Author: Andrew

  • Total Posts: 56

I own this saloon

Google Maps Pedometer

on July 15th, 2005 ( 9 )

The google maps pedometer. This thing is wicked cool. You’ll have to unfocus it from Hoboken and zoom into where you are, but once you zoom in to your house and trace everything out, it’s incredible. The distance from my mom’s house to my dad’s is 0.401 miles! I could use this thing all day…

Democracy AJAX Poll

on June 29th, 2005 ( 480 )

Extremely Important:

This page is for Democracy 1.2 and has been preserved for archival reasons. Democracy 2.x has been released and fixes security problems, allows in-post polling, and a much better interface.

I’m announcing my second ever WordPress plugin, Democracy. Democracy adds polling functionality to your WordPress blog. It grew out of frustration with the only other WordPress polling option, WP-poll. It didn’t have valid markup, it was clunky, and it required one heck of an installation process. So I decided to create my own, using WP-poll as a reference. This plugin uses AJAX for quick sending and loading of poll data, although it doesn’t depend on javascript to function, like my other plugin. It is fully functional in non-javascript environments, meaning it will work in ALL browsers. The AJAX part is tested to work in Safari, Opera, Firefox, and IE6/Win. The poll is in my sidebar, so go ahead and see for yourself.

It also has a full-featured admin panel, which allows one to manage their polls. You can activate, edit, delete, and add new polls from the admin panel. It is also harder to ballot-stuff than WP-poll. It uses cookies as well as IP logging to prevent users from working spamming the ballot box.

And Installation is a piece of cake. Just upload it to your server, activate it, and place a template tag in your theme where you want the poll to appear.

Download: Version 1.2. It is released under the CC GPL 2.0. If you are upgrading, read the upgrade instructions in readme.txt

NOTICE: Democracy 2.0 is in development. It is being rebuilt from scratch to be more flexible. Make your feature suggestions on my democracy 2.0 post.

ESPAƑOL: Download version 1.0 RC 2. Many thanks to Javier Albert for providing a translation

  • Uses AJAX for sending and loading the results, but is fully accessible in non-js environments
  • Complete admin panel
  • When someone votes, they receive a cookie with what poll they voted in and what their vote was. It also logs their IP, so the same person can’t vote twice even if they delete the cookie
  • Allows users to see current results without voting. Also, detects if there are no votes and announces it…
  • After voting, the choice you made is highlighted.
  • Automatic database table installation.
  • Displays winners of each poll in the admin panel.
  • Delete old polls in the admin panel.
  • Edit existing polls.
  • Graphs the results of the poll beautifully and without images.
  • AJAX is compatible with IE 6, Safari, Firefox, and Opera. All the other browsers, and those with javascript turned off, are supported as well.
  • Select an active poll.
  • jal_democracy() takes poll ID arguments. Use < ?php jal_democracy(10); ?> to display poll 10. However, I recommend you use the ‘activate’ feature instead.
  • Allow your users to add their own choices.
  • Uses the date format you set in the Options panel for the Date Added column.
  • Support for rich HTML. Make your polling options be images!

Please report any errors you encounter with it in the comments below. If you like it, saying thank you is all I ask.

Update July 11

Just updated to Alpha3. It’s lot more robust, and there are plenty of new features. Check out the democracy.php Diff and the js.php Diff. The javascript file no longer conflicts with my other plugin, WordSpew. It also allows you to allow users to add their own answers if they don’t like yours.

New in Democracy Alpha 4 (plugin diff):

  • Added a few options to the head of the plugin file.
  • Added CSS file and id / class hooks that allow for easy manipulation of the design. At the top of the plugin file, you can set the HTML that the question will be wrappd in.
  • New graphing feature makes everything look much nicer when viewing results
  • Fixed HTML validity bug.
  • Cleaned up the checkIP() function for better performance.
  • Cleaned up some if...else statements to use ternary operators
  • Added deactivation feature, so if you want no poll to display, you may. Also, the default poll is no longer active.
  • Archiving function to view past polls.

Update: Releasing Beta 1, very small update. Allows users to set if they want to order the results by votes or by id. Gets rid of big bug that creates errors in wordpress if javascript is off/not running. It should work with and without javascript now. Also tweaked the CSS for Explorer.

