# Monday, 23 January 2006

There’s a very well written article on outdoors-magazine.com about building an “on body bug out kit” into a vest and wearing it around town so you are ALWAYS prepared for emergencies.  It’s a cool idea, and I really like the idea, but I don’t think I’m quite paranoid enough at this point to want to haul all that stuff with me all the time.  If I was, I’d look at building it into my jacket from ScottEVest.  Better load handling than a vest.

[via Survival Today]

Monday, 23 January 2006 16:07:30 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 

This morning I got to talk to an AP Computer Science class at a local high school about GPS receivers, and the wonderful world of geospatial data.  We touched on making your own maps, Google Maps/Google Earth mash-ups, and the kinds of data you can get from the internet and from a GPSr.  Fun stuff. 

In timely fashion, Scott has some info on how to geotag your photos using various means, which is handy information for the geospatially inclined.

Monday, 23 January 2006 15:09:13 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 

I’ve been playing with the January CTP of WCF, and I’ve encountered what seems like a pretty major setback.  I’ve got an interface that takes a MessageContract and returns a MessageContract.  All well and good.  But then I want to use the AsyncPattern on the service side, so that my routine will get called on a different thread from the one that’s listening on the network.  So I decorate the interface like so:

    [ServiceContract()]

    public interface IThingy

    {

        [OperationContract(AsyncPattern=true,Action="Signon",IsInitiating=true)]

        IAsyncResult BeginSignon(ThingyRequestMessage<SignOnRequest> request, AsyncCallback cb, object state);

 

        [OperationContract]

        ThingyResponseMessage<SignOnResponse> EndSignon(IAsyncResult ar);

    }

 

Now I get an exception at runtime, which says that I can’t mix parameters and messages for the method “EndSignon”.  What it means is that if I return a MessageContract instead of a primitive type, my method has to take a MessageContract and not one or more primitive types.  OK, I get that.  But my EndSignon method is getting flagged because it takes an IAsyncResult (as it must according to the AsyncPattern) and returns a ThingyResponseMessage. 

Does this mean I can’t use MessageContracts with the AsnycPattern?  If so, LAME.  If not, then what am I missing?

SOAP | Web Services | XML | Indigo
Monday, 23 January 2006 15:05:23 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [2]  | 
# Monday, 09 January 2006
I’m a big fan of both the detective and the Vampire genres, so it’s pretty cool to see them both together.  In his new novel, Already Dead : A Novel, Charlie Huston combines the two seamlessly.  The protagonist, Joe Pitt, is the archetypal hard boiled gumshoe/tough guy who just happens to also be a Vampire.  I was impressed that Huston manages to stay true to both traditions without losing anything in the process.  And if you happen to be into zombies, there are some of those two.  Only they’re zombie Goth girls.  Better and better.  A good fast page turner.  Be warned, however, that in the tradition of the hard boiled detective, it can get pretty graphic, so probably not for the weak of stomach. 
Monday, 09 January 2006 16:52:03 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 

Phew…

It’s taken most of 3 work days, but I finally got a decent installation of the December CTP.  I tried uninstalling the November bits, then installing the December stuff.  No go.  The SDK won’t install.  Sigh.  So I created a new Virtual Server image with Win2K3 sp1, and tried installing from scratch.  First the WinFX runtime, then Visual Studio 2005, then the SDK, just like it says in the docs.  The SDK still won’t install, because it says I haven’t installed the runtime.  After several days worth of combinations tried, I finally ran the Repair on the runtime’s installer, then tried the SDK again.  Success!  So simple it only took 3 days. 

The price one pays to be on the bleeding edge I guess.

Monday, 09 January 2006 16:39:50 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 
# Friday, 06 January 2006
For an excellent (and practical) example of using geospatial data, check out the Brew Map.  A Google maps mashup showing the locations of every brewery in WA and OR.  Apparently there’s a winery version too if you are into that sort of thing.  Little did I know there was a brewery in Forest Grove!  A useful tool already. :-)
Friday, 06 January 2006 08:51:06 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 
# Tuesday, 03 January 2006
There’s still time to sign up for the next web services class I’ll be teaching at OIT.  This class (which I haven’t taught before) is going to be on “Enterprise Web Services”.  We’ll cover the things you need to know to build a real enterprise application using Web Services, and how emerging standards make that much easier and more standardized.  The focus will be on applying web services standards to building B2B applications, and participants are expected to already have a solid grounding in XML/SOAP/WSDL, and be able to code in C# or VB.NET.  Class starts Monday, 1/9 at OIT Portland’s Capital Center campus.  CST 407P. 
Tuesday, 03 January 2006 15:58:14 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 

