Facebook application idea #26: X-country skiing

January 25, 2009

Today while X-country skiing, I thought about making a post to my Facebook account afterwards, to let my friends know which trails I skiied. And since the trails all have colours, it would be nice to have something graphical in the post. At this point, I begin to think that an application is in order…

This application will

  • Let you track which trails you ski, when you ski them, and, optionally, the times.
  • Tabulate the trails you ski, and provide a cumulative number of kilometers you ski.
  • Publish stories to your friends’ pages to let them know you’ve been skiing.
  • Show you which friends are also skiing, and how you’re doing in comparison to them (distance, times).
  • Make comments about the different trails and rate them on a scale.
  • Let you vouch for a friend’s time.
  • Show the requisite Google ads to generate a little income.

At first I was thinking of doing this for the North Bay Nordic Ski Club, but I could make it more generalized so you could add additional clubs and trails.

The local club has boards up for several “clubs”. One is for the longest trail, which is the green trail, so the club challenges each other to see who can ski the most green trails in the season. There is another board for the “all trails club”, and a few others.

The North Bay Nordic Ski Club has a web page, so I’d provide links there, naturally (by the way, the club uses Joomla! as it’s CMS).  It would be nice to embed some information into the Facebook application (their trail report page, for example).  If there was a standardized format, it would be nice to import that data into the application. I could do it now, but it would mean some ugly screen-scraping. But then again, I’d be sacrificing localization for generalization…I couldn’t very well do this for other ski clubs. Maybe just links to trail conditions and your local club home page.

Looking at what’s out there already , I see Nike+ Running Monitor has something like this for running. Plus they’ve got an iPhone / iPod Touch app you can use to upload your results. Nice. I don’t see any cross-country skiing apps, somehow downhill and snowboarding apps are more popular. I took a quick look at the Snowdays application, but it just tracks the number of days you ski.

So what’s the end goal of this application? If these little competitive, one-upmanship Facebook widgets can drive me to improve my Tetris game, maybe they could get me out on the ski trails more often.

Incidentally, I did a brown and a gold today.


When is a Reuben not a Reuben?

January 7, 2009

I’m not opposed to substitutions in cooking. I make them fairly liberally myself. But at some point, you can make so many substitutions that you’ve created something completely new. Sometimes this is good, and sometimes…

We were at the Inn on the Bay in downtown North Bay, and a colleague had ordered a Reuben sandwich. It was busy, and the service was slow. When it finally arrived, the sandwich was not served on Pumpernickel, but on rye. Fair enough, that’s a commmon substitute. The meat was corned beef, and the cheese was Swiss. All good so far. But they used mustard instead of Thousand island dressing. Now, you can use Russian dressing in a pinch. I wouldn’t advise it myself, but I’m sure you’re capable of making those kinds of decisions responsibly. But mustard?

And then…horrors…they substituted cole slaw for the saurkraut. I was flabbergasted. I have since learned that this substitute changes the Reuben into a “Rachel” sandwich.

Now that’s change not to be taken lightly.