What Three Words: Revolutionising postcodes

Postcodes have been around for quite a long time but were never meant for locating something specific. Many properties on a street can share a postcode and as we all know when waiting in for an Amazon delivery, they are not the ideal way to find the location of building. So, we need to combine a house number, sometimes a building name, a street name and a postcode to ensure that items arrive or someone turns up at the right spot.

What if, however, you'd like someone to be able to find their way to your desk? or your garden? or your car parking spot?

What3words is a brilliant concept that has already been adopted by several organisations including the emergency services. The concept is that with just 3 words you can geolocation a place down to a 3m x 3m square. That means you can direct someone or something to your back door or a particular spot in a cafe.

 

In the app (available here), you just search for an address and it gives you three words to find it. There are 57 trillion possible combinations but these 3 words work like a mnemonic and are a great deal easier to remember than a full postal address. 10 Downing Street, for example is:

input.caring.brain

This is explicitly for the front door of 10 Downing Street (or at least the 3x3m square that the door is in). This has all kinds of applications. It's brilliant for developing countries that do not have a postcode system or infrastructure. You'll literally be able to locate a tent in a field and have stuff delivered there.

If you broke down on a motorway you could direct the recovery service to your exact location. You're waiting in airport terminal to meet someone and you can give them the 3 words of where you are standing etc. etc. the list goes on.

 

It remains to be seen how widespread the system becomes but if it takes off it will certainly make locating places a whole lot easier.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.


Speed up your web browsing on Mac and iOS with one simple change.

What is DNS?

So this post may at first appear to be geeky and jargon laden but stick with it.

When you visit a website you type in its web address in your browser. Something like dujio.com , for example, but this isn't actually the real address of a website.

The real address of a website will be a number (IP address) that looks something like this:

192 . 168 . 1 . 15

Obviously it's too difficult for people to remember numbers so there is a technology known as DNS or Domain Name System. This system is like a giant telephone directory that converts the text address that you type in into the IP address or number that actually represents a website.

Many organisations provide access to the sytem from your internet service provider, mobile phone company or even via Google or other DNS projects such as OpenDNS.

These organisations act as a gateway to the DNS directories but for many reasons their speed and effectiveness varies but more concerning is that they are able to gather data on your network usage and use it to target ads or sell on to third party companies.

Who is Cloudflare?

Cloudflare is a company that specialises in securing and optimising websites and their back ends - increasing their robustness and safety in world filled with threats to our online lives. They have debuted their own DNS system that appears to be significantly faster than the competition.

With one simple change you can greatly increase the speed at which websites load in your browser and also increase your online safety at the same time. Unlike Google, Cloudflare doesn't harbour your data and make use of it.

What About My iPhone/iPad?

Well you're in luck, in the past few days Cloudflare have also released an app to enable you to easily get the same benefits on ios. Yous simply download the app from the App Store (just search for Cloudflare). Its very simple and guides you through the process. The app actually installs a VPN profile to your device and is simply an on or off switch.

How Do I Use It On My Mac?

Its quite simple but Cloudflare do a good job explaining it. Simply type 1.1.1.1 in your browser to visit their website and get easy instructions about how to use it with your Mac.

Let us know in the comments what you think?