Daily Archives: May 9, 2011

How to use Google Maps to create a KML file of your maps and why you want to

If you want to create a KML file of your Google Maps, do this:

  1. Go to your map
  2. Right click on the hyperlink “View in Google Earth”
  3. Select “Copy Link Location” from the menu
  4. Open a new tab in your browser and paste the link into your address bar
  5. Before pressing the ENTER key, change part of the URL from “Output=nl” to “Output=kml” and leave everything else the same and press ENTER
  6. Save the file.

At a minimum, this makes a good backup file for your map. But better still, you can edit it in a text editor and import it later. Google Maps is great and very usable, but sometimes only a text editor (or some custom code) can change the file the way you want.

Have fun!

P.S. I learned this from another page, but I lost the link! Thanks to whomever blogged about this before. Great tip!

Tech products never die, despite this article

Over at Techlicious is a good run down on Five Tech Products that Will Be Dead in Five Years.

It seems reasonable, if by “dead” the author means “they will no longer be a mainstream product”. In truth, what happens is that products get displaced or absorbed, rather than die. You could argue, for example, that PDAs like Palm Pilots are “dead”. But really, they were displaced by other products. I know people who still use them, and I’d argue that the iPod Touch I have is simply a PDA+.

For example, I think tablet computers will displace eReaders, but if the price of eReaders dive, there may still be a market/use of them. Kids may get them in schools, for example. Likewise, DVD/CD-ROMs may be going extinct, but separate media, be it 5.25″ soft floppies, 3.5″ hard floppies, etc, will always be with us. I also think that the fragility of such devices might mean that they eventually get displaced by something as well.

It’s a good article, and a good example of where technology is heading. In the long run, all technology becomes extinct, be it 5 years or 50 or more. Predicting it’s demise is fun, but looking at what displaces and absorbs it is much more useful.

An alternative way for IT companies to deal with requests from the government

Namely, ask questions first and follow the law. Case in point: Mozilla. Recently Homeland Security requested Mozilla to take down the MafiaaFire Add-on. What did they do? (See here.) Rather than automatically comply, they took some extra time and proceeded as follows:

Our approach is to comply with valid court orders, warrants, and legal mandates, but in this case there was no such court order. Thus, to evaluate Homeland Security’s request, we asked them several questions similar to those below to understand the legal justification:

* Have any courts determined that the Mafiaafire add-on is unlawful or illegal in any way? If so, on what basis? (Please provide any relevant rulings)
* Is Mozilla legally obligated to disable the add-on or is this request based on other reasons? If other reasons, can you please specify.
* Can you please provide a copy of the relevant seizure order upon which your request to Mozilla to take down the Mafiaafire add-on is based?

Having received neither a response or a court order, they did nothing.

Was this so hard? Did it require alot of legal resources to do this? It appears not. The question I have is: why don’t more IT companies do this?