Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Oh Hi There

So, Twitter's had these things called Twitter Cards for a while now.  You've probably already seen them in action.  When you post a link to a website, there will be a box with information about the link as opposed to just a plain link.  That's the Twitter Card, and it's dead simple to implement.

It's all in your page's <meta /> tags.  I'm not going to go in-depth describing how to do it here, because Twitter's got a whole section of their developer site for that.  There's a bit of finagling to get it working on Blogger since you have to edit your template, and if you want to customize them at all you'll end up having to learn Blogger's template language.  Thankfully, it's XML-based, so it's not completely terrible.

Blogger's template language isn't without its shortcomings, though.  The vast majority of the data you might want to work with is only available to specific page widgets.  For instance, on the Twitter Card for my blog's archive pages (click a year or month header in the archive section to get one such page), I wanted the title to just be my blog title, and the description to say something like "Post archive for $MONTH $YEAR".  While there's a way to get the date of the archive, it's only available within the archive widget itself, and not available to the whole page, even when the page is an archive page.  I had to settle for leaving the archive's date in the title and just putting "Post Archive" in the description.

Also, their template language completely barfs all over the place if you have the nerve to try and prepend a string to a data variable.  Appending works beautifully, but prepending causes the whole thing to fail.

Now, in any other language, I'd just go "oh, well, the page title contains the archive's date, I can just test for page type, and if it's an archive page, use string functions to pull the archive's date out of the title and stick it in the description instead!", but we don't get anything nearly as fancy as that here.  I'm basically stuck with what I've got until their template system gets more powerful.

Theoretically I could submit feedback about this, but the trouble with that is, this is Google we're dealing with.  I'm not going to get a response.  In all reality, I'll be completely ignored.  They're not going to implement some random suggestion that one guy would find useful; they'll only implement what they come up with because then it's "cool".

Anyway, when I link my new posts on Twitter, they'll now have Twitter Cards instead of just being plain links.  This change doesn't seem to apply retroactively, so don't go looking through my old tweets for it.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Wii Fit U, five months in

Still going strong.  I'm down by 64 pounds at this point.  It looks like I'm plateauing, but I'm not really.  I'm having fewer random weight gains, and to go along with it, the weight losses are also getting smaller.  However, I'm still losing about the same amount per month.  So, there's still confidence.  The plateau will come eventually, don't get me wrong, but hopefully not for another month or two.

My pre-MAGFest goal is 80 pounds down, which is more than achievable at my current rate of weight loss.  Honestly, I might be able to get closer to 90 if things work out right, which would be amazing since the magical 22 BMI that Wii Fit U says is ideal is pretty much exactly 100 pounds down for me.  Let's do things differently and stick the picture of my last month's graph up here instead of down at the bottom!

Graph showing weight fluctuations for the last month

And now, how about a jump break!  Look at me!  It's almost like I'm a real blogger!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Radio Around Here Sucks

I've mentioned it in the past, and more recently begun dodging around it somewhat, but it's already out there: I live in Charlottesville, VA.  It's kind of a dump to be honest, the only real attractions are the historical landmarks.  Driving around here, it's inevitable that you're going to be listening to the radio.  Honestly, it's usually fine, but occasionally there's just the perfect storm of shit that absolutely ruins your drive.  I'm here to break down the experience I had today going out and filling up my gas tank.

97.5 3WV (WWWV)

This is what the radio's usually tuned to, because most of my driving is at night and they play long sets of classic rock at that point.  I get in the car and turn it on, and hear some classic rock.  Okay, I turn it up and get going.  A few minutes later the song ends and I'm thinking "okay, this is just gonna be commercials or something and then another song", but no.  3WV, despite having the tagline "Everything that rocks", is talking about something relating to Coldplay.  Except they can't just say "hey, there's this Coldplay thing that's happening, now back to music that's infinitely better than Coldplay!", no, they have to make jokes and talk about Gwyneth Paltrow and then play some interview with Gwyneth Paltrow.  So, whatever, I switch stations.

106.1 The Corner (WCNR)

True to their tagline, "Different is good", I'm now listening to something I've never heard before.  Whatever, it's got a good sound, so I go with it.  It's around this point that I get to the gas station, so off goes the car (and thus the radio).  After filling up and bitching about how the Kangaroo station never puts receipt tape in their pumps, I'm back on the road to come home.  Now it's some hipster bullshit with autotune and synth instruments.  I listen to it for a while, I honestly don't know why.  I later switch stations.

92.3 Rock Hits (WXRK)

...or so I thought.  A station that's normally a good bet also happens to be playing hipster bullshit.  Let's see if 3WV has finished talking about Gwyneth Paltrow yet...

97.5 3WV (WWWV)



Luckily, that happened just as I pulled up to the house, so I just turned off the car and went inside.

Charlottesville, you disappoint me.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Exercising During A Hurricane

Hurricane Matthew humped the East Coast for a while and dumped a bunch of rain on us.  Including at 2 AM when I'm normally out on my walk-that's-slowly-becoming-a-run.

A fun thing about the Fit Meter is that it calculates your relative altitude changes based on air pressure, which varies by altitude.  The lower the air pressure, the higher the altitude, essentially.  However, this is only good for relative measure since air pressure is completely weather-dependent.  High pressure generally means nicer weather while low pressure generally means a storm's a-brewin'.  Hurricanes are, of course, massive low pressure systems.

So, a couple nights ago, while Hurricane Matthew was busy humping the East Coast, I was out and about being awkward carrying an umbrella while doing my thing, and my Fit Meter was gathering air pressure data and trying to convert that into relative altitude.  Here's the result:

Fit Meter data showing really high altitude due to really low air pressure due to Hurricane Matthew

Yeah.  Normally it hovers around the zero line, as could be expected.  Fun times.  Also, obligatory song link.