19 Apr 2006

follow up on google maps + aust street maps

i sent off an email to the folks at google maps mania to tip them off on my google maps mashup, and to my surprise they had a whole bucket load of australia-centric maps mashups! i've heard of the benno.id.au one (mainly because he went to the same uni as i did and obviously feels the same way as i do about the insufficiency of google maps in australia.) it also turns out that i wasn't the only one who had abused street-directory.com.au's tile server.

interesting fact, search for gold coast and you'll find that the maps aren't aligned very well -- more over, there's some sort of satellite picture misalignment there:

Goldcoast Bridges To Nowhere

there are probably more, but people will never know unless there are bloody street maps ;) oh yeah, i wonder where you can actually report these bugs to google maps.

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16 Apr 2006

google maps + australia mashup

[Update (18/5/2006): Good news! Google Maps has released street maps for Australia and New Zealand. That renders this little experiment obselete. Thanks everyone for checking this out. Although with that said, Street Directory maps are still better quality ;)]

i have been sitting on this google maps mashup i made for about a month now, not really knowing what to do with it. today, after listening to a podcast about mashups, i thought it was time to show people what the next stage of mashups we should be doing with google maps -- that is combining google map's amazing interface with other map sources.

this creation of mine, i hope, will be useful to australians who wish google will get their act together and add street maps for google maps australia! so here it is -- street maps for australia in google map's style, all in javascript:


i've showed this privately to a few people and at least one of them wished i had done this earlier so he could save hours trying to find a geological structure in perth. the code, for posterity is going to live here at http://mashup.mapmarks.com/aust/maps.js , so grab it while you can. if you have any improvements, i'd be interested to know.

my technique just involves relying on the browser to scale and tile map to compensate for the different in scaling factor between google maps and street-directory.com.au. therefore you'll get artifacts at the joins due to pixel errors. that is purely so the whole mashup is done client side and no images are cached or manipulated on the server and i do not violate anyone's copyright by caching the map tiles. [UPDATE: i'm not a lawyer, so i'm not going to assert that i am not violating any copyright. however, i believe that all i am doing is generating a URL that points to a publicly accessible map tile server. you will notice in the code that i add the copyright information at the bottom of the map when the tiles are in use.]

google maps australia vanilla

this is the reason why i'm did this:


look, there are no street names in google maps australia, not even place names. this is incredibly annoying and uninteresting. i've been waiting over a year for google maps to properly support australia, but i reckon this won't happen any time soon.

application to other places

note that my technique will not work on non-square tile servers such as mapquest, multimap and such. but i've got some ideas on how to get around that, but at the moment, i don't have time to dabble too much into that hack.

i've also played with other map sources, other places where google maps don't have street maps. for instance, china and hong kong. china is an interesting one because google local china already does have street maps, but they don't put it in the google maps format. i'm curious why. and for hong kong, i blogged about this before, it just has no data. hong kong is an odd one because the mapping sites there really suck.


unfortunately, this is an unofficial hack. but you should be able to take the code and run it on your own server. everything is neatly wrapped up in a GMapType for your taking. the code is public domain.

spread it around and tell all your aussie friends to play with it. the least that i want from this is to show google that there is demand for place and street names to appear on google maps for australia.

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16 Apr 2006

my bad grammar/spelling since 2000

i just did a vanity search of myself on google, and ended up with this on around the 30th result:

> I was also curious as to whether my idea of coping the i386 files to a newly
>created c: partition and then installing from there was feasible. I'd also
>prefer to do a fresh install instead of upgrading, to avoid any legacy type

You'll need to have Win98 installed to upgrade/fresh install to WinNT is you
are not booting from the CD itself. You can only run the setup.exe in the
i386 Dir in Windows Mode.

from the sony505 forum. yes, i had a dual boot win2k laptop then, and that is why i wrote gnome-vaiolcd. i can't even remember writing that message, or even being subscribed to that forum. take note my bad spelling mistake -- i haven't changed much since then. at least back then i still believed in capital letters.

