
The other story that I thought was extremely cool was about audio being attached to print photographs. "High-tech photos give new meaning to 'talking pictures'." According to this article, "The Milan, Italy-based company is preparing a new photo printer, called Speekysmart, that imprints a magnetic strip to the side of a piece of paper or photograph. The recordable tape, which the company named Speakpaper, can capture a few seconds of conversation or music recorded at the moment the photo was taken." How amazing is that?
The company is trying to promote the experience of "your voice on the photo," and "the only printer to allow the combination of photos with verbal comments," and "more emotions in your memories." However, you'd have to get really good at timing and make sure you didn't mess up, pass gas, or have the telephone ringing in the background. If the paper is as expensive as I think it will be, it would be pretty costly to get the audio just right. Just think, there's going to be so much more meaning to the phrase, "A picture is worth a thousand words... (but since we don't have that much time, let's make it ten)."
Sonja Thompson started at TechRepublic in October 1999. She is a former Senior Editor at TechRepublic.