Category Archives: New Stuff

News about site and in general

Easily verify yourself on Mastodon with GitHub

Mastodon unlike Twitter doesn’t have official (or paid, thanks Elon Musk) verification badge for account profile, but it does offer a way to verify yourself – by placing following link tag into HTML of a website/page you own (your blog for example):

<a rel="me" href="https://your.instance/@YourHandle">Mastodon</a>

where “your.instance” and “@YourHandle” are the Mastodon server you use and your profile handle respectfully. But what if you want to verify yourself with your GitHub profile? An ideal place would be something like a README.md file. Unfortunately every link placed into a markdown file automatically gets rel="nofollow", so it’s a no-go. But there is a way to do this. Continue reading →

Writing first Mastodon bot

Over the years I’ve written quite a few Twitter bots. But since Elon Musk took over – the bird site has become unbearable, so I, like many others, migrated to Mastodon. What Mastodon is, and how it operates is a whole another story, but for our intents and purposes it is similar to Twitter: there is a home timeline where posts from people you follow appear, and you can post to the timeline as well.

Back on Twitter I used to have a bot that would tweet one-liners from Pink Floyd lyrics every hour. Follow me along as I recreate it on Mastodon.

First and foremost you have to make sure the Mastodon instance you’re on allows bots. Some do, some don’t – read the server rules to find out. I am using botsin.space instance that is specifically meant to host bots. Continue reading →

Export Dynamic LINQ to CSV

LINQ allows to perform various queries against different data structures. Wouldn’t it be great if you could easily export result of a LINQ query to CSV? Fortunately you can! This article by Scott Hanselman explain how and culminates in cool in its simplicity code:

namespace FooFoo
{
    public static class LinqToCSV
    {
        public static string ToCsv<T>(this IEnumerable<T> items)
            where T : class
        {
            var csvBuilder = new StringBuilder();
            var properties = typeof(T).GetProperties();
            foreach (T item in items)
            {
                string line = string.Join(",",properties
                      .Select(p => p.GetValue(item, null)
                      .ToCsvValue()).ToArray());
                csvBuilder.AppendLine(line);
            }
            return csvBuilder.ToString();
        }
  
        private static string ToCsvValue<T>(this T item)
        {
            if(item == null) return "\"\"";
  
            if (item is string)
            {
                return string.Format("\"{0}\"", item
                      .ToString().Replace("\"", "\\\""));
            }
            double dummy;
            if (double.TryParse(item.ToString(), out dummy))
            {
                return string.Format("{0}", item);
            }
            return string.Format("\"{0}\"", item);
        }
    }
}

This code adds .ToCsv() extension method to any IEnumerable so you can run something like

string csv = linqQuery.ToCSV()

Unfortunately this doesn’t work if your query is Dynamic LINQ query Continue reading →

Fling a random insult at Trump after every tweet

Ok time to get political. I hate many things that Trump tweets these days and would love to reply to each tweet personally, but have neither time not desire to read his delusions. Fortunately in these modern times robots take many of our jobs. And this looked like a perfect job for a bot. Similarly to the bot described in the previous post it will be IFTTT + Scriptr combo. But this time in reverse, here’s intended flow:

  1. Twitter service at IFTTT detects when @realDonaldTrump tweets
  2. It triggers Maker service that makes HTTP request to Scriptr code
  3. Scriptr code generates random insult and posts a reply to Trump’s tweet

Here’s what IFTTT applet looks like: Continue reading →

Tweet images with Scriptr and IFTTT

Sev Trek

Looks like everybody is doing Twitter bots these days so I decided to try my hand on one as well. And it had to be something lighthearted – to let people’s mind off things for a while. Way back in early 2000s there was a funny parody comic of Star Trek called Sev Trek. Original site is gone now, but archive of images was saved at http://sevspace.com/stupidarchive/sevtrek.asp.htm. Images are numbered sequentially – ideal for automatic processing. My bot would tweet random images every couple hours.

To host bot’s script I decided to go with Scriptr which offers powerful JavaScript backend and multiple expansion modules. And IFTTT has a cool Twitter service, one that can tweet image from an URL. So the idea was:

  1. Code hosted at Scriptr generates URL pointing to an image at sevspace.com
  2. Code then call Maker service of IFTTT – custom service capable of accepting HTTP requests
  3. Maker service triggers Twitter service and passes URL of image it got from Scriptr code
  4. IFTTT Twitter service tweets the image

Continue reading →

Using FusionCharts in SSRS reports

Microsoft’s SSRS is pretty advanced reporting system with multitude of advanced features. SSRS also has charting capabilities, but it’s somewhat lacking compared to more advanced desktop or web charting suites

On the other hand FusionCharts offers very cool charting package with gazillion of chart types and very cool features. But it uses JavaScript engine and renders charts client-side only!

