In-N-Out

Zagat has published their 2009 Fast Food survey, and the best fast food burger belongs to In-N-Out Burger.   This comes as no surprise  to me.   I rarely eat fast food in fact, I eat it so infrequently, I might as well say I never eat it.

But there’s just something magical about In-N-Out.   When I was visiting my sister in Arizona this past February, we made sure to grab a burger one night.   Perhaps a good thing for me, In-N-Out Burger only has locations in four states: California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona.

What makes In-N-Out special is they’re a no-nonsense fast food joint they do three things: burgers, fries, and shakes.   That’s it.   No pretend-healthy food, no chicken or fish.   Just the basics.

My In-N-Out meal:

in-n-out burger

in-n-out burger

Mmm.   I think I may have to open a franchise on the east coast!

(Nod: Lifehacker)

NBA Mock Draft With ESPN’s Magic Box

I was on-hand yesterday to observe Doug Gottlieb making his NBA Draft predictions on SportsCenter using the Perceptive Pixel box.   This graphic is a modified version of the graphic I developed for the NFL Draft.

doug gottlieb with the perceptive pixel box

Here’s the video of his top seven picks (don’t mind the small technical difficulty I fixed it in time for the next segment):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=alYFDma97YY

Speaking of the NFL Draft, I snapped some photos during the NFL Draft with Michael Smith using the Perceptive Pixel box, but I never posted them.   Well, here they are:

michael smith with the perceptive pixel box

michael smith with the perceptive pixel box

michael smith with the perceptive pixel box

And here’s one of me with my project:

me with the perceptive pixel box

Tales from myPhone, Episode 3

flags at espn

On the Bristol ESPN campus, there’s a flagpole outside the cafe that normally flies a red ESPN flag.   On certain occasions, the pole flies a special flag; for instance, when Disney President Bob Iger recently visited, a Disney flag flew.   Well, for an unknown reason today, four alphabet signal flags were flying.   I assumed they spelled out ESPN, but I had to verify.   Enter myPhone and the app Wikipanion, a mobile-formatted version of The Wiki.   From the international maritime signal flags page, I confirmed the flags spelled ESPN.   Not sure why, though.   I don’t think Captain Jack Sparrow was sailing with the Black Pearl through Bristol today.

Birthday Road Trip: Mystic & Stonington, CT

For my birthday, I took a road trip to my two favorite places in Connecticut: Mystic and Stonington.   I wanted to get dinner in Mystic and catch the sunset on my beach in Stonington.

mystic, ct

The restaurant in downtown Mystic I ate at:

mystic, ct

I had penne pasta with grilled chicken, Italian sausage, and brocolini in a garlic butter sauce.   Delicious!

mystic, ct

View up the river from the drawbridge:

mystic, ct

Sunset in Stonington:

stonington, ct

For several days, I was looking forward to a sunset on the coast:

stonington, ct

The last little bit of sun:

stonington, ct

All gone:

stonington, ct

Back in Mystic:

mystic, ct

…as darkness falls across the land:

mystic, ct

Until next time!

Angels & Demons & Hans & Joe

I purchased Hans Zimmer’s score for Angels & Demons on Tuesday, and in three days, I’ve managed to listen to “503,” the closing track on the album, 41 42 times. I’d say I like the album. After I’ve seen the film this weekend, I’ll post my thoughts on the score. Stay tuned. :-)

Road Trip: Mystic & Stonington, CT

While my mom and grandma were visiting, in addition to road-tripping to Newport, Rhode Island, we road-tripped to Mystic and neighboring Stonington, Connecticut.   Of the several places I’ve visited in CT, Mystic and Stonington are by far my favorite.   Mystic is more of a tourist-focused-yet-charming-and-enjoyable town, and Stonington is a quiet-little-delightful coastal town.

