Cool: Google Maps. Uncool: No Safari support

Google’s new Google Maps service looks pretty cool. Except it requires JavaScript and doesn’t support Safari. Oh well, eventually they got around to supporting Gmail in Safari, so I guess I just have to wait (or fire up Firefox).

Also cool about the service: permalinks (though you can’t just copy them out of the browser bar); the graphics; the pans and zooms; and the collapsing levels of detail (look at what happens to the streets around our old apartment in the North End as you move the slider).

(Other commentary: Boing Boing: Google maps; Anil Dash: Hello Friends).

New music rundown

A few noteworthy developments in digital music this morning. First, one that I failed to note from last week: Beck has released a new EP, called “Hell Yes.” It’s odd, but I don’t really like him coming back to this style after seeing what he can do in more traditional forms on Sea Change. Or maybe I’m just getting too old to do the Beck nonsense groove. Or maybe he is.

On a better note, a rare Elliott Smith EP, the UK release of “Speed Trials” featuring that song, an alternate version of “Angeles,” and “I Don’t Think I’m Ever Gonna Figure It Out,” is available from iTunes today.

Also in the iTunes store: looks like Warner is finally making their part of the Elvis Costello discography available, starting with the oddly brilliant Spike and the oddly uneven Mighty Like a Rose.

And in the interests of free downloads (and old news that I’m just getting around to finding out about), there’s a free 13-track compilation from Universal Motown in the iTunes store. So far pretty straightforward listening, but I’m excited about the Scissor Sisters track (if not the Michael McDonald one).

There are starting to be some interesting back catalog additions to the iTunes store, too, including some of the K Records stuff that was added to eMusic last week; some key Miranda Sex Garden albums; a classic Ofra Haza album; and a bunch of original and posthumously released Tim Buckley recordings.

Speaking of free, I didn’t get to go to the Low show this weekend in Somerville, but Bradley’s Almanac did, and he has an excellent review (plus samples!) at his blog. He’s got a good selection of other concert recordings too…

Finally, the music blog rundown: it looks like Doveman is shuttering the Wednesday Morning Download column for Salon in favor of a coming-soon-now actual music blog. And 3Hive is doing some really good music blog work.

What’s the temperature, Kenneth?

Growing up, I used to start every day by looking at the outdoor thermometer that hung on my parents’ bedroom window. In retrospect, it was an odd thing to do, because frankly the temperature in Newport News never varied that much, but it was comforting to have objective evidence of how hot or cold it was.

That’s the only thing that explains our latest household gadget: an Oregon Scientific Cable-Free Thermometer. It comes in two pieces, a base station with a large digital display containing two temperature readouts, and a remote unit that’s meant to be mounted outdoors or placed in some other remote location. In between is nothing but a 433 MHz radio signal.

The base station can support up to three of these remotes, so when we build on to the house and add that wine cellar (heh), we can track the temperature there as well as outside. And the frequency doesn’t interfere with cordless phones or WiFi.

So far everything has been working just fine with the unit. I haven’t tested the claimed 100′ range yet, since the best mounting place for the remote (which apparently shouldn’t be too exposed to the elements) turns out to be the outside of the kitchen wall near where the base station is sitting. We also haven’t had any extreme temperature days; since Friday, when the unit arrived, we haven’t even had a day in the 20s. But it’s nice to know what’s going on outside.