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Whiling away the hours on an Easter egg hunt

aj+ column

Forget bunnies, the really interesting Easter things are those little titbits that programmers hide in applications - like the Flight Simulator in Excel, the Zebra Girl in Freehand and the pinball in Word 97. Mostly they are naff, and quite often they are really naff - names or the mugshots of the development team.

Deeply interesting. For the record, AutoCAD has at least five Easter eggs.

The definitive guide is 'The Easter Egg Archive' at www. eeggs. com, which claims to have collected 2,812 computer-related eggs, and lots more in movies, music, books and TV. What's more, it tells you how to reveal them.

Don't blame me if the CAD monkeys screw up those drawings that were due out to the contractor this evening.

Flight Simulator from Microsoft is one of the most successful computer games. Apparently, private pilots like it a lot too, especially in the winter when cloud and wind more or less oblige pleasure flying to close down in this country. But, according to aviation magazine, Flyer, fireside pilots have never been very impressed with the quality of the Flight Sim scenery.

Now the company Just Flight has brought out some new terrains, which use real photographs - taken by somebody from GetMapping in a plane flying sweeps across southern England at a steady 1,524m. According to the reviewer, they are quite good enough to do realistic virtual flights. I am not suggesting you all become armchair pilots but there seems to be technology transfer possibilities for planning, and, er, whiling away the long afternoons waiting for your next client.

You probably already know about www2. getmapping. com/home. asp, where you can, for a fee, download aerial maps of England, Wales and some of Scotland and Ulster. Interestingly, the site has an archive of half a million aerial shots taken by the RAF in 1947.

These are being flogged in conjunction with English Heritage - with which this column certainly has no connection.

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