Scott posted some great easy preparedness tips last week.  I’m hoping to get it together and do the thumb drive bit soon.  It’s a great idea, and once it’s done provides a lot of peace of mind knowing that you could bail and have all your important documentation.  It’s also very cool that Scott got some Red Cross kits for his and his wife’s cars.  If you want to go one step further, consider putting together or buying a premade “evacuation kit”.  If Katrina taught us anything it’s that a 72 hour kit designed to support you in your home without power/water may not be enough.  One of the coolest premade kits I’ve seen comes from Nitro-Pak.  The kit is designed to support a family of 4 (there’s a 2 person kit too) in the event of an evacuation, so not only does it include food, water, 1st aid supplies, etc. but also emergency tents and sleeping bags, and the whole kit fits in a duffel bag.  Very cool.  Expect to shell out some cash (the 4 person kit’s on sale right now for $349.99) but you’ll get everything together in one place and ready to go.  Another thing worth investing in (which I haven’t yet but hope to) is some of the freeze-dried food from places like Mountain House.  They come in #10 nitrogen filled cans, which have a shelf life upwards of 30 years.  So you might have to shell out $400, but you’ll have a ready food supply for your family for a week, and you won’t have to think about it again for 30 years or so.  Nitro-Pak carries such kits, as do other places like Survival Unlimited

For more quick preparedness tips, check out the Hillsboro CERT website.  You’ll find a bunch of tips, including a featured “one minute preparedness” tip.

Tuesday, 03 January 2006 10:59:23 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 
Vikki and I took the kids up to Mt. Hood on Sunday to play in the snow and try out the new sleds they got for Christmas.  We decided to head for the Trillium Lake snow park, which is just past the turnoff to Timberline (maybe a mile) right across from the turnoff for Snow Bunny.  It’s a nice snow park, usually not too crowded, and a great jumping off place for Nordic skiing or snow shoeing.  Unfortunately, their new sleds need a steeper slope, so the sledding didn’t go as well as hoped.  But we had a very nice time playing around in the snow and walking down the snow covered road watching the skier and snowshoers.  Also impressive was watching the tractor.  Some brilliant individual had decided to drive his 4Runner down the snow covered road (we’re talking probably 4+ feet of snow) past the chained gate, and got stuck up to his axles at the bottom of the hill.  They had to bring in a little snow tractor on a flatbed and pull him out.  Must have cost a fortune.  As well it should for doing something so stupid.  It did provide a fair amount of amusement for the spectators, so not a total loss. :-)
Tuesday, 03 January 2006 10:41:18 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 

Thanks to Rich Owings, I now know how to make my own custom maps, both for printing and for downloading to my GPSr.  Rich has a great book called GPS Mapping: Make Your Own Maps, which is truly a wealth of information.  It includes rundowns on a number of mapping packages for the PC, as well as information on making your own maps for a GPSr.  I spent Saturday morning running through the instructions on downloading free data from the USGS and turning it into a downloadable map of Hillsboro for my Garmin GPSMAP 60C.  Rich’s instructions are very easy to follow, and make a very complex process pretty understandable.  In retrospect I’d have to say that I’m glad I know how to make my own downloadable maps, but I can see that it’s something you’d really have to want.  It’s a very long and cumbersome process involving about 6 different PC applications and a great deal of data manipulation.  For most applications, the data that comes with Garmin’s MapSource Topo product is enough for me, but I’m glad that I understand how to create more detailed maps.  I may cook up a few for areas I visit frequently. 

If you are interested in GPS and/or mapping, also check out Rich’s personal blog gpstracklog.

Tuesday, 03 January 2006 10:32:56 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 
We’ve had a lot of rain here in the last week or so, and that’s come with some flooding here and there.  Ivan and I tried for a bunch of geocaches over the long weekend, only to be frustrated on 2–3 occasions to discover that the cache location was totally under water.  Hopefully the caches haven’t washed away, and we’ll be able to come back and find them after the waters have receded.  We stopped off after sledding on Sunday to find 2 caches on the old Barlow Road up on Mt. Hood, just a bit East of Rhododendron.  Those were good finds, with some cool locations.  I’ve passed those turnouts on the Barlow Road dozens of times but never actually stopped.  I’d like to come back and hike around there when it’s a little warmer.
Tuesday, 03 January 2006 10:23:55 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  |