Thursday, July 30, 2009

Embed multiple Google calendars, the sequel

I put together some instructions of how to embed multiple Google calendars on Google Sites sites. I included screenshots and thought it looked pretty nice, plus I got some positive feedback for it. Unfortunately, Google seems to have changed something about how Sites interprets its calendar widget and made the hack I figure out not work anymore.

My attention was drawn to this by a comment today from a reader who had followed my instructions and received an error. Both his site and mine were complaining about chaining multiple site URLs like Google does in its own embedded calendar customizer. I noted the problem and said I would look into it later. Tonight was later.

This Google question indicated that somebody else was having a similar problem, but did not provide a solution. This chain of posts from the Google Calendar help group presented a solution similar to my original post and discussed a GUI solution from Google that I could not find in Chrome or IE 8.

Then I found this Google Sites help question that provides a work around. I am not entirely happy with it, but it is better than the error I was getting and gets the job done. You can find the instructions here. The trick is to insert a widget that lets you insert the calendar inside of it.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Wii Internet Channel Homepage

I put together a homepage for my Wii internet channel. Although I hope to eventually have a wireless USB keyboard to use with my Wii, right now I only have my Wii remotes. Typing with the Wii-remotes is tedious at best. So I used my computer to create a launchpad from my Wii. You can find it here.

In the process of making this site I ran across several sites that offered "Wii homepage" services. Wii browser looked pretty good, but some apparent inappropriate links on the front page turned me off. Wii home also looked pretty good. In the end I prefer the flexibility of controlling my own site over somebody else's more polished interface.

If I ever get motivated to polish my Wii homepage's interface, I ran across some good resources for that too. This blog post and another related one capture the specs of the Opera browser used on the Wii, plus provide some nice looking Wii buttons. This site has some information on interacting with the Wii remote through javascript. That will not fly with my website host (Google sites).

I tried to collect sites I have either found to be fun/useful on the Wii myself or think will be fun/useful in the future. If there was a Wii specific version of the site then I went with that, otherwise I included the site plus available mobile versions. Below is a list of sites that made the cut onto my Wii homepage. If you think I am missing something, please feel free to make a comment:
  • Google video - Until the browser updates its flash and we can run Hulu, this is probably the best place to search for videos
  • Stumble Upon Video - I do not use this service, but a lot of other sites recommended it
  • YouTube - Most of the good content found in Google Video comes from this site. Plus, they have a Wii specific version
  • Google Reader - I love Google Reader for aggregating feeds, plus they have a Wii specific interface
  • WiiCade - This site collects flash games designed for the Wii. It turns the Wii into a little arcade and is a lot of fun
  • Videlectrix - A few simple Wii flash games from a quality company. Alright, maybe not the most exciting. . .
  • finetune - Another service I do not use right now, but I might start. It turns the Wii into a jukebox
  • Clusty - A search engine optimized for the Wii. I think I'll stick with Google, but this is still nice
  • - Quality content that is best watched while single and late at night. Very funny
  • Digg - Find the best stuff on the web here. I find the video section particularly useful for the Wii
  • Myspace - I skipped the Myspace generation, but I heard it was/is kind of big
  • Facebook - they want to hold all your information in their little books, so you can now show all that information on your Wii
  • LinkedIn - Alright, maybe wanting to use this on your Wii is a bit of stretch
  • Twitter - Using a Wii remote to type probably won't let you get much longer than 140 character before you go crazy
  • flickr - The Wii comes with a nice photo channel, but that probably isn't as socially active for you as flickr
  • Friendfeed - Release your inner geek and aggregate everything online and then check it out over your Wii
  • Gmail - The best web mail client. Now you can check your email in your living room with everybody watching
  • Amazon - Online shopping. What more could you want?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Trek 2009

No, not that one:We got back an hour ago from our LDS Stake's "Welcome to the valley" celebration for Trek 2009. The kids are now in bed. They were pretty good troopers for most of the day, but the activities definitely weren't geared toward them. We still haven't quite figured out how to best deal with our little toddler children at church social functions. Despite our frantic tracking of our children, we still could appreciate the scope of the event and imagine how cool it must have been for the youth.

