Hawaii trip pictures and recap (finally!)
Mood: tired
Posted on 2014-10-26 18:15:00
Tags: pictures travel
Words: 3899

It's been more than a month since we got back from our two week vacation in Hawaii, and things have been so busy I just now finished posting our pictures. So - here they are!

<- click for full album

We got legally married while in Hawaii! Here are some pictures of the ceremony:
<- click for album

(all of the embedded pictures are links - click on them to see the full picture!)

Saturday 9/6
The flight from Dallas to Honolulu was pretty long, and honestly the plane (a 767) wasn't that nice - there were only a few TVs and the whole plane vibrated quite a bit on takeoff. It was in a 2-3-2 configuration, so at least I got a window seat (and took some pictures). When we got to our seats there was someone sitting in one of them, so we had to kick him out, so he moved to the seat in front of us and then was kind of a jerk the rest of the flight. The plane was quite full so I don't know what he was expecting, but oh well. Also, somehow there were no/few meals available on the flight (even to buy!), which is suboptimal for an 8 hour flight. Thankfully they told us this before we boarded so we bought some meals in the airport...

On the plane I read a bunch and watched Spike Jonze's movie "Her" which was pretty good!

After getting off the plane, we stopped at a Starbucks and then made our way down to baggage claim. I forgot how big the Honolulu airport was - it was a solid 10 minutes of walking to get there. Then our luggage took 20 more minutes to show up, although we were thankful to see it hadn't been lost!

We had a shuttle take us to our hotel, the Aston Waikiki Beach, which is on the very east end of Waikiki Beach. We got settled in and took the requisite pictures of Waikiki Beach from our room, then walked around for a bit, then came back to the room and collapsed, having stayed up long enough to get on a semi-reasonable schedule. Since activities tend to start early here we decided that getting up early and going to bed early would be our schedule... we'll see if we can stick to it.
<- view from our hotel room
<- David on Waikiki Beach at night

Sunday 9/7
This morning was the Pleasant Holidays orientation thing where you can schedule events for the rest of your trip. It's helpful to do this all at once (and they have everything pretty well organized), but sitting through the presentation I can see why we overscheduled ourselves last time we were here. There's not pressure, exactly, but the guy kept going on and on about how much amazing stuff there is to do here. Which is true! But trying to fill every minute of every day with tours and museums and shopping is not the way to have a vacation, or at least it isn't for us.

Anyway, we booked a few things (and got a sweet tote bag!) and then walked back to our hotel. The orientation was early enough (we got picked up at our hotel at 7:30) so we read down by the hotel pool for a bit, then walked down to a beachside café we had seen and after reading some more, ate lunch there. Then back to the room and we went downstairs to get picked up by a shuttle to go to our Atlantis Submarine tour, which I was really excited about! Then we got there, walked to the boat that would take us to the submarine, and after 15 minutes or so they came out and announced it was cancelled due to poor visibility. (something about ocean currents). I was fairly bummed out by this, especially since we didn't have a free slot to reschedule to. So, back on the shuttle to the hotel.
<- looking out over Waikiki Beach

We considered scheduling something else for the evening, but decided instead to read on the beach for a bit and then walk to Eggs 'n Things, which was delicious when we ate there 5 years ago. Spoiler alert: it is still delicious! Now we're relaxing in the room taking advantage of the movies the hotel lets us rent. (we're watching "Hugo", although the disc is skipping quite a bit)
<- reading on the beach
<- David at Eggs n' Things

It's actually pretty hot here - the highs are supposedly around 90 but in the sun it's really quite warm. I drank a lot today but suspect I didn't drink enough. I think we're going to try to limit outdoor activity between noon and 4 pm, or at least try to do things in the shade!

Monday 9/8
This morning we had "Breakfast on the Beach" at our hotel, which is not actually on the beach but by the hotel's pool, which is across the street from the beach. Close enough, I guess? Afterwards we went out on our top-secret errand to get a marriage license! We were going to take a cab to the Department of Health but decided instead to take the bus. This ended up working well (thanks HERE Transit!) and we made it over there fine and got the paperwork done. Afterwards we took the bus over to Chinatown and browsed around for a while before heading to Golden Palace to have lunch. (they have good dumplings!)
<- an old smallpox quarantine order, as seen at the Department of Health

Afterwards we took another bus over to Hilo Hattie, which is a pretty famous souvenir store. They're very friendly there and only somewhat pushy :-) I bought a nice Hawaiian shirt and a few other odds and ends, and then we took their shuttle back to our hotel to crash for a while.

We had dinner reservations at a show called The Magic of Polynesia. Whilst there, I ordered "The Magic", which is a drink served in a volcano cup that comes out on fire. Our waitress said that the top was 151 (it was in a hollowed-out lime half), and I could drink it as a shot or pour it in the drink. I guess I don't understand how fire works, because I blew on it a few times and it didn't go out. So I decided that that was just how it worked, and I'm not brave enough to drink a flaming drink, so I picked up the lime half and poured the fire into my cup. Unfortunately I spilled a bit and then the tablecloth and my napkin were on fire. _Then_ I figured out that the secret is: blow harder and the fire will disappear, although not before leaving a hole in my napkin and burning my finger. The Japanese tourists sitting next to us were quite amused. Lesson learned!

The food and show were pretty good... as our guidebook said, the magic was somewhat repetitive, but there was one trick that honest-to-goodness made me gasp. (he levitated a woman, raised her up to the ceiling, and then she disappeared and a bunch of paper exploded outwards. It was impressive!). Interestingly, one of the early things he did was ask where everyone was from, and there was a good chunk of people from the US, Japan, China, Korea, and Australia. (and two people from Canada, who got made fun of, because Canada!). Later in the show he picked an older Japanese guy to be his assistant and verify that the wooden box was solid, etc. Unfortunately, the guy didn't really speak English, and after a few questions the magician started leading him on to say "OK" to everything. At one point he tried to get in the box with someone else, which was definitely not part of the trick! Then after it was done he walked behind the curtain to follow someone, also not intended. The guy did seem to be a good sport about it, though.

