Saturday, 18 June 2011

Compressing Postcodes..

The UK has postcodes, which are of a similar purpose to zip codes in the US. You put a postcode, and a house number on an envelope, and in theory that's pretty much all that's needed to get the letter to the destination.

I've never really put much thought into how they were constructed, until I met a stack of data that was indexed using postcodes as the lookup, very handy, but it was causing the data size to exceed a limit which meant I couldn't embed the data into a blog post ;-)

I went hunting, and found a document explaining the structure here. I ran a quick scan over my data, discovering I had 121 postcode areas present in my list, some 129 sub bits of them, and some 4000 or so last bits =) Eg, PO1 3AX, PO being what I'd call an area, 1 being the sub bit, and 3AX being the last bit.

I started playing around a bit and here's what I ended up with...

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

on Hosting, and other such things..

I remember walking along the seafront, back in the mid 1990's, trying to explain these things called 'mp3s' to a few non technical friends. Attempting to explain that here's a way to fit an 'acceptable' quality version of an audio track into something that would fit on a couple of floppy disks. How important it was that the size was small enough to be transferable within an 'acceptable' timeframe, and that most people really didn't care for CD-quality (most of them still using cassette tape for Cars, Walkman's etc).

I remember saying this will really change things, that I wasn't sure how the music industry would cope with their content becoming available in the same way software was, with all the positives and negatives that brought with it.

Well.. here we are.. almost 20 years later, and there has been Winamp, Napster, Peer2Peer, Lawsuits, iTunes, YouTube... we're currently in a time where we are able to share information with millions of people, just by making a blog post, like this one.. so I figured I'd try hosting some of my music, and was a little surprised by the process.