Category Archives: Site Stuff

All things code

Tetons Header Photo

I took that picture of the Grand Tetons in the header above, it’s not a stock photo. The original is actually quite a large photo with much more detail, taken off Stateline Road between Idaho and Wyoming. The blog required a 940×198 image so I just cropped out a section, thus no resizing needed. Here’s a reduced view of the original:

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New Flickr Account

I’m totally ready for that new camera. I just signed up for a premium Flickr account with unlimited upload capacity for one year at $24.99.

I’ve redone the Vegas posts to process Flickr sets, as opposed to storing them on my server. See: Notes from the Strip ( 7 ) and ( 4 ).

WordPress and the plugin community are blowing my mind. I’ve been able to put together an amazingly slick website in a very short amount of time.

Of course, my tech chops are high and my knowledge base is deep. I read PHP, MySQL, JavaScript and jQuery like other people read children’s books…

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Photo Viewer App

I have two sizes of thumbnails. The larger ones get their images from Flickr directly and I previously just showed them in the browser as an image link. Flickr requires (as I’ve recently learned) that they have a direct link to the contents Flickr link, from any content hotlinked from their site. (Even though I’m paying for the server space…)

So, I’ve written a sweet little app that accepts each photos Flickr image data as parameters and displays the photo in a nice frame, with a link to Flickr at the top. All of the larger thumbnails in this blog now follow that procedure. I’m working on the small thumbnails from the Flickr Gallery plugin, to do the same.

Click any large thumbnail to see the new app!

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Flickr API

I’ve been diving deep into the Flickr API. Wrote a PHP module to grab all of the data for a specific photo-id, including the large image for my new Photo Viewer app.

Now I can send a specific photo-id to the API and get back everything I need to make this blog work. Very cool…

Non geek speak = The larger icons use the Photo Viewer directly, and the smaller icons have a link to the Photo Viewer within the lightbox.

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Sweet Code

Sometimes I just blow my own mind. I have a Flickr plugin installed that doesn’t work for general photo viewing. It puts my photos in a small lightbox with options. Actually, I’m keeping it around for showing Galleries, but I needed better.

So, I’ve redone my Photo Viewer app to go full screen and all my thumbnails, big and small, link directly to the new code.

Scroll down to the “Drictor” set below and click on a thumbnail to see it in action.

In case you’re interested, I’ve written a new PHP app that takes a Flickr PhotoSet ID and generates a block of thumbnail code that I can insert directly into a blog post.

The little Flickr icon that bounces down in the upper-left corner of a Photo Viewer full screen image, is a direct link to the photo on Flickr.

It’s great to be a programmer…

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Saturday Chores

Today I tackled one of my major chores: draining, cleaning and refilling the hottub. We’ve been here a few years so I know this drill well. All the while, I’m writing a new app in my head, bopping into my office to write code between each step.

I’m also going into the back forty, now and then, to intimidate the damned (Robin’s nest raiding) Magpies with the pellet rifle. Had dead aim on one but Steph hadn’t reloaded. My fault, I should check ammo before grabbing the gun.

Just finished the new app. It’s a Flickr Photo Set Viewer, just for my photos, that uses some very cool dynamic font code from Google, which shades the text.

It grabs all of my Photo Set titles when started and when you click on a title for the first time, it loads the thumbnails for that set. Subsequent clicks on a title simply redisplay the thumbnails. And, of course, clicking a thumbnail opens the Photo Viewer.

Check it out Here, feedback is welcome…

• Update 6/26: Fixed some cross-browser issues and implemented single tab code for the Photo Viewer. Once you open it the first time, leave it open and it will be reused with the next photo.

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Blog Design Work

I’m redesigning some aspects of this blog, for quicker access. Dropped the Tetons header image and implemented the Google Font code, with shadows, for topic headers.

(Damn, if I can just get the cat hair off my keyboard, I’ll be able to type…) Steph’s off to Music On Main, with the girls, in Victor. Pipers laying on the floor here in my office, attacking my feet every time I get up.

Anyway, big weekend coming up and I want the blog in good shape because I’m going to throw a lot of media content at it. I’m also driving the Flickr API hard and coming up with some new apps, which will appear under the Photos menu item above.

And, if I could just remember what I had for dinner… (dementia is setting in, really)

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Saturday Site Work

I’ve come to the conclusion that this blog needs my single window technique implemented. Currently, when you click on a link or an image, it opens in the same window (or tab) as the blog page.

When you click on the back button to return here, my blog has to reload itself. Using the single window, a new window/tab will open just once, and subsequent images or links will reuse that window/tab. The blog page is left open in it’s own tab, and doesn’t have to reload.

To see this in action, click a photo in the post below (Friday: 7/8/11). A new window/tab will open the photo in the Viewer. Leave that window/tab open and come back here and click on another photo. Your browser will switch to the new window and display the photo.

Think of that new window/tab as your work area for this blog. All links will open in there without opening multiple tabs. It’s a pretty slick technique.

