Geeks generally like a bit of science and space stuff in their life as well as computers and the like. That’s why when I found this site I thought it was as cool as.
There are an absolute junk yard of metal flying above us right now. Now wouldn’t it be cool if you knew there was a piece of that junk in the form of a satellite right above you? Then you could lift your butt off that chair, run outside and take a look. Two birds with one stone then, you can say that you have been outside and that you saw a satellite.
Real Time Satellite Tracking does just that. It uses the Google Maps API and Ajax to overlay a small satellite image and track with dots, it’s path. There are heaps of different objects to track. If you have no idea where to start then you can start with the most popular list:
Other lists include; Most Recent, Brightest, Geostationary, GPS Operational, Military, Amateur Radio and Weather. You can access those right from the homepage. The site also gives some very interesting information about the currently tracked satellite such as speed, longitude and latitude and more.
At the time of writing this the ISS was doing about 6km/sec (crap). Most importantly it tell you what the position in the sky is or will be. There are also predicted positions and time, so you can plan to see one as it comes into view. This is the predictions page for the ISS [Note that this is for my time zone +1000GMT]. I am refering to the ISS because when I took the screenshot that was the satellite that was over Australia, thought that was excellent. See below, small but you get the idea.
If you are into this type of thing, then you can create an account and add whatever satellites you want to track to your account. Nice touch. There is heaps more stuff here than I have talked about and there’s also some interesting links to some more great sites. I am sure there is something that will spark your interest.
This site is “no frills” but it has the good, great fun and is bound to get you off your behind. Is there no end to what developers are going to use the Google Maps API for? I liked it and it is in my bookmarks… I really want to see that ISS, I can see some trips to the roof in the next week.
The Digg website has just come online, back up from being offline after a massive update. This is a big change ands sees a visual and layout change and the addition of a swag of new features.
The thing that jumped right at me was the whole site look has changed to a “Web2.0” look and feel, with heaps of AJAX and and slick rendering. The second thing was that you can now submit podcasts to Digg! This is in beta and you need to be registered to even look at it.
Podcasts are ranked in the usual Digg fashion but in addition to that they are catagorized. You can play a podcast from the Digg page, you can subscribe to it using an RSS reader. Plus because individual podcast episodes can be Dugg there are the top 10 episodes to see on the right. The “Top 10” on the right is reflected through the site in all sections.
Video has it’s own section now, due to the popularity of video. There is the function of being able to view video from the page without having to leave. A lightbox pops up and plays the video when you click the thumbnail play button.
One other feature of note is that under each catagory, such as News; there has been added the top stories based on time. For example the Top Story in the last 24 hours right up to a year. Nice touch.
The areas of change in functionality are:
Interface: Gone is the fixed width format in with flexible format, wide screen owners rejoice. All the navigation has been moved to the top
Video enhancments: Separate section, top 10 videos and play onsite
Podcasting: New beta section, digg your faviourate podcasts or episodes, catagories of podcasts
Profile enhancments: quickly jump between News, Videos or podcasts within your profile as well as a Friends tab to see what they are doing.
scrybe has just released this “teaser” video for their service that is due for beta release this month. I am impressed. The video gives a walk through of scrybe and it’s features. What impressed me is that there appears to have been some research into the human mind and how to build a web application around our psychology. By that I mean that it appears to be logical and plays on what our brain focus on as far as context and focus. Indeed:
“Scrybe is not an incremental
improvement but a whole paradigm shift in the design of online organizers”.
The video is seven minutes but it is worth the watch (see video below). There is also an eleven minute version.
You know those big diaries or personal organizers that you can get with everything you want and need to plan your life in it? They have the daily, weekly, page views (depending on the model you get). They also feature “to do” lists and yearly planners along with stuff like world times listed. This on-line service is just that only it won’t cost you $100 bucks and weigh you down.
In many ways this is a service that will rival features that can be found in such applications as Google Notebook and Google Calendar. While these two services are related they are separate and not integrated with each other. Scrybe offers this integral relationship and more, I have yet to see a slick, simple yet feature rich application such as described here.
The calendar view is a zoomable interface that you can zoom to the year, month, week and day then out again while remaining in context. The action is smooth and seems to be intuitive. The Weekly views and I assume daily views allow you to click and type entries as well as a powerful drag and drop feature from the “task” list that appears on the right. This was an impressive move that when done placed the task within the time context that it was given in the task list. If you need to extend the time in the view just drag the bar down to the length of time required. This intuitiveness without assumption is excellent as some applications make assumptions based on the action not on the context of the item. Scrybe offers this contextual relevance which will be appreciated by the user.
The task list was also a nice feature in that there is a task list for the day with tasks that can be put off for another day flagged, great for the procrastinator. Lists are also event orientated so you can have multiple lists of tasks that are for one day but are itemised around the context of an event. For example. Today I might have to go to work and there may be a list of tasks for work. I might have a birthday to prepare for tomorrow with tasks that are needed to be done today. That means there are two task lists; one for the birthday and one for work, but they are represented together for the day. They can however be viewed separately within their event, work and birthday. I think this is a way of making sense of the clutter in our brains that we have to contend with everyday, but scrybe breaks this down into manageable components.
You can also import with cut and paste; lists and data from files on your local machine such as Word and Excel. The nice touch is that these items are placed in a task list with check boxes and with context. You can also add notes with a very simple interface with minimal formatting. Simple is good, you don’t want to add to your chaotic life with a “Word” type interface. But I would like to see colour added to the options or a highlighter with different colours. I would find that good for focusing my attention.
The meeting manager is an interesting feature where you can plan a meeting with global parties take into account if they are in bed or not. Very intuitive feature that has a nice graphical interface. Currently I use The World Clock – Meeting planner for this. Which is what this is but it is offered in a very nice looking graphical interface and also integrated with the calendar and task list.
“Thought Streams”, nice term isn’t it? Refers to a feature that allows you to collect information in text and pictures for a project or research from the web and puts them into a “stream”. This is much like Google Notebook. The difference is that this data can be supplemented with documents off your own local machine. For example an Excel document with the budget details. The best thing and most attractive feature of this is the presentation of the data. It is presented to you with an absolutely stunning newspaper type format with a “mini” view at the bottom and it looks very professional. I am not sure if the average user could pull off what this looks like in the video but if they can then that will be exceptional.
One last feature that made my eyes light up and then smile was the “sync” function. Well it is not the sync that you might be thinking as I was. It “sync’s” with paper! Yup paper, with folding lines… not quite what I had in mind. But clever idea and it works as far as taking it with you. The other area that refers to syncing is the fact that you can use the service offline, make changes that re-sync once you reconnect. There was no mention in the video of how this is accomplished, especially since there are no downloads required, but it does have instructions as to how to do it (there is a difference).
Other features promised:
Seamless offline access – without any installations
Rich and fast like a desktop
Intuitive zoomable calendar views
Organize your thoughts with bookmarks, web snippets, images and files
To-do lists integrated with your calendar
Share and collaborate with friends and co-workers
Elegant, compact and handy print formats
Easily work across multiple timezones
Import and export from other apps easily
I will be interested to see what other features are in this bundle. I would be over-joyed if there were such things as RSS technology and shared documents and contributers.This is a good review for a product that I have not used, based on a video. It is because it is rare that a truly original and new idea comes about. The contextual relevance and intuitive interface make this an item to watch, especially if the video is a clue to what might be in store. Scrybe is offering some solutions to problems that plague other on-line applications in a visually stunning and easy to use way. If you are interested in trying out scrybe then hook up with the beta on their site and leave your details.