Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category


Saturday, August 18th, 2007

I just wanted to say that my Lovesac is really comfortable. It’s this giant bean bag-ish thing as Matt has pointed out below. I have the Super Sac which fits three people. It’s huge! I know it has been sounding like I’m getting paid to promote products, but I’m not, these are just really cool things.


Tuesday, August 7th, 2007

I bought the Nike+iPod the other day. It’s pretty much exactly what you would expect from Apple and Nike. The user interface on the iPod nano is extremely simple, with only the features you need most often. When you plug your iPod into your computer, it syncs your runs to Nike’s website at the same time as all your music and such. You can then view the Nike website which will show you pretty graphs of your runs. You can set goals, and challenge other users, although I haven’t tried those features yet. I have, however, added the Nike+ widget to my facebook profile so that you can see my last few runs there. I’ll probably put the widget here to if its easy enough to do. The actual device itself is actually two pieces. One fits in your Nike+ shoe (or other shoe’s laces, or shoe wallet or something) and the other attaches discretely to the bottom of your iPod nano. While you run, it tracks time, distance, and speed. In addition to listening to your own music while you run you can opt to download customized workout music along with a pre-recorded trainer who takes you step by step through the workout. These of course cost money, and can be bought through iTunes.

Enjoying Seattle, part 2

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007

I guess dedicating Sunday morning to writing a blog entry didn’t work out so well. But, good news,  I got a bunch of other stuff done, such as buying a bunch of sports equipment from Play It Again Sports: a frisbee to replace the one I lost, swimming goggles for the apartment building’s pool, and racquetballs, and a second racquet for the apartment building’s racquetball court. I also went to QFC to buy a bunch of food, and ran a few miles that night. Now that I have a Nike+iPod (without the Nike shoes though) you can see my runs on facebook, and probably here soon.

I plan to make full use of the amenities of the apartment building I moved into a couple weeks ago. There is a pool, hot tub, fitness center, grill, and even a racquetball court. That’s right… a racquetball court. That itself pretty much sold me on the deal. The apartment itself is pretty nice too. It’s has two bedrooms, and one and a half bathrooms. There is a washer and dryer in the second bathroom and, something I may not be able to live without, although I did one summer: a dish washer in the kitchen.

The apartment itself is in Belltown at 1st Ave. and Broad St. which is only a few blocks from the space needle and a few blocks from the bay, although I don’t actually get a view of the bay. The view out my living room window is of downtown, and you can see the space needle pretty close outside my bedroom window.

Initially, I had thought that I would take the bus down 1st Ave. and then walk several blocks to work. But, after consulting Google Transit, I found out that a bus took me directly from my apartment building to work.

I’ll write more about the last few weeks in Seattle soon. Highlights include moving my stuff in, the first few days at work, the Flexcar experience, Rebecca visiting, the roommate moving in, the Capital Hill Block party, the Blue Angels, and hanging out with my friends in general.

Enjoying Seattle

Sunday, August 5th, 2007

Those two words sum up the past few weeks fairly well. It seems like I’ve done so much stuff in the past few weeks and have not had much time to sit down and actually contemplate everything that has happened. So, since its pretty late, I’m going to go to bed, and commit at least an hour tomorrow morning to write a full blog post about my first few weeks in Seattle. See you tomorrow morning. This may (and that’s a big may) be the start of me writing personal stuff on my blog.

Google Gears on the iPhone?

Tuesday, June 12th, 2007

I really hope that Google Gears will work soon on the Apple iPhone. That would be sweet. Basically, if you don’t want to pay for a data plan, it would allow you to sync your data when you have a wifi connection, and then use that data later when you don’t have a connection.
The application I’m thinking of is a grocery list. So, you and your family or housemates could edit your list on the web, on any computer or cell phone. Before you leave, you sync your iPhone with Google Gears over wifi to get the latest list. Once you are at the store, you take out your phone and use the grocery list web application just like normal, without an internet connection.

My Web Mapping Background

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

I originally wrote the following as my biography for WhereCamp, an unconference for geo-hackers. I realized that readers of my blog might be interested in this too. Also, if you are going to be in SF next week for Where 2.0, Google Developer Day, or WhereCamp, please contact me if you’d like to meet up.

Hi! I’m Kyle Mulka. I just graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Computer Science. When the Google Maps API first came out, I was really excited about the possibilities and started hacking with it right away. I built a bunch of stuff, some of which you can see on my Google Maps page.

