Mosaic Maker


A buddy of mine approached me the other day about creating a visually appealing way of randomly displaying images from a large collection. He cited the example on the CG Hug homepage. It had been a long time since I got to do some programming problem solving like this, so I accepted the challenge.

While there are still a few tweaks to be done (images don't always completely fill the allotted cell), I'm pretty dang happy with what has emerged. Click here if you want to give it a try. Every reload will give you a different mosaic pattern and different random assortment of pictures. Also feel free to tweak the parameters in the url for different sized grids. For the time being, I'm only pulling images from /stuff9 (my most recent year or so of posts), but it would be neat to expand it someday, maybe even integrate it into the header of the blog*.

Anyway, kind of a neat little project.
Thursday October 13 2011File under: coding, pics

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Canvas Fun 2 - Map Lines


Here are some further adventures with HTML canvas. For this one, I was trying to recreate an Indiana Jones style map to give someone a brief overview of my travels. Again, I realize this is by no means groundbreaking in terms of its display or anything, but the fact it is all done through HTML gets me pretty excited. Anyway, have a look and tell me what you think. Version #1, version #2

(As for the last adventure with canvas, I think I've isolated some of the issues, so hopefully it should load up correctly now. So go ahead and give it another look too, if you like. )
Wednesday November 24 2010File under: coding, travel

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Canvas Fun - New Kind of Slideshow

I've been playing with a new-to-me feature of HTML called canvas. It allows for new ways to draw, display pictures, do animations, etc. that HTML could never do before. Probably 95% of you will look at this and say "Big whoop. I've seen stuff like that (and better) on the web lots of times." Well, what you've probably seen before is all done in flash. The great thing about canvas is that it doesn't require external software to run. It is built into your browser. That said, it is only fancy modern browsers that support HTML 5.0 as yet. I've been told even Internet Explorer doesn't support it. So if things don't work, it might be your browser. (And I just found that it displays different in firefox than in chrome*, so consider this an alpha version.)

Anyway, you should check it out. If it works and you like it, let me know in the comments. If it doesn't work, let me know that too (and preferably what OS and browser+version you are using). I'm hoping to roll out another travel based canvas project next week.
Wednesday November 17 2010File under: travel, coding

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Transportation Bingo

Last time I did a meandering domestic adventure (spring 2008 through the Northeast, if you recall), I noticed how many forms of transportation I was using. Ferries, craigslist rides, biking, etc. This time around, I thought I'd make a game out of it.

Transportation Bingo works like this:
     * each person gets a card with many forms of transportation in a random arrangement. (The arrangement is based off a seed word which you might be asked for that allows for you to get the same arrangement from any computer. Capital letters matter.)
     * when I use a certain form of transportation on this trip, I will add it to the list of "used methods" which will cause that square to be red.
     * when someone gets 5 in a row, just like in bingo, they win.
     * prize for the winner is yet to be determined, but is bound to be "oh gee thanks, I guess" worthy.

The hope is that those who want to follow along for this latest adventure can do so by just checking in on the bingo page. "Oh, he just rode on a passenger only ferry across Mobile Harbor. Bingo!"

So the programming aspect of this was done kind of hastily without much cross-browser/cross-platform troubleshooting, so let me know if it isn't working for you. I wanted to get it posted before I get on the train to Denver this afternoon. Speaking of which, I had better go pack up and hop on the bus down to the station.
Tuesday December 1 2009File under: travel, coding

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Web Project Olio

To keep myself sane in between periods of travel, I find myself getting involved in quite a number of computer/web projects. While I know not all of them are super exciting, I figured if I compiled them all into one post, it might pass muster on the interesting scale.

Firstly, I've just finalized creation of a website for Jai Guitars, a guitar refinishing project run by friend, frisbee great, and occasional BdW commenter Joe. I think the site turned out great and was a lot of fun to make. Check it out, and if you end up ordering a guitar, tell him you heard about it on BdW.

Other projects I've been dinking with:
  • I'm helping out the Elect Bill Turner campaign by maintaining their website. It is my first involvement with a political campaign and I think it will prove to be eye opening*.
  • After it initially getting a fair amount of press, I'm continuing to update North Sound Transit Guide. Recently, I added Frequently Requested Routes (fully planned routes mostly between Seattle and major North Sound cities), a feature that I think should be very useful. I hope to be adding more features soon.
  • I threw together this little game for Luke (of Sponsor My Loans, Blog About Beer, and Real World Really)*. It's about as hokey as web browser games can get, but also kind of fun. I think he's putting it together for his boss or something, so if you happen to pass through Portland, Maine, don't go advertising it from rooftops.
  • I continue to work towards getting a crossword published. I've submitted two for publication but haven't heard back. If you want to check out the new ones, they can be found on the games page. (I'm told these latest ones are both better and easier than the first couple, so if you tried before and were dissuaded, think about having another look.)
I've got a few other projects in the works including adding a new product to troothpicks.com*, a face-lift/added feature set for BdW*, and maybe another small business website or two to add to my resume. If you've got some web related project you've been pondering, maybe I can help. Have your people call my people.
Thursday July 3 2008File under: work, coding

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Relaunch


A couple of months ago, I posted about a little project I was working on that had high hopes of promoting public transportation use in the North Sound region: the working name was North Sound City to City Public Transportation Guide. When it came to revamp, the name was the first thing to change. The NSC2CPTG has now become the North Sound Transit Guide with a fancy web address of www.northsoundtransitguide.com*. While the main guts of the site, the trip planner, haven't changed much beyond the addition of a few more routes, I added a little window dressing to the rest of the site, along with other helpful tidbits such as tips for travelers and links to other related sites. It is still somewhat a work in progress, but I feel it is now ready to release out of the "proof of concept" stage and into that ever ubiquitous "beta" stage. To the non-computer nerd, that means it is open and ready to go. So help me spread the word: www.northsoundtransitguide.com!