Tuesday 9/9
Today started auspiciously - our ride to the Polynesian Cultural Center wasn't until 10:30, so we slept in a tiny bit, grabbed breakfast by the pool (it even rained for a few minutes!), and then read by the beach for a bit before heading over to the Marriott where we were supposed to be picked up. Right around 10:30 a bus marked PCC showed up, but the driver looked at our ticket and said we were supposed to be on another bus. 10:30 became 10:40 became 10:50, and we were the only one left waiting - never a good sign! So I called Pleasant Holidays and after waiting on hold a while, someone confirmed we had indeed missed it somehow, and booked us on the next bus leaving at 12:30. I asked for a confirmation number and then something happened and she basically hung up, I guess. Since we knew we had extra time we decided to go to the Pleasant Holidays booth at our hotel to try to get firmer info. Luckily Nancy at the booth took very good care of us and we even got a partial refund, which was nice because this new plan significantly cut down on the time we're we'd have at the Center.

So we had lunch and then did in fact get picked up and rode the bus the hour or so it takes to get to the Center. Our bus guide was about 20% interesting information and 80% stupid jokes and crowd games and such I just wasn't interested in...

The PCC itself is pretty cool, though - we walked through all 6 islands it covers (although we couldn't stay long at any of them; supposedly it would take 16 hours to see everything), had delicious luau food, then saw a pretty impressive show they call Ha: The Breath of Life. The show was very high-energy with lots of running around, yelling, and intense dancing. (the fire dancers were the coolest!) Many of the people that work at the Center are students at BYU Hawaii, and while they're limited to working 19 hours a week, I can't imagine performing in that show 4 nights a week for months on top of schoolwork!
<- fresh coconut water!
<- Samoan tree climber
<- dancing at the Tahitian village

Wednesday 9/10
Today we had a tour of the Dole Pineapple Plantation and north Shore and a few other random things. We were supposed to be picked up at 8:15 - when 8:20 rolled around I nervously called the company (fool me once, shame on you...) but the bus was just running behind. Our driver this time was friendly, funny, but also very knowledgeable. She also earned a bunch of points in my book by making fun of the other drivers (like the one yesterday!) who make you say "aloooohaa!" (to the cadence of "Helllloooooooo nurse!") The tour was a lot of fun - we saw some cool stuff at the Dole Plantation, including the world's largest maze! David and I ran a little short on time but we did manage to hit 5 of the 8 hidden stations. I also tried some "Dole Whip" which is kinda like soft-serve pineapple, and was delicious!
<- "breakfast on the beach"
<- David in a coffee garden
<- David in the hedge maze!

We drove by a lot of pretty places and I took pictures of varying quality. The trip ran a little late so we only had time for a short nap before dinner. We walked to a Japanese udon noodle place, which was pretty good, then walked along Waikiki beach for a bit after dark.
<- Hale'iwa, where all the buildings have to look like they would in plantation times
<- Kualoa Ranch, where Jurassic Park (among other films) was filmed!

This is our last night on Oahu - it's been nice here but I'm also looking forward to a quieter island; Waikiki is quite crowded!

Our hotel has been pretty nice - one particularly cool feature is the newfangled elevators. In the elevator lobby, you have to tap your room key to the panel and then type in the floor you want to go to, and then it tells you which elevator (A-E) to go to. The elevator then has no floor buttons, although it does indicate which floors it's going to. I've heard of this idea before - it lets the elevator group trips more efficiently - but never gotten to use it in practice. I never saw anyone being confused (although walking into an elevator and not pressing a button is still weird!), probably because there were signs everywhere and it was carefully explained to us when we checked in.

Thursday 9/11
Breakfast, then reading by the beach, then leaving for the airport was our morning. The Honolulu airport was a bit crowded but we got through security with plenty of time before our flight. It's a nice place to spend time since it's open-air in parts, and the weather was nice like it usually is :-). There's even a garden we went down to explore! Had lunch and took the absurdly short flight to Kauai, got our rental car, and drove up to our condo - the Outrigger Waipouli Beach Resort. Our condo is really nice! Lots of space and a full kitchen. We lollygagged around for too long to take pictures before nightfall, but we'll take some tomorrow. Met up with Jonathan and Sarah (who did _not_ die!) and we went out to a Benihana-style place for dinner, which was excellent. Then we stopped by the local Goodland to buy breakfast food and laundry detergent (and chocolate-covered macadamia nuts!), and back here to relax for the evening.
<- Our hotel room in Honolulu
<- garden at the Honolulu Airport
<- very pretty old map of Hawaii, on a wall at the Honolulu Airport
<- on the runway at the Honolulu Airport
<- the view from our condo in Kauai!

Friday 9/12
We had breakfast on our lanai this morning, which was very nice! After lounging around a bit we headed back to the airport for our helicopter tour with Blue Hawaiian. We enjoyed our flight with them on Maui, so we decided to use them again. This time we got to ride in the front seats (I got to be next to the emergency exit!), which gave us even nicer views. We saw lots of cool stuff including Manawaiopuna Falls (the waterfall seen in Jurassic Park!), the Kalalau Beach (which Jonathan and Sarah had hiked to), and the Na Pali coast. Hopefully some of my pictures will turn out OK! Afterwards we drove up to Kapaa for lunch at a local burger place, which was good, then back to the condo for rest time. Later the four of us went down to Hanapepe for an art night they have every Friday evening. There were food trucks and people playing music and a surprising number of art galleries open for such a small town! The nicest art gallery we saw was Giorgio's...unfortunately it was all pretty expensive. Someday! Tomorrow we're planning to hike part of Waimea Canyon, which should be fun but possibly exhausting.
<- in the front seats of the helicopter!
<- a bay in Lihue?
<- the waterfall in Jurassic Park!
<- Waimea Canyon
<- Kalalau Beach, where Jonathan and Sarah hiked to!
<- the Na Pali Coast
<- us in front of the westernmost bookstore in the US!

Saturday 9/13
Today was "hike Waimea Canyon day" and by gum that's what we did! David and I hiked around 2 miles and then headed back while Jonathan and Sarah continued on to the overlook they were hoping to get to - unfortunately it was cloudy by then so apparently you couldn't see much :-/. The hike was pretty rough - lots of up and down (I got my first 100 floor climbing day on my Fitbit!) but nothing was too scary. Afterwards we went to Poipu for dinner at Keoki's Paradise and then back home to collapse (and launder our red dirt-stained clothing!)
<- David at Waimea Canyon overlook
<- looking down over Kalalau Valley
<- me on the Waimea Canyon hike
<- David in front of creepy fog!

Sunday 9/14
Well, something happened last night and my allergies started acting up. (not sure if I was allergic to something on the hike or what?). Apparently I snored (sorry David!) which I rarely do unless I'm seriously congested, so I woke up feeling fairy crappy this morning. Luckily Tylenol+real Sudafed+caffeine+cough drops have been helping a bunch.

