Ubiquitous Computing

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One of Xerox Parc's "future predictions" was for "ubiquitous" computing.


The idea was that you wandered around the place, and computing devices nearby registered who you were and brought your personalised content to you - a wall in an office might summon up your email, or a speaker might play back your answer phone messages.


I've just taken possession of the latest Android phone (HTC Desire). It's a very powerful, and extremely personalised device. It pulls in Facebook, twitter, your email, your SMS and answerphone messages into a single feed.

It provides some kind of ubiquity as it goes where you go - but you have to carry the device around in your pocket.

Perhaps in our decentralised, security-conscious world, this is the only thing which is possible.

(In fact - how could I access facebook in the middle of a forest, otherwise?)

Having said that, it does of course rely on the "cloud" - the huge server space where all our data is held. This means that we're not as decentralised and security-conscious as it might seem.

Postscript: the end of "unlimited" 3g plans indicates that the mobile phone may not be so good for ubiquitous computing after all.

Aubrey House

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Link: http://www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/en-203515-aubrey-house-kensington


I used to live near this and regularly cycled past.


I used to find the view through the front gate particularly intriguing, as beyond it seemed to be a secret place of a far larger scale than the surrounding buildings all hemmed in tightly in this densely populated part of London.

Digging deeper it seems that the house dates from the 17th century - when it was the Manor House for the Notting Hill area.

It is now owned by a scion of the Tetrapak empire, the philanthropist Sigrid Rausing.

It has simply the most enormous garden - apparently the second largest private garden in London after Buckingham Palace.

You can also see it from the other side as you go down the very rural road next to Holland Park. From there it used to look rather down at heal.




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I now listen to almost all my music using Squeezebox/Napster.

With pretty much every piece of music from anyone available at any time, it makes the whole concept of an album even more redundant than before.

More useful are the playlists or automixes - the basic raw material is now just artists and tracks.

Walking the dog

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We got a dog a few months ago, and it's my daily task to take it for a walk.

Luckily we live near the Tunbridge Wells "common" http://www.twcommons.org/ - 256 acres of woodland and grassland.

This is a kind of paradise for dogs, and their walkers alike.

It's good exercise to be forced to do an hour's walk every day.

I'm noticing the changing seasons much more too. Everyday I walk through the same woodlands, and have not much to distract me from observing everything quite closely.

Penns in the rocks

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We visited this lovely house near Groombridge on the weekend.
It has lovely views and some dramatic rocks that are typical of this area.

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