Feet up!

Traffic Cams on Your Phone

Traffic cam app: choosing a locationRuss 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!

Traffic cam app: Piccadilly CircusIt'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] | [dev/python] | #

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 (we know 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] | [general] | #

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 1.2.3.4), and append the blacklist's address (say blacklist.example.net), and then do a dns lookup (of 4.3.2.1.blacklist.example.net). If the address is not found, chances are the blacklist hasn't heard of them, otherwise they're probably scum.

I've talked about blocking these parasites before, so here's a chunk of code I use in a few places to spot them. It's called blacklist.py and I think it's simple enough to use:

import blacklist
if blacklist.blacklisted("1.2.3.4") == 1:
  print("scum")
else:
  print("ok")

Update: Thanks to Blackie for spotting the typo in the above example (5 lines of code and I still make a mistake). Now fixed.

[Thu, 10 Feb 2005 22:19] | [dev/python] | #

Is being a lard-arse contagious?

There was an interesting prgramme last night on UK television following 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] | [rants] | #

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] | [rants] | #

So long, and thanks for nothing...

So Carly 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 history too.

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] | [tech] | #

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 UIQ 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 open-source toolchain 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] | [mobile] | #

Jim goes Jap Slapping?

I'm just wondering if I should take the Tom Hume route and take up a martial 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 get started.

[Thu, 03 Feb 2005 20:54] | [general] | #

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