Tag Archives: google

Spotted a Google Street View car in Perth

I’m such a geek.  The most exciting part of my lunch time trip today was passing a Google Street View car! 

Yep, they are in Perth, taking updated photos of all the streets in Perth and a friend also saw one a few weeks ago.  But today, the car was driving at 50-60km/h along Great Eastern Highway which leads me to think they weren’t taking photos (unless they were using a really fast shutter speed and their GPS is still accurate at that speed). 

Look out for a white Astra with a pole and equipment mounted on top.     Anyone else see one?

More info about the re-photography of Australian cities here:  http://www.watoday.com.au/technology/technology-news/aussie-googlers-gather-for-street-view-stunt-20091106-i1e0.html

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Syncing Mac contacts and calendars with Google and iPhone

On the weekend, I decided to rework all my sync’ing options.  Here’s what I ended up with:

Google, iPhone and Mac OSX Calendar and Contact Sync'ing 

 

Google contacts -> Mac OSX Address Book

I ended up following these instructions here:  http://googlemac.blogspot.com/2008/05/mac-os-x-1053-sync-google-contacts.html

Another set of info here:  http://lifehacker.com/393810/mac-os-xs-address-book-can-now-sync-google-contacts-update-for-iphone-owners-only-ugh

However, I found that although I had it configured, it wasn’t sync’ing at all.   The configuration was all there but there were no contacts in my Address Book.   The instructions for manually sync’ing suggested to click the “Sync Now” option in iSync (the circular arrows at the top of the screen) but that option was disabled for me.  

If you have that problem, then follow Marko’s steps in his blog post here (http://blog.markojung.net/2009/02/sync-everything-with-google/).   Sync’ing started up and now the option appears in iSync!

Google contacts -> Mac OSX iCal

I did try Spanning Sync for a while but ran into some problems with missing calendar events.   I then tried the standard CalDAV configuration and it worked fine!  No third party software required:

http://www.google.com/support/calendar/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=99358#ical

Google contacts and calendar -> iPhone wirelessly!

There are a few options to sync up your iPhone contacts and calendar with Google:

  • Wired – use the USB cable between the iPhone and your laptop.   The big disadvantage of this is that you need to be at your computer to sync.
  • Wirelessly – MobileMe.   Apple has an online storage and sync’ing solution called MobileMe.  This should let you sync your calendar, email and contacts between all your devices.   Unfortunately you need to pay a subscription to use it 😦
  • Wirelessly – Other.   Thanks to internet connectivity on your iPhone, you can wirelessly sync contacts and calendars with something like your Gmail account.  

In a previous blog post, I described how I used NuevaSync as an Exchange tunnel to get the iPhone to sync up wirelessly with Google Mail and Contacts.   However, recently Google updated their service to include their own Exchange server end.  I took the jump and reconfigured my iPhone sync’ing to use this instead and all works!   No more 3rd party required to host my private details or transfer my contacts and calendar.

http://www.google.com/support/mobile/bin/answer.py?answer=138740&topic=14252

I also found that calendar updates were much quicker than through NuevaSync. 

 

Next frontier

OK, so now I have my iPhone contacts, mail and calendar sync’d up with Google and my MacBook Pro.

The next problem is that I’m using Thunderbird instead of Mac Mail.  Unfortunately Thunderbird 2.x does not use the OSX Address Book, but I read that Thunderbird 3.x beta does.   Time to try that out!  Then I’ll be truely integrated!

iPhone + Google + Outlook + Facebook Calendar Sync

We have a real calendar problem in our family.  We just have too many to manage.  Here’s what we had:

  1. My work calendar – stored in Outlook on my work computer
  2. My A5 personal diary – that I can carry around to store my appointments/events outside of work, basically my cut down personal version of Our Home Calendar (see 5)
  3. My wifey’s work calendar – really big complicated thing with her class timetables, lesson plans, etc
  4. My wifey’s A5 personal diary – that she carries around with her to store her appointments/events and some of her work stuff, basically her cut down version of Our Home Calendar (see 5)
  5. Our home calendar – to store our family related events, kids activities, school activities, etc.
  6. Our Facebook events – some events that come up, that we sometimes transfer to the home calendar
  7. Our Facebook birthdays

This year, I’ve decided to try to electronicize some of this – it’s just getting too hard to keep so many diaries and calendars up to date with each other.  

