Google Maps has new “Avoid Highways” option

Google Maps now has a great route planning feature called “avoid highways”. This produces routes that don’t go on to motorways and some trunk routes, such as the Edinburgh City Bypass, where cyclists are not allowed.

It still isn’t perfect for cyclists as it doesn’t allow for some
roads that cyclists are not allowed on. However it is a step in the right direction for route planning for more experienced cyclists who are happy to cycle on main roads rather than the quieter National Cycle Routes.

It also still routes cyclists on some roads that cyclists are banned from using, such as the West Approach Road in Edinburgh.
See example map that shows this problem.

Another problem is where the route planner takes you a much longer way than you would expect. For example Edinburgh to Dundee avoiding highways takes you via the Kincardine Bridge, this is fine if there is high winds and the Forth Road Bridge is closed to high sided vehicles and pedestrians/cyclists. However that is significantly longer than going via the Forth Road Bridge.

Cycling: Edinburgh Critical Mass

Yesterday I cycled in the Edinburgh Critical Mass.

The idea about Critical Mass is to raise awareness of cycling. A large group of cyclists just get together and cycle around a city as a group. It is completely unorganised except the starting location and time. No route is planned in advance. Anyone in the group can decide to take the lead and the route is chosen on the fly by consensus.
In Edinburgh, on the last Friday of every month at 17:30 for 18:00 set off, a bunch of cyclists get together at the the foot of the mound beside the National Galleries of Scotland. The cycle takes around an hour or two.

From 20070525Criti…
From 20070525Criti…

Some photos that I took on Flickr
Same photos on Picasa Web Albums
The route
GPX Trace

Carbon Apps produce preference files without developers doing anything

This evening I was speaking to Yvan Barthélemy (ybart on IRC) over IRC, when he pointed out something interesting about the preferences for the Aqua port.

Even so the aqua port hasn’t specifically done anything to do so, Mac OS X has created the preferences file org.openoffice.script.plist. This contains information such as the last used folder in file open dialogs, and any other Carbon components that have preferences associated with them.

The preferences filename comes from CFBundleIdentifier in the Info.plist file that is in every Application bundle. We came to the conclusion that this isn’t a good name for the aqua version. We thought that having a CFBundleIdentifier of org.openoffice would be appropriate since OpenOffice.org doesn’t have any other applications of the Mac. (Well as far as I know at the moment).

Blogger now auto saves when writing blog posts

Google have now added a long needed feature to Blogger Blog post creation. This is auto saving of Blog Posts, which is done pretty much the same way as Google Mail.

This is much better than the old way of saving drafts of blog posts, which meant that on saving the draft you had to go back to the list of blog posts each time you saved. This was painful productivity hindrance.

New macport OpenOffice.org meta user

At today’s Mac Port meeting, Eric Bachard created a new meta user, macport, on the OpenOffice.org web site.

This meta user is to be used for all unassigned issues relating to the Mac Port of OpenOffice.org. It is now the default owner of Mac Port issues. This means that the default owner for issues is no longer ericb, the project lead.

See all the open issues assigned to the user macport.

If there is anyone doing QA or issue triage, and you come across a Mac OS X specific issue, please assign it to the new user macport. Once a developer has started working on the issue, they should re-assign the issue to themselves.

If you would like to keep track of all issues by this meta user, please edit your OpenOffice.org Issue Tracker preferences. Log in to the OpenOffice.org web site, then head to the Edit prefs -> Email settings page. On this page you can set the “Users to watch” to include macport in the comma separated list. If you do this, you will now get an email as per your email preferences whenever an issue assigned to macport is created or changed.

This is another piece of evidence that the Mac Port is active and moving faster than before.

Scotland’s new First Minister

Alex Salmond is now the First Minister of the Scottish Parliament.

There were 4 candidates in total: Annabel Goldie (Conservative), Jack McConnell (Labour), Alex Salmond (SNP), and Nicol Steven (Lib Dem).

The 2 Greens voted for the SNP leader to become First Minister. All the other parties voted for their own party leader. Votes were: Annabel Goldie: 16; Jack McConnell: 46; Alex Salmond: 49; Nicol Steven: 16; abstain: 1.

The voting went to a second round with only Jack McConnell and Alex Salmond. The candidate with the most votes in the first round did not get more votes than the votes for all other candidates. For the second round the votes were: Jack McConnell: 46; Alex Salmond: 49; abstain 43.

The political landscape in Scotland is changing, hopefully for the better.

OpenOffice.org Aqua screenshots

Today I thought I would give you a sneak peek at the upcoming OpenOffice.org Aqua. I have 2 quick screenshots for you.

First up is the OpenOffice.org Writer window after resizing, with a native Mac menu bar.

From OpenOffice.or…

Second is a menu. You can currently use both cmd or ctrl to activate the menu command shortcuts. There is no native file picker yet, but it is a work in progress.

From OpenOffice.or…