Friday, December 23, 2005

Happy Holidays ! ! !

Wishing everyone out there a...

Wonderful Holiday
&
Happy New Year!
- Allie & Kyle
...
Don't forget about Allie's 30th tonight at the Velvet Dog!
Stop by If you can...7pm and on...

Monday, December 19, 2005

Visiting EnGraph Clients in Salem, NJ

I spent the week of Dec. 11 at the Salem County Office On Aging in Salem, NJ. They operate rural transportation services for the entire county using ParaPlan GPS. They have a main dispatching office and remote sites that upload GPS data everyday using EnGraph GPS Control Room and GPS Manager designed by Tim Hibbard. They needed some advanced training for 2 new users and some reporting services. We both learned a lot about the uses of ParaPlan.

Here is their office in the white building at 98 Market Street. The building was built in 1790!

EnGraph Holiday Party

During a wonderful dinner at Paisano's, I presented the Where's Tim T-Shirt Version 1.0 to the company. I recommended that we all wear them as often as possible to promote what we can do. Tim and Chelsea had to leave the bowling tournament early...so Carl and I made a funny pic...

Everyone loved the shirts!

Tim talks about them here and here.

Anyway, Carl also gave away the EnGraph Holiday Sporting Champion Trophy also. Mark won the 2-game bowling tournament with a combined score of 117+160 = 277. I was 2nd place with a 223.

EnGraph Holiday Sport Champions:
2005-Mark Connolly
2004-Mark Connolly
2003-Judy Kurt

It will be mine next year!

Get Your Blogs Via Email!

Tim was just over today working in the KC Office and not only is he slowly becoming a Maxthon fan, but he liked my use of FeedBlitz. FeedBlitz is a service that lets you subscribe to blogs and it will send you and email with content when new posts occur. Very nice for people like me who use Outlook like an extra appendage.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

EnGraph's ParaPlan Featured


ParaPlan, our flagship 'Paratransit Management Application' will be featured in the Winter issue of the Dakota Transit Association Magazine. I'd like to thank Gary Hegland at the Dakota Transit Center for adding us to the magazine.

Friday, November 18, 2005

EnGraph's StudentTran Featured

Our premier school bus route management software was featured in School Bus Fleet Magazine in their November 2005 issue. I'd like to give a special thanks to Thomas McMahon from Bobit Business Media for their help.

StudentTran is our MapInfo application built to support the management of students, school bus stops, and school bus routes. The system automatically assigns students to the nearest bus stop or school, based on user-defined criteria. Generate morning and afternoon school bus routes using paths and times generated by our sophisticated routing engine.

With StudentTran, our clients have optimized their services and removed over 50 school bus routes saving taxpayers over $200M a year.

Friday, November 11, 2005

EnGraph's GPS Software

Just wanted to make sure everyone is checking out what Tim is doing with GPS technology. Where's Tim is really taking off and is getting better every day. Tim has added a weblog, messaging and driving directions to the site.

I did help him a little bit to get started using lat/longs and everything, but he has just taken to a different world. Once tracking history and geofencing is done, this thing will sell itself.

EnGraph can quickly provide Where's Tim technology to your entire mobile fleet at a low cost.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Google Videos

Video 1 - Soccer Juggling link

I found this on Ramsey's "Across The Board" Blog. He lives in KCMO and went to KU like me. Amazing juggling display. (Umm...not dribbling as the site says.)

Video 2 - Backstreet Cover link

My friend Susan sent me this one...2 Asian students terrin' up the Backstreet Boys while their buddy plays XBOX the whole time in the background.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

EnGraph's ParaPlan Pro AVL Unleashed!


After Tim and I enjoyed making the sequel to "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles"...we safely made it to San Angelo, TX on Sunday, October 16, 2005. (albeit 9 hours late thanks to Continental Airlines)

Concho Valley Rural Transit District has been a progressive client of ours since 2002. They started with our entry-level product, ParaPlan Lite with an Access backend, then updgraded to ParaPlan Pro SQL and have now upgraded to ParaPlan Pro AVL.

ParaPlan Pro AVL is our premier Paratransit management application. With this turnkey solution users can...

  • Take and manage client appointments quickly
  • Dispatch each trip to any route or driver
  • Generate efficient computer-assisted route schedules
  • Transmit those schedules electronically to each vehicle's MDT
  • Monitor routes in real-time using the EnGraph GPS Control Room
  • Communicate with each driver using the EnGraph Mobile Messenger
  • Reconcile actual arrival times and mileages with accurate GPS data
  • Review the actual route from any day on a digital map

This solution developed by EnGraph is provided by a combination of powerful partners...

We also implemented Air-Trak's Clouberry SatCom Upgrade as the communication network since their service area covers 16,000 rural square miles.

Along with these technologies, ParaPlan Pro AVL is 100% reliable due to the synergy of the following products architected by Tim Hibbard...

