Norris Run

I’ve come up with a new tool for camping out of the back of my truck. I borrowed the big umbrella off of the deck table and I’m securing it on both sides to the truck with bungie cords. I need to figure out a way to secure the bottom because when I tested it out at Norris Hot Springs yesterday the wind blew it around a bit.

Oh yea, I drove 160 miles to Norris yesterday just to test it out, and soak. I got three good sessions in before the crowd hit to listen to the live music, at which point I sat it out and chatted with the cook lady. Even though the water continually runs through the pool, that’s too many body fluids for me. My soaks only had a couple of people…

I’ve got over thirty shots of the trip there and back that I know you’re dying to see, so click the photo below and have at it :-)

Categorized as Vacation 4


Steph went out last evening after dinner and tried to mow our out of control yard. Twenty minutes in, the old lawn mower sputtered out. At that point Steph and I had a heart to heart conversation about this nonsense. She wanted to plop a couple hundred of her hard earned down for a lawn service to come by, and I nixed that. I told her I would research a new mower and fix the situation today.

I found the Toro Personal Pace to be a top rated mower, with great reviews, at $400 bucks. I drove by Ace Hardware this morning and there it was sitting out front as their top-of-the-line mover, for $400 bucks. I bought it, Steph gave me a hundred, and we are now 75/25 owners of a sweet mower.

I had a chat with Greer, the Ace boss, before buying it. He said it was the best. It will last for many years, has a great warranty, and guaranteed to start on the first pull. As he was pushing it across the road towards my truck I asked him if it was ready to go and he pulled the cord and it roared to life. Full of gas and oil and ready to cut grass.

Click the photo below for more shots and if it appears to be a bit dusty, it’s just been sitting out front of Ace for a while, waiting to be bought :-)

Categorized as House


Today was a code day. Regular readers will recall how bummed I was when Google went with OAuth2 and threw my map projects into limbo. I put a weekend into it, converted all of my Google Spreadsheets to MySql tables, then converted the Zend data to MySql code. Whew, that’s a mouthful…

Next up I find that the code monkeys are depreciating MySql and recommending everybody update to MySqli (the improved version). In a previous post I thought they wouldn’t have the nerve but after a little research, they’ll probably kill standard MySql.

So, I thought, since my mapping apps are state of the art, shouldn’t my database code be also? Today I’ve been replacing all of that MySql code with PDO. This is a very cool interface for accessing MySql databases in PHP, and it’s the acknowledged leader over MySqli. It stands for PHP Data Objects and is very object-oriented.

Here are the current affected projects: all of the JimsMaps, along with bdjMap. I’ll have these conversions done tomorrow…

Categorized as Site Stuff

Pinedale Run

I havn’t started my Arizona big loop yet, I’m just warming up. I had some over-priced chicken fried steak to go, at the Bar and Grill next door to the rundown motel I stayed at last night, and I could only eat half of it. When you click the picture below to see the one-handed driving shots I took coming into Pinedale this morning, it’s the last one :-)

I had an experience yesterday morning in my bed. As I rolled over half asleep to look at the clock (it read 03:30) there was an object hovering a few inches above the bed, between me and the clock, about a foot and a half away. It was dark grey, translucent, and was shaped like a road flare standing on end. Same size too. I reached out to touch it and my hand went right through, then it faded away. It looked just like the mysterious pole in photo four of the photoset.

Categorized as Vacation 4

Rawlins Drive

I drove down to Evanston, WY this morning and rolled into town at 1145. I break my trips up into legs of two hundred or so miles and this was one leg from home. (I do this as a fueling reference since my gas gauge is busted.) It was way too early in the day to stop moving so I kicked the second leg into gear and landed in Rawlins, WY.

It’s an old historic place and I wanted to stay near downtown, but their ain’t no motels so I’m hunkered down in a place off the highway. Nothing to see here but I did take some one handed shots from the truck as I drove. The photos started as I left Teton Valley and ended just north of Rawlins. Click the picture below, to see them.

Categorized as Vacation 4

June Trip

It’s nice to have my mapping code back, I develop this stuff for my own use anyway…

Click the image, to launch the app…

Categorized as Vacation 4

Mom And Dad

I just got an email from my cousin Pat:

Hi, Jim!

My sister just sent me an old picture of your mother
and E.T. I don’t recall ever having seen it before, and
assume it must have come from an old picture album
my mother had that I must not have seen. She also
said when looking at this picture, it suddenly jogged
her memory, as she recalled Grandma Riza telling her
that she called E.T. “Pretty Boy” when he was young.
You may or may not have seen this picture before.

Hope you are enjoying your vacation!

Regards, Pat

I had not, it’s great! I think they’re both pretty :-)

Categorized as Family

JimsMap = Back

I’ve got 95% of the functionality of JimsMap back, still working on the new table code… Shortly I can wrap this up and go traveling. I’m sure you would much rather see photos of cool places here, as opposed to reading about my code crap.

But, since I have your attention, I might as well share an interesting observation regarding MySql. This open source database has been around since 1995 and is used by hundreds of millions of websites around the world. As I’ve been googling php mysql functions, to refresh my brain and to include in my code, I keep seeing this ominous warning message:

It reminds me of the message Google was sending out regarding oauth2, that I most conveniently ignored. The alternative they’re proposing is called mysqli (improved) which is basically an object oriented version.

