Every once in a while I run across something I’ve seen before but ignored accidentally until I see it in great big headlines and neon and stop to pay attention to it and discover that it does something I really really want. This particular afternoon it was the product Slogger from Brett Terpstra. The software is a Ruby script, and Ruby is a delightful programming language that I’ve had the pleasure of dabbling in. Nowhere near the level of Brett and the people who help him, but here and there, little things.
The need came from a simple Google query, IFTTT and Day One. Looking for some way to bridge that divide between the automatic web service that I’ve fallen in love with, IFTTT and Day One, the journaling software that works quite well and renders DropBox a “Killer App”. Dropbox is the glue that keeps my Day One system together, on my laptop, my desktop, and all my mobile devices. When I found Slogger it was a definite Eureka moment, the answer all in one place. I downloaded the code as the author describes and tried to set it up.
Monumental fail. Pieces everywhere, error codes puking on the screen faster than I could read, pages and pages of interpreter and compiler errors, all surrounding one “Ruby Gem” module called hpricot. I knew why this was fail-town for me, it was because I had installed XCode CLI tools in order to get the mac_google_authenticator PAM module built. That CLI package rendered my system retarded when it came to processing gem requests. In the Ruby world there is a system established for distributing software written in Ruby, it’s called ‘gem’ and you run it much like apt-get in Ubuntu, it’s really quite straightforward and never has given me fits – until. Everything was complicated by the fact that I couldn’t really find where XCode was on my machine, all the likely targets to search didn’t have anything relevant and my find command returned pages of errors and I didn’t have the patience to pick through a thousand lines of “Permission Denied” to find the one spot where the file was hidden.
Didn’t need to complain, as I knew the solution. Download XCode for real. So off to Apple, download the monster and install it. That satisfied hpricot, and everything else installed quite nicely. I set Slogger up, pointed it at my Dropbox and configured the plugins that I wanted. The initial run crashed and burned but I figured out why, it was an errant space in the line that points to the Day One folder, a symbolic link fixed that and I was again off to the races. Of all the plugins that I configured these were successful:
Then there were the plugins I tried to configure but couldn’t:
The primary problem with the fitbit plugin was that fitgem, the Ruby assistant program that you have to install is a phantom. You install it, it’s successful, and then it’s gone. No trace of it exists. You try again, poof, nowhere. Plus for the plugin setup there are API codes, User codes, and oAuth codes. I get the reasoning behind all of them and getting most of them was not an issue. I felt a little awkward creating an “Application” for just myself, it seems kind of a waste of effort to ferret all these bits and peices into a semiformal request procedure, but doing it wasn’t hard or cost anything, so what the hell. The part where it all falls apart for fitbit is where you have to get the oAuth token, since fitgem never worked and it’s invocation from slogger should have opened a web browser and asked for my approval, all of that never happened. I tried to be sporting and do the heavy lifting myself but all I did was irritate the API for fitbit and I figured, what the hell, I got most of what I was after and moved the fitbit plugin into the “unused” folder and forgot all about it. Abandon ship, y’arrrr!
Flickr is a pain in the ass. It’s Yahoo and as such, it’s kind of an Internet leper. You need your Flickr number, there’s a site that makes that easy, except it doesn’t work. Flickr username? Feh, either the one in Flickr or your linked Yahoo ID is meaningless. I half figured it was in the URL anyways, but then I thought about it and I don’t really use Flickr all that much beyond a solitary IFTTT rule and that’s precarious as it is. The only attractive part of Flickr is they gave out 1TB of storage. Still lepers tho. So, abandon ship! Y’arrrrr!
GetGlue was the last great effort. Much like Klout, it’s a site that makes sense sort of, but the name is utterly silly. GetGlue. What the hell? Why? Glue has nothing to do with TV or Movies. The only connection I could think of was celluloid and horses-processed-into-glue sort of connection. They give away stickers, what a wonderful bit of pollution that is, and as a gimmick seems dumb. The plugin needs an RSS feed for the GetGlue Activity Stream. It appears as though the GetGlue folks have moved away from RSS and towards “widgets” which seems stupid as in this application RSS is the answer and widgets are worthless. Alas, Google searching for the RSS feed method was fruitless. I was half hoping for something like http://getglue.com/user/bluedepth/feed.rss, where I could just craft it up and be on my merry way. No. You have to “View Source” to find it, which is stupid because that is so full of CSS flotsam and jetsam as to be utterly incomprehensible. Again, my ardor for that particular service was fog on a hot day. I don’t need it. I don’t use it. Whatever! Abandon ship! y’arrrrr!