Update August 2: Version RC 1 is here. I believe this one to be stable and ready for consumption. Here are some notes:

  • Fixed glaring bug that made IP checking completely not work.
  • Added a field for ‘added by user’, for answers added by users. This helps differentiate any ‘silly’ answers from your ‘official’ answers.
  • Bugfixes and code cleanups everywhere
  • Support for Blix theme. The Blix CSS is poorly written to make all inputs and labels be for table-like forms.
  • Got rid of a couple of IE Bugs that gave console errors.
  • Fixed or improved the flash between voting and receiving new poll data.
  • More FAQs and readme goodness.

Update August 15: Releasing RC 2. Bugfix release

  • HTML validity fixed
  • Rich (HTML) poll answers and questions re-allowed
  • i18n improvements.
  • Cookies now operate on local level instead of domain level. Useful if you have more than one blog in a domain.
  • More code beautification

If you’re updating from a version before RC 1, you’ll need to deactivate the plugin and reactivate it again.

Update August 27: Releasing 1.1. Feature release

  • Adds archiving functionality. Use the jal_democracy_archives() function. Documented in the readme.
  • Changed the graphs to use percentages instead of pixels.
  • Changeset 3215
  • Shaved a query for total votes

Update September 26: Releasing 1.2 Feature release

  • Shaved quite a few queries in admin panel and elsewhere.
  • Now uses correct charset header().
  • Code restructuring and optimization
  • No maximum for the number of answers. Cleaner editing and adding screens
  • Fixed CSS comments
  • Corrected link to my blog from the plugin page
  • htmlspecialchars() on unencoded links
  • Added 2 new FAQs to the readme

German users, you can grab a localized version of Democracy at . I would like to offer a localizable .pot file so that other languages can easily be done, but I have yet to find a tool for Mac that can do this. If you know of any please let me know!

Wordspew 1.1a

on June 22nd, 2005 ( 2 )

Wordspew 1.1a has URL box capabilities and super easy installation. Enjoy!

Way too much!

on June 18th, 2005 ( 1 )

A photograph that just begs to be blogged about. Musta been a helluva party. Heh. Probably some delivery truck lost its payload. w00t!

Crimson Milk is now available!

on June 16th, 2005 ( 2 )

My theme is now officially available for download. Check out the theme page for documentation and a download. Enjoy!

NYLSC Review

on June 15th, 2005 ( 112 )

Well this may seem a little late and out of context, but I’m writing this none the less. I’d like to write about my trip to the National Young Leaders State Conference (NYLSC). I know Nella (I’ll call him “Ian”) will have something to say, because we went together. This should be a fair and honest review/story of the NYLSC program from someone who went as a 9th grader (Just an FYI to all you NYLSC googlers). Here goes nothing:

Ian and I Arriving early to catch our AMTRAK train to Sacramento, Ian and I were hyped. We had just gotten up way too early, thrown on our *casual business* attire and met up for the 3 (ish) hour trip to Sacramento. Boarding the train with our briefcases and sunglasses, we felt so suave. I mean, we were missing school for this!

Well it wasn’t long before we found another guy who was headed to NYLSC. So the three of us grabbed a table, stowed our briefcases and got comfy. It was a long, somewhat boring ride. But the magic of being away from school and being trusted to make it to Sacramento without our parents was … exhilarating. When we arrived in Sacramento, we kind of just bumbled around the city until we found the metro. But we bumbled in style, of course, with our shiny dress shoes and shades. We are the future! was the attitude we rode in with. The metro was nice and clean, and we were sitting happily at our seats when we realized we didn’t have tickets. Someone on the train overheard us, and told us to chill, because we were almost there and the ticket-checkers probably wouldn’t show up. Well, they did, but they didn’t make it to us, so we avoided the no-ticket fine. Heh. Our next project was to make it to the actual hotel where this whole NYLSC thing was about to go down. We called up the hotel and they sent us a minivan to pick us up. Score!

The scene at the hotel was pretty bopping. There were a couple hundred other teens, all looking pretty much exactly the same as we did. Ahh, we’ve come to right place, I thought. There were still a lot of parents hovering over their kids, fixing their ties and tucking in their shirts, and looking nervously at the other kids. Everyone was in some sort of line, and we figured out it was for being assigned group numbers and given work booklets and *pens*. Yea, that’s right, we spent ~$1200 and we got *pens*. Shweet. Ian and I had been assigned to different groups and different roommates (which was good, I can only take so much of that guy ;) ). Next we were told to head up to our assigned room numbers and just chill. When I got there, some kids had already found their way there, and were happily introducing themselves to eachother. Almost too happily, you might say. We must have played the name game 40 times or so.