What if there was a way to marry the two technologies together – to render cool FusionCharts in advanced SSRS repots? Continue reading →

Simulating Pebble GPath in Rocky.js

RockyJS is a black magic voodoo from Pebble Dev team. It allows you to run your JavaScript code on the actual smartwatch (unlike PebbleJS that runs on the phone). When RockyJS debuted it ran as a simulation in a browser, but since then it matured and now runs in Pebble emulators and on actual hardware.

RockyJS changed drastically since that web release. It resembles C code less and takes more standardized JavaScript approach. During that transition some features were lost. One of them is Pebble GPath concept – a graphical object that consist of set of coordinates that you can freely move and rotate. In particular missing commands gpath_move_to, gpath_rotate_to and gpath_draw_outline that move, rotate and draw the GPath. When I was porting my first Pebble watchface to Rocky I used those extensively. You can read about that implementation complete with the source code here. But now the commands are gone and I needed a substitution. Continue reading →

Future Time – watchface for Pebble smartwatch

https://apps.rebble.io/en_US/application/56e04296320b573560000009

This is the face of the future.

Two faces actually – because you get both analog and digital face – and it’s up to you which one to use. You also get eight predefined color themes as well as ability to set each color individually. This face also provides weather and fitness tracking at your fingertips. And it just looks cool.

Key features:

– Digital or Analog face type selection
– Multiple color themes as well as custom color settings (or you can leave it on auto and the color will depend on battery level)
– Weather (powered by Forecast.io), Step Counter, Distance Walked, Sleep Hours
– Bluetooth Connect/Disconnect alert of configurable intensity with visual clue
– Battery level represented by percentage number as well as visually by outer perimeter of dots (also by watchface color – if in auto color mode).
– Visual step goals

$0.99

After installing watchface you have a 3-day trial period to explore all the features and different aspects. At the end of trial if you like Future Time and want to keep it – it’s just $1.50 USD via Kiezel Pay payment system, you will be prompted to enter code and follow few easy payment steps. Once purchased – the watchface is yours permanently, no matter what Pebble or what phone you use, as long as you keep the same Pebble account.

You will need to get free key for weather services at https://developer.forecast.io – this is one time procedure.

Design by Paul Joel http://www.pauljoel.com

CobbleStyle 2 – watchface for Pebble smartwatch

https://apps.rebble.io/applications/57719ccc6c2104ad170001c8

CobbleStyle is back! This time with THREE modes to display the time: analog, digital or BIG TIME! With complete customization on what information you want displayed. With pre-designed color sets and complete color customization. Make CobbleStyle 2 how you want it!

Key features:

– Three Ways to display the time: Analog, digital, or BIG TIME!
– Multi-language support
– Anti-aliasing text and graphics.
– Date / Weather / Bluetooth connection.
– GPS Location.
– Week number.
– Local time.
– Alternative timezones.
– AM/PM.
– Seconds counter.
– Pre-designed color sets.
– Custom colors.
– Custom text.
– Backlight when charging option.
– Bluetooth alert options.
– THREE weather providers – choose most reliable for your location
– Master Key weather provider control via https://www.pmkey.xyz – store all your weather API keys in one convenient location

Health Info:

– Step Count
– Live step goal bar.
– Custom step goal.
– Distance Walked
– Time Active
– Calories burned at rest
– Calories burned while active

Only $0.99 USD

After installing CobbleStyle 2 you will have a three days trial period to explore all the features and different aspects. At the end of the trial if you like CobbleStyle 2 and want to keep it, it’s just $0.99 via KiezelPay payment system. You will be prompted to enter code and follow easy payment steps. Once purchased, the watchface is yours permanently, no matter what Pebble or phone you use, as long as you keep the same Pebble account.

Design and Art Direction by Paul Joel – http://www.pauljoel.com

API keys for weather providers

Many apps and watchfaces for Pebble smartwatch provide weather information and many of them require you to have your own key, unique for each weather provider. Here’s how to obtain API keys for 3 major most popular weather providers:

  1. For Forecast.io register at https://developer.forecast.io/ – and at the very bottom of the page there will be long string of letters an numbers – that’s the key.
  2. For OpenWeatherMap register at https://home.openweathermap.org/api_keys and you will see a form create your API key there
  3. For WeatherUnderground go to https://www.wunderground.com/weather/api, click LOGIN button, fill the form to create account, go to “Key Settings” in menu and generate your API key there

It is *highly* recommended once you get your keys – save them at https://www.pmkey.xyz service. Then all you have to remember to get them is simple 5-digit pin and more and more watchfaces (CobbleStyle 2 being one of them) use this service for easy key retrieval.