It’s that

It’s that gentle rhythm of the waves as they meet the rocks along the shore. It’s that smell that fills the air as the blue sea comes into view on the horizon. It’s that lone laugh you hear from a pair of hikers on the other side of a shimmering lake. It’s that involuntary pause before you place your heel down on a pebble path, hesitant to break the silence that surrounds you in this moment.

It’s that nothing, and everything.

Hello, Acadia. It’s nice to see you again.

April 24, 2010 at 7:30 pm

2010 Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race

I once again headed down to the Kenduskeag Stream in Bangor to watch the annual canoe race. As always, I took my camera along with me. Here are some of my favorite shots.

Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race

Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race

Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race

Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race

Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race

Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race

Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race

Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race

Want more? Check out my Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race set at Flickr. It has 74 of my favorite shots from the day. You can also view a slideshow of the images.

April 17, 2010 at 7:00 pm

Comparison of transportation rates from Bangor to Boston

Every once in a while I’ll take a day trip to Boston. We’re lucky to have a few ways to travel from Maine: driving, riding on the Concord Coach Lines bus route, and taking the Amtrak Downeaster line from Portland. I decided to do a little research to see how the fares for each mode of travel compared.

UPDATE: I’ve updated the rates below to reflect those as of August 2, 2010. This is the best information I could find; please consult the Concord Coach Lines, Amtrak Downeaster, and parking sites for official fares and information. And, of course, these are estimates. Please see below the table for notes, and please let me know if you spot any errors.

UPDATE 2: Thanks to Susan for pointing out that these rates are for round-trip in the comments. Should’ve made that clearer.

For a day trip:

Car
(30 MPG)
Tolls Bus/Train
(per person)
Parking TOTAL
Drive from Bangor to Boston ~44.00 11.00 - 5.50 ~60.50
Drive to Portland, bus to South Station ~24.00 2.00 32.00 3.00 ~61.00
Drive to Portland, train to North Station ~24.00 2.00 39.00 3.00 ~68.00
Drive to Augusta, bus to South Station ~14.00 - 58.00 - ~72.00
Drive to Augusta, bus to Portland, train to South Station ~14.00 - 66.00 - ~80.00
Bus to Portland, train to South Station - - 83.00 - 83.00
Bus from Bangor to South Station - - 71.00 - 71.00

How about if you want to stay for more than one day?

Car
(30 MPG)
Tolls Bus/Train
(per person)
Parking TOTAL
Drive from Bangor to Boston ~44.00 11.00 - 5.50
+ 5.50/day
~60.50
+ 5.50/day
Drive to Portland, bus to South Station ~24.00 2.00 36.00 3.00
+ 3.00/day
~65.00
+3.00/day
Drive to Portland, train to North Station ~24.00 2.00 48.00 3.00
+ 3.00/day
~77.00
+ 3.00/day
Drive to Augusta, bus to South Station ~14.00 - 61.00 - ~75.00
Drive to Augusta, bus to Portland, train to South Station ~14.00 - 75.00 - ~89.00
Bus to Portland, train to South Station - - 92.00 - 92.00
Bus from Bangor to South Station - - 71.00 - 71.00

Driving rates are calculated using distances on Google Maps based on $2.80/gallon at 30 MPG traveling down I-95 to Gardiner and then I-295 to Portland and beyond. Tolls are based on cash rates. Bus and train rates are per person. Boston parking is based on rates at Sullivan Square and other Orange Line stations. Your mileage may vary. (har har.)

Sources: Maine Turnpike tolls, New Hampshire turnpike tollsConcord Coach Lines fares, Concord Coach Lines locationsAmtrak Downeaster fares, Amtrak Downeaster stationsMBTA parking rates.

April 13, 2010 at 6:42 pm

3.3.1

Ever since last week’s introduction of iPhone OS 4 by Apple, one section number has been swirling through the heads of developers around the world: 3.3.1. In Apple’s latest license agreement for software that runs on iPhones, iPods, and iPads, Apple has restricted any software originally built using any languages other than C, C++, and Objective-C.

Adobe (among many others) isn’t a fan of these new terms. One of the most anticipated features of their upcoming CS5 suite is the ability to use Adobe Flash and convert programs into apps that could be used on the iPhone platform — well, at least before the change in terms by Apple.

I’ve been reading through developer responses over the last few days. Some people support Apple. Some think the change is a ploy by the fruit company to lock devs into using Apple products and therefore drive more Mac sales.1 Some people seem to think that Apple just flat-out hates developers.2

Personally, I’m right in the middle. I think developers should be able to use whatever tools they want to build their apps, but I also understand Apple’s position. I think it’s pretty simple, actually.

The core of Apple

To understand why Apple made the change, you have to understand Apple. Sure, they want to make money and encourage people to stay on the iPhone platform, but I believe that Apple’s desire to uphold the user experience for users of their iPhone-class devices is just as important to them.

Yes, I’d prefer that Apple would accept non-C/C++/Obj-C apps and at least give them a shot at a review. I still wish there was a way for advanced users to hook apps into their phone without using the App Store, too. Apple would prefer an experience where everything has been tested for quality before it reaches users at all. Seems like Apple’s taking the “well, if you don’t like it, nobody says you have to write for our platform” approach with this one.

Apple’s all about the experience. They’ve published extensive interface guidelines for programmers that detail how every element — right down to submit buttons — should work. They’ve decided not to approve apps based on their inconsistencies with the “iPhone’s distinctive user experience.” And now (as John Gruber explains well) they’re limiting apps that most often don’t match the quality or user experience of those built specifically for the iPhone.

A common cry from developers opposed to the change is that Apple has placed the needs of developers second. That’s true. But Apple isn’t first, despite what opponents of the change would like you to believe. The user and his experience with the product comes first. And that’s how it should be.

1. I don’t agree with this point at all. Apple has encouraged – not limited – people to build web apps specifically tailored for the iPhone, and they can be made without any review or approval by Apple. iPhone web apps can do almost everything native apps can do (less any functions that depend on hardware, of course).

2. I don’t agree with this, either. There are over 140,000 iPhone apps in the App Store, and I’d bet that many of those were made by people who wouldn’t otherwise have that level of opportunity and exposure to make money with software development. In addition Apple’s development terms are, in many ways, much less restrictive than those of Nintendo or Microsoft.

April 11, 2010 at 11:43 am

Taste and technology

Back in 2003, I wrote a lengthy post about Illuminator, my first home-built computer. I analyzed every tech spec and was so proud of what a great experience it would allow me to have.

I’ve had an iPad since Saturday. I absolutely love it.

Look at how far we’ve come.

April 6, 2010 at 5:06 pm

Same place, new face

As spring creeps in once again, I decided it was time to do a home page refresh. JustinRussell.com has a brand new look for April, and it’s my favorite version of my home page to date.

It’s tough to believe, but this is the tenth version of my home page. The first public version came online in July 1999, a small site mostly focused around calculator programs for the TI-83. The web was different then, and for the past few years I’ve struggled to create a place online that ties together who I am and what I do.

My relatively short-lived latest version of justinrussell.com did a great job at listing the stuff I wrote around the web. It had its drawbacks, though; this blog and my photography sites were sort of disjointed from my home page. With the new version, I’ve set out to create a home page that I can show to someone as a representation of who I am.

Fair warning: I hope to post more on this blog from now on, and I’m guessing the posts will be on the long side. If you prefer something a little shorter, head on over to twitter.com/justinrussell. (I’ve found that writing makes me happy. I think I should do whatever I can to be happy this year, don’t you?)

April 1, 2010 at 12:00 am