There was a time in my life where missing the bus would have ended my day. Five minutes late to the bus would turn into an hour late for my four hour shift, a 25% reduction in wages for the day. So I quickly learned to appreciate the value of punctuality, I strive to be early or on time because I understand how one person being affects way more than just that one person.
Today I was reminded that being too early can sometimes screw things up as well, depending on who is depending on you.
I’ve been messing around with github’s rest api and got caught up in the moment and next thing I know it’s 7am…
I spent the dark hours of the morning trying to figure out why I wasn’t able to correctly use the last modified if header, only finally realizing, just as I was about to give up and say, “who’s ever going to make 5000 requests in an hour anyway?”, that I’d forgotten the year.
Little victories right?
Here’s to that last compile as the sun is coming up….
This is my second time changing my name in my life. I was born Zachary Khai Jackson, but went by Dawud Muhsin since around 2nd grade, finally got it legally changed at 16. Now I’m 28, and I’ve gone back (mostly) to my old name, I decided to keep my dads last name. Wish me luck.
Now I get to go through the painful process of making myself right with all of the various authorities.
The short and obvious answer is, “you’re still on Facebook?”. I think for me the better question is, “why are you on Facebook in the first place?”. Good question, especially when I consider the fact that I’ve had a blog in some form or another since I was 13.
I think the reason it was so easy to get into Facebook during the early days was because it was basically a free blogging platform that required little technical know how, and at the time, seemed more open than the competition.
Now that’s all changed though, Facebook has become a walled garden where information only flows one way, and more and more of that information is being sold to marketers. Meanwhile Facebook users get nothing in return.
I’m going to continue updating scout and kicking the bugs out of it, meanwhile playing with the map sparked off another idea. I was thinking, what about a shmup where you geolocate the coordinates of each mission and then fly over the bing map.
So I made a yahoo.pipe to pull AP headlines down, parse through the headline to find the location and then use the same technique I used in scout to locate each mission location. Once you select a mission and hit start I move the map to that location and then start animating it…so if you choose Dubai you’ll fly over the desert, if you choose London you’ll be flying over the city. So all of the enemies and effects would just be overlaid on top of this.
The hook here is that number one, I don’t have to draw really hi fidelity backgrounds, so I’ve basically created a level generator. This frees me up to work on enemies, logic, and weapons. The other hook is that since the missions are randomly generated by news headlines there will be an aspect of fun and discovery flying over a place you’ve never been to before. Finally, since I’m zoomed in so close to the map, and scrolling so slowly, even if you pick two cities right next to each other it’s unlikely that you’ll see the same flight path twice in the same session.
Another thing that I’m doing here is basing the difficulty of each level on the distance it is from your current location, so the level difficulty will change dynamically as you move around the globe taking on different missions.
Right now I’ve just got an early alpha build, I’m not going to upload it right now because there’s still a few tweaks I want to add, it’s currently playable but not fun. I will however upload a couple of screenshots so you can see what I mean.
Wow, so my last post pretty much led directly to a new job, how cool is that? I found a great looking position while testing my app and ended up shooting them my resume on a whim and now I work at a biometric security company outside of Washington D.C….I’m pretty pleased with myself.
I got hired here to do Silverlight work but the first task they assigned me was porting an app from the iPhone to Droid. It was a little disorienting at first but I’ve never been one to shy away from learning new technologies so I installed eclipse and the android sdk and started hacking. Fortunately the platform wasn’t that hard to wrap my mind around so about a week into it I was done with my first simple app. It makes some webservice calls and writes some data to the device, really basic functionality but it was enough to whet my appetite for more. Next I’ll probably try to port the app over to the win7mobile emulator, just for kicks.
So far Virginia isn’t too bad, the traffic is kind of crappy but everyone seems to be used to it so incidents of road rage seem to be less frequent than back home in Jersey. The area that I’m living in is mostly new development so everything has that freshly minted feel to it. I do kind of miss home though, and being close to everyone I know, but sometimes you have to pull up stakes and make a move for the greater good.
I think that’s enough of an update for now, just didn’t want anyone to think I’d abandoned the blog. I haven’t really had a reliable internet connection til yesterday and I’m in the process of setting up my new dev machine at home (Got myself one of those amazing thinkpad w-series and I LOVE it). I’ll be back with updates soon though, peace.
