Friday, November 28, 2008

Google Maps Update

I logged into Google Maps today and saw that they had subtly changed their UI. I really like the new concept of their navigation controls on the top left, as well as the draggable Google dude. Before I wasn't too keen on the whole "Streets View" button. It felt like I had to make the decision up front as to whether or not I wanted to view peoples houses, etc... It was interfering sitting at the top with the other views (Maps vs. Satellite), but didn't really 'fit'.

The new UI allows the user (ie. Me) to find the address I want as I would normally, then when I get to where I want to go, I can then decide where I would like to see 'Street View' simply by dragging the little Google dude onto the map. If there is no image available for that area, it will show up, "Image not available" and that's it. It's simple and elegant.

Eventually, I could see Google integrating Google Earth functionality on their site (using Flash or something) and I can't wait for that day! Until then, I'll just keep checking their site, recommending it to everybody I know, and wait impatiently for more updates. If you haven't checked it out, be sure to do so.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


This is how I picture it all going down today. Notice that Ohio St. is on top of Michigan St...

This picture was taken in Chicago where Michigan Avenue crosses Ohio Street.

View Larger Map

I just had to take the picture because IDOT put Ohio Street is on top of Michigan Avenue. :) PRICELESS!!
Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 21, 2008 "Movement Against Unsolicited Phone Book Delivery"
Movement: ...stopping the madness.
Ok, who's idea was it to print a 1,000 page book and send it to every American whether they wanted it or not? Jennifer and I get 2 or 3 a year and we end up throwing them away or giving them to people that need one. Back in the day, it may have made sense. However, today most of us use the internet, or our iPhones, or some digital address book to keep track of phone numbers. I know 95% of the time whenever I need to find a phone number for "donatos near newark, ohio" or some random company, I just Google it! I get the number in sub seconds. Honestly, I haven't used the phone book in quite a while because I'm usually near the internet. Besides, everybody that is "in the book", can be found "on the web" anyway (duh).

I've decided that Jen and I can live without the book; I haven't told her yet though... so. (?) I'll just explain that I "did it for the children", and it'll be cool. :)

I'm anxious to see how it will all play out:
  • Will I be able to keep a comfortable lifestyle without the book?
  • When I tell Jen about the big news, will I get the "you did what" w/ complimentary eye roll?
and (most importantly)
  • Will my effort really help save our planet?
I guess the reason for my post is to say this: If you get the Yellow Pages and/or White Pages, then please know that they have websites. You can take advantage of technology, de-clutter your house, and save a tree. I took the plunge. Stop relying on "the book" and just use "the web".

Thank you Corey Haines (aka: Trucker Dude) for the tweet!

Oh yeah, another way everybody can help save the planet is by switching to your 'trees' theme in Gmail. :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My Stellar Funk

Stellar Work
I'm kicking ass at my new job and I've just recently (last week) began implementing Data Dynamics Analysis into our product suite at InfoPlanIT. It's very exciting and everybody seems to really like it. I'm learning a lot in the mean time as the requirements are forcing me to really focus on the "architecture" of the solution rather than just the end result. I learned my lesson the hard way when the last version got convoluted with "quick fix" code everywhere. We decided to just hold off on refactoring the old solution and give 100% focus to the new (DDA) solution instead. I'm pumped about getting this into the customers hands; they're gonna flip out when they see this new pivoting chart thing! :)

Stellar Side Project
Ben and I are still grinding away on the BuckeyeOutdoors plugin for SportTracks as well (details). This thing is turning out to be really slick and our beta testers are real excited about it. Even Steve Runner is using it and rumor has it that he loves it! :) Ben is great to work with, he takes ideas and considerations very well and it's been a pleasure to work with him. We've become pretty good buds in the meantime, so it's a win-win-win. We are expecting to release the V1 product of the plugin within the next couple of weeks, so for all my running readers out there stay tuned for a slick plugin!

Funk Running
I've been in a deep funk lately in regards to my health and my passion. I've only been running about 3 times a week and they're not the ones that leave me feeling like I'd gained anything with them (no speed, hills, intervals... just nice jogs). Since my stellar PR @ the Columbus Marathon, I've been lounging around and just "recovering" for the last month. :) Today I got out and did a nice 3 mile trail run in the snow and it rejuvinated me to get back outdoors for the winter. Call me crazy, but I love running in the cold weather.

Funk Blogging
I've also been slipping on my blogging. I've had some people email me to see how I'm doing and I realized that blogging was really the only way that some of you know what I'm up to. :) Even more so now that I never leave the house. I've totally lost touch with reality and society since I'm working from home full time. I actually have a huge backlog of post ideas that I want to blog about, so I may start picking them out one at a time and get back into my groove.

Anyway, that's what I've been up to. Busy, lazy, and happy. :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

SNR Russia Blog

Back in June, I told you about a new blogging buddy of mine, Scott, that was traveling to Novosibirsk for business. He was directed to my blog by a friend of his and he quickly caught up with the blog and became a reader.

Just last week, Scott began his journey over to Russia and he is staying in Akademgorodok (the same place I stayed) while he teaches at the Novosibirsk State University. He has been through the Moscow Airport (though I think he went through a different one than I did). Regardless, he has been blogging about his visit and I must say that it's fun to read about his experiences, and see pictures of buildings and places that I visited.

If you get a chance, head over to the SNRRussiaBlog and read up on his daily experiences.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Remembering Heather Pick

A beautiful young wife and mother died today after a 4 year battle with breast cancer. Heather Pick was a news anchor for Channel 10 News in Columbus, Ohio. Jennifer and I watch the news every night @ 11pm. We switched to Channel 10 News when Chris Bradley transferred from Channel 6 (he's an awesome weather dude) and we quickly got to know all of the Channel 10 News team very well. It is as if we lost a friend too. :( Here is her full story:

Today I was outside on the tractor getting ready for our bonfire and I came inside to ask Jennifer a question. I saw that her eyes were filled with tears and she told me that Heather Pick died today. I couldn't believe it! She was so young and pretty and full of life that nobody would ever guess that she was fighting the terrible disease unless she told you. She was a very strong voice for breast cancer awareness and did a lot for the community.

My thoughts are with her family and friends. She has left behind two young children and a loving husband. I didn't know her personally, but I must say that I feel as though I knew her simply from watching her on the news every night for the last few years. We will miss you Heather!!

Channel 10 is dedicating the whole day to her memory and it is very touching... Her early passing makes me (again) realize how short our time is on this planet. :(

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Forget the PR 50K

I just signed up for the first ever Forget the PR 50K at Mohican State Park this morning. Today was the first day to sign up and I did it while I was eating my breakfast. Let the training begin! :)

My good buddy, Rob, is the coordinator of this race, and he has put his heart and soul into it. :) Rob grew up running through the Mohican State forest, even as a kid. He's also participated in the Mohican 100 mile race a few years as well. So it's only fitting that he organizes his own race here. If you're into running beautiful trails in the woods for a couple of hours, then go sign up. It's going to be a great trail run!!

Congratulations Rob! I'm looking forward to this race, and can't wait to get my first race buckle.