Kings Canyon: Paradise Valley

Here’s half the GPS track for the day-hike from Road’s End to lower Paradise Valley. I only included the “down” track because we had trouble getting a lock in the canyon for the first half of the hike. When we stopped for lunch I switched GPS receivers and got a decent lock most of the way down. This track was recorded with Run.GPS, exported as a CSV file (since I had to remove about 5,000 lines of bogus GPS data), and mapped using Adam Schneider’s GPS Visualizer application, which is very impressive and easy to use.

Continue reading Kings Canyon: Paradise Valley

Kings Canyon: Hotel Creek Trail

Here’s a GPS track from the Hotel Creek Trail to the Cedar Grove Overlook in Kings Canyon National Park:

And here’s the altitude graph for that hike:

We did this one in about 2 hours and 45 minutes; we went pretty slowly, having hiked to Paradise Valley (~13 miles) the day before.

Outlook: Expand IMAP Folders

If you use Outlook 2007 with IMAP and Exchange, you have probably noticed that every time you restart Outlook you have to re-expand your IMAP folders to see whether you have any new messages in your IMAP inboxes. When you’re used to Exchange and push mail, this can lead to a frustrating problem because I constantly forget to look at things in Outlook that aren’t bold. I’ve left unread messages in my IMAP folders for over a day because of this!

I can’t yet find a way to make the IMAP folders auto-expand when you start Outlook the same way the Exchange inbox does – that would be the holy grail – but there is a quick workaround that solves my needs and maybe yours.

Go to the IMAP inbox by expanding the IMAP account name, and right-click on the inbox for that IMAP account:

Then select “Add to Favorite Folders” from the popup menu. This will add the inbox to your “Favorite Folders” at the top of the Outlook folder pane; it will be called something like “Inbox in youremail@imap.com”. When that favorite folder is bold, you’ve got mail in your IMAP inbox!

Outlook 2007 Menu Font

If you installed Outlook 2007 and you hate the menu font, it’s probably because you don’t like Cleartype. I can’t stand it. And it’s bad enough that in order to get rid of that hideous Segoe UI font in Outlook 2007 you have to change it in about 5 places. I can’t even remember them well enough to list them here. Great UI design, guys.

But there’s one thing that remains almost impossible to figure out: the menu bar. The “File, Edit, View, Go, Tools…” piece at the top. It’s always in Segoe UI, and there’s nothing you can do to change it. However, you can make it look a little better. Right click on your desktop (or use your favorite method for getting to your Display Properties control panel), select the “Appearance” tab, press “Effects…”, and DE-SELECT “Use the following method to smooth edges of screen fonts”. By default when you install XP it’s set to “Cleartype”, and even if you change it to “Standard” the Outlook 2007 menu font looks terrible. But if you turn the feature off entirely by de-selecting it, the Segoe UI font in the menu bar doesn’t look all that bad anymore.

Hope that helps.

Roomba Battery Replacement

The battery in our trusty Roomba Scheduler went kaput after about 2 years of use (not bad). It wouldn’t hold a charge; the Roomba would run for about 10 minutes and then quit. I looked on Amazon and found some battery replacement options; the usual APS batteries for $50-$80, or an interesting option: a Tenergy 3400mAH NiMH battery for about $28 with a handy little triangular screwdriver.

I decided to try the direct cell replacement; why not…any excuse to take something apart. The reviews on Amazon indicated that there was some work involved in opening up the old battery, but folks did a nice job of outlining the steps. I thought I’d do the same with some pics.

First, someone suggested attempting to take the old battery apart before ordering the new cells. Then if you break the old battery casing, you could simply order a completely new battery with casing so you’d have a working Roomba.

Back to ordering this set of cells and screwdriver. The new battery comes with the little triangle-blade screwdriver, but if you’ve never ordered one before, you need to find a way to get those screws out. My solution was to cut off the end of a large screw and use a Dremel to grind away the sides of the screw into a triangle shape:

I used a soft screw to make the grinding easier; I had to re-grind the screw several times because some of the battery screws were very tight.

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Jury Duty Status Page Monitor

I was on call for jury duty last week.

I wrote this little Perl script to check the jury status web page for my county and shoot me an email when it was updated. This script isn’t all that clean (it doesn’t f_lock the checksum file among other things), but it was a quick and dirty script that helped me get work done during the day where I was otherwise constantly checking the web site for updates (the county asks you to keep checking back).

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1234567890

I wrote a little one-liner to celebrate the epoch time of 1234567890, reached at approximately 3:30 PST on Friday, February 13, 2009.

Here’s the code:

perl -e “print \`clear\`; print \”Starting at: \” . \`date\`; while (1) { \$exclaim = ”; if (time() == 1234567890) { \$exclaim = \” FTW\!\!\!\”; } print time() . \$exclaim . \”\n\”; sleep 1; }”

And here’s a screen grab of that code running in a shell:

Autodiscover for Microsoft Exchange

Let’s say you have a hosted exchange account somewhere and you’re using mail forwarding rather than MX records to push your email to their servers. And you’re getting errors like these in Outlook’s Sync Issues folder:

16:59:02 Synchronizer Version 12.0.4518
16:59:02 Synchronizing Mailbox ‘YOURNAME’
16:59:02 Done
16:59:07 Microsoft Exchange offline address book
16:59:07 Not downloading Offline address book files. A server (URL) could not be located.
16:59:07 0X8004010F

Every hour, on the hour.

What is this? Outlook 2007 has a feature called “Autodiscover” that it uses to obtain various settings. Continue reading Autodiscover for Microsoft Exchange