Farewell Microsoft

For the past 6 years, almost to the week, I have been an employee of Microsoft. I was part of a small development team based out of an office in St. Paul, Minnesota. About 3 weeks ago our office was shutdown due to a wave of layoffs taking place in Microsoft and as a result I was also laid off. I have been given the option to relocate to Redmond and apply for a new job if I wish, but I have decided that I do not want to relocate right now after all. So it is at this point that I am saying farewell to Microsoft.

I worked on Expression Blend, Visual Studio and finally Internet Explorer. I have mostly enjoyed my time there, especially working with some great people over the years. It was not without its technical and social challenges to overcome but for the most part I come away from the experience better and stronger I believe. I believe the senior management and the changes they are making are actually good for Microsoft and look forward to seeing them ascend and take their rightful place among the tech giants once again.

I harbor no ill will towards Microsoft and I find myself feeling more relieved and excited to be onto a new chapter than I am worried or stressed, though this kind of uncertainty is never fun. So it is with mixed emotions I say farewell Microsoft, and thanks for all the fish.

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Terraria – Lava Dome

I’ve been having some fun with the new Terraria update. Leo and I built a Lava Dome. It’s a wall filled with lava surrounding our entire base. The entrances are filled with active blocks so we can flip a switch during an invasion and the doors will fill with lava. It’s admittedly completely impractical… but pretty awesome anyway 🙂

You can also see our art gallery.

lavadome v1.0

The automatic lava generator is pretty easy to make too. Just make a large chamber and put a inlet pump at the bottom and an outlet pump at the top. Wire them up with a 1 second timer and let it go. It won’t generate lava automatically but what will work is to put blocks separated by a single space all next to each other then take a bucket and dump a single load on top of each divider. Those will continue to split and if you leave and come back later your chamber will be full. You can then wire up a different outlet pump to pump all the lava wherever you want.

This game is ridiculously fun and engrossing. The new update is worth checking out even if you have played Terraria before.

Navigator Update

Head over to the Windows Phone Store and download a free trial!

Application Icon Store

If you tried it before you might want to give it another shot. There are a lot of improvements and it is much more useable overall. Here is a screen shot of the new UI:

navigator screenshot

Here is a list of some of the new features:

  • 3 months free trial, $1.29 to purchase.
  • Current maneuver shows an icon rather than the full maneuver text.
  • Easier to read maneuver text at top of screen.
  • Preview the entire route with simple forward and back buttons.
  • An estimated time of arrival is displayed.
  • Quick reminders when approaching a maneuver on long routes.

Bug fixes:

  • Fixed a bug where it would randomly think you were off route.
  • Fixed a sensitivity bug where it would think you were off route on a wide road.
  • Fixed a bug where entering the route from somewhere beyond the first maneuver would not put you on route.
  • Various stability fixes.
  • Added a screen for sending me crash reports directly when unexpected errors occur.

Overall it’s a much more stable and useable version. If you give it a try and  have any feedback please let me know!

Navigator – A Windows Phone 8 app

I created a turn by turn navigation app which is now available on the Windows Phone store for WP8 devices. I was unsatisfied with either the quality the existing apps or the price, so I went ahead and created one of my own. It simply provides voice navigation with the minimum necessary effort on your part. If you have been unhappy with the turn by turn navigation situation on Windows Phone 8, like I have, then this is the app for you!

Download:

ApplicationIconStore

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Atheist Voices of Minnesota

I recently contributed a chapter to what I think is a very remarkable anthology of short stories written by fellow Minnesota Atheists. It was a very nice experience to finally be able to write about the unusual path I have taken to both arrive in Minnesota and become and atheist. My contribution was a fairly personal story, partly about my time in a religious cult but also how it felt to loose my faith and the thought process that lead me to the conclusion that there is no God. It felt good to share it publicly and I hope you enjoy it.  The goal of the book was to provide positive and inspirational stories from regular people to show everyone that Atheists are just people too and to help provide some insight into what makes us tick. And maybe you are an atheist too? If so, with this book you may find a community of like minded people waiting for you.

The book is now officially published and available in print or ebook from various book stores. Please head over to the website for more details:

http://www.freethoughthouse.com/atheist-voices-of-mn.html

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