Archive for January, 2006

Arrival: Seattle

Friday, January 27th, 2006

I just wanted to take the opportunity to make use of the free wireless internet in the hotel here in Seattle (well… Redmond really) and blog a little. Warning: This entry will be more like a typical blog and less like the stuff I usually post here.

Tomorrow (Friday) I’ll be interviewing with Microsoft.

It was a fairly long (5 hr) flight. It took me most of the flight just to go through the specification of a school project. Then, I started coding up my linked list. Woot! I was thinking about finding the old one I made, but decided that it wouldn’t be that useful since this was in C and that C++. The function names were all different and there are a bunch of extra functions in this with function pointers and void pointers and such. Sweet. Playing with void pointers is fun!

When I got to the airport, I went to the baggage claim. If you’ve ever been there, maybe you’ve seen the cool rotating baggage. They looked like shish kabobs. It’s a pretty sweet display of art. I would have uploaded my photos right now, but I brought the wrong USB cable with me. Aren’t USB cables supposed to be universal? Isn’t that what the U stands for? Weird. I guess you’ll have to trust me until I can show you.

So, I picked up the keys to my rental car and found a silverish two door Monte Carlo sitting in the spot. Cool. As I was driving away from the airport, there were two highways listed on the sheet to follow. I was supposed to follow on for a very short time, then transfer to the other. Welp, I missed that. So, I looked at the map and thought “Hey, that’s cool, I’ll just drive through the middle of Seattle at night.” So I did. It wasn’t that much further of a drive either.

I got to the hotel no problem. Right now I’m drinking my free bottled water, and surfing on my free internet. Thanks Microsoft!

Replace Google’s Aerial Imagery with USGS/Terraserver

Thursday, January 26th, 2006

So, you want to replace Google’s aerial imagery with USGS/Terraserver/Microsoft aerial imagery, do you now? Well… I did. For Ann Arbor, Michigan at least, USGS has three extra levels of zoom (on Google’s zoom scale) when compared to what Google offers. So, I just made a javascript file which you can include after you include the Google Maps API to simply replace the imagery. Easy as that.

Please copy this javascript to your own server, and include it just after you include the Google Maps API javascript file.

Here’s an example page with and without this javascript included.

Thomson West Visit

Saturday, January 21st, 2006

Thomson West was nice enough to fly me out to Eagan, Minnesota which is near Minneapolis to interview for a Software Engineering Internship. That was kinda cool. The day consisted of 6 interviews each lasting 45 minutes to an hour. It was long, but fun too. I got to learn a lot about the company and how everything fits together into serveral giant software projects including their main one Westlaw.

So, now, I’m waiting to hear back from them. I’m also looking forward to next weekend visiting Microsoft in Redmond, Washington which is near Seattle. I’m supposed to have a phone interview with Google this week too, but they didn’t reply to my email a few weeks ago. I just emailed them again.

Tablet Fun!

Wednesday, January 18th, 2006

So, I was playing around with my new wacom tablet pen input device that Steve Fentriss gave me to use. It’s pretty sweet. Thanks Steve. The whole pen input isn’t quite the same as normal pen to paper mostly because you have to look on the screen instead of on the pad. I opened up GIMPshop to see if I could make any good use of my new found tool for drawing stuff. Indeed, after downloading the right software and changing a few settings I was able to get touch sensitivity to work which was really cool. So, the harder you press on the pad, the thicker, or darker, or wider your pen or marker, or whatever got. Here’s some quick sketches I made. Don’t laugh too hard. I’m not an artist.

Mmm… scribling stuff on a map…

I call it “Splash of Color”…
Splash of Color

Google in Ann Arbor

Friday, January 13th, 2006

Looks like Google is hiring in Ann Arbor… That’s cool. Maybe I won’t have to move after all. Unfortunately, I’m not a fan of server installation, so hopefully they will move into town with more software engineering type jobs. A few newspapers and blogs predict a Googleplex coming to Ann Arbor here, and here, and here. We’ll just have to wait and see.

After a Google search, I found some more information about this. Looks like its official. Google is leasing office space in Ann Arbor, oddly close to where I worked last summer. What’s even more interesting in general is the fact that the company that vacated the space was also digitizing print media.

Multiple Facebook Profile Pictures

Friday, January 6th, 2006

This article explains how you can (for practical purposes) put multiple pictures on your facebook profile. Basically you will go from multiple photos to something like this, ready to upload to facebook.

UPDATE: So, I tried uploading my image, but it looks like they are now limiting the dimensions of the profile picture. You can’t have it a whole lot longer than it is wide. Unfortunate indeed.

First, go find a computer with Imagemagick installed on it already, or install it yourself. Fortunately, I had previously installed it on my own linux computer. If you go to the University of Michigan, like I do, you can also find it installed on some of the servers that you can SSH into for IFS. For example, has it installed. For the rest of this article I’m going to assume you are using IFS.

First, find the pictures you want on your profile. Edit them to suit your tastes by taking out red eye, cropping them, and what not. Or, just leave them be. Whatever.

Upload them to a folder on your IFS space. There are several ways to do this. Check here: Connecting to IFS

Open an SSH terminal to that same folder.

Type in the following at the command line followed by the names of the images in the order you want them to appear and the name of the image you want outputted all separated by spaces:

montage -geometry 200 -mode Concatenate -tile 1

For example:

montage -geometry 200 -mode Concatenate -tile 1 img1.jpg img2.jpg img3.jpg out.jpg

Then press enter. It might take a short while. When the prompt comes back again, refresh the view of the folder (View -> Refresh) and download the output image. There ya go. Now, upload that image to facebook, and you are ready to rock! Contact me if you have any questions.

Daily Wanderings

Thursday, January 5th, 2006

So, I discovered this really awsome web site simply titled Wayfaring. It’s kinda similar to what we want to do with Blue Puddle. Basically, its a really easy way to create your own map. You can plot points and lines and associate titles, text, tags, and such to them. Here’s one I created of places I visit and routes I travel on a daily basis while at the University of Michigan. I call it my Daily Wanderings.


Thursday, January 5th, 2006

Sorry about the outages the last few days if anyone even noticed.

I’ve been trying to move some stuff from off the server in my parents basement into a real hosting environment. So far I haven’t been very successful with my hosting provider. I don’t know if they are just slow or don’t understand that I want to host the DNS through another provider.

Before doing that, the power went out at home, and the computer I run my personal web sites off of doesn’t automatically turn itself on when the power goes on. Maybe there’s a BIOS setting for that, but I forgot to check.

What’s even frustrating me more is that when I’m at home, I can’t access my server via its internet domain name because the stupid router doesn’t seem to do loopback. WordPress, the software I use to publish this blog gets its domain name from the database, so if I wanted to use my blog in my house, I would have to change the database entry, thereby taking down the blog to the outside world, then change it back when I’m done.

When I got back to school (taking the wireless router with me) I couldn’t access my server at all from my laptop. I did a whole bunch of investigating, and was convinced for a while that the firewall for my apartment building was to blame. Maybe it decided I was communicating too much with my server, or the person who operates the firewall had noticed a large ammount of traffic from one IP.

Nope… wasn’t the problem. Here’s what was… In an attempt to fix the router loopback issue at home, I changed some of my portable wireless router settings to see if I could get it to redirect requests to the local IP of my server. Didn’t work. Because I did that, it was trying to redirect requests in my apartment building, which didn’t make sense at all. So, changed the configuration back, and bam… worked. Woot!

Sorry about all the whining. I needed to get that out of my system