Downtown Mystic:

mystic, ct

View across the Mystic River:

mystic, ct

mystic, ct

A tree in bloom:

mystic, ct

And you can’t stop in Mystic without getting some yummy pizza:

mystic, ct

After Mystic, we made our way to a beach in Stonington.   Driving through Stonington:

stonington, ct

At the beach, this seagull was enjoying some dinner:

stonington, ct

Waiting for the sunset:

stonington, ct

Coastal wildlife:

stonington, ct

Ahh, salty sea breeze and a pleasant sunset.   Terrific!

stonington, ct

After watching the sunset, we made our way back to Mystic.   A quaint little house in Stonington:

stonington, ct

Back in Mystic, we grabbed some ice cream and enjoyed it along the river.   Splendid trip!   Can’t wait to go back!

mystic, ct

Road Trip: Newport, RI

In keeping up with my goal to take a road trip every month in conjunction with my mom and grandma visiting, I ventured to Newport, RI last week.   I only wish we had more time there because a) I love coastal towns and b) Newport is a beautiful place.   I’ll just have to go back!   Here are some snaps from Newport.

Crossing the Narragansett Bay via the Pell Bridge:

newport, ri

I imagine summer buzzes with nautical activity:

newport, ri

Streets of Newport:

newport, ri

Across the bay:

newport, ri

I discovered my shoes aren’t waterproof:

newport, ri

Coastal wildlife:

newport, ri

Catching the sunset:

newport, ri

I Spy Something Red

Kitty likes when the weather is nice and we can open the windows.   She can monitor the wildlife outside:

cat and cardinal

Practice What I Preach Blog?

I’ve done much commentary on packaging redesign lately, but this past weekend I used several of the products I’ve blogged about. My happy family of packaging (taken with an actual camera and not my iPhone like my grocery store product shots):

redesigned packages

How did I acquire these packages you ask (ok, you probably didn’t ask that, but I’m going to tell you anyway)? Since the launch of the then-new Tropicana packaging, I’ve purchased Tropicana orange juice, so I always have a carton in my refrigerator. A coworker of mine drinks Diet Pepsi, and at lunch one day, I commented how much I liked the Pepsi rebrand and specifically the Diet Pepsi can, so he brought me a can. Finally, this past weekend, I made a taco dip. The dip is topped-off with shredded cheese, and I needed nacho chips for dipping, so naturally I decided to buy Kraft shredded cheese and Baked! Tostitos because of their new packaging.

So if the aim of the packaging redesign was to get casual shoppers like me drawn to the products, I suppose the redesigns succeeded.

Shots of the individual packages:

redesigned tropicana carton

closeup of redesigned tropicana carton

redesigned diet pepsi can

redesigned kraft shredded cheese package

redesigned baked! package

Counting the 2008 Vote

I finished updating my thesis project “Counting the Vote: An Interactive Study of Electoral College Reform” to include the 2008 election.   You can see results by proportional allocation, district allocation, and popular vote.

counting the vote

counting the vote

Number Crunching

Swing State Project has compiled the results of the 2008 presidential election by Congressional District, listing which candidate won each of the nation’s 435 districts.   Having this data along with state-by-state results, I can now fully update my thesis project with the 2008 election.   Stay tuned for an update soon!

(Nod: FiveThirtyEight)

Tales from myPhone, Episode 2

As I previously mentioned, I’ve made it a point since moving to Connecticut to take a road trip every month.   Last month I went to Old Saybrook, and this month I went to Essex.   Having my iPhone come along for the journey was helpful and allowed me to enhance my experience on the trip in ways not possible without it.

First, my iPhone was helpful in finding a place to eat.   In Old Saybrook, for restaurant advice called a coworker of mine who has been to the town, but he was unavailable at the time.   Since I needed to eat, I had to find a restaurant on my own.   In Essex, I didn’t know anyone who had been there, so I just needed to find some place.   For both situations, I used the app Yelp (iTunes link) to see what restaurants were in my immediate vicinity and to read reviews of the restaurants.   From there, then, I was able to pick good places both times.

Second, my iPhone proved useful in navigating both towns since, beside my phone, I don’t have a GPS device for my car.   In Old Saybrook, I wanted to find the shore, so via Maps and the built-in GPS support, I navigated my way to the coast.   In Essex, I used my phone to find a back-roads route home instead of taking the highway.   If I didn’t have an iPhone, I would have had to plan this route before I left my apartment, but with my iPhone in hand, I could travel along unknown roads with confidence knowing I wouldn’t get lost.   The scenic route gave me an opportunity to do more exploration and find different sites I wouldn’t have found via the highway.

