Wax on Wax off

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One of the most useful and easy improvements I ever made to working was simply learning how to touch type. Its never been particularly necessary for programming as I find anytime I’m programming I write relatively little and the combination of tabs,  weird characters, automatic code generation, intellisense and strange syntax results in a fairly uniform speed, touch typing or otherwise. No were it tends to be useful is simply for smashing out quick communications with individuals. If things are going well things tend to change quickly. Yes I need that no hang on things have changed cancel that have you got this?  That kind of thing. This is were it helps to have a work colleague who is also a quick typist and a quick responder.

So I went out and bought what is called a mechanical keyboard from Das Keyboard (link to their site below) a name I might add was quickly noted as somewhat inaccurate. A colleague immediately pointing out that a mechanical keyboard really has no electronic parts whatsoever like the old key and lever ones you sometimes see in old black and white films.

http://www.daskeyboard.com/model-s-ultimate/

I settled on a the S Ultimate model which has no labels on the keys. I figured hey I’ve started a bit of Russian if you change the key mapping to cyrillics any letters are useless anyway so lets go hard core. It arrived at my work and female colleague no 1 enjoyed watching me eagerly unpack and plug it in. Now I thought I was a touch typist. Turns out that wasn’t quite true. To register the keyboard I had to re-start  the OS. Fine except I immediately had to re-enter my password to get to desktop. Three times later I had to phone support to unblock my password. Yep you guessed it I wasn’t quite the Ninja touch type artist I had fully convinced myself I was.

I’m down with it now but it did require me upping my game. I am particularly careful using some of the USB sticks as those that are encrypted have a three strikes and your out policy  with NO recovery – that did slightly concern me.

So what is it like as a keyboard.

I was immediately about 4% faster I have raised my average speed from about 59 words per minute to something like 66 words per minute. On the rare occasion that I don’t make any typing mistakes I can get up to 75. Think of the discipline some must have had to use the old mechanical keyboards I’m sure that the requirement to use typex would have concentrated the mind on not making mistakes.

It makes me think that maybe Das Keyboard should do a special keyboard with the option for electrifying the delete key.

I am writing a letter now.

The Economics of Immortality

Its 2021 and I originall wrote this article back in 2014 – It sounded on a reread just plain wrong so.

I still maintain that programs should be in some way immortal and maybe wordpress is a case in point. I’ve updated and changed my blog and it runs today better than it ever did. Yes wordpress may change and there is a requirement that it should be updated but how long could it be maintained without maintenance.. Quite probably for a time close to forever.

VBA Function Collection for converting Eastings and Northings to Latitude and Longitude

Some years back we hired a young lad by the name of Iain Brodie on a temporary contract – The week before I had been at an ESRI conference which had extensively discussed Web Mapping and  a speaker had demonstrated showing points in Google Maps. It was clear to me that the Google Maps url would accept and zoom to coordinates if those coordinates passed to it were Longitude and Latitude. Where I work there are significant numbers of datasets that use old Ordnance Survey UK specific Eastings and Northings coordinate system. Ordnance Survey actually set out the mathematics of conversion to Lat and Long on this page even detailing coded functions albeit in Javascript.

http://www.movable-type.co.uk/scripts/latlong-gridref.html

I specifically wanted to dynamically convert using Visual Basic for applications (specifically from MS Access). When Iain arrived it was clear that he was useful with computers and so I tasked him with finding VBA code from the internet. Between us we managed to get it working and I still regularly use the function set today to give users of applications a map in Google Maps. It really is a very nice quick tool that gives users quick access to maps for – you bet zero cost. My favourite price. We originally had it working with Google Earth but I only use it with Google Maps now.

Function PHId(North1, N0, aFo, PHI0, n, bFo)
PHI1 = ((North1 - N0) / aFo) + PHI0
M = Marc(bFo, n, PHI0, PHI1)
PHI2 = ((North1 - N0 - M) / aFo) + PHI1
Do While Abs(North1 - N0 - M) > 0.00001
PHI2 = ((North1 - N0 - M) / aFo) + PHI1
M = Marc(bFo, n, PHI0, PHI2)
PHI1 = PHI2
Loop
PHId = PHI2
End Function

Function Marc(bFo, n, P1, P2)
Marc = bFo * (((1 + n + ((5 / 4) * (n ^ 2)) + ((5 / 4) * (n ^ 3))) * (P2 - P1)) - (((3 * n) + (3 * (n ^ 2)) + ((21 / 8) * (n ^ 3))) * (Sin(P2 - P1)) * (Cos(P2 + P1))) + ((((15 / 8) * (n ^ 2)) + ((15 / 8) * (n ^ 3))) * (Sin(2 * (P2 - P1))) * (Cos(2 * (P2 + P1)))) - (((35 / 24) * (n ^ 3)) * (Sin(3 * (P2 - P1))) * (Cos(3 * (P2 + P1)))))
End Function

