Thursday, October 25, 2007

Just cool stuff

I admit, I'm a geek. I find interesting and entertaining, such things as data mining, genealogy trees, weather, statistics, birds and maps. It doesn't get much more boring than that, kids. It may be boring to most people, but I love that sort of thing.

So last night I stumbled upon this rather nifty little widget you'll see in the bottom left sidebar. It's called Feedjit, and it displays a live traffic feed. Its that simple. It'll show where visitors come from, both geographically and webographically (another new word I just made up, you like?), and what they clicked on to leave. This same info is available through most of the site stat applications, but this one is much cooler. For one, it lets you put the stats on your webpage or blog in such an easy way, most people could do it in their sleep. What's more is that its free, and you don't even have to register. A few simple customizations & snagging the html is all you do (well, and popping it into your layout where you want it). One of the other cool things about this little widget is that it comes with a google map that lets you see where your visitors are coming from. Maps! Yay for maps, yay for google. Boo for dial up, as the maps take forever to load. But yay for maps.

When the technology to view satellite maps first became availabe to John Q. Public, I was SO excited to travel the world via the comfort of my own game room. Its really just amazing the images that are out there. Unfortunately, because I am on dial up, I can't even access google earth anymore (I could when it first came out, it was slow but I could use it), as programs like this have all updated to accomodate high speed access - which leaves us dial-uppers in the dust. In any event...

this is where I am right now... literally So I'm goofing around with the map at Feedjit last night, and zoomed in as close as I could without major distortion, on my house. See the red arrow? That's pointing to my house. In front of the house, those parallel lines that run out to the road? Those are the trees that line either side of my driveway. As you can see, we're pretty far back from the road, and we really do live smack dab in the middle of cornfields. Ever see the movie Signs? Well there ya go. Thankfully we don't have aliens running around outside - just kids.

I'm not sure why (I assume it's due to satellite strength & probably a bunch of other details I'm unaware of) but the images over Canada aren't nearly as good as the images over the states.

For example, here's an image of the house I grew up in, in western WA:

the old stomping grounds

And here's the place I lived in, in Palm Springs, CA:

the place in CA

As you can see, you can zoom in much closer with US addresses. I know the arrow is pointing to the pool in the second picture, and while we did not actually live in the pool, we were in it a large part of the time.

Now at first you might think all of this is just trivial, useless information. It might be, to some people, but I see the benefit in it by being able to take my kids on a world tour, and see God's amazing world. I can show them, literally, where I grew up, places we read about in Scripture, what it looks like on Gma's street in WA, and where some of my friends and family live around the US and Canada. They can see what the oceans really look like from above, and get a more realistic picture of where we live in comparison to other places. We can even see the smoke covering southern California, in real time.

To me, this is just one seriously amazing piece of technology that can be used for good stuff.