Whistler Ski Run Topographic Map

My cousins from Toronto came over to ski and snowboard at Whistler over the last month.  I had the opportunity to pick up skiing again and accompany them up at Whistler a few times.

Whistler Blackcomb is pretty big, so one would usually look at a map to find suitable runs.  This is a sample of what is provided in the “Mountain Atlas”:

A portion of the official Trail Map/Mountain Atlas you get from Whistler Blackcomb

It looks nice and is mostly useful.  But for all the map geeks out there, can we find anything better?

Turns out that Google Maps conveniently has the ski runs in its map.  But there’s more: Google Maps in Terrain mode shows the contour lines like a topographic map!

“Topographic” map of Whistler Mountain (north is upwards — so the Village is towards the top)

Beautiful!  The top-down view makes it easy to see the actual orientation of the run and “behind” the mountains, and the contour lines makes the rate of descent visible.  So from here you can see there is a green run from the Peak—Mathew’s Traverse—whereas it’s not depicted on the trail map.

How do you get to the map?

Here’s the link: Google Maps Terrain @ Whistler
Alternatively you can search for the location you want in Google Maps, then open the menu at the top left, then select “Terrain” mode.

Terrain is one of the layers in Google Maps

Enterphone intercom anywhere

My apartment building has an old hard-wired Enterphone intercom to buzz visitors in.  This poses a slight annoyance since the dependency of the phone line in conjunction with a conventional corded telephone means I have to walk to the phone in order to answer the intercom.

Given the low rate of visitors and the small size of my apartment, in retrospect, this isn’t really a big deal.  Most normal people would just buy a cheap cordless phone and call it a day.

But that only helps if I’m in the apartment.  What if I wanted to be able to buzz myself in if I somehow got locked out?

Continue reading “Enterphone intercom anywhere”

My T-Comm site gets its 15 minutes of fame

Earlier today, a few local blogs mentioned my T-Comm website (a live map of all the buses in Metro Vancouver):

The site wasn’t really designed for day-to-day navigation, but more for transit enthusiasts who are looking to find specific buses (e.g., the double decker test buses we have on the streets right now, 1008 and 1009).  In addition, I’ve also heard that bus drivers also use the site to locate their bus as it arrives to their pick up point.

I wish I took some time to polish up the site over Christmas, since it’s pretty much still running on the same code base (both in the user interface, and behind the scenes) as when I created it six years ago!  Nevertheless, it’s cool that the site’s been found and mentioned by some local online media, and to spread some “transit geekery” out there.

Delaying a MacBook Pro’s deep sleep

I bought a new mid-2012 non-Retina MacBook Pro late last year, immediately prior to the line being discontinued (I still think the second-generation MacBook Pros were the best series).  After about a week, I found an annoying thing with it:  When I turned on the computer after coming back from work, it seemed like it almost always required a cold startup after sleeping, where the optical drive initialized and did its buzz, and took a lengthy 10-15 seconds to wake up from sleep.  Also, the computer would wake up (and the optical drive buzzed) even if the MagSafe charger was disconnected.

I contemplated bringing it into the Apple store, as this behaviour was not exhibited in my mid-2009 model and the optical drive buzzing was plain annoying; I thought there was something wrong with my Mac specifically.

However, from a bit of searching it turned out that this was a “feature” of the Mac since OS X Mountain Lion for 2012 Macs and newer: Continue reading “Delaying a MacBook Pro’s deep sleep”

Driving around with car2go

About a month ago, I signed up for a car2go account.  So far I’ve used it twice already and I’ve been pretty happy with the experience.

Why car2go?

  1. In the case I miss the last SkyTrain home, the car2go would be a cheaper option than taking a taxi, and more time-efficient than waiting for the Night Bus.  (It’s roughly $10 for a 20-minute car2go trip from downtown to Richmond, versus a $35 taxi ride.  The earliest Night Bus gets me home around 3am).
  2. I share cars with my parents, so in the rare case that they need the cars, I wanted to have a backup just in case.  Since there’s no significant monthly fee, it would not hurt to keep the account just for the times that I need to use it. (There is a $2 annual fee though, but that’s pretty reasonable).
  3. It’s the only car-sharing service to service Richmond (albeit only at Kwantlen University, but I live close by).
  4. car2go does not require you to return the car to its original location—it’s a one-way service, which is perfect for my night-time trips.

Coming from driving 20+ year old minivans, the Smart car was comparatively very zippy, and reminded me of driving a go-kart.  The accelerating and braking were quite sensitive, but that was not too difficult to get used to.

In case you’re interested in joining, if you get a referral code from someone you know, you can signup for free.  (Send me a direct message on Twitter @DennisTT if you don’t know anyone with car2go).