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.

Ok, seriously

Yesterday, I finished up work on the phone system. Today I'm putting the final touches on the website. is seriously just about ready to launch. I'm guessing it will go live tomorrow.

Friday, April 13, 2007

A word on mountain lion safety

I'm still hard at work on The project's phase one completion is now my number one priority, code red, alpha status. I want to get it online while it still early in the A.T. thru-hiking season, and with all the necessary features in place. Hopefully it won't be more than another week or two.

In the meantime, a word on mountain lions. First of all, mountain lions don't really exist on the Appalachian Trail. However, some new research aims to find out if the cats are making a comeback :
The cougar has not been confirmed in Virginia since 1882, but there are increasing signs they have returned to the state. Motion-sensitive infrared cameras have been deployed near Appalachian Trail to try to determine whether cougars are back.
So hikers, as you ramble through Virginia smile for the motion sensitive night vision cameras ;)

Picture by Ekai (click it to see funny photo notes about the stick figures)

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Almost there!!! is almost ready to launch. I really want to unleash it soon before this thru-hiking season gets fully underway. At the same time, I want to make sure that when the site launches it functions reliably and all the important features are in place. I'm hoping that the site can go live next week. Fingers crossed.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Drum roll please

I've been hard at work these past few months on a little thing called Its not ready for prime-time yet, but I wanted to let you know about it anyways. Fingers crossed, it will launch later this month. I've just gotta hammer out a few more bugs, add a few more critical features, and record some phone prompts. is a free web service for long distance Appalachian Trail hikers. It allows hikers to call a toll free number from any plain old telephone, punch in what mile mark they're at, and record an audio entry. Family and friends (and stranger too) can see a map of each hiker's progress and listen to each hiker's audio entries (and even download an audio podcast to their iPods). Until the site launches, here is a screenshot to give you an idea of what's coming: