Things I wish I’d thought of – Geohash

I get lots of great ideas. Sometimes I do nothing with them, sometimes I get motivated enough to actually try and get them off the ground.

Over the holidays I was off to a friends wedding at a place I’d never been to before. They were nice enough to include the Melway reference on the invitation but our TomTom GPS doesn’t understand Melway references so we had to manually enter the address, it doesn’t take long but is still a bit fiddly and can be prone to errors when suburbs collide.

If only there was a human readable easy to enter code for a latitude and longitude like the G-Code system that was popular on VCRs in the 90’s. (just looked in my Sunday TV guide, looks like people must still use it!)

The solution would be pretty straight forward, just encode the two numbers as a base 16 number (hexadecimal). That should be easy to enter and would shorten the numbers somewhat. If I used more letters than just A to F then I could shorten the codes further. I would have to leave out letters like “I” and “O” as they could be confused with 1 and 0. I thought this over in my head for the full half hour the drive took then forgot about it was the wedding started and I enjoyed the day with my friends.

About a week later the thought came back to me but this time I was within reach of a computer. First I had better check that it didn’t already exist, onto Wikipedia and a bit of clicking later I cam across Geohash. Yes, it already exists, has since Feb 2008 which isn’t really that long.

It even has quite a useful website at The site gave me the Geohash code of “r1r2f63rrw741” for my work address – still a bit of a mouth full but better than “-37.8232760 145.2962320”

You then get a nice ULR to your address

Now we just need the GPS makers to get on board with the idea!

Math Editor in Windows 7

As I mentioned earlier I’ve been playing with Windows 7, I also just download a legit version for the 64bit edition from Microsoft, you can too from

Something that I stumbled upon when clicking around in the menus was the Math Editor. I wish I had this back in my Uni days, you can see a quick review at

Basically it turns your scratchy math equations into nicely formatted equations. Now if this is compatible with a symbolic solver like MatLab then this will be a very nice tool for more than just reports.

iPhoto – Nice! Now I see the future of photos

One thing I liked at MacWorld from Apple was the new version of iPhoto. Are Apple and Google competing for digital asset management supremacy? Google releases a version of Picasa for Mac that would have been an improvement over the old iPhoto. The next day Apple announce a new version of iPhoto that takes it to the next level.

Face recognition, Geo-tagging, linked to social networks. Now they have face recognition how long till they include other objects like buildings, cars, and animals? What if this information is shared with search engines? How about Photosynth, what if it grabs all the photos tagged with a location. What if you (or the friends you share images with) have images of that location over a number of years? A small slider at the bottom on the screen allows you to see the view change over time… make that into a video and now you’ve got a screen saver I’d like to have.

No Mac Mini

Although it was rumored that Apple would release a new Mac Mini (and an iPhone Nano) when I got up this morning and checked Engadget all I go was a 17" Mac Book.

Where is the new Mac Mini!!! Think they might put a Dual Core Atom in it? A SSD? Have it all run on 20 Watts of power. Green computing at it’s best. They better hurry up or I’ll have to build my own, Intel make a nice motherboard with the 330 onboard.

Windows 7 – First Take

Got my first hands on look at Windows 7 today. It was running under VirtualBox so the speed wasn’t outstanding but I have to say I liked what I saw.

Visually not much was new but the tools and utilities seem to have had a sensible make over. Installing was a breeze and faster than I remembered for any of the Vista Betas that I used.

Seems Microsoft might have learnt from the Vista debacle and made an OS with some substance.

Browser Wars – Return of the Choice

A long time ago before the dot com crash there was a war. The mighty Netscape lost the war and the evil Microsoft dominated the Internet ever since.

The rebel forces of Netscape went into hiding as Mozilla. Along came the New Hope, Firefox with new powers that the Death Star (a.k.a. Internet Explorer) could only dream of.

Yesterday the latest in the new breed browsers was released from Google which now means that all 3 of the big players in Web 2.0 have released browsers for Windows.

Apple Safari –

Google Chrome –

Microsoft IE8 –

And Firefox is at Version 3 –

Just like last time, these are all free products. The web has evolved into an application platform and it is clear the this is what Google aims to capture with it’s release. I’m not sure why Google decided to go it alone when they did appear to have some kind of relationship with the Firefox group.

Guess time will tell as to who will win this round of the browser wars.

Dr. Horrible is Awesome!

Dr. Doogie Howser is Dr. Horrible and he is as Awesome as Barney Stinson.

Have to thank Larry Osterman for pointing out this gem in his blog…

Joss Whedon, yes the guy who made Buffy, is behind this masterpiece. Note to Joss, please make it so iTunes will let me download it in Australia!

Sorry I blogged so late about it. Get it while it lasts and I hope you all enjoy it!


It must be gadget buying season…

iPhone, Wii, EeePC, Tivo

The 10" EeePC1000 is out and about here in Australia. JB Hi-Fi have them for $698 which is a good deal as far as I can tell. I wanted a Dell XPS1330 or a Mac Book. Lately the choice has grown, HP, Toshiba, and Dell with the Studio all offer laptops which look the goods… Now the EeePC1000 is also available.

It is really a shame that the Rudd government to away the tax loophole for laptops.

The Tivo is finally coming to Australia… no ad skip and a fee at a later date to turn on the networking. Why can’t they just make these things easy and not try to squeeze every last cent out of the consumers?