Google Maps on your site. The easy way!

So you’re quite taken with all the mapping tools around. Everyone, and their mothers, has a nice ‘maplet’ on their blog. And now you want one too. (If not? Imagine that you want one too…)

Your option(s) untill now:
Choose an API like the Google Maps or Virtual Earth API, read up on the documentation, code, test, code, test, …, put a ‘maplet’ on your page. Hope for the best.

That was untill now, because the good people of Tagzania have made it as easy as copy-paste for the rest of us.

Just pick a spot on Tagzania, describe, tag and save. If you’re happy, just click the ‘Paste this map on your site’ button. Copy the generated code and paste it in your site.

Like so (no it’s not an image, click on a marker):

How simple is that? Go to Tagzania or read up on the Tagzania blog first.

Internet Explorer Developer Toolbar Beta vs Web Developer toolbar extension

“Imitation the Sincerest Form of Flattery.” Or so they say. But I don’t know if this holds true when the imitating party is… Microsoft. Sorry Chris, it’s about time to move on to greener pastures. 😉

Why the sarcasm? Well, Microsoft released a beta of their Developer Toolbar for Internet Explorer. So? Well, that’s what I thought. Why would I install a beta toolbar for IE when my main developement tool is Firefox with the Web Developer toolbar. Among others.
Just out of curiosity I gave it a go. You can download the developer toolbar beta for IE here. Don’t! If you are running Vista as it seems to crash the system.

So here are my first impressions.

Continue reading “Internet Explorer Developer Toolbar Beta vs Web Developer toolbar extension”

Google Blogsearch & Webfeeds

At first look there are no orange XML/RSS chicklets in Google Blogsearch. But if you look at the bottom of the page just above the pagination there’s this line where you can subscribe to either an Atom or RSS feed for the search results.

E.g.: “Thinklemon” search results in Atom and “Thinklemon” search results in RSS.

This is great stuff for some ‘egosurfing‘. 🙂 But I have to give it to MSN Search. As a search engine they were there first.
If it weren’t for Firefox’s Live Bookmarks I would just have missed this option.

Update: It seems that the feeds are ordered by relevance per default. You’ll need to sort your results on date first (top right) and then subscribe to get a feed ordered on post date.

Google Earth: Impact Structures Top 25 (was 10)

And here it is! My first public experiment with Google Earth.

Vredefort Impact StructureSome time ago I stumbled upon the Earth Impact Database. A table with all 172 confirmed impact structures on earth’s surface. Putting one and two together I figured it would be nice to see those impact structures visualised inside GE. I also figured it to be a nice side-project to learn PHP, KML and XML on the way. After some trial and error, some code-borrowing, testing and hacking I present you:
A top 25 of the largest confirmed impact structures on earth.

If you were impressed by the dinosaur extermination power of the Chicxulub crater off the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico. Wait till you see the Sudbury and Vredefort ‘dents’. 😉


Download the impact structures top 25 kmz
(Google Earth required). Or click the picture to see what you’re missing.

Continue reading “Google Earth: Impact Structures Top 25 (was 10)”

Progressive layout

My website definitely needs an overhaul. I’ve been using the default ‘Kubrik’ theme too long. Surely I could download and run another theme. But, being a webdeveloper/designer, that is beneath my standard ;-).

Last may I stumbled on this concept of ‘Progressive layout’ by Alessandro Fulciniti. The concept is simple, build a ‘liquid’ or scalable layout using CSS and use a piece of JavaScript to limit the display-width of the layout. E.g. Whenever a browser window is at it’s ‘maximum’, make it a fixed width layout. When the browser window is scaled below a boundary value, change it to a ‘liquid layout’. Even below a set threshold change it back to a fixed width layout again. See Alessandro’s example of a 3-column layout with and without the concept in place. (Open up and resize your browser! See what is happening to the width of the layout?) This is something I’ll probably want with my layout. (Degrading nicely for old browsers, mind you)

