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Global Positioning Systems offer everything from hole overviews to Internet access "Shortgrass Technologies' Internet-based sports information system and financial ticker enables golfers to check college football scores on a Saturday afternoon or the price of stocks any weekday. Global positioning systems can track golf cars no matter where they are on the course, thus discovering bottlenecks and slower play. Golfers can order beverages and food en route to the turn, so golf clubs can offer more than a quick hot dog - a higher priced chicken sandwich, for instance...."

I always thought that GPS would go mainstream in automobiles first, and in a way I suppose it has, but maybe golfers will lead the real charge. I could have used a portable, library-centered GPS system myself to navigate the Chicago Public Library's Harold Washington Library when I was there last fall!

Qualcomm's Vision of the Wireless Future "When he finished, there were 20 brand-new, CDMA-based mobile handsets and devices arrayed on the table, the high-tech souvenirs of Belk's most recent trip to Hong Kong and Japan.... 'These are not PowerPoint slides,' Belk said. 'These are real devices that are already shipping in volume in Asia.' " at Business 2.0]

And there's the rub. When I do my presentations, that's all I have - pictures of prototypes or of devices not available in the U.S. Europe and Asia really are 18 months ahead of us in this area.

"Beale also discussed Qualcomm's gpsOne location technology.... It also opens the door for many new location-based services, such as traffic information and local weather forecasts. On Japan KDDI's network, there are already more than 20 location-based services available -- all of which are relatively inexpensive, costing less than $5 per month."

I'm looking forward to being able to travel and have information come to me automatically based on my location. For example, if I'm at a conference and I'm looking for a restaurant, I'd like my phone/PDA/whatever to know where I am and offer a list of nearby choices. Maybe it should tell me what movies or plays are on tonight and if there are still tickets available. You get the idea....

"Predictably, both Belk and Beale anticipate strong growth for the wireless industry as ever-more-compelling products and services become available and the industry settles on a single communication standard. How long will that take? Belk, whose career began in the personal computing business in 1983, likened the wireless industry today to the PC business of the 1980s. 'I wouldn't worry about the wireless industry yet, it's still relatively young,' he said. 'Just look how long it took the PC industry just to get to the point of standardized parallel cables.' "

Not to beat a dead horse, but the ebook industry is even younger than PCs, and PDAs have really only come into their own during the last few years. So don't count any of these technologies out just yet.

Write Here, Write Now: And you thought you were overloaded with information now, just wait. Hewlett Packard is working on a technology to let folks print messages in mid-air based on their location incorporating GPS technology. I find this stuff fascinating, even if no one seems to have thought of a good use for it yet. The first sentence of the article is right, though: "The kids are going to love this." in New Scientist via RCPL's Liblog]

When the ALA summer conference was in San Francisco in 1997, the SF Museum of Modern Art had a fascinating exhibit called Icons: Magnets of Meaning. I spent hours browsing through it, but one of the pieces that has always stuck in my mind was called @: Marking the Electrosphere . It talked about the meaning of that one little symbol. How it can define, place, and root you in the world, but at the same time let you be found anywhere. Integrated, widespread use of GPS is going to take this to a whole new level.

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