Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Election Day

Election day.Today is an election day again. For me it’s hard to forget since my voting place is right across the street from the entrance to our building. So I went in and cast my vote, in particular for Mike Bloomberg and Marty Markowitz. Did YOU vote today?
In: Life In General   Tags: , , ,
Time: 17:40   Comments: No Comments   Post a Comment  

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Friday, November 6, 2009

Twitter Integration

Here’s a small Twitter integration showcase. The idea behind it is that it’s much easier to leave a simple note or observation through one of the numerous Twitter applications available than to make a blog post. And I tend to leave such simple notes during vacations, when we’re away from any computers, through iPhone.

Single PostI used a slightly modified1 version of Alex King’s Twitter Tools. Now this plug-in is actually a bit of an overkill for what I needed it to do, but nobody is forced to use more than needed. I also put together an ugly hack to force this thing to import tweets from both myself and Alena. It runs every 10 minutes and imports all the new stuff it finds.

Multiple PostsI’ve modified Rubinary template and devised a new way to display this type of posts. One special thing about it is that it groups consecutive tweets into a single post. The time “sticker” on my posts shows up in blue and on Alena’s in green — as all other things on the blog.

Tweet ReplyIf you mouse-over over a “sticker” you will see a reply option. By clicking it, you indeed, can reply. But there is a catch — you need to have a Twitter account to do so.

That’s pretty much it. For those who care — I personally use a free version of Twitterrific on the iPhone. And of course no post of this kind would be complete without a mandatory “I hate IE” conclusion.

  1. Modification allowed me to pull and import our older tweets. []

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Monday, November 9, 2009

Di Fara Pizzeria

Di Fara PizzaToday we checked out the place called “Di Fara” which supposedly is one of the best pizzerias in New York. Zagat food rating is 27 out of 30 (outrageously high for pizza), and Danya also found this place mentioned multiple times on some restaurant forums. I have to say that both of us were skeptic — a pizza is a pizza after all — but vaguely hoped for some eyes-opening experience at the same time.

Di Fara is located close to our home — about 15 minutes drive. We were expecting a long wait, but surprisingly our order of pizza with sausage, mushrooms, onions and peppers was ready in 20 minutes or so. It did not make sense to buy it by slice since each one costs $5 (and that is without any toppings), while for the whole pie we paid $30. There was not much of a decor (rating of 4 by Zagat), but the older guy making pizza looked like he knows what he is doing. )

We took our food to go, and ate it at Danya’s parents. My verdict is… a pizza is a pizza after all. ) I mean, it was good and all, and fresh basil and some olive oil were nice touches, but I would never rate this place this high.

California Pizza Kitchen remains my favorite pizza place — and I especially like the super delicious Mediterranean pizza with avocado!
In: Food & Dining   Tags: , ,
Time: 01:07   Comments: 6 Comments   Post a Comment  
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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Gowalla

Home screen shows me some basic stats about my account.It seems Alena and I have developed a bit of obsession with an iPhone app I stumbled upon a couple of days ago. I don’t think that most people will understand, but I’m sure Ignat and Mike will.

You see, Gowalla is an iPhone based geocaching app on steroids. Throw my passion for National Park stamp collecting into that and you got a killer app, at least as far as I go. ) Ignat and Mike have been into geocaching a while ago and it didn’t really appeal to me as there was no record of your discoveries or check-ins left.

Stamps that I have collected, or the places that I've checked-in into once or more.With Gowalla you have a list of spots located close to you. If there are places you go to often and they are not on the map you can commission a spot yourself. Then you can become a founder by leaving one of the items behind. And each of your check-ins is logged in your stamp list.

A list of spots near by. The closest one shows up first in the list and as you move the distances changes. Check mark denotes that fact that I've been there before.A screen showing a specific spot. In this case JFK is a featured location which is denoted by a custom icon assigned to it.Each user is given 5 items at the start. As you check-in into more places you have a chance of discovering more items. If a place already has founder(s) you can pick up the item left by other people on the condition that you leave one behind too.

Each item has a history attached to it and you can see where it has been from the start to the point that you got it and then after you left it somewhere. But you can read more about items on Gowalla blog.

List of people who have checked into this location recently.Then there are special stamps and pins. There are goals like visiting 5 pre-set locations in Central Park and you’ll earn a pin. Or commission 10 places. And so on. Also if you check-in into any location inside New York state you’ll get an NY stamp and the same happens for any other state.

And you can also see the activity of your friends and what kind of achievements they have.Overall the feel and the design of the application and their web-site (where you can check for spots and multiple other stats) are pretty amazing. I usually like to nitpick on the smallest details and here everything just looks great. So if you have an iPhone or any other phone with location aware browser do join in with us.
In: Software   Tags: , , ,
Time: 20:09   Comments: 17 Comments   Post a Comment  
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Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Lunch Break

Statue of Atlas.Today is Friday, and this simple fact already brightens my mood — obviously, from all working days Fridays are the best. Dress code is not imposed on Fridays at the company I work for, and today overall feels laid back and lazy. It is quite a sunny-less day, but at least it is not Christmas Tree being installed near Rockefeller Center.raining and not too cold, which is already good for the middle of November.

On my lunch break I went to “check into” the Rockefeller Center (go Gowalla!). As always, there are a lot of people in that area. The Christmas tree is being installed right now — it is not decorated or anything yet, so I will definitely visit the center again in December to see what it will look like this year.

I also stopped by at the Statue of Atlas. Funnily enough, before installing Gowalla I never paid attention to it, even though I work in this area for over a year now. )

I also stopped at A/X store on my way back and got Danya a couple of new shirts. It is so nice to work in this area, and it kind of sucks that we’ll be moving to New Jersey next month.
In: Life In General   Tags: , , ,
Time: 16:10   Comments: 1 Comment   Post a Comment  
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