Skip to main content

A Rough Tech's Guide to Istanbul

Several days in Istanbul last week woke me up to the fact that Apple's iPad is not only pervasive and disruptive technology but it's increasingly ubiquitous as well. Only a matter of two years into to its production cycle as a piece of commodity electronics, it shows us the shape of things to come.

Aside from watching other tourists wandering around with their iPads held up in front of them, using its camera to take photographs of Istanbul's magnificent historical sites, my own served two specific purposes.

The first of these was having several guidebook 'apps' and interactive sites, pre-loaded with city maps. Wave goodbye to maps and guide-books, which must be a financial blow to the small army of hawkers outside Hagia Sophia, trying to make a few Turkish Lira, selling both.

There was real comfort being able to explore the old quarter of Istanbul, without any chance of becoming lost. The GPS on my iPad and my iPhone not only gave me an exact position on the city street map but helpfully pointed-out the nearest historical attraction with a direct link into either Wikipedia or the Istanbul tourist guide. Without it, I doubt I would never have discovered the fabulous subterranean cistern museum, hidden away in plain sight.

Trip Advisor is now maturing rapidly as a useful guide to just about everything the business or occasional traveller needs and of course it conveniently suggests the best and most recommended tourist locations within easy walking distance of any GPS position. This is something that restaurants and hotels in many countries desperately need to come to grips with, as they don't realise that their business can be made or killed by bad online reviews.

What comes next in the technology within the next five years is obvious. Augmented reality, either by simply viewing through the iPad or Galaxy screen and camera or through the arrival of Google-driven spectacles.

I'm anticipating to be able to visit the Top Kapi palace museum one day and point my device at any exhibit and have all the historical and item information overlaid on the screen, much like a heads-up display, as already happens on my 'Night Sky' astronomy app on my iPad.

As for what come after this, one can only imagine but in only two short years, 'Rough Guide' tourism has changed forever.

Popular posts from this blog

The Mandate of Heaven

eGov Monitor Version

“Parliament”, said my distinguished friend “has always leaked like a sieve”.

I’m researching the thorny issue of ‘Confidence in Public Sector Computing’ and we were discussing the dangers presented by the Internet. In his opinion, information security is an oxymoron, which has no place being discussed in a Parliament built upon the uninterrupted flow of information of every kind, from the politically sensitive to the most salacious and mundane.

With the threat of war hanging over us, I asked if MPs should be more aware of the risks that surround this new communications medium? More importantly, shouldn’t the same policies and precautions that any business might use to protect itself and its staff, be available to MPs?

What concerns me is that my well-respected friend mostly considers security in terms of guns, gates and guards. He now uses the Internet almost as much as he uses the telephone and the Fax machine and yet the growing collective t…

Mainframe to Mobile

Not one of us has a clue what the world will look like in five years’ time, yet we are all preparing for that future – As  computing power has become embedded in everything from our cars and our telephones to our financial markets, technological complexity has eclipsed our ability to comprehend it’s bigger picture impact on the shape of tomorrow.

Our intuition has been formed by a set of experiences and ideas about how things worked during a time when changes were incremental and somewhat predictable. In March 1953. there were only 53 kilobytes of high-speed RAM on the entire planet.

Today, more than 80 per cent of the value of FTSE 500* firms is ‘now dark matter’: the intangible secret recipe of success; the physical stuff companies own and their wages bill accounts for less than 20 per cent: a reversal of the pattern that once prevailed in the 1970s. Very soon, Everything at scale in this world will be managed by algorithms and data and there’s a need for effective platforms for ma…

Civilisational Data Mining

It’s a new expression I haven’t heard before. ‘Civilisational data mining.’

Let me start by putting it in some context. Every character, you or I have typed into the Google search engine or Facebook over the last decade, means something, to someone or perhaps ‘something,’ if it’s an algorithm.


In May 2014, journalists revealed that the United States National Security Agency, the NSA, was recording and archiving every single cell-phone conversation that took place in the Bahamas. In the process they managed to transform a significant proportion of a society’s day to day interactions into unstructured data; valuable information which can of course be analysed, correlated and transformed for whatever purpose the intelligence agency deems fit.

And today, I read that a GOP-hired data company in the United States has ‘leaked’ personal information, preferences and voting intentions on… wait for it… 198 million US citizens.

Within another decade or so, the cost of sequencing the human genome …