I guess I should start from the beginning, this might be a long story but there is a payoff at the end (click here now if you want to just skip to the app). About 255 days ago I got married, and approximately 50 days from now we’re expecting a baby boy, it’s legit but I’ll give you a second to do the math…ok? Good, now the wife and I were looking to get a house before we knew she was pregnant but now the search kicked into high gear with all new parameters. We needed grass, we needed good schools, and with our current financial situation (me working and her just out of college about to be a mom) it also needed to be affordable. Unfortunately we live in New Jersey so if you want all of those things you have to be prepared to sell your soul, and forget about the taxes…they’re insane.
The other part of our equation that changed was that all of our plans previously involved my wife working prior to having a baby, so that’s when we decided to widen the net and start looking at other places in the US, and obviously now our search would not only have to include homes, but jobs as well. I didn’t know of any search engine that did that off the top of my head, but I figured it wouldn’t be too hard to make one if I could just get that data. That’s when I decided to make Scout, it uses the Silverlight bing maps control combined with data pulled in from various job/home search engines to help visualize a home/job hunt. You basically enter in keywords for the job you’re looking for, and then enter in the city, state zip (if you don’t know the zip blank it out, I use a web service to fetch it if you only provide city and state) then Scout goes off and pulls down all of the data and tries to scrape it for location data which is then overlaid onto the bing map control.
I’m also using a few other third party controls to display the data, but really any controls could be plugged in here pretty painlessly. Theoretically this could be implemented on any platform that supports web services and RSS, I did my first proof of concept in asp.net with the google maps control, but I have to say implementing it in SL took probably half the time.
Overall I’m pretty happy with it, I’m going to try to convince my wife to beta test it for me so I’ll be making improvements over the coming weeks. I noticed a problem with chrome….not sure if it’s me but when I geolocate and move the map in chrome it crashes 100% of the time, so as much as it pains me to say this…For best experience please view in Internet Explorer *shudder* I’ll see if I can figure out what’s making chrome cry meanwhile.
I’m rambling now…so I’ll just post the link in case you missed it the first two times email me if you have any questions, problems, or suggestions.
The best way that I’ve come across to make lemonade is to use the classic 2/1 ; 2 parts sugar and 1 part lemon juice to get your base syrup. The source of the lemon juice doesn’t matter, although I’ve found that if you use off the shelf pre-squeezed juice you’ll get a a more consistent taste due to their quality controls (Edit: I don’t particularly like the flavor but squeezing lemons is a chore). Otherwise the final flavor of the lemonade depends a lot on what kind of lemon you’re using. I’ve found that the larger lemons with thicker skins tend to be less acidic tasting and the smaller juicier lemons more so. There’s no science behind this though, that’s just my opinion. The point is that even if you nail the 2/1 ratio if you’re using fresh lemons the taste is going to vary, it’ll always be good though.
There are other steps to making really good lemonade that go beyond this and I think they are so important that they should be included in the recipe. The first trick is to add a little hot water (really hot we’re trying to make syrup here) to your sugar and lemon juice mix prior to adding the rest of the water. The second trick is to stir. No really, really stir. This is the hardest part, sometimes I’ll stir for a bit and then ask someone else to step in. If there are a bunch of people waiting on lemonade you might want to pass the pitcher around the room. Or you can get one of these things:
The pitcher has a pump built in that will stir the contents quite nicely as you work its action. Once you’re satisfied that it’s completely stirred in you can add water to taste, if you find it’s too sweet it’s easy to tip the scale by shaving off the amount of sugar you use. Anyway, enough talk, here’s the recipe:
1/2 cup of lemon juice
1 cup of sugar
Add lemon juice to pitcher.
Add ~2 cups of hot water to pitcher.
Add water to pitcher.
Do not add ice directly to pitcher, only to glasses when serving the lemonade (I don’t know why people do this).
For adults you can add vodka as well. In my experience I’ve never been able to add enough vodka where the taste became overpowering so be careful with this or you’ll end up with lemonade flavored vodka and a hangover.
- Plants appear to get the optimal amount of water.
- Can leave needy plants while you’re away for a couple of weeks.
- They are a pain in the ass to fill, I think it takes me longer to water my plants now.
- That’s a pretty big con.
I think they are probably best used as plant nannies for when you go on vacation rather than as a permanent watering solution. You’ll find that you spend more time filling the globes than you would normally watering your plants, and you’ll have to do it just as frequently since the globes don’t hold all that much water.
tl;dr: Useful? Yes, but don’t buy a bunch as a permanent solution thinking it’ll save you time or effort.