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The Organic City [iTunes]http://www.theorganiccity.com/wordpress/Museum Podcast Tours [iTunes]http://www.podtrip.com/english.htmlGarmin: What is GPS? [pdf]http://www.garmin.com/aboutGPS/Cultural Tourism DC: Historic Neighborhoodshttp://www.culturaltourismdc.org/homepage2549/index.htmWalking by Henry David Thoreauhttp://www.bartleby.com/28/15.htmlJazz legend and cautionary tale Chet Baker used to regale audiences with his smooth vocals on the Jimmy McHugh standard, “Let’s Get Lost”. Well, getting lost is getting harder to do these days, particularly with the exponential rise in way-finding services, aided in many instances by the global positioning system (GPS). Recently, another advance in such technologies was made, and not surprisingly, it was part of a collaborative effort between three Japanese companies and a firm based in the United States. With the use of specially-equipped cell phones and satellite-based navigation, users can essentially “point” the phone at a given landmark (such as a hotel or a historical marker), and the phone will pull information from the Internet about any given feature of the built environment. Currently, the technology is only available in Japan, but this technology has a rather remarkable degree of accuracy, which can ease navigation and information-gathering in dense urban locales. Of course, there is still a great deal to be said for just wandering around, but for those who find themselves unnerved by such activities, these devices may prove quite useful.The first link will take users to a news story about this new piece of way-finding technology offered in the International Herald Tribune this past Wednesday. The second link leads to the Organic City homepage. Here visitors can download podcasts that offer interesting neighborhood tours of various parts of Oakland. The third link whisks users away to a very fine page that provides access to a host of museum podcast tours, including those created for the Burlingame Museum of Pez Memorabilia and The Delta Blues Museum. The fourth link provides a concise explanation of what GPS is, as well as its importance. The fifth link provides access to information about some of Washington’s culturally and historically important neighborhoods, including Foggy Bottom and Lafayette Square. The final link leads to Henry David Thoreau’s well-known panegyric to the importance of peripatetic wandering titled simply: “Walking”. Thoreau took his walking seriously, a passion that is evident in this comment that appears early on in his remarks: “I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits, unless I spend four hours a day at least,-and it is commonly more than that, -sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements.” Strong stuff, and words to live by.
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