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16 Apr 2006

sending someone a covert message via adwords

mark cuban describes how some creative person decided to buy adwords against his name to send him a message when he searched for himself in google.

Apparently the guy figured that I would be doing vanity searches on my name through Google. ( I never use Google for search, I use Icerocket.com for obvious reasons) So when I saw the ad come up, I had to blog about it as the Best Sales Idea I had seen in a long time.

that's an awesome covert channel, buy adwords for particular words that no one would ever search for, or even popular words and rely on some way, either buy paying more, to make sure your target sees the message.

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14 Apr 2006

quitting a core data app when editing

i came across this really weird behavior in a cocoa core data document-based app that i'm writing. basically, i was encountering a problem where if i was editing in a NSTextView and then press Cmd+Q to quit, then the dialog box would appear asking me to save my changes. if i press save, then the application would hang and seemingly stopped at saving the file.

other observations that are important in this scenario:

1. only happened when the focus (firstResponder) is inside an NSTextView. it would work fine in an NSTableView or NSTextField.
2. the hang would happen right after [NSPersistentDocument saveDocumentWithDelegate:didSaveSelector:contextInfo:]
3. the window was still responsive, i could resume the quit by selecting the NSTableView and then press Cmd+Q again.
4. normal Cmd+S save would work when in NSTextView, not inside the quit loop


the cause of the problem turned out that the NSTextView was marked to have unsaved data, so during the save on quit process. the cocoa bindings and core data interaction somehow needed prodding to tell it to make sure the UI is consistent with the core data model, and if it wasn't, it would fail silently. why it's not fixing the problem itself, and why this only happens on quit, i do not know.

i found this out because i overrode the setter and getter for attributes in my NSManagedObject subclass that represented my data and observed that in a normal save, the NSTextView data was committed before the save occured, but never when the save was initiated by the quit.

in short, the solution is to make sure when in your NSPersistentDocument subclass, you override canCloseDocumentWithDelegate:shouldCloseSelector:contextInfo: to something like this:

- (void)canCloseDocumentWithDelegate:(id)delegate shouldCloseSelector:(SEL)shouldCloseSelector contextInfo:(void *)contextInfo
[[self managedObjectContext] commitEditing];
[super canCloseDocumentWithDelegate:delegate shouldCloseSelector:shouldCloseSelector contextInfo:contextInfo];

was just so frustrated with tracking down this bug, that i had to tell someone about it -- even if maybe less than 1% of you actually understand what the hell i'm talking about! this isn't the first obscure quirk that i've had to overcome. the other one i had was with makeFirstResponder, but i'll save that for another time.

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13 Apr 2006

korean modded album art widget

someone modded my widget to add a new engine to it. i wish i could read korean (or at least even find an email so i can contact them!)

 Data16 2006 4 1 279 Album+Naver

this is awesome! i'd love to put the changes into the next version officially, but i have to find a way to contact them first to get permission :) of course they're supposed to be free to do this since i've licensed everything BSD.

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13 Apr 2006

hong kong octopus card related interview

i came across this interesting interview with the technical director of octopus card ltd. which is the contactless payment system in hong kong. very interesting information:

on conflicting rfid cards
"my own building access-control card conflicts with the Octopus. We use the ISO 14443 standard ...my solution: I put the two cards on different sides of my wallet and open it to use whichever card is needed. If the radio frequencies [used] are close to each other, you can have a conflict."

on near field communications
"One technology currently under development is near field communication, or NFC—it’s a joint venture between Sony and Philips."

i always assumed that rfid was just a subset of near field communications, but here he seems to be pitching it as something different.

on other competitors
"CWHK: Who are your competitors?
Kam: Number one? Cash."

yeah of course, hk is a pretty cash and credit card heavy society. i don't know what the spread is, but credit card's are very aggressive in hong kong, most credit cards offer heaps of kickbacks and reward points. more often than not, families have a big portion of their household appliances bought with credit card rewards.

on future linux card readers
"Right now, our card-readers are based on Sony technology and we have about 50,000 throughout Hong Kong. But we have been working on a new model for the last two years that will eventually replace all the readers in the field. The new reader is developed by Octopus engineers in Hong Kong, and runs on an embedded Linux OS."

that is pretty cool, they're going to be using linux os on the embedded reader. mainly for cost and compat with off the shelf devices. of course, that doesn't mean you can buy a reader and upload your own firmware. and they do talk about how it is difficult to find linux developers in hong kong.

there's more stuff at the end about linux and compatibility. read more.

