Friday, May 23, 2008

Geohashing

Okay, so some people have probably heard of Geocaching - where GPS nerds get a set of coordinates off the Internet and go find it / them and make a little game out of it. But I doubt anyone has heard of Geohashing yet, since I think it was invented earlier this week when the folks at the totally nerdy web comic XKCD posted this comic:
Essentially, the date is combined with the Dow Jones Industrial Average's opening value, put through an md5 hash algorithm, split into two numbers, converted from hexadecimal to decimal, and then added to the end of any set of whole number (no decimals) latitude and longitude coordinates.

Still with me? Okay, good. Since I am going to Grand Junction this weekend, I put Saturday's date (2008-05-24) into the map lookup and click on Grand Junction. The results of the hash must have been 0.126648 and 0.547534, which, when added to the nearest latitude and longitude of N39 and W108 result in the coordinate location 39.126648°, -108.547534° or N39°7'35.93", W108°32'51.11", which turns out to be about one-half a mile north of H Road on 27-1/4 Road, just West of the airport, Walker Field. Seems like it should be pretty easy to get to.

Here is the group participation part of this extremely nerdy game: there is a "meeting" every Saturday at 4:00 p.m. at the randomly determined location in each graticule (area within the integer lat, lon lines) where, if anyone shows up, you have a little party. Or something.
Apparently, Denver has a relatively active Graticule (four, actually, but you can read about that here), so you might actually see someone there. GJ, on the other hand, does not, so its gonna be lonely if I actually make it there on Saturday at 4 o'clock.

Not sure if this little concept has any staying power once the novelty wears off, but if you just need a random place to meet someone within a certain geographic area, it should work pretty well, as long as the place is accessible, that is. Since, by the very nature of this thing, it is random, the coordinates might end up in a lake, the ocean, military base, cliff, inaccessible mountain, etc. If that happens, I suppose you can either wait for a better location or just put in another date and see what happens.

Sorry, that was too nerdy not to share! Check it out!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Obama Gaffe Machine

We've all heard democrat messiah and soon-to-be presidential candidate Barack Obama misspeak a time or two, and to be fair, we all have a slip of the tongue from time to time, but Michelle Malkin has a good piece in the National Review Online highlighting just a few of his more agregious recent blunders.

I think this one is my favorite:
Last May, he claimed that tornadoes in Kansas killed a whopping 10,000 people: “In case you missed it, this week, there was a tragedy in Kansas. Ten thousand people died — an entire town destroyed.” The actual death toll: 12.

This guy is a joke, right? He is an empty suit with no experience or even any common sense, yet somehow a good portion of my fellow countrymen (and women), worship the ground this bozo walks on! It will be a sad day for America if Obama is ever actually elected president.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Dale Carnegie On Talking To The Boss

"If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive."
--Dale Carnegie

At some point in our life we find ourselves dealing with people that we just can't win with. It makes it worse when the person we want to persuade is our boss. It is frustrating when we know we have good ideas but no one cares to listen. Here are a few recommendations on approaching people who are not as open-minded as we would want them to be:

Begin in a friendly way. Start a conversation with your boss and than see if it might be a good time to talk to him/her about your ideas. Begin the conversation with "small talk." Try to focus on topics your boss would be interested in. This way your boss does not only think of you as an employee but as someone with whom he/she might have a short and fun conversation with on occasions.

Know your boss. If you have previously tried putting your ideas before him/her than you should have an idea about what they're going to say next. Work on that and reflect. Anticipate responses and have an idea of what you're going to say. Remember to stay professional and don't let your emotions get in the way.

Don't criticize. If the assignment that you were given was your boss' idea, he or she might take it the wrong way when you try to change it. Make sure when you come up with a better alternative to the task you still give credit to your boss. For example, "your assignment had inspired me to take on a greater task".

Put yourself in his/her shoes. Why would you as a boss even consider this idea? Is this something that would be beneficial to you, the boss? Even if the idea is not directly connected to your boss there is always something he/she would benefit from. Don't forget to specify that.

Stay professional. If you going to build a relationship with your boss keep it steady otherwise it will become very obvious that you only converse with them when you need something.


Source:
Dale Carnegie Course
12 Weeks, 3.5 hrs per week &
Carnegie Immersion Seminar
3 Eight Hour Days