Ever since the inception of the internet people had the choice of fixed or liquid/scalable layouts. Each one had their pro’s and con’s. But this has never been combined before (I think). Looking at and testing Alessandro’s code I found something that annoyed me. When you load up the above demo’s and scale them, the margins are variable. This got me thinking and testing myself. Scalable below a certain threshold using the liquid layout, above the threshold fixed width. And here’s my demo.
It currently is a ‘proof of concept’. Whenever the browser window is smaller than a 1000 pixels (960px + 2 * 20px) it changes to a liquid layout. I’ve tested it in IE6, FF 1.0 and Opera 8.0 and it works. IE5 has some trouble switching to liquid. So before I’ll release the script I’ll have to do some testing. 🙂

(Feedback is welcome)

Google Sitemaps Verification & Mobile

Google Sitemaps has seen an update.

Verification
If you verify that you are the owner of the submitted ‘sitemap.xml’, you get to see some extra statistics about the indexing process. Although I see some errors on URL’s that aren’t even in my sitemap.
Go to your sitemap controlpanel and click the verify link next to the sitemap. Just follow the instructions.

Google Mobile WebMobile Sitemap
If you run a mobile-enabled (WAP) site you now can also submit sitemaps. See for more info:

Maybe something for the guy running Wapipedia.org (The mobile version of Wikipedia)?

The Joys of Shared Hosting

… are of course the low price tag and not having to maintain the server yourself.

Crash The downside however, is that you are at the mercy of your mostly unknown neighbours. Who happen to reside on the same server. So what happened? ThinkLemon.com was out of service for quite a while. 14 hours straight to be exact.
All because one neighbour (un)willingly decided to play not so nice. Cascading in a total server melt-down. Apparently the wrong-doer has been kicked and all should be well for now.

Lesson learned? Don’t go experimenting in a live-server environment!!! Thank you. If you must, please experiment locally and test your stuff before release. How? See XAMPP from apachefriends.org. They have ready-to-go Apache+MySQL+PHP+Perl packages for Windows, Mac OSX, Linux and Solaris.
So if you decide to create infinite loops from hell. It’ll be only your system that crashes.

Just a thought.

The present: Most people come to you via a search engine (probably through Google, although Yahoo! is on the return). Some people come via Technorati, Bloglines or other RSS feed engine. And some are family, friends, co-workers, affiliates, … the people you meet in real life. All 6 of them. 😉

Given the state of current search engines, they’re stumbling over one another for the largest and fastest index, and the state of the ‘distributed web’ via RSS services (*cough web 2.0*). Does it really matter whether your site is in ‘shape’, a.k.a. designed? What matters these days is crawlability and indexability. In fact with add-ons like GreaseMonkey you cannot even be sure that your visitors will see what you’ve intended. Shuther to think what you’ll break when you update your site for someone running a GreaseMonkey script.

The future: Here’s my thought. What if? I’ll just revert to HTML 2.0. Google & Co understands it very well. And instead of chronological blogging or filling my web space, I’ll just put up thoughts and keep on writing on them totally visibly for you.

Hold up. That’s called a wiki!

Yes. 🙂 But think of it. What’s so different from a blog? Blog (and forum) people put up ‘updated’-tags in their posts to signal a change. So what if I don’t have to care about that? I’m thinking cross-over wiki/weblog. Just let me write, note, jot, expand, figure out, take a sidestep, draw, video-tape it or just delete. And you, my audience, all 6 of you, could comment in the proceedings? You know, just like a weblog. You’re probably saying OPML? No, from what I’ve seen it’s not what I want.

Come to think of it. It’s much like building your own personal Wikipedia, pinging around whenever I press a button (feeds), having a sitemap so search engines (G. Sitemaps) are filled with their hunger, put up an OPML to keep mister Winer happy, put up a webservice/API so every webdeveloper can rehash my content on their mobile, … Who cares about my site? It’s about distributing it.

Like I said, just a thought.