News Roundup - GIS Stack Exchange, ESRI Deprecation Plans, Employee Shoots Server

First up is the release of the GIS Stack Exchange Beta. If you’re a developer, you know what Stack Exchange is. If there’s a better resource for getting tech help, I haven’t seen it. Check it out and answer some questions. A high reputation on Stack Exchange can open up job opportunities for developers. Hopefully over time it will do the same for GIS.

Next up is the ever-popular ESRI Deprecation Plan (PDF). Every time ESRI does a major platform releases, it reassesses its software stack and targets the losers for termination. There were no big surprises here, but you can go ahead and give a parting smooch to the following: VBA, Arcinfo Workstation, ArcIMS, the Web ADFs, MXD’s in AGS, ArcGIS Image Server, AGS on 32bit platforms, and just about everything that was running on Solaris.

Canvasdemos, a site dedicated to showing demos of the HTML5 canvas element in action, has a World Map Quiz that’s pretty cool. The author has offered it to the Khan Academy. Also in the HTML5 demo camp is this site created by Google.

While I’m on the subject, as much as saying this makes my head hurt, Internet Explorer 9 is looking pretty good. The latest preview sports an Acid3 score of 95/100, which will go a long ways toward patching up Microsoft’s relationship with web developers. They’re slightly ahead of schedule, with the beta due out in a month or so. The big selling point of IE 9 is hardware (GPU) acceleration, and on that front things aren’t looking so good for Microsoft. Firefox 4 will have hardware acceleration, and the latest Chromium build also has hardware acceleration baked in (need to set –enable-accelerated-compositing flag). By the time IE 9 rolls out, hardware acceleration in browsers may be commonplace.

Via Slashdot:

A drunken mortgage worker at RANLife Home Loans decided for unknown reasons to take out the company’s $100,000 server with a .45-caliber automatic, blaming the damage on an imagined assailant who: mugged him, assaulted him with his own weapon, drugged him, and then broke into his office to shoot said server.

To paraphrase Chris Rock, I’m not saying he did the right thing there. But I understand.

And now for some random bits:


  • Google Earth Blog has a nice write up on the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Archive, which attempts to capture first-hand stories of the event. It’s a really cool use of Google Earth.

  • Via everywhere, Google Wave is dead. Part of the failure was one of implementation - how do you use a social site when the beta is closed and none of your friends is on it? But even with that set aside, I think it was a product without a market. The technology was good though, and parts of Wave will live in a lot of other projects.

  • MPEG LA decided rather belatedly that H.264 will be free forever, with WebM being the reason. I think that ship has sailed, and Google is driving the ship - whatever YouTube does will be the standard.

  • Via the All Points Blog, Ushahidi now has a hosted service called Crowdmap. Ushahidi is a platform originally developed to collect and map crisis information, but can be used for all kinds of stuff. The software is free and open source.

  • And finally, via Slashdot, the Austrian town of Frauenkirchen has received a patent on being at the geographic center of Europe. Yes, a patent. I think I’m going to apply for a patent on stupid patents and retire.