After a couple hours of tweaking, I give you my somewhat elegant hacking of the Trip Planner application, produced here in PHP. Not the prettiest code, and I’m sure there’s several security holes, but it works. I’m going to try it out on my Blackberry when I get the chance.

Update: <bait> I’m now wondering what Sean would say. </bait>

Planning Bus Trips Just Takes Too Long (on my ‘berry)

As much as I love King County Metro’s Trip Planner utility for figuring out what bus routes I need to take to get to a particular place, loading this site on my Blackberry and entering information is more than a little time-consuming (and I’m often doing it right before leaving for a particular destination). Thus, I’m going to create a slight hack by using my own PHP script to post parameters into the Trip Planner.

Devious? Perhaps…

The Source of Bottled Water: That’s Not The Problem, Really

It seems like people miss the point entirely when they worry that companies selling bottled water don’t make it clear where that water comes from. The problem isn’t really the source – the problem is that they’re selling bottled water in the first place. There’s a huge difference between water bottles that are typically bought and used once and, say, my trusty Nalgene bottle that follows me all over the place and always has fresh water in it.

Not that I’m not guilty of buying bottled items – I do occasionally indulge in a Nantucket Nectar or two, which are sold in glass, not plastic, bottles. I’ve also been known to make a hapless coffee cup go on a nice, long journey to the landfill. But there’s something about bottled water that just seems somewhat redundant. The fact that it puts tons of plastic into the waste stream is a very large drawback, but the fact that major brands may simply be purifying municipal water sources and shipping it elsewhere has its own set of problems – the energy used in bottling and transportation alone greatly outweigh just drinking from the tap in the first place. You can always get a water purification system, though these systems are problems in and of themselves.

Update (August 1, 2007): The New York Times makes a slightly stronger case on this issue than I do.

Useful SharePoint References

Of course, with all the work I’m doing, it’s at least a little inevitable that I would have to do some research on certain issues and tasks. Here’s a list of some of the more useful resources I’ve found (grouped by subject):

Customizing and Theming SharePoint 2007

General Reference



User and Content Management

SharePoint 2007 Oddities

SharePoint’s a weird little bugger. It doesn’t really help much that the iSchool’s SharePoint 2007 install is hacked together in the first place (and who knows whether that explains some of the oddities that I’ve run into). One example is how the server handles what are technically known as 404, or “file not found”, errors. All three of the following messages mean that a file can’t be found:

  • HTTP/1.1 404
    Connection: close
    Date: Thu, 12 Jul 2007 15:59:05 GMT
    Server: Microsoft-IIS/6.0
    X-Powered-By: ASP.NET
  • XML Parsing Error: no element found
    Line Number 1, Column 1:
    (under Firefox only – IE gives me a blank page)

As far as I can tell (and the iSchool’s system administrator agrees), these are all SharePoint-generated errors and not the fault of the Internet Information Services server we’re running SharePoint off of.

Even with the quirks, though, SharePoint 2007 is actually fun to screw around with. I’ve been enjoying the work quite a bit.

What I’ve Been Reading Lately

You can likely expect some sort of coherent write-up on some of the following articles of recent interest to me:

I see a link between all three items that I hope to expand upon soon, but wanted to put these out there as topics for consideration.