Visit the world’s most advanced supermarket

One of my favorite things to do when traveling abroad is stop at the local grocery store for a quick browse. Usually it’s a quaint reproduction of the mega markets I’m used to back home, with funky products and even funkier labels that seem quite strange to the passing foreigner.

But the METRO group in Germany are going for a different feel with their Future Store market, where shoppers are greeted by a rolling robot and mobile phones are used to make purchases. The BBC’s Steve Rosenberg recently stopped in the Future Store and brought back this video of his experience.

The Future Store, with its “intelligent” meat freezer and automatic wine-tasting machine (which limits you to 6 small samples, naturally) all seems a bit convoluted and dated, like someone designed it based on what they thought the year 2000 would be like back in 1984.

For example, customers must have software installed on their cell phone in order to scan a product they wish to purchase. The phone stores all the scans, then displays a final barcode when the shopping is done. That barcode is then fed into an ATM-like machine that’s used to pay. Wouldn’t it make more sense to have an “intelligent” shopping cart that either scans the items automatically, or has a manual scanner built in? The use of a cell phone here seems redundant, and adds an extra layer of special technology that limits who can shop at the store.

The most advanced grocery store on the planet (according to the Germans, at least) is located in Rheinberg, Germany if you’re up for a visit.

Steve Carell to backpack through Europe in his next movie?

I was lost deep in a clicktrance this morning when I stumbled on IMDb’s listing for an “Untitled Steve Carell Project” due out in 2010. The synopsis reads,

“A group of middle-aged friends embark on the European backpacking trip they never took after college.”

Unfortunately, this is all the information I could find. One IMDb commentor thinks this will be a film adaptation of the popular kids book Where’s Waldo?, but I’m not so sure.

What do you think?

Amazon’s Kindle: Where are all the guidebooks?

This weekend, I broke down and bought a Kindle — Amazon’s eBook reader. The benefits are obvious: the ability to store over 200 books in the on-board memory (with an expandable SD slot), E Ink for paper-like, easy-on-the-eyes reading, and instant access to thousands of titles from Amazon.com.

While the concept of an eBook reader is not new, the Kindle’s brothership with the world’s largest book store makes it revolutionary.

In short: this thing is a book-loving traveler’s dream. No longer will you have to carry around multiple books on your next trip. If you’re traveling within the U.S., simply use the Kindle’s built in Sprint EVDO Internet access to order new books instantaneously; if you’re traveling abroad, the Sprint connection doesn’t work, but you can still order the book from any computer connected to the Internet, and transfer it to your Kindle via the included USB.

But there’s one market that is bizarrely void of any Kindle coverage: guidebooks. Imagine the possibilities — no longer lug around a thick, heavy Lonely Planet: Wherever. With the Kindle, you can buy your destination’s guidebook from all the top publishers — Lonely Planet, Fodor’s, Moon, whatever — for a fraction of the cost, and store them in one small, light, easy to use gadget. Plus, the Kindle gives you the ability to search for phrases in your entire library, so pulling up all the information from every guidebook on Ulaanbaatar, for instance, is only a few button clicks away.

How come guidebook publishers aren’t taking advantage of this?

Postcard of the Week: Colosseum Eyes and Kiss

Instead of spotlighting an image from the Gadling Flickr pool on Fridays, we’re going to highlight one from the pool of contributors’ photos (including you!) from Everywhere‘s Photos. Today’s image is from contributor Agon Syla. He writes,

“Chilling in the grass fields in front of the great Colosseum in Rome, Italy; where this friend of mine bought these wonderful glasses and wanted to kiss Rome and Colosseum at the same time, of course with her new glasses on.”

If you’d like to submit an image to be considered for Gadling+Everywhere’s Postcard of the Week, please sign up for a free membership on Everywhere and start uploading! Every Friday, we’ll choose one to spotlight.

Postcard of the Week: Dolores Park, BYOB

Starting today, we are teaming up with our friends over at the awesome Everywhere Magazine to bring you a weekly Postcard. Instead of spotlighting an image from the Gadling Flickr pool on Fridays, we’re going to highlight one from the pool of contributors’ photos (including you!) from Everywhere. Today’s image is from contributor Sloan Schang. He writes,

“I happened to be in San Francisco during a rare run of 90+ degree days. In this city where air conditioning is rarer than Republicans, a superheated weekday is almost the equivalent of a Midwestern snow day. Computer servers were crashing, commuter trains were backing up, and at least one man walked downtown streets muttering, ‘It’s too hot…too hot…we’re screwed.’ But at 4:00 on Friday afternoon, people poured from stuffy old office buildings and sweltering Victorian flats to revel in the breeze and views of city oases like this, the Mission District’s Dolores Park.”

If you’d like to submit an image to be considered for Gadling+Everywhere’s Postcard of the Week, please sign up for a free membership on Everywhere and start uploading! Every Friday, we’ll choose one to spotlight.