Wednesday, December 30, 2009

First Look: Google's Chromium OS

Thanks to @hexxeh who built a bootable USB image of Chromium, Google's operating system.  @hexxeh provides an image of Chromium and instructions at  The instructions under the wiki are a little more detailed so you might want to use them instead of the instructions on the main page.  There are also directions for creating a VirtualBox virtual machine vdi if you want to forego booting to a USB memory stick.

I booted Chromium on the Dell Mini 9, which required resetting my boot order and enabling USB Legacy Mode on in order for it to boot to the USB stick. Without further ado, here are (literal) screen shots of Chromium:

Running on the Dell Mini 9

Chromium Build

Chromium's configuration is simple, only four configuration screens.

Not much in the way of hardware configuration, just WiFi and ethernet.

The Google Wave client, built on GWT, is one of the more taxing browser applications.  Navigation seemed a little bit faster and the gadgets in the wave ran as expected.  Also note that the screenshot was taken from a 23 inch LCD.  This Chromium build mirrors external displays using the same resolution as the netbooks native screen resolution.  There are no options to change the resolution of the external monitor.

Finally Chrome is an HTML 5 compliant browser, so to exercise it a bit I ran several HTML5 demos.  Here's a video of one of them running in Chromium:

WiFi and ethernet is a bit wonky on the Dell Mini 9 and bluetooth did not work, but overall Chromium seem reasonably stable.  Chromium is in its early stages and there are bugs to work out, but it does suggest Google's future direction.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Are you REALLY a GIS Professional?

Slack time over the holidays leads to weird serendipity, idle hands and all of that.  I was reading about a trademark troll in the game industry when I saw a tweet about GISP Certification.  Curious about the current state of GIS Certification, I started reading through the site. Reading the GISCI Certification FAQ, I found this:
The "GIS Professional" and "GISP" designations are protected as federal registered trademarks owned by the GIS Certification Institute, which reserves all rights.  The Institute takes the duty of protecting the GISP credential very seriously.  If you have not been personally certified as a GISP by the Institute, then you cannot legally use the GISP designation, either as part of your signature or on your resume.  Any person found to have used the GISP designation without having been previously granted use of that credential by the GIS Certification Institute will be subject to legal action under federal copyright and trademark code.  In addition, such violation shall subject the person to disciplinary action under the GISCI Code of Ethics for misrepresentation of qualifications and/or any other applicable grounds.
I've seen plenty of resumes with "GIS Professional" ; apropos of my extracurricular reading, I wondered if they were infringing on GISCI's trademark.  Searching the the US Patent and Trademark Office Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) for "GIS Professional" yields two results not related to the GISCI but to another certification program that claims "GIS Professional Certificate in Geographic Information Systems" as its trademark.

GISCI does hold the GISP trademark (yes, certification is essentially a brand), but not "GIS Professional" as a trademark. All the GIS Professionals can now breathe a sigh of relief and GISCI should correct its website accordingly.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A musical interlude

And now for something completely different: Concerto Grosso in G Minor (the Christmas Concerto) by Arcangelo Corelli:

Many thanks to the Musical Archeologist for making this 1938 recording by the London Symphony Orchestra available.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Postgres/PostGIS installing and uninstalling prebuilt binaries on OSX

I install and uninstall different versions of Postgres/PostGIS as needed.  EnterpriseDB provides pre-built binary installers that save you from the headache of installing all the bits and pieces needed for PostGIS. A small annoyance is that the uninstall-postgresql app is hidden in /Library/PostgresSQL/(version) directory. Dragging the PostgreSQL folder into the trash does not completely uninstall it as with other OSX applications.

I had problems installing PostGIS using the EnterpriseDB StackBuilder after an uninstall. It would go through the process but it would not create the postgis template.  The components were installed in /Library/PostgresSQL/(version) but I had to create the postgis template manually. In addition, PGAdmin III would list the postgres instances that I had previously uninstalled.

After a bit of hunting around with ls and grep, I found /private/etc/postgres-reg.ini  which contains definitions of the installed and uninstalled databases.  Why there is an ini file in an OSX installation is beyond me, but deleting this file ensures a clean install of the EnterpiseDB binary installers.   

Sunday, December 6, 2009

AR DevCamp NYC: Recap and Going Forward

AR DevCamp NYC was great. We had demos of PyGoWave and Goblin XNA; as well as, numerous discussions on AR, markers, GPS, and AR games.  We had a number of people join us via Skype including the author of the Spads and Fokkers.  Tish Shute put together a comprehensive report of AR DevCamp NYC (within 12 hours of the event). I went through twitter and pulled the links to media that attendees posted.

Thank You
The event would not have been possible without @TOPPLabs providing their penthouse and Ashley DeVries' assistance with the event planning.  My co-conspirators Tish Shute and Ori Inbar assisted with planning and getting the word out. Kate Chapman created the logo. AR DevCamp was the brainchild of Mike Liebhold and  Anselm Hook provided encouragement (and the wiki) to organizers of the other DevCamps.  Finally,  thanks to all the attendees who brought their energy, enthusiasm and ideas.

Moving Forward
AR DevCamp NYC is just the beginning.  Two projects presented at DevCamp, ARWave and The Big ARNY, are building on the inertia of the event.  ARWave is a project to provide and open, distributed, and universally accessible platform for augmented reality built on the Google Wave Federation Protocol.  The Big ARNY is an Augmented Reality game for New York, a follow up meeting is scheduled for January 15, 2010.  In addition, Ori Inbar has started an AR New York Meetup.  Augmented Reality is starting off with a bang in 2010.