News Roundup - Esri Certification, File Geodatabase API, When Computers Go Wrong

Either it was a slow month or I was a slow witness the last 30 days. Here are a few things that managed to grab my toy-addled attention.

Esri made some news this month with the widely expected announcement of a certification program and the astoundingly late File Geodatabase API, which was in danger of achieving Duke Nukem Forever status. The Esri certification makes a whole lot more sense to me than the GISP, which is to say it makes no sense but I can kind of see what they’re doing there. The File Geodatabase API is closed source (that’s OK) and Windows-only (that’s a lot less OK). Better than nothing I suppose, but it certainly isn’t going to supplant the venerable shapefile.

Via Ars, Kataspace is a browser based virtual world built with HTML5 and WebGL. It uses JavaScript in the browser to send information via WebSockets back and forth between the client and server. It’s a little hinky (it doesn’t think my Firefox 4.0b8 has web sockets enabled), but the idea is great. With some real GIS data, it could be like a socially interactive Google Earth sans browser plugin. You can download the code at GitHub.

And now for a few parting shots:


  • The All Points Blog points out GPS sales were down on Black Friday by 37%. I can understand why - my Droid 2 is my GPS unit. It’s the same reason I’m leery of buying a Kindle - how long are these one-trick ponies going to be around? Well, that and DRM makes me want to put my head through some drywall.

  • Google Chrome 8 was released to the stable channel, which includes a built-in PDF viewer and web apps (though most of those should really be called bookmarks) through the new Chrome Web Store. You can also play with lots of fun stuff via about:flags, like WebGL, GPU Acceleration, and other experimental features you used to have to enable via command line arguments.

  • Oracle has released MySQL 5.5, which includes a whole bunch of improvements. InnoDB is now the default storage engine, and performance on Windows has been improved. Alas, if there was any geo functionality added I sure can’t find it. It looks like MySQL has decided to cede that ground to others.


  • PC Pro UK has a great feature on the world’s ten most calamitous computer cock-ups. A fun read for the new year, and hopefully it’ll put your own head-smackers in perspective.


Happy New Year!