Sneakers That Vibrate to Lead You Around Cities You’re Visiting

Barefoot and Raptured
Barefoot and Raptured

Hmmm. What’s the privacy implication? But I’d be moderately interested in trying version 3 or 4 of this concept…

Imagine if you could explore Europe’s greatest cities without having to constantly look down at your phone to make sure you’re on course to your next destination. U.K.-based regional airline easyJet is trying to solve that problem, at least in theory, with a new pair of internet-connected sneakers that signal to wearers when to turn left or right by vibrating underneath the respective foot. This way, sightseers’ heads can stay up, taking in the surroundings while they walk, without losing their way.  The shoes buzz twice to indicate a wrong turn, thanks to a connection to Google Maps via Bluetooth, and easyJet’s proprietary app. They also adjust to provide a new route if a user veers intentionally off course. Upon arriving at the destination, both sneakers will buzz. 

(click here to continue reading An Airline Made Sneakers That Vibrate to Lead You Around Cities You’re Visiting | Adweek.)

Shoe Sine Up=In
Shoe Sine Up=In

Reading Around on August 1st through August 3rd

A few interesting links collected August 1st through August 3rd:

  • The Unofficial Thomas Pynchon Guide to Los Angeles – Little known fact: Thomas Pynchon, the paranoid poet of the information age, is LA’s greatest writer. To be sure, Los Angeles—whose aerial view he likened to a printed circuit board—has always been central to the elusive writer’s weird weltanschauung, his hallucinogenic stir-fry of Cold War hysteria, high tech anxiety, and low-brow pop-culture references. But did you know he actually lived there in the ’60s and early ’70s, while writing Gravity’s Rainbow, the Moby-Dick of rocket-science novels? His latest effort, Inherent Vice, is an homage to those bygone days, plus something no one expected from the notoriously private author: a semiautobiographical romp. Set in the twilight of the psychedelic ’60s, Inherent Vice is stoner noir, a comic murder mystery starring a detective who—like stories of Pynchon himself—smokes bales of weed, obsesses over unseen conspiracies, and relishes bad TV. And if you map the novel against Pynchon’s life in LA, it really does tie the whole room together.
  • Las Vegas 1953.jpg
  • Roger Ebert’s Journal: Archives The Greatest Movies Ever Made – But to quibble with specific titles, as I said, is a waste of time. We look at these lists for what we find on them, not what we don’t find. That’s why my Great Movies have never been a ranking, but a Collection, assembled in no particular order.

    Any list of great films helps breaks the hammer-lock of box office performance that grips too many American moviegoers. I can’t tell you how many people responded to my attack on “Transformers” by telling me how much money the movie was grossing, as if that had the slightest relevance. A great movie acts like a window in our box of space and time, opening us to other times and other lands. The more windows we open, the better.


  • If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger,There’d Be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats: Seminal Image Friday #1:Frames Within the Frame (Part One) – some great images here. Cinematography is an art form worth celebrating

Dempster Bike Ride

Took the opportunity to get dropped off at a forest preserve on Dempster near Lehigh Road. From there, biked home. The most challenging part was getting from Devon (where the park ended) to the lakefront park. There really isn’t a good route, especially on a busy Saturday afternoon. There were some streets with bike lanes, but Chicago drivers only begrudgingly acknowledge bike lanes, and bikes, so resorted to pedalling on the sidewalks sometimes to avoid being run over. Not ideal; for all of Chicago’s self-proclaimed bike friendliness, there are lots of areas of the city that are downright bike-unfriendly.

Also make the mistake of trying to go east on Devon: ended up on a 4 lane bridge just east of Milwaukee Avenue that had absolutely no shoulder, no sidewalk, and no mercy. Made it about halfway across before chickening out, and limping back to reverse course. Scary.

Beautiful along the lakefront of course, and surprisingly not that crowded. Must have been fortuitous timing. Not so good timing, though, when I ended up on the Michigan Avenue bridge (one side closed, making it even more of a cluster), merged in with the million shoppers on the Million Dollar Mile. Yikes, bad planning on my part. There really isn’t that good of a route from the lakefront bike path to the West Loop: next time perhaps I’ll try zipping over to Wells Street sooner.

