Ming the Mechanic
The NewsLog of Flemming Funch

Saturday, April 10, 2004day link 

 Toulouse VR
picture This is a picture of Place Capitole in Toulouse from the air.

And here is a Quicktime VR 360 degree image from down on the square.

Now, when are we going to see more live Quicktime VR for webcams? Should that really be that hard? Regular webcams are nice, but I'd love to drop in and visit the cities of the world in a 360 degree format, where I can turn around and zoom in, and see what is actually there now. Is it because the cameras are so expensive? Like, $28,000 for a camera that can do 360 degrees in one movement in 14 seconds. Can be done much cheaper of course.

Actually there are a few live Quicktime VR cameras. Here's one of a beach in Australia. But not much.
[ | 2004-04-10 10:08 | 12 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 WiFi hotspots
picture When we first were staying in a hotel in Toulouse I tried to find out who might have WiFi, so I could connect up my computer. I found only one that mentioned "sans fil" (wireless) broadband access. But, hahah, when we got to the room, I realized that the wireless part was a keyboard that connected with the TV wirelessly. And the TV indeed provided Internet access, but at something like 20 euros per hour.

Now it seems to look a lot better. Here's a list of hotspots in Toulouse. Maybe only the ones that use the Intel hardware, I'd guess, but at least there are a bunch. All of which are the more expensive hotels. To the tune of 8 euros per hour.

When later I was waiting for by DSL connection, I once drove around looking for open WiFi access. And after a while managed to park in front of some school that had an open network, to check my e-mail.

WiFi Toulouse is a little grassroots group that is hoping to have more free access points. For a list they point to JWire, which, however, have none listed for Toulouse. Not that I need it at this point, but it would be a good thing.
[ | 2004-04-10 10:21 | 4 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Motorcycling the Chernobyl Dead Zone
picture It has been posted widely, but it is a good story, so let me mention it too. This lady lives in the Ukraine and rides a big Kawasaki. One of her favorite excursion targets is the "dead zone" around the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Nobody lives there, and there's nobody around for miles and miles and miles. It is a ghost town that looks exactly like it did 20 years ago, a frozen snapshot of Soviet era life, just without the people.

The trick is that on the asphalt in the middle of the road, the radiation level isn't bad. Go to the side of the road and it doubles. One meter away from the road and it is 4-5 times higher. So, if you stay moving on your bike, and you go alone, without anybody else to turn up dust, and you bring your geiger counter, you're probably alright.

Not that it is anything to take lightly. The whole area will not be fit for human habitation for another 600 years or so, and it will have heightened radiation for around 48,000 years.

And don't forget, many people died from the radiation released here. There are no good official numbers, but it might well have added up to several hundred thousands.
[ | 2004-04-10 11:01 | 5 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

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