Sunday, December 18, 2011

Grocery Ninja

I just published my first ever Android app! It's called "Grocery Ninja" and was a perfect first app to write to teach me about all the different aspects of Android programming: Activities, ListViews, TouchEvents, and even some SQLite database work. :)

Granted, I've been programming in Java for something like 10 years, and programming in some form or another for the last 25 years, but writing for a mobile smart phone has got to be the most fun thing I've gotten to do so far.

Why a Grocery app? After all, there's got to be 1000's of these available in the Android market! Well, the truth is that I tried probably a dozen or so grocery apps when I first got my Droid X, and none of them really did what I wanted. So many of them are so full featured, I could barely use the things without hitting all kinds of unnecessary features! I considered writing my own, but then I never got around to it. Then one day, my youngest brother sent me an e-mail:
Hey Bro!

I have an app I’d like you to create. We’ve tried several grocery apps (about 10 so far), but have yet to find one we like.

I’d like to be able to add a store, setup my own aisles/depts for that store, and be able to sort them in the order I want.

Then, I’d like to add a grocery item and specify what store/aisle I want to get it from. It would also be nice to add quantity and approx price.

Once I’m done with my list, I want to be able to see the approximate total for all my items and check them off as I purchase them (maybe even update the price to actual purchase price).

The next time I go to create a list, it should remember my preferences (and prices) for previously added items. For example, apples would automatically fall under produce at Safeway.

Entry should be available via keyboard or voice command. I saw one where you could say “and” and add multiple items at once (i.e. “apples and pears and broccoli” would list as 3 separate items).

I was a little taken aback, because this is exactly the same thing I wanted in an app. I'm not sure if my brother thought I would actually take it on or not, but I decided it was time to get my feet wet in Android land.

Well, its been a long road (been working on this off and on since early November), but its finally published. If you have an Android device, and want to give a look-see, search for "Grocery Ninja" in the market, or visit the Android Market on the web.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Truck of Doom

Here's a video I made today as my carpool passed by the Truck of Doom:

This behemoth of a truck has 192 tires and is 399 feet long. It is carrying a 380 ton piece of the San Onofre nuclear reactor. The electric company is moving this piece to Utah, where it will be stored.

Apparently, it will be moving right through the middle of Temecula, CA sometime tonight. This is a video I took of it parked just outside of Temecula at the Border Patrol station.

The truck IS radioactive: apparently standing next to it for an hour is equivalent to a dental x-ray. Let's hope they get that thing in and out in a hurry.

News Article

Update 8/4/2011

This monster is now parked IN Temecula:

Latest News

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Walking with RunKeeper

A recent physical left me with advice from my doctor that I should exercise regularly. As I've never gone out of my way to exercise, I asked him "What should I do?" He suggested as a start, to walk for 30 minutes, 4 days a week.

Rather coincidentally, my company started a "10K-a-day" competition, and asked for employees to start their own teams. I usually ignore all the fitness stuff, but on a whim, I decided to start a team for the software group.

By starting a team, I got a free pedometer, and learned that I need to walk 10 thousand steps a day for an entire month. Ouch! That's going to be hard! I've learned that 10 thousand steps is roughly equivalent to 5 miles, and that's certainly more than I've ever done on a daily basis. Still, I want to make this work.

A friend of mine had this application called RunKeeper on his iPhone. It uses GPS to follow your walk/run, and gives you feedback like:
  • Distance
  • Pace (minutes/mile)
  • Calories burned
That's pretty cool, but what is REALLY neat, is that it also plots your activity on a Google map, so you can see where you've been. It also displays the elevation change, tied to the map, so you can see where all the hills and valleys were.

As I have a Droid X instead of an iPhone, I was curious to see if it was available for me... and it was! Same features, and it works great. Now I can keep track of all my walks, and see where I've been, and how far I've gone. I've tied my RunKeeper account to a friend at work, so we can see what the other has done.

Anyway, if you do regular activity (biking, running, walking, hiking, etc), and have a smart phone, definitely check this app out!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Thanks a lot Mr. Camping

If you don't get the sarcasm there, it should be dripping with it. If you don't know, Harold Camping has predicted the end of the world tomorrow at around 3pm (if I'm understanding that correctly). Of course, he'll be wrong again (this isn't his first prediction), but that doesn't prevent the local news networks from giving him the publicity he's after. Heck, I'm even doing it!

Anyway, my middle daughter (the one most sensitive to this kind of news) just heard about it on the news following an episode of the Simpsons. She came running into our bedroom with tears in her eyes, and it took me close to an hour to console her. We have a Pool Party tomorrow starting at 3pm, and I assured her that we'll be swimming and enjoying hot dogs and chips at 4:00pm tomorrow. I'm not sure I fully convinced her, so she'll probably spend a restless night of sleep worrying about it, and be a mess tomorrow.

Hey Mr. Camping, since you and your people are the only ones going to Rapture, couldn't you have kept this to yourselves? Or do you just get off scaring little girls?


UPDATE 5/21/2011 - 9:30pm

Surprise surprise. Still here. At least now I can teach my daughter the folly of listening to false prophets.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Devo to hire Charlie Sheen?

This interview with Gerald Casale definitely raises my eyebrows. It just makes me want to say "you guys!"

Anyway, there's a link to a video on that page that was pretty danged fun to watch. At the end of episode 1, there's a link to episode 2, which I also watched. It was interesting to see the members of Devo in a corporate setting, particularly because they were poking fun at it.

Thursday, January 13, 2011