Today was set aside as a beach day so we went up to Hanalei for lunch and then to Hideaways Beach in Princeville. The hike down to the beach was surprisingly tough/scary, but the beach itself was beautiful, albeit small. I took a bunch of pictures and we hung out and read for hours. It was great! Afterwards we came back to the condo and enjoyed the salt-water pool - it has two water slides, a lazy river part, three waterfalls, and two spas!
<- David at Hideaways Beach
<- the beach part of Hideaways Beach

Monday 9/15
Thankfully feeling somewhat better today. We didn't have anything scheduled in the morning so after taking care of a few odds and ends we went down to the beach by our hotel. It's nice because there are some trees around so there was shade we could follow. There was a guy sunbathing near us who was friendly but, once he surmised we were a couple, proceeded to go waaaaay beyond the limits of oversharing. Way beyond!

We went into Kapaa for lunch and then down to Lihue to pick up two flower leis. Then we came back to the condo, cleaned ourselves up, and went down to get officially married at the courthouse! (Jonathan and Sarah were our witnesses) Judge Watanabe was very friendly and helpful (she performed the first same-sex marriage in the county!) and helped soothe my nerves a bit. The ceremony was short but nice. Afterwards we celebrated by, well, going back to the condo and relaxing for a bit before going to the luau at Smith's Tropical Paradise. The grounds there were very nicely kept up and we wandered around a bit before dinner. The open bar was also a nice touch, and the food was quite good. The show afterwards was impressive in parts but I felt it kinda dragged on. (I was also tired, so maybe this isn't fair...)
<- click for wedding ceremony pictures if you missed them above!
<- Peacock at Smith's Tropical Paradise
<- Japanese fan dance

Tuesday 9/16
This morning we toured the Allerton Gardens at the National Tropical Botanical Gardens. The tour started out in a not-promising fashion, as our guide seemed knowledgeable but also kind of weirdly goofy and rambly. Luckily once we actually got into the garden itself things picked up, and the tour was pleasant, if a bit hot by the end. The story of how the garden was founded is pretty weird. Samuel Allerton made his wealth, apparently, by getting an inside tip that there was going to be a meat shortage, so he bought a bunch of cattle for 1 cent a pound and later sold it to the government for 60 cents a pound. (so, you know, profiteering!). Apparently he also founded a bank that became JP Morgan Chase? Anyway, his son Robert Allerton wanted to be an artist, so he went to art school, but then didn't like it and was contemplating suicide. So instead his father bought him some land and he designed the gardens there, which I guess he really liked. I guess the lesson is: money is useful?

(what the guide didn't tell us, but Wikipedia does, was that Robert Allerton had a same-sex partner and they were in fact one of the most prominent same-sex couples of their day! Crazy...)

So the gardens were nice and we did get to see where they found the raptor eggs in Jurassic Park, so that's something! Afterwards we came back to the condo for a bit and then went up to Kauai Mini Golf, which doubles as a botanical garden. (and was apparently started by the founder of E*Trade!). It was a good time.
<- David next to tall trees in the Allerton Garden
<- a nice water feature
<- where they found the raptor eggs in Jurassic Park!
<- me at Kauai Mini Golf
<- David at Kauai Mini Golf

Driving on Kauai is a little stressful - even the major roads are typically 2 lanes (i.e. 1 each way) with brief stretches of 3 lanes, and the speed limits are absurdly low to the point where no one follows them. Traffic gets pretty bad especially near where our condo is. I did let a car in front of me at one point yesterday and the driver flashed me the "hang loose" hand sign, which was pretty cool :-)

Wednesday 9/17
This morning we slept in (yaaaay!) and then had brunch at Kountry Kitchen, which I thought >was pretty good, although David was less impressed with his meal. We later met up with Jonathan and Sarah and got some shaved ice and then went over to the Kilohana Plantation. We looked at some shops and then did a rum tasting of Koloa Rum, which is made nearby. It's good rum, especially the coconut rum! Afterwards we popped over to do some more shopping (where I saw a $750 map of Hawaii I liked, but didn't buy) and then back to Gaylord's Restaurant at Kilohana Plantation.
<- rum tasting!

Today was the first day we didn't have to put on sunscreen, and I have to say it was pretty awesome. I'm getting tired of having the sun being our sworn enemy and having to lather on sunscreen every time we go outside. To its credit, I have been mostly free of sunburns this trip, but it's a pain!

Thursday 9/18
Quiet morning, although we did manage to squeeze in some beach time, then it was off to the North Shore for a Na Pali Coast boat ride and snorkel! We went with the Sea Breeze tour, and the boat was nice if a wee bit crowded. We saw some dolphins early on which was nice, and then some magnificent views of the Na Pali Coast, including some of the Kalalau Trail that Jonathan and Sarah recognized. Unfortunately I can't wear my glasses while snorkeling (it messes up the seal on the mask), but I did come almost face-to-face with a turtle! The water was a bit choppy and I started to feel a little sick on the way back, luckily nothing came of it. Afterwards we came back to shower and ate dinner at the restaurant at the condo, which was quite nice. Then David and I looked at stars on the beach :-) before coming back to pack up and whatnot.
<- dolphins!
<- us in front of a neat cave
<- Na Pali Coast
<- me at dinner
<- everyone else at dinner

Friday 9/19
Last day in Hawaii! :-( Our flight didn't leave until the evening, so after reading on the beach by our condo for a bit, we checked out and went to the coffee place we liked in Kalaheo for lunch, then went by a few waterfalls, played another round of mini golf, and went back to Lihue for dinner. The airport was kind of warm and they had some live music which was nice but a bit loud.
<- living room of the condo
<- monk seal on the beach!
<- Wailua Falls


link friday: "God Only Knows", old-timey baseball footage, living on Amtrak
Mood: happy
Music: "God Only Knows"
Posted on 2014-10-10 10:23:00
Tags: links
Words: 195

- This BBC video of a bunch of famous people singing "God Only Knows" is pretty good, even if I didn't recognize most of the singers (not including Stevie Wonder, of course!) Here's a handy guide to who's who. Then I found in the comments a link to the barbershop quartet version from Bioshock Infinite. Then I remembered "Let the Circle be Unbroken" from Bioshock Infinite was also really pretty. Then in the related links I found this interview with the Lutece twins. Then I thought "hey, I should get back to work!"

- Watch rare footage of the Senators beating the Giants in the 1924 World Series - it's real old-timey baseball footage! (the music is extra cool, although it's not original)

- Aboard Amtrak - a long essay about the author's experience living on Amtrak. Includes a handy Amtrak travel guide which we might take advantage of in the future!

