This morning, as a guest of ASB Bank, I headed down to the ASB Tennis Arena in Parnell to play on what they’ve called “the longest tennis court in the world” (Guinness World Records pending).
The brain child of Saatchi & Saatchi, the system is a brilliant mix of live action and technology. Standing on a tennis court in Parnell, the player can see the other half of the court, at Wilding Park in Christchurch, on a large video projection screen (the whole setup is duplicated in Christchurch).
When the serve is made, the large gantry over the net tracks a whole stack of metrics about the tennis ball in flight – this information is then beamed to Christchurch, where a ball serving machine replicates it there. When the Christchurch player returns the serve, the process is repeated but in reverse, allowing the two players to play each other, even though they are in two completely separate locations.
There is a net in front of the screen to catch the tennis balls (above) and four cameras located in the gantry track the ball as it passes underneath (below left) and the two ball serving machines (below right), which were imported from the USA and modified for this application.
Back of the large projection screen from Oceania (below)
Screenshot of the custom software in action (below) from Rush Digital
Gantry setup, up close (below)
My thanks to ASB for the invitation, and to Danu Abeysuriya, CEO of Rush Digital Interactive, for giving me a tour of all the cool tech that they’re using.
A few weeks back I was invited along to the Asus launch at the Novotel Hotel Ellerslie to see Asus’ new offerings. They had your standard tablets and laptops that nearly all the manufacturers are pumping out at the moment. I had the impression that Asus didn’t really know what was going to take off next, so they were hedging their bets by having product offerings in just about every category imaginable (the 18.4” ASUS Transformer AiO P1801 tablet/desktop running both Android and Windows 8 deserves a mention).
The Asus Taichi was the product that stuck out the most to me. It is a hybrid of notebook and tablet. Open it up and it’s your standard 11.6” notebook; close the lid and it becomes a tablet. In notebook mode, you can turn on mirror mode, so the lid mirrors what’s on the screen. The practical application of this is you could show a Powerpoint presentation to someone sitting opposite you – they would see the slides, and you could see presenter mode.
This was the one feature I was most excited about, however there is a small issue I hadn’t thought about: it would be rare for you to use the notebook with the screen set completely vertical, but you need to do this for the other person to be able to easily see their screen. Angling the screen to either yourself or your partner puts the other person at a disadvantage.
If this one feature isn’t a biggie, this is a great combo. It has a good form factor, isn’t that heavy and is well spec’d with Intel Core i7-3517U, 4GB of RAM and 256GB SSD hard-drive.
If I was being picky, it could be a little lighter, it’s too thick when closed as a tablet, and the laptop screen should be touch screen as well (it gets annoying when you’re used to the touch screen tablet, and the laptop screen isn’t). Having two touch screens on this device would increase it’s weight, thickness and price, so I can understand why these decisions were made.
All in all, a good device, and perfect if you can’t decide whether to buy a notebook or tablet. With this, you can easily have both.
Two different devices, Samsung Galaxy S3 and Samsung Galaxy S4, right next to each other, tested at Sale St (Auckland) last night.
Not too shabby at all.
This weekend I’ve been away in Rotorua speaking at a client’s conference about the custom software system we’ve designed and written for them. After shredding my fan belt on the way down (ended up missing my presentation slot as I was four hours late), it was nice to finally arrive.
There are around 150 delegates here from all over NZ, staying from Friday until Sunday. Nearly all are staying here at Rydges Rotorua – there’s all the accommodation, breakfasts, lunches plus the formal dinner that was held last night. The hotel will be making a killing out of this organisation.
For so many delegates with laptops and smartphones, wireless is a must. This is where I’m gobsmacked…
Internet here is 75cents/hour or $30 per day.
Surely free wireless is a service to provide, alongside food, tea and coffee? To expect every person here to sign up each of their devices is fanciful (the access code is tied to MAC address)? Another possible solution is to have one set fee for the conference, and everyone attending gets wireless access.
In my presentation this morning, it was annoying that while most people had laptops, they weren’t able try the demos I was doing (it would’ve taken far too long to get them all paired with their mobile phones). Why is this so hard?
It seems not all hotels/motels are ignorant to how important wireless is. Since Rydges is full, I’m staying at a motel two doors down…
They have free wireless.
I’ve organised an evening for the Geekzone regulars and not-so-regular users to catch up over a beer and food. I’m calling it Geekzone IRL (Geekzone In Real Life), and it’s on Friday 17th May at 6pm.
Only $20 for a couple beers and lots of finger foods. A big thank-you to The Data Centre for putting on a generous bar tab.
Yes I am biased, as we are having it at my cafe, Tuihana Cafe in Mt Eden. Plenty of off-street car-parks plus it’s on a couple of main bus routes/short walking distance from Kingsland/Mt Eden train stations.
Registration is here, we have a plenty of places left so sign up online (payment via credit card).