(In getting nstg up and going, I also spend a little time cleaning up www.peoplesguidetoanacortes.com to get the domain name directly properly and the layout to better accommodate various window sizes etc. And since we are just getting into tourist season here in Anacortes, I thought it might be worth putting a reminder out there: if you or anyone you know happens to be traveling through Anacortes and is look for all the area has to offer that doesn't require you to take out your wallet, check out the People's Guide to Anacortes.)

((Okay, I'll try to hold off on the self promotion for at least the next week. No promises though.))
Wednesday May 14 2008File under: coding, links

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North Sound City to City Public Transportation Guide

It's been a year now that I've been without a car. And while Scoot Scoot gets me around, it isn't the most efficient thing for longer distance travel*, so I very often find myself on the bus. In fact, I'm getting to know the local area bus schedule pretty damn well–so well, in fact, that I often find myself acting as consultant to people who want to go from A to B under C circumstance.

Fancy schmany public transportation districts have websites with trip planners where you can get routes to and from anywhere in the system without having special knowledge of which routes run when, where, etc. This is what I've set out to recreate for the transportation districts in our area. You select where you want to start and where you want to go and presto, this website lays out what routes to take, as well as helpful tidbits about schedule, price, etc.

One thing that the site doesn't offer (yet) is a full timetable for each schedule. One reason is because to maintain a separate database for all these would be problematic. Whenever a company changed its schedule, things would be out of sync until I realized the problem. Another reason is because I am just one guy, and the prospect of doing a full blown trip planner (for free) was a little overwhelming.

But despite the lacking time element, my hope is that this tool will help those who want to make inroads into public transportation travel but don't know where to start. Spread the word about North Sound City to City Public Transportation Guide.
Sunday March 9 2008File under: transportation, coding

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Another Crossword - FAMILY TIES

As often happens with me and creative energies, I find an outlet and stay with it for a while. It happened about this time last year with writing nerdy word games*. This year's borderline obsession is creating crosswords. I've incorporated the feedback I got from the 3 people that attempted the last one("It's too hard!" and "Weak!") and hopefully this one will prove much better. Check it out and let me know what you think: FAMILY TIES.

Since I seem to be taking to writing crossword puzzles so eagerly, I thought it might be fun to look into what it takes to get one published (and how much it pays.) Cruciverb.com seems to be the site to go to for that type of information. In a nut shell, you gotta minimize black spaces, use symmetric grids, use as few dumb clues as possible, and do a good theme. That seems straight forward enough. Each paper/organization has its own guidelines on top of those as well as prices. It looks like the going rate is between $65 and $200*.

Anyway, I've got a new goal for the list: become a published crossword [author/creator/artist/guy]. Any feedback you can give would be great. I'll be sure and thank you in my acceptance speech for "best crossword dude from a personal blog" category at next year's Crossies.
Tuesday February 12 2008File under: games, coding

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Create a Crossword - CHECK

Years ago, I made a list of things I wanted to do before I died. I was reminded of this list recently by a [great!] post over at IHJ. (Another great example of a life list, and actually the one that inspired me to make my own years ago, can be found here*.)

I'm not going to post said list because it is still a work in progress (both in terms of refining goals and attempting to accomplish them). One of my proudest to cross off, however, was trying out for Jeopardy*. I didn't get on, but that's okay because it still felt great to have tried.

But I digress. This post is supposed to be about the latest thing I've been able to cross off my list*. As an avid crossword puzzle doer for years, I've always wanted to create my own – not a ghetto one like we made in high school using all the words from the spelling list, but a newspaper worthy crossword that adheres to strict standards (at least in format if not in content).

So here it is: You're in My Top Level Domain Now. There are a few words that I am not overly proud of and a few others that are obscure pop culture references that only very very few people will get, but it's not bad for a first try. Have a go. Tell me what you think.

(You can either print the puzzle (please make sure it shrinks to just print on one page) or you can do the puzzle as it is on your computer screen. The "software"* isn't as fancy as the commercial ones, but it does the trick.)
Wednesday February 6 2008File under: games, coding

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Let It Out (a.k.a. SwearBot 2007)

#@!%*
Have you ever just had one of those days, or maybe it was just a moment, where you get so frustrated you just want to scream? This is meant to be a hypothetical question because I know we've all been there. Maybe it is because the cat peed on the chair again, you computer isn't doing what you tell it to*, or you've made the same mistake that you always make even though you swear you will never make it again. Well, when it happens to me, I sometimes want to swear. Who knows where the urge comes from? I'm not incredibly proud of it, however I rarely audibly swear in such instances because you never know when there might be tender ears around.

Anyway, I had this thought: what if I created a forum for such an outlet but somehow buffered it, so readers wouldn't get an earful* but it could still fulfill the desire for an outlet. Plus, by expressing your frustration in a non-intrusive way, hopefully it will encourage others to sympathize with you and send out positive energy to help alleviate said frustration.

With that in mind, I've created the SwearBot 2007. Enter your swears (as unPC as you want. No one will see the untranslated version), exclamations, derisions, or complaints. Press "Translate". Presto! Now you have a squeaky clean outlet that you can paste into an e-mail, print out and put on the office refrigerator, or paste into the comments of this very blog.



(P.S. I promise the next post will be a follow up to "The Next Adventure")

Wednesday December 19 2007File under: misc, coding

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