Google(‘s) Earth

I kept getting ready to post about Google’s 3rd incarnation of Keyhole – Google Earth, but I can’t get it installed on a workstation with a decent video card for some screen caps and video clips to make a fancy, media rich review. Plus, Google has taken the download offline because of what I imagine are bandwidth issues. I spent a fair amount of time trying to move preferences, caches, registry keys, etc. to another computer, but Google’s servers won’t recognize any newer installations. Damn, must be an IP thing.
Mt. St. Helens - Duh
Like Greg, I can’t help but drool over this great app. There’s even innuendo on the website about a mac version…

I’m still a little partial to Nasa’s World Wind, which I think has more elegant movement and navigation, but it’s also not available for the mac. World Wind is open – so anyone could conceivably build layers to use with it. With some of the options in Google Earth, it looks like community add-ons will be available soon.

It’s interesting to see two (three if Microsoft actually starts shipping products) versions of the Digital Earth developing. While I hope for the success of World Wind, I couldn’t pick a better company to work on the private version.

A few gems from Google Earth:

  • Mt. St. Helens with terrain turned on at a 45 degree view
  • 3D buildings in Portland or Seattle
  • Driving directions. Wow. It’s like taking the trip twice!
  • It uses Google results inside the maps!

A few things I’d like to see changed:

  • the camera rotation it counter-intuitive – you spin the map instead of your view
  • you can’t change zoom on the fly
  • It uses Google results inside the maps
  • Maximum disk cache of 512MB
  • not yet available for the mac

Alberta Park off-leash

Barley and I finally wandered over to Alberta Park this morning in hopes that they would have some place he could run a little. He’s been getting walks at least daily, but he’s also been developing crazy eyes that he focuses on us in the evenings. Running helps with “the crazy eyes,” so we headed out.

Imagine our luck – Alberta Park has an off-leash area, and it’s open 5am to midnight. Barley ran like crazy with a Rhodesian and a Poodle for a while until he and the Rhodesian rolled and Barley hurt his hip – which he apparently blamed on the Rhodesian. Barley has gotten in to the nasty habit of playing like crazy until he hurts his hip, then he snaps and bites the dog(s) closest. It’s a really nasty habit and I’m not sure how to stop it. I’d quit going to Gabriel park because of it, and I’d hate to think he’s just turning in to an asshole dog.

Pimp my bike

Pimp my bike
There are several places in our neighborhood that are just a tad too far to walk to in a timely fashion. In those cases, a bike comes in really handy. I’ve been riding to New Seasons with some frequency for this or that and love the flat and easy access.

Sunday Michelle and I rode over to New Seasons and Walgreens to run some errands and Michelle mentioned that it really was a nice, easy ride, but she could really some better handlebars or something. So while she was out, I rode down to community cycling center and picked up some slick tires, a sloped handlebar, and a rack. Now we can grocery shop in style.

Bike Fair, Skerik’s Synchopaited Taint Septet

Chris (Lolly) came down to see our new place and to see Skerik’s Syncopated Taint Septet play on Saturday. Even though he’d just seen them in Bellingham 2 nights before (at the Nitelite, which he raved about), he was up for another show. But before we could see the show we had to find something to do.

we walked Alberta to show him the neighborhood then sat puzzled, unable to think of what to do, or what was happening. It was the first time we had any leisure time. Luckily Chris was able to find a snipped about the Multnomah County Bike Fair, so we had to see that. It was awesome. Bikes galore. And we may have been the preppiest folks there, but it was fun. Almost as fun as Tour de Fat back in 2003.

Finally, after some food, we hit up the Goodfoot for the show. We arrived a little late for a change which worked out well. We got corner booth seats and were able to watch from comfort for most of the show. Towards the end, as the crowd finally started gravitating towards the band, we had to climb up onto the seat backs, but it worked fairly well.

Chris has probably seen Skerik in one incarnation or another around Seattle some 50 times. This was only my second in as many groups. The septet was a little more mellow than I expected and almost traditional (music-wise) in a good way. A cover of Mingus’ Moanin’ was excellent, and finished with a great insistent hardness that I expected from more of the songs. The show was great, but at one point I looked over and both Michelle and Chris had their eye’s closed – so I offered to leave a bit early.

Wrong house – no potluck

Barley started spazzing out last night just before an attractive couple carrying chips and dip entered our front door. They asked where we wanted the food, and apparently the blank stares from Michelle and I, lounging, made them realize they were in the wrong home. While it was hard to turn away chips and dip, we weren’t really in the entertaining mood. “…Uh, I think you have the wrong house.”

Naked Audience

Barley and I passed the Alberta Sanitary folks on their yard debris run this morning. These guys are really nice look like they’re having a good time. As they’re tossing debris bags into the back for the garbage truck, three kids in a house are watching from atop a couch. They’re all in various stages of undress, including the middle child who is completely naked. All three kids are clapping furiously and unabashedly for the yard waste guys. I point out the audience to the yard waste guy who chuckles. I guess I thought it was funnier than he did. Or maybe it’s just part of the routine.

GIS Data no secret

Conneticut’s Supreme Court ruled that GIS data cannot be withheld from the public on the ground that it may expose potential trade secrets or public safety issues. I find this a relief since access to data means students, companies and agencies can do meaningful and current research. Besides, like Justice Vertefeuille said:

Justice Christine S. Vertefeuille, writing for the court, rejected the argument that the trade secret exemption could apply to the electronic GIS maps. All of the information contained in the maps is available piecemeal from other town departments, so there is nothing secret about them, she wrote.

Not to mention – our taxes generally pay for the collection of this data. We should have access to it. And while I would prefer free access to it, I have no problem with agencies charging for it, especially when they have a sliding cost scale.

Apple Tree update

Roundheaded apple tree borer
Doug and I took down the infested apple tree yesterday. It was fairly easy to cut down (Thanks to Stihl) and large portions of the tree were standing dead. We identified the culprit of the infestation – roundheaded apple tree borers. We found several larva and pupa inside the tunneled out limbs.

Once we identified the pest, we could now know how to treat… oh.. nevermind. Well, one ironic factor:

“The downy woodpecker is the only known natural enemy.”
Roundheaded apple tree borer pupa
One bit of concern – some places suggest the only way to dispose of the wood is by burning it. This may work well for orchards, but I’m not sure what we’re supposed to do. I’d better put a call in to the Clackamas County’s Extension office (Multnomah doesn’t have one).