- Times Articles Removed From Google Results in Europe - look, I understand the idea behind the "right to be forgotten", but this smacks of revisionist history. The wedding and death announcements I don't mind as much, but the one's that "damage people's reputation" I don't think should be removed.


megagiant Sunday links: football, vacations, programming languages as weapons
Mood: exhausted
Posted on 2014-09-28 21:28:00
Tags: links
Words: 376

I am running out of words for "big" here...I remember a time when I'd post these every week or so. To be fair, this one goes back to before we were in Hawaii, about which I will post pictures when I have the energy.

- I'm quitting football - sadly, I am too. Which hurts, because not only does football have the perfect number of games per season, but it's exciting and a real cultural bonding point. (and I don't want this to come off as a "holier than thou" stance...) But the thing that really got me was the head injuries and the fact that players are often on painkillers during games so they can perform. And I don't see how the game can possibly change to fix these issues without becoming something else entirely. (see also Brain Trauma to Affect One in Three Players, N.F.L. Agrees, which is pretty horrifying)

- Hit the Reset Button in Your Brain - or, taking breaks/vacation is really good for your brain. I will admit to lightly browsing through my work email while on vacation, but I didn't think about it much, and it was nice :-)

- If programming languages were weapons - this was spot-on, at least for the languages I've used. (although, really, C# is pretty excellent!)

- How to Get Ahead as a Woman in Tech: Interrupt Men - this is both depressing and uplifting. Just interrupt more, women, I guess! (thanks Christi!)

- The Law-School Scam - to be clear, this is talking about for-profit law schools, and it sounds like they're borderline scamming the government for federal aid for their students.

- Can the Crowd Solve Medical Mysteries? - obviously this wouldn't scale, but in truly desperate cases this sounds very promising.

- After Surgery, Surprise $117,000 Medical Bill From Doctor He Didn’t Know - ack! One more reason why medicine (especially when you're in the hospital!) is not a free market at all...there's no pricing transparency at all.

- How to Be Polite - this is kind of a weird article, but it seems like there's some good advice in there.

- Introducing Tweet-a-Program - hey, that's pretty cool! I wish I remembered my Mathematica syntax...

- The Secret Rules of Adjective Order - neat, there are rules that explain why "big red barn" sounds good while "red big barn" sounds weird!


Windows Phone: including ads in your Universal app, and using In-App Purchasing to turn them off
Mood: busy
Posted on 2014-09-27 15:03:00
Tags: windowsphone wpdev
Words: 824

Free apps are wildly more popular than paid apps, but some people (myself included) get annoyed at ads in apps. To get the best of both worlds, you can include ads in your free app but let people in-app purchase a way to turn them off. Here's how to do this in a Universal app (see how to do this in WP 8.0), and for an example, check out the Universal app Float to Hex!

Part 1: Adding advertising

Unfortunately there aren't a ton of ad APIs that support Windows Phone 8.1 Universal apps at the time of this writing - the only ones I found are Microsoft pubCenter, AdDuplex, and Smaato. I went with Microsoft pubCenter - here's where you can download the Windows Phone API and the Windows API.

You can follow the guides at those links for a step-by-step walkthrough to add ads to the Windows and Windows Phone version of your app.


Now the ads in your app should be working! Launch it and make sure that they appear and don't obscure any content.

Part 2: Using In-App Purchasing to Disable Ads

1. Log in to the Windows Phone Dev Center, click "Dashboard" (at the top), then "Submit App" on the left. Under the "App info" section, give your app a name and category, then Save. (you can change these when you're ready to submit for real) Go back to the dashboard, select your new app, and go to the "Products" section. Click "Add in-app product". For the product info, specify whatever you want for the product alias, but beware - don't use any spaces or special characters so you can use the same one on Windows! (for Float to Hex I used "FloatToHexNoAds" for the alias and product identifier) Set the type to "Durable", select the price, and click Save. Then specify a title and description - for the icon, feel free to use this:

(click for full-sized image)

Finally, submit the product. Since your app isn't published yet, it won't be visible to anyone else.

2. Repeat step 1 on the Windows Dev Center.

Now you need to check for the in-app purchase and hide the ad if so. One way is to do this declaratively using data binding, and it's arguably a bit cleaner than the way below. Up to you!

3. Either create a Utils class or add this code to an existing one:

public static bool ShowAds { get; set; }
public static void UpdateInAppPurchases()
ShowAds = true;
var allLicenses = Windows.ApplicationModel.Store.
if (allLicenses.ContainsKey("FloatToHexNoAds"))
var license = allLicenses["FloatToHexNoAds"];
if (license.IsActive)
ShowAds = false;
public static async Task RemoveAds(Action updateAd)
await Windows.ApplicationModel.Store.CurrentApp
catch (Exception)
// oh well

In App.xaml.cs, add a call to Utils.UpdateInAppPurchases() to the OnLaunched() and OnActivated() methods.

4. Find all of the ads you added in XAML, and add Visibility="Collapsed" to them. Then, to each page that has an ad, add this method:

public void UpdateAd()
Ad.Visibility = Utils.ShowAds ? Visibility.Visible : Visibility.Collapsed;

and add a call to UpdateAd() to the NavigationHelper_LoadState() method.

5. All that's left now is to add the option to remove ads from inside the app. If you'd like to add a menu item in the app bar, you can add the following XAML in both Windows and Windows Phone:

<CommandBar x:Name="AdUpgradeBar">
<AppBarButton Label="remove ads" Icon="Remove" Click="RemoveAds_Click"

Or, you can add a button in your about page, or both.

Then, add the event handler:

private async void RemoveAds_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)
await Utils.RemoveAds(UpdateAd);

Finally, to remove the menu item from the page if the user has already removed the ads, add this code to your UpdateAd() method:

RemoveAdsButton.Visibility =
Utils.ShowAds ? Visibility.Visible : Visibility.Collapsed;

6. (optional) If you'd like to back up the In-App Purchases, you can back them up in the app settings. This isn't strictly necessary, but if the In-App Purchasing system gets messed up again your app will be covered.

To test the in-app purchasing code, you'll need to publish your app as a beta. (all in-app purchases are free in a beta) But, other than that, you're done!

One final warning: With Universal apps, you publish the Windows and Windows Phone version separately, and then apparently it detects the the apps are Universal. When I published Float to Hex, the Windows version detected that it was Universal almost immediately, but it took 36 hours for the Windows Phone version to show that it was Universal. So don't panic for a few days like I did!

