Archive for April, 2011

I managed to get my mongodb data (see earlier postings) to play nice with Rails3 and Google maps

By using the Cartographer gem I managed to turn the listingsdata into




in just a few lines of extra code.

So now I have a mongodb with listings information on a few 100.000’s of companies – all displaying nicely on a set of dynamic maps.

Yesterday I tried dipping my toes into the world of food smoking using the newly aquired Kamado bbq.

I started with chicken breasts – at around 120 degrees celsius for 3 hours.


So far so good – the chicken actually tasted very, very good (or at least I thought so – as the rest of the family are vegetarians I had no-one to be secondary taster (-; ).

I have been experimenting with Mongodb’s geospatial searches lately – and even though the documentation is less than perfect I have at long last managed to create the necessary geo indexes and get rudimentary “near” searches working.

The first challenge was to make sure locations were in the correct format – something like this:

notice that I had to make sure the coordinates were specified as numeric.

Also note the inclusion of the _id key – this has to be the unique and persistent id for the document, otherwise mongodb will generate its own primary key – which may not be what you want to live with.

Then you need to create the geo index by something like this :


and you can start searching :


This is of course the very basic of searches – now I need to try to understand why the $near parameter refuses to work.

Btw. see –

In my experience these are not necessarily correct as to when it comes to the cause of the manual hands and the digital display getting out of sync.

I am almost 100% sure that in my case this comes from frequent changes of timezones, and the digital display always resetting to the nearest minute – without moving the analogue display.

Our old barbeque (a gas one a few year old) is already showing lots of rust and signs of falling apart – so earlier this year we started looking around for something slightly more robust.

And we came across a “new” breed of barbeques – the “kamados” – named (apparently) after Japanese indoor fireplaces.

And as these are hard to get in the UK we settled at the only one we could find – a “Kamado Joe”. These are made of thick ceramic, and looks strangely like a world war 2 mine – less the explosives.


(Click for larger image)

These are supposed to do quite a bit more than a traditional barbeque, as they can smoke food, and also be used to bake food. All this due to the rather interesting way of being able to control the heat inside the dome by controlling airflow through the 2 airvents.

The one at the top looks like this :


The theory being that by controlling the amount of oxygen that the coals can get hold of you can control the temperature.

And today I’m trying out this on chicken breasts – where the temperature should be kept around the 120 C – something I’ve not quite managed to master so far, even using the extra “heat deflector” sitting under the grilling surface.

But practice (should) make perfect – so if the weather stays like this i should be a expert when summer arrives.

A Kamado

A Kamado

and this is also supposed to act as a smoker and can bake pizzas. time will tell.
Starbucks - Chiswick park

Starbucks – Chiswick park

A nice start to a day back in the office after travelling.

It turns out that it is ridiculously easy to send Growl notifications like these


from Ruby – all it takes is a few line of code using the ruby-growl gem.

And the kicker? It can automatically be forwarded to the iPhone or the iPad using a excellent little app called “Prowl” .


So now (as you can see above) any action on our RFI reader (soon to be RFID reader lock) will show up as alerts on the iPhone.