insideKENT Magazine Issue 61 - April 2017 - Page 158

GADGETS + TECH

THE TECHNINJA

Is this the real life or is this just fantasy ?
IMAGES OF PASTY INDIVIDUALS , TRAPPED BEHIND DRAWN CURTAINS IN THEIR HOUSES , PLAYING FIFA OR WORLD OF WARCRAFT FOR HOURS ON END , ARE TO MANY THE STEREOTYPICAL IDEA OF EVERYTHING THAT IS WRONG WITH THE WORLD . BUT THANKS TO THE WONDERS OF AUGMENTED REALITY , AND SOME NEAT LITTLE APPS , IT IS POSSIBLE TO GET OUT THERE INTO THE REAL WORLD , AND EVEN DISCOVER MORE ABOUT SOME OF THE FASCINATING PLACES THAT KENT HAS TO OFFER ! HERE ARE TWO APPS THAT THE TECHNINJA THINKS ARE WORTH PLAYING WITH .
GEOCACHING
In May 2000 , inspired by the developments in satellite GPS , Dave Ulmer , a US computer enthusiast had an idea : Why not hide a container containing some ‘ stuff ’ out in the woods and note the coordinates with a GPS unit ? Other people could look for the container , whilst adhering to the simple , but fun rules , ‘ Take some stuff , but leave some stuff ’.
Seventeen years later and geocaching ( as it became known ) has become a pastime enjoyed , not just by the geekiest of geeks , but by all sorts of people , all over the world . The addition of a website ( geocaching . com ) and of course , an app ( available on iTunes and Google Stores ) makes geocaching fun for all the family , and it is something my kids and I have enjoyed doing on many occasions .
Using your mobile device , you can plot your geocaching adventure , find where the container is stored , and then it suddenly becomes very actual-reality , as you rummage around looking for a small container full of hidden treasures . Often there is a pen and paper to record your visit ( which you can also do online ) as well as a haul of shiny things for you to select a momento from – but do remember to follow etiquette , and leave something in return !
The TechNinja recommends you download the official app from Groundspeak . It ’ s free , with the option to purchase premium membership which unlocks extra features useful for finding those pesky caches . You can get the app for Apple or Android phones .
You can find out more about geocaching at the official website : www . geocaching . com and you can download the app using your usual smartphone app download store .
INGRESS
Pokemon Go didn ' t really appeal to me . Mainly because when it comes to annoying , Pikachu is , quite frankly , right up there with Jar Jar Binks , and that shouty man from the double glazing adverts . Thankfully before there was Pokemon Go , there was a far better augmented reality game called Ingress .
Ingress is a futuristic , incredibly detailed game which is played all over the world , and involves two global teams – The Enlightened and The Resistance ( you get to choose which side you want to fight for ) capturing ‘ portals ’. These portals usually reside on significant buildings and landmarks , which means whilst playing Ingress , you get to learn an awful lot about your surroundings .
For example , I have lived in or near Folkestone in Kent all my life , but it wasn ' t until a month or two ago that I discovered a door with a plaque above it , marking it as the actual birthplace of William Harvey , one of the most famous physicians who ever lived and the discoverer of the circulatory system – and all because I was trying to hack an Ingress portal !
The best description I can give of Ingress , is that it is a mixture of geocaching , capture the flag , and the game of Reversi , with a whole bunch of clever gameplay , sci-fi references and fancy graphics thrown in for good measure . It is tremendous fun , and very sociable , with lots of sites and social media groups dedicated to it , as well as the opportunity to team up with other players and even to attend official meet-ups and events all over the world . And exercise is positively encouraged – the distance you cover counts towards progress , and whilst it is possible to play Ingress in a car , some features are disabled if the game detects you are moving faster than running pace !
Ingress is a free-to-play game , but be warned , it does consume data and battery life significantly , so be sure to switch it off when you ' re not playing ! Find out all about it at www . ingress . com or go to the apps download store on your smartphone .
The TechNinja | www . thetechninja . co . uk
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