References: Windows Phone blog post on In-App Purchasing

In-App Purchase: Success stories and Tips to test common in-app failure scenarios

Dev Center now open for Windows Phone 8.1 and universal Windows app submissions


See all my Windows Phone development posts. I also send out a monthly-or-so email with news for developers - check out the latest email and sign up here!

I'm planning on writing more posts about Windows Phone development - what would you like to hear about? Reply here, on twitter at @gregstoll, or by email at greg@gregstoll.com.


Antifragile review
Mood: tired
Posted on 2014-09-21 12:57:00
Tags: reviews books
Words: 645

Antifragile: Things That Gain from DisorderAntifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Maaaan this book was frustrating to read.

His main point is that some things are fragile - small random things happening to them make them break. Some things are robust - they're resilient to small random things happening to them. But the best things are antifragile - small random things happening to them make them stronger. Good examples are things like your immune system, since being exposed to weak viruses makes it stronger.

So far so good. Unfortunately the rest of the book was painful to read, even as there were some good ideas sprinkled within. Here are some reasons why!

- The author is, to put it delicately, an egocentric asshole. He calls things "sissy" and "wussy", because he's apparently a fifth grader. Some choice quotes:

A friend who writes books remarked that painters like painting but authors like "having written." I suggested he stop writing, for his sake and the sake of his readers.
Charming, no? He also goes on about people who just don't understand his ideas (which I'm a little skeptical of...it's possible that they do understand and disagree, which I'm sure the author would consider the same as not "really" understanding) and gives the example of a time when he was doing a radio interview and the journalist didn't understand something, so he walked out of the studio.

- The book is extremely prone to overstating things for dramatic effect (I assume?), which made me not trust it in a lot of cases. The author says "I realized school was a plot designed to deprive people of erudition by squeezing their knowledge into a narrow set of authors." (and then has a long list of authors that he's read) He says depression is a made-up disease! Here, look:
But when you medicate a child for an imagined or invented psychiatric disease, say, ADHD or depression, instead of letting him out of the cage, the long-term harm is largely unaccounted for.
I mean, I don't disagree that ADHD is probably overdiagnosed and we need to be careful about prescribing medication, especially if it isn't proven to work better than counseling. But I think it's pretty unreasonable and insulting to say depression is "imagined or invented". To me, this shows a lack of empathy or a belief that since he doesn't feel depressed, other people are just "sad" or faking it or something. Sigh.

- He has a giant chip on his shoulder. In retrospect this isn't terribly surprising, because in "The Black Swan" he talks about betting for the market to crash and being wrong every day for a long time, until he was right. (it also isn't surprising because he's an egocentric asshole - see above) But he attacks people mercilessly, some of whom seem like they don't deserve it. He keeps calling people "Fragilista" (which I never was entirely clear what that meant) and he talks about about "Soviet-Harvard" people. He is extremely condescending towards "book learning" and claims that most innovations came from tinkering without understanding what was going on, which I find a bit implausible.

- The book is extremely hedgehog like (see The Hedgehog and the Fox) - he tries to apply this principle of antifragility across a wide range of topics, some of which he (proudly!) doesn't know much about.

He also hates the metric system because the imperial measures are "intuitive". For example, a furlong is the distance one can sprint before running out of breath, which is really stretching the definition of intuitive...

Anyway, with most books I try to ignore the parts I don't like and get what I can out of it. In this case the whole reading experience was pretty unpleasant, and 90% of the good parts were in "The Black Swan" anyway, so I'd recommend reading that instead.

View all my reviews


We got married!
Mood: excited
Posted on 2014-09-20 21:01:00
Tags: pictures
Words: 200

We just got back from our vacation in Hawaii (pictures, etc. coming soon), and we got legally married while we were there! See:

What does this mean? - right now it's a little confusing. Twenty some-odd states recognize our marriage, as does the federal government (after the Supreme Court overturned DOMA last year), but twenty some-odd other states, including Texas, don't recognize us as married. Fun times ahead!
Why wasn't I invited? - since we had a ceremony with our family and friends five years ago, this was just a quick civil ceremony. (although Jonathan and Sarah were there, but they were in Hawaii already :-) )
Are you changing your names? - Nope!
Are you changing your email addresses? - Umm, nope!
Where are the real pictures? - coming sometime once we settle back into Austin life. If you like pictures of us with varying proportions of happiness to nervousness, you will not be disappointed!
So...not to be rude, but is this a big deal? - Good question! Sort of yes and sort of no. We already considered ourselves married after our previous ceremony, but "making it legal" does have some meaning to it. And of course this means we get to file taxes together, etc.


Red Rabbit review
Mood: relaxed
Posted on 2014-09-16 21:56:00
Tags: reviews books
Words: 154

Red Rabbit (Jack Ryan, #2)Red Rabbit by Tom Clancy
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I thought the book was pretty good, although in retrospect it was kind of repetitive. Some other things I didn't like:

- The book was written in 2002 but set in 1982 (a sort of prequel), and it gets way too clever about "predicting the future": Jack Ryan thinks that Japan is going to go into recession! He invests in Starbucks! He has a good feeling about Cal Ripken, Jr! (and all of these get mentioned multiple times) I understand the temptation to do this, but do it more than once and it just gets irritating and takes me right out of the book.
- I'm guessing that Clancy was a bit right-wing (which, admittedly, isn't a huge surprise), and while I haven't seen his biases show in previous books they certainly do in this one, often for seemingly no reason.

View all my reviews


The Gendered Society review
Mood: relaxed
Posted on 2014-09-14 20:59:00
Tags: reviews books
Words: 166

The Gendered SocietyThe Gendered Society by Michael S. Kimmel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I got sent a copy of this book because it uses a version of my same-sex marriage map, so when I got it I flipped through to find it and then set it aside. David read through it and liked it a lot, so I decided to give it a read through, and it's really quite good!

The author's main points are:
- gender differences are quite exaggerated - there's much more variability inside a gender than between them. (think of two bell curves with slightly different means, or something like that)
- It sure seems like gender inequality is the cause of (and not a result of!) the differences between genders.

The book can be a bit depressing because people are terrible, but it's a good look at what gender means, and it opened my eyes into how much society constructs and enforces gender roles. And gender roles make me angry!

