New Editor/Dashboard Look in Blogger, Google Maps with GPS, Flash Earth,, Now Has RSS Feeds, No WAAS on New iPhone 3G?, Converting Raster to Vector


(The is blog entry below is no longer relevant)


New Editor/Dashboard Look in Blogger

I like it; it’s bigger, brighter, and more “Web 2.0” (despite my somewhat-dislike for this misnomer that has become such an established “format”).  Or maybe this is just a function of the Blogger-in-Draft that I’m using?  Nonetheless, it works well.

I continue to try various stand-alone as well as hosted blogging solutions but Blogger always beats them all hands down.

The only thing I haven’t liked about it so far is that it doesn’t open a new window for image uploads.  With the previous you could still work on the blog while the photo was uploading, but with the relatively small photos and graphics I use on the blog it’s a minor thing.  And it’s made up for by the photos actually being inserted at the cursor instead of the top of the screen, as well as an easier drag’n’drop for them when repositioning.

Kudos to Blogger as always.



Google Maps with GPS

Here’s an interesting application – Google Maps with GPS.  Basically it’s a little program that connects to your GPS and loads up Google Maps (not Google Earth).  I couldn’t get it to work with USB but it did work by using another program to emulate a serial port for USB.


It’s very basic but does it’s job, with logging and the ability to zoom and use all the regular features of Google Maps (for the most part).

Flash Earth

Here’s a nice resource for sat/aerial/mapping, all in one spot.  This site, using Flash, allows you to access NASA, Open Layers, Microsoft Virtual Earth (both with and without labeling), Yahoo Maps (ever wonder how many hits Yahoo gets through Google searches?), and Maps.

There’s no specific function for saving them (like most sites) but the good ol’ press-PRINT-SCREEN-key-and-paste-into-a-graphics app method works fine.

This site also has some other stuff like a Planetarium.




(The is blog entry below is no longer relevant) – very cool site.  You can store pretty much anything at this site, privately and non-searchable.

You basically can give people the private address and no one else has access to it, though you can password it too if you like. Upload photos, videos, etc.

And, one of the coolest things about it – you can send or receive your drops via the web, e-mail, voice, or even a fax.  You can even zip everything up in your drop and grab it in one piece.

Highly recommended.



(The is blog entry below is no longer relevant) Now Has RSS Feeds

If you’ve ever used Jott – the free service that allows you to call it and say voice notes which are then converted to text and which you can text and/or e-mail to others (or yourself) – then you know how useful it can be and how well their voice-to-text recognition works.

Now they have added the ability to get any RSS feed via text-to speech.  

Sure, you can use your Internet-capable phone to read RSS feeds but it’s nice to be able to hear them while you’re doing something else, driving, using the computer, or whatever.  Works good if you don’t use text messaging or the Internet via phone too – as it’s free.  

You can even use it as a substitute for text messaging and such, there’s a lot of potential.

All you do is call the Jott number, it recognizes your originating number and you say “Jott Feeds”.  Once the voice menu is ready you tell it the name of the feed you previously set up through their website.  After a moment it starts reading the RSS feed off to you.  

I use it for quick weather forecasts, racing scores, world news, and even local news via the local news website’s RSS feeds.  Very slick.



No WAAS on New iPhone 3G?

I’ve yet to get a straight answer.  Is the new iPhone;s GPS chip capable of WAAS?  And if not, why not?

I’m assuming since I can’t find the info on it that it doesn’t.  If not, it’s a shame and would be hard to believe. 

It was developed by the FAA to help in increasing the accuracy of GPS for aviation navigation but now is on pretty much all GPS receivers.

The system consists of a number of ground-bases stations which broadcasts timing and location signals to a pair of sats, these are picked up by the WAAS-capable GPS along with the regular GPS satellite network and provides a hellofagood accuracy compared to without it.



Converting Raster to Vector 

I’ve been playing around with various programs for converting raster graphics to vector.  It’s interesting, not only for my original purpose – converting aerial, photo, and topographic maps for use on my GPS – but also for the graphics-side of my business.

For use with GPS’es and GPSMapEdit for conversion I’m playing around with the command line BMAP2MP.  There’s a few shareware or pay programs that work quite well but this one is free, but complicated to get a good result using the command line.  Still looking for the ultimate solution.

The best description of the process can be found here.  Though it doesn’t go into the command line process, unfortunately.  Not for the casual user, or those used to GUI’s…

It’s hard for a computer to do it accurately in some cases.  If you have a background in electronics I might say it’s somewhat similar to an analog-to-digital converter; but on a large scale.  

Meanwhile I continue to improve my personal map system for my GPS.  I’m working on adding a water layer, which can be turned on and off in the GPS.  Not sure how the overlays will handle it though.


Marc M

I am a web developer and fitness geek, but I have a heck of a lot of differing interests.  Biking, the Internet, technology, movies, fitness, running and walking and hiking, science fiction, photography, graphics, WordPress, flying and aircrafts, pets and animals, history, and much more.  I like to stay very fit but I don’t mind sitting at my computer for work and play either.  I live in upstate New York (that’s far from New York City) in a rural area, yet close to a small city, with my beautiful awesome wife, a bunch of beloved cats and dogs and chickens in a very old multi-century house.

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