Saturday, May 13, 2006

Beautiful Spring Day in Seattle

Its beautiful in Seattle, so I walked down to little grocery store a couple blocks from my house (Ken's Market), and bought a delicious Reed's Original Ginger Brew. On the walk back, I wondered how hard it was to make Ginger Ale. Having dabbled in a homebrewing beer project, I knew it couldn't be too difficult, and if it required expensive equipment to brew... I probably already had it in the basement.
I got home, and went to the illustrious internet in search of instructions on how to brew Ginger Ale. Turns out it only took 3 clicks. Searched for: "wikipedia ginger ale". Click. The Wikipedia page for Ginger Ale is the first result. Click. At the bottom of the Wikipedia page, there is a link to "Homemade Ginger Ale." Click. Turns out it is dead-simple to do a basic brew of ginger ale.
In one hour (3:00PM - 4:00PM), I was able to go to the grocery store, and buy all the stuff I needed; prepare the brew, and clean up after myself. I even took some pictures. I'll let you know how it tastes as soon as I try it.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Rhapsody and Google Calendar Mashup

At Mind Camp 2.0, Leo and Katie (from and I started work on a mashup. We wanted to combine Google Calendar with Rhapsody. Instead of waking up to an annoying alarm-clock-radio, it would be nice to wake up to your favorite music.
How to get the data from Google Calendar:
This was easy. Google Calendar can output an RSS feed of your calendar. So, you just give our mashup the URL of your gCal RSS... and we can go from there.
How to play music via Rhapsody:
This was easy. Leo and Katie know all about Rhapsody (duh)... so I didn't even have to research how to do this. We use Rhapsody's Simple.js API... and it is definitely simple.
How to get Album information from Rhapsody
Rhapsody outputs an RSS file for every album. So, when the time comes to play... the mashup grabs the RSS, parses it, and builds an array to send to simple.js.

We used the Prototype javascript framework for the PeriodicalEvent timers. One timer fires off every 2 seconds to see if its time to play the music. One timer fires off every 5 minutes to get an updated RSS file from your gCal. We also used the Prototype class because it has super-simple AJAX methods in it. So, we were able to grab the RSS feeds asynchronously.

Because it is next to impossible to remember the URL for your gCal RSS feed, you only have to enter it once. Then I squirrel that away into a cookie. The mashup detects if the cookie is there, and if it is... it just does its thing. If the cookie isn't there, the mashup doesn't do anything until you input your RSS.

unfortunately, I don't know javascript all that well... so the mashup doesn't work in Internet Explorer. It works in Mozilla and Firefox though.

I almost forgot to give you the link to the site! here you go:
There is some basic documentation on how to use the mashup available on the site.

Please leave your comments and concerns here if you have any. Feedback is always cool.

(PS: Another funny Blogger Spellchecker word missing from their dictionary: Google).

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Seattle Mind Camp 2.0 Thoughts

Seattle Mind Camp 2.0 Thoughts
First and foremost: this was the most fun I’ve had in a long time.  So I’ve broken my thoughts about this event into a few categories, and here they are:
Startups: I’m smarter or stupider than anyone that is doing a startup.  They’re just braver than I am.  I just need to do it.  Although, I just started enjoying my job at Boeing again.  Now that I’m absolutely loaded down with work…  I’m having fun.  Funny story: A couple weeks ago, I started working on a site that I thought I could turn into a startup.  About a day after I started development, another Seattle Startup launched the exact same thing.  My site is/will be:  If you want to see what my site will do, go to BillMonk.  The guys that are doing BillMonk were at Mind Camp, and were really cool, and welcomed the competition.
Networking:  I’ve realized that people do their best networking when they don’t even realize it.  When you get pulled into a random conversation, then you end up having more and more conversations with that person as the conference progress, you don’t realize it… but you’ve just made a great ally.  Forget LinkedIn, you have an actual friend.
Good Time: It definitely was.
Andru, I can’t wait for the next one!

Seattle Mind Camp 2.0 Experiences

Seattle Mind Camp 2.0 Experiences
This is the first in a two part series about Seattle Mind Camp 2.0.  This is a narrative about what happened at SMC.  The next one will be my thoughts about the event.
Nikki and I got to the venue at about 11:30AM.  The pandemonium beganith.  We brought our stuff in, then went into the theatre for the opening ceremony.  We all went around the theatre and introduced ourselves, then said 3 words.  Any 3 words.  I drew blank.  I was thinking about saying “Purple monkey dishwasher,” but I wasn’t sure who would pick up on The Simpsons’ reference.  Reflecting on that… I should have said it, because everyone would have got it.
At 2:00PM the sessions started.  I went to a session about Search Engine Optimization.  Not much happened, but this was my first session at a conference ever… so it’s worth mention.
For the rest of the day, I went to a couple of sessions that were basically “tip and tricks” for starting a software startup company.  I went to a social networking session, which was basically worthless.  Nobody knows why or which social networking service will take off… so it’s almost worthless to try to dissect the ones that are working.
Then came the best session of the whole event, the mashup session.  Leo from got up to the whiteboard, and started writing down websites with data we could rip from, and connecting them with lines.  We came up with a TON of really good ideas.  Leo wanted to make a combination of Google Calendar and Rhapsody to make an alarm clock.  I thought this sounded doable, and semi-useful.  So he and I (and Katie) worked on it.  I actually got it usable last night… but that’s a whole other blog post.  This session made me want to have a MashPit.  Maybe I’ll organize one… when I find the time.
Windows Live paid for dinner on Saturday and breakfast on Sunday.  Both meals were awesome.  This event had a ton of awesome sponsors, including Wired Energy Drink.  We had 20 cases of the stuff!  I personally drank 4.  My heart is still palpitating a little.
I’m sure more went on… but I’m done typing this post.

On IM today...

Hopefully this is the first of a couple blog posts tonight...

Ray [3:27 PM]:
btw, you know what your next project should be
Ray [3:27 PM]:
google life: where you can google your life to figure out where your crap is
Ray [3:27 PM]:
google: where is my ipod
Ray [3:27 PM]:
<I'm Feeling Lucky>
Ray [3:27 PM]:
in your pants in the laundry basket
Adam [3:27 PM]:
Ray [3:27 PM]:
Ray [3:27 PM]:
i could've used that this morning
Adam [3:27 PM]:
i'm going to quote you in a blog post
Ray [3:27 PM]:

I think this should actually be called Google Mom... because she always knows where all you stuff is. Plus, its almost Mother's Day.