Knowing where I was in Essex:

essexmap1

Knowing where I was while taking the scenic route home:

essexmap2

A find on the scenic route: the schoolhouse Nathan Hale taught at in East Haddam, CT:

nathan hale schoolhouse

Road Trip: Essex, CT

This month, my work schedule was adjusted so that I work Tuesdays through Saturdays and have off Sundays and Mondays.   Having yesterday off in conjunction with my goal of taking a road trip every month led me the town of Essex, CT on the Connecticut River.   After seeing the website describing the town as “the best small town in America,” I took a drive.   And I wasn’t disappointed.   Essex is a charming little town, perfect for a nice day trip to walk around and soak in some sun and small-town river life.

Downtown:

essex, ct

A peaceful spot for a rest or a picnic:

essex, ct

New England charm white picket fences abound:

essex, ct

Looking off into the river:

essex, ct

Blowin’ in the wind:

essex, ct

Tales from myPhone, Episode 1

This will be an ongoing serial, dedicated to highlighting personal situations where having an iPhone proved to be highly useful.

For starters, yesterday at work, my manager was installing software, developed by people in Germany and Austria, on a coworker’s computer.   During the installation process, an error message appeared in German.   My manager called me over to see it, but since none of us speak German, we had no idea what it said.   Excitedly, I said to my manager and coworker, “Hang on a minute.”

So, I pulled out my iPhone, went to the App Store, and searched for “German Translator.”   In the search results was the app “Free Translator,” so I downloaded it over the 3G network.   When the app was finished installing, I launched it, selected my source and target languages, typed the German error message, and hit the “Translate” button.   Boom, now we could read the error message.

translator

translator

myPhone

myPhone

Last month, I finally caved and purchased an iPhone.   The device is everything I was hoping for and even more.

When the iPod Touches were launched in October 2007, I was quick to snatch one up.   I was in awe at the iPhone but was still in a Verizon contract.   Over the next year, many separate functions or utilities of mine merged with my iPod Touch.   For instance, carrying around my Touch meant I had my address book, calendar, note pad, grocery list, checking account register, unit converter, English dictionary, and Spanish dictionary/conjugator.   When I was in a wifi zone, I had The Google, The Facebook, The Wiki, and The Internets at my fingertips.

But even with these features, I still craved an iPhone for a couple reasons.   First, it was time for a new phone, and if I stayed with Verizon and bought some iPhone-wannabe, I knew I would be sadly disappointed and would constantly compare the phone with my iPod Touch and by extension the iPhone.   I knew another phone manufacturer couldn’t match the level of usability afforded in the iPhone and iPod Touch’s menus and interface.   Second, I wanted to rid myself of a device.   In my pockets everyday everywhere I went were my phone and my iPod Touch.   If I were to get an iPhone, I knew I would then only have to carry one device (and not have to keep two separate address books, too).   Finally, being a fan of gadgets and touchscreen technology, I think the iPhone is an uber-cool device not currently matched by any other similar device.

With all these thoughts in mind, I made the jump to AT&T and purchased an iPhone and I don’t regret a thing.

Now, not only do I have all the capabilities of my iPod Touch, I have so much more.   If I want to look something up on The Wiki, I can without having to find a wifi spot.   If I want to take a picture of something and upload it to Facebook, I can.   If I want to check the directions to my destination while I’m in the car, I can.

I thought with the constant connection to The Internets I might find myself distracted often, but I haven’t been distracted at the level I thought I might be.   But having that constant connection for when I have a random question (like how long does a pace maker last) satiates my incessant thirst for answers.

Another aspect of switching to an iPhone I worried about was having to reenter or lose data saved in apps on my iPod Touch, information such as my favorited and custom grocery items, my checking account register entries, and Safari bookmarks.   When I was moving through the setup process in iTunes, however, I had the option to restore my iPhone from an iPod Touch backup, so all of the app data saved on my iPod Touch was transferred to my iPhone.   Genius!

