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April 14, 2010

New app delivers geolocated poetry around London

Victor Keegan: My first iPhone app | Technology | guardian.co.uk Ye gods, I want this to geolocate poetry for me *everywhere*.
The result is an app called City Poems – published today – that uses satellite navigation to guide culture vultures and tourists alike through the streets of central London poem by poem. After weeks of researching poems about the city, I realised that you can learn more about the past life of a city from poems than from most guide books and histories. Wherever you are standing in London (or New York for that matter) with an iPhone (or iPod Touch or iPad) in your hand it will tell you how many metres you are away from places and events that poems have been written about. They include the execution of the criminal Jonathan Wild (one of the inspirations for John Gay's The Beggar's Opera), public burnings in Smithfield ("His guts filled a barrel") or the curious stories behind the statues in Trafalgar Square, which I had passed by in ignorance for many decades. There are, of course, plenty of other platforms for developing apps – Google's Android, BlackBerry, Symbian and Nokia – but it is Apple that is making the running at the moment – even though it accounts for less than 1% of the world's phones. I have been experimenting with new technology and poems for some years, including a program that has been running day and night for more than a decade, attempting to replicate two lines of a poem and the Guardian's text message poetry competition which still gets written about, nine years on. More recently, I have tried linking poems to streets in Google Maps but it all looked rather static and was in danger of being drowned by all the other information on the map. The arrival of GPS, which allows you to place something on a phone map with an exact longitude and latitude position offered new opportunities, but I hadn't a clue how to go about it.

April 13, 2010

How To: Convert PDFs to Epub format easily

Epub2Go - Convert PDF to EPUB - iPhone - Ebook - Stanza This is a super-easy web form. You upload your PDF, it spits out an epub. Perfect for reading in iBooks.

April 12, 2010

If you use the Chrome browser, you need this

Whenever you open a new tab, the background is a photo from the wonderful Visivo. VisivoTab - Google Chrome extension gallery *Thanks, Maureen!*

April 07, 2010

San Francisco prepares to turn on largest municipal solar grid in America

Turnon Not For Months, City Celebrates Huge Solar Project Nonetheless: News: SFAppeal
Crews are now busy laying photovoltaic panels atop one of the city's largest water reservoirs, the seismically-safe northern side of the Sunset Reservoir, which takes up eight whole city blocks between 24th and 28th avenues and Quintara and Ortega streets. When completed, the public-private enterprise will have built the biggest municipal solar farm in California and possibly the United States, according to city officials, who on Tuesday toured the installation, still under construction. The panels will generate five megawatts of energy for the city, which uses its own power -- not PG&E's -- to run Muni vehicles and light lights in select municipal buildings like City Hall. That comes at a cost of about $2 million a year over 25 years, according to the power-purchase agreement which allowed the project to go forward. San Francisco will be able to buy the project outright from Recurrent for roughly $30 million in seven years, should city coffers be flush by then. Some 8,000 panels have already been installed on the project, which was slated to be completed by now, according to a May 2009 proclamation from the company. Construction did not begin until March 2010, and should be completed by this September. They expect to flip the "on" switch in December, according to Public Utilities spokesman Tyrone Jue.