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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Amaze GPS Navigation for Blackberry

In the hopes of getting in the habit of blogging a few of my project adventures as they happen, I thought I would share a new experience I had tonight while using this piece of software on my Blackberry Curve 8900. A while ago I was prompted to upgrade my navigation software on my Blackberry. Being a person who loves upgrades, I happily downloaded it. Once done I checked and made sure it was working properly and could detect my GPS which it did happily. There were some noticeable changes to the skin and it prompted me to make sure to upgrade my service from Basic to Pro to enable it's full capability. Figuring this was just a nuisance reminder added between versions, I ignored it. Then tonight we were heading out to dinner with my in-laws to a place I wasn't quite sure how to get to. No problem, I have GPS Navigation software for my Blackberry! As it turns out, since the upgrade, I no longer have GPS Navigation for the Blackberry...apparently they have decided to remove the turn-by-turn navigation feature from the Basic service when upgrading to 5.0.

Oh well, when I got to the restaurant I quickly did a Google search for the old 4.5 version. Happily somebody had it posted, once downgraded I have again free turn-by-turn navigation. Just in case somebody runs into this same problem, I've attached the old version to this post. It was an OTA .jad file, however I believe you can just use the Desktop Manager to install it. They do require that you request a basic login name, but they let me have one using 4.5, so for now it's not locked down. The only thing that is a little annoying is that it prompts you every time you run it that there is an update to the software available. Hopefully soon there will be a port to the Blackberry for Google Maps Navigator that will negate this hassle.



Wednesday, December 30, 2009

"Da Vinci ain't got nothing on a Clute"

This is being reposted from my Facebook account for all to read. This post is a good introduction to what I hope to discuss and talk about as part of this blog.

Chuck, one of my bestest friends recently told me this in response to me saying that I had just cleaned out my garage to make room to do some projects. He, like many of my friends (my wife included), laughs a little harder every time I come to them and say "I have the best idea!!!" because they know that only about 1 in 10 of my ideas ever even get started, much less finished. So I figured I'd take this moment to show off a few of my more recent or grandious projects.

Theatre Room - A year ago I finally moved into a house, and it had a great room in the basement just screaming to be a Theatre room. And every good home theatre buff knows that you just gotta have a projecto..well, I'm a little cheap to buy a projector (being cheap is a running theme driving me to do many projects) and another friend of mine, Nathan, just so happened to have a projector that he was willing to give me because of how aweful it is. Well, I wanted to mount this sucker on the ceiling, however it was too old to do that, there was no flip function. So I just ripped it apart, got to the LCD in it, physically flipped it so it would natively show the image upside down, rewired it, put it back together, mounted it upside down to the ceiling and there we have it! Not too shabby, but at the end of the day it's still a crappy projector.

Picture Website - Around my profile you'll see me advertise my picture website to see more pictures (http://cluteweb.serveftp.com/pictures) Basically I built it from a similar implementation we had at my old employer Patti Engineering. It will create a new album everytime I dump a new folder of pictures onto a specific drive in the server. It's got a lot of cool little features added in too, like most pictures have Low res pictures you see so it loads fast, but if you want a high res pic it's there as well. You can also post comments to pictures you like much like on here, and eventually I'm working to allow you to go through the site and pick out pictures you like and you can add them to your "download basket". When you're done choosing, you hit "Download" and you get a single zip file with all of your pictures you chose. It would really help out those that are on dial up so they can set it and forget it. (My parents being the worst offenders of the dial up...)

Rebuild Saturn Engine - 2 years ago I was facing a second rebuild on my Saturn SL2. Being strapped for cash I had to figure out how to get the car running on the cheap, but yet I didn't want to have it half-assed. Therefore I decided to see what would happen if I did it myself. Ripped out the engine from the car, put it on the stand and went to work. Tore it all the way down to the point where I had the pistons on the bench next to the crankshaft. Made sure to get everything re-machined or replaced, and put it all back together. The result? About 200hrs and $700 later, it's now 30k since I did that and it's still purring along.