So as a first step, instead of using my A5 personal diary, I’m using Google Calendars.  I tried to convince my wifey that we should use Google Calendar instead of our home calendar and her A5 diary, but she says that she likes to take her calendar with her and doesn’t want to go to a computer each time she has to see what’s coming up.

Oh well.  For me, to solve the problem of looking at the calendar on the go, I have looked at using the calendar on my iPhone 3G.

So after a bit of investigation, and setting up, I now have a system where my work Outlook calendar, my Google calendar and my Facebook events and birthdays are all sync’d to my iPhone!!   I can also access all my calendars on my laptop at home through Google Calendars.

Unfortunately, for now, my Outlook calendar at work only shows my work calendar and nothing else, but that’s OK – I’m not sure if I want to clutter it anymore.   And plus, I can always access my personal calendars at work through Google Calendars or on my iPhone anyway.

So how have I done this?  Here’s a diagram:

Calendar Syncing
Calendar Syncing

There’s several packages and ways of doing it, but this is what I’m currently using:

NuevaSync
I’m using NuevaSync to sync all the Google Calendars with my iPhone 3G.  It supports up to 8 multiple Google calendars, which is great, because I currently have 7 Google Calendars (including some generic ones like “Australian Holidays”).   Google has just released a beta version of Google Sync which is their solution which does the same thing, but apparently it’s limited to 5 calendars only (http://peterleshaw.blogspot.com/2009/02/google-sync-beta-vs-nuevasync.html).

FbCal
FbCal allows you to sync Facebook Birthdays and Events from Facebook to Google Calendars.  Seamless!

Google Calendar Sync
There’s several ways of sync’ing Google Calendars to Outlook.  I’ve seen posts on other solutions like Remote Calendar and Plaxo, but I haven’t tried these yet (Plaxo seems to be yet another calendar server – do I need yet another one?).  There’s also ways of just pointing Outlook at the Google Calendar for a read only version of it.  

I’m currently using Google Calendar Sync.  Unfortunately, it only syncs a single Outlook calendar with your main Google Calendar, but I don’t mind my work Outlook calendar being just for work only.   Since it only syncs with the main Google calendar, I’ve made my main one my work one, and placed my personal Google calendars as separate ones.

So, going back to our family’s calendar mess – it’s still slightly there – for my wifey 🙂  But for me, it’s all electronic in 2009!

More fun with Google Maps Street View in Perth

I don’t know why, but I find it really fun to wander around my home city of Perth virtually! I should just get up and get outside, but no… walking with a mouse is so much more fun 🙂

Here are some funny things I found in the Street View of Perth in Google Maps.

They drove through the tunnel and took photos along the way!

Graham Farmer Freeway Tunnel
Graham Farmer Freeway Tunnel

They even drove down Hay Street Mall, evidently quite early in the morning.

Hay Street Mall
Hay Street Mall

But there seems to be a wierd glitch/bug when you “travel” down Piccadilly Arcade.  I would have expected to pop out on Murray Street Mall, but it seems to think you’re still on Hay Street Mall with Piccadilly Arcade going the wrong way.  Wierd.

Piccadilly Arcade Bug
Piccadilly Arcade Bug

Anyone else in Perth find anything wierd or funny?

Google Street View in Perth!

I found out today that Google has finally added Street View to their mapping capabilities!   What this means is that instead of looking at streets or photos from above, you can look around at the surroudings from ground level in 360 degrees.

I’m glad that Google has kept our sleepy town of Perth up to date in its maps.  I remember being all excited when they finally added Australia as a satellite view, then the maps itself.  It’s almost a recognition that Perth still counts 🙂

For Perth, Google obviously spent a lot of time driving through every street, photographing it with their special vehicles equipped with mounted cameras and GPS.  Here’s a shot of the new interface with the view from Kings Park.

Google Street View of Kings Park
Google Street View of Kings Park

One cool thing about this is that you can grab the picture and just drag it around to “look around”.

I then spent the next 10 minutes going to my house, my parent’s house, the kids school, work trying to see if I or my car was in any of the photos..  unfortunately not 😦

Access Google Maps here:  http://maps.google.com.au/