Google Maps Street View on Windows Mobile

Google Maps Street View on Windows Mobile

So this post is a bit slow off the mark as this functionality has been around for a while. Following my previous post on Google Maps for Windows Mobile I am just reaffirming my claim that I think the best app for Windows Mobile is built by Google (how ironic). Admittedly the Street View functionality is not immediately obvious and I actually only came across it today as I was searching for a building in the Sydney CBD:

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Clicking on the Street View button takes you  (surprise, surprise) to the street view, as seen on the web, within the Google maps application:

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What I can’t believe is how staggeringly fast it is to download, render and navigate within street view mode. As with the online version it downloads a low resolution image initially and then smoothly updates the display when the full image has downloaded.  The red box in the following image shows this.

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You can of course navigate using the directional pad or using the on screen arrows (when facing along a street).

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Google Maps for Windows Mobile, Now with Google Latitude

Google Maps for Windows Mobile, Now with Google Latitude

I have to say that the best application for Windows Mobile, just got better.  The newly released version of Google Maps for Windows Mobile not only hosts a new user interface, it also supports Google Latitude.  Essentially Google Latitude, with your permission of course, allows you to track and share your location.  It’s as easy as signing in with your Google account.

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Once you’re in you can add and remove friends.  You can of course control how visible your location is via the Privacy tab.

At this stage there is no API available according to postings on the Google Mobile forum.

Get started with the latest version of Google Maps with Latitude by going to http://google.com/latitude on you device.

Semblio SDK (was Grava) has been Announced

Semblio SDK (was Grava) has been Announced

Over at the Global Education Partners Summit the Semblio SDK was announced. 

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More information about how you can use Semblio to build educational content and getting started with the SDK can be found on both the Semblio website and the Semblio Blog.

nsquared has been fortunate enough to work with this technology during the beta cycles.  If you look at it from a purely technical point of view there are a number of bits that make Semblio quite interesting.  Each Semblio presentation/package is redistributable and self contained – this ensures that a package will be able to be run where-ever the Semblio runtime is being hosted (more on that in a bit).

Within each package is a set of activities.  Activities should be created to run in isolation – there should be minimal (if any) association between activities.  This means that activities can be reused either multiple times within an package or in a number of different packages.  When an activity is packaged it can be associated with different parameters and/or files.  For example you may have a Multi-Choice quiz question activity that might appear 10 times in a package, each with a different question/answer set.

The Semblio runtime essentially handles the loading of packages, activities and the setting of parameters on the activities.  The runtime can be hosted within an existing application or in a standalone player – it’s up to you how you want the runtime to be hosted.  In fact the runtime is configurable using styling and templates within WPF so that you have control over how things like the table of contents is rendered.

The biggest thing in my mind that the Semblio runtime does is to load the activities in such a way that they do not impact the host application.  This is done by loading them into their own AppDomain.  This would have been near to impossible in Windows Forms but luckily with some of the new components in WPF and the .NET Framework it is now possible to have UI components loaded in a different appdomain displayed as normal.

The Semblio Programmer’s Guide covers the main components of Semblio and how you can leverage the platform work Microsoft has invested in to build high quality educational content.

How North Sydney Council Deals with an Economic Crisis

How North Sydney Council Deals with an Economic Crisis

Over the weekend I found myself walking down through North Sydney only to be confronted by what can only be described as a meaningless art installation.  It would appear that whilst the rest of the world is trying to work out how they are going to survive the economic crisis, the North Sydney council is wasting money on artwork for Miller Street.

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Don’t get me wrong I’m all for improving the suburb I live in but honestly another couple of trees would have been a much better and more sustainable investment. As far as I can tell the installation doesn’t have any symbolic meaning but perhaps there is an equally expensive sign to go with it that will explain it.

As a North Sydney rate payer I feel this is an astounding waste of money and that the money could be much better spent.