A Snowy Night in New England -- 12/05/02

We caught the edge of the storm that buried the south today.

It dumped snow and ice on North and South Carolina -- maybe a million or so people in that area lost electricity due to downed power lines. Snow all along the East Coast. It swung out to sea after New York so that New England only got the outer parts of the storm -- the center of the storm passed about seventy miles or so offshore from Rhode Island, so for a change we got more snow here along the coast than they did inland. The predictions had been for a total of four to eight inches in my area -- I would guess that we got about eight to ten inches in my neighborhood.

I left work around three-thirty, thinking that lots of people would be leaving work early to beat rush hour traffic and I wanted to get over the bridge before them (I was one of the last people to leave my building) except that other companies in the corporate park apparently closed early just as I was leaving, so I ended up in a traffic jam for several blocks. Other than that, the ride home wasn't too bad -- slippery, snowy, etc., but no accidents, no really bad spots, took an hour instead of the usual thirty to thirty-five minutes.

Nancy was shoveling the driveway when I got home (Sean has been sick the past three days so we didn't want him out in the storm and Jennifer was asleep, having worked 3rd shift last night) and I parked my car and grabbed another shovel. The snowfall slacked off by eight o'clock, just flurries now, so we went out and shoveled again -- Jennifer needs to go to work again at eleven o'clock tonight so I wanted to be sure the driveway was cleared before then).

I was just outside admiring the lights of our Christmas tree shining in the living room window and everything outside covered in snow. Lovely.

What I do at work... this week I've been sitting in on Julie's beta version of her installation, configuration and administration course for one of my company's new software products, something that allows web portals to be accessed by PDAs and cell phones. One of the features allows "offline browsing" -- that is, when your PDA is connected and you tell it to synchronize, it will download the appropriate web content from your company's portal site into memory on your PDA and then you can disconnect and browse those stored webpages as you wander around. (A sales rep might download the latest product information, a service technician might download parts of a repair manual.) So I set up a portlet that clipped portions of my index page (from jimsjournal) and indicated that I also wanted to download content linked from there down two levels. So I synched the PDA, downloaded the material, disconnected, and wandered around, bringing up selected pieces of my index page, clicking (tapping with the stylus) on what was the current entry (Dec 1st), bringing that up and reading it, then selecting "previous entry" and reading my Nov. 30th entry. Ah well, I thought it was cool.

Next week I'm teaching the beta version the course I've written for this same software product. My course is on application development for that platform: how to write programs tailored for that environment, how to set things up so that the same content material can be transcoded to fit properly on devices with vastly different capabilities.

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