Filmaking - This one is kind of a joke, but I spent a bit of time during high school making some films. At first we just made some small clips of things, then we stepped it up and made a Conan O'Brian spoof where I hosted a talk show and had guests on, while bantering with my co-host. From there we stepped it up and decided that we should try to do a feature length movie. For those of you that might know...this is Bond Says No I'm talking about here. For those of you that never heard of this...basically we made a Bond movie from the other point of view. Basically you're looking at everything through the Villain's eyes, so you sort of feel like Bond is the villain after he keeps foiling your plans. It's kind of a neat concept wrapped into very inexperienced filmmakers along with horrendous acting. We made up for not being able to act by running a lot in the movie. Actually, there are a number of you that were in that movie, so I think I'll make a FB group for it..."I Was in Bond Says No"

Facebook - Well there are a number of things I want to do in this place...(see the aforementioned group I'll be creating shortly). Along with that, there are 3 apps I was thinking about writing as well. 1 is a silly one I mentioned in the last line of my previous note. The other 2 however I think hold some promise. The first is called "Timeline" where you'd get a new tab in your profile where you can build up your life's timeline. You can create entires directly on the timeline, or you can tag points of the timeline to notes, wall posts, and images in your galleries. Friends could even tag you in their timelines making your timeline even more dynamic. The second app I think might be neat although it'd be more number crunching and programming relationship analysis. It's called "Groups" or "Clusters". It would crawl through your friend lists and try to come up with how you're relationed with everybody on the list via mutual friends, networks, employers, schools....whatever connects you to everybody else. It would then show you a visual map of how you're connected to others. *shrug* not sure about that one, but I thought it sounded neat so I wrote it down one day.

Rebuild Ranger Transmission - I gained so much knowledge and confidence in doing the engine rebuild I've decided I'm going to try to take on a transmission. This one won't cost much to try,and if in the end it still doesn't work I won't be out much money, just time. I'm not planning to start this until next fall/winter, so when the time comes I plan to put together a very good picture tutorial for anybody in the future who is interested.

Guitar Hero - About a year ago I was introduced to Guitar Hero. I immediatley loved it since I've long since been bored with the classic "play with your thumbs" games. To feel like you're actually doing something with your brain was verycool, and I can almost guarantee you that if I get a Wii anytime in the next while I'm not sure ANY of these projects will get done. So I quickly became bored with the songs that were on the game itself and went looking for an alternative. There are a number PC based GH clones that are on the market and I chose one that seemed to make the most sense and seemed to have a good gameplay model. While playing this game and participating in the community, I've done a few projects specifically for this, but 2 I'm particularly proud of are my Super Mario Mod and my Song Difficulty Tester. The Mario Mod basically made the GH game look like it was Super Mario Guitar Hero. Complete with bricks as normal notes and ? marks as starpower notes. The Song Difficulty App basically took different metrics about songs and tried to weight them to give a total "Song Difficulty". It was deemed a failure at the end but I may be able to go back and see what i did wrong. There isn't much motivation as our little grouop is missing it's main programmer who just up and left one day, and those of us that are left aren't enough to motivate the masses.

Multi-Zone Audio - I really like the idea of having my digital music library available throughout the whole house. To do this I figure that I'll have a single computer with multiple audio cards. Each audio card will be responsible for a room. Then the speakers would go from the audio card into an amp, then into the room. Also in each room would be a control panel in the wall that could control the music about which playlist can be played, the volume, and play/pause/fast forward controls. This would be a small module based on a microcontroller sitting on Ethernet on the home network sending commands to the music server.

Weather Wallpaper Changer - This is an application that would run in the background of your computer. You would setup certain filters based on Date, Weather, Time, and whatnot and when one of the scenarios happened it would automatically change your background image to a configurable image. I just started working on this and I think this will be my first cnet submission.

Cookbook Stand - I started building a cookbook stand for Lori so it would stand up on the counter while she's cooking yet be covered with plexi-glass so that she doesnt' get it dirty. She said that it woudl take up too much counter space so I'm either going to give it to Don or my MIL.

Sleep - I've been trying to battle this beast for a number of years now. Can you imagine a life where you didn't have to sleep? Oh the stuff you could get done!!

Bike Stand - I don't currently have a way to travel with bikes in the Explorer. I was going to buy a hitch rack, however what happens when I want to travel with the trailer and the bikes? I have to do some research but my Dad and I think that we might be able to just build the whole thing ourselves to have an integrated hitch. Just started mulling this over today so we'll see where it goes.

Well, I think that accurately scrapes the surface. Keep in mind I get new ideas almost daily so keeping it straight and deciding which ones to do are probably the hardest. It's pretty funny when somebody askes me if I've done something and I can say...no but I've researched it pretty good and here is a general cost structure and the brands you want to look for.

Hello World!

Now, granted the title to this blog post is nothing spectacular considering many first blog posts have this title. However, I may have chosen this title anyways considering my programming background. So why have I started this blog you ask? Well, to be brutally honest I’m not 100% sure why I did this. It had nothing to do with not having enough to do or think about (which this blog will clearly show by it’s topics) and it’s not that I think I can be famous or that anybody really cares about it anyways. However, I have a sneaking suspicion that somebody, someday will read what I’ve written and have a chuckle, or an idea, or perhaps both at the same time. I will write more about the reasoning behind this blog on the about page, but for now, this will be my intro.