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On-demand weather: 'For snowfall, press 1'

  • This week's 5 best innovations and ideas!
  • Snow falls on street when you dial a number or check-in
  • E-book reveals chapters only at novel's real-world locations
On-demand weather: 'For snowfall, press 1'

Editor's Note: Karyn Lu is Turner Broadcasting's manager of New Media Insights & Inspiration. Each week, she scouts out amazing innovations, cutting-edge technology and, well, just really awesome stuff and shares them right here. Before it goes mainstream, it's going to be one of her favorite 5 Things From the Future!

1. How magical would it be to “order” snow on demand? As an Atlanta resident who grew up in the Midwest and Northeast, I really miss snow flurries during our balmy Southern winters sometimes. This season, a London-based creative agency has made winter a little more magical for pedestrians on Rivington Street. Passers-by are encouraged to call a number or check in via Foursquare to order up some on-demand snow (magic provided by clever software, electronics and five snow cannons mounted on the roofs of the street’s buildings). Furthermore, a snowfall would be accompanied by Dan Martin’s “Let It Snow.” Will someone install this in Atlanta already, please?

2.The Silent History” is like a story and a scavenger hunt wrapped up in one. Check out this new serialized iPad novel, which gives you short excerpts each day, but reserves additional content to be unveiled only when you physically travel to specific real-world locations (content unlocks when you’re within 10 meters of pinned destinations specified by the story and the app). I love it when a traditional medium teams up with technology to give birth to brand new innovations like this one.

3. If you’re an avid Instagram user like me, do you ever find yourself looking at photos of fun events that you just didn’t know about? Now, with a new app aptly called “Now,” you never have to miss out again. "Now" essentially turns Instagram into a social planning site by telling you when cool things are happening in your neighborhood: “Think of it as a free, live city guide.” You can even search for events by categories such as food, art or concerts. It seems like such an obvious use for Instagram, doesn’t it? Now you never have to feel like you’re missing out again.

4. Here’s a lovely effort out of the Netherlands within the sustainability trend. Rather than throwing all of your trash away, certainly there are some things (e.g., old books, toys, utensils) that others in your community might be able to reuse and recycle? In the Netherlands, Goedzak is a garbage bag that is literally transparent, so that your neighbors can see what’s inside -– and take it away if they want to. If no one claims the freebies, the bags get collected with the rest of the trash. But as they say: One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

5. Kit Kat is supporting the de-teching trend this week with its “Free No Wi-Fi Zone” installation, aimed at helping people “take a break” from online connectivity. The zone takes the form of a red outdoor bench that blocks off Wi-Fi signals within a 5-meter radius, encouraging people to disconnect and “enjoy the simpler things -- such as newspapers, hardcover books and actual conversations.” In a world where 52% of us admit to pretending to use our mobile phones to avoid awkward situations with other human beings, I think being forced to disconnect every once in a while can be a great thing.

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