Rules of Travel

  • Trust your eyes over the weatherman. If the weatherman says it is going to rain, but it is sunny outside, then you will carry around a rain jacket uselessly all day. Yesterday was a nice warm sunny day.

  • Always bring the nice umbrella. After the sunny day, it will rain constantly and having a bigger umbrella will keep more of you from getting soaked.

  • On sunny days, avoid museums. Do active stuff like biking. The next day could be rainy. Do the museums then.

  • Go to the high points. Especially in places as scenic as Vancouver. Go during the day and then go back at night.

  • Go to the water. Take water taxis and the Seabus.

  • Sometimes it makes sense to drive. It makes sense to pay $3 for parking instead of $4.50 for the bus. And you get less wet with the car (although you may still go for a long walk in the rain). Plus, you can more easily go elsewhere with the car.

Arrived in Vancouver

I arrived in Vancouver today. The outskirts look a lot like Seattle or Portland with forested suburbs. The downtown is unique; it has a lot of glass towers. A lot of them look like apartment buildings. The only place I have seen something similar is pictures of Asian cities.

The hotel I am staying is interesting. It is a renovated Victorian building (which is why it is called the Victorian Hotel). My room is at the end of a maze; up stairs, a hall, a couple of turns, down stairs. The room has a high ceiling, hardwood floors, and a bay window.

Blazer is Evil

I had this long entry (for a mobile one) about visiting the Space Needle when I accidentally hit a button and switched to another app. Blazer helpfully forgot the text entry field. So now I hate it.

Mobile Blogging

This entry was posted from my Treo. Sure, I was sitting in front of my computer. But I could have been anywhere I was willing to type of the little keyboard. Which is fine for typing short messages like ‘Buy’, ‘You jerk’, or ‘I’ll call when I find a real computer’. But not for long pithy posts.

New Toy

I have had my new Treo 650 for a week now and I love it. It replaces a old cell phone and Sony Clie. It is a little thicker than both of them but still small enough to fit in a pocket. I like not having to decide what piece of electronics to take and always having access to the PDA. The keyboard works well; I type faster on it than I wrote Graffit. The 5-way navigation is brilliant; for many apps the stylus does not need to be used. I am still training myself to not take the stylus out and use it one handed.

All my old apps moved over smoothly. I found a few new ones. Chatter is a good IMAP email client. Address XT is a Contacts replacement which looks like the old address book but with the new fields. Pocket Tunes for playing music is nice; with the 1 GB SD card I got, it could be enough of a music player for me to leave the iRiver at home most of the time.

The wireless network access is the best thing. I can now read email anywhere. Browsing the web through a tiny screen is annoying but it is worlds better than a cell phone. There are a couple of cools apps I found. Directory Assistant looks up phone numbers from online yellow pages. KMaps fetches maps from Google Maps. I have a suspicion that the killer app for smartphones is that kind of web service.

Wires

Something interesting happened today at my apartment. I was sitting at my computer around 3pm when I heard a loud bang and the power went out. I looked outside and saw a car had run into the power pole on the corner. I went outside and called 911. The power pole had been broken in two places with a piece under the car and the rest leaning over the car. A transformer had fallen and bounced off the side of the car and ended up on the sidewalk.

Luckily, the driver was okay. She walked away and looked fine. An ambulance eventually took her to the hospital but it was likely just a precaution. I don’t know the cause of the accident. There weren’t any other cars, people, or skip marks. It looks like she swerved, jumped the curb, and hit the pole.

The crews from PGE were great. They had a new pole up and the power restored within five hours. Once they started, it was quick getting the car out and the old pole upright. They pulled out the stump, augared the hole deeper, and puller the new pole upright. Most of the time was spent moving the cables and wires over to the new pole. A piece of the old pole is suspended next to the old one. It has wires attached and I guess it can’t be removed until those are moved.

One cool thing is that I got to meet my neighbors in the apartment building. Some ran outside after the accident; the rest arrived home later. We were hanging around outside watching the PGE crews put up the new pole. I guess it is good something interesting happened at home because today was my company’s picnic and I would have felt really silly to have completely forgotten it and just saw at home boringly.

Portland Rose Garden

A month ago I went to the Portland Rose Garden and took some photos. Here are some roses for Rose.

Bridge Pedal

Today I rode in the Providence Bridge Pedal, a big community bike ride in Portland. I heard an estimate of 18,000 people. I can believe it; it was more crowded this year compared to last year. There were bnottleneck this year where people had to get off and walk. I heard somebody joke that the traffic jam at the top of the Marquam reminded them of their commute.

To me, the best part of the Bridge Pedal is that they close the top decks of the two freeway bridge and open it to bikes. After the climb, it means a nice view. This year, I remembered to bring my camera and took a bunch of photos.

Pdx-pm and Mod_perl

For a special meeting of Portland Perl Mongers on Friday, Stas Beckman talked about mod_perl 2.0. He talked for three hours and only went through probably half of his slides.

He went quickly through the difference between modperl 1 and modperl 2 but he demonstrated a lot of the new modperl 2 API. He went through most of the API, all the different stages and handlers that modperl can hook into.

Some of the things he mentioned, like protocol handlers and filters can only be done with Apache 2 and modperl 2. I suspect it would be possible to write an FTP, SMTP, or XMPP server in Perl using modperl 2. I know people are doing things like that in C modules but I think it would be much easier to do in Perl. The other interesting idea I had was to combine POE with mod_perl and use POE to help implement the protocol handlers.

Hopefully, now that modperl 2 is officially out that lots of systems will get ported. I was hoping to hear how the Mason modperl 2 support was coming but Dave Rolsky left early.

The one thing missing from Apache 2 is some way to separate the Apache children by virtual host and run them as different users. This would make modperl much more acceptable for ISPs which could isolate different users but still give them the performance and flexibility of modperl. One big advantage of PHP is that it is easy to support shared hosting.

FOSCON

After OSCON on Wednesday, I met up with Michael Schwern and friends. We went to FOSCON, a Ruby gathering a Free Geek.

We missed the Ruby on Rails talk which is probably the technical introduction I didn’t get at OSCON.

I did get to see a Ruby Metaprogramming talk by Glenn Vanderburg. I knew Ruby used its dynamic nature to make it easy to do metaprogramming but hadn’t know how easy it was to write mini-languages.

Perl can also do metaprogramming but the syntax is not nearly as nice which makes it hard to define usable mini-languages. I have had the idea for a while to write a system using a rule-based engine to configure systems. I suspect a mini-language done in Ruby would be a good fit.

The performance by Why The Lucky Stiff was entertaining. Animation segments, songs about Ruby, distributed Ruby as performance art with audience participation.