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Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

Time Event
12:02p
Bing maps
Although bing web search may be close to Google with quality and usability, bing's maps and directions leave me wanting more. Today I looked for directions to an address in Sacramento. Searching the address on bing directly gives nothing useful; I need to click the map link for a map. The map itself, there's something about it that I just find unappealing. Maybe it's that the suggested zoom levels show mostly grey because there's no roads that close? Maybe the font is too small? Maybe I recall what Streets & Trips looked like along with its Windows 3.1 interface and this looks too similar? Dunno. Moving on: I want directions. I find a button "1-click directions" which leads to a page with directions to the destination "if you're coming from the north", "if you're coming from the east" and that sort of thing. Neat feature; if it were my address and I wanted to give a link to other people that would be the one I'd give. I wanted directions from a specific starting point. There's a link to do so, I enter the address, hit enter, then nothing. Seems that the default action on that dialog is Cancel rather than Get directions. Clicking Get directions, bing then says that it doesn't know where [address, zip] is but that [address, san francisco, ca, zip] is its best guess. The rest of the page is a map of the U.S. Of course I clicked on the suggested address but why is this step necessary? bing figured out that I really meant to put in San Francisco, CA, why didn't bing just use that address? When I do get directions they seem reasonable. I click to print - 4 pages. The maps print on two pages (should have been one but bing guessed wrong about my printer and printed another 1/4" on page 2) directions on two pages (same as above). Sort of dumb; web pages shouldn't try to paginate for themselves, leave that to the browser.

Switching over to Google, I find the maps more pleasing to look at, for reasons I can't pin down. A web search for the address shows a maps onebox and one click gives me directions from my default location (which I can, and did, change for my needs). Maps print on two pages only and it's easy to exclude the overview map if I don't want it (at the zoom level it's at the overview does little more than show me where I-80 is). Curiously, Google predicts the trip will take about 15 minutes more than bing does, although the routes are the same.
4:22p
Glass last Friday
Photos now posted: the collection and specifically the flower. I'm pretty happy with how the flower turned out, although I'd have liked had both leaves stayed attached. I made each petal and leaf separately then assembled everything onto the stem. The petals and leaves being pretty thin I didn't bother garaging them. I used 4mm punty for all the pieces which worked really well -- it's lighter than 7mm and leaves less of a mark when I knock off the cold seals.

The vortex marble didn't turn out great but it's my first attempt. I started with a cone of clear, maybe 15mm diameter at the base, on a 10mm rod. I drew three lines of disco sparkle and six lines of acid yellow crayon, two between each disco, all longitudinally. Heat, condense, punty up the small end and twist. This part didn't work out so great - I didn't get much of a twist in. Then, cover in *clear* to build a ball shape out of the cone, and finally back with cobalt 4. I don't know that using the clear to build up the ball shape is so important (I could have used cobalt) but it's not going to be seen so would be a waste to use something expensive. In the end view inside the marble is pretty neat - the disco is sparkly - but there's no vortex because I didn't get much of a twist in place. Also, and more importantly, I drew the vortex lines up to far toward the base of the cone and so the window into the marble is pretty small. Had I had the tools and knowledge, I'd probably rework this piece by sawing off the window and another 3/16" of the marble, making a flat window, and polishing this edge off. Could be a neat effect.
4:30p
Monday's update
Yesterday I spent half the day in San Francisco, first meeting my financial advisor then walking around the Ferry Building and enjoying the good weather. The upcoming TV show Trauma was filming at the building where I was meeting my financial guy so the short block was filled with first aid trucks, police cars, and teamsters. Around 3p I joined up with Melinda to head south to Mountain View where we laundered about 11 loads of clothes (SF and MV clothes altogether). I've never before had an occasion to use the 6-load washer at the laundromat (nor, for that matter, had the need for yet *more* washers beyond that). A few small tasks around home and some Simpsons to round to round out the day. Not too much stressful.

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