Function lon(East1, North1)
a = 6377563.396
b = 6356256.91
F0 = 0.9996012717
E0 = 400000
N0 = -100000
PHI0 = 0.855211333
LAM0 = -0.034906585
aFo = a * F0
bFo = b * F0
e2 = (aFo ^ 2 - bFo ^ 2) / aFo ^ 2
n = (aFo - bFo) / (aFo + bFo)
InitPHI = PHId(North1, N0, aFo, PHI0, n, bFo)
nuPL = aFo / ((1 - (e2 * (Sin(InitPHI)) ^ 2)) ^ 0.5)
rhoPL = (nuPL * (1 - e2)) / (1 - (e2 * (Sin(InitPHI)) ^ 2))
eta2PL = (nuPL / rhoPL) - 1
M = Marc(bFo, n, PHI0, InitPHI)
Et = East1 - E0
X = ((Cos(InitPHI)) ^ -1) / nuPL
XI = (((Cos(InitPHI)) ^ -1) / (6 * nuPL ^ 3)) * ((nuPL / rhoPL) + (2 * ((Tan(InitPHI)) ^ 2)))
XII = (((Cos(InitPHI)) ^ -1) / (120 * nuPL ^ 5)) * (5 + (28 * ((Tan(InitPHI)) ^ 2)) + (24 * ((Tan(InitPHI)) ^ 4)))
XIIA = (((Cos(InitPHI)) ^ -1) / (5040 * nuPL ^ 7)) * (61 + (662 * ((Tan(InitPHI)) ^ 2)) + (1320 * ((Tan(InitPHI)) ^ 4)) + (720 * ((Tan(InitPHI)) ^ 6)))
lon = (LAM0 + (Et * X) - ((Et ^ 3) * XI) + ((Et ^ 5) * XII) - ((Et ^ 7) * XIIA))
End Function

Function lat(East1, North1)
a = 6377563.396
b = 6356256.91
F0 = 0.9996012717
E0 = 400000
N0 = -100000
PHI0 = 0.855211333
LAM0 = -0.034906585
aFo = a * F0
bFo = b * F0
e2 = (aFo ^ 2 - bFo ^ 2) / aFo ^ 2
n = (aFo - bFo) / (aFo + bFo)
InitPHI = PHId(North1, N0, aFo, PHI0, n, bFo)
nuPL = aFo / ((1 - (e2 * (Sin(InitPHI)) ^ 2)) ^ 0.5)
rhoPL = (nuPL * (1 - e2)) / (1 - (e2 * (Sin(InitPHI)) ^ 2))
eta2PL = (nuPL / rhoPL) - 1
M = Marc(bFo, n, PHI0, InitPHI)
Et = East1 - E0
VII = (Tan(InitPHI)) / (2 * nuPL * rhoPL)
VIII = ((Tan(InitPHI)) / (24 * rhoPL * nuPL ^ 3)) * (5 + (3 * ((Tan(InitPHI)) ^ 2)) + eta2PL - (9 * ((Tan(InitPHI)) ^ 2) * eta2PL))
IX = ((Tan(InitPHI)) / (720 * rhoPL * nuPL ^ 5)) * (61 + (90 * ((Tan(InitPHI)) ^ 2)) + (45 * ((Tan(InitPHI)) ^ 4)))
lat = (InitPHI - ((Et ^ 2) * VII) + ((Et ^ 4) * VIII) - ((Et ^ 6) * IX))
End Function

Function degrees(radians)
degrees = 180 * radians / 3.14159265358979
End Function

Function trunc(value)
If value > 0 Then
trunc = Int(value)
Else
trunc = Int(value + 1)
End If
End Function

And here is the code the onclick function of a button called Command01 and it pulls from a screen that has an eastings and northings field on it and which has a Sitename field.

Dim Llatitude As Double
Dim Llongitude As Double
Dim strSitename As String

Llatitude = degrees(lat([Eastings], [Northings]))
Llongitude = degrees(lon([Eastings], [Northings])) - 0.0015
strSitename = Me.Sitename
    
Dim strlatlong As String
strlatlong = Llatitude & ",+" & Llongitude

‘Here I have two options – the first places a marker on the map – as far as I can tell – the marker is only available within google with the side panel displayed as well. The second shows the map centered on the requested location but without any markers. Choose one

Command01.HyperlinkAddress = "https://maps.google.com/maps?q=" & strlatlong & "+(" & strSitename & ")&z=18&iwloc=near&hl=en&ll=" & strlatlong

Command01.HyperlinkAddress ="https://www.google.com/maps/@" & Llatitude & "," & Llongitude & ",18z?hl=en"

And for Developers wanting to get into more detail here is the url for more information on passing parameters to the google maps url.

Google Map URLs

VB Function for Zooming to location in Google Maps at 23 March 2014

mapGoogle recently slightly altered their URL to link to Google Maps. This code passes eastings and northings from fields into a function that calculates Longitude and Latitude and then passes those calculated coordinates to the google maps url for display

Note you will need to have implemented the functions that calculate lat and long for this to be useful.

Private Sub Command01_Click()

On Error GoTo Err_Command01_Click

Dim Llatitude As Double

Dim Llongitude As Double

Dim strSitename As String

Llatitude = degrees(lat([Eastings], [Northings]))

Llongitude = degrees(lon([Eastings], [Northings])) - 0.0015

strSitename = Me.Sitename

Dim strlatlong As String

strlatlong = Llatitude & ",+" & Llongitude

'From 24 March Google changed their hyperlink address this is the new one

Command01.HyperlinkAddress = "https://maps.google.com/maps?q=" & strlatlong & "+(" & strSitename & ")&z=18&iwloc=near&hl=en&ll=" & strlatlong

Exit_Command01_Click:

Exit Sub

Err_Command01_Click:

MsgBox Err.Description

Resume Exit_Command01_Click

End Sub