View all my reviews


Everything is Bullshit review
Mood: exhausted
Posted on 2014-09-13 20:59:00
Tags: reviews books
Words: 148

Everything Is Bullshit: The greatest scams on Earth revealedEverything Is Bullshit: The greatest scams on Earth revealed by Alex Mayyasi
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really enjoy the Priceonomics blog, so I was happy to support them even though this is just a collection of essay from the site.

Some of these I considered pretty obvious (demand for diamonds was created by DeBeers! Companies that make packaged foods lobby Congress a lot and get laws passed!), but there are definitely a few gems here. I specifically enjoyed the article about how a comedy writer became homeless (which honestly didn't have much to do with the book's premise, but was gripping and well-written), the donate cars for charity article, and the bicycle thief one.

So it all depends on what you know or have read before. I'd recommend it regardless and just skip to the next chapter if you get bored.

View all my reviews


Profit from the Core review
Mood: relaxed
Posted on 2014-09-08 14:32:00
Tags: reviews books
Words: 160

Profit from the Core: Growth Strategy in an Era of TurbulenceProfit from the Core: Growth Strategy in an Era of Turbulence by Chris Zook
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was OKish. (I'd give it 2.5 stars if allowed to) The main thesis is that your business should figure out what it's good at and focus on that. When you want to expand, focus in adjacent markets where you can leverage what you're good at. The book is very down on diverse conglomerates.

Which is all fine and such, but the book itself was kind of dull and repetitive. Also, being written in 2001, it has some amusing bits:
- It quotes Mitt Romney! (the book was written by people at Bain)
- It isn't so sure how Amazon's move to sell other things than books is going to work.
- The best part was the few pages on how Enron(!) does so well! There's also a few positive mentions of WorldCom.

So...yeah. Grain of salt indeed!

View all my reviews


The Innovator's Dilemma review
Mood: relaxed
Posted on 2014-09-06 20:56:00
Tags: reviews books
Words: 389

The Innovator's Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do BusinessThe Innovator's Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business by Clayton M. Christensen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a very engrossing book. I've started taking these business sorts of book with a grain of salt, but the book presents an interesting way of thinking that I'm pretty sure is right some of the time.

The basic idea is: established companies are great at coming up with "sustaining" innovations, which are innovations that improve on their existing technology. They are terrible at investing in "disruptive" innovations, which produce products that are worse than their existing products in ways that their customers care about, but better in a few that are crucial for customers they don't have yet. The example the book uses is disk drives in the 70s-80s - companies that made 14 inch drives were successful at increasing the density of those drives, but few/none made the jump to 8 inch drives. These 8 inch drives were more expensive per megabyte and smaller, but they were cheaper overall and more rugged, which their customers didn't care about but emerging products did.

This is combined with the trend that often technology improves faster than the market cares about, so eventually 8 inch drives caught up in capacity with what the existing market needed and soon after nobody bought 14 inch drives anymore.

The tricky part is that often established companies had the ability to make these disruptive innovations, but when they're being developed they generally have smaller margins since they're cheaper, so there's a strong incentive for companies to keep investing in the technologies they're familiar with and get higher margins. This works for a while until the disruptive innovation becomes good enough, and then the market collapses. Even if the company then tries to make the disruptive innovation, the companies that have been doing it for years are much better at it.

The author suggests that the only way established companies can successfully adopt a disruptive innovation is to basically let a group work on it that is guaranteed resources to continue their work and isolate them from the existing company, so the people can have the freedom to experiment without being pulled in to working on existing products.

Anyway, it's a fairly light read but very interesting!

View all my reviews


Windows Phone Developer News - Dev Center Benefits, Unity promotion, paying your "taxes"
Mood: relaxed
Posted on 2014-09-01 12:08:00
Tags: newsletter wpdev
Words: 32

I just sent out my first Windows Phone Developer News! Check it out: Windows Phone Developer News - Dev Center Benefits, Unity promotion, paying your "taxes" (you can also subscribe at that link)


Windows Phone Ambassador program is no more
Mood: disappointed
Posted on 2014-08-26 22:41:00
Tags: windowsphone
Words: 178

In case you missed the news, the (formerly) Nokia Developer Ambassador program is ending at the end of August.

I'll still be involved in the community (like the Austin Windows Developers!), and I'll still be working on my Windows Phone apps and writing articles for developers. I won't have my @microsoft.com email address anymore, but feel free to contact me at greg@gregstoll.com. I will continue to send out monthly-or-so emails about Windows/Windows Phone development - sign up here if you're interested!

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed, but I had a great almost 2 years with the program, and I really enjoyed getting to help developers out. Thanks as always to Rich Dunbar and all the other people at Nokia and Microsoft that made the program possible! (special shoutouts to my fellow ambassadors: what happens in Vegas...)

And lastly, thanks to all the developers I had the pleasure of working with. Y'all are what made the job worth doing :-)

PS I'm still bullish on Windows Phone long-term...this was sad, but it hurts way less than webOS!


Windows Phone: paying your "taxes", or a checklist before releasing an app
Mood: happy
Posted on 2014-08-23 16:15:00
Tags: windowsphone wpdev
Words: 830

Raymond Chen of The Old New Thing has a great post about paying your "taxes" as a Win32 developer, meaning you have to worry about features of the OS that your app may not be directly calling, but your users might be using. (examples are roaming user profiles, Fast User Switching, Hierarchical Storage Management, etc.) Here are more of his articles about "taxes".

So: what are the "taxes" in Universal app development for Windows/Windows Phone? Here's the list I came up with, and you can use this as a checklist before releasing a new app. Before you get discouraged at the length of the list, a lot of these are fairly easy to do!

WP means Windows Phone only and Win means Windows only, otherwise it applies to both.

Must haves:
(this doesn't mean that you have to support these, but you should be aware of them and disable support if your app doesn't play nicely)

Good for your app
These are not "taxes" per se, but they're definitely things you should think about before releasing your app!
Hopefully this will help you not forget anything when you're almost ready to publish your next app! And if I forgot anything, let me know at @gregstoll or greg@gregstoll.com and I'll update this list.


See all my Windows Phone development posts.

I'm planning on writing more posts about Windows Phone development - what would you like to hear about? Reply here, on twitter at @gregstoll, or by email at greg@gregstoll.com.


No Requiem for the Space Age: The Apollo Moon Landings and American Culture review
Mood: stressed
Posted on 2014-08-12 20:18:00
Tags: reviews books
Words: 118

No Requiem for the Space Age: The Apollo Moon Landings and American CultureNo Requiem for the Space Age: The Apollo Moon Landings and American Culture by Matthew D. Tribbe
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I did learn something from this book - the Apollo missions (really, the whole space race) were pretty controversial, and opposition to them came from both the left and right. In fact, a year after Apollo 11 less than half of the people in a poll could name Neil Armstrong as the man who first walked on the moon. (the number is higher now)

Other than that, though, the book was just kind of long and meandering and depressing. I'm not sure what I was expecting, I guess, but I was disappointed.

