There are a number of reasons why this blog has taken a bit of hiatus in terms of posts in the last few months. Probably the most important of which is that fact for once in the UK we seem to actually be having a summer, coupling this with my daughter forcing me to watch all of the Doctor Who’s since the reboot (honestly she’s only 4 but she’s quite persuasive) means I spend a lot of time outside on the bike or in explaining the fighting differences between Daleks, Cybermen and everything in between.
A slow spiral down the web plug
Secondly has been the slow demise of an excellent webhost, Webhost4Life. Whilst never the fastest host it has always been reliable for everything I’ve needed it for, especially for the price and features I paid for it. Recently though they decided to move to a new platform which I think this was due to the company being sold to another and a change of management went for a cheaper option. Initially it seemed good, the admin site was much improved and it seemed that things were going tickey-boo. Unfortunately as others have also found the support and stability of the site has gone way down. This blog was up and down more times than the Grand Old Duke of York, and even when it was up it was slower than an England footballer in front of goal. Finally having enough after 3 days of downtime I decided to pull the plug and move this blog over to a new host, Arvixe.
Not only has this host been a lot quicker for me, it obviously doesn’t seem to be as contested, but it also supports a variety of development platforms, from PHP to ASP.NET and whilst the admin pages aren’t as nice and I had to install WordPress 3 the manual way (actually it wouldn’t even upgrade on WebHost4Life so it was very broken) which took all of one hour including getting the data loaded from the old blog.
I wonder if it’s like changing banks, hosting is one of the most painful things to change once you have it all set up, once you’ve done it though, you wonder why you never did it before.
Finally I had my final, final, final leaving do this week from the hallowed halls of
ESRI(UK) esri(UK) ESRI UK. After 7 weeks of being at Google and one month of garden leave (people kept telling me there was no ‘–ing’) it was about time too. Moving on from a job where I talked to people about GIS technology to a company which I talk to people about GEO technology has been less of a shift than you might think. The complexity of solutions might be less, I haven’t yet touched SAP since I left (phew), but it’s still based around understanding how people’s workflows might fit and integrate with the respective technologies and API’s. Although it’s a lot more consumer-focused though, a bit like web mapping was with ESRI UK 8 years ago, I like it.
There is so many geo-technologies to learn at Google, from the server based Google Earth Enterprise to the cloud based Fusion tables, as well as the well know Google Earth and Maps. My first seven weeks I have have been like a kid in a candy store both metaphorically with the learning of new technology and physically in the micro kitchens (note to self, must do more exercise).
Expect to see much more Google Geo related tips and trips around here as I work the stack of technology in my sweetie bag. I won’t give up the esri thing just yet though and hope to do some integration work between the various systems and I’m giving a talk on integration next week
Now with added location and mobile
On a side note, whilst updating the site I implemented two new features. Firstly the move had broken my previous ‘where are you from’ section so I thought I’d update it with some Google Maps code. Unlike the previous attempt I decided to take the easy geolocation route and have the browsers (or gears) do it for me. I’ll discuss how this works in a subsequent post, it’s not tricky and takes about 10 lines of code, all of which you can get from the Google Maps v3 API page here.
The second feature was the addition of the WPTouch plug-in which formats WordPress sites to work nicely on mobile devices like the iPhone and Android devices. The free version seems to work nicely for me, the pro version seems to have some nice features that one day I might find I need. Give it a go, it looks nice.