Doing the Happy Chicken Dance


It’s safe to come back, I’m as happy as Chicken Little with a crate of Red BulliWork 09 and iLife 09 arrived!!!!

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The first thing I launched was iPhoto 09… holy map-making-photo-software Batman!!! After installing it asked me if I wanted to add locations for my photo library. The next thing I know I’m looking at a map of our corner of Australia with pins in all the places I’ve taken photos with my  iphone. Clicking on the pin showed the photos taken at that location. 

I haven’t even had a chance to look at the new photo books but apparently there are now travel ones that include maps or locations. This is going to be fabulous for any traveller who wants to document their adventures. 

I also had a quick delve into the face recognition aspect. I was fascinated by who the program thought looked most like each other – might settle a few family debates!

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A good Atlas is hard to find

In “The Island of Lost Maps” [amtap amazon:asin=0767908260] Miles Harvey documents both the history of maps and the ever increasing value of cartographic collections today. I’m sure the publishers of Atlases have taken this to heart and consider their books as collectors items. Unlike our favourite book of road maps, an Atlas isn’t something you want to upgrade every year. When I was growing up my parents had a beautiful Reader’s Digest Atlas complete with illustrations of space and amazing pictures of the sea floor. Naturally the first place I went to look for an Atlas was Reader’s Digest . Well, it turns out you can’t view the pages online. I weighed up receiving junk mail from Reader’s Digest for the next 50 years and decided surely somebody else must produce a decent Atlas? 

It was at this point my obsession with Atlases became almost like the characters in Harvey’s novel. I scoured bookshops and map shops trying to find the perfect Atlas. I used the South Island of New Zealand as my test case to measure the level of detail in each Atlas. Nothing under $200 seemed to match what I had in mind. Do not even get me started on the whole which “Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World” edition is best debate.[amtap amazon:asin=0007157207]

While we were looking at atlases in a map shop, I suddenly realised that what we wanted was not a World Atlas but simply a road atlas for Europe. For a fraction of the price we could get the required level of detail for route planning, including travel times! In the end we went with the Insight Travel Atlas, which is very similar to both the Michelin and Frommer’s versions. [amtap amazon:asin=2067129953][amtap amazon:asin=0764557823]

A short time after buying the road atlas, I came across a beautiful 1982 edition of the Reader’s Digest Atlas of the World in an Op shop for $5. It has a fairly good close up of the South Island in NZ and the pictures of space and the ocean floor. Admittedly it still has West and East Germany, but that in itself is a fascinating historical detail. If you want to see just how far we have come with maps and Atlases, another fascinating book is [amtap amazon:asin=1582974640]