Bookmarklet to Send To Do Items to Basecamp

I have been developing a sub-site on an existing WordPress installation. This includes creating templates based on designs from our art department and developing a plugin to display recipes. After I got the design and code working, I began entering all the recipes by hand. Then I passed the test site URL along to my team members to let them do some quality control. I then received an email saying that I had to-do items on Basecamp. Some of the to do items were hard to track down because my coworkers simply put in a title. We have ~50 recipes and so I had to scroll through the recipes to find the offending one.

So I started thinking. What if there were a way to streamline the entering of to-do items and add the URL as well? Originally, I was going to use a page with frames but I couldn’t keep track of the URL after navigating away from the source page. Then I started thinking about the Evernote bookmarklet. It can copy a URL and even an entire web page. So I did a few searches on “bookmarklets” and came across an article by John Resig about using a bookmarklet to insert jQuery and then modify So I took the idea and began to got a basic jQuery dialog box loading into my page through a bookmark. Then I wrote a separate page to pull the relevant info from Basecamp and then populate some dropdown menus.

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What is Empire Avenue

About a week ago, I saw an acquaintance post a link to Empire Avenue on Twitter.  I tried the link but the page asked for a login so I just moved on.  Then yesterday I saw another post about it and decided to check out their home page.  This is how Empire Avenue describes themselves:

Empire Avenue is the Social Stock Market, where you can Grow your Social Capital online. Here’s how it works, you get to discover valuable, interesting, cool, fun people online and then based scores or share price, invest virtual currency in their profiles by buying shares in our Social Stock Market. It’s boatloads of fun, and that simple act of buying shares in someone you think is worth your currency, you will create new connections and as people invest in you, grow your own social capital and get more value in and out of your networks!

So I jumped in and started using the game mechanics.  I bought shares in people I knew personally or knew of from Facebook and Twitter.  They give you the option of selecting interests centered around locations, activities or personal groups set up by other users.  I joined the Fort Worth group and then realized the real potential of this site.

In the post Getting Past ‘the Game’, the creators state that the site is about connecting.  The game mechanics are just to get you in the door.  That’s what I saw happen.  There were people from the DFW area that began investing in me.  There were social media consultants, graphic designers, and the list goes on.  I might run across these people on Twitter.  It’s very unlikely I’d meet them through LinkedIn.  So now I have the opportunity to get to know people in related fields with varied experiences.

I’m interested to see what will transpire over the next few months.  I’m hoping to make some connections that will lead to some side work.  Also because of the game mechanics, if I want to keep my share price up, I will probably end up writing more.

Sorting & Filtering Tables

So a large portion of the code I write is to output data in table format.  When you have hundreds of rows, it becomes hard to decipher all the data. Plus, the end users are use to Excel, which allows them to sort and filter their data.

I originally tried to implement sorting on the server side, but the down side was that would cause the entire page to reload. I had been working with jQuery but wasn’t sure if it was possible.  After a minute of searching I came across Tablesorter. Set up is very straight forward.
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The Lengths I Go to Organize My Books

A few years ago I installed OpenBiblio on one of my websites to keep tab of all my books. I wrote a Perl script that uses a book’s ISBN number to retrieve the bibliographic information from Amazon and then enter the book into my library.  I can now search all my books  as well my DVDs and I have a complete list for insurance purposes.  Also, now if someone wants to borrow a book, I can check it out and know who borrowed what and when.
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Linux from Scratch

I was given the task a few weeks ago of finding point of sale software for our clinic. I started by looking at all the open source options. Two likely candidates were PHP Point of Sale and Lemon POS. Since this point of sale would be put on either a stand-alone system or be placed on a server I decided I would set up a system for testing.  I’ve been using Linux for the last 5 years or so but I’m more of a distro and windowing user. That’s why I like Ubuntu so much. It just works out of the box.  I don’t have to compile code to get an application working.
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Spring Cleaning & Going Dark

I’m not really sure why it happened but beginning around the 1st of March I just went dark on the internet. I would occasionally check in on Facebook but I stopped blogging, tweeting and all that other outward focused internet type stuff. One, I didn’t think I had that much to say and two, I just hit a rough patch personally and didn’t have the energy to write. Continue reading

jqPlot – Clickable Bar Graphs

Learn how to create your very own rich and intuitive JavaScript data visualizations using jqPlotGo in-depth with jqPlot and learn how to integrate it with your company’s data analysis with my new book, Learning jqPlot. (affiliate link)
Packt Publishing (available ebook & paperback combo)

Updated – jqPlot now has the `jqplotDataClick` event which replicates the functionality discussed below. See the example for Vertical and Horizontal Bar Charts.

I’ve been creating several charts using jqPlot and several of them have been bar graphs. One issue I ran into early on was how to I determine which bar someone clicked on without actually clicking on the data point at the top of the bar.

Updated – Clicking on the image will take you a live example.

Bar Graph with One Series
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Visualizing Data – jqPlot & gRaphaël

Learn how to create your very own rich and intuitive JavaScript data visualizations using jqPlotGo in-depth with jqPlot and learn how to integrate it with your company’s data analysis with my new book, Learning jqPlot. (affiliate link)
Packt Publishing (available ebook & paperback combo)

My supervisor mentioned to me about a month ago that the doctors want a dashboard on our website to track various data points.

  • How many patients were seen in a week.
  • How many patients did each doctor see.
  • What were type of visit were the patients coming in for.
  • The wish list could go on…

Things were slow for a couple of days so I dove back into my research into Javascript graphing plugins.  I came across jqPlot and gRaphaël as two good candidates.  I liked the wide variety of graphing possibilities with jqPlot.  gRaphaël looked really pretty.  But all of this was judging the book by its cover.
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Updating Stored Hierarchical Data in a Database

I am currently developing an inventory system for my company.  I wanted to create a category listing but I have always struggled with creating hierarchy and storing it in a database.  I created a CMS package at my last place of employment. I remember spending a great deal of time working out how to create hierarchy and then adding to and updating the hierarchy.
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Another Programmer’s Blog

I’ve been blogging off and on for the last 5 years. I’ve written about technology and programming as well as my personal life and my faith. I’ve often refrained from geeking out too much on my blog because I didn’t want to go over people’s heads and most of my readers are not coders. However, I’ve toyed with the idea of writing a purely programming blog for the last couple of years. Each time I failed to have the passion and I didn’t feel I had a lot to offer.

Well whether I do or not I leave up to you. Here goes nothing.