Wednesday, January 20, 2010

finished jeopardy!

The past few months I have been busy getting a Jeopardy-type game ready for use in a class room. Here is the final result. It is xml-driven, meaning it is almost as easy as editing a Word doc to change the questions and answers. Since it is meant for class room use, it is designed to be instructor lead. There are buttons for 3 teams. Once a team buzzes in and answers, it is up to the facilitator to click the 'correct' or 'incorrect' question (based on a print out of the answers). Once the correct or pass button is pressed, it confirms the correct answer on the screen.

I replaced the classes questions and answers with some trivia I googled. Here it is, enjoy!


Monday, August 31, 2009

new apartment!

moving to a new place in the same building. it has his and his sinks!

two floors

and roof access! how soon can i recreate the dinner scene in julie and julia?

Monday, August 24, 2009

building a bike, day 2

matt and i are (re)building a pair of bikes. we have been wanting to get bikes for a while and recently learned of an awesome co-op in northside called mobo. last tuesday, we went and checked out the place. it was too late to really do anything, but we just wanted to see how it worked.

we went back wednesday to pick out a bike and get started, but didn't get there until 6:30 (half hour after they opened. that meant all 6 of the workstations were taken. so, we just picked out our bikes and resolved to get there earlier sunday (they have a limited schedule there)

so, sunday we got there at 1:30, half hour before they opened. village green, a community garden is at the same location. i explored a little and found the biggest sun flowers i have ever seen. way taller then me.

after they opened, we went and picked up our bikes from the crazy mess of orphaned two-wheelers downstairs and got started.

i spent about half my time tuning the wheels, and then the other half building the crankset. The bike basically just had wheels and a detached seat, so a lot of the stuff (like the crankset) has to be found and assembled. here is the final crankset:

the most fun part was getting the ball bearings inside the thing. wish i had gotten a pick of that.

before i knew it, we had about 15 mins left to wrap up. it was just enough time to find the crank arms and tie them on so they don't get lost.

and here it is, after about 2.75 hours of work:

i hope to get at least the peddles assembled and attached and get the seat on next time. i don't know anything about any of this (good thing there are kind pro builders there to help out) but i anticipate the hardest part will be getting the gearing repaired.

we will see!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

a desire named streetcar

i recently returned from an awesome trip to san francisco. we were only there for 8 days but it seemed like we were there for a month, with all that we were able to do. there was an incredible exhibit of king tutankhamun at the de Young museum, and the most elaborate science museum i have ever seen, the california academy of science, san francisco.

when were were in the science academy, walking by the discovery tidepool and wishing the tickets to the planetarium weren't sold out for the day, i asked matt 'how is it that some cities have these awesome attractions and others don't?'

i am not a city planner, i have no education with this stuff, but it seems like attractions like this have to be expensive to produce, and probably rely heavily on tourism to maintain. i would think living in the city, you might visit a few times but the majority of the revenue would probably be from the 16.4 million visitors they get in a year. the 'catch 22' of it is you have to have these kind of attractions to attract those visitors, and you probably need the visitors to justify the investment of building something like that.

this is why i get so frustrated when i see progress being hindered in my home town of cincinnati. if you aren't already aware, cincinnati could soon have its own streetcar. but, not if some critics have their way. most of the critics question the funding. but the truth is much of the funding for the streetcar will come from sources only available for a big transit project such as the streetcar. the funding would not be available for other projects if streetcar is not built. the funding would simply vanish.

we need to embrace projects like the streetcar to keep cincinnati thriving. I have heard mark twain said, "When the end of the world comes, I want to be in Cincinnati because it's always twenty years behind the times."

whether or not he actually said it, that sentiment reflects a common view of cincinnati. we need to attract visitors and new residents to this city if we want it to flourish. if interested, here are ways you can help:

Monday, June 01, 2009


i finally did it, took the plunge and invested in a g1 (a pair of them, actually).

a couple of months ago, i kinda decided it was time to upgrade us to some smart phones. the most obvious choice was, of course, the iphone. in fact, i was pretty much sold on it from all the hype. like many, the 2 year contract was scaring me away. we have stuck with cincinnati bell for our wireless for like 8 years, ironically because they don't have contracts. also, i learned that a new, better iphone was slated to be released just a few months a way. so, we waited.

while we where waiting, i checked out some other phones. i almost went with the nokia 5800 "exclusively" at cincinnati bell. this was attractive because there was no contract. in the end, i thought better of it because a) cincinnati bell was going to charge me more for it because i wasn't a new customer (whatever logic that is) and b) i have slowly gotten more disgusted with cincinnati bell over the past few years (even more so in the past few months) that i thought it might feel therapeutic to give them my walking papers. that's a topic for another post.

on another random iphone googleing, i came across a phone that seemed to be the first to give the iphone a run for its money. there are/where many touch screen smart phones that have come and gone, but none seem to be a match for the iphone until the G1: a touch screen smart phone powered by google. i was intrigued.

articles like this one really made the case for the g1. and, some of the drawbacks are no longer an issue, like the limit of 8gigs of storage: i just added a 16gig to mine for a cool $40. and the price: down from $180 i got mine for $140 and waived activation through this discount. amazon has it for under $100 (but then you have to pay an activation fee of $35).

the hardware keyboard and trackball more then make up for the lack of multitouch for me, but then i found a way to 'unlock' multitouch in the g1 making it a non issue. turns out, the g1 does have the capability but it is deactivated by the official firmware due to the lame apple patent. it took a little digging, but i was able to turn it back on (but just for the web browser, for now).

monthly, t-mobile is a little cheaper, but not much. however, that same discount up there gets you 10% off the monthly fees as well (that site doesn't have a discount for att). one big plus for att, at least in this area, t-mobile's 3g network ain't here yet. their standard edge seems to work ok, and wifi is always nice.

all of this was neat, but i kinda put the whole thing on the back burner as matt didn't seem to thrilled about the idea at all a month ago, so i let it go. then like last week, all the sudden, he starts talking about wanting a g1. i guess i bugged him enough about it back then that the seeds started sprouting in his head.

looking back it was kind of a whrilwind since he mentioned it on tuesday of this past week; wendesday we went to the t-mobile store to check it out, then ending up ordering 2 of them online that night; and they arrived at my door friday afternoon. to be fair, we checked out the iphone once more that same day, but side-by-side, playing with both there was no contest. the g1 is just amazing.

i was sold on the totally awesome streetview compass mode. when you use the built-in google maps app and switch to street view and turn on compass mode, you can just move the phone around you and it moves the street view like you are standing there on the road looking around. it's no holodeck, but still pretty darn cool.

to sweeten the deal, all my google info still lives with google. so my email and contacts is fully accessible to me on the g1, but if i loose my phone or something it is still online.

the last bit i will mention is apps. there are tons of apps, and quite many are free. the ones that aren't are usually under $1 or maybe $5. so far i haven't purchased any and am keeping very busy with the free ones. i have spent hours a day finding more cool stuff to add to my phone, like twidriod, meebo, a wifi scanner, android arcade, caller id look up (automatically flags telemarketers) to name a few.

i was afraid i might run into some buyer's remorse (that is what the trial period is for), but after these first 3 days i don't see that happening. i am not going to say the g1 is better then the iphone for two reasons: the main reason is i never owned an iphone and i don't think anyone can make a claim like that for either phone with out owning both for some time, and the other reason is phones are very subjective. whatever i value in a phone might not be what you value. for me, g1 seems to be a better fit over the iphone. check it out, you might find it to be a better match for you as well :)