Tuesday, August 22, 2006
The Genuine Blur
Here's a good pic of the Blur in case you haven't see
one. It's certainly bad-ass looking isn't it? I can
hardly wait to get my hands on it. 19 more days.
Of Curly-Qs and Routing Software
Yesterday I mentioned how easy it is to accidentally
add a "Curly-Q" to a route by dropping a via point
just a little bit off the path you mean to take. Here
is an example of what I was talking about.
This little "detour" is no big deal on a printed map,
because it's obvious to a human that there's a
mistake. A GPS unit, on the other hand, doesn't know
there's a mistake and will send you right down the
primrose path if it's programmed to. This is the kind
of mistake I am laboring hard to eliminate from my
Garmin GPS version of the route.
...is famously lurking in the details. Case in point, my experience with MapSource routing software. Here's what I learned at the revolution.
Routing a a trip all the way across the United States is a big tedious job. The temptation is to set the map scale to about one mile per inch, drop via points on the fly and go. I've spent maybe 10 - 11 hours doing just that. Last night I zoomed in on one of my maps and discovered to my horror that every one of the ten maps I created that way is useless. Why? Because the devil is in the details.
It turns out that placing a via point on a 1-inch-per-mile map results in a lot of via points that are maybe a couple hundred feet wrong. Sounds like no big deal right? It is a big deal if it's a couple hundred feet in the wrong direction at an intersection, because the routing software will add a little "Curly-Q" where the GPS will turn you the wrong direction, then turn you around and send you the other way.
When I zoomed down to 500 feet per inch, I found these Curly-Q's all over my routes. Even worse, MapSource makes no provision for editing this kind of mistake. The route must be entirely redrawn.
Looking through Robert's route drawn in MicroSoft Streets&Trips, I found a few of those, but they're no big deal on a printed map. (Robert must have worked extremely hard to get those routes that close to perfect) On the other hand, the GPS route map has to be perfect or the GPS is going to become the rider's enemy, sending him down roads the wrong way then immediately ordering him to U-Turn. Yuck. So, older and wiser I'm back to square one with routing the entire trip.
This is why you never wait to the last minute to work on a project, Grasshopper...
Monday, August 21, 2006
This is the way to POC...
This is the setup I switched to while working on Teh Route into Cleveland.
Up to now, I had been able to wing it reading Robert's route directions on the Cannonball site and figuring out what that corresponded to in MapSource. That method didn't work when I got to Cleveland because the Route directions use road numbers and the MapSource maps use road names in town. Since there was no way to reconcile the two with certainty, I switched to this method. Tedious, it is.
Twenty Days and counting...
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Pulled an all-nighter putting the first six and a half days of Teh Route into MapSource, the mapping software used by Garmin GPS's. MapSource is expensive and the router lacks some of the intuitive features that I've come to expect from Microsoft Streets&Trips, but the S&T route won't work with the Garmin GPS's.
For those riding the Cannonball, I found one error in Teh Route. It's not a bad one, but S&T has you turn south, then west, then north up a dead-end road, when the correct solution was just to turn north to start with. I let Robert know about it, so there should be a FINAL FINAL FINAL Route with that fix.
Saturday, August 19, 2006
September 12, 2004 8:05 AM
I'm lying face down in the middle of the road. My
(formerly) beautiful gray Vespa GT200L is lying on its
side next to me. I flash back to
February 28, 2004 Time Unknown
I'm lying on my back in a hospital bed. My surgeon's
face is hovering in front of me. A routine 2 hour
surgery on my spine has gotten "complicated." The
doctor is tying hard to supress the concern in his
voice, but everybody in the room can hear it.
"Mr. Smith, can you try to wiggle your toes?"
I flex my toes and everybody in the room breaks into
I'm lying on the ground learning to breathe again. The
cool morning mountain air tastes wonderful. I gulp big
lungfulls of it down and clear my head. A little voice
in the back of my mind says...
Mr. Smith, can you wiggle your toes?
I give it a try and it turns out that I can. I can't
move my left thumb, but that's life. I pick up the GT
and race after Greyhound. How can he be so fast on
that bloody little Bajaj? I never catch him, but he
waits up for a me a ways down the road.
I ride up and Greyhound says, "You okay?"
I can wiggle my toes. Let's go...