Chris Steins is co-founder and co-editor-in-chief of Planetizen.

(Google) Sketchup Now Free

USC Tower / 3-D Warehouse - Google SketchUpPublish is reporting that Google has released a free version of the popular 3-D drawing program, SketchUp, reviewed so well on TechTalk earlier by Ken (Snyder).

Touring the Infrastructure

Nice bit of writing on London's sewers starting up on Slate today.

Down in the Fleet, Rob shines his helmet lamp on a pipe. It's encrusted with something. "Liquid concrete!" he says with disgust. "This is a throwaway society. Out of sight, out of mind." People will chuck anything, he says. Flushers—wastewater operatives got their name because they used to flush river water into the system to help it flow—have found gold, jewelry, even motorbikes. But mostly they find cotton buds, condoms, and fat.

Sun(burned) - A Review of Sun's 'Environmentally Friendly' T2000 Server

Note to readers: Justin Emond is a project manager and web developer at Urban Insight, and a former IT manager for the University of Southern California's School of Theatre.

By Justin Emond
My First Experience with a Sun Server.

Sun Fire T2000 ServerI was excited when the company I work for decided to take advantage of Sun's Try and Buy program

Cities' Visionless Wireless

This came through the telecom-cities listserv by Anthony Townsend. He very succinctly summarizes the issues with municipal wireless networks. The quote below I find particularly interesting:

"Discussions about the design of today's municipal wireless networking efforts have not yet addressed the way community-created content can be solicited and integrated in the splash pages and portal sites where wireless users are greeted when they connect. We do know that cities such as Long Beach, California and business improvement districts in New York City have experimented with local content.

A Mobile Marketing Ecosystem?

Will the new urban ecosystem be wireless? And if so, will corporate American own this new ecosystem?

That's the fascinating point Jeffrey Chester makes in his new article, "The Dangers of Corporate Wi-Fi", published on and distributed through AlterNet. Chester argues that there's no such thing as a free wireless lunch:

"Consumers and public officials should have no illusions that what is being touted as a public benefit is also designed to spur the growth of a mobile marketing ecosystem, an emerging field of electronic commerce that is expected to generate huge revenues for Google, Microsoft, AT&T and many others. Soon, wherever we wander, a ubiquitous online environment will follow us with ads and information dovetailed to our interests and our geographic location."

Making Better Fake Cities

If you follow the entertainment/business news, you know that Disney bought Pixar, the digital animation company that made Toy Story, among other great movies.

A Tricorder for Mapping Geeks

This is cool, right? A gadget called ike that combines "an array of different sensors, e.g. GPS, Laser Distance Meter, Compass, Camera and operating software into a rugged hand held mobile device, for rapid data capture." Not so useful for a desk jockey like me, but talk about going off to find yourself....

Via Pruned

urban teasers

From Pew / Internet: "A new survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project finds that 45% of online American adults have taken virtual tours of another location online. That represents 54 million adults who have used the internet to venture somewhere else. On a typical day, more than two million people are using the internet to take a virtual tour."

The need to represent urban areas on-line is greater than ever, especially when we consider the impact a movie can have on a City (The Sixth Sense is Philadelphia's best example of a tourist 'push' after release).

public tech art

I'm finding this a bit late but i really like some of the projects and their potential for further exploration. "Spectropolis Mobile Media, Art and the City is a three-day event (October 1-3, 2004) in Lower Manhattan that highlights the diverse ways artists, technical innovators and activists are using communication technologies to generate urban experiences and public voice. The increasing presence of mobile communication technologies is transforming the ways we live, construct and move through our built environment.

Clean Air, Open Code

California Air Resources BoardI was interested to find this interview with Bill Welt, the Chief Information Officer of theCalifornia Air Resources Board (ARB), discussing with ARB is increasingly building models and applications using Open Source software. The interview appears on the Mad Penguin