So I tried the slogger script, it failed, tore out fitbit goop and then it worked. Then I went into my Day One app and mopped up all the mess that testing had made. The only oddity I noticed was the BlogLogger completely missed out on the text on my WordPress site that was between pre tags. Meh. Not really a reason to kick the entire thing to the curb, just something to honestly stop using. HTML is a right bastard, almost all of the time. CSS is a filthy abomination, but we won’t go there.
I would say that tonight everything will work as it should for Slogger, but I have to race to work tonight to turn everything off because work is going to exit-stage-left when it comes to the Internet. They are turning the entire thing off, at least for a few hours. I can’t wait for tomorrow, there will be lulz.
So, to Mr. Terpstra, thank you for slogger. I’m sorry the plugins didn’t work, that fitgem was a phantom, but at least most of what I wanted worked. So we sound a victory cheer, sort of. Yaaay!
Several days ago, on May 24th I left work and headed home, on my usual path which takes me right through the center of Kalamazoo. I drive down East Michigan Ave headed east towards Eastwood, towards Kalamazoo Township where my home is. I’ve taken this path countless times and on a lark I had the roof of my car wide open and I was stopped at the light where East Michigan and Edwards Streets meet, waiting for the signal to turn. While I was waiting in traffic I idly looked up through the roof and I noticed a building, 275 East Michigan Ave. It was a plain building, tan with red highlights and I didn’t think anything of it until I noticed something unusual about it:
Wha? Hugh J. McHugh 1885. He was someone important as his name was etched into the façade, on a nameplate of all things. This started me thinking. I knew that there were several notable McHugh’s, they had migrated to Chicago and I had a hunch that that family started MCHUGH construction which has been a part of several roadway projects in the city of Chicago. Just the idea that there might be someone with my last name in Kalamazoo isn’t really a huge surprise. Is he a relation of mine, other than his last name? I don’t know. But I did some research on him anyways and added him to my MCHUGH tree on Ancestry.com just for shits and giggles. He’s just an island at the moment as I can’t connect him to anyone in my family tree at all, at least not yet.
This is what I know of Hugh. He was 45 years old in 1880, he was in the US Federal Census in 1880 in Kalamazoo Michigan. He worked as a stone mason and later on he was appointed or elected to “Alderman” in Kalamazoo. I don’t know if the aldermen were elected or appointed. He was also the subject of a Michigan Supreme Court decision, thanks to some documents I found at UMICH online. Something about a law in 1885 and a bond for mechanical something or other. He was married to Ann McHugh (Willson), she was 53 and was a Housekeeper. Rosa, their eldest child and daughter was 17 and worked as a “Servant”, Thomas was 15 and a Painter, Joseph was 11 and listed as “At Home” and they all lived with their maternal grandmother Sarah Willson who was 84 and stayed at home.
One curious little extra bit which I found remarkable was that in the Michigan Supreme Court case, a name shows up, Oscar T. Tuthill. I saw the name and just giggled. Tuthill is a name on my maternal grandfathers side of my family. So, we’ve got McHugh’s and Tuthill’s in Kalamazoo (or Lansing probably for Tuthill), something interesting to knock around at least.
It’s a surprise to see your family name carved in stone and on a building that has been there for 128 years.
I’ve gone as far as I can with Ancestry as I don’t have a paid account. It’s interesting and when I have some spare time maybe I can find the archivist at WMU and make some inquiries there. They’ve got stuff dating back to this period and more.
While reading “The Great Gatsby” one of the characters makes reference to money spent. The book is set in the jazz age of flappers and the well-heeled, say 1927 or so. Before the crash that sent many of these rich men and women tumbling from buildings. So the reference was how much a character ate after being hungry and expressed in dollars. 1927 dollars. Different than 2013 dollars. So I found a site: http://www.dollartimes.com/calculators/inflation.htm which you can calculate the power of the dollar from one time region to another. This points out the unique trap an author can get themselves in when they pin facts down in their fictional narrative.
Tell us about a sensation — a taste, a smell, a piece of music — that transports you back to childhood.