View all my reviews


links: tipping, basic income, biases, the Harlem Globetrotters
Mood: happy
Posted on 2014-08-05 20:15:00
Tags: links
Words: 273

- Why You Should Tip More Than You Do Now - a good reminder.

- Companies with Benefits - the idea of a for-profit company that also pledges to achieve social goals is pretty neat.

- The Pragmatic Libertarian Case for a Basic Income Guarantee - I don't agree with everything in here, but I am glad to see the idea of a basic income starting to be discussed in the US. Will it ever happen? Probably not, but a man can dream...

- Inside the Mirrortocracy - this is a pretty damning post. It's easy enough to be unconsciously biased against people who aren't "like you" in some way - baking that into the culture only makes it worse. Actively thinking about your biases is a good step towards defeating them!

- Love People, Not Pleasure - so I read this editorial and thought "OK, this isn't too surprising", and then I got to the bottom and the author is the president of the American Enterprise Institute and I was like whaaa? But, good for him! (and in retrospect I'm a bit less surprised - the issue isn't really a liberal versus conservative thing)

- A Statistical Appreciation of the Washington Generals And Harlem Globetrotters - hee hee!

- The ‘World Cup Is Over, Now What?’ Guide to Soccer - obviously a bit late on my part, but still a good guide.

- How Fan Loyalty Changed During the World Cup - pretty nice visualization.

- CIA covert operation helped America win the race to the Moon - pretty interesting story!

- Brazil’s Secret History of Southern Hospitality - wow, this reads like something out of a novel! (thanks Adam!)

- The Cornish beaches where Lego keeps washing up - it's part cute, part environmental disaster!


pictures from our quick New Orleans trip
Mood: tired
Posted on 2014-07-27 22:59:00
Tags: health pictures travel
Words: 223

<- click for full album!

The short version is - we had a good time! Got to wander the French Quarter a bit, take a steamboat up and down the Mississippi, and even have afternoon tea. Foodwise, I managed to have red beans and rice, jambalaya, beignets, and something like "Creole sausage" (is that a thing?), so I feel like I did pretty well.

Oh, and I had a root canal last week which I have apparently survived. I would like to dedicate the trip to David (it's our 5 year anniversary!) and Advil.

<- We stayed at the Windsor Court Hotel, which was extremely nice. Here's a view of (one of) their restaurants, which is where we ate breakfast every morning.

<- Colorful coral (at the aquarium)

<- David in front of the Steamboat Natchez after our trip. It was fun and informative!

<- This artwork at Copeland's Cheesecake Bistro felt very New Orleanian to me.

<- David and me in our carriage.

<- Our hotel was fancy enough to serve afternoon tea with ample tea sandwiches and scones! (sidenote: there were 20 other women there and no other men...)

<- Before we left we stopped by the National WWII Museum. Honestly, this picture looks a bit creepier than I had anticipated.

<- A sobering picture of the relative sizes of the military forces of Japan, the US, and Germany in 1939.

<- Recruitment posters from WWII.

<- Rationing, etc. posters from WWII.

<- More miscellaneous posters from WWII.


Windows Phone: Universal app template with about page, settings, first-run tutorial
Posted on 2014-07-27 19:20:00
Tags: windowsphone wpdev
Words: 314

It's tough to start with a blank app - I always want an About page and some other things. Since Universal apps are all the rage for Windows and Windows Phone, I made a universal app template to help get you started!

This template provides:
- About pages that are shared between Windows and Windows Phone, including links to other apps, to contact the author, to review the app, etc.
- Settings that are persisted and the user can set (in an about page)
- A first-run tutorial

- WinUniversalTemplate.zip - universal app template

Create the directory <My Documents>\Visual Studio 2013\Templates\ProjectTemplates\Visual C# and download the template to that directory. Next time you start Visual Studio 2013, you should have a "Hub About App (Universal Apps)" entry under Templates/Visual C#.

- The template is based on the Universal Hub template - right now that seemed like the best choice since the Universal empty template doesn't have support for navigation, etc.
- I constructed the various About pages so they could be shared between Windows and Windows Phone. That was a bit more awkward than I had expected - if it becomes a burden for you, feel free to split them up. (if you have any questions, feel free to contact me!)
- There are instructions in the README.txt file on how to customize or disable the first-run tutorial.

- UserSettings class and settings page

- About page with contact info and review button

- Page for linking to other apps

- First-run tutorial

Problems? Feedback? More things you'd like to see in the template? Let me know at @gregstoll or ext-greg.stoll@microsoft.com!


See all my Windows Phone development posts.

I'm planning on writing more posts about Windows Phone development - what would you like to hear about? Reply here, on twitter at @gregstoll, or by email at ext-greg.stoll@microsoft.com.


Interested in developing for Windows Phone? I'm the Windows Phone Developer Ambassador for Austin - drop me a line at ext-greg.stoll@microsoft.com!


Pictures from random things
Mood: okay
Posted on 2014-07-23 22:01:00
Tags: pictures
Words: 78

(click for full pictures!)

<- For our World Cup final watching party, we had soccer-themed snacks! (don't miss that the soccer ball chocolates are themselves in a soccer ball!)

<- This totally legitimate ad for vinegar was in the morning paper. I think my favorite "article" is "Vinegar, Better than Prescription Drugs?" I will say: no...no it is not.

<- Carrie and her friends Jenna and Malika came to visit us, and we played a rousing game of Star Trek Catan!


Capital in the Twenty-First Century review
Mood: okay
Posted on 2014-07-23 21:27:00
Tags: reviews books
Words: 495

Capital in the Twenty-First CenturyCapital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a 700-page book about economics which...wait, come back! So yeah, it's pretty long, and I'd be lying if I said it was fun and games the whole way through. But it was quite interesting, and even surprisingly entertaining. It's also quite readable for a 700 page economics book. I'm not going to try and summarize the whole thing (I'd recommend reading one of the many other reviews for that) but here are a few bits I found interesting:

- Piketty talks about the works of Honore de Balzac and Jane Austin. He points out that inflation was low enough in the 19th century that their novels could have specific references to wealth and income and readers would be able to relate. Between 1914-1945 significant inflation was seen for the first time, and consequently you don't tend to see dollar amounts in books, etc.

