Archive for September, 2005

Coming up… SDForum Web services talk

Monday, September 19th, 2005

Next Tuesday I will give a talk on “Yahoo! Widgets powered by Yahoo! APIs” at the SDForum.

I will give an overview of the Yahoo! Web services and show what kind of cool applications can be build using it. But that is just to warm up. The main feature is a “How To” on building a Yahoo! (Konfabulator) widget and use it to retrieve data via Web services. Check out the full description at the SDForum Calendar.

If you are in the area, join me at the eBay’s Silicon Valley Conference Center.

An interesting side note is that I met Jeffrey (my manager) at SDForum when he was giving a talk on eBay Web services.

Yahoo! Mail Beta. Giddy up!

Wednesday, September 14th, 2005

Are you looking for a new mail interface with a lot of new features? The new Yahoo! Mail in in beta. To sign up click here!

Virtual Earth API vs Google Maps API

Tuesday, September 13th, 2005

When I had the first look at Virtual Earth I was quite impressed by the details the provide on the Maps for certain areas. I checked San Jose and Seattle ant the resolution in those areas is much higher than what Google offers. Check out the Space Needle! (Sixth Avenue North Seattle, Washington 98109)

On the first look the Virtual Earth API appears to be pretty similar to what Google offers. That’s quite nice but why was it necessary to switch (long, lat) to (lat, long) if everything else looks so much the same? A really nice thing is that you don’t need to register your application or generate a key to use the API.

There biggest difference between the two API’s is that Virtual Earth only offers one class (VE_MapControl) which is the equivalent to GMap but that’s all there is. If you want to overlay information you can call a method of the class called AddPushPin() and that is not a great way to do it. What I really like a bout the G-Implementation is that I can create little “pin-objects” place them on the map and add a listener to it. This is really helpful to actually make you map interactive without writing a lot of code. VE also provides no default control to zoom in or out.

Here is my attempt to create something quickly that offers the same set of features then my Google Maps demo. I didn’t have the time to create any controls, therefore it is not really useful. (I will be late for my hockey game!)

To sum this up, the maps API doesn’t seem to be very polished. VE only comes with the bare minimum of features which seems to me like it was done in a big hurry. I would not be surpised to find to missing classes in the documentations in the next couple of weeks.

Update: Just realized that double-clicking on the VE Maps zooms in and that the satellite data for Europe is much worse than Google’s…

Maps API – 1,2,3 for non developers

Tuesday, September 13th, 2005

I got the following question more than once: “I am not a developer, but how can I make use of the Yahoo! Maps API…”.

I will make an attempt to explain all the steps that need to be done to display multiple POI (points of interest) using the API. The result should look similar to this link

It contains the address of the Maps API server and two parameters, appid and xmlsrc.

Written another way:

The first part is static
and the values after ‘appid=’ and ‘xmlsrc=’ need to be replaced.

YOURAPPID To get an appid click here.
YOURXMLFILE would point to the file that contains all the locations you want to display.

The easiest way to get started with your own map is to copy our sample file and modify it. Create your own file on a server that is accessible for the outside. If you don’t have your own web server / domain, you can sign up for free web space e.g. at Geocities and host your file there. Geocities offers you a web interface to upload files. Go to our sample XML file at, do a right click and choose show ‘Page Source’. Mark the complete page and copy it to the Geocities web interface to or a text file if you have ftp access to a server and save it e.g. as sample.xml.

Now you can complete the link above with you xmlsrc. For Geocities it would look something like that If you enter the full link from above in your browser with the modified parameters, you should see your own map.

The final step would be to change the locations to display your own. Have fun!

Monday, September 12th, 2005

Microsoft Opens MSN To Developers

eBay acquires Skype Technologies

Monday, September 12th, 2005

The rumor on Friday was the eBay is talking to Skype and today they announced that eBay will pay at least $2.6 billion in cash to acquire Skype Technologies. The total value of the deal may climb to $4.1 billion if Skype meets certain performance targets.

That’s a lot of money to enter the market that Yahoo! and Google just moved in. A couple of days back I read that Google was not willing to pay the requested $3 billion and that’s when they decided to write Google Talk themselves.

Spying on the competition – Google Maps

Sunday, September 11th, 2005

A couple of days ago I counted the number of places I’ve lived at during the last 5 years. The result: 7. Following the rule: “Blog if you have something to say, write a map mashup if you want to point out some locations”, I did the latter. As Google Maps offers satellite data from all over the world and half of the locations are in Germany, I finally found a reason to add the Maps to my Web site. Besides that it was a great to see what the competition offers. It was fun to write a few lines for it and the documentation made it really easy to get something together quicky. Check out the result! In this post Jeffrey compares the Google and Yahoo! Maps API.

Moved to WordPress

Friday, September 9th, 2005

After having the b2 running on my site for a little and using the Yahoo! 360 blog, I wanted to try WordPress as well.