29 September 2013

Gwen's Surprise 40th Birthday Party

Turning 40 has never
been this much fun!
After 8 months of being AWOL from the blog, I finally have something to show for it!!!

Since the beginning of February, even before taking Brennan and Mandy to the Science Fair at BYU, I started a project of epic proportions to surprise my sweet Gwennie for her 40th birthday.

The result was an amazing party on 01 June of this year that was comprised of around 200 people.  It was so fun, and such a fun payoff when I got to throw open the back doors of our home to open up to 150 or more of them lining our backyard.

It was a perfect day, with perfect weather, perfect ice cream and the perfect surprise, (I'm still amazed the secret was kept that long!!!)

See Gwen's face after I opened the doors, see photos of the guests and read all about it at the Gwen's Surprise 40th Birthday Party page!
Work that walker!

Make sure you also check out the tribute slideshow, "celebrating 40 years of awesome" that I had the pleasure of creating for Gwennie as an added gift.
(Note: the slideshow will only play on computers.  It will not work on mobile devices, nor will YouTube allow me to embed it in this blog or on my other page, due to copyright restrictions.)

For now, enjoy Gwennie's face as she looks into the backyard to see so many people there to celebrate this milestone birthday!

Thank you to everyone who came to celebrate with Gwennie and make it such a special day.  I'm so grateful to have such a wonderful wife, and awesome friends surrounding us that have made our lives so special.  We love you all.

01 April 2013

Google Treasure Maps - Happy April Fools Day!

Google is known for making April Fools Day extra fun with a lot of their sites.  Today is no exception.  Below is a look at their Treasure Map action for Google Maps...
Street View through the Looking Glass, mixed with the Treasure Map
Zoomed in Street View through the Looking Glass
(you can zoom in too!)
Be sure to check out Google Nose too!

02 March 2013

Mandy Advances to Region Science Fair

Our family is very fortunate to get a double play in Science & Engineering Fair goodness this year.

Mandy had so much fun playing with Brennan's Tic-Tac-Toe project last year, that she decided she wanted to create her own game for the Web this year as her Engineering Fair project.

She chose the game of "Dots".  You know, that game you play on paper with other nearby friends during long boring meetings like a middle-school geography class, where you vie to capture more boxes than the other players by connecting dots to make the sides of the boxes.  She opted to name her game "DotMania", paying homage to our favorite video game franchise "ManiaPlanet" by Nadeo.

It was a blast to help her think conceptually about how to teach a computer to allow this game to be played, and even more fun helping her figure out how to make an interactive board with HTML, CSS And JavaScript.

The design she finalized on was to use an HTML table, with dots absolutely positioned in each corner of every cell, then adding "Click Zone" divs along the borders of each cell, handling the event when a player clicks on one of them.  If it's a valid move, it will highlight and check to see if that table cell's square is complete, as well as any adjacent square that shares the same border.

The game also tracks score as it goes.

Whether you're already a fan of the game, or you've never played it before, please give Mandy's "DotMania" project a try, and wish her luck in the Central Utah Science & Engineering Fair in March at BYU!

Play DotMania
It brings happiness.

Congratulations Mandy!  You're "awesomesauce"!

21 February 2013

Brennan Advances to Region Science Fair

Last school year, Brennan tackled developing Tic-Tac-Toe for 2 players using HTML, JavaScript and CSS.    It was really fun for me to help him with the project and learning 3 new computer languages.

This year, he decided he wanted to delve into Artificial Intelligence and add a computer player to his Tic-Tac-Toe game.  It was a unique and exciting experience to help him process through concepts and watch the gears turn as he tried to figure out what our minds ask ourselves when we play Tic-Tac-Toe.

The outcome is quite fun.  If you haven't seen it yet, check it out on his website, brennan.thatoneplace.net

The next round will be held at BYU in March.  We've never been this far in a "fair" before, so we're both nervous and excited.  Apparently there are cash and other prizes at stake as well; and rumor has it, there might be companies present that look to give scholarships for interesting computer engineering projects.  It would be awesome for one to take an interest in our aspiring engineer!

Brennan and I would like to thank all of you who helped "beta test" his project and provide feedback.  We are excited to see how he does at the Region Science & Engineering Fair!

Congratulations Brennan!  You rock!