We finished scheduling the talks, and saw the conference facilities, today. It’s going to be another great conference. From 210+ talks we had to select 72, which wasn’t an easy task. But I think we came up with the best possible schedule that we could. I hope everyone is satisfied, although it’s always hard to have to tell folks that they’ve been rejected.
With any luck we’ll send out the speaker notifications in the next 2 or 3 days, then we can post the schedule on the website.
We went out for a little bit of geocaching. It was pretty cold, and rained and hailed briefly while we were out. We found the Iveagh cache in Iveagh Gardens, which is a beautiful little park just down the road from the hotel. We also visited St. Steven’d Green, which was very beautiful too. I got some pictures. I’ll see in a moment if any of them were any good.
I’ll be leaving tomorrow, and I don’t imagine I’ll be online much more between now and then.
We spent all day yesterday selecting talks, but we’re still not quite done. A little after 9, those of us who are 5 timezones over finally realized that it wasn’t 4pm, so we packed it in for the day and went to a nearby pizza place, where they had great calzone. It was somewhat after midnight when we got back to the hotel, so I’m still rather tired today. Hopefully we’ll have everything schedule by lunchtime, and we can do a little geocaching on the lunch break.
I brought 3 travel bugs that Sarah made, and wants dropped off while I’m here.
We finally did some caching today, finding all four that we looked for. Unfortunately, they were all micros, or at least too small to have interesting things in them, so Sarah was somewhat disappointed.
I went to get my hair cut, and the barber (“hairdresser?”) was a little too enthusiastic. I’m pretty sure I haven’t had my hair this short since I was 15 and got that unfortunate crew cut. Oh, well, I suppose it’ll grow back. I feel a bit like a shorn sheep. On the plus side, I won’t have to comb it for a few weeks.
Meanwhile, not much else going on. Trying to write some conference presentations, and be somewhat prepared for my trip to Dublin next weekend. Nothing else planned for the weekend.
On July 7, 2003, I left “Finding Sarah”, a little fish travel bug, in a cache in Portland, Oregon. For 2 years, 7 months, it treked around the USA, and even crossed over into Canadia, travelling 3859.1 miles. On January 31, it arrived in its final destination, Bush Baby, here in Lexington.
I didn’t have a chance to go get it right away, but Sarah and I went to pick it up on February 9th, just in time for her birthday. We discovered that the cache, and the tree in which it was hidden, had been destroyed by some park cleanup crew clearing brush.
I imagine, even if you’ve never tracked a travel bug, you can understand that I was rather disappointed. Fortunately, I sent two of them, and the other one arrived less than a year after I sent it. The Parks and Rec geocaching contact wasn’t able to help me. Apparently he had no idea they were going to do that. 🙁
Someone on #lplug mentioned that they had purchased a USB GPS thingy (not that actual one, but one very much like it) and had been playing with Kismet. I almost ordered one for myself, but instead got a USB/Serial converter for my existing GPS, since that was considerably cheaper. I just got back from driving around the neighborhood, and found several dozen wireless networks in my brief drive. Almost all of them have a default name (“default”, “linksys”, or “NETGEAR”) and are open. The iStumbler GPS plugin allows me to capture that information along with location coordinates. Very nice.
There are a few things that I wish it could do, such as give me a Google map of the area (that part it does) with a location pin in each wifi network location (that part it doesn’t do). However, I have no idea how hard that would be. I have been reading a little of the google maps API documentation, and I’m hoping to have a little time to play with that over the next few weeks. Maybe I can contribute something useful to this project.
It would also be nice to be able to export the data into some useful format. The most useful format, for me at least, would be GPX, which would make it easy to convert to dozens of other formats.
I guess at some point I should get onto the iStumbler mailing list(s) so that I can make actual feature requests rather than hoping that the author will notice that I’m blogging about him. 😉
I’ve fixed my “64 Megs of Cache” geocache, and have now wasted almost a half hour trying to update the listing on the website. I’m so glad the .net framework is so reliable.
At a time when I’m just starting to get re-interested in location aware web thingies, and location aware (GPS) technology in general, Jeremy Irish, who is probably most responsible for popularizing Geocaching, has started Waymarking, which is a more general “tag this location” service. He’s phrased it as a game, but I think it’s probably much more interesting as a general location thing. Locations of Wi-Fi Hotspots, for example, is the obvious one, but there are many many more categories of interesting things, general points of interest, restaurants, and other stuff.
A year or two ago I bought geoeat.com, and eventually let it lapse due to lack of time and design ability. The idea was to allow people to geo-tag their favorite restaurants, so that eventually I could go to any city, look up an Ethiopian restaraunt, and know exactly how to get there. Yes, it was *entirely* self-serving. Now, I think I’ll just set up a category for that at waymarking.com, and let them do the work for me.
Bergie has posted more stuff about location awareness, and it’s very cool stuff. Plazes.com has a desktop app that lets you register locations where you usually hang out, and then it knows where you are based on what address(es) you are connecting from.
There are still some problems with it, such as, predictably, that our proxy/firewall at work seems to block it, and I don’t know what port(s) it wants open. It does cool stuff like, no only “where am I”, but also “where have I been” which is a flash application that draws a time/position map of where you’ve been. It would have been very cool to have had this running since January, since I’ve been more places this year than any year ever.
The grunt work involved is that I have to register all the “plazes” that I am likely to visit. But, presumably, if there’s critical mass achieved, we’d end up with any place I visit (open wireless locations, for example) already being registered, and it would Just Work.
Now, I need to go read more of the documentation.
But the very coolest thing I’ve discovered so far is exactly what we were talking about that night in Moscow – the ability to integrate Plazes with Flickr, so that photos are tagged with a location, and you can search for photos of a particular place, by coordinates. Obviously, this is still very basic, but I hope that as the data set grows, you’ll be able to search for “photos near Lexington” and the like. It’s a pretty exciting new piece of metadata for us geo-geeks.
I just discovered that I really don’t much enjoy Geocaching alone. It’s so much more fun with Sarah. I found one, but kinda lost the passion for it. Perhaps I can persuade one or two other folks to go with me later today.
Last evening was *amazing*. I called Clint, who just moved out here less than a week ago, and he and Madeline came to pick me up, and we went blueberry picking. We drove about 45 minutes south, met up with some other friends, and then drove out to Pihl Orchard. We picked for a while, and I just wandered around the orchard for a while. I have never smelled peaches that smelled quite so wonderful. Still alive and still on the tree, and so full of wonderful flavor that they were about to burst. Mmmmmm.
The lady that owns the place has been there 40 years, and planted every tree with her own hands. The blueberries were fantastic, particularly with a little vanilla ice cream back at Clint and Sarah’s house, where Madeline told all about our adventure. It is *great* to have good friends. And having good friends this far from home is a big plus.
Hopefully this evening we’ll squeeze in some time for a visit to Mudai. Mmmmm.
There are 22 geocaches in Russia. That’s in the entire country. 6.5 million square miles.
By comparison, there are 13 geocaches in Veteran’s Park, which might be as much as 2 square miles.
One of those 22 caches is within 13 miles of Moscow, and I really hope that I’ll get a chance to go find it. There will be plenty to do while there, so I don’t know that it will happen. But having a find in Russia would be, as we used to say, totally boss. And, to make it better, although it’s been there for almost a year, nobody has found it yet! I suppose I should contaxt the owner to make sure that it’s actually still there.