More updates from Salzburg. Here is a….ok, I don’t know the name for this. It appeared to be an interactive game in the toilets at Hanger7. I’ll have to investigate exactly what it is next time I’m there..but it seems like a way to draw and post a message…from a toilet.
I post this here in case Ben Bachmair reads it, so I can support his assertion that toilets truly are strange in Salzburg.
Despite it being a building containing models of planes and fast cars, Hanger7 is actually a pretty interesting place and architectural design, and has cool bogs.
This is from one of the bridges over the Salzach. Lovers attach padlocks on the wire bridge, which is very sweet indeed. Not much else to comment on this. It is what it is.
I include the next one in response to something I saw Mol Famau in North Wales last week. It seems that while walking in the lovely Clwydians you can access some sort of podcast historical and cultural guide to the area on a phone or MP3…to be honest, I didn’t investigate this as I really can’t believe that nature can be improved on by anything synthetic.
When I saw this tour group here today it made me think that a human guide will always be better, in my humble opinion, than anything accessed technologically. This includes the new apps described in an article I read recently on ‘augmented reality’ – which if you don’t know is something that’s getting nerdy-techy people very excited, such as the people who appear in this video link about the concept: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-16387833
Augmented reality is promoted as the next big thing after virtual reality. In short, you point your smartphone at something, GPS and digital compasses place your position and determine your direction, the camera reads an image, and wireless signals load your image with information from online sources, uploaded by others.
It’s an interesting concept and has its uses, and in a recent article on this it was sold in terms of ‘conquering’ or enhancing the experience of nature (e.g. pointing a Smartphone at a mountain range would tell you their names, their heights, perhaps different routes up and down…in short, practical information).
I can also imagine ‘AR’ being quite useful walking through a foreign city, and acting as a guide, telling you about architecture or sites of historical incident. Nevertheless, as in the above image, could it really supplement a real human being with all that they bring to such an experience?
I find the idea of classifying everything and knowing everything about the world around you somewhat dull. Mystery, wonder and unknowing and a quest for discovery are tantalising parts of growth and human experience. A Smartphone takes something away from that by giving you limitless, continual intensive, and sometimes unwanted, information (much like going anywhere with my Dad and being subject to a constant monologue of encylopedic data). Do I want that when drifting through a new city, or crossing a mountain range? Possibly…it’s there for some, and not for others…
Voltaire said: “nature abhors a vacuum”…this is being fulfilled with the knowledge our species provides, and technology is a means to communicate that.
Augment, of course, means to ‘better’ something. Is it a better thing to use technology to entertain and inform us in environments where we might yearn escape from knowing? Consider the padlocks in the photo above. Part of their charm is in the secrecy of who placed them there. SmartPhones are not so smart, but perhaps – in fact – just a little bit cocky.