Pink Stang

Pink Stang

Alan Baker is getting a Mustang. Alan refuses to blog. PinkStang.com is his friends’ effort to create a blog on Alan Baker related topics in honor of him. PinkStang is simply an aggregation of blog posts tagged “Alan Baker”. This will give him a record of events relating to him on both a personal and professional level. w00t.

So…where did the name PinkStang come from?

Over Google Talk, Al’s status message mentioned the color his new Mustang would be, so being the tool that I am, I altered my status message to urge him to purchase a pink one. Others in our office soon chimed in and agreed that pink was the right plan. Sadly, Al wasn’t keen on the idea. This only fueled our fun.

In reaction to Al’s refusal to purchase a pink Mustang, Zach started shooting around a domain name for him: pinkstang.com. Everyone promptly changed their status messages to the sweet – though slightly dirty sounding – domain and by the end of the day everyone in the office made a decision. Purchasing PinkStang.com was the right plan. After a quick look on GoDaddy, we found that it was available, purchased it. Zach footed the bill and installed WordPress. I immediately went to work on creating the sweet pink Mustang and header graphic.

So whether Al wants to or not, he’s blogging :D

Google Widgets

In my recent post on Windows Live Gadgets I shot down Google because they hadn’t already created their own widget/gadget engine for creating hosted…well…widgets. It seems they were waiting because they could do it better. Today I found out through Slashdot that Google released their version.

Their widget API is available here. At first glance it seems that the Google widgets are a bit more robust and versatile than the Microsoft gadgets. I’ll be playing with these shortly to see what I can come up with and do a thorough compare/contrast. These are the differences I see (at first glance, mind you) between the two companies’ implementations of the same idea:

  • Google Widgets are aimed at a completely web-centric approach. They do not offer local Widgets like Microsoft Gadgets does. This is actually a win in my book.
  • Microsoft is using RSS syntax for their XML with some external javascript loaded along with it. (I’ll get more technical when I learn a bit more about the process). Google, on the other hand is using what appears to be their own proprietary markup with the inclusion of external javascript as well.
  • Microsoft’s implementation prevents the use of the id tag which makes doing some sweet dynamic stuff…well…painful. Google allows it, and goes a step further. They include a sweet little feature called __MODULE_ID__ that you can tack on to the end of your id tags so things will work fine with multiple instances of your widget on the same page. Another win for Google.

Like I said with the Windows Live and MSN Start post, I’ll be doing some heavy research into these widgets and gadgets and bring forth more details and some example code.

MSN Start & Windows Live Gadgets

MSN Start and Windows Live, which are competitors for Google/ig have jumped ahead of google and are now offering a repository for developers to create XML/javascript based ‘gadgets’!

There are two types of gadgets. A remotely hosted gadget, where a site like MasterWish would create a gadget and make the URL to the gadget’s XML file publicly available; the user then enters the URL and viola! The gadget is added! (after a confirmation) The second type of gadget is the locally hosted gadget, where you can store a gadget on your machine (Windows only). You load the gadget in the same way you do a hosted gadget…There seem to be a few catches with the local gadgets:

  • First and foremost, its not web centric…the gadget is on your machine. If you head on over to a friend’s house, that gadget won’t be available to you.
  • The local gadgets must be coded as such.
  • Windows only

The benefits with the locally hosted gadget? Well, you can do some more advanced stuff with them like messing with your local applications. For example, there are some gadgets out there that manipulate the data from iTunes…the gadgets are pretty sweet. Local gadgets are neat…but I’m not sold on them.

What really throws me for a loop is that Microsoft implemented gadgets before Google…you’d think Google would see this coming. tsk tsk tsk. All the same, I’m going to do some little experiments with gadgets and see what I can come up with.

MasterWish WordPress Plugin

I am pleased to announce the arrival of the MasterWish WordPress plugin! Anyone that has an account on MasterWish and runs a WordPress blog can aggregate their publicly viewable lists. For an example of how I have it set up, check here.

Get the MasterWish WordPress plugin v1.1!

Setup Instructions:
Installing the Plugin:

1. Download and unzip wp-masterwish.zip

2. Place masterwish.php in your wp-content/plugins directory
3. Log in to your WordPress admin panel and activate the plugin, then visit the MasterWish submenu of the options tab.
4. Enter your MasterWish username and click ‘Update Options’
5. If you want a default list to be selected, select a list from the List drop-down menu and click ‘Update Options.’
6. Create a new Template for your wishlist in your wp-content/themes directory.

In the body section of that template, we suggest you place the following function calls:

<h2><a href=”<?php masterwish_list_url($_GET['list_id']); ?>”><?php masterwish_list_title($_GET['list_id']); ?></a></h2>
<strong>My Lists</strong>: <?php masterwish_lists(”,’[','] ‘); ?><br/><br/>
<?php masterwish_get_list(); ?>

7. Create a new Page in WordPress and set its template to the template you just created in the previous step!

MasterWish Plugin Functions:

  • masterwish_get_list

    retrieves items from a list

    Usage:

    masterwish_get_list({list_id},{display_images},{maxresults},{random});

    list_id is the wishlist id number that is being browsed. Leaving this with a blank string ” pulls the default list set in the MasterWish Plugin’s options tab.
    display_images specifies whether the item images are displayed. Default is false. Available options: (true/false).
    maxresults is the maximum number of items you want displayed in a given list. Setting this value to 0 displays all items in a list.
    random shuffles your item list around.

  • masterwish_list_title

    retrieves the current list title

    Usage:

    masterwish_list_title({list_id},{return},{before},{after});

    list_id is the wishlist id number that is being browsed. Leaving this with a blank string ” pulls the default list set in the MasterWish Plugin’s options tab.
    return specifies whether you want the title returned or echoed. Default value is false, available options (true/false).
    before is what you want prepended to the wishlist title.
    after is what you want appended to the wishlist title.

  • masterwish_list_url

    retrieves the current list url

    Usage:

    masterwish_list_url({list_id},{return});

    list_id is the wishlist id number that is being browsed. Leaving this with a blank string ” pulls the default list set in the MasterWish Plugin’s options tab.
    return specifies whether you want the title returned or printed on the screen. Default value is false, available options (true/false).

  • masterwish_lists

    retrieves the user’s publicly viewable lists

    Usage:

    masterwish_lists({list_id},{before},{after},{return});

    list_id is the wishlist id number that is being browsed. Leaving this with a blank string ” pulls the default list set in the MasterWish Plugin’s options tab.
    before is what you want prepended to each wishlist title.
    after is what you want appended to each wishlist title.

    return specifies whether you want the lists returned or printed on the screen. Default value is false, available options (true/false).