Will Dean's Ideas Factory: Taking a recce at Recce – a mobile map of beauty

 

In my 18 months using an iPhone, I can count with one finger the numbers of apps that have elicited an audible gasp. That finger represents Recce – a glorious-looking new real-time 3D mapping tool.

As you can see from the picture above, it brings a graphic Sim City-like quality to mobile mapping. Allowing users to float around checking out landmarks but, crucially, also hooking up to your GPS to help you find your way around, find places to eat nearby and there's live transport info too. Unfortunately, the dinky little cars hurtling around the streets don't represent actual traffic levels (though this is something the developers are working on). The interface is incredibly clean and (on wifi at least) very quick to navigate.

Recce's game-like appearance is no coincidence – its CEO is game-industry veteran Ian Hetherington (founder of Psygnosis) and Google grad Rian Liebenberg its COO. They'll be hoping Recce can compete with Google Maps and Apple's forthcoming iOS map system.

It's not flawless though. But it is free, so you can't complain too much. So far, the map only covers central London (though it takes in 340km²) but is soon coming to San Francisco with plans for further expansion. You also have to press a separate button to get street names which, to be fair, makes the whole thing look much cleaner. The possibilities of tying an expanded Recce with a 4G phone network, increased open transport data (Transport for London is brilliant at sharing, others aren't) are breathtaking.

Download here: bit.ly/recce

Boil in the bag coffee. Nicer (and smarter) than it sounds

How do you make your coffee? At home I have a filter machine, an espresso pot and (my favourite) a little Vietnamese filter which sits atop a cup as it brews. But perhaps I'm over-thinking my morning cup.

At least that's behind the genesis of the Grower's Cup Coffeebrewer, a disposable French press which takes boil-in-the-bag quite literally. Or at least makes the ol' pint of milk straight into the Corn Flakes bag trick look a little more classy.

The technology – made by a Norwegian firm – is fairly simple, it's a bag (made of "environmentally friendly" papers) with a filter on the inside. You pour in hot water, re-seal it and then pour into your cup. You can watch a video of the bag in action at Grower's Cup's (bit.ly/coffeebag).

I'm slightly dubious about the idea. There's no doubt a desire for a decent cup of coffee on, say, a camping holiday or somewhere where the only hot caffeinated option is a murky instant coffee, but throwing away or recyling an entire bag for the sake of three mugs' worth seems a bit excessive. Especially in comparison to my little Vietnamese gizmo which, in theory at least, will last forever. You also can't put your own favoured grounds in there.

Still, it's a neat tool in the coffee-lover's armoury.

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