archive for the Technology category rises from the ashes

Edinburgh,Technology Saturday 23rd May 2009

From various backups and by re-doing a chunk of work I’ve managed to get doing something useful again. It even does sensible things like caching now!


Bus Tracker API

Edinburgh,Technology Monday 9th June 2008

A while back Lothian Buses fitted some fancy GPS tracking to all of their fleet enabling real-time tracking. Then LCD screens appeared at (selected) bus stops giving you a list of incoming buses and their ETA. All very clever. Then, at last they launched a web site which gave access to the same data:

I think that making the website resemble the signs from the street is a poor design choice. Why not work with the medium you are presenting information over (the web) rather than trying to make it resemble something else? They constrain information into a tiny space, put it in a stupid font, make the background looks like all lcd-y, use excessive popups and it takes forever just to get to the basic information.

In shock news, this isn’t just a whiny post with no actual action. I present the beginnings of a “Bus Tracker API”. Think of it as a “cleaning” of the data for a fresh beginning. If we can get clean data out of the system then we can build a clean interface on top of it. My API is REST-ful and inspired by the flickr API. I have one method so far “bustracker.departures.getNext” which takes one parameter: the bus stop code. It shows you all of the incoming departures for a given bus stop. Here it is working for the stop nearest my flat. Feel free to change to bus stop code to another one by digging around the Bus Tracker website. I’ll hopefully have some other, more useful methods done soon and maybe some nifty google maps visuals…

Update: Source code now browsable at:


Ordnance Survey Play Catch-Up

Technology Tuesday 13th May 2008

Open Space
I can’t believe this hasn’t been more widely promoted but the Ordnance Survey is finally opening up it’s data for use on the internets. Their new Open Space project allows a Google Maps style interface to their (usually tightly restricted) mapping data. I do like the design of the OS maps, a nice alternative to Google. I’ve knocked up a quick demo centered on Edinburgh.


Playing with Animoto

Movies & TV,Photography,Technology Monday 14th April 2008

Animoto generates “shorts” compiled from your photos and set to music. They render lots of fancy effects, using your photos, apparently in time to the music. Pretty neat!


South Park Episodes Online – for free!

Movies & TV,Technology Monday 7th April 2008

So apparently Matt and Tre have negotiated a deal where all past south park episodes are going to be streamable free online. Pretty damn shiny. Unfortunately this isn’t available in the UK yet and we can redirected to this hilarious page.


The Net

Movies & TV,Technology Tuesday 1st April 2008

Some awesome guy has posted an episode of The Net online. The Net was a bbc show that started in 1994 that was sort of a Wired magazine on TV. It was way ahead of its time and had a brilliant “Net Cetera” feature at the end of every programme. This was where they would quickly flash screens full of information, URLS, telephone numbers etc that you were supposed to record and then play back in slow motion. Brings back memories…


Google Chart API

Meta,Technology Wednesday 19th March 2008

I had a bit of a muck around with the Google Chart API last night. It’s very neat, you just make a request to google with your chart data and parameters all encoded in the get request, you get back a jpg image. I’ve used the API to generate a nice “spark line” graph of my blog posting frequency from July 2002 to the present. You can see it at the bottom of my index page.


SMTP Disclaimer

Technology Tuesday 20th November 2007

This guy is a genius. His SMTP server has a customised welcome message which includes a URL to a page of disclaimers that override any of those stupid signature disclaimer messages.


Open Social

Technology Sunday 18th November 2007

Open Social, the future of social networks? Certainly looks promising.


Nintendo Advanced Video System

Technology Saturday 3rd November 2007