Merchandise – OpenStreetMap is aiming to produce a collaborative street map of the world from people using GPS systems. Here’s a map they’ve produced of the data for London showing where people walked/drove etc. i.e. the thicker the lines, the more popular the route.

[via BoingBoing]


Working with large files

I’ve been working on a 30gb Xml file today, importing it into one of our systems. There are always problems working with files this big – how do you get just a small segment to test on? how can you view small regions of it, or search it?

Most tools available for Windows aren’t up to the job, but i’ve finally found 3 which will help you should you have similar requirements:

1) Baretail. This will show you any part of a text file regardless of file length. It only loads what you’re looking at into memory and thus has a constant memory footprint. It also provides multiple highlights and will follow (tail) the file for updates. You can copy sections of the file from here into a new file (copy/paste).

2) Baregrep. This will search any size file for a given pattern.

3) frhed. By using the ‘partial open’ feature, you can get it to open just a fragment of any file in hex mode thus letting you see what’s actually there.

Google Gmail Power Tips from ExtremeTech

One of the few pages from a set of Gmail power tips, this page shows you how to use Plus Addressing. Essentially it lets you have many email addresses based on your single gmail one, and then filter/block them at will. i.e. you don’t have to give out your real email address to companies. Of course, there are very obvious ways around it for a spammer, but it’s marginally better than giving out your normal address.

City Highlights

Holiday over, the city highlights…

Athens – Having dinner on a roof terrace in the light of the Acropolis.

Sofia – Gatecrashing a British Embassy pub party and drinking free beer. Mmm, free beer. And getting free shots from the cute barmaid…

Belgrade – The taxi being push started by the drivers’ mates into a stream of traffic. And the tram driver who had to stop his tram, jump out, and manually switch the points before continuing.

Zagreb – Deciding that we’d been spending too much recently on our meals. So we cut down by not having wine, and then proceeded to order Langoustines, Sea Bass and Oysters.

Vienna. Climbing to the top of the cathedral and finding the view closed off by scaffolding.

Munich. Getting stuck in the fairground ride after the machine was switched off.

Amsterdam. The pronunciation of an 20th century medical bloke mentioned on the canal tour in Dutch was “Sir Fatty” and in English “Sir Farty”.

There was however one theme constant throughout the holiday – so many of the attractions we tried to see were covered in scaffolding, billboards, constructions crews, or were closed:

  • The Acropolis – being refurbished
  • Mount Vitosha in Sofia – the lifts are closed during the week
  • The parliament buildings and cathedral in Vienna – being cleaned
  • The large area behind Marienplatz – closed for building
  • Amsterdam train station and sea views – closed for building

To summarise – Europe is closed. Please come back later.

Day 13: Amsterdam

Checked into the hostel and went straight out for food and beer. Had some Dutch hotchpotch – stew and potato with carrots – which filled us up perfectly.

Then headed off to a Jazz bar. Nice. Although the band seemed to be more into mellow rock (Sting, Peter Gabriel) than jazz. E went home after the next bar leaving R and me to visit the more vibrant areas of Amsterdam.

The final morning was a great all-you-can-eat breakfast at the hostel – they even had builders tea – followed by some wandering through the narrow streets. Bored with this we got on a canal boat and spent the afternoon taking photos of identical canals.

Two facts. First, Amsterdam was originally named Amstammelledam because they dam’d the Amstel river to prevent flooding. Second, the town houses that line the canal streets lean forward to make them appear larger and more imposing.

After another train journey to Schipol and a 35 minute flight we’re back in England. Holiday done.