New Feature for POPURLS

POPURLS is a great news aggregation site that I have talked about before. When I first saw POPURLS I was impressed by the slick coding and ease of use that this site oozed. I still am that impressed and enjoy a visit from time to time. Since I use a stand-alone application for reading feeds I don’t have much cause to make regular visits. But it is still a pleasure to take a trip.

So I noticed that POPURLS has a new feature, or it is more like a new related site. Called POPURLS.TV. It is yet another Google Maps Mash-Up that tracks in real time the stories that users are clicking on the POPURLS homepage. There is a list view at the top of the page that gives you the top stories over the last hour, the last 24 hours and the last 78 hours.

You can also switch the font size size and also the background colour if you please. Nice features. The listed stories are clickable as you might expect. Watch in Full Screen if you please as well.

Another voyeuristic look at the world I guess, but it is nicely done in typical Thomas Marban style and that is nice to watch. As good a reason as any to check it out.

POPURLS.TV

Add Platial Maps Widget to Your WordPress.com Blog

As you can see there have been a few changes around here. I found some motivation from somewhere and decided to update the widgets and ended up with a whole new look. I am still working on a few things but if you find something that isn’t quite right let me know. Since I was editing the widgets for the new theme I came across a new widget for WordPress.com users. It looks like I got the hop on the WordPress guys on this one as they are yet to release it.

You will notice in the sidebar widgets that there is now a Platial Mapkit widget available. Add it to your sidebar and it will show a mini map of the starting location that you specify when you set it up. Cool, but it gets better, you can add places with placemarks and readers can add their own with comments. Tag placemarks, add users as buddies and more.

Platial Mapkit Widget SampleThe Widget displayed is the one you see here. My options have been included but you can make yours up to whatever you wish. You will have to create an account if you wish to use the widget in your blog. I have also added a placemark for the approximate location of this blog’s HQ, so you can see what they look like.

The map is powered by Google Maps and therefore includes either a map view a satellite view or a mix. As well as zooming in and out and all the usual Google Map goodness. I also noticed a Google Earth link on my homepage map I set up on Platial to take a look at it.

I have not added the widget to this blog, I’d rather keep the lines that I do and not stuff it full of other stuff. Plus it is another thing I have to keep track of if it was here. Although the map I created is available to view, you can see it here. Platial is not only open to WordPress.com users but all bloggers and site designers. So if this is your cup of tea then take a look. The design is simple and to the point and the size is good for a blog, it will fit most if not all blog sidebars. I had not heard of the service before now but it looks pretty good and a bit of fun.

WordPress.com users need to click the link on the widget when it is selected in the set-up. The link is in the text “Making maps at Platial is free”.

Create an account and configure it as you wish. It is fairly simple and straight forward. You can edit these settings easily after you have joined as well so don’t worry too much if you make a mistake.

The last bit is a bit tricky, since I had no “instructions” from the guys here at WordPress I had to work it out. The widget asks you to type in the “Platial Map Id:”. This is the last digits that you see at the end of the Bookmark for your map widget that you have created. That is the Map Id that you need to enter into the widget field and hit submit.

Once that is done just slide the widget into place on your sidebar and save the changes and your done. WordPress we have maps!

Platial Screenshot

Google Earth 4 Released

For those of you that are still staring at the Apple keynote, here is some other news to prod you with. Google Earth 4 is out of beta and available for download as of today. Isn’t it great when something really big happens and then lots of other stuff follows, I think Google are just making sure you have not forgotten about them.

Seriously though, Google Earth 4 is a nice upgrade from the last version. I have been using the beta version for a while now and the features are impressive and functional. The interface is much cleaner and easier to use while supporting some nice additions to the regular “Earth Browsing” experience:

  • 3D Models
  • Time Animations
  • New Appearance
  • Now Supports Controllers such as Joysticks and 3D Navigation Devices
  • Heaps of Regions and Layers to Play with – both serious and fun

If you have not used Google Earth before then now is the time to. It is a great fun piece of software. In addition to that there are some very interesting features that make it more than a toy. Such as the new integration with Wikipedia and National Geographic, in a cool way; not boring at all. Or what about some historical maps? There are far too many features and exciting new additions to mention here. Go and discover!

Google Earth 4 Homepage

Google Maps Now Cover Oz!

Google Maps ImageSorry I have been very, very, quiet this last week but this infection in my sinuses has knocked me for six. But I am trying to do some blogs so bear with me. I found out today via O’Reilly Radar, who also have a great RSS feed; that Google has decided in their wisdom to give Oz the map treatment.

Funny but I have just taken it for granted that we are the last to get things like this. But I think this has come pretty quickly, all things relative. I was surprised to learn that Australia had been covered. This is a nice addition to Google maps. The one reason for me that makes it great is the fact that I have had many times where I would have loved a decent map of Australia to show people that I meet online where I live. Now I do! I just had a plod around the site and I could even see the street that I live in… even down to the block of land that the house sits on – cool. Thanks Google – take that Google it will not come from me that often, you scare me too much.

It will be interesting to see if this whole Google Maps businesses will be able to be utilized for more than curiosity in the future. I suppose that even now you could save the web page or access these maps via your phone or laptop and navigate around the place. While this might be able to be done in large cities, Australia is not known for it’s wide WiFi coverage! I think though this is a sign of the future rapidly approaching and consuming our existence without us noticing.

For me though, right now this just has great novelty factor and will be great to “show” people where I am in the world.

By the way New Zeland was covered as well, but heck someone tried to sell New Zealand on eBay last week. What do I want a map for, the new owner might rename all the streets!