Google Earth is still the best software program ever

Google Earth, as it has since the first time I saw it, still gets my vote for the Best Program Ever. The new version is stunning. Really. Find where you are on the globe, then clilck a button and it converts to a view of the night sky above you. (Oops, I may miss that EVDO afterall, but fortunately, my wifi covers the backyard.) Not quite so significant, but really cool, the new version has a hidden feature, not publicized by Google: An F16 flight simulator, as described by a student in South Africa. It was discovered by someone who — and hats off to you people who do such things — held down the keys, Ctrl+Alt+A (or, if you’re running OS X it’s Command+Option+A). I’m sure, if you’ve grown up playing videogames or coding software, or whatever, you may think to click Ctrl+Alt+A when you’re trying out software, but I’m always impressed when I hear about the games developers play and the users who ask themselves, “I wonder what will happen if I do this…?”

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  • Check out this YouTube video on the Google Earth Flight Sim:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7z6Yxs69rQ

  • I had a program on CD that came with my college astronomy text book (A great class taught by a great professor – David Weintraub) that did this, and while it wasn’t nearly as cool or graphically slick, it could map out the night sky based on your current location and date just the same. I found myself using it over and over as a reference, and wishing I had it handy when I was camping. Maybe with this it’s time to dig up that text book again.

  • Rex Hammock

    Lewis, for camping, I suggest you leave your laptop at home.

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  • Hudge

    Yeah, but can it do this? http://www.stuff.co.nz/4191216a28.html