Grabbing Maps From Google

This is VERY useful if you want to create your own maps. Just be aware that this is probably in blatant violation of any end user agreement you may be subjected to, and almost certainly a copyright infringement too.

It works, it is simple and all it requires is Firefox, a plugin and editing a little bit of HTML.

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Now IP Surveillance Will Ruin Your Vacation Too!

From Gizmodo, this bit…

While on vacation, Vincent Hunter received an alert from his iCam iPhone app  some random iPhone app: Something had set off the motion detectors in his home. He used the app to access his security cameras, called 911, and helplessly watched a burglary unfold.

Artistic interpretation is mine.

Full story on Gizmodo

Pissing Contest

Today I got more hits on my blog than any other day – not surprising considering the events that have transpired over the last couple of days.

A few days ago, someone decided to go to xtranormal.com and make a clip. It doesn’t take long, and it doesn’t require much technical insight – basically anyone can do it. Lots of other people have done it before; a lot of  individuals go there to vent their frustration over some product or other (who can forget the Best Buy employee who made an iPhone vs. the HTC EVO clip?).

Now, I am on the programming side of things. I spend my days hunched over my keyboard, running Visual Studio 2008 (no, I did not go to 2010 yet). I put a lot of my soul into the applications we are writing, and I feel proud of what we do. Contrary to popular belief, programmers are not trying to make your life miserable. Some probably are careless, but most programmers I know just want to create meaningful and useful applications,  that – lofty as it sounds – makes people happy.

Even though a lot of programmers may seem docile, and removed from “the real world”, they are often fiercely competitive. Competitive, but respectful; I used to do boxing. Not the “build a tight body boxing”, but the real “punch a guy in the face as hard as you can” boxing. And even though we were trying to beat the crap out of each other, there was always a deep respect for the opponent. You see these two guys beating each other to a pulp, and afterwards they hug each other like a couple of old friends. Compare that to European soccer, where cheating, spitting, filming and abusive practices are commonplace (no disrespect soccer fans – we all have different tastes).

I felt appalled by the notion that NVRs are “dime a dozen”; having written NVR(s) myself, and knowing a bunch of people who are working on them, I felt that marketing was being disrespectful towards my profession.

So I reacted.

Strongly.

But emerging on the other side, I also felt that I had possibly overreacted (not “possibly”… i DID overreact). It’s a stupid video to be sure, but how much should one read into it? Was my reaction amplified by John Honovich’s reporting on IPVideoMarket, and the subsequent comments (that really weren’t that bad)?

If anything can be taken away from this, it is that information travels extremely fast and that (small|large) things can escalate very quickly.

Moving on…

Realtime Retinal Scanners

Not sure what to believe. This sounds a little too “fantastic”

So will we live the future under iris scanners and constant Big Brother monitoring? According to Carter, eye scanners will soon be so cost-effective–between $50-$100 each–that in the not-too-distant future we’ll have “billions and billions of sensors” across the globe

FastCompany has the story