Pumpkin Run Socks Arrived

The Pumpkin Run socks have arrived and they look great!  Giving away socks to the runners instead of yet another t-shirt is something that we’ve done every year.  It’s one thing that makes our race unique.  In the past we’ve purchased the socks from DeFeet, but this year we’re using Save Our Soles.  The service and delivery was excellent and the socks are great!  We’ve put this year’s logo on the sock and in my opinion, these turned out the best of any of the socks yet.  If you were lucky enough to get your registration in on time, we hope you like this year’s socks!

Flickr Photo

Flickr Photo

Pumpkin Run Full!

Eeek! The Pumpkin Run 4K is already full. I have the feeling that there are going to be a lot of disappointed people who didn’t get their entry in on time. While we have filled up every year, this is by far the quickest ever. Is it because of our Google page rank strategy that I blogged about a while back? That probably played a small part, I think. Once things calm down a little, I’ll analyze the data and see how much our Google rank helped out.

If you really wanted to get in the race and didn’t register in time, I’m truly sorry. I just received an email yesterday from someone who has run the race every year and tried to register just hours after we had to close it.

We are brainstorming trying to think of creative ways to allow more runners next year – or perhaps not. The Pumpkin Run has always been a small, intimate, and cozy event and we like it that way – that’s what Joan has tried to create. That said, we feel bad that there will be far more people that want to run the race than we’ll be able to handle. This is something that we’ll be wrestling with for a while.

For those that did get your registration in on time, we’ll see you in about 3 weeks! If you didn’t, I have created a form on the Pumpkin Run site where you can add your email to our announcement list for next year. That way you’ll be among the first notified when online registration opens up next year.

Sincerely, Dave

My New Book: BlackBerry Hacks

BlackBerry Hacks Cover

I’ve been busy for the last several months working on a book for O’Reilly Media called BlackBerry Hacks. It will be published in O’Reilly’s excellent Hacks Series.

I am quite happy with the way the book turned out. It certainly exceeded my expectations going into it. The book has a nice blend of “hacks” for a whole range of BlackBerry aficionados from the newest of users to the seasoned veteran. Here is a chapter list:

BlackBerry Hacks Chapters

  1. Using your BlackBerry
  2. Email
  3. Games
  4. The Internet and Other Networks
  5. Free Programs
  6. Shareware Apps
  7. BES Administration
  8. The Web and MDS
  9. Application Development

O’Reilly should have the complete hack list on the book’s web site pretty soon. They’ll also include some free sample hacks from the book.

This book would certainly not have turned out nearly as good without some excellent contributors. Their work was critical to the success of this project. Thanks!


Also a special thanks to Loren Beckerman from Cingular who went out of her way to provide best-in-class wireless service for me while I wrote the book. Thanks, Loren!!

You can order the book from Amazon here. I’m told it will be shipping in mid to late October.

A special thanks to the folks at O’Reilly for giving me this opportunity!


Pumpkin Run Registrations Ahead of Schedule

The Pumpkin Run preparations continue to go on behind the scenes. Joan is in the process of decorating the window at Fleet Feet in Carrboro. The Chapel Hill/Carrboro YMCA continues to get donations and gift certificates that will be used as the prizes for the race.

Also, registrations (both online and offline) are well ahead of last year’s pace. At this rate, the race will likely fill up much sooner than last year. If you want to run the race and haven’t signed up yet, I encourage you to do so soon!

Greasemonkey User Script for Lets Run Message Boards

I can’t be the only person that thinks the letsrun.com Message Boards are in serious need of an update. I realize they work just fine and they are quite popular, but the usability of the page is stuck in the late 1990s. In fact, it could almost be nominated for Web Pages that Suck, which is actually a great site for web developers to discover what NOT to do. The site’s content is great – don’t get me wrong – but the design and usability could use a little work (and that’s what I’ve done).

Continue reading

Automated Running Logs using Google Maps

Building on my original post where I used the Google Maps API to create a course map for a trail race I put on every year, I’ve created an automated running log using my GPS running watch.

You can view the automated running log here: http://dave.runningland.com/map/

I wrote some Perl code to periodically check to see if I’ve cradled the watch in the charger. If it is detected, the most recent runs are exported using GPSBabel from the watch and converted to the Garmin logbook format and the Keyhole Markup Language (KML) for viewing in Google Earth. It then uploads the files to the appropriate directory on the web server. This allows me to simply insert the watch into the charger and simply go about my business. No buttons to push or programs to bring up. The next time the script runs I know the data from the watch will be processed.

On the web server, a process runs daily to produce the HTML file with my latest runs from the watch. It also creates an RSS feed of the most recent runs.

Am I arrogant enough to think that people will subscribe to an RSS feed of my daily runs? Nah. That is just a convenient format for displaying on the sidebar of my WordPress blog.

Special thanks to the authors of Mapping Hacks by O’Reilly for producing a great book to learn about mapping and GPS devices.

Pumpkin Run Push-Up Contest

We’ve been hard at work preparing for the Pumpkin Run, getting prizes and refreshments donated, working with the Chapel Hill/Carrboro YMCA to prepare the site, and brainstorming about ways we can make this year’s race even better than the previous years’.

One of the ideas we’ve come up with is a push up contest. We got this idea from the Owl’s Roost Trial Half Marathon in Greensboro. Right before the awards, we’ll have a contest to see who can do the most push-ups – only race participants allowed. We’ll have a male and female division with the winner of each taking home an as of yet undetermined prize.

So start doing those sets of push-ups now to prepare!