Those Crazy Swedes!

Infosync has some great news on Nokia’s latest phones. Nokia will be releasing the 2100, 5100, 6100, 6800, 7250, and 8910i, all with a wide variety of features, including MMS, J2ME, GPRS and color screens. The one pictured here is the 6800, which according to Infosync has all the above plus SyncML and an integrated FM radio. Most radical of all though is the physical design, which has a numeric keyboard on the outside that when fliped up reveals a full (split) QWERTY keyboard with the screen in the center rotated. Go to Infosync for all the specs and pics.

The PDPal Art Project

Years ago, when I was reading up on the Situationist International (a loose confederation of brilliant, pretentious, cranky European avant garde artists/radical-types from the ’60s), I was fascinated by their ideas about urbanism, antic architecture and “psycho-geography” (the personal, emotional, libidinous sides of living space). They were fascinated by maps and the ability to use them to re-map a route (what they called the “Northwest Passage”) to a possible city: a better city, an ideal city. They would cut up maps, creating collages of psycho-geographic landscapes (usually mappings of their drunken wanderings through French cafes and bistros). Years ago, when I ran a culture club in DC, called Cafe Gaga, we experimented with some of these ideas (including the stumbling drunk part) in new urbanism and it was extremely fun and enlightening.

Now a group of artists has combined some of these ideas of emotional urbanism/the “poetry of place” into a PDA-based public art project. Participants download the PDPal software and then use it to create and annotate maps of their experiences of and ideas arising from their urban wanderings. An “urban park ranger” an avatar within the program, prompts you and encourages you to share your maps with others. You can beam to other PDPal users or upload to a “Beaming Box” at kiosks (as shown in the pic). The idea is to remap a “city of grids” into a “city of experiences.” The project will launch at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis in summer ’03 and then in NYC where they’ll be ten beaming stations available.

It’s a really cool idea. The website content has that sludgey pomo artspeak I have little patience for these days, but hopefully, one can cut through it to get to the idea, which sounds like fun.

[Thanks to Jim Leftwich]

Kustom Kase Industries

When I was a kid, people did whacky things like put neon tubes on the bottom of their hand-me-down Japanese import cars. Today, it’s all about customizing your computer to equal levels of refinement. On this site, which caters to the customizing crowd, you can read all about the latest mods in the Mods Dictonary. Heard of Appliqu├ęs, Fan Grills, Case Windows, Electro-luminescent cable (EL cable), or the infamous Hard Drive Mod (where you open up the sacred dust-free “skull” of a hard drive to replace the top plate with transparent plastic)? Totally destructive in terms of drive life and data security, it’s done for the sheer beauty of it. You can also get a drive bezel painted to match the rest of your case for a few bucks.

Heavily tweaked PC cases — the muscle cars of the 21st century!

Tablet PCs Are Coming, But Why?

Tablet PCs — Microsoft’s next big thing — are due to debut next week in New York and points around the globe. The tablet PCs are “powered” by a special version of Windows that adds handwriting recognition and touch-screen compatibility to allow users to skip the keyboard for taking notes. Many manufacturers are getting into this biz, with either a laptop version like this one from Acer with a flip around screen (pictured right) or the sans-keyboard version like this one from Electrovaya (pictured under “read more”) that’s more like a very large Pocket PC. Click “read more” for my predictions on tablet PCs…