As Far As I Can Tell

Winter Magic

Winter gave me a magical moment today, as itís prone to do at least a few times per year. While driving I was held up by an Amtrak train. It blew the snow on the tracks into such an incredible cloud that the train disappeared as soon as it crossed my path. The flurry continued with the train and I was never able to see it again.

Iíve been using the same alarm clock for months now, but only today discovered a hidden feature of it. Iím the sort of person who hits snooze a lot before waking up. Actually, I pick up the alarm clock after the first buzzer and bring it back to bed with me. Then with each round of snoozing itís already in my hand for easy access.

Iíve been annoyed for a while that the button seems incredibly hard to push. I have to press it hard or hit it multiple times to get the alarm to stop. This morning was I cognizant enough to realize that the amount of times it has to be pressed is increased by one every time you hit snooze. So on the fourth round; you have to press it four times to silence it.

I hope that this is true, and not just some sort of sleepy-time hallucination.

Apparently this was something I made up in my dreamy state. It’s Meredith’s alarm clock and she said it definitely doesn’t do what I’ve described. Rather than being so awake that I was able to discover this, I was really so sleepy that I made it up.



mmm…redesign that builds on the rad-ness of the old….

Posted by: jim on February 1, 2004 3:05 PM

i, too, like the re-design. it’s more functional (i can see what the previous posts were about).

Posted by: miguel on February 1, 2004 6:09 PM

There is some sort of black magic that goes along with snooze button and alarm clocks. Every morning my alarm clock gets farther and farther away, and I swear it gets quiter every time I hit that snooze. I set my alarm clock early for ample alotted snooze sleeping. It takes me waking up at least 3 times until I can finally wake up enough to stand up, yet alone figure out what the hell I’m supposed to be doing. I’ll never understand how some people can just get right up at at it.

Posted by: Brendan on February 2, 2004 11:26 AM

Well done on the re-design! Much more functional, and I am way into the added cooper black elements. How did you find the time?

Posted by: ivo on February 2, 2004 11:44 AM

Thanks — I’m glad you like the redesign. I’ll make a post about it soon. I was so busy getting it done that I didn’t have time to actually post about it.

Posted by: simon on February 2, 2004 5:50 PM

sorry about that alarm clock myth. i just hate to crush your dreams.

Posted by: meredith on February 2, 2004 9:16 PM

Ditto. I like the new. It keeps the same functionality in a new shell.

Posted by: Naz on February 2, 2004 9:29 PM

I’m an Uncle

Hello everyone. I’d like you to meet my new neice, Katherine Ruth Bodkin. She’s been around since January 22, at 2:10p.m., but I’m not going to meet her until Sunday.

Katherine Ruth Bodkin

Katherine Ruth Bodkin

Katherine Ruth Bodkin



congratulations uncle simon!!

Posted by: ivo on January 29, 2004 3:27 PM

Let’s buy her the “They Might Be Giants” book to start in early with our liberal influence. Ani DiFranco sells a few baby items, we could get one of those too.

Posted by: meredith on January 30, 2004 12:13 AM

why do they put those garter belt things on babies heads?

Posted by: caleb on January 30, 2004 9:13 PM

I have no idea; I hate those things.

Posted by: simon on January 30, 2004 10:17 PM

i think it’s to make babies look sexy.

Posted by: meredith on February 2, 2004 9:17 PM

Apples or Oranges?

The project I’ve been working on at work for months now has finally launched. isn’t my design, though I was the lead front end programmer. We had a variety of difficult issues to overcome during its development. The site is conceived as a “game” of sorts, to find out who changed the Apple Jacks to be shaped like jacks (which they normally aren’t).

One of the key things I worked on was a panel that the participants can use to log clues. By creating it in Flash we were able to have a multi-screen process that interacts with the server, but without reloading the current page. JavaScript talks to Flash, Flash talks to Perl, the chain reverses, and the user can continue to log clues on that page. My tasks were mainly JavaScript/Flash based, and the timeline was long-term enough that I was actually able to do things in a manner that I’m happy with.

The site is tied into a larger media campaign that utilizes TV ads and packaging to drive people to the web. While that’s fine, I’m a little freaked out by the way which the campaign is talked about at work. It’s being positioned as the creation of an “online community” and “tween phenomenon”. It utilizes viral marketing techniques and those annoying banner ads that come up over the content of the page you’re viewing. We’re partnered with the very evil DoubleClick for banner media, which makes me uncomfortable. In the same day I both installed software to get rid of DoubleClick style cookies on my personal computer, and added DoubleClick tracking codes to this website.

