Pre: BusTracker - 0.9.0 Released

Posted by Ben Childs Sun, 11 Oct 2009 00:45:00 GMT

Edit: Per request of OneBusAway I am renaming this app to “Bus Tracker” so it is not confused with official OneBusAway apps. I have updated the download link below.

Download: com.bchilds.bustracker_0.9.0_all.ipk

I have released the first version of my OneBusAway front end app for the Palm Pre. It provides realtime bus arrival information for the King County transit system.

Features include:

  • list your favorite stops
  • find nearby stops
  • find stops on a map

In future releases I plan to add support for finding a stop for a specific route near your location and jumping to a specific stop number.

I have made the source code available under the MIT License here:

Feel free to make comments below if you have any other suggestions or need help!

Dynamically Loading Google Maps on the Palm Pre

Posted by Ben Childs Wed, 07 Oct 2009 02:51:00 GMT

One problem that I had to overcome while writing the OneBusAway app for the Palm Pre was figuring out how to provide Google Maps integration w/o drastically affecting startup time for the app. Since there is no direct support from the Palm API for Google Maps embedding, you have to load the Javascript API directly from Google. This of course involves a potentially lengthy download especially if you have a spotty connection. One way to solve this is to load the Google Maps API only when you actually use it in your app (in this case I only load the API when the user actually goes to a maps view of the nearby bus stops).

Luckily Google provides an easy way to load their APIs dynamically the only trick is to make sure that the DOM is available before calling any of them. On the Pre this means that you must wait until the Setup method on one of your assistants before loading the APIs.

Sample code and more info after the break.

OneBusAway for the Palm Pre

Posted by Ben Childs Mon, 05 Oct 2009 03:49:46 GMT

I’ve been working recently on a native app for the Palm Pre to provide nice integration with the OneBusAway site that provides the King County area of Washington with real-time bus arrival information.

Hopefully I’ll be releasing an installable IPK shortly but in the mean time here are some screenshots of the app. I still need to add some menu icons (notice some duplicates below), clean up the startup page and figure out an app icon.

onebusaway_2009-04-10_203730onebusaway_2009-04-10_203349 onebusaway_2009-04-10_203659 onebusaway_2009-04-10_203717 

In order to get this to work nicely I had to implement on-demand loading of the Google Maps API so that the startup time to your favorite stops is quick. I’ll post a follow-up shortly about that.

Thanks to the IPhone OneBusAway app for inspiration and the folks who made the OneBusAway API available. I’ll post a link to the source code once it is all ship shape.

Zune 3.0 Software (Nice when you aren't using Server 2008)

Posted by Ben Childs Wed, 17 Sep 2008 02:24:00 GMT
The Zune 3.0 software has been released and once I actually got it to work (when I got home) I'm liking it. It has a particularly cool feature which I didn't see well publicized which is a new informational slideshow from the now playing screen. It seems to put up photos of the artist along with information about the current song and the band. Zune 3.0 This is pretty cool, but unfortunately the Zune software doesn't want to install on my work machine which has to run Server 2008. I finally got it to work by manually bypassing the os check but it will only run in administrator mode. -Ben

Down for the Count

Posted by Ben Childs Thu, 04 Sep 2008 02:15:00 GMT
It appears that something happened to my Typo blog on Monday or Tuesday. (Probably a rails upgrade from under my feet). So I took the opportunity to upgrade to Typo 5.1.3 which entailed all sorts of problems anyway. After much debugging I finally got things to work by modifying the typo code slightly. I initially had a "Missing Template" message whenever I was going to a page that wasn't on the admin site. I was finally able to resolve this by mucking with the Typo theming code: I modified app/controllers/application.rb, fixing setup_themer to point to the base theme directory as well as the views directory: ==
def setup_themer # Ick! self.view_paths = ::ActionController::Base.view_paths.dup.unshift("#{RAILS_ROOT}/themes/#{this_blog.theme}/views") self.view_paths = self.view_paths.dup.unshift("#{RAILS_ROOT}/themes/#{this_blog.theme}") end
== And then I chaged the layout method of the theme model (app/models/theme.rb) to just ask for 'default': ==
def layout "default" end
== Hope this helps someone else.. -Ben

Recruiter Spawns Huge E-mail List

Posted by Ben Childs Fri, 18 Jul 2008 05:36:00 GMT
This blog post say's it all: "Random People with ROR on their resume":

Olympic Peninsula

Posted by Ben Childs Mon, 14 Jul 2008 03:37:00 GMT

Here are a few photos of the olympic peninsula. I went hiking there this weekend.

I’m trying out the live spaces slideshow widget here.

Alphabetical Bibliography Ordering with Word 2007 ISO690 Numerical Style

Posted by Ben Childs Mon, 14 Apr 2008 14:04:00 GMT
In the course of preparing my senior thesis, we ran into a bit of trouble using Word 2007's built in Bibliography tools. While on the whole they provided a much nicer experience than third party tools such as RefWorks, we were initially unable to define the bibliography style as our Advisor requested. The closest available style was ISO690 Numerical which inserts citations like '(1)', and orders the references in the bibliography in the order in which they are cited. Our advisor requested that citations look like '[1]' and the references be in alphabetical order. Initially we tackled the problem by modifying the .XSL style sheet. With this we were successfully able to change the perentheses to square brackets, and do some minor reordering of the fields in the bibliography, but try as we might we couldn't get it to order alphabetically. In the end we devised a work-around that, while a bit hacky still solves the problem until Microsoft (hopefully) updates the bibliography feature in Office 14. In the beginning of our document we inserted citations to all of our sources in the order in which we desired them to show up in the bibliography. Then we just changed the text to be white on a white background. Along with the minor .XSL tweaks we now were able to automatically generate the bibliography with whatever ordering we wanted.

Hello From Budapest

Posted by Ben Childs Sat, 05 Apr 2008 23:33:00 GMT
I am currently in Hungary finishing up my last requirement to graduate in May. It is some very interesting work to do with searching large Game trees such as for the East Asian game Go. Myself and my partner are working with one of the top people in the field so it is very exciting. There are a few photographs up (see the photos link to the right), but as a teaser, here is a photostich of the view from the top of Janos Hegy just outside of Budapest itself: !!:

Safari '@' Rendering Issues

Posted by Ben Childs Sat, 10 Nov 2007 18:23:00 GMT


Interestingly enough this problem seemed to resolve itself. (Perhaps after a reboot). At any rate hopefully it won’t be coming back.

Original Post

Here is an interesting bug in the latest version of Safari:

Rendering this code:

<body style="font-family: Verdana;">

Only shows "" in Safari on OS X 10.5.0

safari bug