a curious Yankee in Europe's court

blog about living in Europe, and Italy

Chasing cyberspace — and losing

Posted on the January 27th, 2009

Even though the Internet and all the evergrowing, new technology related to it fascinate me endlessly,  I’m also left feeling intellectually and emotionally flabbergasted much of the time. While brooding about this a few days ago, a comic image of my besieged state of mind spontaneously popped up — it was of a tiny, wildly excited, yapping Chihuahua chasing cars zooming by on the street. The poor thing doesn’t stand a chance.

But after reading Mathew Honan’s Wired article last week about some of the new, Location-Aware software, I realized in a flash of hyperventilating, cognitive collapse that my racing Chihuahua self-image is simply wrong — in fact that Chihuahua has been flat out run over. Squashed!

An excerpt from Honan’s piece: (“I Am Here: One Man’s Experiment With the Location-Aware Lifestyle” Wired, Jan 19, 2009)

I wanted to know more about this new frontier, so I became a geo-guinea pig. My plan: Load every cool and interesting location-aware program I could find onto my iPhone and use them as often as possible. For a few weeks, whenever I arrived at a new place, I would announce it through multiple social geoapps. When going for a run, bike ride, or drive, I would record my trajectory and publish it online. I would let digital applications help me decide where to work, play, and eat. And I would seek out new people based on nothing but their proximity to me at any given moment. I would be totally open, exposing my location to the world just to see where it took me. I even added an Eye-Fi Wi-Fi card to my PowerShot digital camera so that all my photos could be geotagged and uploaded to the Web. I would become the most location-aware person on the Internets!

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