Update to Metro Stop Tracker Gadget

After releasing the Metro Stop Tracker Widget last week, I went a head and completely rewrote it from scratch to make it more efficient and offer greater flexibility in the future. However, in the process, some formatting changes were made. You will no longer see the listing of stops grouped by route then by destination. They will be ordered by stop time. In a future release I will fix this. Also, there is currently no way to get data on which routes are express versus which ones are not. So, be warned. This is a data problem from the web service.

Despite the limitations, there has been one feature addition: limiting routes displayed. Your stop may be one that has several buses coming and going all day long. This can make it troublesome to find your route. So, in the preferences you can select your routes that you want to see by entering them in with a space between each different route (e.g. “49 70 66”). By default the widget will display all of the stops. Also, if you clear out the field that is used to limit the buses it will show all of the routes for the stop.

So, enjoy the update and leave a comment if you have any suggestions.

Use the following URL to add the widget: http://www.lazyi.net/google/metro_bus_widget.xml

Update @ 8:23p: If you get a message about allowing the widget to be “inline”, select OK. I have changed it so that the height of the widget will change depending on how many rows of data there are to be displayed.

Metro Transit Google Personal Homepage Gagdet

If you ride the King County Metro at all you probably ride from the same stops a majority of the time. What is nice about our local bus system is that they provide up to the minute data on all of the buses in the system. This can tell you if your bus is coming early, late, or on time. So, if you use google.com/ig I have a little plug-in for you. To use it, do the following:

  1. Head to your google.com/ig page and click “Add Content”
  2. To the right of the search button, click “Add by URL”
  3. Enter in the following URL: http://lazyi.net/google/metro_bus_widget.xml
  4. Accept the URL
  5. Re-visit your google.com/ig home page and enter in your bus stop number

Hey, that’s great Ryan, but what’s my stop number? Ah, if you don’t know your stop number like I do, you can do the following:

  1. Head to http://tracker-loc.metrokc.gov/
  2. Search for your stop by bus number or whatever means works for you
  3. When you find your stop, look at the URL in your browser. You should see something like: http://tracker-loc.metrokc.gov/avl.jsp?id=114. Remember what the id value is (e.g. 114)
  4. In the plug-in settings put in that number and press “save”

Yes, the stop number thing isn’t ideal, but given the data that is available online, this is really the only option available to us.

Also, you can repeat the above steps to add this plug-in multiple times, since many bus riders have a starting and ending stop to pay attention to.

I’m sure revisions will be forthcoming, but right now I am basically screen scraping the Metro site so, that explains a lot of what you see in the plug-in. I might take the initiative to see if I can get the data in a different format, but I wouldn’t hold your breath on it. Also, I don’t think it’s working right in IE… but that’s an issue I can deal with for now.

So, there you have it, my first foray into google.com/ig plug-ins.

Amazon Wishlist 0.6 Released

Many months since the last update, I have a new update to my Amazon Wishlist Plugin for WordPress. I must admit that this update was not made by myself, but my Chris Benard. This is a pretty minor change, but it will now make your wishlist page validate! So, there aren’t any “feature” updates to this, just an update to the XHTML that I was spitting out. Many thanks to Chris Benard for the patch!

Amazon Wishlist 0.5 Released

A small update, but a few people have requested the ability to change the size of the image. Well, I’m happy to report that you now have three image sizes to pick from (small, medium, and large). To do this, set the $imgSize variable in the amazon-wishlist.php plug-in before uploading and you’re all set!

Next up on the plate are multiple wishlist support and fixing a bug with sites that do not use a permalink structure.

Download: Amazon Wishlist Plugin for WordPress 0.5
Info Page: http://www.lazyi.net/projects/amazon-wishlist/

Amazon Wishlist 0.4

A minor update has been made to my Amazon Wishlist Plugin for WordPress. This update is not necessary for everybody, but here’s the change log:

  • Added support for locales in US, UK, DE, JP, FR, CA
  • Added support for displaying 1-10 items without navigation or test blurb
  • Added ability to hide navigation, blurb, and product images
  • Removed 90ms sleep that was used during testing

Also, some users have asked about some various functionality that they’d like to see in the plugin. Some requests have been to display a random item, sort by rating, or to sort by other parameters. I did a little research with the Amazon Web Service and the outlook isn’t so good on these requests. At least from Amazon’s end of things.

For one, I can only get 10 items back at a time from the web service (it’s an Amazon limit). So, I’d have to call each page of your wishlist (which could be up to 30) sort them manually by some criteria (e.g. rating) and then throw them back out at you. However, it gets more difficult than this, since for each item in the list another web service call has to be made to get the list item details. So, as an upper limit you could need to make 300 more web service calls to get the product information (title, urls, images, etc…). That could then, as an upper limit, require 330 web service calls. This is not only slow, but this would also take a lot of time to process on the server side (~1 second in render time per call). If this were to be done, another method would have to be used to store the XML and how I do my caching.

However, with that said, I do read all of your comments and try to add them to the plugin. So, if you have suggestions, please let me know and I’ll look into the feasibility of adding it to the plugin. My initial vision for this plugin has been accomplished, but I like hearing what the users of this plugin have to say. So, keep the comments coming!

The next thing that I am going to look into is calling the plugin for more than one wishlist ID. So, keep your eyes posted for that update. But, it might be a while now with the holiday season coming up as well as the end of the year. Rest assured, when I can find the time to think all of this through, I will.

NNW: Subs to HTML

NNW Subs to HTML Out of boredom and also because I stopped using Bloglines a while ago in favor of NetNewsWire I needed a way to update my blogroll on my site. So, I took my first foray into AppleScript and hashed out a simple little script to populate my blogroll page like Bloglines once used to. However, the nice thing about using a web app to store your information is that many of them make it easy to get it back and for you to use it. For example, Flickr, del.icio.us, and Bloglines make it pretty painless to get your data back via some JavaScript. This isn’t really an option with NNW since it is ran locally on your Mac. So, how does this little diddy work?

Well, you’ll first need the full version of NNW, that one that supports AppleScript. They offer a free 30 day trial on their site. You’ll also need to grab the script Subs to HTML and put that in the NNW scripts directory. Once it’s there there are two things you can edit:

  • firstHeader
  • secondHeader

I have them set to “h3” and “h4” respectively. However, they are easy to change in script editor. If you do change them, make sure you compile the source again and then re-save.

Once you’re all set, just run it from the scripts menu and your output will show up in Text Editor. So, there ya have it. Pretty simple. I wrote this simply for personal use but feel free to edit this so it will fit your needs.

Source: Subs to HTML