The More Things Change

From my original blog in a post from May 20, 2005 (thanks to the Internet Archive) In my extensive experience blogging (nearly two weeks now) I have managed to learn a few things. 1. Blogging has changed the way I read and think. Some of the people I read have been kind enough to come by here. I have a real audience, however small, of people I respect. That has changed how I read their blogs. I now look for ways I can join the conversation, ways I can contribute rather than just being a detached observer. I am now a productive part of a community and have a personal stake in what is happening. 2. Comments mean a lot. A comment often mean more than you’d expect. To me it means people are reading and are interested, which is important to me. Comments mean you have been heard. What you said mattered enough to someone to take the time to write something back. Comments and trackbacks are what changes this medium from an online diary to a conversation in a community. I try to leave more comments now. I hope they encourage others the same way they encourage me. This is also something to keep in mind when I am grading papers. 3. I now see why the open […]

CSV Parser Shortcode Plugin

flickr photo shared by The Library of Congress with no copyright restriction (Flickr Commons) The title just rolls off the tongue, yes? But what it does is kind of interesting. It’s not a drag/drop solution but it starts to show how we can better knit different services together. In this case, I run a Google Script to generate a spreadsheet of files (I can probably make that a straight up API connection in the near future). I publish that spreadsheet as CSV because Google sheets to JSON feels a good bit slower.1 Then the following shortcode (but w/in square brackets) generates the little unordered lists below. It’s taking that list of 464 files and just chopping out the ones where the filename’s first letters match A-1 and the parent folder is Tasks. Not brain surgery, right? But it is a pretty flexible solution to allow flexible access to any chunk of CSV (should work on any CSV on the web- assuming you adjust the elements to reflect the data) text you want to display portions of on the fly. People can do all their work in Google Drive and it seamlessly updates in WordPress. People without WordPress skills can update and change where these lists appear through a simple shortcode. To be clear, this is an integration rather than an […]

Allowing Cross Origin Access to WordPress Feeds

flickr photo shared by The U.S. National Archives with no copyright restriction (Flickr Commons) I believe this is safe but I’m no security expert. Every thing I could find on XSS issues was focused on stealing passwords. WordPress feeds are all public and require no login so I think it’s all good. StackOverflow seems to agree. With that hearty and confidence-inspiring endorsement, I give you this amazingly complicated plugin to allow access to all your WordPress feeds from other stuff (like Kin’s github rss reader)1 All simple stuff really, the key piece was getting the right trigger pre_get_posts. Otherwise it was called too late. is_feed is the other little handy piece which Tim Owens mentioned . . . and I subsequently used. 1 See how my site says success and Jim’s says failed? It’s only partially because he abandoned our country for Italy. It’s also because he doesn’t have this plugin turned on.

Discography to WordPress

flickr photo shared by Thomas Hawk under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC ) license This is in response to something Adam Croom wrote two(?) days ago. I thought it’d be an interesting proof of concept and would let me figure out some things with a purpose. I also like to have a few projects going on at once so I have things to switch between when I get frustrated. I also see this kind of information pushing/pulling as broadly applicable. Some of this stuff is no doubt uglier than it had to be but I’ll try to show some intersections that happened to occur with other projects and how certain steps might be ignored entirely if you want to be all efficient and stuff. The final plugin is here and should be a decent start to any customized import you want to run against a CSV file. Adam had information in Discogs. He wanted that information in WordPress where he could control it. I had never heard of the site, let alone seen its API. But it well documented and it took me a few minutes to realize I could get all the data I needed without even needing to authenticate. The user data was associated with collections and appending 0 would get me the root level stuff. With Adam’s […]


Weekly Web Harvest for 2016-03-20

Angola’s Wikipedia Pirates Are Exposing the Problems With Digital Colonialism | Motherboard Wikimedia and Facebook have given Angolans free access to their websites, but not to the rest of the internet. So, naturally, Angolans have started hiding pirated movies and music in Wikipedia articles and linking to them on closed Facebook groups, creating a totally free and clandestine file sharing network in a country where mobile internet data is extremely expensive. Why does HTML think “chucknorris” is a color? – Stack Overflow How come certain random strings produce various colors when entered as background colors in HTML? For example: test Data Structure + Narrative Chart = StoryLine? | OUseful.Info, the blog… Dada Portal | The Ridership Rachenitsa Each musical beat is a day, as is each vertical line. One musical instrument represents the daily ridership of Chicago buses, and the other represents the daily ridership of New York subways. (Both are measured at fare collection points.) BioBIKE Portal One solution is for biologists to become familiar with a few tools, such as Blast. This gets the researcher from one point to another, like flying high above the terrain. Some places are impossible to get to in this way. Another solution is to procure the services of a computer programmer. This may produce new tools appropriate to the problem at hand, […]

No More Temptations

sudo nano /etc/hosts http://facebook.com http://www.facebook.com sudo dscacheutil -flushcache That chunk of code run sequentially (don’t cut/paste it all at once) in terminal on the Mac kills all access to Facebook. I did it because I was finding myself drawn back to wrestling with pigs. I’m not sure Bernard Shaw said it but I remember my dad saying something similar growing up. When people post stuff from Prager U . . . it’s hard to resist but I’m trying to be smarter about my time and energy. I’ve sworn never to engage in a serious conversation on facebook before . . . but was finding it hard to resist in this case. Thus the full iron door of an edited host file was instituted. You might try it and see how often you find yourself going to a page without really thinking.

Post Documents for Student Comments

Students writing short papers and posting them for comments from other students is a fairly common pattern among VCU faculty. It’s a nice entry point because it doesn’t require any radical rethinking but still starts to expand the audience for the work, has possibilities around peer review, and is a possible gateway to writing on the web more natively. There are lots of ways to do this. I’ll break down one option path here. The faculty member wants students to keep writing in Word. There’s no immediate interest in writing in WordPress or in Google Docs. The goal is to have comments made by other students on the document as a whole (not specific to words/phrases/sentences/paragraphs). Initial Setup – The Form We setup a Gravity Form to create a post with a document embedded in it using Google’s document viewer. You can explain it as mail merge into a WordPress post or if that doesn’t help you might show them this image as most people have been on the failure end of a mail merge attempt. You’re probably want a minimum of three fields for the user to fill out and you’ll have two that are invisible to them. The three you’ll need for the student are their name, the title of the document (the post will get this name […]

Pushing/Pulling Data – Thinking Computationally? Differently? #IndieEdTech?

This post is going to be a bit like my head- a jumbled mass of things that are interconnected in my head but may not make any sense to anyone else. But what else is a blog for but for getting a better idea of what’s in your own head? Blogging in General The group I’m a part of (ALT Lab) has been struggling with blogging for a while now. We were/are aiming for a post a week for each member of the group. It’s not easy for many of us.1 It’s a pattern I’ve seen with lots of organizations and lots of individuals. You’ll have the usual pattern that varies somewhere between not knowing what to say, not having anything worth saying etc. The end result is that people don’t write. If you talk to them they’ll have a million things that would be interesting to read and that would be “worth” sharing. Maybe not having time gets referenced but given it’s a desired piece of our work, that’s not our issue. It feels mainly like it’s a holdover from time in formal education. Writing ends up becoming something done for an omniscient expert who will pass judgement on thee. It happens to me at times- both time limits and wondering if there’s any audience or purpose to what […]