  • EnGraph GPS Manager Client
  • EnGraph GPS Manager Server
  • EnGraph GPS Control Room
  • EnGraph Mobile Messenger

The buzz about this solution has already started!
Check out this post from the Ontario Emperor technology blog..(link)

Friday, October 14, 2005

You Can't Live Anywhere

Just now I saw that 10 are dead from flooding in NE US. This was after the 'suspicious package' story in Los Angeles, preceded by the terrible earthquake in Pakistan and coverage of Katrina victims.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

MapInfo Misses Big Chance?

My company currently owes everything to Mapinfo. We were of their ealiest partners, sought by the vision of my boss Carl Kurt.

Through their platform we provided tools and capabilities unknown at the time. However, as times are changing, their competitors are now providing cool services too.

Mapinfo has good stuff, like their geocoding product, MapMarker Plus, is an amazing product but is fairly expensive.

Do they want/need to compete with 'Google Maps/Earth' or 'Mappoint'? They easily could have 10 yrs ago had they found the vision. I wish the 'brand new' version of their flagship product, MapInfo Professional 8.0, supported Access 2003.

MapInfo...its time to get rockin!

Saturday, September 24, 2005

EnGraph Starts Code Overhaul

We have started re-writing the code in .NET for our flagship paratransit management application, ParaPlan. I am very excited about this endeavor and Tim is leading the development process, codename 'Goldstar'. Read his post about it here.

I wrote the initial version in 1999 using VBA for Microsoft Access 2000. Carl wanted us to write it in FoxPro because he had some experience with it. I built some initial functions for the system in FoxPro, but I wanted to be in Access. Access 2000 had recently been released and I convinced Carl that it was in our best inerests to use a true Microsoft product.

Some of the most significant issues I had to solve during the initial development of ParaPlan were:

1) Teaching myself ADO to access data in VB.
2) Using MapInfo in the background using OLE.
3) Getting custom controls to install properly on client machines.
4) Creating a successful install program.
5) Splitting the database to create a true multi-user application.
6) Using VB to control legacy MapBasic code.

I am so glad to be leaving this technology behind.

We plan to have users install our software quickly with the push of a button using 'ClickOnce' technology.

Wish us luck!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Tim, .NET, MapPoint, Google Earth

This has to be some of the coolest stuff I have seen in a while...Tim's new baby...
His Fly To Application.

You will need to install Google Earth to experience it. I also noticed one national and one local TV News broadcast using Google Earth to show the audience locations on our planet.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Hurricane Katrina Thoughts

We all know that none of us have ever really seen devastation like this. I saw an interview with a man who told the story of losing grip on his wife while holding their kids and she said, "Take care of the kids." He couldn't hold on to her and he just said, "She's gone, she's gone." The reporter started balling...I have just never seen anything like this since 9-11.

News is saying it is like Hiroshima...well its just hard for me to realize right now that we intentionally did that to Japan. I know it was a crucial decision to end WWII, but right now it seems like a crime against humanity.

I think Joe Scarborough can be quite the right-wing punk sometimes on MSNBC, but he is doing the best job of being a real person while giving us information on this disaster and I admire that.

Please donate to the American Red Cross.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Integrated Mapping Warnings

A note to developers using Integrated mapping with MapInfo Products...

1) To launch MapInfo Runtime within VB code use:
Set MI = CreateObject("MapInfo.Runtime")
instead of:
Set MI = CreateObject("MapInfo.Application")
2) Beware that common object calls may NOT be compatible with the host Mapinfo version.
e.g. MI.Do "Set Map order 6,5,4,3,2,1" works with MapInfo 6.0, but not 7.8

Thus make sure to test all MapBasic code with the version matching your MapInfo pro version before using Integrated Mapping.

Integrated Mapping With MapInfo

Integrated Mapping is simply a term defining the use of a stand-alone GIS product within a custom application built in Visual Basic, PowerBuilder, Delphi, etc. We have used this technology since 1999 using VBA within Microsoft Access 2000 and Mapinfo Professional 5.5.

It can be done with 2 lines of code:
Public MI As Object
Set MI = CreateObject("MapInfo.Application")

To launch a custom Mapbasic Application:
strApp = "C:\mbApp.mbx"
MI.Do "Run Application """ & strApp & """"

In 1999 this technology was very useful, enabling developers to launch MapBasic applications within their custom apps. However, as development environments have progressed, this outdated methodology can be very tasking and difficult to manage.

This type of OLE automation can even be done with .NET as we have done with our GPS Control Room product. EnGraph will soon be implementing newer mapping components.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

The Open's RSS Feed

The Open Championship has its own RSS feed!

I'd rather be golfing than reading blogs, but still pretty cool.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Make Windows Faster

From the PC Mag I talked about in my previous post, I learned about a way to make Windows XP perform better. I know Tim did the same thing to his computers recently, but I did it on my own and cannot believe the difference.

You will lose the 'XP Styles' etc, but it is well worth it if you crank on computers all day...

