geocoding cell id into google maps …

Ok, I think I’ve reach that point where I need to stop and catch up on lost sleep …

There seems to be a lot of recent interest in location based technology, and now with the latest MyLocation functionality in Google Maps for Mobile (GMM), it wont be long before businesses start chomping at the bit to get their products/services mapped to make it easy for Joe Public to navigate to a shop or restaurant, using just a humble GSM mobile phone without GPS fitted.

So I thought I’d join this race and get myself up to speed with the latest tools and development ideas – hence the insomnia and radio silence (haha pun not intended!). Anyway, I’ve written a number of PHP scripts to geocode LAC/CID data from the RIL module on my Windows Mobile WM6 PDA into a seachable AJAX google map – in English, this means that my PDA is continuously updating my webserver with the GSM cell tower information which I am currently connected to, and I then turn this into geogaphical references (Latitude & Longitude) which are plottable on Google Map. And just for fun, I nicked someone’s code to reverse geocode the Lat/Long into Street Name, Town, Postcode, Country etc … click here to see my last reported position, click on the pushpin to get details of timestamp. Next step, a J2ME app that will work on most GSM phones to query the RIL for cell data, do some triagulation onsignal strength to determine the hotspot (cell towers don’t provide GPS accuracy) and update a MySQL database with an ‘invisible’ http session. Now that will be an interesting project …

Those of you who want to try this out, I’ve also knocked up a prototype script which you can access from – you just need to put in the LAC (Local Area Code) and CID (CellID) – if you know what these are …

Happy locating!

o sole mio …


And so we end our little Italian adventure that has taken us from Rome to Naples, and beyond. The Amalfi coast incorporating Sorrento, Positano, Priano, Amalfi and Ravello (pic is of east slope of Positano) has views that are simply breathtaking; it is fully understandable why folks continue to pile on dwelling above dwelling to create beautifully terraced suntraps that look even more appealing in real life. Think Big Sur on Highway-1, add a splodge of Donegal, then airbrush in a mosaic of pastel coloured facades and you have an approximation of something close to what I’m talking about …

Then narrow the roads, add a few Alpine hairpin turns, some homicidal bus drivers, a stray dog or two and suddenly the most beautiful scenery is transformed into an ugly nest of hazzards, made worse by bumbling tourists who like us had not anticipated or fully appreciated the chaos of Italian motoring.

Italians should stick to making performance sports cars, but leave the driving to other people … seriously.

la dolce vita …


Apparently, if you toss a coin over your shoulder into the Trevi fountain, you will return to the Eternal City one day … actually we somehow managed to miss this spectacular place the last time we visited in 2003 but the matter is now rectified … but who needs legend as an excuse to re-visit this enchanting city 😉

We are now installed at our wellness B&B after a day’s travelling which pretty much included planes, trains and automobiles … well, not necessarily in that order. And at one point in the taxi from Fiumicino airport, I was beginning to think we might actually arrive at St Peter’s pearly gates before seeing Rome – such was the ferocity of driving of our chauffeur, an aged disco queen with a particular passion for Barry White ballads. Or perhaps, he imagined himself on track at the Brazilian Grand Prix rather than the autostrada. But I digress …

Last night, after strolling from Spagna, to the Fora Traiano (Imperial Forum just outside the Colosseum), we ate at a decent enough restaurant in Trastevere, away from the tourist honey traps of other more famous piazzas. Note to self: the next time Franco (the hotel manager) suggests an area of nice restaurants, be sure to extract an exact address for the GPS! After an hour or so of walking (Trastevere is a pretty sizeable area!), we eventually found several nice eateries that had already seated the locals and could accommodate no more diners that evening. We also found a lonely supermarket trolley by our bus stop (see pic) which provided some light entertainment to round up a long day …

laurent …


Sometimes, only a Michelin starred restaurant will do … and what better way to celebrate the passing of one’s 40th (David’s & J’s on this occassion) than to re-visit an old haunt, Laurent.