Dempster back to West Loop

Widget powered by EveryTrail: GPS Geotagging [click to embiggen the map and gawk at the photos]
Home to a stint in our personal sauna, shower, and glass of wine. Wish I had time to take this long of a bike ride every day…

First Bike Trip of 2009

I realized I hadn’t been on my bicycle since last year’s accident. Last weekend, we went to an art opening that was near the outrageously large pothole that caused last year’s spill: consequently I was determined to jump on at least a quick ride as soon as possible. Prove to myself I had no residual fear of biking in the city. Turned into an 8 mile excursion – I didn’t go very fast because I am woefully out-of-shape1, but no matter. Utter bliss. Didn’t bring my iPod, wore a helmet, still was delightful to cruise through alleys and streets. Sunday is a good day to bike in the city, traffic is significantly reduced, at least in my neighborhood.

Here is the route as reported by EveryTrail’s iPhone application:

(click to embiggen, natch)

First bike trip of 2009

Widget powered by EveryTrail: GPS Geotagging
I took some photos with my D80, will post those later at Flickr.

  1. wine belly especially []

EveryTrail test

Tested out a GPS iPhone application called EveryTrail. Merits further tests.

The application seems pretty accurate: I didn’t follow this exact path, but 95% is close enough. All you do (once you have set up an account) is launch the program, give your trip a name, and then start walking. Every nth seconds, EveryTrail checks in, logs your location via GPS until you tell it to stop.

West Loop photostroll at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail:GPS Geotagging

Urban Abstraction 0576


found this New Yorker cartoon from a few years ago. More funn... on Twitpic

update: Couldn’t stand being in the office, ended up here somehow.

Caldwell woods

Widget powered by EveryTrail: GPS Geotagging

Operation Crooked Code

EveryBlock is making a very cool news-related mapping project:

In May 2008, 15 people — including developers, contractors and city inspectors — were arrested on bribery charges as part of a federal probe called “Operation Crooked Code.” These people were involved with exchanging cash and other benefits in return for various Chicago permits and city services, acccording to U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald.

Following our philosophy of identifying news near your block, we at EveryBlock have identified the specific addresses mentioned in Fitzgerald’s complaints and mapped them here, for your exploration. Included are the locations of the buildings in question and where alleged bribes occurred.

[From Special report: Operation Crooked Code | EveryBlock Chicago]

Side note: I strongly suspect our building also involved crooked City of Chicago Building Inspectors – too many non-compliant code items have been discovered (electrical conduit wrong size, unmarked electric boxes, non-compliant plumbing, air-conditioning not installed, roof installed sans insulation, yadda yadda) – unfortunately, our building was rehabbed in 1996, and I don’t know how to track down those kinds of historic city records.

Individual entries read like a bad movie

On the morning of June 6, 2007, CW1 met with agents at the briefing location. Agents gave $500 cash to CW1 to pay a bribe to VALENTINO for the Garfield project.5 The money was photocopied and placed in an envelope in the presence of agents. An audio recording device was placed on CW1. At approximately 9:30 am, CW1 was driven by agents to the Dunkin Donuts located at Washington and Wells to meet with VALENTINO. At approximately 9:35 am, surveillance agents videotaped VALENTINO entering the Dunkin Donuts. Due to the location of VALENTINO and CW1 inside of the store, surveillance agents were unable to observe CW1 and VALENTINO during the meeting. Surveillance agents were not able to videotape VALENTINO leaving the Dunkin Donuts following the meeting due to their position but did videotape VALENTINO walking down the street away from the Dunkin Donuts a short time after the meeting. At the conclusion of the meeting, CW1 was picked up by agents and taken to the briefing location. CW1 informed agents at the debriefing that CW1 had delivered the envelope containing $500 cash to VALENTINO for the favorable zoning inspection for the Garfield property. The meeting was audiorecorded, and I have reviewed the recording. The conversation was brief and primarily personal in nature.