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2006 » April MikeFitz with overflow bit set…

Archive for April, 2006

Customise your BlogMap

Sunday, April 30th, 2006

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I thought people might be interested to know how I have customised my BlogMap as seen at the bottom of my sidebar (visible on the right of my blog’s home page).

Does your blog include a BlogMap?  If you visit feedmap.net and submit your blog, you too can have a standard BlogMap Badge like mine shown here.

Using FeedMap you can geo-code your blog, browse already geo-coded blogs and search for blogs.  Geo-coding is simple; in most cases you will only need to enter your address.  Once geo-coded, you can get your own BlogMap location using a simple url that allows you to network with your local bloggers and much more.

Here’s the code for my standard BlogMap Badge:

<div>
  <script type="text/javascript"
    src="http://www.feedmap.net/blogmap/blogapi.ashx?method=blogmapbadge&amp;feed=http://mike.brisgeek.com/feed/">
  </script>
</div>

Neighbours who Blog

Now, it’s not immediately obvious, but if you click on the number following “Local Blogs :”, you will get a larger map showing the location of neighbouring bloggers. The NeighBlog map includes links to neighbouring blogs along with their exact lattitude and longitude.

I can see that I am located at 27.6505728546926 degrees South, 153.179737270527 degrees East.  I can also see that I’d better not say anything on my blog that upsets any nation with access to cruise missiles or ICBMs.  Although, they will need my altitude as well.  Does anybody know whether Google Earth or Virtual Earth betrays that?

Click to see a map showing local BloggersA Better BlogMap

Great though it is, the standard BlogMap Badge is a bit cumbersome.  It uses fonts and colours which aren’t used elsewhere on my blog.  The map is a bit skinny and my long name (MikeFitz) wraps off to the side.  I would also prefer that clicking on the map took visitors to the expanded Neighbouring Blogs map.  I think visitors would find this behaviour more intuitive.

The first clue as to how to fix this comes from the blog of Chandu Thota, himself, creator of BlogMap and author of the book Programming MapPoint in .NET.  I also note that Dr Neil has done something similar.

I’ve taken this a couple of steps further by generating a slightly wider image and adding my own heading and links which are then consistent in style with the rest of the site.  Here’s the code for what you see in my sidebar:

<li><h2>My BlogMap</h2>
  <ul>
    <li> by <a href="http://www.feedmap.net" title="feedmap.net">feedmap.net</a></li>
    <li>
    <a href="http://www.feedmap.net/blogmap/neighblogs.aspx?feed=http://mike.brisgeek.com/feed/"
      title="Click to see a map showing local Bloggers">
    <img src="http://www.csthota.com/blogmap/blogapi.ashx?method=blogmap&amp;feed=http://mike.brisgeek.com/feed/&amp;height=250&amp;width=175&amp;label=MikeFitz"
      alt="Click to see a map showing local Bloggers" />
    </a>
    </li>
    <li><a href="http://www.feedmap.net/blogmap/neighblogs.aspx?feed=http://mike.brisgeek.com/feed/"
      title="Map showing local Bloggers">&raquo; Bloggers Nearby</a></li>
  </ul>
</li>

A Future BlogMap

A feature I would like to see on a future BlogMap would be the ability to promote selected Good Neighbours on the NeighBlog list, over-riding the default sort by distance.  At the same time, I would like to demote or even exclude some Bad Neighbours (spam, even malware, websites posing as blogs). For example:

Good Neighbours whom I am happy to promote. Visitors to my blog will also find these blogs of interest:

Bad Neighbours whom I would like to mark as inappropriate:

  • Have a look at my NeighBlog map. You will see that I have a neighbour to my West whose blog has no name but promises “easy cash”. Yeah, right! Strangely, this “blogger” is also located in other capital cities.
  • On about pages 13 to 15 of Frank Arrigo’s NeighBlog map there is a nasty cluster of malware sites and Google-bombing linkfests. The world would be a better place without these.

So Chandu, while working on Virtual Earth-enabling BlogMap, can you add these features to the BlogMap wish-list please?  TIA

The Book Meme

Friday, April 21st, 2006

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Crazy idea doing the rounds at the moment.

