Where I Have Been

On Sunday several friends and I broke our bicycles out of storage. We spent most of the afternoon riding from downtown Grand Rapids to Jenison and back, with a detour around the currently closed-for-the-season Millennium Park. Total miles: Just under 24. I haven’t been on my bike since early October, so I am still a little sore; but it was worth it. For the first several miles of the ride I had a big goofy grin plastered across my face.

Folks have been pestering me to ride in the MS-150 this year. In past years I have either had no bike or no time. This year, we will see. I told them I would give something approaching a definite answer at the beginning of May.

And speaking of the end of the semester, there are four weeks of school left, plus finals week. All of my students are passing, and none of them have cried. At least, not in class. At least, not yet.

Work is keeping me busier than I would like, which is nothing new. I have made a conscious effort to spend more time practicing tai chi and kung fu, in order to keep Master Lee’s class at the forefront of my mind. When I spend more free time thinking about work than I do about tai chi, something has gone seriously wrong.

Flash 8 Experiment: Topographic Map

[Requires the Flash 8 player. Click on the image to render the height map. Hit your browser’s “refresh” button to render it again]

During my oh-so-few free hours I have been playing around with the BitmapData object in the new Flash 8 player. This is what I have come up with most recently: A height map.

The possibilities for this kind of tool are quite exciting: 3d tiled terrain, height maps and data displays are just the beginning.

Right now the heightmap tool only works with grayscale images. I have a plan for performing real-time color substitution, but that will come with version 1.0. This is still a beta, somewhere around .6 or .7. When I feel comfortable with the completeness of this thing I will post some code. But first, a day or two without staring at this thing into the wee hours of the morning.

Click to launch the height map