“Utah! Get me two!”

Since the emergence of Google Maps, some very cool sites have been popping up which take advantage of Google’s superior mapping technology. Since I am soon going to be relocating to the Washington, D.C. area from Michigan, one of my favorites is this one which combines Craig’s List, a collection of housing classified ads (which is a great site in itself), with Google Maps so that as you’re reading the ad you can also see where the property is located on the map. Google Sightseeing is another cool site which takes advantage of Google’s ability to show you an aerial photograph of the area on the map. Chicagocrime.org uses Google Maps to show visitors where recent crimes have occured within the city of Chicago, searchable by location as well as type of crime committed.

Linked on Fark recently was this video of an insanely cool radio-controlled boat/plane thing. The guy who made it is calling it a “Hydro-Foam” and it apparently uses a very high power-to-weight ratio along with a very skilled operator to pull off some crazy moves on water, on land, and in the air. The smart money says that it will be this year’s Tickle-Me Elmo.

nLite is a very useful tool which allows a user to customize a Windows installation CD so that various unwanted features (such as Windows Messenger, Outlook Express, IE, etc.) can be removed. nLite also allows you to integrate Service Packs, drivers, and hotfixes onto the bootable CD, as well as an “unattended setup” feature which allows you to pre-select all of the various options Windows Install normally throws at you so that you can lounge by the pool with a dacquiri and return to a completed installation.

Also, I highly recommend Tom’s Hardware Guide’s Windows in the Living Room piece. It is a two-parter that takes you through the ins and outs of Windows XP Media Center Edition as well as the pre-made living room friendly (horizontal and fanless) systems that are available. With a Windows Media Center PC, you gain all the functionality of a TiVo (recording TV, pausing live TV, advanced program guide) plus DVD burning, the ability to watch downloaded TV shows and movies on your living room TV, the ability to play your MP3 collection on your living room stereo, and a lot more. A Windows Media Center PC can also be used as a media server and serve up tv shows, movies, and music to other TV’s and stereo systems in your home by using a Media Center Extender, or with a special adapter you can use an Xbox as an extender. Combined with BitTorrent and a broadband internet connection, we are getting very close to an “on-demand” world where you can watch Seinfeld episode #902 “The Voice” or pull up The Stones’ Beggar’s Banquet, or catch last week’s Champions League match you missed all in your living room with one remote. Do you want to see if a friend is signed on to AIM? Pause the live basketball game and use your wireless keyboard and mouse to send a quick hello to your friend doing 12 to 20 for larceny. Things really get interesting when you combine a Media Center PC with one of the portable Media Centers which are now becoming available such as Creative’s Zen Portable Media Center. With one of these puppies, you can watch last night’s episode of Desperate Housewives while Amtraking to visit your baby daddy.

Czech this out. It’s teh funny.

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