Monday, July 28, 2008

First Ajax Script

I had a mini-land mark happening recently. I was creating a web page that allowed a user to scroll through images of a photo library. Now normally this wouldn't be that big of a deal because they're just new links/pages. However, this page was different because there is music playing in the background. I couldn't have the entire page refresh because then the song would start all over. Lame.

There are a couple ways to tackle this problem and I decided to try doing it with Ajax. Basically, Ajax allows you to update only parts of a page without reloading the entire thing. It sends a simple command to the server which returns only that part. This has two benefits. First, once the page is loaded, updating information on the page is really fast. Second, it allows for cool visual effects including, like I'm doing, letting things continue to run while other parts change. If you use Gmail, many parts use Ajax.

So I found a good tutorial and followed it. To my surprise, Ajax is extremely easy to use. The cool part about it is that it's not a new language, it's simply a new way of using existing languages (javascript with PHP, Perl, ASP or XML for those keeping score). So, from now on, I'm sure almost all my web pages are going to be using Ajax just like many of my pages currently use javascript and PHP.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Ready to Get Married

Welp, I'm ready to be married. The big day is on Sunday and it looks like it's going to be great. Jessi and I had our last date before being married. We went to a nice restaurant, got ice cream for desert and watched a movie (Batman is a must see, by the way). We dressed up and really had a good time. It kind of reminds me of getting closure. We were able to "finish off" that part of the relationship officially and now move on.

It was so nice, mostly because we just took a break on our crazy schedules to reflect on where we've been and dream about where we're going. We recalled funny stories and talked more about our plans for the future.

We've really been laying the groundwork this last year and have a solid foundation in place. We've been doing research on different business and investments (and putting our feet in the water a little). We've also been bringing people onto our team to help us achieve our goals. In this last month we put the final pieces together to... You know what? I'm going to stop because this is starting to sound more like a business merger instead of a marrage.

Where was I? Ah yes. I'm so thankful to have met Jessi. Besides helping me dress better, she has been a blessing in my life. I'm ready to marry her and it's going to be great. Family starts showing up today and the party will last until Wednesay and then we'll be off to Paris for our honeymoon. Very, very exciting!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Clothes Tranformation

I met Jessi on a blind date our freshman year at Willamette. It was a mass blind date where older girls on the cross country team set the freshman runners up. I was told we were going to go bowling and to "wear something casual".

I really like the super-casual look.

At the time, I didn't own a pair of jeans, but I did own a suit for church on Sunday. So, I showed up wearing workout shorts and a t-shirt... Yeah, great impression. I know (now).

Eventually a polo shirt was given to me. So I wore that around with my workout shorts. At one time, Jessi's roommate, only seeing the top half of me congratulated me on finally getting respectable clothes. Of course, then she saw my shorts and proceeded to attack me for my poor fashion sense.

Believe it or not, it gets colder in Oregon than central California. So I bought a couple pairs of jeans to keep warm. Man, my stock sure shot up fast! Suddenly I almost looked respectable.

When I got accepted to grad school I decided it was time to really up my game. I bought some polo shirts and some khaki pants. I even went all out and got some dress shoes. For the first time in my life I had "business casual" outfits. Thankfully my mom and Jessi took the time to explain what worked together and what didn't.

Once I graduated and got a job in Oregon I decided to splurge and bought some khaki cargo shorts. I didn't actually get them because they look better than workout shorts. I got them because I wanted pockets. Yes, before graduating I had my wallet and keys hanging from a lanyard which I swung around my neck - no pockets needed.

I'm sure my wardrobe will continue to transform, but it really stuck me when Jessi and I were flying recently. We were traveling - a completely casual situation. Historically, I would wear warm-up pants with a sweatshirt while flying. That day I was wearing my khaki shorts, a polo shirt and flip flops. I sure looked a lot different than my "kid" self.

I like to think my choice of clothing has come a long way despite me being such a slow adopter in the clothing space.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Kenny Loggins Concert

Jessi and I had the pleasure of seeing Kenny Loggins live at the Cuthbert Amphitheater in Eugene on Sunday (quite a busy weekend indeed). The concert started at 7:30pm and went until 10pm. It was so much fun! He played many of his classics (Pooh Corner, Conviction of the Heart, Danger Zone, Footloose, etc.) and a few new songs. Here's a pretty sweet music video of Danger Zone.

The best part was Jessi's reaction. She knew I liked Kenny Loggins and had all of his CDs. She had also heard him on the radio, so she knew he wasn't some no-name artist. The fun part was when she realized she knew all of his songs and was able to sing along with me. Ah yes, it was a blast.

Now we have to rent the movie Footlose so she can watch the whole thing with Kenny Loggins' song. Here's a picture of the night:

Saturday, July 05, 2008

4th of July Celebration

Jessi and I got to hang out with the Parry Family this 4th of July. It was a ton of fun! We went to a parade, played Rock Band, had a Bar-BQ, shot off fireworks and watched Independence Day outside on a projector. Needless to say, it was one epic event. It started at 11am and I didn't get to bed until 2am. Below is a little video of the day's events. There's also a slide show with more pictures detailing what happened. Is this a sign of things to come with the new camera? We'll see.

When it started to get dark we really started playing the with camera. So, some of the pictures are... well... weird. Some, like the pictures of the fireworks, are pretty cool.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

New Camera

Jessi and I just got a new camera in preparation for our honeymoon in Paris. It's a Canon Rebel XTi. In just the few hours I've been playing with it, it seems like a great camera.

Here's one picture that Jessi took.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

One Surface, All Activities

The count down is on: 26 days until the Wedding! So in preparation Jessi and I have been looking at apartments for "our new life together". It's really exciting and has also got me thinking.

This is an opportunity to rethink the way I live my life we live our lives. I mean, there are going to be so many changes it may not hurt to experiment a little bit. Right? :)

Here's my idea: What if we did everything on one surface? One surface, all activities. I think of it like my computer screen where I have one desktop where I do everything. I don't switch computers or go somewhere else - I bring the file to the front, to me. What if we just had one big table where we use our computers, eat food, watch movies, play board games and fold clothes. I almost added sleeping on it, but that almost seems a little extreme.

Now that I think about it, this wouldn't be much different from the way I already live. My living room and kitchen are one room and that's also where I use my computer, watch movies, cook and eat. As a matter of fact, that's also where I sleep since I started sleeping on the floor.

I guess the biggest difference is the size of the table. Currently I have a small card table which barely fits my computer (thankfully I have a TV tray right next to it). I'm thinking of a table that is closer to a piece of ply-wood: huge! That way both Jessi and I can be at the same table with multiple things on it for each of us at the same time.

Of course, there is the issue of where such a large table could go. Would it just overwhelm the living room and leave the kitchen under utilized? Maybe the solution is to have two or three large work areas (like an extra computer monitor?) we move between. What I'm really trying to get at is not having "dedicated" areas I suppose.

What do you think? Is this really a revolutionary idea or are people already doing this? How can I tweak this idea to really shake things up?