Overall, I am delightfully pleased with my purchase.   My iPhone is easily one of if not the best thing I’ve ever bought.

Is It Spring Yet?

Winter Storm “Demi,” as one local news station named it, came through on Sunday night and Monday morning, dumping about 8.5 inches where I am.   Driving wasn’t as bad as the last storm.   Interstate 84 was partially drivable this time, so thank you to the CT DOT.

Seriously, though, I think we’ve had enough snow now, thank you.   Thankfully, the sun has been shining in a clear, blue sky the past two days so the snow is slowly melting away. :-)

winter storm demi

Before the storm:

winter storm demi

During:

winter storm demi

Oh Joy, More Snow

We have a lovely winter storm moving up the east coast.   Oh joy.   It has arrived:

radar

My area is forecast to receive 8 to 12 inches.   Thanks, Mother Nature, but I’m done with winter.   Please send your snow someplace else.

New Year, New Design

If you’ve visited in the last few days, by now you’ve noticed the new design here on joehribar.com. My goal was to give a slight face-lift to the previous design while doing some minor reorganization with the sidebar.

Please leave me your thoughts on the redesign as well as any problems or discrepancies you find with the site.

And as always, thanks for visiting!

2008:

joe8

2009:

joe9

Yay

Green on the radar I can handle.   I’ll even begrudgingly handle blue.   But pink?   No thank you.

radar

From the National Weather Service:

SNOW IS EXPECTED TO DEVELOP ACROSS THE REGION AFTER MIDNIGHT. HOWEVER… WARMER AIR ALOFT WILL FORCE THE SNOW TO CHANGE TO A WINTRY MIX OF SNOW… SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN BETWEEN 2 AM AND 5 AM.

SIGNIFICANT ICE ACCRETIONS OF ONE QUARTER TO ONE HALF INCH ARE EXPECTED ALONG AND NORTHWEST OF THE INTERSTATE 84 CORRIDOR… AS WELL THE HIGHER TERRAIN OF SOUTHWEST AND SOUTH CENTRAL MASSACHUSETTS DURING THE DAYLIGHT HOURS WEDNESDAY. WEDNESDAY NIGHT WILL CONTINUE TO BE SLIPPERY… AS MIXED PRECIPITATION CHANGES BACK OVER TO SNOW OR SNOW SHOWERS.

THE EXPECTED 1 TO 2 INCHES OF SNOW AND SLEET ACCUMULATION IN ADDITION TO THE GLAZE… WILL RESULT IN SIGNIFICANT TRAVEL PROBLEMS LATE TONIGHT AND WEDNESDAY.

I live along the I-84 corridor.   Yay.

Why I Moved to the Desert

…otherwise known as winter sucks.   Or happy first day of winter for me.

Winter Storm Austin yes, they name their winter storms in Connecticut like hurricanes and tropical storms; they even get special graphics on the news:

winter storm austin

Anyway, Austin moved through New England on Friday dumping about 8.5 inches where I am.   Last night and today, Winter Storm Brooke is adding a few more inches.   And the snow may have some freezing rain mixed in later today and tonight.   Awesome.   I love winter.

I went to the grocery store earlier, but that probably wasn’t the best idea in the world given the road conditions.   But at least today I didn’t get stuck at two intersections like I did Friday evening returning from work.

I’m up to just over 10 inches of snow:

winter6

My footprint, err, leg print, I guess:

winter3

And here’s a play on my favorite beach/feet pictures, but not as fun for me.   I’d rather have my feet in the sand:

winter2

These cars haven’t moved in a few days.   Smart people:

winter1

Somewhere here, there’s a road:

winter4

Ahh winter, how I love thee:

winter5

So what if the summers in the desert were unbearable.   At least in the winter you don’t have to clean your car off several times a day because there’s no such thing as scraping sunshine off your car….

Hanna! Update

As of right now, I’ve only had a few sprinkles… but it looks like that’ll change:

hanna

Hanna!