After waiting around in our tiny room for about half an hour, our instructor Tommy showed up. And he had us play the name game once more. Heh. Well now that everyone’s names were etched into my brain, we were ready to get started. For starters, Tommy just kind of told us what we were going to be doing (learning leadership stuff) and the rules (don’t do anything stupid), so that lasted for quite a while. We started with some basics, respecting other people’s opinions and not being bossy. He wanted to get us started as nice leaders before we actually starting…err…leading. I don’t really remember what all we did after that.

Then it was dinner time. Everyone filed out of our little room and headed downstairs, where a giant opening banquet was in store. The food was excellent the entire trip (even for a picky eater like me). My only qualms were that occasionally I would have liked a bigger portion. Ian seemed to feel that way a lot. This was also our first chance to socialize with the other kids; they all seemed to be from similar backgrounds as Ian and I. One thing I liked was all the diversity. There were people from every little nook and cranny of California, big cities and small cities alike. When I signed up for NYLSC, I was worried that it would just be a bunch of upper-middle class white kids talking politics. But it was so much better. There were plenty of people of other ethnicities, and kids who claimed loyalty to all sorts of political parties. *Sigh of Relief* A lot of the kids had big egos, used to being dominant (leaders) at their own schools. But now, everyone was like that, so the atmosphere was a little odd, with so many strong-headed chaps in one room.

Once our last bite of dessert was finished, we were excused to our rooms, and told to get plenty of rest for the huge day tomorrow. Looking at the schedule, I decided the counselours were right, and that I should get as much sleep as possible. They had about 20 things they had selected for us to learn! My roommate was great, and yes, we had our own beds. *Set alarm clock* *Go to sleep*

**BBBZZZ** Time for school! Wait no, I don’t have school today. Haha those suckers, back at home who have to learn stuff…Err nevermind, I’m probably learning more here anyways. Got dressed, took a shower, went for breakfast, etc. That day, we learned so much. Our group leader Tommy got us going with a couple focus and teamwork games, which were a blast, then set in for some discussions about what a great leader is and how to be one and all that fun stuff. There was actually a ton of great information. Problem solving and team work were focused on a lot.

We pretty much worked hard for the next two days without much stopping. We finally got tired of working in our cramped hotel room and decided to go outside and work from there. We were told to formulate a plan to cross the freeway by the side of the hotel. Not that we were actually going to do it, but just to see if we could come up with a feasible plot that we could all agree on. That was good.

One thing worth mentioning were the dances the last two nights. They ruled. They were pretty much the perfect way to blow off steam, and a lot of the kids were really into it (even those that I could tell would never be into it at their own school dances). Ian and I were pretty much kings of the dancefloor, and he started break dancing and all. After that, we thought we were the hottest shit in the world.

After all that bonding, I’ll bet you can guess what happened. Crushes? Secrets? Heh, yup. Some people stayed up quite late talking on the hotel phones, not really saying much, just sort of gossiping and all that. Then one of the girls called us and told us to turn to channel 4 on our TVs. Hehe, topless chicks riding horses. Hehe. Considering it was like 2 AM and we had cable TV, it was bound to be noticed by someone. Not something the NYLSC people could predict, or I’m sure they would have been all over blocking that channel. Heh.My Group at NYLSC

By the end, everyone was glued to eachother. Literally. My group was so in love with Tommy that everyone pitched in to buy him a teddy bear. People were getting eachothers’ screen names and emails, giving millions of hugs, and some were super into the “we are family” kind of thing. I wasn’t wild about everyone in my group, so I wasn’t like “Omigosh I’m gonna miss you sooooo much you have to email me and stay in touch forever. I feel like you’re my brother. Omigosh.” There were some cool people though, some people I’d like to stay in touch with (more than half a year later, I haven’t really done that). Well that about sums it up. Here’ s a quick recap:

Was it worth $1200? Certainly.
Would you do it again? Nah, probably not.
Did you actually learn leadership skills? I think so. There are some things I still apply today that I learned from it, which is good. We got a lot of excellent information, which I didn’t exactly go into detail with in my ramblings above. Ya, good stuff.
Democrat or Republican? … Democrat.

Well there it is. All my thoughts on NYLSC. I wrote this up in a flurry so there may be some typos and wacky sentences, but suck it up! If you’ve landed on this page and are considering going to to NYLSC..I’d say go for it. You’ll enjoy it. Feel free to post a comment or question (below) and I’ll be happy to answer it. Also, if any of you people from the organization want to say anything, go ahead. Peace.