Saturday, May 31, 2008

Svala kastaði folaldi í gær

Svala er ein af hestunum hennar Lóu fyrir vestan á Miðjanesi á Reykjanesinu við Reykhóla. Hestarnir sem eru allt árið á Miðjanesi núna eru Svala, Hrugnir og Júpíter. En veturinn 2006-2007 var Svala hjá okkur í bænum og fékk hún þá einhverja þjálfun en ekki þó næga til að við gætum riðið henni út í hverri viku. Okkur fór hins vegar að þykja mjög vænt um þessa fallegu og góðu, en líka styggu, hryssu. Hún kom þó ekki bæinn núna í vetur heldur var hún sett undir hest síðasta sumar og kastaði nú þessu líka fallega folaldi, eða litlu hryssu.

Til viðbótar við ofangreinda hesta þá á Írena Ísafold en hún tekur hana í Mosfellsbæinn yfir veturinn og er hún nú komin aftur vestur. Við eigum Póló og Normu frá Njarðvík og tökum við þau í Víðidalinn yfir veturinn. Þau eru bæði enn í bænum og ætlum við að reyna að hafa þau hjá okkur eins lengi og við getum en þurfum líklega að fara með þau í kringum miðjan Júní. Sjáum til.

Við getum nú varla beðið eftir að fara vestur.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Spolsky: "Twittering"

I heard Jeff Atwood (Jeff: "don't mean to be a fan-boy") raving about Twitter in the Stackoverflow #4, #5 and #6 pod casts with Joel Spolsky but he just joked about this saying he likes "Twittering!". Then there was something about this on the BBC, so I decided to give this a try, at least try to figure out what the hype is about. But even after reading the "What?", "Why?" and "How?" on the Twitter homepage and then watching the video I still didn't understand why Jeff was so enthusiastic about this service. So I signed up to take a better look (http://www.twitter.com/abthordarson).

So the idea is that you sign-up and start answering the "What are you doing?" question on the top of your page. And you should be answering this question often but not thoroughly (hence the 140 character limit). Others can then start following in on your answers by becoming your "Followers". You also become their "Follower", you then reply to each others tweets and a conversation is created.

You can listen in or engage in a conversation an interesting person A is having with another person B, simply by "Finding" that interesting person A and start "Following" his tweets. However, you actually need to "Follow" that person B as well otherwise it's going to feel like you are listening to a person on the telephone (only hearing what the interesting person answers but not the question itself). This means that if ten people are talking about something you need to be "Following" everyone of those in order not to loose the thread of the conversation (hence the hundreds or thousands of followers everyone has in Twitter).

However, you can specifically request to see the tweet the interesting person is replying to clicking the relevant "in reply to ***" URL. But this becomes impossible very soon unless you want to spend the rest of you days pressing "in reply to ***" URLs and browsing around the Twitter pages.

So the way I feel is that the magnitude of the people I need to be "Following" is a drawback of Twitter and I can just imagine that I literally have to "Follow" everyone and also everyone everyone is following, otherwise I might be missing the joke everyone is laughing at :-)

Anyways, because people don't really answer the question "What are you doing?" literally but instead put some interesting information in there, that they think the rest of us would like to know, I will probably use Twitter to "Follow" some people I expect to have interesting information that I would like to hear about. But we will see if I continue to listen or if I loose interest and give up.

The snapshots I have included come from the Witty 0.1.8 Beta 1 Twitter client (and there are others as well) that allow you, to some extent, to avoid the down-all-the-time Twitter homepage. I guess that is why they created all those pages that do nothing but follow the status of Twitter, see for example the to-the-point page Is Twitter Down? (more info at Is Twitter Down? Yes or No at downloadsquad).

Monday, May 5, 2008

TimeSnapper

I don't know about you but, in addition to being a NET·Conductor product developer, part of my job for Rue de Net are billable hours so I have to write them down. But I keep forgetting to write them down so every now and then you see me scratching my head looking out the window and wondering what the heck I was doing a couple of days ago. Often I look into our Jira issue system, my emails and/or the VisualSVN Versioning Control System trying to figure it out. Can be quite difficult.

And now I can introduce you to one more system that can help me when it is this time of the month. TimeSnapper by Leon Bambrick is a very nice system that you start on your computer and it follows what you are doing and records it. It makes snapshots of your screen and records the applications that you use. This allows you to playback your day and see what you have done. I now have this running on my desktop and making snapshots every 30 seconds.

It then comes with exactly the kind of reporting and filtering that you need to be able to extract by time and application exactly what you were doing a couple of days ago. Brilliant!

TimeSnapper is one of those great ideas that have been made into a very cool little program, which I hope will continue to stay little - take a look!

Stackoverflow

Joel Spolsky from Fog Creek and Jeff Atwood who writes Coding Horror are setting up a new website they are calling Stackoverflow. It is to become the some kind of wiki with software solutions. I have been reading Joel for years and I still like it. I'll therefore be following Stackoverflow and hopefully contributing when it starts growing. You should take a look at http://www.stackoverflow.com and maybe listen to their podcasts.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Garmin, Nike+, iPod Nano and Instructables

I am a runner these days and currently in the market for a way of accurately measuring my running distance. Today, the timing of my run and heart rate is precisely measured with the Polar CS200 Cycling Computer that I've had for just over a year now. However, the CS200 is missing the running distance as it is obviously not intended for runners but for cyclists. So, I collect my running distance afterwards from an interactive map of Reykjavik. This is a tedious, imprecise and boring way of calculating the distance.

However, the distance I run hasn't been as important as the time I run until recently. This is changing because I'm beginning to run further and further. For a couple of weeks now I have been browsing around looking for a better way of measuring the running distance. There are two ways that I can do this, using a footpod that measures the running speed with up to 99% accuracy or a GPS based system, which I prefer for its additional capabilities, like graphing etc. The GPS system I hope to get is the up and coming Garmin Forerunner 405 ($349 on Amazon) but until it arrives in shops I will wait, and I wait...

But then I ran into the Nike + iPod Sport Kit, a footpod based system, that is really cheap ($29 on Amazon) so I thought I would get one of those as I already own an iPod. However, instead of purchasing it directly from Amazon, I went to a local sport shop to see it in action before buying. Turns out my iPod Mini is not good enough, an iPod Nano is required for the sport kit. Then there was the thing about the footpod sensor, no straps or any other kind of holdings to fit it to my shoe. They expect us to purchase a new pair of Nike shoes that has the appropriate hole to hold the sensor. So I wont get one of those, I will continue waiting for the 405...

However, one good thing came out of this, during my exploration of the web trying to find a way of fitting the sensor on my shoe I stumbled upon a social network site called Instructables that allows people to upload instructions about anything they believe they have more knowledge about than the rest of us. There are many silly instructions in there, like How to Start A Flash Mob, How to Kiss, Solar Powered Light-Graffiti Projector and Anatomy of a Chocolate Truffle. Ha, ha. Enjoy.

Anyways, we continue waiting for the Garmin Forerunner 405...