Well this is another first for me: a tropical storm wind warning.   From the National Weather Service:

TROPICAL STORM HANNA LOCAL STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TAUNTON MA
1207 PM EDT SAT SEP 6 2008

…TROPICAL STORM WIND WARNING IN EFFECT UNTIL 8 AM EDT SUNDAY…

…WINDS…
SUSTAINED SOUTH WINDS OF 10 TO 15 MPH ARE EXPECTED TO RAPIDLY SHIFT EAST AND INCREASE TO 25 TO 35 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 50 MPH BETWEEN 7 AND 10 PM TONIGHT. THE STRONGEST WINDS WILL BE MAINLY BETWEEN 10 PM AND 3 AM. THE WIND SHOULD SHIFT TO THE NORTH AND START TO DECREASE BETWEEN 4 AND 6 AM.

…PROBABILITY OF HURRICANE/TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS…
FOR HARTFORD CT…
THERE IS A 36 PERCENT CHANCE OF WINDS 34 KT /39 MPH/ OR GREATER… MOST LIKELY TO BEGIN BETWEEN 8 PM SAT AND 8 AM SUN.

…INLAND FLOODING…
TOTAL RAINFALL THIS WEEKEND OF 3 TO 6 INCHES…WITH LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS UP TO 8 INCHES…IS EXPECTED. THIS COULD LEAD TO FLASH FLOODING OF URBAN OR LOW-LYING…POOR-DRAINAGE AREAS. MINOR RIVER FLOODING OF A FEW OF THE LARGER TRIBUTARIES IS POSSIBLE TONIGHT INTO SUNDAY.

I’m Back

Well, it’s been a long while since I’ve posted anything. After a long hiatus, I’m back.

Depending on how you came into the site, you probably noticed some changes. The root of my site is no longer my portfolio. Since I am not regularly updating it (and in fact haven’t updated it since last year), my portfolio is a separate section. My blog has now taken over my website.

In the coming weeks, I will be abandoning my hand-coded blog in favor of a WordPress-driven blog. This will give me more flexibility and freedom. My hand-coded blog has worked for me thus far, but it’s time to move on.

So, I’m back, and welcome back to you, too.

Oh, the Weather Outside (in Newark) is Frightful

Well, I was supposed to leave today for Paris by way of Newark. The problem is, however, Newark was blasted with snow. So here I am, still at home, not going anywhere today. I’m supposed to leave tomorrow now by way of Houston. And the Houston to Paris flight is 12 hours and 25 minutes. Oh am I looking forward to that!

The good thing, though, is at least I didn’t get stuck in the Newark airport for two days. Yikes!

So here’s to snow-free travels tomorrow!

I should (or at least I’m hoping I will) have access to The Internets whilst in France, so I will keep the blog updated with my adventures.

SoD 06

SoD 06

I served as a co-editor and a contributor to SoD 06 (School of Design). The book features student essays from a Design Issues course at RIT in the fall of 2006. The book is available at Lulu. Proceeds from the book go to help fund future RIT class publishing.

My essay was about the dangers and failures of electronic voting machines:

Instead of a front seat, hands-on approach to the situation, the federal government is merely providing states the funds to acquire electronic voting equipment. Through the Help America Vote Act of 2002, passed by Congress after the punch card nightmare in the 2000 presidential election, the federal government is forcing states to buy the equipment to replace older voting technologies, such as punch cards and lever machines (U.S. Election Assistance Commission). Indeed, the federal government is forcing states to buy into a faulty, untrustworthy product, a product with the capability of severely crippling our democracy.

Given these high stakes, actions to solve the numerous security and verification problems of electronic voting machines must be a top priority for the federal government and every citizen. Several academic and state-commissioned reports have cited the gaping lapses in adequate technological development of electronic voting machines. Until those lapses are resolved and the federal government provides guidelines and standards for the use and manufacture of electronic voting machines, the machines should not be approved for use in conducting elections. The current machines administering the elections cannot be trusted to provide accurate election results, and if the machines cannot be trusted, then neither can the elections.