So, November was fun.

First up, I discovered that the MapTool for webOS actually supports offline maps and it is a pretty simple process to create a local tile-cache. With the help of Mobile Atlas Creator and instructions from this forum thread, I managed to dump a perfectly usable copy of OpenStreetMap for Rome, which came in quite handy for the times that I could actually get a GPS fix!

(webOS is truly a remarkable platform. Unfortunately the same cannot be said about the hardware, at least for the original Prē that I am currently using)

[caption id=”attachment_149” align=”alignleft” width=”150” caption=”Leeching…”][/caption]

This is a screenshot of Mobile Atlas Creator working hard to put the tiles together. This took quite a while as I went a bit crazy with all the zoom levels and the entire tile-cache ended up weighing around ~500MB.

Having found an offline map solution, I started playing with the Open-Source Geocaching application and quickly stumbled upon a very simple yet annoying bug. It fails to launch the ‘pro’ version of the Maptool as it looks for the ID of the ‘free’ version. I never attempted any webOS coding before but I thought it would be a relatively simple fix so I downloaded the SDK, checked-out a copy of the source code and started hacking away. After about 20 minutes I found the problem, wrote a few lines of JavaScript to fix it and tested it on my device.

[caption id=”attachment_180” align=”alignright” width=”150” caption=”Geo Apps”][/caption]

The whole process of compiling code/sending it to the device was a lot easier than I expected, which was a pleasant surprise. I’ve sent the author of the application an email including the patch and even though I haven’t heard anything back it looks like he fixed this upstream so good news for fellow webOS geocachers. Now, if only I could find more time to actually go out and use it… (If you’re interested in the patch, it’s located here)

Hacks aside, I got to travel a lot during the month which is always fun. Rome was the most interesting destination out of all the November trips and I fell in love with the place. I always believed that Italy would be a place I’d like to spend more time in and this trip only reinforced that view. It was also a nice little break from the crazy world of research and I got to meet-up with a very good friend of mine for a few days to catch-up on stuff. Having good company in an awesome city full of surprises and amazing food is what I call a perfect holiday :)

[caption id=”attachment_157” align=”alignleft” width=”150” caption=”Single Rainbow!”][/caption]

[caption id=”attachment_158” align=”alignleft” width=”150” caption=”Colosseo”][/caption]

[caption id=”attachment_161” align=”alignleft” width=”150” caption=”Pantheon”][/caption]

[caption id=”attachment_162” align=”alignleft” width=”150” caption=”Fontana di Trevi”][/caption]

[caption id=”attachment_163” align=”alignleft” width=”150” caption=”Little Pixel Dude”][/caption]

[caption id=”attachment_164” align=”alignleft” width=”150” caption=”Limoncello Cake!”][/caption]


After having a great time in Rome I knew something would go totally wrong (universe is cruel, Murphy’s Law, etc). Sadly, this was in the form of my main hard drive failing a day after I arrived. Luckily, just before I left for my little trip I signed up to BackBlaze and moved all the ‘chunky’ files to my home server to free up space. Thanks to the combination of these two acts all my data seems to be intact and I seem to have avoided a major catastrophy. All my projects/code/research lives in remote SVN repositories anyway but losing all my photos and collection of lolcats would have been devastating.

The result of this painful experience? I think the picture below is pretty self explanatory :)

[caption id=”attachment_181” align=”aligncenter” width=”300” caption=”Time to mirror bits”][/caption]

There is still more than a week to go until we flip calendar pages but I suspect I won’t have time to blog during that time so here is a summary of November.

Until next time, cheerio!