New Year, New Website!

New Website Snapshot - 01-01-2011Happy New Year!  Welcome to the new site!  This time I’m trying something completely different.  It’s much simpler.  Just a blog (WordPress) instead of a whole content management system.  There’s nothing wrong with Joomla, don’t get me wrong, it’s just way more that what I need for my website at this time.

The site’s still being built, but I thought it would be great to bring it live on January 1st, 2011 to ring in the new year instead of hiding it until it’s fully ready.  Consider it as you would a Google feature… It could be in “beta” for years as it continuously changes… So you’ll see some very old posts (only my favorite “oldies” this time) popping in from time to time as well as new features as I add them.  You can  read the “About” page for a little more info, and be sure to register for an account for access to some upcoming additional features you might enjoy.

That’s in for now.  Please let me know what you think.

Happy Holidays!

We”re having a great holiday season!  It’s the day after Christmas and this is my day to recover enough to be able to go back to work tomorrow and be productive for another week.  I woke up early this morning to find Sandy already gone off to work–or so I thought.– I looked out front, and there she was, trying to shovel about three feet of snow out of our plowed-in driveway!  I dressed quickly and went out to help her.

Looks like we got about 8-10 inches of the dreaded “lake effect” snow here overnight.  So it really was a White Christmas after all.  After the driveway was cleared enough, Sandy was able to leave for work, and I finished the rest.   I’m a little sore right now, but recovering with a hot cup of coffee (it’s no Vente Quad White Mocha, but it’ll do) and sitting at the desk next to the radiator.  I’m uploading 170 Christmas photos to Flickr right now. Here’s the link. Kevin got the Playstation Move AND the X-Box Kinect!  Sheesh, was side of Santa’s naughty-and-nice list was HE on?!?  The Move was pretty easy to setup, just pair the controllers and go.  The Kinect, on the other hand, was one of those projects that just didn’t want to go right.  It uses NO controllers–YOU are the controller.  Instead, it’s a big bar that sits above or below your TV and includes a high-def camera and a bunch of sensors.  It also moves on it’s own to find the best position to track whoever is playing at the time.  It looked easy to setup at first–and it probably is for people with large living rooms–but for us it was tough.  Apparently our living room is just a little too small for it, so placing it above or below the TV wouldn’t work.  After some thinking and a playing around with it, we ended up having to mount it on a shelf on the wall behind the TV.  This gave us a few extra precious inches, which was apparently just enough to allow it to function properly.  After that, Kevin and Matt had a blast tubing down the whitewater rapids and bouncing in zero gravity in Kinect Adventures.

We had our traditional great Christmas dinner with Mike, Rick, George and the family, a great ham, and some great homemade Au Gratin Potatoes that Sandy made.  And this morning, since Socks absolutely refuses to go outside at all, it looks like we’ll be doing another of our traditions–the annual Doggie Deck Toss–where we throw the Chihuahua off the back deck and into the tallest snow bank in the backyard, then watch him tunnel and hop his way out.  I’ll try to grab a picture.

Update: We had a successful Puppy Launch this morning.  Here’s the photo.  See the flying Chihuahua!

Google Maps 5 coming soon to Android devices

Version 5 of Google Maps has just been announced for Android.  It will be released “in a matter of days,” and most Android users should be able to download it free, at that point.

Coming with the Maps update will be the end of tiling.  Whoohoo!  It will use vectors, which brings the ability to see maps in 3D (see screenshot). For anyone who has used Google Earth on their Android device knows, Maps will now let you tilt and rotate any map with your fingers.

Equally as notably is the addition of offline caching, making those long trips to areas with data deadzones less scary. Besides keeping the map/route on file, the offline cache will also be able to reroute if you miss that exit and don’t have continuous data. The update will be available for all Android devices with 2.2, and possibly for all with 2.1, as well. I have a 2.1 device, so I’m a little nervous at this point… I REALLY want to be able to use this update!! I use Google Navigation daily.