Bikers rejoice!

Google has just added intelligent biking directions for more than 12,000 U.S. bike trails as a new option inside Google Maps.

The company writes that the new biking features will “include as much bike trail data as possible, provide efficient routes, allow riders to customize their trip, make use of bike lanes, calculate rider-friendly routes that avoid big hills and customize the look of the map for cycling to encourage folks to hop on their bikes.”

The new option now sits next to the current Google Maps standbys — car, public transit and walking — for online routing options, so users can select the new option from the dropdown menu to uncover a Google-recommended bike routes (likely sans big hills!).

You can also turn on a “Bicycling” layer via the “More” tab when zoomed into a particular city in Google Maps. The trails’ green hues should indicate terrain and road type. Dark green equates to bike-only, light green means there’s a bike lane, and dashed green means it’s a decent biking path but one without a bike lane.

Before you get too excited, we should note that as of right now biking is not an option in mobile apps, so make sure to plan ahead before you hit the pavement.

I am not currently a biker, but I hope to get a new bike soon.  This great news reminded me of my brother, Pat who has cycled from Florida to Ohio and West Texas to Louisiana.  He was always looking for a good map that would tell him how he could get safely from one place to the next on his bike.

So on behalf of all bikers everywhere…Thank you Google maps!
(this tidbit discovered thru a newsletter received from )

A weekend of choices & checking tasks off the list –
Colors, Books and Technology Day

We’re getting closer to the reality of getting our house painted! Yea! We are hoping to get price quotes in the coming days and have picked out our paint colors. Saturday we went to Home Depot and picked up samples of the colors and tried them on the outside of the house. Basically I wanted it to be anything other than the beige/tan color family. If you’ve been to Phoenix, you’ll quickly notice that about 90% of the homes are some shade of beige. For those who know me, you know that I LOVE color and just couldn’t settle for beige. Nothing against that choice for others, but I just can’t do it myself. Now I’m not going to be too radical on the outside of the house, so as not to upset the neighbors, so it’s going to be a pale sage green with white trim and a few splashes of fern green here and there. Or to be a little more specific, go to the Behr paint website and look up these colors: Pale Sagebrush, Icy Tundra and Sea Fern. I think these will be good colors to help bring out whatever green we have in the plants in the yard. I can’t wait! Next big project will be the landscaping in the front yard. Looking forward to that one too.

I’m very excited about another change around here as well! We’ve had our wireless network set up for quite a while, but it’s also been unsecured for a long time, so anyone – neighbors, strangers, or whoever happens to drive by – could access it with no resistance. Lately we’ve had some issues with our computers that have concerned me and prompted me to want to reset our password for the wireless connection to protect it against unauthorized access.

So today I dug out the original disk and jumped into the instruction manual to try to figure out how to set up the password again. Now, you need to know that I’m really NOT good at anything relating to hardware on a computer, especially networking and cofiguration, etc. It’s all very intimidating for me because I’m afraid I’m going to click the wrong box and everything’s going to crash. Also because when I work on this kind of thing, I inevitably come across one or more questions that I have no idea how to answer. In this case, here’s just one example: Please choose the encryption type. How in the world am I supposed to know? Both choices are just 3 random letters that mean absolutely nothing to me. Fortunately there were only 2 choices, so I was able to determine it by process of elimination.

Anyway, it took me a few HOURS and I thought I had totally messed up the whole setup at a few points, but I finally stumbled through the process and got it to work like I wanted. The cool thing is that while I was in there, I figured out how to connect wirelessly to our printer and documents from the laptop to the other computer in the office, so I don’t have to go back and forth between computers to print or access documents or pictures that are on one or the other. Spiffy, huh?

Now I still have a few technical things that I need to figure out, like:

  • How to get my Outlook to auto-complete my email addresses when I begin to type them. It drives me crazy that it won’t do that.
  • How to sync my contacts and calendar from Outlook to my iPod touch. (I may be calling Randy or Shawn – our resident iPod geniuses for help)
  • How to download audio files to my computer, then iPod touch – Terry should be able to help me with this.

So I guess I’ll need to have another technology day soon.

Also, my mom has been cleaning closets and is getting rid of some of her books. But, before we give them away, I thought I’d check and see if anyone wants any of the hard covers. There are also quite a few Reader’s Digest Condensed books, but I’m guessing that most of the reading purists won’t be interested in those. Plus some paperbacks, but most of those are romance novels.

So, open up these pictures and look at the titles. If you’re interested in reading any of these books, let me know and I’ll set them aside and give them to you when we see you again.

Once we see if anyone wants any of these, we’re going to donate what’s left to my nephew Daniel’s fund raising yard sale in March. He’s raising money to go on a basketball mission trip to the Philippine’s next summer.

If you have anything you want to get rid of, let us know and we’ll have Daniel get in touch with you to pick up your “treasures” before his big sale. Or if you just want to send him a check, let us know that too and we can give you his address.