For a long time, I've wanted to write an open-source gps application. I went to ACB in July of 2003 and asked a few questions, and somehow after I got back I felt I had enough information to get started. So for a while I was really motivated to do the research I needed to do, but then I started to lose it, even though part of me still very much wanted the finished product. In September I took a trip to Seattle for a Microsoft conference I had to attend for work, and, while there, I visited with a couple of old friends from college. They had both become fairly involved with Landmark Education, and one morning I overheard Paul talking to someone about specific, measurable results -- one of the distinctions of Landmark. Basically you decide to do something by a certain time and tell someone that you'll do it, making sure that what you say you'll do can be quantified and measured. So I created one with Paul, saying that, by October 17, I would have made sufficient progress with my gps program so that I could use it to figure out which street I'm on. I didn't quite make that happen (it had a few bugs), but I almost did and think I got a lot more work done on it than I would have if I hadn't created the specific, measurable result. I didn't have a good name for my program, so I figured why not call it landmark? Landmark had already helped me with it some, and I can do a lot of things with it. I can give it an address and usually get a good idea of where it is. I can figure out if I'm near my house if I get lost. If I'm in a car, then I can usually tell which street I'm on or if a person is going the right way. It has basically opened up a new realm of possibility for me, kind of like Landmark.

Michael P. Gorse <mgorse@alum.wpi.edu>