It’s interesting how we don’t seem to become immersed in finding a solution to a problem until we’ve fully experienced it ourselves, that’s what happened to me this weekend. I was looking for a way to display all the books I’m currently reading using a widget on my blog, some treasure hunting in Google later, I discovered LibraryThing.

Signing up is a no-brainer and requires no e-mail verification. Once logged in, you can begin adding books. All you need to do is search, add any tags you like and voila! If that’s not good enough you can always use the advanced search option or add books using ISBN for later modification. The books you select will then appear in your library and for which the views are customizable. Somebody tell me that’s not magic.

Now this is the interesting bit, by clicking on a book and selecting from the menu “social” will take you to another page with information compiled by other people such as reviews and ratings. You can even publish your own and have a discussion. Another feature is that information is retrieved from Amazon’s database, which means you have access to a somewhat “official” review and synopsis.

Really slick in my opinion. Did I mention that you can scan in your books using a barcode reader?

Semacode is an interesting standard which ties in with the whole ubiquitous computing theory. It allows you to encode any text into a form of barcode which can be read with Semacode software. I had seen this before but had not tried this myself until today. So I headed to and downloaded the tiny Java application. You can also use the facility online. Then typed some random text and used the corresponding application on my mobile phone, which is a Nokia 6680 (Series 60), to take a rapid shot of the barcode on the screen. Note that you might have trouble doing this on a CRT due to the refresh rate issue which causes scan lines. The application worked fine and it was incredible to see this happening. Now it’s just a matter of using the technology in everyday life.

Google Earth is an amazing application allowing you to view satellite captured images of locations on earth. Last night, I had a random thought on the possibilities of linking GoogleEarth with game software such as Microsoft’s Flight Simulator. But after some searching on Google I found out that someone had beaten me to it or something rather like it. MyFsGoogleEarth allows you to track the position of your aircraft in GoogleEarth. My idea considered the possibility of integrating GoogleEarth’s advancing imaging as part of the Flight Simulator textures on the ground. I don’t forsee Google working with Microsoft but it would certainly be a great idea if Microsoft could use it’s current work (it’s own satellite imaging) with Microsoft Flight Simulator. I haven’t played Flight Simulator since 1998, something like this could get a lot of ordinary people interested.