The semester after that summer, I started a class project which was basically Plazes but with more detail inside of buildings at our University. We called it liveUgli. UGLi is short for undergraduate library. Basically, we wanted the site to be a representation of what was currently happening in the library: what people were studying, which groups were meeting, if someone was planning a study break for lunch or frisbee or whatever. It would allow people to find study groups and meet up with friends and classmates. They would be able to more easily discover the people near them, but not close enough to see.

I believe there were many reasons which made liveUgli unsuccessful, the main one being that no one was using it, so the site was useless. This is a problem with all social networking sites. You need a critical mass of users for something like this to be successful. But, beyond that, there was no automatic detection of location (yet), and even the manual method was kind of difficult for users. Many people told me that they didn’t study in the UGLi, so the site was useless to them as well.
I set out to create a system by which we could easily add new location names and maps and floor plans to the system. I ended up calling this system Cartiki which stood for cartography wiki, or map making wiki. Not only would we, the administrators of the site be able to add locations, anyone could add locations in wiki fashion. I’m almost to the point where I’m ready to release Cartiki as a stand alone web application to be used to help people find locations, both on a regular Google Map, and on uploaded floor plans of buildings. This would be ideal as a university/corporate campus room finder.

The ability to upload custom maps and floor plans comes from another system I built for this purpose called the Gmap Uploader. This can also be used separately from Cartiki and liveUgli, especially for viewing high resolution photos.


Wednesday, May 9th, 2007

I usually don’t blog about personal stuff, but this whole graduation from college is kind of a big deal. That’s right, I can now call myself an alumnus of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor with a degree in Computer Science in Engineering.

Now that I have graduated, the question comes up: “What are you going to do with the rest of your life?”

I at least have a little bit of it planned out. I’m planning a trip to the east coast in the next couple weeks with a couple of my housemates. Then, probably on Memorial Day, I’ll be flying out to Silicon Valley to attend a few conferences involving pretty much exactly what I’m interested in, web-based mapping: Where 2.0, the Google Developer Day, and WhereCamp. After visiting with a few friends there, I’ll come back to Ann Arbor, where I’ll probably just be relaxing. I may decide to visit some other friends in June… possibly in Chicago. Then, I’ll be around for my Grandma’s birthday on the 4th of July.

Shortly after, in mid-July, I’ll be flying to Seattle to start a full-time job at I’ll be working with the Enterprise Multi-Channel group, which basically means we use Amazon’s technology infrastructure to build ordering systems which allow large merchants to receive orders through multiple ordering channels such as on the web, over the phone, and in the store. Last summer, as an Inten with Amazon I worked on Marks and Spencer‘s ordering pipeline… the part where you enter your delivery information. Their new website, powered by Amazon just launched a couple months ago.
What happens after that is anyone’s guess! Maybe you can be a part of it!? Come visit me in Seattle!

Seattle Bus Map

Saturday, March 3rd, 2007

Here’s a map of the bus routes in downtown Seattle. I’m using this to figure out if I can commute to work without a car once I start working for Amazon. The image was pulled from this page at King County Metro Online and Google Mapified using my Gmap Uploader.

Startup… but How?

Tuesday, October 17th, 2006

Doing a start up… should I do it? How would I make money? Should I give up the masive salary that corporate America is offering me? Will my employer allow me to work on my side projects? If its competing with their main business, certainly they wouldn’t… but, its debatable whether or not the things I want to work on compete with the business or not. Hmm… Maybe I should just go work for a company that I’m sure has nothing to do with my side projects so that I’m able to work on them, AND make money.

New MacBook Laptop

Thursday, October 5th, 2006

So… my Dell Lattitude was kinda falling apart. Both of the hinges that hold the screen up broke, so its pretty unusable as a laptop. Just yesterday, about a week and a half late, my new 13 inch widescreen white MacBook arrived. It was it was white, shiny, and ready to go out of the box. After installing a few applications, and setting a few things up, I was ready to go full force. There are so many cool things about the MacBook that I could list here, but I’ll let you go to apple’s website for the details. For example, today in techcom, I couldn’t stop playing with Expose. It’s a feature of the operating system that lets you move all the open windows at the same time to different places. You can press F9 to quickly show them all at once and select the one you want. Press F10 to show all your windows in the current application. Press F11 to move all your windows temporarily off-screen so you can see the desktop. Press F12 to see your Dashboard widgets, a cool feature in itself which I still have left to play with.