Archive for August, 2010

UK mag: How it Works

On my return trip from the GamesCom game convention in Cologne, I picked up some chocolate treats and magazines for the Derringdos. In Germany I found the new Kinder Joy egg. It has a white chocolate cream filling that you scoop out with a plastic tab (picture here). During my brief layover at Heathrow, I found my new favorite (or should that be favourite) magazine, How it Works. It covers almost 1000 individual science and technology subjects, in a concise and straightforward style. This issue’s short articles included Super Earths, laser power, massive mining machines and the IKAROS solar sail. Directions on how to mod a Nerf Maverick increasing its range by 60% sold me on a subscription. They have a special offer for US subscribers at the moment. Check it out here.

In Cologne for GamesCom

This week I traveled to Cologne, Germany for GamesCom, the world’s biggest video game convention. Business meetings kept me from exploring much of the city, but I did manage to visit the massive 13th century cathedral and meet up with my old friend R2. Famous for its beer, Cologne is also home to Europe’s largest underground garage. Popular Mechanics used my picture of the  Rheinauhafen Parking Tunnel to help illustrate “The World’s 18 Strangest Garages” Read their story here and check out number 11.

Travel Books vs. Travel Apps

Saturday’s Financial Times had a feature on the downturn in the guidebook publishing and the rise of travel applications. The FT likes “augmented reality” tools that let you scan the horizon with your phone’s camera and see hotels pointed out over the screen or take a snapshot of a museum’s painting to get its history. I’ve played with some of these apps and found them slow and finicky. And the the information provided isn’t usually what I’m looking for. My iPhone’s GPS map and web browser are the only apps I regularly use for travel help. Even with those, we still carry a traditional map and usually a walking tour book or two. On our summer trip to London we used Andrew Duncan‘s Favourite London Walks (we have been using his books for years) and an old copy of Walks in London, written in the late 19th century by Augustus Hare.