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Mon, Mar. 14th, 2005, 10:20 am
A turning point

I must renew my efforts to stick it to the man. I got impressed by a shopping center over the weekend. I'll admit that I was impressed from a geek perspective (the technology involved in the car park and in mapping the center itself, the layout and asthetics too) but still, I feel ashamed. Especially since I'd spent the whole car ride out there ranting at metalrabbit that only THE MAN got excited about new shopping centers and THE MAN wanted us to be impressed too and that by being excited about it was doing THE MAN's work.

Mon, Mar. 14th, 2005 11:04 am (UTC)

I'd like to hear more details of the things that excited you. I was there the weekend before last, I'm assuming there is Dundrum. I didn't check the car park but heard there was some nice technology in use. The actual centre was thronged with thousands of mouth-breathers so I didn't really get a chance to properly evaluate the structure.

Mon, Mar. 14th, 2005 11:28 am (UTC)

Okay then:
The carpark is cool because:
When you arrive at the ticket machine it scans your reg plate. When you park and leave your car it knows where you parked and obviously keeps an eye on it - so if you leave your lights on, it knows and an alert is put over the PA system. When you pay for your ticket it prints the location of your car on the ticket. These are all relatively simple applications of existing technology but I've never seen them before and it seemed quite a clever use of them.

The main center itself isn't quite so impressive but regardless, there are booths scattered all over the place that let you find shops based on category or name. Once you select the shop it is highlighted in red on a map. I'd have liked it if the machines were smart enough to figure out your current location based on which booth you were using and draw an arrow between you and the shop you wanted.

Apart from that, the design is quite nice. Most of the elevators are flat instead of stepped, the whole place is unusually well lit (but not blindingly so), theres plenty of space for walking around and a minimum of little booths sitting in the way all the time.
the only thing I'd fault is that some areas were bin-less and there wasn't a seat to be found that wasn't in a food area. Like I said before though, it was the incorporation of little techy tricks that impressed me most.

Mon, Mar. 14th, 2005 11:58 am (UTC)

It's also ridiculously hot. It's t-shirt weather, only indoors. The aircon really doesn't seem to work.

Mon, Mar. 14th, 2005 12:29 pm (UTC)

Yeah, I was in Game for a few minutes and I thought I was going to die. Even in boots (which was the only shop in the whole place I could get a bite to eat without a ten minute queue for a crappy sandwich [1]) the chilled drinks cabinet was straining and the contents only barely cool.

[1] Listening to some tool querying each potential sandwich ingredient in turn. I mean JESUS! its a sandwich, not some gastronomic extravaganza.