Traffic Cams on Your Phone
Russ posted about a Flash Lite application for Series 60 that displays recent images from New York City traffic cameras on your phone. Not to be outdone Christopher Schmidt had a quick play at writing a similar app in Nokia's Series 60 Python, the result is this Traffic Cam Proof Of Concept written in about 1 hour 20 minutes!
It's a nice app, but not being in New York it's of little use to me, fortunately the BBC's Travel News page has a load of traffic cams, so I grabbed the BBC's list of London traffic cams and hacked up a London variant of Chris's app. You can find my version here - http://feetup.org/code/py/traffic.lon.py.txt
In keeping with the RAD theme, I timed how long it took me to create, 30 minutes to find the url's of the cameras and put them into a text file, 20 minutes to hack these urls into the code, and I'd got a functional app. Now it's not that pretty; the location names are all in uppercase, and the image sizes from the BBC site (320x240 and around 40k bytes) mean that you need to wait around 10 seconds for the picture to load (at a cost of about 10p for the average UK GPRS user), and zoom in to get the best view, but as a proof of concept it's great.
Update: I've been pointed at Frixo an interesting site that seems to cover the UK's traffic with live updates every 3 minutes. No traffic cams that I can see yet, but lots of useful info (traffic, weather etc), with maps of jams etc. Good stuff, highly recommended.
[Sat, 19 Feb 2005 12:44
Ken times the IOC visit to perfection
No matter what you might think about the Mayor of London, Ken
Livingstone - and the Ken-stalking neo-Nazi newspaper the Evening
Standard don't think much of him - you can't fault his timing.
The IOC have sent their inspectors to London
to see just how well London's decrepit public transport structure copes
a song about that,
don't we children?), and whether it'd be up to the added stresses of
millions of Olympic tourists.
Guess what, it's half-term for London's school kids, the infamous
school run isn't happening and a significant number of parents are away
from work loking after their children. Result, almost pain-free transport,
what a coincidence that the IOC are in town...
Update: It's been pointed out to me that the Olympics
would probably take place during the school summer holidays, so lighter
than usual traffic might be the expected background level. However, the
normal increase in tourists in London in the summer months usually takes
up (and exceeds) this slack. So I think my point still stands.
[Wed, 16 Feb 2005 07:32
Are you blacklisted?
How do you check if an ip address is blacklisted by one of the various
DNS Blackhole Lists?
It's sort of easy, you reverse the address (say it was 126.96.36.199), and
append the blacklist's address (say blacklist.example.net), and then
do a dns lookup (of 188.8.131.52.blacklist.example.net). If the address is not
found, chances are the blacklist hasn't heard of them, otherwise they're
about blocking these parasites before, so here's a chunk of code I use in
a few places to spot them. It's called
and I think it's simple enough to use:
if blacklist.blacklisted("184.108.40.206") == 1:
Update: Thanks to
spotting the typo
in the above example (5 lines of code and I still make a mistake).
[Thu, 10 Feb 2005 22:19
Is being a lard-arse contagious?
There was an interesting prgramme last night on UK television
the progress of a scientist investigating whether a
virus could cause obesity.
It poses an interesting and selfish question though; if being obese can
be caused by a virus, can one catch it from a fat person?
If this is the case, obese people are going to be actively avoided by
society, which is rather ironic if one had assumed that the basic premise
of this scientist's research was to prove that fat people were blameless
for their state. One can imagine the situation on the infamous Clapham
omnibus: "Oi, fatty, piss-off! Don't sit next to me, I don't watch to
catch your belly!"...
[Thu, 10 Feb 2005 21:54
Unfit To Govern?
So Blair's a techophobe,
and anyone with even a minor interest in UK Govt IT projects - that's
every UK tax payer - ought to be appalled by the Prime Minister's casual
admittance of incompetance.
Being ignorant of technology isn't big and it isn't clever. If you're the
guy with the ultimate responsibility for signing off the biggest (and to date
least successful) technology projects in the UK you really ought to have at
least an inkling about what you're doing.
Maybe - god forbid - he's got Carly
lined up to hold his hand...
[Wed, 09 Feb 2005 22:01
So long, and thanks for nothing...
Fiorina has left HP, all I can say is about time too.
Maybe i've got the rose-tinted specs on, but in pre-Carly days HP,
Compaq, and DEC were industry giants. HP had the market lead in printers,
they made great Unix workstations, and their instumentation kit was the
best on the market. Compaq too, they had what appeared to be 80% of the
office PC market, reliable, solid well-built computers. And DEC, ok the
VAX and VMS products were long in the tooth (not that IBM aren't still
happily (and profitably) selling dinosaurs from a similar era, but DEC's
crown jewel was the Alpha, a 200+MHz 64bit processor in the days when
Intel were struggling to make innumerate 66MHz Pentiums, 10 years later
and Intel are just about shipping 64bit processors.
Maybe it wasn't Carly's fault, maybe the businesses were all too shaky,
too poor, whatever, but in her tenure at the helm HP have dropped back to
the middle of the pack on printers, the Unix workstation market has become
near invisible, and the famous HP instruments are now named something
surreal and non-memorable. Compaq, well when did you last see a Compaq in
an office? Dell's taken them to the cleaners, and as for the Alpha, that's
Imagine today if say Sun and Dell merged and turned into a shambling
mess like HP in six years? Well, it'd seem odd, wouldn't it...
[Wed, 09 Feb 2005 21:50
UIQ and Symbian Rev Up
Things are hotting up in the mobile World ahead of this month's 3GSM show,
Symbian have announced
a new version of their operating system, Symbian OS 9. Whilst
are finally going to give the first public
demo of UIQ3,
the next release of their user interface for the Symbian OS.
Symbian OS 9
looks interesting, where OS 8 was primarily focused on 3G and adding a
hard real-time core, OS 9 appears to be less specific in approach, adding
functionality across the whole OS. More multimedia capabilities, better
security, increased operator configurability and control, further enterprise
functionality, better performance, lower power consumption, and reduced build
costs are just the bullet points, and there's a bundle of additional
information for each of these.
OS 9 looks like an interesting package, I half get the impression it has
loads of extra functionality which was not quite ready in time for OS 8,
or was put to one side to focus on shipping the core functionality of OS 8.
The Symbian guys I've spoken too are excited by OS 9, and it's due to be
in phones shipping this summer.
The development tools have also had a shot in the arm, whilst Nokia
have announced a new version of the venerable
CodeWarrior for OS 9,
the exciting news for many developers is the forthcoming release of an
featuring the Eclipse IDE.
And onto UIQ3...
I've heard UIQ3 being talked up many times by folks from
Symbian and SonyEricsson, but it seemed to have gone into hiding.
There's still nothing much about UIQ3 on the UIQ website, a
handful of screenshots
and one vague document
being the only significant content. Why? At the end of the day UIQ
need to sell this technology to phone manufacturers, keeping it hidden
isn't going to help do that.
I'm still hoping that SonyEricsson do an Apple at 3GSM, along the lines
of "So you've seen UIQ3, here's our new P1000, S800 and K800 all
use UIQ3, and they'll be in the shops next week", I suspect I'm being
overly optimistic though...
[Thu, 03 Feb 2005 20:55
Jim goes Jap Slapping?
I'm just wondering if I should take the
Tom Hume route and take up a
art. The Tokei Martial Arts Centre
just around the corner from work was handing out leaflets the other day,
and it looks like they've got most of normal and more bizarre range of
martial arts covered.
Personally I quite fancy trying something non-contact and mellow, like
Tai Chi, I really ought to head down there one lunch time and ask how to
[Thu, 03 Feb 2005 20:54