PCP Pro briefly rounds up the latest news on the USB3 standard. This promises speeds of up to 600MBs over the interface and one area that could really benefit is external hard drives. Freecom and Buffalo both have drives for release by the end of the year, although whilst the USB3 headline speed is high, they will be aiming for ~125MBs, apparantly due to restrictions in drive speed (rather than the interface). That said, it’s considerably faster than current USB2 speeds and they will ship with a USB3 expansion card (so you can use them!!). Good news for those of apps that carry all our USB apps around with us.
The Guardian reports on something useful to come out of the “Show Us a Better Way” competition run by that Cabinet Office and that is a website to find your nearest postbox and its collection times. A genuinely useful application that, not surprisingly, fell foul of the Post Office saying “that’s our data.” Anyway, I’ll leave it up to more avid readers to skim through The Guardian’s article. The site itself is useful and is using crowd sourcing to get over the problem of recording the exact location of boxes; they know the postcode and the collection times, but not the 10 figure grid reference. So, through the power of people, about 25,000 of the ~100,000 boxes have been located. Just visit the site, enter the first 3-digits of your postcode and tie the list on the right to locations (or add a location) on the map on the left. Its all done inside OSM data to make life simpler.
It’s great to see genuinely useful services kick off so well, but isn’t it just insane that users are not allowed access to: base maps, electoral boundaries, postcodes, postboxes, weather data, hydrography etc etc. The list goes on and on and so mad is this that users are having to generate the content from scratch again. Doesn’t say much for “joined up government.”
Microsoft are offering HE students Windows 7 for £30. That’s a damn good deal and includes either Home or Professional; the latter offering quite a few more features. It is download only (universities will be pleased with that!) and you must have an HE email address. You can pre-register from 1st October.
Well Wikileaks is at it again. This time it’s supposedly the entire Royal Mail Postcode Address File (PAF) as a 241Mb CSV text file. Its a little smaller compressed and purports to be from July 8th. I’m sure this will upset a few people, not least the Royal Mail as it’s an income stream (and probably the OS as well). Of course postcodes change so for “live” lookups (e.g. address filling on shopping sites) it won’t be good enough, but for everyone else…..