I have dozens of apps based around mysql, and the conversion would be painful. I get it, these web jockeys want to upgrade to their latest and greatest, just like Google did with oauth2, but they’re delaying based on the potential firestorm fallout (did I mention hundreds of millions of websites?). This is a scare tactic, I don’t think they have the nerve. Google on the other hand just said screw it, and went for it with oauth2.

…and what’s up with the pink message? sheesh…

Categorized as Site Stuff


What an interesting, productive coding day it has been. My problems all started back around May 20 when Google dropped the standard Zend client login access to their spreadsheet api, and demanded oauth2. I was right in the middle of developing a great app called bdjMap when everything stopped working. I spent two weeks scrambling, trying to fix the access issues, and finally bailed.

I accept responsibility, I should have known they were going to switch to oauth2, but I missed it. An interesting note to make is that one of the core oauth2 designers quit the project, calling it out as crap.

Here’s his post.

There wasn’t a single problem or incident I can point to in order to explain such an extreme move. This is a case of death by a thousand cuts, and as the work was winding down, I’ve found myself reflecting more and more on what we actually accomplished. At the end, I reached the conclusion that OAuth 2.0 is a bad protocol. WS-* bad. It is bad enough that I no longer want to be associated with it. It is the biggest professional disappointment of my career.

Today I threw Zend into the garbage, along with oauth2 and the Google spreadsheet api. I’m transferring all of the data into MySql tables hosted on my site, and rewriting the code that accesses it.

Magically, everything is back up! Routes I had been planning for this summer vacation suddenly are visible again. As I was digging around inside my code I found the point at which I was currently working on, when Google pulled the access plug. Yea!

If you would like to check the project out, click here. You might see some strange trips in there because I’m testing it out. The two main routes so far are:

  • June Trip
  • West Coast Trip

Damn it’s nice to have my stuff back, tomorrow I fix JimsMap!

It’s also much faster and more responsive without the cumbersome overhead of the Zend library and the latency issues of dealing with the Google cloud. Lesson learned…

Categorized as Site Stuff

Summer Is On

Today was my official last day before starting my summer vacation. I got talked into covering a Rexburg drivers vacation the last week in June and I’m covering three days in July so Karen can do a golf thing. Other than that, the summer is on.

I was thinking of traveling this weekend but this code drama I’ve had going on with oauth2 and Google spreadsheets has had me in limbo, and today I decided they can all go to hell. I’m switching my database away from Google Spreadsheets and rewriting my code to use MySQL. I’ve already created the database on my server and I’m going to hunker down over the next couple of days and get this shit fixed! Then I’ll travel…

In the meantime, enjoy my favorite band, Steely Dan:

btw: I have no idea what that error thing is, old code on my part, but it still plays well.

Categorized as Site Stuff

Big Wind

We had a great windstorm the other day. Our trees were bending over like I’d never seen before. Steph was out cruising the back forty yesterday and spotted this large branch down, so I trudged out there and got this shot:

Categorized as House


Writing code used to make me happy, now it makes my chest hurt. The mapping code I’ve been working on for months was based on a simple client login mode that gave me access to Google spreadsheets. They disabled that access last month and required oauth2 to get there. Day after day, and test after test, I just can’t make it work…

Maybe I’m getting too old to be a functioning programmer. In my prime I was considered a prodigy. I developed some sweet big time systems for some large companies. I’m amazed at the code that flowed from my brain in those days.

Now I’m just an old guy writing stuff that few people see, and stressing out over it. What really bugs me is the fact that I can’t use my new mapping apps to plan my summer, as that’s precisely why they were created…

I need to find something that makes me happy, because this ain’t…

Categorized as Various

The Wiltfongs

Steph loaned me the SD card from the camera she took back to Betty’s memorial last week. I culled through the photos and found a few eclectic ones to share here. Her family is a definite hoot, and good people. These are just a few of the many shots she took, but they caught my eye, as did the rainbow in the cloud catch the family’s eye…

Categorized as Family

TSA Search

Steph went through the TSA screening at SeaTac airport yesterday and was pulled aside for the whole treatment. She was felt up, scanned and whatever nonsense they perform during the full deal. I’m envious, I have a whole bunch of one-liners ready to quip at the dude that gets near my package, but I digress, especially since I don’t fly.

She was pulled aside because of the contents in her carry-on bag. They were apparently convinced she was a meth-head drug dealer. Multiple supervisors were called in as the search evolved. It became a big deal.

What they found were two big baggies stuffed with what appeared to be drug dispensers of some sort, along with a highly suspicious bottle of salts! To top it off there was jewelry in a baggie, Elvis CD’s, and a doll of The Dude himself, that smelled like cigarette smoke. Meth head!

Hey, they would be totally remiss if they let this chick board a plane with this kind of nonsense in her bag, without checking her out!

It turns out, and TSA finally accepted the fact, that Steph was returning from her moms memorial service and had put things in her bag that had both sentimental and practical purpose. The needle things are diabetic tools that she and her mom both used, of which Betty had a bunch of. The doll, jewelry and CD’s, just keepsakes of love, and the salt is our favorite that you can only get in Washington. The salt container was also opened and tested, wow… Steph said they rubbed test strips around her hands, feet and the lid of the salt container, running the strips through a diagnostic computer, and changing rubber gloves after each procedure.

Note to self, continue your commitment to never fly again…

Categorized as Steph