Those of you salivating already, here are the choices of yummy things we had to choose from …



– Palette de légumes raves relevés d’huiles aromatiques et épicées
– Saint-Jacques marinées dans un lait crémeux au goût fumé, perles de concombre et radis
– Poule faisan et foie gras de canard en fine gelée et champgnons verjutés, rôtie aux abats
– Fricadelle de tête de veau caramélisée sur un éventail de pousses de moutarde
– Trompettes de la mort juste rissolées, crémeux d’oeuf de poule et jaune coulant sur un sablé fin au parmesan


– Saint-Pierre cuit doucement dans un beurre d’algues, “purgatorio” aux cristes-marines et couteaux à l’huile de ciboulette
– Merlan de ligne frotté au safran et poêlé, parmentier léger aux coquillages
– Noix de Saint-Jacques légèrement blondies et servies dans un consommé clair, pleurotes et borage
– Epaule d’agneau confite et rouelles de légumes aux épices d’un tajine, côtes caramélisées
– Pigeon rôti au sautoir, endives et pommes mitonnées dans leurs sucs, ravioles d’abattis
– Friands de pied de porc croustillants, purée de pommes de terre



– Coeur de poire william rôtie au gingembre, tuile pistachée et glace riz au lait
– Glace vanille minute en corolle
– Soufflé à l’Irish-coffee

And tomorrow, to Rome and beyond …

glastonbury: day 3


You’ve guessed it … more rain. And so we missed Feluka at the Jazz Stage this morning – which J2 really wanted to see 😦 but by lunchtime, we were as mobile as we could be and were aptly tucking into Jerk chicken and Goat Curry to the reggae sounds of the Marley Brothers on the Pyramid. J1 disappeared off again for more of his favourite milkshake from the Shaken Udder stall, whilst J2 decided to go back to the Kidz Area to continue work on his tunnel in the sandpit. Me, I paid another visit to Burrow Hill for more liquid refreshment 😉

After packing up the tent, we were half way to the Other Stage when the heavens opened again … and it was then that the kids and I made the executive decision to detour to the exit … and catch Mika and the Kaiser Chiefs from our very snugly sofa at home … and in HD on our 42″ plasma telly!

I guess that’s my main gripe about Glastonbury 2007 – in 2005, about 2 month’s rainfall feel in one night but the rest fo the festival was pleasant enough, and more importantly there were still lots of green grass to sit on when one got a bit tired, drunk or over-laden with food. This year, it rained every bloody day and by Saturday morning, there were no patches of grass left … which made it a real slog. Time to petition Mr Eavis to move the date for 2008 … any takers?

glastonbury: day 2


There doesn’t appear to be an end to the rain, and now the mornings have a chill about them too 😦

We missed Liz Green this monrning because of the weather and instead plodded about, dropping into the Chai stall for a game of carrom with J1, but by late afternoon, the sun had come out … in time for Babyshambles at the Other Stage – see pic. Why do people find Pete Doherty so offensive – man, the boy’s got talent! Even the beautiful Kate Moss made a cameo appearance on stage, kissed Pete and then squeeked a bit in La Belle et La Bete – keep the day job dear, you’re infinitely better at that 😉

Then it was a marathon sprint (well, as fast as it is possible to travel in mud) back to the Pyramid to catch Paul Weller, the Kooks and headlining Saturday evening, the Killers – oh, and catching Eric Bibb singing the blues at the Acoustic stage on the way. Actually, I listened to the Killers from the relative comfort of my dry tent … the weather here has been doing something really strange and sound seems to travel a lot further resulting in the organisers having to turn down the PA system, so as not to annoy the locals.

Set of the day goes to a small band I came across at the Bandstand called the Cedar. There’s also an Americana band playing Glastonbury this year by the same name – I’ll post a link to one of their songs later from a CD I bought on site …