Prophets, Apostles, and Other Notable People in the Salt Lake City Cemetery

In recent visits to the Salt Lake City Cemetery, I’ve seen several groups of people visiting the markers of all the notable people buried there – people like Gordon B. Hinckley, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, and Porter Rockwell.  According to this article in the Deseret News, people come into the sexton’s office every day and ask for maps.  When I visited several years ago with an institute class, our instructor knew dozens of these locations and had stories about nearly every one we visited.  I’ve been trying to gather some of this information for use in a future visit, and thought I’d share what I’ve found so far.

I’ve compiled the locations I found in these, as well as a few others I found on my own, into an interactive online map that you can view in Bing Maps, Google Earth, and Google Maps.  (Click the links to view each map.)  The locations are marked with pins, which when clicked open up to show a photo of the grave marker, a short bit of info about who each person was, and a link to their Wikipedia article.  I learned a lot about LDS Church history putting this together, and thought I’d share it in case anyone else would like to explore the cemetery in this way.  Unfortunately, none of the maps print very well – the maps listed above are still best to take with you to the cemetery.

Vanishing Point Game

DSCN0495Have you heard about the Vanishing Point game? It’s a mysterious series of events and online puzzles that were launched this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The first event was a spectacular water show at the Bellagio with a video projected onto the fountain, similar to what’s done in Fantasmic @ Disneyland. The video included a series of clues to puzzles now hosted on VanishingPointGame.com. Those who solve the puzzles will be eligable to win prizes including Windows Vista based PC’s and laptops, copies of Windows Vista Ultimate and Office 2007, Xbox 360’s, Zunes, iRiver’s, and Windows games. It’s obviously a marketing campaign for Microsoft’s upcoming launch of Windows Vista and Office 2007, but certainly a clever one. The grand prize winner gets a trip on the “Rocketplane” XP vehicle, which will take them to “the edge of space for a view of the ultimate vista”.

Apparently there are three more events scheduled, each with their own set of puzzles and clues. The puzzles remind me of puzzles I saw in games like Dr. Brain, Myst, and 7th Guest, and some seem very complicated and challenging, but fun. The cities and times for the remaining events are listed on the website (including places like Miami, Phoenix, Austin, Sydney, London, Berlin, Toronto, and finally Seattle), but only lat/long’s are provide for the specific locations, so you’ll have to look ’em up if you want to attend (and the upcoming events sound like they’ll be at least as cool as the first one).

Anyways, it’s an intersting contest – worth checking out. I wish I had more time to try and solve all the puzzles, as I could sure use one of the new PC’s they’re giving away….we’ll see.

Vanishing Point Website Sundial Game @ Vanishing Point

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Free Chrismas Concert Downloads

Last year I discovered the FM100 Christmas Mini Concerts, which were held just across the street from my work at the ZCMI Center. They had a lot of great local artists performing some really fun music, and they offered recordings of the concerts as free MP3’s you could download and play on your computer/iPod/whatever. Anyways, they’re underway right now again for this year – if you’d like some fun, free Christmas music (and some other stuff mixed in, like Ryan Shupe & the Rubber Band‘s hit song, Dream Big), go checkout their website by clicking here. Tonight we’ve been listening to the John Schmidt concert, with his rendition of the Charlie Brown Christmas Medley – it’s pretty good stuff – go check it out.

New LDS Blogs

I’m so excited to see so many well done blogs from members of the LDS Church popping up lately. Today I learned about LDS Chief Information Office (CIO), Joel Dehlin’s new blog at ldscio.org. He was recently hired from Microsoft, and has been doing a great job during his first few months at the Church. I really enjoyed his post about the way his co-workers at Microsoft responded when he told them about his new position – “Huh? Does your chapel have a server or something?” He also mentioned that the Church is currently hiring both Java and .net programmers, which I think is great news – as a .net programmer already working at the Church, I’m happy to see more of that technology used where it makes sense.

