I can’t quite believe it – we actually had a few sunny days last week. As I picked Edward up from his nursery, he asked me “Is it summer now?”.
It might not quite be summer just yet but having a bit of sunshine has set me thinking about holidays and long weekends away. I tend to plan them by looking on the internet – maybe you do too.
But one particular thing I use when I’m looking at a place to visit is Google Streetview. I’ve talked before about using it to help make sure you know the route – you can often look at the actual hotel you’re staying in from outside or see what a particular roundabout or junction looks like, so you recognise it when you get to it.
But that’s not what I’m talking about here – I’m talking about looking at things you might want to actually go and see.
It can help you work out what sites you want to go and see when you’re there… or even let you have a bit of a look at a place you aren’t going to, if you have to choose between two.
You’ve been able to do this for a while, looking at the outsides of places – using your computer or tablet to wander around Trafalgar square or wherever.
But they’ve gradually been adding inside buildings as well. In fact they’ve recently added a few new places in Cambridge that you can look inside.
If you’re not sure how Streetview works, basically you can look around a map on Google’s website When you find a place you want to look at you drag a little yellow picture of a man onto the map, click on it and drag it onto the bit of the map you want to look at. Then it gives you a view from ground level of whatever is at that part of the map. You can click to move the view forwards or backwards or click on the picture and drag the mouse to the side to look to either side.
For example, here’s a view of Trafalgar square, like I mentioned earlier.
Here’s one of my favourites of the new bits they’ve added in Cambridge: St John’s Old library.
Oh, and Bran Castle in Romania (or “Castle Dracula”) is well worth a look.
And here’s a list of some of Google’s own favourites.
You can easily while away an hour or two just having a “virtual” poke around some of the places there – and if you’re planning what to see on holiday, it can be even more useful.
Videos about using your tablet
I’ve talked recently about the videos I’ve been working on that help you use your tablet. We’re still all hard at work on them, but we’re very nearly there now. I still don’t know exactly when we’ll have them available but I’m hoping to announce the launch date later this week – maybe Wednesday if all goes well.
They’re videos that you can watch on a DVD player (whether it’s one plugged into your TV or one built into a PC) or you can watch on the tablet itself (though I recommend watching it on your TV with the tablet to hand, so you can try things out).
Oh, and it doesn’t matter whether you have an iPad or an Android tablet – we’ve recorded two versions of each video.
Anyway, watch this space – as I say, with any luck later this week I’ll be able to announce when the launch will be.