29 May, 2009

Who’s afraid of quarantine?

Not exactly the geek things, but what technology can serve a geek who is (or will be) quarantined…

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H1N1

HEDIRMAN SUPIAN, hedirman@mediacorp.com.sg

Influenza A (H1N1) has finally arrived on our shores. If you find yourself under home quarantine, don't despair. With the help of technology and the Internet, it doesn't have to be boring, unpleasant or socially-inhibitive. You make your own fish bowl, we say.

Food

Being cooped up at home doesn't mean your culinary tastes have to succumb to whatever's available in the fridge. With the Internet, you can find the best food online.

HungryGoWhere's Gourmet Food Delivery service (www.hungrygowhere.com/singapore/food_delivery) gets us salivating. You have to call to place an order but the site allows you to enter your postal code and sort the available restaurants by distance and search through their menus if you're craving for something specific. Fish and chips? Check. Satay? Check. Risotto? Check. Chomp.

Supernature (www.supernature.com.sg) delivers organic food to your doorstep. Apart from eggs and dairy products, its online store sells specially packed boxes of fresh organic produce, for example, an "Asian box" that includes kai lan, pak choy and choy sum.

Exercise

Despite being constrained by the size of your home, you can still exercise. Although your pet hamster might disagree, treadmills are boring and passe and you can rule out burpees if it gives you nightmares of physical education lessons in school.

Get on Nintendo's Wii Fit. The Balance Board that comes with it works as a weighing scale and tracks your balance. There are plenty of balance-based games such as snowboarding or tightrope walking. You can also try boxing using the handheld controllers to simulate punches. The Wii Fit also allows you to keep track of your body mass index, chart your progress and set goals.

If you want something more intense, Electronic Arts (EA) recently launched the EA Sports Active fitness game which is compatible with the Wii's Balance Board. It comes with a leg strap that fits the Wii's nunchuk controller to track lower body movements, adding kicking and kneeing components to its cardio boxing exercise, for example.

Socialise

Update (and annoy) your contacts with what you're up to on Facebook and Twitter. Friends and family will appreciate the updates and you get to keep track of what they are doing as well.

Go a step further and use Qik (qik.com) to share live video from your phone via GPRS, 3G or WiFi connection to the Web. Qik can also notify followers on Twitter that you're streaming video. Live video is recorded, so you'll be able to embed it on your blog.

Jam

Musicians, if you're sick of playing Guitar Hero or Rock Band, you can jam online with your band or connect to musicians around the world in real time with eJamming AUDiiO (www.ejamming.com).

The service claims near zero latency, which means there's little lag when you're jamming. Up to four people can jam in one session. A Virtual Recording Studio mode lets you record your live session. Like other social-networking platforms, you can chat and send messages. But the service isn't free — a subscription costs US$9.95 ($14.50) a month or US$89.95 a year. Each download comes with a 30-day free trial — more than enough to tide you over that quarantine.

Photos

Now's the time to dust off those old photos and digitise them before they fade. Set your scanner at 300 dpi so that you get a high-quality image. Once you're done, touch up and archive the shots using Picasa (picasa.google.com). Share your pictures by uploading them on Picasa's online album. Mac users can rely on iPhoto, which comes with their computers. The latest iPhoto '09 boasts a face recognition tool, and you can publish photos directly to Facebook and Flickr.

From TODAYOnline.com, InfoTech – Friday, 29-May-2009; see the source article here.


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