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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The meme in the press: “On average, food travels 1,500 miles from farm to plate.” (In the U.S.)

Response from Slate‘s Jane Black: “There’s just one problem. It’s only sort of true—and only if you live in Chicago.”

She tracks down where the number came from, how it’s misused and the implications.

by Adena Schutzberg on 09/17 at 08:22 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Just a day after Netezza announced its spatial extension for its appliance, Teradata (one “r”) notes (press release) it too has such support: “The Teradata 12 software foundation provides full features and advanced functionality for traditional analytic needs while also providing uniquely sophisticated extensions for newly emerging requirements like geospatial, in-database mining, and data encryption.” I found no explanation of the geospatial extension on the company website, only the download (Teradata Geospatial Extension, 34 Mb pdf).

DBMS2 looked at the claims and notes “Teradata thinks its geospatial data management capability is better than competitors’, and that this is an important indicator of Teradata’s general overall greater sophistication.”

Ok, so we have a war of words. My suggestion to the appliance companies: If you want to sell these appliances within the geospatial community, you may want to do a bit more to educate us on what these things are and we need one in the first place. Perhaps the BI folks and some IT folks are very familiar with appliances, I’m not sure the hardcore geospatial practitioners are.

by Adena Schutzberg on 09/17 at 07:55 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

VentureBeat follows up on Brady Forrest’s piece noting the limitations of the iPhone related to automatic continuous location determination.

[Pelago, maker of Whrrl, CEO] Holden sounded much more optimistic about the other platforms [than the iPhone] that Whrrl is running on or will soon run on. Phones such as RIM’s BlackBerry running on networks such as Verizon’s should allow for LBS background features eventually. Likewise, Google’s upcoming Android platform will have background location features. Applications like Life360 depend on it.

When these are released and if they become as popular as Holden thinks they will, expect the pressure to be on Apple to follow suit.


by Adena Schutzberg on 09/17 at 07:33 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Senior staff from GM announced a new feature at a blogger townhall yesterday: the car will be able to calculate the distance home and use the gas engine to charge the battery, ideally to get you home before the 40 mile range runs out. Once home you can plug it in. Not surprisingly, the tech behind this feature is suspected to be GPS-based.

- Japlopnik

by Adena Schutzberg on 09/17 at 07:19 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Back in the day, I believe it was Dartmouth that provided every freshman with a Mac. Now, several schools are handing out, or asking students to pony up for iPhones. Some even include custom apps:

The Abilene Christian University iPhones have an interactive map feature that can track the phone and give directions to the student’s next class.

This suggests two things to me:

(1) The blurring, as we mentioned on this week’s podcast, of the rational for such a device. While the schools are looking for interactivity in the classroom, there are also safety, social and in time business uses. Best start them on all of those early!
(2) The customization of the device for a particular user community. This is not a new idea, but often an effective one to jumpstart interest.

- From Tufts Daily (Tufts University) in the Llama Ledger (Simon’s Rock, greatest student newspaper name ever!)

by Adena Schutzberg on 09/17 at 07:08 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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