Bike There for Google Maps in Portland (with Caveats)

Last weekend I was frustrated with the fact that Google Maps only includes driving and transit directions for Portland. So I decided to write a Greasemonkey Script that solved the problem, at least for Portland. By linking the results of directions to the site, I can now get car/transit/bus directions all from Google maps. I can’t wait until Google supports this functionality natively.

The result looks like this:

Looks like others are talking about this problem on the internets as well:

If you are not familiar with Greasemonkey, it is an addon for Firefox (find it here: which allows you to create hacks on top of existing pages (adding links etc…). The site was created by some local developers (here in Portland) and all my script does is take directions from Google and open a new page in with the directions for bikes. only works for Portland and Milwaukee and my script only works for Portland.

Jugglers at TED!

I had no idea that the Raspyni Brothers were regulars at the TED Conference. But it sounds from their dialogue like they were there several times before Chris Anderson took over. I wonder if they have done the conference since?
Anyhow, it is a classic act, and Dan Holzman (he is the smarmy one in the blue shirt) is as hilarious as ever.

Ignite Portland was a great event!

Last night I attended Ignite Portland with a few friends. I missed the first one last year, but I attended Portland Barcamp, which is organized by many of the same folks. Ignite is a fun event: there are a bunch of speakers that can talk on any topic. They have 20 slides for 15 seconds (a total of 5 minutes for each talk). It is a fun format and the Bagdhad Theater was full to capacity (they had to turn away at least 150 people).
(photo credit, Josh Bancroft)
The speakers ranged both in topics and quality. Although there were lots of geeks in the audience, not all the talks were geeky. But if amateur rocket building and robot building are both on the agenda, you know that it’s got to be a pretty nerdy crowd.
The crowd favorites seemed to be some of the more cheeky talks, such as “How to be an Undercover Hooker” and “Why David Hasselhoff is so popular in Germany“. There was one talk that was deeply personal “” and I think it caught people off guard.
Overall the event was a ton of fun, and it was FREE! They even had free food for the early birds and lots of give-aways. Of course, nothing it truly free, and the one downside to the event was that you had to listen to the long list of sponsors at the start of the event. It’s kinda like Google search: it’s free, but there are some ads in your results.
The crowd was very lively and didn’t mind speaking their opinions. I will definitely be attending future events. I will make a point of attending future events!

The Magicians Code

Yesterday I was on the Portland Streetcar with my Son, Caleb. An older fellow in a wheelchair got on with us and he started to show Caleb some fairly simple magic tricks. Caleb smiled and went along with the tricks, even though he knew them himself. Caleb is a fairly good magician and knows quite a few tricks using ordinary coins or cards. After the guy had shown him a few things, I asked whispered to Caleb and asked him whether he wanted to show him any tricks. He quietly shook his head.
I figured that he was embarrassed or something (which is a little surprising for him), but I let it go. Eventually the guy got off the train and I asked Caleb why the didn’t want to show him any tricks. He said he had two reasons. One was that you should never do magic tricks at another persons show. And the other is that he did not want to spoil the guy’s fun by showing off. I was impressed with his “Magician’s code”, and I won’t bug him again about demonstrating this talents (he does it often enough anyway).

Cedarwood Magical Winter Faire (Show at 11:45)

Caleb and his Dad are set to perform at the Cedarwood Magical Winter Faire. We will perform at 11:45AM (with a possible second show at 2PM). This is one of the few chances to see Caleb and his Dad in action this year, so don’t miss the opportunity.

The Magical Winter Faire is held Saturday, December 8th at the Cedarwood School, 3030 SW Woods Street, Portland, OR. The event features a wonderful local artisans market, family games, bakery, hot lunch and various magical characters and rooms. The Winter Faire runs from 10 AM until 4PM. It is fun for the whole family and everyone is welcome.

Add to your calendar:

Moral Hazard of Global Engineering

David Kieth has a great talk on does a great job of explaining his research on global warming. He is an entertaining speaker who has a unique point of view on our options in the future. He really explains why climate engineering presents such a moral challenge. I think that his talk does a great job of explaining why global warming may be the crisis that brings humans together as one race. But then, I am an optimist.
Definitely worth a watch: