Dr Mike J Smith

Plymouth University

Personal Webpage

Email me
T:+44 (0)207 099 2817

Mike Smith

RSS FeedRSS Feed






Castle Rising Castle... and tearooms
Whilst on holiday in Norfolk over the summer we stopped at Castle Rising Castle. Whilst not belonging to English Heritage its preservation has been, at least partly, sponsored by them, so its on the "East of England" trail....

posted on: Fri, 31 Aug 2007 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

OS Benchmarks
The Ordnance Survey have always maintained the trig point and benchmark network for those carrying out traditional ground surveys (leveling and or detail survey). In the past, if you wanted access to the precise co-ordinates of these locations you needed to purchase. With the advent of OS's use of GPS and active/passive differential GPS network, trig points/benchmarks are either disused or dismantled. Whilst many liked the old survey network, it was expensive to maintain and so something had to give. However the good news is that all the (unmaintained) data is now free to use. Just go to the OS Benchmarks & Trig Archive and browse to your hearts content!

posted on: Tue, 28 Aug 2007 | path: /GIS | permanent link to this entry

Converting Word 2007 Files
Now that Office 2007 is fully upon us, expect to be receiving the DOCX (and equivalent PPTX and XLSX) files from colleagues....

posted on: Sat, 25 Aug 2007 | path: /computing | permanent link to this entry

Creating ISOs
One of the nice things in virtual machines is that you can mount real, or fake, CDs on to the VM. So if you load a CD in to your own system, the VM can access it....

posted on: Fri, 24 Aug 2007 | path: /computing | permanent link to this entry

Virtual Box
Well the world of virtualisation doesn't stay still for long and I have now switched over to Virtual Box. Whilst not open source, the main product is free to use and is lighter and fast than Virtual Server (it also runs on Linux). More importantly, it runs both xubuntu and Fedora Core without any hitches at all. I'm using the former for playing around with GRASS, whilst the latter has been necessitated by using Pulsar for some radar image processing. Virtual Box is very easy to use which is nice. However, the more memory the better and if you have less than 500Mb things will be much slower.

posted on: Thu, 23 Aug 2007 | path: /computing | permanent link to this entry

Barratts Shoes and data collection
I was shopping in Barratts shoes recently and paid with my chip and pin card. Interestingly, in this age where everyone is paranoid about card skimming, the sales assistant asked to swipe the card on the POS to complete the transaction. I can only assume that Barratts have installed the new chip and pin system, but their legacy tills still require a card swipe to complete a transaction. This is really very poor and does nothing to assuage customer worries. Of course, the best course of action is to vote with your feet and purchase elsewhere.

posted on: Tue, 21 Aug 2007 | path: /computing | permanent link to this entry

I blogged back in May about Flash Virtual Earth which introduced a Flash platform for viewing virtual earth imagery. Well another product, Flash Earth is now available. And this is quite simply excellent. It provides a fully functional virtual earth, allowing you to select between different vendors (Google, Ask, Yahoo etc) to view imagery available. Its minimalist, simple and a pleasure to use. Definitely worth a visit.

posted on: Thu, 09 Aug 2007 | path: /GIS | permanent link to this entry

.... and Whipsnade respond!
The board of Directors are looking into a possibility of removing all but disabled badge holder cars from the Zoo but first there has to be a suitable alternative transport system in place. They are still in the planning stages so watch this space for further developments. I think also the problems with bikes were that not everyone stayed on the roads and tracks provided. As they are very quiet when being ridden this is another reason for not allowing them as they can creep up on pedestrians. The wearing of seat belts is not enforced as it's not a public highway and the speed limit should be only 10mph. Whilst most people do stick to this limit I know there are others who do not.

posted on: Mon, 06 Aug 2007 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

Whipsnade Zoo
I was visiting Whipsnade Zoo on the weekend. It's a fun place to take kids, there's lots to do and it helps support their wide ranging conservation programme....

posted on: Mon, 06 Aug 2007 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry