Heading to Apollo Camp!

Ok folks . .. time for Apollo Camp!  I’m going to be heading out there to participate, and some of our G3 team members from mediaFORGE are going to be there with me.  If you aren’t yet familiar with Apollo, you ought to be.  I’m very impressed with what Adobe is doing, and we are fully committed to Flash, Flex, and Apollo development.

Apollo, IMHO, is going to truly alter web applications beyond what Ajax has done … and I’ve been working with Ajax for quite some time.  My issues with Ajax are that the most popular web properties on the Internet will not allow you to embed Ajax in their pages … but they’ll allow Flash!  Apollo now adds to that since it allows the Flash applications to be “installed from the web” … so now cross-platform applications can be created and distributed through embedded web objects.

I’m really looking forward to this evening … and if you’re there, we might even demo some of the projects that we’ve been working on!

Microsoft Robotics

I know that some people are going to say that this is old news, but today I came across some very cool software from Microsoft … the Microsoft Robotics Studeo.  Where the heck have I been?  For all of my life I have loved the interaction between computers and the outside world.  I remember writing my first code that controlled a floppy disk drive, and it was fun to use keyboard commands to control the heads … stepping them back and forth and returning them to track 0.

I came across this offering from Microsoft while looking for information about White Box Robotics back in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  I’m going to be taking a vacation back to Pittsburgh this summer, and am lining up various things to do.  I want to stop over and check out what White Box is doing, as they are looking pretty impressive on the level of research and development that they are doing for “home” robotics.

White Box Robotics was founded in 2001 by Thomas
Burick to fulfill the vision of changing the world one robot at a time.

We remain committed to the ongoing development of the
PC-BOT, a new class of networked mobile robots that delivers exceptional value
and ease of use. This achieved by leveraging mature PC technologies, adopting
open standards and creating a plug and play environment that allows just about
anyone to build exciting PC-based robots.

The White Box Robotics
laboratory is based in Pittsburgh PA and is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of
Frontline Robotics Inc. Thomas continues to pursue his vision as the company’s
Chief Robotics Officer and now is part of a new enlarged team of
multi-disciplinary and highly experienced engineers. This team delivers the
depth and breadth to catapult this technology into the rapidly emerging market
for personal, commercial and security robotic applications.

What I really like about this is that there are a number of vendors all working together to create some standards for the platforms.  The Microsoft Robotics Studeo press release lists an impressive group of companies and researchers in the robotics field.

I’m reading … and I think I’m going to download this for my new laptop tonight!  Cool to see robotics making some good jumps!

Mass media and virtual worlds . ..

I have been a long believer that the mass media – television and radio – are still poised to be the dominant powers of the Internet … if they can let go of their fear of the Internet.  Their current position reminds me of the stories of the railroads way back when … ignoring and afraid of the airlines.  If the railroads had recognized that they were in the transportation business … they could have had it all!

It seems that still to this day, TV and Radio are all around us, constantly pushing their content at us, and – sadly or not – the masses still flock to it.  Millions of people across the country are scheduling their lives around their “favorite” TV show that they can’t get enough of.  Even the news draws millions of people to learn more about all of the events that occurred around the nation, and in their local area, they they *must* know about.

With this huge audience, this medium is still, IMHO, the most untapped mechanism to get people to the Internet.  It is the *only* way that you can impact so many people – at nearly the same instant – with some message or meme.  TV was the original way that people or companies were “slashdotted” … when something runs on TV there might be hundreds of thousands of immediate responses.

This article demonstrates a powerful TV brand utilizing it’s communications vehicle to move people to a new medium on the Internet … and to go beyond the “reality” TV of today, and into virtual worlds.  MTV is now creating a television program, that is then being used to drive people into their online virtual world.  This, to me, is a prime example of good marketing … using the power and reach that you have through TV to then create awareness and drive the people to your web properties.  Nice!

MTV launches ‘Virtual Hills’ based on There.com platform. Blog: MTV Networks on Monday announced the launch of Virtual Hills, a new custom virtual world created using the There.com platform,… [CNET News.com]

Sending E-mail from Cingular SMS Text Messages

When I got my new Nokia E70, one of the things that really disappointed me was the different way that e-mails were sent from the text messaging. No matter what I did, I was unable to figure out how to send an e-mail using the “basic” SMS text message. Instead, I was forced to use the “multimedia message” … which I quickly found out was being charged to me per message, even though I was just sending simple text. 🙁

So why do I really care about this? Well … I have formed the habit of using SMS text to e-mail as a way to send reminders to myself that I later will find in my e-mail inbox! If I am out and about, and away from my computer, I can quickly jot a message on my phone and e-mail it to myself. When I get back in front of my laptop there are my reminders sitting in my inbox! Also … I’m working on a cool SMS text messaging site that I have had under construction for years now … and I am sending messages to it also … for purposes to be announced soon. 🙂

With my older Nokia phone, I could easily send a basic SMS text message, and specify an e-mail address … the phone handled dispatching a properly formatted message to the SMS e-mail gateway at Cingular and everything worked. With the E70, although I am able to add e-mail addresses to my contacts, when sending a basic SMS text message, I am unable to pick an e-mail address to send to! Instead … I have had to use the costly “multimedia message” format, and then I get a pick list of numbers and e-mail addresses to send to.

Tonight, while experimenting more with my phone I realized something … that I could reply to a e-mail that was sent to my phone as a “basic” SMS text. If I could do that, then I figured that there must be a way to properly format a basic SMS text to send as e-mail. By searching Google, and remembering some obscure settings, I finally figured it out. So for anyone interested here it is:

To send a SMS text message to an e-mail address on the Cingular network:

  • Address the message To: “0000000000” (ten zeros)
  • Write the text with the format “{e-mail address}({subject}) {body of e-mail}

Now the exact format has to be followed. An example would be:

joe@somedomain.com(This came from my phone) I figured this out!

The key points in this are that the e-mail address and subject are separated from the body of the message by a space! Do not put a space after the e-mail address … it must be the e-mail address, then the subject – in parenthesis – with NO space between them. Then a space before the body of the e-mail message. If you want to, you can leave out the subject and the parenthesis, and just get a message with no subject.

Now I do have to admit that I am still very disappointed with Nokia, in that I can not find how to get the e-mail address from a contact to appear in the text message … so I end up having to type this EVERY time. But the cost of these messages is included in my plan … so it’s worth the extra effort!