Mapping St. John's, down to the ground

John
John Gushue
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The first featured site this week takes a map of St. John's, and invites the public to make sense of it. We'll also hit the drama button, find out why your chimney may be smoking, and getta feeling - a funny one at that, but not with the Black Eyed Peas - about last night.

Wikimapia: St. John's

tinyurl.com/wikisjmap

When Google released its Street View presentation of St. John's late last fall, I'm sure I wasn't the only one to dive in and take a close look at houses, offices and other familiar places in our daily lives. (And what a relief that the Google team went around on a sunny day last summer!)

The first featured site this week takes a map of St. John's, and invites the public to make sense of it. We'll also hit the drama button, find out why your chimney may be smoking, and getta feeling - a funny one at that, but not with the Black Eyed Peas - about last night.

Wikimapia: St. John's

tinyurl.com/wikisjmap

When Google released its Street View presentation of St. John's late last fall, I'm sure I wasn't the only one to dive in and take a close look at houses, offices and other familiar places in our daily lives. (And what a relief that the Google team went around on a sunny day last summer!)

While Street View brought a dimension to how we view St. John's, here's another tool you may enjoy, and which is great to bookmark. Wikimapia takes Google Maps data from around the world, and mashes it with wiki-style tagging and descriptions.

Already, whole neighbourhoods have been marked, key buildings have been identified, important destinations marked out. And there's plenty yet to do, register (it's free), and you can contribute to the project.

Elsewhere this week

"Waiting For Fidel"

www.nfb.ca/film/waiting_for_fidel/

I still find the 1974 NFB film "Waiting For Fidel" absorbing, even though (like its Godot-like title) it's about what doesn't happen. You can watch the full documentary - about how former premier Joe Smallwood and media magnate Geoff Stirling tried to get an audience with Cuban dictator Fidel Castro - online through the NFB site. Check around to see the wide range of docs, shorts and more that the Film Board offers for on-demand streaming.

Successful Fireplace

www.woodheat.org/planning/successfulfireplace.htm

We've had a few unfortunate experiences with our fireplace - a normal, crackling fire somehow leads to smoke in the living room. It's unpleasant, and unhealthy, too. This page provided terrific information about some common problems. (A stumbling block for us is that our house, built about 40 years ago, is one of many houses to have a fireplace along an exterior wall, which means that outdoor temperature can seriously affect a chimney's performance.)

The Drama Button

www.dramabutton.com/

I have played this melodramatic sound effect for a lot of people over the last few weeks, and have yet to encounter someone who didn't smile ... and often would want to hear it again. (It lasts just a few seconds.) Save it for those moments when you have a big announcement to make around the home or office!

Spacing

spacing.ca/

Urban blight, anyone? Not for the folks at Spacing, a small-p political magazine that launched in 2003 to spur debate in Toronto about how the city can function better. Since then, it has broadened to include coverage elsewhere, and now boasts a regular podcast.

"I Gotta Feeling" parody

tinyurl.com/yzmnodl

Whether or not the Black Eyed Peas' hit from last year is still a brainworm you can't shake, you might enjoy this parody from College Humor, which speculates on what happens the morning after the night before. The party-hard shenanigans described in the tune may sound like fun, but the consequences can be dreadful. A warning: not appropriate for work, or the kids!

iDragPaper

tinyurl.com/y9seafp

It's fun to pull on a roll of toilet paper ... but it's messy, and let's face it, not very good for the environment. So, here's a free app from the iTunes store that not only let's you indulge that whim, but times you as well, making you want to beat your last score.

No wonder it's been the top download among free apps. I laughed watching a nine-year-old girl show me her tricks the other night.

John Gushue is a writer in St. John's, currently on leave from his job at CBC News. Twitter: @johngushue. Blog: johngushue.typepad.com.

Organizations: College Humor, Google, NFB Film Board CBC News

Geographic location: St. John's, Toronto, Peas

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