I’ll start working down through all my posts and implementing this. It’s a lot of work for me today, but it will be worth it…

Update 10:00am: Done!

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Social Media

I have a real love/hate relationship with Social Media. On the one hand I think that it’s just for people that don’t know how to create and maintain a website of their own. I have over twenty websites, but all that does is make me a snobbish elitist. Nobody visits those sites anyway…

I’ve been doing this a long time. I was online the day that Facebook debuted, and Twitter, and Flickr, and Google. I developed my first website when Riley was about 6 years old. (He’s now 24). It was a Spice Girls fan page, well before Social Media hit the scene.

I have to admit that I have a Twitter account. I use it to follow tech things I’m interested in. I’ve only made one tweet, and that was to get a $5.00 credit for movies from Amazon.

(Update: I’ve now made two tweets, just got another $5.00 Amazon movie credit :-)

I’m also a total Google fan, my gmail account runs back many years, and I’m constantly turning people onto the cloud.

Facebook has always bugged me, for many well documented reasons, and I keep opting in and out with it. When I’m out, I lose track of what my family members are doing. When I’m in, I’m thinking “What the hell am I doing here”?

Today I discovered a plugin that automatically puts each post I make here on the blog, on Facebook. I had to do it: I built a new Facebook page, and activated the plugin.

It’s very cool! I’ve been posting to my blog daily, and this plugin sends each new one to Facebook. I’m liking this!

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Flickr Code Day

Steph’s off to Jackson Hole, WY to watch the latest Harry Potter movie, with my sister and my niece Catherine. I’m sitting here in my nice quiet office, writing code.

I developed FKScan several months ago, and it’s still one of my favorite apps. It’s role in the computer universe is to grab the most recent photos uploaded to Flickr, twenty at a time, and display them as thumbnails. It will keep doing this until you stop it, or until your computer is just plumb out of resources.

If you see a photo that interest’s you, click on it. Formally, it just went to the Flickr site for the person that uploaded the picture. Now it loads my Photoset Viewer.

All of the photosets for the owner of the photo are displayed, along with a single thumbnail that represents each set. Click on any photoset title and all photos within that set will be shown. Then, click on any thumbnail within that set, to open the photo in my Photo Viewer.

These tools open up the Flickr universe in a very unique and enjoyable way…

Try it out!

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I’ve been working this code for some time now, and I think it’s gotten pretty cool.

FKScan is an app I developed a while ago, that grabs the most current photos uploaded to Flickr, continuously, and shows them as thumbnails.

As I was developing this blog, I started using the Flickr API to display photos and videos using my newly designed Photoset and Photo viewers, based on the Bus Driver Jim domain.

Today it all came together. Everything has been moved under the FKScan domain, and I’ve added a Flickr video viewer.

Flickr considers videos uploaded to their site as long photographs. I consider them videos, and I’ve figured out how to discern between the two. Thus, when you click on a thumbnail, the code opens a photo viewer, or a video viewer, based on the type.

The PhotoSet Viewer shows information about the selected set, and hi-lites video content in yellow. When you launch the Photo Viewer, or the Video Viewer, information about that entity is available by right-clicking, or selecting the Info button.

So, here’s how it works:
  • Launch FKScan.
  • Press the Spacebar. (Or right click your mouse…)
  • Let the thumbnails scroll until you see something interesting, and then click on it.
  • The PhotoSet Viewer for the owner of that thumbnail will be opened.
  • You can expand the photo stream incrementally, or present the photos within a set, by clicking on the set thumbnail or the description.
  • Click the S in the upper right corner of a set box to launch the Flickr Slide Show.
  • When you click on any photo or video, the appropriate viewer will be opened.
  • Enjoy!
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My Videos

I’ve consolidated all of my videos into the Videos page, on the Main Menu above. This represents every video I’ve shot over the years, some lame, some great.

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My Tweets

I’ve been around the Internet, before it was the Internet. I actually wrote my first computer program in 1969, while attaining my Computer Science degree. I’ve seen every trend arrive in this business model of websites and email.

I saw Facebook when it was in college, I had an early Gmail account, and I’ve been an active Twitter user for some time now.

Below is a summary of my tweets, accumulated over the years…

My one follower? Steph, and she never uses Twitter :-)

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Video Animation

I’ve been beefing up my video tools lately. The main bad boy is MAGIX Movie Edit Pro 16 Plus. I’ve had this for a while, and it’s great. Over the weekend I upgraded one of my old standbys, Xara 3D. I was pleased to discover that it outputs text animations as a MAGIX .cfx file, which I can then process as video.

Here’s a short little clip that illustrates the concept. Possibilities, endless…

Click ↑ for Video

Here’s another…

Click ↑ for Video
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Photo Viewer

The Photo Viewer is launched when a photo is clicked. It’s an integral part of my FKScan sub-system, and I’ve implemented it here within the blog.

I went a bit overboard with the app, bringing in all sorts of info from the Flickr API, that most users don’t care about. Today I went in and striped that code out.

If you avoided clicking a photo because of the load time, that’s solved. Click away!

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