- Income inequality in the US has been trending upward (higher than in most other countries), and Piketty believes it's because of the enormous rise of salaries of "super-managers" (i.e. CEOs) whose individual productivity is very hard to measure. After the Reagan tax cuts of the 1980s (when the top tax bracket was reduced from 70% to 28%) the "super-managers" had more of an incentive to try to increase their earnings. An argument one hears is that decreasing the top tax rate increased productivity growth, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

- Before 1914, wealth was very concentrated, but the shocks of World Wars 1 and 2 dramatically reduced the wealth of the top 10%, and it's only now starting to "recover". Similarly, before the World Wars, wealth was more concentrated in Europe than it was in the US, but since 1960 or so the reverse is true.

- One of the main theses of the book goes as follows: the rate of return on capital (which Piketty calls "r") in generally on the order of 4-5% per year. (I don't think there's a theoretical underpinning for this - it's just what has been measured for a long time) The rate of growth of world GDP (which Piketty calls "g"), while it has been as high as 3-4% in recent times, is usually lower, and he believes it will be lower in the future. This means that r>g, so wealth will continue to accumulate faster than people can earn it, so wealth will continue to become more concentrated.

- If you look at university endowments, it seems that the larger the endowment, the more return it tends to get. This is another factor that can lead to "the rich getting richer" effect.

- His solution to the problem of growing inequality is a global progressive tax on wealth. (not income)

Anyway, it really was a fascinating and surprisingly readable book, and I'd recommend it if you didn't run away screaming at the first paragraph of this review :-)

View all my reviews


weekend links: Austin's drive-in theater, Hobby Lobby, 2 vs 55 in soccer
Mood: happy
Posted on 2014-07-12 15:24:00
Tags: links
Words: 401

- Did you know that Austin has a drive-in theater? It's pretty cool, and they're trying to raise money to make some improvements.

- Top 10 Silly but Awesome Products That Make Life Easier - there's some neat stuff in there!

- Republicans Finally Admit Why They Really Hate Obamacare - I did think it was interesting how a lot of arguments against Obamacare were essentially "it won't work". Now that it seems to be working, the arguments are more of the form "I don't think the government should be doing this" - which, to be clear, is a perfectly valid argument! But now we're getting to the crux of the matter...

- Hobby Lobby Is Only the Beginning - good editorial from the New York Times. For those who thought this would only apply to contraception, see: Post-Hobby Lobby, Religious Orgs Want Exemption From LGBT Hiring Order. From a comment I posted on Facebook:

It is a tricky case. I think that some of the unhappiness with the decision from the liberal side (myself included :-) ) comes from two places:
1) It seems to me that the argument that a business shouldn't be forced to "support" things that are against their religion could apply to lots of other things. What about hiring LGBT people - isn't that supporting a sinful lifestyle? Or serving interracial couples?
2) to me, "being forced to spend money on something" doesn't rise to the level of "supporting" it. My tax dollars go to support lots of things that I don't like, but I don't get to pick and choose what programs my money funds. I understand this isn't directly equivalent to the Hobby Lobby case, but it rubs me the wrong way.

Anyway, like I said, it's tricky and I realize there are good arguments on the other side too...

- Two players from the Japanese national soccer team try to score against 55 kids - pretty interesting to watch! I also enjoyed the comments from the linked article about how good professional sportsters are, even if they look terrible by comparison to other professionals.

- This is a good sign how long I've been holding on to links, but: Tim Howard saving things!

- What Jobs Do People Find Most Meaningful? - links to this cool interactive chart...sadly I didn't see Software Engineer on there.

- Masters of Love - I've read one of John Gottman's books, but a refresher on what seems to make relationships work is always nice!


Pictures from Matt and Jaci's wedding
Mood: happy
Posted on 2014-06-30 23:22:00
Tags: pictures
Words: 28

(click for the full picture!)

<- Table 10 was an NI table!

<- The other NI table had nicer flowers :-)

<- Matt's groom cake was an inside-out TARDIS!

<- Matt and Jaci!


New Windows Phone app: Bridge Scorer!
Posted on 2014-06-26 09:51:00
Tags: windowsphone projects
Words: 45

Bridge Scorer is a great way to keep score in your monthly bridge game! It's only available on Windows Phone 8.1, and is a free ap with ads that you can remove for a low low price.

Check out more details or download it now!


a few random pictures from Austin and Houston
Mood: relaxed
Posted on 2014-06-20 20:52:00
Tags: pictures
Words: 108

<- David pointing at a cactus in a tree! This was taken in the Austin airport's cell phone lot, which is surprisingly nice.

<- Another impressive cake from the folks at Rustika in Houston. We were there for cake tasting, which was of course tasty.

<- We ate at 100% Taquito while Mexico played Cameroon in the World Cup. It was tied at 0-0 when we got there, but soon after Mexico scored and the place went nuts! One guy ran out from the kitchen and waved the Mexican flag around for a bit :-)

<- More nice looking cakes at The Pie Factory.

<- We went to an Astros game during Carrie's wedding shower. We had great seats close behind home plate! In fact, we sat two rows behind Arian Foster, who was a good sport about signing a lot of autographs throughout the game.

<- Chris and my dad at the Astros game.


links: Mayday PAC, airport signs, voter fraud and bioterrorism
Mood: happy
Posted on 2014-06-20 12:34:00
Tags: links
Words: 193

- That Mayday PAC I mentioned last month is struggling to meet their ambitious $5 million goal in June. It really is a good cause - if you'd like to contribute I have a pledge page you can give through.

- How You Know Where You're Going When You're in an Airport - an article about signs in an airport? I'm sold!

- Where Dishonesty Is Best Policy, U.S. Soccer Falls Short - this seems like mostly a good thing, right?

- 17 reasons not to trust Dick Cheney on Iraq - hah!

- A Strange but True Tale of Voter Fraud and Bioterrorism - wow, I had heard about the bioterrorism but I didn't realize the whole point was to rig a local election!

- Shaka, When the Walls Fell - a long piece about a great (don't listen to the haters!) Star Trek: The Next Generation episode.

- Diplomacy: The Board Game of the Alpha Nerds - Ahh Diplomacy. I played a few times in high school, but it's pretty long and I was never hardcore/ruthless enough to do well...

- Here's How All 50 State Flags Would Look As App Icons - not a huge fan of Texas, but there are some nice ones in there...


Go earlier

This backup was done by LJBackup.