Saturday, June 27, 2009

Commuting to Work as Cross Training

As runners, we look for other forms of exercise to fit into a hectic schedule which will help improve our performance. For me this takes the form of biking.

In the spring/summer/fall I bike outside (winter's in Ottawa are a little crazy so I stick to the indoor bike at the gym). To fit in my rides I commute to work so I can shave off some cross-training on the way to/from work.

As part of my commuting I need to carry my gear. Some days this can be, lunch, work outfit, and on days I am running or swimming I need those sport specific items and shower gear. Where to fit it all?

I have bike panniers but they are your usual bike specific panniers. How to stick out a little and have a little fun with the bags that transport all my gear each day? I just completed a recycling project to modify two old leather briefcases into bike panniers. They look cool and are very neat as they float behind me.

You can read more at a Leather Briefcase into a Bike Pannier.

Monday, June 22, 2009

10 Km Race Training

I'm back on the wagon and running again. I've started training with a coworker who is trying to improve his 10km time. If I can keep up with him (4 runs so far and today was the closest I stayed which was only about 10 seconds behind him on the sprints) I/we will be aiming to achieve a 47 min 10km race time in early August.

After the August race the plan is to continue the hard training into the Fall to try for a 45 min 10km in late October. Both of those times would be Personal Bests (PB) for me so it should be a fun summer of slogging it out as we push ourselves.

As cross training I have my self setup pretty good. I ride about 35 mins each morning to work and take a shorter route in the evening which is about 21 mins. I am riding each day unless I have some errand to run which I will need the car for. So far 8 days back and I have ridden 6; 1 day I had a dentist appointment and the other I had to drop off my son to Pre-School late in the morning.

This week, June 25, the outdoor pool near work opens for noon hour lane swimming. So I will begin swimming later this week. Then next week I plan to continue running 3 days a week, commuting by bike 5 days a week, and swimming 3 days a week. By the end of the summer I should be in smashing shape and have a decent tan (hard to avoid when swimming laps for an hour).

Anyone want to join me? ;-)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Don't Banana and Ride

I hit the road this past weekend at the Montreal Tour De I'Ile. The bike ride was a 52 km ride through the streets of Montreal with a lot of the ride in the 'burbs.

The night before we were picking up some supplies. The guys mostly beer but also something to eat for breakfast. I ended up with bananas and pop-tarts...the breakfast of champions.

Come Sunday morning, it was a healthy diet of 2 pop tarts and a banana. We arrived on time just before 9 at the start. Then proceeded to wait about 1.5 hours as we slowly rolled our bikes up the hill to the start line. With a tour size of 33,000, it took a while.So around 9:30 I had another banana. Then put the last 3 on the back of the bike.

Once the bike tour began for real (as in riding) I learned I did not secure those bananas well enough. About 4 km into the ride, lots of bumps and I hear a kinda wet thump behind me after some commotion around my back tire (as the bananas went free).
Needless to say I heard lots of laughing behind me as the bananas attempted to land gracefully after jettisoning themselves from my rear bike rack. Oh well, easy come easy go.

The replacement coffee + croissant at Starbucks I had tied me over until the rest stops (rest stop equals food stop). The ice cream at around 40 km did not hurt either ;-)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Not Much Running But A Little Biking

Not much running these days.

Not much motivation (need to set a goal).

Not much time (busy enjoying my last few weeks on Parental Leave with my family).

Only real exercise (besides carrying a 10 month old around) has been some biking (dropping son off at Pre-School in the morning via bike/chariot, biking with my wife and our 10 month old, a little mountain biking, and this weekend the Montreal Tour D'Isle).

I expect running to pick up once I am back to work and need something as a break at lunch times. I plan to ride most days but may alternate that with some days where I run to/from work. At 8km that will only take me about 40 mins going easy.

Google MapViewController

There is a project running, hosted on Google Code, which provides Cocoa Touch wrappers for Google Maps. Find it at iphone-google-maps-component. There is also a newsgroup for discussion on it here at iPhone MapView Discussion Group.

Take a look if you are looking to add map support to your iPhone app. The project is attempting to wrap the Google Maps Javascript API in a Cocoa shell. It is something I will be revisiting with a future project.

Monday, June 1, 2009

What Goes Into A GUI Software App

Ok, besides planning, coding, testing? Like, GUI things perhaps (oh ya, you know this is going to be a long battle for me to get something up and running, but one can try).

While planning a non-iPhone project (ok, well non-iPhone application project) I wanted some artwork but said to myself, "Self, this is something that would eat up hours as you try to recreate the wheel to make some iPod icons, let's search the net." Google...iPod!

I turned up some good sites, but in particular I liked IconArchive. I will be revisiting this site often as I need icons and sprites for some of my projects. The site had a good selection of iPod icons which fit the bill for my other project and there are a large selection of icons I can use for some other iPhone apps if they get out of my brain and into something working and ready for beta. Bonus here is that some of the icons are available free for non-commercial projects so you can give them a try before you buy the license if your project gets off the ground and is ready for the App Store.

Being a T-Shirt Junkie, I was thrilled today to get an email from Threadless that said they were having a $5 Tees sale. Sweet!! Ok, what does that have to do with content for an app? Well, the Type Tees (t-shirt with just text on it) have a link to the font used for the T. Bingo!! If you want to polish your app, how about a little custom font work? This will come in handy for several of my projects (a board game and the main iPhone app I am working on). The two sites which had fonts I can use at a reasonable price are Blambot and T.26.

Another set of mostly Freeware fonts I found which have a couple I am interested in are at The Cumberland Fontworks. There are lots of interesting fonts here what would be useful for several genres of games.

As the work on multiple projects unfolds and learn more and more about the items required to build a physical board game, design an engaging website, and make an iPhone game. Artwork in the form of fonts, icons, and sprites, just being a few.