Archive for January, 2009

A transformation?

Monday, January 19th, 2009

Looking back over the last few posts, it would seem I turning into a Google hater, I certainly seem to be finding more to fault, which seems a change from my previous fanboy antics. 

Some things from Google (mainly Geo) roughly over the last year and my reaction: (in no particualr order…)


  • Static Maps API
  • Earth Plugin and API
  • Chrome Browser!
  • Map Icons in Chart API
  • Reverse Geocoding (& BBOX on forward)
  • StreetView
  • High resolution Imagry (including Wales/UK)


  • No PhotoOverlay or 3D-navigator in Earth Plugin
  • Google Installers and Updaters – a mess
  • Google Maps API Terms of Service. 
  • Google Pages shutting down (sites is NOT a real replacement atm) 
  • No Google Spell Check for Chrome (as no toolbar), and other minor irritations
  • Slow development on Google Maps – particully MyMaps (and MyMaps API)


  • Google Earth 4.3 a disapointment (plus no real upgrades since) 
  • Help Forums – good, but not there yet…
  • GeoWeb Search API – close, but no cigar

… so its not all bad, I guess just getting more worked up about the bad, and don’t really have anything to say about the good.

Google Sea Bed :: Useful? but not pretty!

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

UPDATE: JULY 2010, petition: Google Earth should make the sea floor rendering optional

Frank, just alerted me to the new rendering Google have released for Google Earth of the Ocean Floor. Strangely I keep wanting to shout FAIL! Sure at the broadest sense – viewing the globe as a whole it looks quite nice, if a little fuzzy, but once start zooming into coastline, the matching is just a mess. The new lighter blue just sort of fades out the old darker blue. Have to say even Frank doesn’t seem convinced…

Admittedly I not really into ocean travel so the probably higher resolution doesn’t really interest me, so that puts it at a disadvantage from my point of view. Hopefully they can vastly improve the edge matching, aka the coastline, then I wont mind.

Ok so it wasn’t perfect before, having a greenish area – but it just looks like algae. But the new doesn’t look natural somehow.

Another issue (oh dear), is the new lighter blue around the UK, is a closer to shade of land. And in the overview map – example below, I can’t even see Wales, and most of England and France etc is pretty indistinct – making the overview map fairly worthless. (disclaimer: I am red/green colour blind)

Overall: E- (sorry)

Four things I don’t like about Google Chrome

Friday, January 16th, 2009

Sort of following on from Ten things I don’t like about Google Chrome, and inspired by the comments in Tabbed Browsing in Google Chrome, below are my biggest annoyances with Google Chrome (otherwise a worthy browser), in rough ‘annoyance’ order

  1. No Page title – other than the truncated one in the tab, or a tooltip. Makes using forums a pain – I have a terrible memory, have to think hard what the thread title is in many cases. A quote from a chrome developer(?) pkastingWe think page titles are generally not very useful, which is why we’ve demoted them in our UI so much. The added information doesn’t seem worth the space lost to display a full title somewhere. All I can say is Ugg! I have a bookmarklet that mostly adds it back – have to remember to click it, and ti doesnt work well with Gmail etc. Hopefully extensions, aka greasemonkly clone, will help with this… [On geograph forum its was this lack of contaxt that prompted me to add the page title and current forum just above the post reply box - again to prevent having to scroll to the top ot find it]
  2. Tab ordering. Chrome uses a special system for desiding where to open new tabs. Admittly it works well in many cases, but its still very annoying that its not easily deterministic – so sometimes have to go hunting for that tab just opened. Its not next to the current tab (if opened multiple)0, and its not at the end, its somewhere in the middle of nowhere! I dont think at the end of the tab list is ideal, but its a better comprimise (IMHO of course) than the current system. 
  3. Truncated ‘status bar’.  When hovering over a link it shows a preview of the link – a very useful feature. (the only reason have the status bar on in other browsers. But it shortens the URL in many cases – putting in … . I have a wide enough screen, why not show me the whole thing! (of course still truncate if it wont fit on screen. 
  4. Minimal ‘Page Info’ dialog. It would be so much nicer if the dialog included the url and page title. Particully useful for ‘View frame info’ :) The icing on the cake would the http headers, and sometimes the media tab (from firefox) comes in handy.