Archive for April, 2011

Team Liquid Browser Extension

Lately I’ve been thinking about writing a browser extension for my beloved teamliquid.net, which is my main source for all things StarCraft. I’ve already created a set of Greasemonkey scripts specifically for Team Liquid,  but that was before I learned how to write a proper browser extension. After writing Zearch for Firefox and Chrome, I feel a lot more confident in cutting Greasemonkey out of the equation and going straight for a proper Team Liquid extension.

As far as desired functionality goes, it’s a given that the two existing scripts will be integrated. Although, I really should fix the banned user script first… that only seems to work for me about half of the time. In addition to the sidebar updater and banned user linking, I will add some functionality for the stream list, at the recommendation of my dear friend Will. I will allow customizing of the featured streams list, and sorting by race.

In order to do this, however, I need to figure out how to set and retrieve configuration options in both Chrome and Firefox. Unlike Zearch, this tool will need some long term data storage. Not only will I need to save user preferences for featured streams, but I’d also like to allow for some configuration, like which features to enable / disable and other miscellaneous settings.

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What have I been up to?

I posted a few days ago on my entry to the Zappos API Developer Challenge, and that was my first post in 6 months. I haven’t been as consistent with my updates as I once was, but it’s certainly not for lack of things to ramble on about. I’ve actually been very busy. I’ve spent a lot of time reading books about some cool concepts that are doing wonders for advancing myself. In particular, I’ve been reading Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software, JavaScript Patterns and Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code. So I guess I haven’t been writing much because everything I’ve been thinking about has already been documented by someone else who explained it far better than I could at the moment.

I’ve also been spending a lot of building my new robot, Lil’ Lady Murderpants, and working on my Zearch browser extension. Even though the Zappos API Developer Challenge is complete and my entry has already been submitted, I still want to keep working on it and making it even more amazing. There are some features to be implemented, some refactoring to be done and some styling to pretty it up. I’ll end up doing a more thorough article on the direction that Zearch will be taking in comings months, so I won’t go into too much details here.

As far as Lil’ Lady Murderpants, that will also be elaborated upon further down the road. For starters, though, she’s an adorable little ball of joy that I made with my girlfriend over the weekend. We began by following the great tutorial over on Let’s Make Robots. Right now, there are issues with her eyes. The range finding sensors are not reporting data back properly. Once we get that resolved, we can have her run some meaningful software. It’s all programmed in BASIC, so i’m having to learn a new language as part of this project, but learning new things is one of my favorite things to do.

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Hosting switch is complete!

Yesterday, I completed the switch from Bluehost to InmotionHosting. I had been with Bluehost for the past 2 years. They were really good early on, but in the past year, the sites began to slow down significantly and crash several times weekly. I never had data loss or site outages that lasted more than 10 minutes, but it was still extremely obnoxious and unacceptable. I decided to switch to InmotionHosting after having really good experiences with them at work. In particular, their tech support and customer service is amazing.

All pages should be fully operational, but with any hosting switch comes a bit of a risk. I’m still moving over the other domains I had hosted, but none were as significant as visual77.com, so I’m taking my time with the rest. I’m not transferring over all domains, though. There are a few that expire very shortly and I have no interest in renewing.

I just hope no issues pop up during this critical judging phase for the Zappos API Developer Challenge, where my Zearch extension has been entered. It would be a shame to lose points because the Zappos developers were unable to even download Zearch during the downtime.

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