Monster Cookie — success!

By reeset / On / In Cycling

So, the great recumbent roundup (aka, the Monster Cookie) was a rousing success. Kyle tried out his new high racer and got lots of looks. It’s a very unique, light (21 lbs) and fast bike. Both Kyle and I ended up doing a full century…100.4 miles to be exact. We padded about 18 on the front and then did the remainder on the way home.

I learned a few things about the recumbent that I hadn’t known before.

  1. I have no confidence with it in large groups. We left later than we’ve ever left before (about 9:30 am) and the roads were packed. Going through Salem was a little disconcerting as I had people all around me and to be honest, I still haven’t completely mastered the art of starting and stopping on the bike with my clips on. Fortunately, no crashes, though I nearly fell over at a stop right when they were taking pictures for our local newspaper. Thankfully, I didn’t fall. Tipping over at a stop doesn’t really hurt anything but one’s pride, and the last thing I wanted was a picture to remember it by. 🙂
  2. Kyle’s high racer rocks. My bike is a good little cruiser. I can ride about 20, 21 mph, but that’s flat out. The chain rings are just too small. Kyle’s high racer though is build for speed and I swear, has at least 8 gears past my highest. Then there is Bryan, who has a T-Bone, a freaky fast bike that he was suspiciously pacing himself with. This bike has gearing that both Kyle and I didn’t seem to have. This thing flies.
  3. When you sunburn, you really sunburn. The weather wasn’t suppose to be that nice today, but it was gorgeous and I don’t thing any of us had sun tan lotion. Both Bryan and Kyle have darker skin than mine and tend to burn less often. I generally burn until I’ve built up my summer riding tan — and because of that, tend to wear sunscreen — especially this early in the season. However, on my diamond frame, burning is limited to the face, maybe the arms. On the recumbent, everything is fair game because you are essentially laying down as your ride. So my legs, my face, my arms — fortunately, its just a little pink (except for my legs, with are a bit brighter) — but I’ll remember that for next time and will be putting a bottle of sunscreen in the travel bag on the recumbent just in case.

Anyway, the ride was a real hit, and it was nice to get to stretch my legs a bit and finally put in an honest 100 miles. Oh, and back to Bryan. I’d mentioned that he seemed suspiciously pacing himself throughout the ride. Kyle and I found out why over the last 15 miles when he opened it up with the intended purpose of making us suffer. We did. 🙂 Definitely a great way to start the cycling season.


Let the cycling season begin

By reeset / On / In Cycling

So I’m just about ready to head out and do the Salem Monster Cookie, a metric century (60 miles) that takes you from Salem, Oregon north towards Portland, OR. It’s a nice easy ride that’s always a fun way to kick off the riding season. As past practice, a few of us will be turning this metric century into a true century by padding 20 miles to the beginning and end of the ride. And what do you get for finishing — why a monster cookie of course. 🙂

This will be new for me this year — I decided to take the recumbant on the ride, so we’ll have to see how that goes. The farthest I’ve ever ridden on the recombant is about 70 miles, so I’m curious to see how this feels over the course of 100 miles.

I’ll drop everyone a quick note after I’m done…


And the simple design wins

By reeset / On / In General Computing

Its interesting how this has played out in the video game market this year.  When the Playstation 3 came out, my wife and I started to think about getting a gaming console under the guise that it would be for my boys (really, it was for me).  The idea though was that the gaming experience would be simple enough for my two boys (5 & 2) to be able to play with me.  We tried a number of them out — but in each case, the button combinations needed to be performed on the XBox 360 and the Playstation 3 made the games unplayable for my boys.  You simply need bigger hands if you want to play these games and use these controllers.  We’d kindof given up our search, expecting that we’d just have to wait a few more years before something like this would be playable for the boys.  Then we visited Jeremy house and got to see his Wii. 

The Wii, for those that haven’t had a chance to play, it a very different gaming experience.  The console sacrifices some of the high end graphics for simple gameplay and fun.  You have controllers that are motioned controlled, rather than primarily button controlled.  It looked fun, the boys seemed to get it, so we got one. 

We’ve had our Wii now for about a month, and I can tell you that Nintendo has a real winner here.  I’m actually sitting here right now watching my 2 year old play “boxing”.  He’s got fists of fury as he swings his arms around trying to “knock” out the cartoon characters on the screen.  Periodically, I’m hearing him telling me that he’s going to “knock his socks off”.  Funny to watch.  But its a system that he gets.  He doesn’t have to click buttons, just swing the controllers.  Simple interface.  Of course, we see this happening in other corners, yet we still find it surprising.  Gaming manufacturers, for example, are scrambling to get titles available for the Wii, in part because they assumed it would be a novelty and were surprised by its popularity.  I wasn’t — but I had my own little usability crew showing me exactly why the simplest interface almost always wins.


MarcEdit Z39.50 Changes

By reeset / On / In MarcEdit

I’ve been having some folks ping me recently regarding how data is displayed in the Z39.50 client.  To simply the data display process, I pull data into a byte array and simply render the content using the Windows 1252 codepage.  This means that any data returned via UTF8 (which I certainly don’t see often) gets flattened in the display.  When you download the record, the data is saved correctly, its just the display that’s affected. 

Well, folks have been wanting to see this corrected.  So, I spent some time this evening and think that I got it.  Here’s an example of how unicode data now appears in the new Z39.50 client.  Querying an Israeli union list that includes a number of MARC records in Hebrew, we now see the following in display field.

You can see that the Hebrew now appears in the display field (if the data is returned in Unicode).  When you click on this record for edit, you also see the Hebrew in the Record Editor (this was always the case with the full MarcEditor):

I’m pretty sure this will make life a bit easier for my international users.  I’m releasing this change without doing a lot of testing in part because I don’t have a unicode resource to test off of.  So if you are using MarcEdit and have a Z39.50 server that returns data in UTF8, give it a while and let me know if you run into any problems.

Other updates:

  1. Find/Replace — removed some of the mousing necessary to use this function
  2. Z39.50 Client — unlocked the record view pane to allow for inline edit.
  3. Z39.50 Client UI changes — allow font and diacritic settings set in MarcEdit proper to be respected in the Z39.50 Client.

You can download the update from: MarcEdit50_Setup.exe



MarcEdit 5 updated

By reeset / On / In MarcEdit

The biggest part of this update is the addition of a Z39.50 COM object call.  So for those that install as an admin, they will be able to access the Z39.50 object.  Here’s a code snippet.

Function ZSearch(search, ltype) 
  Dim lobj_Z3950 
  Dim lstring  

  Set lobj_Z3950 =createObject("MARCEngine5.Query") 
  With lobj_Z3950 
     .Database = "VOYAGER" 
     .Host = "" 
     .Port = 7090 
     .Syntax = "MARC21" 
     .Start = 0 
     .Limit = 1 
  End With  

  lstring = lobj_Z3950.Z3950Search(search, ltype) 
  Set lobj_Z3950 = Nothing 
  ZSearch = lstring  

end function

Other changes:

  1. On occasion, you could close an edited file in the MarcEditor without being prompted to save.  This shouldn’t happen any longer.
  2. When working with the Extract and Delete Selected MARC tool, the program was throwing an error when doing a normal search because of a small change to the program on the last update.  This is corrected now.
  3. Script Wizard fixes
  4. Others.

You can download the update from:  MarcEdit50_Setup.exe.