Category Archives: 2818

Jamie’s SQLMesh

Jamie Thomson is a useful guy. He’s a SQL MVP, generally considered one of the world’s authorities in Integration Services (SSIS), but also very keen on the Live space.

So it makes sense that he’s now combining the two – he’s gone and created a Code Repository on Live Mesh. Seems very useful, and I’m feeling like I need to keep my eyes open for things that I think are worthy of upload. Why not do the same? The more people involved (currently it’s about 40), the stronger the repository will be!

Check out Jamie’s post to learn more, and drop him a line to get an invite.

Cricket gadget

Being English, I’m finding this Ashes series quite depressing. I updated the Wikipedia site to say that Australia had won the series 3-0, but took no joy in doing so. It’s not often you get to update Wikipedia with information about a live event – but this time I did.

I’ve been following the cricket by either listening to the radio, watching a TV-stream, or keeping half an eye on the cricinfo site which updates the score in the title of a browser window. Doesn’t work so well now that tabbed browsing is all the rage, but it’s still useful. Not as useful as having a Vista sidebar gadget do it for me though. So one day when I was at home during a test (must’ve been Perth), I played around at making a gadget that would display the cricket score. I could get the score easily enough by just putting a http-request in to the cricinfo site and pulling out the title. I had it displaying happily for a few minutes, and set about making it look nicer and making some sort of a settings bar to be able to follow whichever match was of the most interest, when it just stopped working. I guess cricinfo have something to detect screen-scraping which then stops the page being served. When you look at the page in a browser, it redirects to a framed version, and I guess there is something to make sure that the framed version is requested (along with all the right adverts) with an appropriate frequency compared to the page which contains the score.

At this point I stopped trying… I had other things to do like gardening.

Today I see that Darren is asking the ABC for a cricket gadget. I think cricinfo could provide one too, and provide some competition here. It would be so simple for them to put together… alternatively, they could provide a web service that presented the information and let the rest of the world put it together (along with live.com gadgets, RSS feeds of game milestones, etc), but I imagine that like most sports scores, there are licensing issues involved.

Whooiz my Friendz?

Observant people will have noticed a friend-list appear on the side of my blog. Changing my blog around is way overdue for me. I need to take a few hours out some time and work on the CSS. I still don’t have all the useful stuff that I had at my old blog site. One of those is a friend-list. I’ve never actually been a fan of friend-lists. I hate the idea of missing people out. And I think that’s where Whooiz can come in.

Whooiz is a start-up by Clarke (I want to call him Monkey, but I won’t) and Cameron, and the idea about it is to be able to keep your profile information in one place, linking to it as you require. It’s a nice idea – I know that I keep a list of places who know my address, so that if I move I can make sure that I let them all know. Whooiz might help for keeping profile stuff up to date. Of course, it would be nice if it could do it behind the scenes, so that you go to LinkedIn or FriendsReunited and just see text there as if you had entered it, except that it’s actually populated by a call to whooiz. That would work really well for me, although I’m sure those other sites would need to tweak their systems to actually allow it. Perhaps Whooiz could partner with them, and sites could start to be ‘powered by whooiz’.

Another thing I want is to be able to have full control over the display of my profile, friends list, contact information, etc. I’ve got my friends list appearing over to the side, and I’ve set the heading colour and background to be the same colour as the background that I have there. But what I’d rather do is to tell the heading not to display. I’d also like to change the font of the text which says who the people are, even have the names removed, replacing them with alt and title text for the images, or put them underneath the images… have the images in two columns perhaps, that kind of thing. All feasible with CSS. Even have Whooiz give me the details in XML, and then let me use my own JavaScript to place them. The list shows a random <some number> friends (friendz?) from my list, and it could be neat to have a call to give me a new random friend that isn’t currently displayed (I don’t mean making new friends, I mean just grabbing one of my existing friends for displaying). Then I could have a bit of JavaScript (or have Whooiz provide it) so that my friend list could sit their cycling through them. I could put them into a live.com (or sidebar) gadget – kind of like a “how longz it been?” list, prompting me to catch up with friends I haven’t contacted for a while.

I like things like whooiz – the possibilities are cool. I just need to come with the starting ideas myself, instead of finding ways to help improve others’.

Seattle in Virtual Earth 3D (Beta)

Ok, so there aren’t many cities available in Virtual Earth 3D (Beta) yet, but it’s still very cool. I did some moving around Seattle, and quite easily found the standard shot of the Space Needle with the city and Mount Rainier in the background. You can see it at http://maps.live.com/default.aspx?v=2&cp=47.618049~-122.346581&style=h&lvl=19&tilt=-17.5733726439434&dir=156.518344228474&alt=251.429188030772

virtualearth3dbeta

Now, wouldn’t this be even better if it could detect some photos that people had taken of it, and place a Photosynth-style picture on top of this? Keep the street labels and stuff like that, so that you can actually see what’s going on, but use the ‘hybrid’ concept to be able to get a photo-real map. Then making the photos smarter could really start to see some incredible technology.

I’m sure this will be available in Firefox soon too, but for now, IE is the tool of choice.