23 October 2009 - 10:15pmThe Big 2-2

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Today I turned 22. I have neglected this blog for quite some time and figured today would be as good a day as any to post.

There are two main reasons for today’s post.  The first is that I have been trying to come up with an idea for a new project to work on. I’d like to do something web-related but can’t think of any good ideas that I see a need for. After our wedding I thought perhaps a universal gift registry site would be neat.  A place where items from any store/website could be added with some sort of system for keeping track of what has/hasn’t been purchased.  That idea didn’t last long since a quick Google search revealed several similar websites (none of which I particularly liked, but that’s beside the point).  So I decided I’d post my desire for a project here, perhaps one of the 5 people that reads this blog has a good idea for a web application that I could work on.  On a side note, I was recently taking a look at the Yii Framework for PHP development and I thought it might be interesting to try employing it in whatever project I take on.

The second reason is that I’ve been thinking of trying to take this blog in a more technical direction and possibly trying to post on a more regular basis.  It seems that the technical problems I run into and solve on a weekly basis at work would be good content for blog posts and may possibly draw others here who are facing similar issues.  Some of the topics I’ve considered include kernel compilation, ethernet interface bonding using the bonding kernel module (including an overview of the different bonding modes offered), hardware watchdog, diskless booting over a network, creating an automated install procedure using a Linux-based boot CD, and probably some others that are escaping me at the moment.  Some of those are less advanced than others, but each represent a different task/problem I’ve run into at work over the last few months.  If you are reading this and you have any ideas, please let me know in the comments.

The third reason (did I say two?) is to promote the COSI IRC server.  If you’re a COSI member, past member, wannabe member or otherwise you should definitely check out comm.cslabs.clarkson.edu.  Take a look at the wiki page for information on how to connect and say hello.

The fourth reason is to say you should check out openinternet.gov.  There are several Internet Service Providers in existence that are experimenting with internet plans that restrict access to certain lists of websites, charging customers more for further or unrestricted internet access.  Take a look at the website and educate yourself on Net Neutrality and how it may impact you.

That’s all I have to say about that.

1 Comment | Categories: COSI, General, Programming, Technology

22 April 2009 - 7:13pmVersion 0.3

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I’ve just released version 0.3 of the Google Calendar Feed Parser.  This update was a quick one but definitely deserved a new version number.  Since I wrote the plugin I’ve received feedback from many users indicating that PHP’s file_get_contents() would not work on their hosting provider.  A few of these users posted alternative code that used cURL instead and that fixed the problem for everyone.  Today, the author of onigoetz.ch left this comment on my blog about some work he did to the plugin.  Specifically, he mentioned a function called wp_remote_get().  I wasn’t able to find that function in the documentation for WordPress, but searching for it led me to what I think he may have meant: a function called wp_remote_fopen().  This is essentially a wrapper function for retrieving the contents of a file from a URL and will first try using fopen() and, if that fails, fall back on using cURL.

I’ve updated the code to use that function which should come as a relief to many who were forced to hack at the plugin’s code to get it to work on their hosting provider.  A big thanks to onigoetz.ch for making me aware of that function!

6 Comments | Categories: COSI, Programming

19 April 2009 - 2:58amVersion 0.2

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I just released version 0.2 of my Google Calendar Feed Parser plugin for WordPress. The new version confirms compatibility up to version 2.7.1 of WordPress and also adds one new pseudo-feature.

When I originally wrote the plugin, I had some trouble with the start and end times for events displaying in the correct timezone.  To solve the issue (just for EST), I added a hard-coded number of seconds to each time.  This presented a problem when daylight savings time changed since now all the times were displaying one hour off.

To temporarily fix this problem, I’ve added an option to the administrative interface for the plugin that allows the user to directly set the offset (in seconds) that gets added to the start and end times for each event.  This way, a user can test different values to see which one produces the desired result for their timezone.  I call this a pseudo-feature because I hope to replace it with a more comprehensive timezone configuration section at some point in the future.

Version 0.2 can be downloaded from the WordPress Plugin Directory.  Users with version 0.1 installed should be prompted to upgrade from the plugin section of the WordPress admin interface (I’m excited to see if that just works without any effort on my part).

1 Comment | Categories: COSI, Programming