Broadband Future & Connecting the Real

I ran across a Judy Breck post just now in my aggregator, announcing a new book by Chetan Sharman and Vern Fotheringham.  Of special interest is Mark Anderson’s forward, which can be downloaded.

Judy includes a number of quote from the foreword in her blog, but the one that struck me was,

Wireless broadband is the point of a spear which, in every country in the world, will drive progress in education, economic development, health and medicine, agriculture, markets, family welfare, technological and scientific advances, and general communications. . . .

She also double-clicks,

Consider K12 education, which promises to become the largest market segment for computers sometime during this next decade.

We wring our hands about how we’re going to pay for all of the hardware and seem, to often, to ignore the bandwidth that will be required when we want our students to have access to rich networked multimedia content.

Click for an enlargement of the iPhone screen

Considering the network, it’s confession time.  I am an iPhone Apps junkie.  I download the things on a whim, impressed by the capabilities, only to discover weeks later that they have almost no practical application what so ever.  However, I happened upon one today, that just might prove useful.

SnapTell is a free iPhone app that… Well here’s the description:

Snap a picture of the cover of any Book, DVD, CD, or Video game and within seconds see a rating, description and links to Amazon, Wikipedia, IMDb and more.  If you like the item, click on a link to buy it right away.

The company seems to have plans for broadening its image recognition technology into other applications involving connecting the “real” to the network.

And finally, in the business of connecting the real, I shot this photo a few weeks ago in San Francisco and have since featured it as my laptops desktop image.  Having my mind a bit much on Twitter this morning, I tested Twitpic by posting a portion of the photo to Twitters asking what it was.  In less than five minutes I had a number of responses, most pointing me to GoCar, a service where you rent this little two-seater, and it plays an audio tour of the city, linking where you are with the appropriate audio file by GPS.

I like the car!

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4 thoughts on “Broadband Future & Connecting the Real”

  1. Woah, thanks for the tip to SnapTell! Am working on a new image tagging project where we have been dreaming of a mobile solution to do image recognition. Combine this with Shazam for music recognition!

  2. For any educator (preK-college) interested in dreaming a bit about wireless broadband, there is a competition for those who want to share ideas with the folks who work with hardware, frequencies, and bandwidth for wireless broadband (NESBA) and their contest co-sponsor, a non-profit ed tech company (The source for Learning). The entry requires only 500 words and a “generic” equipment list (describe what it needs to be able to do, not the manufacturer and part numbers–even if it does not yet exist). This is a chance for educators to provide a meaningful vision for technology instead of the usual vice versa. More info at Entries are due November 1, so the short entry process is s blessing. Hope you’ll let people know about this one. It would be great to hear from grass roots teachers and college folk telling about their dream scenarios for WBB.

  3. There’s actually a new phone out, called the Krave ( It’s narrower than the iPhone, and it has a clear flip top that’s touch sensitive. I really haven’t seen anything like it…it looks cool!

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