Whilst it is possible to place a 'snoop' on every street corner, it is costly and impractical. This technology takes away that barrier. What I'm more concerned about is the mis-interpretion of the data.
For example, for a while I used to regularly drive into a known prostitution area of the local town and exit with a young lady in my car.... it just so happened that I was collecting my girlfriend (now wife) from her University evening class. Place this snippet of mis-information into a database, and it could seriously affect my ability to get a government/classified job - and I might not even be given the reason as to why I am being declined, so as I could challenge it.
People dont give a shit how a structurally sound a bridge is constructed either, only a tiny tiny % of its users do..
Yes, but it's those tiny tiny % who either choose to work at Google or support the community around these 'cool' devices. If those people walk away the devices are doomed to failure, regardless of the 'common man'.
The key to good multi-monitor support is render each screen properly, and not just treat them as a super-wide planar monitor. Each screen should be treated as a pane of glass looking into the virtual world behind.
This forum thread does a good job of explaining how this can work:
Generally the real benefit is only seen with 1st person views.
So all in all, yes it looks bad, but in actuality the box did its job!
But the contents of the box is no longer performing it's function... minor as it might be, one presumes that it's not there just for the hell of it. And that's not including the minor inconvience of spewing smoke and scaring the paying customers.
You picked a bad analagy there... our 42" DLP TV has never been connected to an aerial/cable feed and we couldn't be happier (programming content is so bad these days I can't understand why anyone would put up with it).
Technically the GPLv3 is a EULA, it requires the _user_ of the software to do things. GPLv2 is only in action if you are distributing the software.
In Canada it is permitted to listening in on _Analogue_ radio signals, providing that the information is not used in action of a crime and is not re-broadcast/told to others.
However listening _Digital_ transmissions are _NOT_ permitted, so in fact Google did break Canadian law by receiving the said data, even if by mistake. They would be extremely unwise to have done/do anything with data-mining the data.
PS. As people are generally stupid, I have to point out I am not a lawer and could be completely mistaken on my view of reality.
Let's just assume it actually works as they say and there isn't some easy way to link the random ID the real phone.
Don't know about you, but I have a habit of sleeping in my own bed every night, so the fact that each day is allocated a random tag is irrelevant. The last few lat/long logs in the 'previous day' will be the same lat/long logs in the 'next day'. Munge
Why not a 2D barcode, etched or pin'ed into surface?
DataMatrix (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datamatrix) can store upto 2335 alpha/3116 digit in a single 144x144 matrix including some pretty robust error checking, they can be 'stacked' in groups of 16. Whilst not easy, these can be decoded by hand and given a 'global standard' it is highly likely that some form of automated decoder would survive whatever disaster you are imagining.
PS. anything that is a 'visual representation' should not be used as a security token, as it can easily be replicated.
As well as all the previously mentioned objects (moon/planents/etc.) you could consider man made stuff as well including ISS, satelite 'flashes', radio beacons from satelites.
There's a real time 'calculator' here:
These would help you students understand orbits.... even just a simple GPS reciver which shows which satellites are above you would be cool.
I'm suprised no-one else has mentioned it, but VLC has had streaming capabilities for a long time.
You can also use 'a big fat pipe' and get some really high quality images.
Just one comment... battery life. If each user's cell phone had to relay messages on behalf of the 'mesh' it would probably be flat in not much time.
The HAM radio community already have active emergency planning groups and ideas about setting up disaster communications, the most important aspect is to moderate what makes it onto the airwaves. Watching streaming video of the disaster is probably not needed when a simple broadcast SMS would do.