A bit of background if you are reading this and not LDS (Mormon). I am LDS, and I attend a congregation in Billerica, except we call them wards. A group of wards forms a larger organization called a stake. The Billerica ward is part of the Nashua NH stake of the LDS church. The Nashua NH stake covers an area from Stow MA to Wilmington MA to Manchester NH to Keene NH and even out into Vermont a bit. It's about half a dozen wards (a little less, I think).

Stakes typically do a yearly multi-day activity for the youth (ages 14-18) in the summer. This year our stake did "Trek." Trek is a partial reenactment of the Mormon pioneer exodus to Salt Lake City. There are obvious limitations in terms of scope and feasibility in the Trek, but it gives the youth a taste and makes the Mormon pioneer heritage a little more real. Trek uses handcarts.

After going on a seventeen mile trip pulling handcarts, they reached their destination. That's where other members of the stake were invited to come and play games and then welcome the youth "into the valley" at the end of their journey. That was from 3-6 pm today. We were late and so only heard the cheers as the handcarts came into the valley. Luckily they came back out of the valley and then parked, so we got to watch them anyway.

The whole experience earned a front page story on two newspapers. I cannot find the second one on the web, but you can read the article by the Nashua Telegraph. They also shot some nice video:

For those of you who are not LDS and/or not from the Nashua Stake: Jay Cooprider is my dad, and he is the current ecclesiastical leader for the stake. I just don't want you to get confused with all the Coopriders floating around.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Buying a house

NOTE: This is a repost of a post I am deleting. You may have noticed that I am having some malware issues with this blog. . .

It has been a long time between posts. I've been busy. Unfortunately (for anyone hoping I'll post to my blog), it looks like I will stay really busy until November-ish, at least. We have put an offer on a house, negotiated with the sellers, had our offer accepted, conducted a home inspection, renegotiated with the sellers, and now look like all is set for our purchase and sale. I will not be discussing the specifics on my blog (at least not until we close), but it has been and continues to be an emotionally draining and time consuming experience.

I will say right now that I did not expect the process to be so emotionally draining. I knew we were supposed to not get attached. We were going into the process with continued renting as a perfectly viable fall back option, so there should have been no pressure. When push came to shove, though, emotions still kicked in and uncertainty runs high. We feel like we have found a great home that will become our own, but it is definitely a fixer upper. For now I am looking at it like an exciting adventure. We'll see what I am saying about it this winter.

The process of choosing a mortgage has not been any easier. Luckily, that is mostly a matter of crunching the numbers and picking the one which comes out on top. We had a number of referrals and one of them ended up giving us the best deal. We expect everything to go well with that. Assuming it does, I will definitely blog about it later.

This will probably be my last mortgage and house post until after we close on August 25th. Then I will be very busy fixing the house and getting it ready for winter, so I will hopefully write more about the whole process in the fall. Maybe I'll blog about other things in the interim, but I will be a bit busy. Should probably start packing. Should probably have started packing a week ago.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Fenway Precise Seating

I was recently introduced to a cool tool for Red Sox fans: Precise Seating. From the website:
Precise Seating is committed to providing detailed seating information for Red Sox fans attending Fenway Park. Information that you can use to see precisely where you will be sitting. A 2D map shows your seat, any obstructions, distances, viewing angle problems, walkway advisories and much more. Please make use of our site to gain all the information you'll need before you purchase seats at Fenway Park.
The entire park is rendered and then the user can see the point-of-view from any seat. The page indicates obstructions and their effect. For example, here is a picture of Grandstand 12 Row 5 Seat 12:

So go and check it out. Next time you win a chance purchase special seats it can help you make the most of the opportunity.