  1. Grab the nearest book.
  2. Open it to page 161.
  3. Find the fifth sentence.
  4. Post the text of this sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
  5. Don’t search around and look for the coolest book you can find. Do what’s actually next to you.

What happens when I do this?  Without leaving my chair, I reach out and grab Microsoft SharePoint Products and Technologies Resource Kit by Bill English & Microsoft SharePoint Teams.  P 161, 5th sentence:

For example, documents that will remain on a file server will need to be crawled if those documents are to appear in the search result set.

It all makes perfect sense when you look at one sentence at a time!

Then I realise Hey, I just typed that sentence long-hand.  This book comes with a CD.  I have the complete book installed as a PDF on my notebook.  I could have just cut and pasted it!  This is a crazy idea.

Where did I catch this crazy idea from?  David Drucker, a mate in Vancouver.  David’s book was About Face: The Essentials of User Interface Design by Alan Cooper, “the father of Visual Basic”. (more…)

Off to Code Camp

Friday, April 21st, 2006

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Code Camp Oz  		    Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga  		    23-24 AprilOff to Code Camp Oz in the morning.  Woo-Hoo!

Sat 22 Apr: morning flight Brisbane to Canberra (QF953)  Lunch with our good friends, the L’Estranges.  Late drive to Wagga Wagga.

Sun 23, Mon 24 Apr: Code Camp Oz - an event organised by the .NET developer community, bringing together software developers from across Australia.  Two solid days featuring a range of speakers, many of whom are international experts in their fields. Location: Charles Sturt University campus at Wagga Wagga.  Drive back to Canberra on Monday evening.

Tue 25 Apr: Anzac Day dawn service at the Australian War Memorial.  Afternoon flight Canberra to Brisbane (QF2568).

Edward de Bono on Israel v Palestine

Friday, April 21st, 2006

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While driving back from an appointment just now, I heard Edward de Bono being interviewed on our local ABC radio station.  (Update: podcast details below.)  Edward quickly reeled off several examples of his famous Lateral Thinking.   One in particular stuck in my mind.

Problem: For 50 years, Israelis & Palestinians, both intelligent peoples, have lived side by side and have known that they have to get along with each other.  Despite everyone’s best intentions, conflict continues.

de Bono’s Lateral Thinking Solution: Let each side vote in each other’s elections.   Let Israelis vote in Palestinian elections and let Palestinians vote in Israeli elections.   That way, only constructive people would get elected.  Extremists on both sides wouldn’t stand a chance.

The interviewer (Richard Fidler) asked: Have you mentioned this to any world leaders?  Edward de B: No.

So I guess it’s up to you and me, folks.

———————
Update: the podcast is now available at The Conversation Hour with Richard Fidler.  Read the summary of Edward de Bono’s interview or download the MP3 file.   Listen carefully at about 7:45.

Geeky world map

Thursday, April 13th, 2006

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I thought this was a little bit interesting - a site that allows you to tick off a list of countries you have visited and then generate a map showing those countries.

Countries visited by Mike
create your own visited country map 
(Apparently I have visited 22, or 10% of the world’s countries.)

But the geek in me became really interested when I saw the HTML they give you to include this map in your own blog.

<img src="http://www.world66.com/myworld66
/visitedCountries/worldmap?
visited=CAUSEGMAATBEFRDEIEITLINLESCHUKVABHJOMYSGTHAUNZ” />

Note that the visited= parameter contains a list of 2-letter country codes.   It starts with CAUSEGMA (Canada, USA, Egypt, Morocco) and ends with AUNZ (Australia, New Zealand)

Maureen & Mike at Petra in JordanWhere might this be useful?   Let’s say I had a travel blog, eg Here’s a picture of me at Petra in Jordan last year.   And now, the question on everyone’s lips, “Where the bloody hell is Jordan?”   Ta-Da:

<img src="http://www.world66.com/myworld66
/visitedCountries/worldmap?visited=JO” />

Where is Jordan?

Of course, being true geeks and in the interests of valid XHTML, we would always remember to add the alt= to the img tags.  Wouldn’t we?

Queensland Developer Events updated

Tuesday, April 11th, 2006

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I’ve been keeping the Queensland Developer Events page at mike.brisgeek.com/qld-developer-events up-to-date.

Here you’ll find a combined list of upcoming events for

A recent addition has been the addition of small logos for each user group.