Thursday, August 25, 2005


Countries of the World in Google Earth

Having used Google Earth for a while, I decided to come up with my own data layer for it. The result is a data file covering all the countries (and a few dependent territories) throughout the world.

For each country, it shows the flag of the country, and provides links to

* Books about the country (via Amazon)
* facts from the CIA World Factbook
* Google search for the country, plus images and news
* Lonely Planet info about the country
* the country's entry in the Wikipedia

The file is proving quite popular on the official Google Earth forums at

Countries and territories of the world

You can also access the kml file from

That page will also take you to a web page based version of the same information, with additional links to maps in Virtual Earth, Google Maps, MultiMap, and Yahoo! maps.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


The smallest possible zip files

Whilst there are many file formats that offer better compression, the ZIP file format is still very widely used, and in fact experiencing a surge in popularity again, since it is the basis for a number of other file formats, including
With this in mind, I did a quick and largely unscientific test of a number of Windows based command line zip utilities, to see which one produced the smallest files. In all cases, I set the parameters to give what I believed was the most compression. I was compressing just one file at a time (since that was what my particular scenario needed).

The results were:
So the overall winner was 7-Zip - across my selection of 42 files of varing sizes, it produced a total compressed size of 104K, compared to 109K for each of the other 2 programs.


Innovative uses for the iPod

There are a lot of innovative uses being found for the iPod, simply using it as a client that millions of consumers carry around with them:

Thursday, August 11, 2005


Google using their own mapping API

Whilst its not surprising for Google to make use of their mapping capabilities elsewhere on their own site, I was slightly surprised when I came across the Google Mini success stories map to note that it's actually using the published API (complete with registration key), rather than the private methods that most other maps from Google have used to date.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005


Google News adds RSS/Atom feeds

Finally, Google is waking up to syndication technology.

Google News is offering RSS and Atom feeds for both its pre categorized news, and also for news search results.

Unfortunately News searches seem to have a 10 word limit, which means it's hard to remove noise from the results using lots of "-" terms, but at least they do respect the "&num=100" tagged on the end of the URL, so we can now get feeds with a respectable number of items in, not just limited to 10 results as other providers are.

The feeds are in RSS 2.0 or Atom 0.3 format, and give the generator as "NFE/0.8" (which is simply the webserver that all Google's news sites use). Feeds are available on the .com site, as well as UK, Canadian English, India, New Zealand and Australian news sites - basically all the English language sites.

This follows soon after Google added the ability to add any feed to is personalized home page.