Right-click My Computer -> Properties -> Advanced Tab -> Performance Settings -> pick 'Adjust for best performance'

***then reboot and WOW! The speed of doing everything increased dramatically for me.

Maxthon Browser

On my trip to Pennsylvania I purchased the June 28, 2005 edition of PC Magazine. It had many good tips and tricks and new things for Windows users. I learned about the Maxthon Browser. It is truly incredible. It is everything I have every wanted in a web browser that runs on IE. I am sure Tim has already used it and tossed it, but I think it is incredible. It is free and there are enough options to keep you busy playing for days.

Maxthon Internet Browser software is a powerful tabbed browser with a highly customizable interface. It is based on the Internet Explorer browser engine with many additional efficient features like...

  • Tabbed Browsing Interface (multiple sites in 1 browser !!!)
    ***can't explain how much i love this
  • Mouse Gestures
  • Super Drag/Drop
  • Save Web Text Tool
  • Privacy Protection
  • AD Hunter
  • RSS Reader (so cool to have your feeds right there)
  • Launch External Utility Bar
  • Skins

Tim got me onto RSS Bandit, but I like having everything in one place and this does it. So download it NOW it is free!

Thursday, June 30, 2005

People Can Change

I recently got back from an EnGraph business trip to Newport, PA. I was visiting PCTA and helping them go live with our ParaPlan Pro software package. They had been hesitant to start using the software. Our software is mission critical and its implementation means somewhat 're-working' an organization's daily operations.

My point of this post is to say that once I got there and showed them all the features of ParaPlan and created some tools for them to merge into their existing operations...everything became wonderful. They really liked the software and all its capabilities.

I think this general sequence rings true for many situations surrounding people who are 'scared' of technology and change. I think it is our responsibility to SHOW everyone how cool the world is becoming.

Friday, May 06, 2005

EnGraph Releases Developer Tools

As we continue to develop in .NET, we strive to make our lives easier while developing new .NET applications. One of the ways we do that is by creating custom controls that can be dropped into any form. Tim is leading this effort and has released the first of many EnGraph controls to the developing public. This first control is the EnGraph DateBox Control (more). It is used in our newest application, EnGraph GPS Control Room. The custom controls we develop make our lives easier and we thought they could help you too.

We will post future control releases, so keep checking in on me and Tim!

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

.NET in Kansas City

Since I have finally started developing in .NET, I'd like to let people know about the Kansas City .NET User's Group. We meet monthly on the fourth Tuesday of the month from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm. They have enticing door prizes like the C# book I won! Don't know the language, but it was free. There is typically a 'keynote' speaker discussing a .NET topic, but this month they talked about blogs.

Tim Hibbard has been raving about this technology for a long time and finally got me to start my own blog, as you are reading now. Just as each blog is unique, so are the sites that host them. Tim chose geekswithblogs.net, which was started by Jeff Julian right here in Kansas City.

As our company, EnGraph, is continually evolving into .NET and utilizing these other amazing technologies, I can only say that I hope your company does not miss the boat. More people are viewing our website through our RSS feeds than all other means. It is a great way share, find and deliver information.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Roy Wins

I have to say that I am happy for Roy Williams finally winning the national championship. I went to KU from 1990 to 1997 and he was an icon in Lawrence. I take solace in the fact that I still believe he would have rather won it at KU. Had that happened, however, I feel he may have left KU sooner and I am glad he stayed as long as he did. The roots of where you went to school are very strong and Roy did not go to KU, he went to UNC.

For the people who protested for the firing of Bill Self should look at his record and what he said when he took the job. He said that KU was always where he wanted to coach. He took Tulsa from nobody to somebody and essentially took Illinois (partly) to their first national championship game. Bill is easily a top 10 coach in the nation and we are lucky to have him. Roy kinda tore our family apart 2 years ago, but now it will be Bill's and he will bring one home for the Hawk faithful.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

How EnGraph Got Started

I went to the University of Kansas and got a masters in Civil Engineering - from my studies in civil, I became good at AutoCad and became the teaching assistant for that class. From that background I taught myself AutoLISP (AutoCad language) and then took a class in it. That wet my appetite for programming and soon bought the student version of Visual Basic 2.0, which came on 3 floppies!

My thesis advisor, Carl Kurt, had a company (EnGraph) on the side which sold plotting supplies and had developed some transportation add-ins and sdk's for the MapInfo platform. I did some work for EnGraph as a student, but took a job in engineering after graduating.

After 2 years in Corporate America, I contacted Carl to see if he still wanted to grow EnGraph and he did. So I left the engineering firm and pursued entrepreneurship...and I am so glad I did. During my first week with EnGraph, we went to Florida for the 1999 MapInfo MapWorld Conference and displayed a booth of transportation software for their platform. (pic)

From that start we now have over 40 clients using our software and have added Tim Hibbard as a software architect. He has migrated us from Access and VBA to .NET and SQL Server and the future looks very bright for EnGraph.

Monday, March 21, 2005

My First Entry

I saw this little flash video made by Robin Sloan (http://www.robinsloan.com/epic/) and figured it was time I started talkin a bit, so I went to the source.