Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The new version of is live

We just deployed the new Official announcement to follow, after we do a little more testing.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A new is coming soon

Last November, our old phone service provider (TellMe Studio) shuttered their doors, which basically rendered our telephone service for AT thru-hikers useless. In my free time, I've been rebuilding from the ground up, and am happy to announce that the "new and improved" site is almost ready.
I think I'm a much better web developer then I was in 2007, when first launched. The new site is prettier, more useable, and has a much more solid code base under its hood. The site's guts have been rebuilt using Symfony. And, Tropo for the phone layer. I'd like to continue sprucing up the site and adding new features after the relaunch, but right now my priority is to simply have a stable working version of for hikers to start using ASAP.
Here's a sneak preview of what the new site is going to look like:

And, here's what the old site used to look like:

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Today's public service announcement: Don't hike and code.

I've been fixing bugs on this morning, so the site can be in tip top shape for the 2008 hiking season.

[The next few sentences contain a bunch of geeky things that might sound like gibberish, feel free to ignore...] Somehow, the web server I use switched over from PHP 5 to PHP 4, and that caused a bunch of bugs. I switched it back and now those bugs should hopefully go away. Also, the VoiceXML server I use had to move to a new location, and the SIP hosts won't be able to point to the new VoiceXML server until tonight. Right now its all about sitting and waiting. Also, all the mile data in the system is from 2007. Unless there have been huge relocations, I'm not sure if that matters. I don't have the latest mile data book, so there's not much I can do about that anyways. And, right now the phone system isn't taking in decimals when inputting mile data, only whole numbers. Again, minor - but something I'd like to fix when I have the time. I'm sure more bugs are going to pop up as I get working right again.

I really want to be out in the woods right now... But, its a good thing I'm doing all this web coding from the comfort of my living room in Brooklyn, not a beautiful rustic shelter in Maine. I can't imagine trying to do all this with a non-existant wifi connection and 5 minutes of battery left on my laptop. Beside, who wants to stare at a computer screen when they could be enjoying the outdoors and the company of other hikers.

Happy Trails.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

TrailPhone is still up an running.

I guess its that Springer Fever time of year. I've been getting emails from people wondering whether or not is up an running. The answer is yes. If you are planning on hiking any part of the AT this season, I invite you to use, for free, to share your journey with friends, families, and everyone on the internet.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Can you walk any faster?

People who live in busy cities walk 10% faster than they did in 1990. Singapore has the fastest walkers, going 60 feet in 10.55 seconds (a little bit more than 4 miles an hour). New Yorkers ranked in at 8th place, taking 12 seconds to go the same distance.

I wonder if the average speed of hikers has also gone up? City dwellers don't have fancy poles and Vibram soles to help them along, but they also don't have to walk over mountains carrying a tent, a sleeping bag, and a week's worth of food.

Friday, May 4, 2007

We have lift off

Photo by mikewebkist

Okay! It took me about a month and a half longer that I anticipated but, as of 3 hours ago, is up and running. The web site and phone system are built. Now comes the real challenge: getting the word out to hikers, trail angels, and the outdoors community; and encouraging people to call in. I'm looking forward to getting filled with the stories, the personalities, and the magic of The Appalachian Trail. I'm looking forward to helping hikers share their journeys and communicate with one another. I'm looking forward to raising some awareness for environmental and conservation issues through the stories of the trail. And, I'm looking forward to being able to get a taste (or pungent whiff) of the trail, on days when I'm stuck in front of the computer.

Thursday, May 3, 2007


I don't think this thing is going to be ready by tomorrow morning. Maybe tomorrow evening. There's not much left on my list: I need to make sure the password reset function plays friendly, secure some back end stuff, figure out what stats package I'm going to use, delete all the stupid (actually, hilarious) fake hiker accounts and audio entries, and then... rock rock.