Goin’ Mobile — Virginia and WildSnow Geek Stuff


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | October 13, 2008      

I was in Virginia Beach all last week, spending time with ill father. He’s doing okay, though hospitalized and quite elderly so we don’t know how long he’ll be out of the woods. Even though his body is frail his mind is sharp, and I know that’s a blessing. Got some good stories out of the guy that rounded out his life picture. Knowing details of your parent’s journey can be both fun and painful, but either way you get a lot of insight into your own path, so such was appreciated. Thanks dad!

Virginia Beach is a crazy place. The city is populous as cities in the east tend to be, and fronts on the ocean with a strip of hotels that’s one of the more famous “beach strips” around. Indeed, streets in the Monopoly game are named after the roads here, with Atlantic being the closest to the ocean, then stepping back to Pacific Avenue etcetera.

The Virginia Beach ocean front, that's my younger brothers Craig and Tom.

The Virginia Beach ocean front, that's my brothers Craig and Tom.

Having not much experience of such places, I found the stack of high rise motels fronting the shore to be both amusing and truly sad. What if they’d held them back a block or two and made a strip park or something? Nope, instead you’ve got a band of sand, a concrete “boardwalk” then a wall of buildings. Sort of like how mega ski resorts eat up backcountry — only we’ve got a lot more backcountry in North America than we do beach.

Back to WildSnow
Thanks goes out to our guest bloggers and commenters for the rich content you created while I was on the road. The avalanche stories are great, and we’ve got more coming including a good one from Alaska. We’ll start those again this week, along with ramping up our gear reviews and even sprinkling in a few backcountry trip reports.

Samsung i760 smartphone.

Samsung i760 smartphone. Not perfect (no GPS and bogus camera) but the price was right and it has a keypad and a slideout keyboard, essential features if you're using an LCD device in bright light.

Meanwhile… Over the last few weeks I continued a huge push to improve WildSnow’s “back office” by upgrading our blogging software, doing a website re-design, and making a huge amount of tweaks that speed things up for you blog readers as well as increasing website reliability (fewer crashes and nearly 100% uptime).

Latest push, and hopefully the last big one so I’m free for winter fun, is creating a mobile (PDA, smartphone) version of WildSnow. What got me going with this is I upgraded my phone to a Samsung i760 smartphone with Windows Mobile. WildSnow.com didn’t look so hot on the Windows mobile browser, so off I went on yet another website upgrade. I didn’t do as complete a job with this as say the New York Times does with their mobile version. But I did strip out a bunch of stuff that slows down site loading on a slower connection and tended to clutter things up when your PDA browser wasn’t able to sort things out to a narrower format.

The WildSnow mobile version only shows when you use a mobile device, check it out if you’ve got a PDA or smartphone. Apple’s browser software did pretty well with the site as it was, but just about anything else was having trouble with it. Things should be much better now. In the future, most obvious ongoing change for the mobile version will be giving our advertisers a panel of mini-banners you’ll see at the top of your PDA screen, but for now we’ll stick with text links. More, we’ll tweak everything so the text is less crowded.

In other WildSnow improvement news, with the help of our WildSnow geek squad (Dave, Tom, etc.):

-We’ve got a new system of placing our images with a nice border and caption.

– We’re now designing first and foremost for the Firefox browser. As a web professional, I reluctantly made IE my browser of choice for years, simply because so many other people used it and I wanted an ongoing sense of how my projects looked in that browser. Now, with Firefox being so popular and also much better than IE in so many ways, I figured it was time to move. So be it. Just know that if you want the best performance and look for WildSnow.com, consider using Firefox as your browser, though we’ll test in IE and try to keep all the major components working.

– I’ve made a ton of behind the scene speed and reliability improvements. You might not notice much difference from this, as I’ve added in a few things that negated some of the speed improvements. But you should see an increase in reliability while you’re browsing the site and making comments.

– We’ll keep going with our guest blogs, though the site will continue to feature my opinion blogs, gear reviews and trip reports for most days. Our schedule for new content will continue to be something new every week day, with occasional new posts on Saturdays.



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Comments

6 Responses to “Goin’ Mobile — Virginia and WildSnow Geek Stuff”

  1. Eric Steig October 13th, 2008 10:46 am

    Lou,

    I know this is off topic, but perhaps it’ll inspire you to put the answers under your Dynafit FAQs page.

    I want to remove the old TLT binding from my main touring skis and replace with Vertical STs. (The plan is to put the TLTs on some randonee race skis). I’ve got two questions.

    1) Will I be able to put the Verticals in the same mounting holes as the TLTs (are the mounting holes the same?).
    2) You wrote something about Dynafit having improved the brake deployment reliabilty a bit, by a small adjustment in the angle where the brakes spring arms go through the holes in the side of the binding. How would I know whether the binding I buy has that improvement? (Perhaps this applies only to 2008-2009 and later bindings?)

    THANKS!

  2. Drex October 13th, 2008 12:51 pm

    I’m pretty sure that Monopoly is named after the streets of Atlantic City NJ, not Virginia Beach

  3. Lou October 13th, 2008 12:53 pm

    Eric, one of the wonderful things about Dynafit bindings is most models use the same mounting holes, Comfort, TLT and Vertical use the same holes.

    As for brake deployment, unless you buy a binding from several years ago, everything should be good. Otherwise, it would be a simple thing to call Salewa North America and swap a brake that tended to stick. Thus, I wouldn’t be too concerned. it’s pretty obvious when you’ve got brakes that stick, you can test by just closing the brake by hand and letting up gently on it. If it occasionally sticks while you’re doing this, lubricate, then test again. If you still have problems, call customer service.

  4. Lou October 13th, 2008 1:42 pm

    Drex, you’re probably right, I guess it was wishful thinking on my part (grin). Trying to find something interesting other than the ocean, when I didn’t have time to make it to any of the cool museums or parks.

  5. Eric Steig October 13th, 2008 8:11 pm

    Great, thanks Lou for the Dynafit info.
    I do think you should put this up in FAQs.

    Greetings from B’ham by the way. I hope Louie is enjoying our rain (but it is snowing in the mountains!).

  6. Lou October 13th, 2008 9:14 pm

    Eric, indeed yes I’ll make sure it’s in the FAQs. I think it’s in there somewhere, but buried. I’ll make sure it’s obvious. Probably do it tomorrow morning. Still getting my time eaten up by back end stuff, but am really getting there. Soon I’ll have time to be a blogger again (grin).

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