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May 20, 2009

Streamline your commute, power your walk

Posted: 04:29 PM ET

If you're in the tech world, you're probably on the move. Here are a few sites and apps to keep you going at top speed - or to help you conserve energy, depending on  your mood.

Waze: You've gotta love it anytime masses of people come together to make something cool. That seems to be what's happening with Waze, a phone application that takes traffic and road-condition info from its users and makes traffic maps that update in real-time. That could help you trim down your commute.

VentureBeat writes that Waze could be the Wikipedia of maps; but, like the user-edited encyclopedia, the program needs lots of input to work well:

The company also uses the data to build the maps themselves, which can be edited by users, becoming a Wikipedia of maps. The more data a user provides, and the more reliable they turn out to be, the more power they have in editing.

Of course, there are drawbacks: First and foremost, you need a decent user base for the data to be meaningful. Also, if those users are constantly turning Waze off to use other applications, that also stops the flow of data.

Put a spark in your step: PopularScience has a recent post on how you can charge batteries to power your iPod (or, er, Walkman?) while you walk. It seems a little tricky, but they won me over with some comedy and cool illustrations:

You're halfway through listening to "Layla" when it happens: Your MP3 player's battery dies. Normally you'd have to wait until you were at your computer to finish rocking out, but there is an easy and eco-friendly way to do it on the go.

Finally, few things on the Web move faster than Twitter, so here are a couple of new posts that will help you make more sense of the real-time micro-blogging site: Wired's GeekDad has a post of 100 fellow geeks you should follow on Twitter. And check out Twitmatic, which Wired says helps turn Twitter into a television station.

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Are you a gadgethead? Do you spend hours a day online? Or are you just curious about how technology impacts your life? In this digital age, it's increasingly important to be fluent, or at least familiar, with the big tech trends. From gadgets to Google, smartphones to social media, this blog will help keep you informed.

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