Cameron Moll also announced yesterday his decision to accept a position as the Principal Interaction Designer at the Church. I remember reviewing Cameron’s portfolio when he was interviewed for the Web 2.0 Show back in July, and being quite impressed with his work. With talented designers like himself, the team at NorthTemple.com, Internet Coordination Group Director Larry Richman, and of course all the others who aren’t yet blogging, I think we can look forward to a lot of great tools for the Church.

Lost and Found Saves the Day

Thank goodness the Venetian hotel has a good lost and found policy. They just let me know that they’ll be shipping a lost item back to me at no cost. Yay!

In the rush to get everything packed, eat breakfast, check out, and hurry down to a meeting place before the last AU class started on Friday morning, I accidentally left my nice shaver on the bathroom counter. When I first noticed it was gone I just resigned myself to the fact that these kinds of things happen, and this was lots better than forgetting my keys or a more valuable item. But then I went out today to purchase a new one, and for as much as a decent shaver costs ($75-$100 to match my old one) I figured it would be worthwhile to go through whatever hassle and possible cost of seeing if they found it and could ship it back to me. To my surprise, it was no hassle at all, and they even said they would ship it for free. It’s nice to still have a good customer service experience once in a while.

Autodesk Univerity, Days 2 & 3

Hallway During a BreakWe’re nearing the end of our third day here at Autodesk Univerisity, and it’s been very informative to say the least. I’ve learned new things from writing scripts for automating drawing cleanup, to sharing more design information via DWF, a crash course in LISP and .NET automation, BIM’s impact on the way things are designed and constructed with CAD, a bunch of tips for having more successful deployments, and lots more. It’s certainly been a worthwhile trip…I just hope I can remember it all once we get back to the office.

Shaan Hurley from Autodesk listed a bunch of AU-related posts on his blog that you can access here. I’ve also added a ton more pictures to my flickr photoset for AU.

Autodesk University – Day One

Escalators FilledI’m in Las Vegas this week attending Autodesk University at the Venetian. I flew down last night, got settled into the nice room they gave me in Venetian tower (great view, by the way!), and spent some time getting acquainted with the hotel and adjacent Sands Expo Center. This place is huge!

The conference kicked off this morning with a keynote address from Autodesk CEO Carl Bass. He had a lot of interesting things to say, and also introduced several presentations from companies who use various Autodesk products (there are so many now). There’s a lot of really cool stuff being done, especially around the concept of 3D visualization – being able to see a very realistic rendition of something before it’s built.

One of the demonstrations involved a tool that the military was using to visualize areas in Baghdad before entering them for a mission. Several information sources from geospatial data (where the buildings are located), infrastructure (plumbing, electrical, sewage, etc.), lines of sight, etc. are all integrated into a 3D model that the commander can explore and analyze before taking his men in. I know there’s all sorts of cool technology being used in the military – this was just a small and very interesting sample.

Another demonstration showed techniques and tools being used to create a to-scale model of London for planning and visualization purposes. Now, Google Earth and just recently, Windows Live Maps both provide 3D views of major cities, with some even applying texture maps to the building models. However, this seemed to be much more intense and thorough, and had detail down to a very fine level (every chimney and tree in the whole city, etc.).

After the keynote all 7,500 or so attendees (there’s a TON of people down here) split for individual classes centered around whatever industry or tool you use. I attended a class about how to develop and implement successful CAD standards, another about a tool for digitizing scanned drawings (Autodesk Raster Design), and a third about centralizing AutoCAD/Architectural Desktop content on a network for multiple users to access. It’s all been interesting and useful so far….but I’m glad they’re recording the sessions and making them available online after the conference. Some of this stuff will take further review to fully understand and implement.

Anyways, I’ve been taking a bunch of pictures throughout the day, and have just created a Flickr photoset containing them all. If you’re interested in seeing photos from the conference (and a few misc. photos from around Vegas), you can access them at http://www.flickr.com/photos/jertheanderson/sets/72157594396864797/.

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