Tomorrow, Today

It's a bright new wonderful world out there. Here are a few fascinating glimpses into the future that you won't want to miss:

Apple continues to lead the pack in innovation. The Apple iPhone will come out in 2007 with a 2 megapixel digital camera, according to the China Times. The gadget will combine Apple's wildly successful iPod digital music player with cell phone capabilities. Production begins in February, with an expected output of 500,000 to 600,000 units per month. Only one model is currently in the works.

I have not personally tried this one but it sounds enticing. Futurephone claims to offer free international phone calls to 54 countries without sign-ups or contracts. It's only free if you have unlimited long distance or nationwide long distance with your cell or local provider. If you don't, then the international long distance part of the call is free and you will just pay the rate for a domestic long distance call.

Here's a fun project for you. Called "Shirley Bassey Mixed Up", it is described as a "collaborative biography" which allows you to create illustrations from Yahoo's search engine. Also called a networked narrative, it offers you some 14 pages where you can mix and match images into a booklet suitable for printing.

Want to join an online neighborhood that has its own tattoo parlors and even its own Reuters news reporter? Surf over to Second Life, created in 2003 at Linden Labs. The community claims to have more than 950,000 players with an increase of roughly 36% each month. Basically you create your own avatars with any kind of personality, name, or physical appearance. You trade U.S. dollars for Linden dollars. Signing up is free, but you have to pay a player's fee and taxes for virtual property. It takes a bit of getting used to at first, so have patience with the interface. Basically you walk, fly, or teleport your avatar using graphics related to video games. There is even a chat feature. Note: institutions have already discovered the lure of virtual communities: Intel, Coca Cola, Microsoft and Addidas have opened "businesses" there. A newspaper has been established to circulate gossip. Rockers have announced that they are setting up virtual islands, to hold their concerts. Toyota is building virtual cars -it's a pretty wild place. (For more on alternate lives, surf over to "The You That Has No Place" at

Fortune magazine is listing ten creative ideas from small businesses for 2007. Among them are the Espresso, a machine which will provide books on demand (the New York Public Library will get their first one in February);a process to extract electricity from ocean waves;"smart sponges" that can remove greasy contaminants from stormwaters;and small turbines that will generate power from rivers. You can read about them all at

Biotracking is a mobile phone-based exhibition shown at the Brighton Photo Biennial Fringe. Images, text and sound are broadcast to your cell phone using GPS (Global Positioning System) and a new downloadable software called Socialight. Once you download the software you can use Google maps to zero in on any number of projects. See how Anna Dumitriu has tracked all sorts of flora and molds and made them into digital micrographs. And how can you resist a site that links you to the Institute of Unnecessary Research? You'll find it all at

Finally, try out the new reverse dictionary for a different kind of search experience. Put in a concept and get back words that fit. Generate a list of words that belong to a category. Solve crossword puzzles when you only know a few letters. It's all explained here:

c.Corinne Whitaker 2006