While I’m at work I’m able to hide my head in the sand and focus on the technological challenges at hand. Once the project is over though, I’m reminded that it’s really just a website to trick kids into eating more sugary cereal; hardly something to be proud of.

In freelance related news I’ve completed a photography website for Scott Gruss that I started a few months ago. By client request its ultra minimal to match his work. I co-designed the visuals and did all Flash programming and interaction design.



So…lemme get this straight…..they are called Apple Jacks, but they don’t taste like apples and they don’t look like jacks? Why not call them Oak Feet?

Posted by: josh on January 26, 2004 11:34 PM

Simon, I’ve seen the site and let me be the first on to say it’s GRRRRREAT!

Posted by: tony the tiger on January 26, 2004 11:42 PM

Yep Josh, that’s actually the brand message of Apple Jacks. The idea is that kids “get it”, and adults just don’t understand. I guess that puts us clearly in the adult category.

Posted by: simon on January 27, 2004 12:04 AM

Simon, nice work. Particularly the site for Scott Gruss. I’ve always thought Flash works beautifully and the best for photography sites and portfolios. The minimal clean design is also good, because it shouldn’t detract from the photos. However, like many other photo sites (and this may bec because of theft, etc) I wished the photos were larger. Kudos!

Posted by: Naz on January 27, 2004 11:10 AM

Whenever I view a portfolio photo site I wish the images were larger too. I was asked numerous times by the photographer on this site to make the images smaller. I’m not sure if it was concern about theft or what. He really disliked seeing his work on a computer screen in general. I think he wasn’t very used to the way that different monitors can affect a photograph.

Posted by: simon on January 27, 2004 3:01 PM

Good work on the tech stuff. Be proud of that. And don’t worry about the company trying to get hip to wired tweens or whatever. It’ll probably fall flat on its face like the Raging Cow phenom from a year back.

Posted by: miguel on January 27, 2004 3:05 PM

Found your site through blogspot and wanted to say hi

Posted by: Shannon on August 9, 2004 5:27 AM

Online Voting

I’ve been spurred out of dormancy once again by comments from friends. I’m in the middle of re-designing this weblog, which always makes me want to wait until it’s done before posting. That’s sort of silly though, and I have something interesting to let you know:

Today I was wondering how I could participate in the Democratic primary election in Michigan. A small amount of research showed me that it’s actually easier in Michigan than any other state. The Michigan Democrats are making voting history by allowing citizens to cast their vote on the Internet. Now there’s no excuse not to cast your ballot. Sign up at

I’ve been very busy this new year. So busy in fact that I’m falling behind on various things. There are some branch reviews going on for new Moped Army branches, but I haven’t been able to contribute much. I have a stack of books I got for Christmas but I haven’t read a word. I want to start designing and building the Rocket Star website, but I’ve only gone a little ways and stalled.

This lack of time is coming from working full-time and teaching. The class is going well, but I underestimated how much time outside of the scheduled hours it would require. Luckily, things will get easier as time goes by.

Overall though, I’m very satisfied with this new year. I promise that I’ll have photos from the holidays online soon, as well as the new site design.



yeah, teaching is a bitch! i wouldn’t normally use that word, but it is! now, it can be really cool, too—i loved working with my students—but the sooner you get the “i only work for six hours a week” delusions out of your head, the better. i want to take your class!

Posted by: jim on January 21, 2004 3:49 AM

I think it will get better once we started working on actual projects. Right now I’m explaining new and fairly technical things all class period long. We need to build up a core base of knowledge before we can start to build sites. Since I do this sort of thing all day every day it’s easy to forget how much there is to know, and now long it took me to learn it.

Posted by: simon on January 21, 2004 9:40 AM

that is always the problem for teachers who do very technical classes. i think it is what makes the 3DS Max classes so tough at my old school.

Posted by: jim on January 22, 2004 10:17 AM

Simon, thanks for the info! Wow. I was hoping to put my two cents in the Democratic primary in Michigan if possible. I want a real alternative to Bush (i.e. not Dean). Now I can participate. Awesome.

Posted by: miguel on January 22, 2004 8:30 PM

I got my ballot today. I’ll be voting for Howard Dean.

Posted by: simon on January 22, 2004 9:08 PM

I’m excited to note that I registered to vote AT MY GROCERY STORE today! Yay!

Posted by: jim on January 25, 2004 3:47 PM

you can register to vote at dominicks? really? i wonder if you can change your registration information there too…hmm. by the way, simon: this green is good.

Posted by: rosemary on January 29, 2004 3:45 PM

As far as who can tell?

Chicago, IL

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