I’ve written about nostalgia before. The scent of WD-40 enables me to recall my very early life, when I was about five years old. The scent of this product is indelibly linked with my maternal grandfather and every time I catch it’s scent a part of my consciousness returns back to when I was five, sitting in my grandfathers lap playing with his miniature train set that was set up in his root cellar. It’s quite difficult for me to access those memories without WD-40, so it’s become a part of a ritual when I use WD-40. I always find time when I have to use WD-40 to dwell on the unlocked memories and in a way, bring my long passed on grandfather back to me now. In many ways, the people that we loved and lost are always with us, in this limited way. I suppose in one way of considering it, it’s through WD-40 that my grandfather has a rough semblance of immortality, at least in my consciousness.
There are also other strong memories, but they are linked to places and mundane situations by exceptional events. I remember, for example, exactly where I was and what I was feeling and seeing when the Challenger accident occurred as well as when the 9/11/2001 event occurred. They are unremarkable memories only made important because of their bound events keeping them “alive” in my memory. Not really worth writing about, at least not in the context of WD-40 and my grandfather.
What was your favorite book as a child? Did it influence the person you are now?
I can't really remember which book was my favorite when I was growing up, but when I first saw this PAD and started trying to remember, the book that came to mind was this one: Mr. Chatterbox
So, I'll just leave this PAD here, and let people who know me bask in the perfection of my choice from my past. As for whether or not it influenced me as an adult, again, just going to leave it here. LOL
Tell us about a time you did a 180 — changed your views on something, reversed a decision, or acted in a way you ordinarily don’t.
That sort of altering of viewpoint, after a long time considering if something like that had actually happened to me and coming up blank initially makes me think that I’ve never done that sort of thing. My beliefs are quite entrenched, I’m quite certain of my positions and my opinions. Anyone who knows me knows that of what I speak passionately about I am determined in and if I am not, I rarely speak of it. It’s better to listen if you aren’t sure than to speak out of a position of personal doubt. There just isn’t any passion in doubt. If you aren’t sure about what you think then how can you put any energy behind it? Passionate thinking goes hand in hand with what I consider to be critical thinking. Can it truly be said to be critical if you can’t be passionate about it? I suppose I am too much my Mothers son, I think I learned my views on passionate discourse from her as a role-model for not bandying around the bush. If you feel something, then be out with it, don’t let it just fester in the dark.
Often times at work I get the phrase “Oh Andy, tell us how you really feel!” thrown at me. I knock those lobbed bastards right out of the park with a home-run whack with my bat. Damn right I’m going to tell you how I really feel! Anything else would be dissembling, tantamount to a lie and do a disservice to whomever I’m speaking with as well as to my very own self. As such, I am functionally retarded when it comes to flirting, subtext, and innuendo. I accept a life of blunt honesty over the dubious sea of gray foam that is subtext, subtlety, and innuendo. Don’t try to play hinting games with me, walk up and say what you think and how you feel. Be honest, be direct, be blunt. Time is precious, don’t be a foolish putz.
Watching gun nuts trying to use logic, even their own warped logic and watching their points being used against them is both highly entertaining and deeply upsetting. I saw the clip on the Daily Show where John Oliver talks to that gun nut and demonstrates this very point. The way he looked, the way he dismissed everything single-mindedly reminds me of my gun-loving family members. Nothing matters so much as keeping the Second Amendment from being violated. I don’t think they have basic human empathy and I think it works much like how conservatives change their minds when their children come out as gay, when it comes to gay marriage. Perhaps, and I don’t actively wish this on anyone, but there is a part of me that wonders if these gun nuts would be so intensely resistant to gun control if someone they loved died in a massacre where a background check would have revealed that a mentally ill shooter bought one gun online and the other at a gun show. Their dead child would still be alive if they had learned to compromise on at least background checks. Alas, it’s too late for their dead imaginary child.
Unless of course those people happen to be any of the thousands who have lost loved ones to gun violence and gun massacres.
The shame comes when a change of heart that comes after such an imaginary event that might come to pass comes too late for everyone else. That’s why America is upset with the Senate. That’s why our government has let us down. We don’t have the time for them to lose their loved ones for them to wake up in time to keep our loved ones from dying. The people are suffering, and Congress would rather ignore the will of the people. That’s a clear case of a government that has ceased representing the people and are, to borrow a word from the gun nuts, a tyranny.