Monthly Archives: August 2007

Ian is walking

Ian has been taking one or two steps for a few weeks now, but yesterday afternoon he took three deliberate steps from the the dining room table to me. He even had to turn slightly to make the walk.

He’s definitely walking now. A few minutes later we were able to catch it on video, and we’ve gotten him to do it several more times. By next week it will probably be his primary mode of transportation.

Right idea, wrong orifice

I was talking to Jordan on the phone yesterday when I heard a high-pitched raspberry coming from Ian. And then again. And then it became clear that Jordan could trigger it.

Jordan was trying to wipe his nose. He’d seen Jordan help Sylvia blow her nose, and apparently was trying to mimic the nose blowing.

Eyeball hack

I’ve been playing around with GWT recently, Google’s toolkit for making Gmail-like applications in Java. The idea is pretty slick: you write both the client (web browser) and server portions in Java, and then it translates the client-side Java into several dialects of Javascript (one for each of the major web browsers.) You get to use a Java debugger and keep all your code in one language, without having to learn all the nuances of each web browser. It works great if you’re writing something that works like Gmail, but it’s totally inappropriate if you just want to add a few flashy effects to a web page.

That said, here’s an example of something I whipped together in GWT. For the record, my three-year-old thinks it’s funny, most people think it’s mildly creepy, and Seebs says it’s disturbing to autistic people like himself– but only due to color asymmetry.

Bridge collapsed, we’re fine

Last night a major bridge in Minneapolis collapsed, the span of Interstate 35W which goes from downtown from points north. It’s been on the news, so I want to reassure everyone that we’re all fine. I don’t know of anyone who was on the bridge at the time, though I know a few people who crossed it minutes before it collapsed. My family crosses the span only a few times a year.

There were about 60 vehicles on the bridge at the time, including trucks and a school bus. (All the kids evacuated safely, with a few minor injuries.) There was road resurfacing going on, so the highway was down to two lanes in each direction with stop-and-go traffic. The latest report I’ve heard is 4 dead, 79 injured, and 20 missing. But the whole city is in shock, because everyone knows somebody who crosses that bridge, and anyone could have been crossing the bridge.

I’m not sure what will happen in terms of traffic. You can’t replace an 8-lane bridge overnight, and all of the bridges are heavily used for miles in each direction.

The apartment where I lived in grad school was about 500 feet from the bridge in question, as you can see here. The image shows two parallel bridges, one a 4-lane city street, the other an 8-lane highway. The highway collapsed. My old apartment is at the southeast corner of the 4-lane bridge, but it’s hard to make out because the border between the images cut straight through the middle of the building; its shadow and tennis courts are clearly visible, but if you zoom in you’ll see one ghostly tower swaying northeast across another ghostly tower swaying southwest. (It will be interesting to look at that image for years to come to see how soon Google updates the images. If you look upstream, you won’t find the new Guthrie building, but you will see the tents where Cirque du Soleil was many years ago.)