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13 Apr 2006

roundup of web things that interest me

the daily show fun

last week, the daily show (which i get off itunes) had it's racialisationism episode and rob corddry did a special on how the racists were being racially discriminated. it was a funny but cringe worthy segment, but that is the style of daily show segments which is like so much.

the best bit at the end is when he said "i hate your guts".. if you are in this list, and a huge list scrolled through for a couple of seconds. someone actually took the time to tivo and write down the whole list which included some funny ones like:

TiVo List Pauser
NPR Listener
College Lesbian
Seriously Stop Pausing This
What do you think this is Lost?
4 8 15 16 23 42
PT. Cruiser Owner (dude, I had these people too!)
Stephen Colbert
Mahjong Enthusiast
Pig Latino
Korean (North)
Korean (South)
Pre-Op Transexual
Post-Op Transexual
Jewish (For Jesus)
Someone Who Only Gets Their News from The Daily Show
Nascar Dad
Soccer Mom

and to top it off, some fans emailed that last email and got a reply from (allegedly) rob corddry telling them that he hates them for pausing the list! i guess in a similar vein to that simpsons episode where homer gives out his aol address and the creators get flooded with email!

"i'm gonna kick you in the nuuuuts" - cartman

in a south park episode, we get introduced to nut kicking. so it follows that life should imitate art.

 Images 2006-04 Wesson-Kicks-Monk
(via neatorama)

limited email for only $US399/month

this has got to be a joke site, but very funny nevertheless. kinda like all those parody web 2.0 sites. for only a low low rate of $US399/month, you can get an email address at millionaires24.com (because millionaires0 to 23 were taken) and be forever known as the rich dude that has got that $400/month email account.


microsoft academic vs. google scholar

now we know why microsoft research sponsored shiteseer. microsoft academic live!(tm) is now live, but not working in safari. as usual, this looks very cool on the surface, until you look closely. (i'm still bitter about lack of safari support)

let's read up on how they are doing this:

"Currently, we are not using citation count as a factor in determining relevance. Among the many reasons that led us to this decision was the fact that we wanted to have an accurate and credible citation count to be used in the relevance ranking. User trust of the relevance ranking algorithm requires a very credible, trusted citation count, and we will revisit the inclusion of Microsoft derived citation count in the relevance ranking algorithm at a later date as our technology improves further."
so ok, if citation isn't the "page rank" of the academic world, then what is? credible citation? i suppose it is easy to create many dummy papers that cite your own papers, and then have link farms and paid listings on other people's papers! muhahaha .. my road to professorship cannot be any more easier.

with that said, this is one shiteseer killer, how much more geekier can you get with BibTex and Endnote references ready for you to cut and paste? this maybe the first time i think microsoft has got something cool on their live.com site. now where's that safari compatibility?


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13 Apr 2006

easter cooking special - cadbury creme egg cake

this crazy dude is doing the cockeyed-type psuedo science experiment, and the commentary is hilarious. check it out, he replaces real eggs with cadbury creme eggs.

 47 127465425 1803E02Ad4 O

of course you throw out the egg shells, what would you do with them??

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09 Apr 2006

listening statistics pr0n

for the last month or so, i've been intriguied by the idea of tracking my own listening habits. the way i see it, i don't really care who gets to know what i'm listening to -- it's not like my secret admiration of particular types of music will make me lose friends or get fired.

last.fm does a really good job of tracking what i listen to via the iscrobbler plugin. normally this wouldn't be cause for a blog entry, but i just discovered the really cool album listing page which is something i have been trying to do with my top25 lists i talked about earlier:


it's a pity that there are some missing gaps -- probably they are the chinese albums that last.fm has no idea about.

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