Wednesday, May 28, 2008

wii web programming

Most of you will probably not get much value out of this post. But I know some of you will be all over this :)

So the wii has a web browser in it (Opera), and that web browser just happens to have some available javascript fields for the wiimote. You can get things like angle, distance from the tv, (x,y) coordinates on the screen, and button presses on the remote. It all makes for some nice inputs to have for fun TV interfaces.

If you're attempting to do this, the following resources will probably be useful for you:

  • opera's guide to the browser and wiimote javascript interface (pulled at the request of nintendo, but archived lower on the page). Also includes some sample js using the accelerometer.

  • javascript keycodes from the remote

  • nintendo's faq including user agents

  • Also good to know is that while it does play flash video, it's Flash 7 and it won't resize the video if your flash container is a different size than the video. And it can't play mpeg or h.264. And while they claim that you can get 408 vertical pixels, my screen can't fit anything bigger than 373 without adding a scrollbar.

    That's probably it for now. Go have fun...


    Monday, May 26, 2008

    non-working weekend

    Sometimes I forget how nice it is to take a break from life and spend a nice relaxing weekend not doing any work. The past three days have been wonderfully filled with BBQs and old friends. Very old friends...people I've known for 25+ years.

    I finally made it to Amitabul (a buddhist vegan korean restaurant on the northwest side) with my friend Sara on Saturday. It wasn't the greatest food, but worth another visit. You should all check out Sara's documentary on PBS next week.

    Yesterday afternoon, I squeezed in a nice run at Moraine Hills State Park which is one of my favorite running destinations out here. It had a few loops including one that's 3.73 miles long which makes for a nice run when I'm not training for anything. Combinations of trails can go up to 10ish miles for later this year when I'm in marathon training mode. And it's mostly limestone paths which my knees are thankful for!

    And then the last few days have been filled with BBQs with old grade school friends. It's always amazing to me how many of us are still around Chicago, or even just living in palatine :) Good conversation, good fires, and good mario kart playing added up to a wonderful weekend. Oh, and they finally released Dr Mario for wii. If anyone else has downloaded it and wants to play in network mode sometime, let me know!!

    Tomorrow it's back to work and it's looking to be a busy week. So much for relaxing...


    Saturday, May 24, 2008


    It's looking to be a nice relaxing weekend here in Chicago. I don't have much work that needs to be done and have lots of plans for fun BBQs and adventures in the city these next few days. It's nice to just have a few days to sleep in, enjoy the wonderful spring weather, and spend time with awesome friends :) And run...can't forget running :)


    Saturday, May 17, 2008


    I've just signed up for the Banco Popular Chicago 1/2 Marathon. I figured it would be a good motivator to get me running more and to get some quality miles in this summer. As soon as I finished signing up I went to put my training plans for this race and for the disney marathon on a calendar. Well, it looks like non-stop running for me from the end of june until january. Which should be fun...but I was hoping there'd be a little break in there. The half marathon ends up on the 2nd week of marathon training though so it looks like there will be no rest for me :)

    Yay for running!


    Smart Cars

    I saw three smart cars yesterday in Palatine. Not for any special occasion, just regular people driving them around. It's so wonderful to see some contrast to the roads full of F150s and SUVs.


    Wednesday, May 14, 2008

    mad at nintendo...

    So this week Nintendo launched WiiWare, a set of small games available for download only (not in stores). They have been advertising this for months and have been saying that one of the launch titles would be a new network-enabled Dr. Mario. That's right, Dr. Mario over the Internet. It's the best thing to happen to gaming since, well, the original Dr. Mario :)

    Most of you know that I'm not a gaming person. There are very few games that I could spend any real time playing, but there are two classics that I could play for days on end. Those would be Tetris and Dr. Mario. My dad and I used to challenge each other to Tetris tournaments on my old Commodore 64 and in college we had countless Tetris and Dr. Mario tournaments at Student House on the NES. Those were always fun nights and really got me addicted to the games.

    So come on Nintendo...release Dr. Mario! I've been waiting for a year now :)


    Monday, May 12, 2008


    As many of you know, when I was in high school I had no idea what an engineer was. I had never heard of physics or electrical engineering or that you could actually have a career writing computer software. My freshman year, my Spanish teacher Mrs. Svoboda talked me into helping to start a team in this robotics competition called FIRST. Well, you all know the story from there. I became actively involved in the robotics team, ended up going to MIT, getting a job with Motorola (the company that sponsored that high school robotics team), etc, etc. I cannot thank Dan, Raul, George, and the rest of the engineers on that original team enough for everything they taught me back then and the opportunities that they opened for me.

    So tonight I'm working late, and a co-worker comes in and says "there are a bunch of high school kids in the atrium downstairs." So I walked out there, and it was all of the FIRST people from the current team - including some of those original engineers from the first year of the competition. It was so great to catch up and see them all after so many years.


    Sunday, May 11, 2008

    best race ever?

    So I was looking over disney marathon stuff the other day after they sent an update email out on weekend hotel packages. And that got me started looking at other disney running events. And I happened upon this little race, the Tower of Terror 13k which is right before Halloween. It sounds incredible - a 10pm start (I *love* night races), fireworks at the starting line, a tower of terror themed race, glow-in-the-dark bib numbers, and a postrace party with unlimited access to the tower of terror and the aerosmith roller coaster. It'll be about a month after my parents go down for the winter, and I think quite a fun time to visit and run a little race.

    If any of you think this sounds as amazing as I think it does, come down and run!! :)


    Saturday, May 10, 2008

    mass transit

    Yay for people taking mass transit all over the country!


    Wednesday, May 07, 2008

    killing the planet...

    No matter how hard I try to reduce my footprint on the earth in the rest of my life, I'm definitely killing the planet with my air travel. Even more than I thought. Which just kills me because I try so hard with all of my other choices. Interestingly though, the last time I calculated my carbon footprint I turned out around average for america...looks like the prius, super efficient building that I live in, being vegan, etc. all offset all of the air travel. Still, average american is pretty horrible for cabon usage.


    busy week...

    It's been a busy week so far. Lots of work stuff going on for lots of different projects and all with major deadlines these next few weeks. But it's been fun and lots of progress is being made.

    I'm looking forward to a little time off friday evening for a friend's b-day in the city, and then more work work work on saturday and sunday.

    One of these days I really do need to do something to scale back on how much work I have. In june I need to start kicking up the miles in running again to start training for the half in september and then the full right after new years.

    Of course, having the need to scale back in the fall I agreed to more work to be on the TPC for the International Workshop on Urban, Community, and Social Applications of Networked Sensing Systems. It should be super interesting and it brings together a ton of my interests in one place.

    Sorry for the lack of interesting-ness in this post. Lots of interesting work things that I can't blog about unfortunately have been taking up all my time.


    Saturday, May 03, 2008

    This American Life Live

    Originally uploaded by bentley79.
    The other night I saw the live simulcast of This American Life Live at the local theater in Deer Park. The show was excellent, and I'm definitely looking forward to this year's TV show as well as all of the wonderful radio episodes. There were a few great stories in there, including one which followed Haider, the Iraqi teenager of which there was an awesome radio show about last year, in a trip to the South to talk to people on the street about Iraq and the war.

    Ira and the staff at TAL consistently produce some of the best radio around and it's always fun to see a live show...even over a satellite broadcast 1000 miles away :)

    One thing that really surprised me though was how empty the theater was. I bought my ticket way ahead of time (since they kept saying on chicago public radio that all the chicago and evanston theaters were sold out) and got there super early. It turned out that there were about 15 of us there. Which was sort of funny, but really sad. Seriously, I knew I lived in a red district, but really.