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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

OnStar has offered to date turn by turn directions via an advisor, someone “on the phone.” In the next few years the system will change a bit. The driver will contact OnStar with a destination and the advisor will send turn by turn directions to the vehicle and disconnect. OnStar does not include a graphics screen, so this will be voice only, it seems. Says the OnStar president, “We know the frustration of cost and usability of the screen GPS systems. This should be another opportunity to differentiate GM vehicles and OnStar in the competitive marketplace.” The cost will be between the “basic” and “premium” packages, that is between $199 and $399 per year.

That’s interesting in light of VW’s push to put Google Earth in the driver’s seat, so to speak. There are new graphics available of that system, first announced at CES in January and noted here.

by Adena Schutzberg on 02/07 at 05:38 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Monday, February 06, 2006

Rarely do three CAD stories hit at one time that give me pause, but that happened today.

First off, Intergraph bought Alias. Didn’t Autodesk just buy Alias? Yes, Autodesk bought the one in Canada, Intergraph bought the one in the UK. The former does 3D graphics for mechnical and entertainment visualization and the latter, pipe design. Those more familiar with Intergraph than I have suggested that perhaps its time for Intergraph to focus more energy on power/process aka “pipes.” Or as a friend at Bentley used to say, “if it goes into or come out of a pipe, I’m in charge of it.”

Second, Daratech, the folks who make up (sorry!) tease out the stats on the CAD (and at one time GIS market) have given a technology grant to a small innovative company Matereality, of Ithaca, NY, to further its work on storing materials with design data. Gee and I thought the company only took in money, not gave it out… No word on the size of grant, however.

Third, Bentley has acquried Cook-Hurlbert of Texas, a “provider of engineering design software for electric and gas distribution networks.” You may remember the name from GITA, if you attend that event. The company, as I recall, worked with many GIS systems including ESRI and SmallWorld. The press release notes that the acquisition is inline with the Haestad acquistion of a few years ago. I confess that I’ve not seen as much on the GIS front from Heastad as I would have liked. Recall that Haestad, in addition to its expertise in water infrastructure, also offered GIS Connect, connecting AutoCAD to ArcGIS.  On the other hand, Cook and Hurlbert “have accepted senior positions with the Bentley Geospatial vertical organization” which might whip things up a bit.

Plug: I got all this news from TenLinks Daily. Yes, I used to work there. Yes I still get the newsletter and if you need to keep up with CAD, you should, too.

by Adena Schutzberg on 02/06 at 01:20 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

This quote is from Sony and comes from a BusinessWeek article on open source databases cited by Slashdot:

The databases work fine, but as data volume grows, so do the checks to Oracle, IBM, or Microsoft. Many users aren’t clamoring for more features, and some don’t even use the bells and whistles they already paid for. They would happily trade some to get their hands on the source code and a better deal.

I’ll maintain that with a few tweaks to it, it fits geospatial too:

The GISs work fine, but as data volume grows, so do the checks to ESRI, Intergraph or MapInfo. Many users aren’t clamoring for more features, and some don’t even use the bells and whistles they already paid for. They would happily trade some to get their hands on the source code and a better deal.

by Adena Schutzberg on 02/06 at 11:40 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Today’s the day that the Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales will be questioned by a Republican-led (Sen. Arlen Specter) hearing on domestic spying. President Bush has claimed that as C-in-C he has authority to perform warrantless wiretaps, read emails and intercept other messages. This authority supercedes a specific law set up to require warrants, known as the FISA law.

The Washington Post, citing unnamed sources, yesterday estimated around 5,000 Americans have been listened in on, for a total of “hundreds of thousands” of messages.

For both geosurveillance advocates and civil rights proponents, these hearings will hopefully shed light on the government’s activities. If the President’s authority holds up, perhaps we can expect to see future use of these activities from either President H. Clinton or President J. McCain, as the case may be.

Live hearings video here.

Live blogging by a First amendment lawyer here.

Continue reading...

by Adena Schutzberg on 02/06 at 09:52 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Sunday, February 05, 2006

I’ve posted a summary, including remarks from one of the twenty-five people at the meeting held on Saturday in Chicago, over at Directions Magazine. I’ll add my voice to those impressed with how well the meeting was run, and what was accomplished. Full steam ahead for OsGeo!

by Adena Schutzberg on 02/05 at 03:16 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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