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My CV and some other Updates

Just a quick post to say hello.

I’ve updated my CV and tidied it up a little.
So any feedback on it would be useful! (Drop Me a Line rather than a Comment please)
Link in the SideBar on the right!

I should really write on my blog some more, but not a lot to write about of late.
JetPack Extras is doing OK, but JetPack core decided to implement the main feature I added, that being Pinterest but, Extras has evolved, it still of course has the ability to control button placement and has the extra Twitter Via/Related options, and the ability to share the WP.me shortened URL, makes a nice Twitter Card, embedding a short Preview of the Post with the Tweet, (check this Meta Tweet for an example) works with any wp.me url you share on Twitter by the way!

Most useful, mainly updated to keep up with JetPack core and use the new shiny hooks they have.
You can check it out on extend. Feedback/request are always Welcome!

Made a couple of tweaks and updates to the Blog in the background, added a better 404 page and updated the .htaccess rules, I have all subdomains pointing to the here, (unless their is a separate to show), so its a good idea to redirect non sites to here, rather than duplicating the content.
Also tweaked the Root .htaccess to have a Error Document (404) since it was just standard Apache Error, bit nasty, but now better, LOLCATS TO THE RESCUE! :-D

Heres a extract of the rules, if you find it useful/handy:

RewriteEngine on

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^barrycarlyon.co.uk  
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://barrycarlyon.co.uk/%{REQUEST_URI} [R=301,L]
ErrorDocument 404 http://barrycarlyon.co.uk/wordpress/404-2/
ErrorDocument 403 http://barrycarlyon.co.uk/wordpress/404-2/

Next thing to do, is probably update and replace the MineCraft Server Site probably using Twitter Bootstrap as a new basis. It’s now a whitelisted server for Armchair Heroes or on Facebook, but of late I’ve been getting my MineCraft fix playing over at PhantomCraft, like a lot of open Servers I tend to get robbed/cleaned out and griefed a lot, but then again I am a little close to spawn. It’s a fun server to play on and the regulars are quite nice.

Hopefully moving further away when I get a chance to play some more, thinks are pretty busy at the moment between Magento fun at Day Job and Freshers Fun at the Union.

Then I really should get the Portfolio page on the Blog fixed up to showcase what I’ve done before, since I am a Freelance Web Developer (you got any work going or want a quote for? (Drop me a line)

So a couple more weeks and we’ll be back to the usual grind.
Hopefully I will have more to write about soon!

Extra Jetpack!

jetpack_logo

So recently I’ve been mucking about with JetPack, for various bits and pieces.

Mainly the first thing done is just to make the sharing buttons appear above and below a post.

But from browsing the JetPack Support Forum over on extend I thought I’d make my changes available.

So, attached to this post, is my modified version of JetPack 1.4.2.

Which includes the following additions:

  • Ability to control button placement, above, below, or both of the post content
  • A Pinterest PinIt Button as requested on the forum, it will attempt to use the Post/Page Featured Image as the Image to Pin
  • Additional Twitter button elements/arguments, for recommended Twitter account following (via and related)
  • Ability to turn on/off the DNT Twitter button mode: see the docs, about what this is and does
  • Hope you find it useful.

    If using JetPack 1.6.1 use the Extend Version
    JetPack Extras for JetPack v1.5 (310) Pre JetPack 1.6
    JetPack V1.4.2 BarryCarlyon Extras (107)

    Feedback and requests in the comments please :-D or hit me up on Twitter: @BarryCarlyon

    (On a side note, I need to fix some theme glitches on here, hence a double featured image on the home page….)

    Update: Make sure your theme is using a recent version of jQuery. As otherwise the [+ Share] won’t pop up (for extra hidden sharing buttons)

    Update: Created a new Plugin, that doesn’t replace JetPack, it extends and runs as a separate plugin.
    So more Core JetPack update friendly. Upload and activate like a normal plugin.
    Includes a suggestion from @SkipTweets Option to use the WP.me link instead of the permalink for Twitter Sharing

    Update: The plugin is now available on extend!

    Update: JetPack Core has now updated to 1.6.1 which adds a Pinterest Button to Core. They also updated the entire ShareDaddy plugin. It looks like they are adding Twitter Via Support to.
    I’ve just released a Maintenance Fix as if you Update JetPack, it WhitePages, due to conflicting Pinterest Buttons.

    Update: Check out the Special Plugin Page

MineCraft Math

So, I tend to now and again do random bits and pieces to MineCraft Servers.

Of late I have been working with ZimDoorCraft, took the existing relatively static site, and flipped it over to a Mini PHP Powered Content Management System, that I wrote and roll out to smaller sites.
Couple of MySQL powered bits to make updates easier (Staff list and the like).

In time more complex and interesting things will be added (it was for a while running a Login with Mojang/MineCraft account, but that means you type your MineCraft login into the site…), how that works is a subject for another post. As is what ever I build next :-D

The MineCraft server in this case is running a derivative of Bukkit, which means it supports plugins, so we are using the JSON Api plugin, and making a call to the getWorld() data resource.
Which passes back information about the world in a nice handy format.

Heres an example

    [world] => stdClass Object
        (
            [remainingWeatherTicks] => 14670
            [hasStorm] => 
            [time] => 4964
            [environment] => normal
            [isThundering] => 
            [name] => world
            [fullTime] => 2903932964
        )

If your running Vanilla you can grab the same information just by decoding the level.dat file in the World Directory, however opening a file currently being written to, is not often a good idea, and the level.dat is written to a lot.

Like a lot of games, Minecraft uses ticks, in this case operating at 20 ticks per second, and running to 24000 ticks per Minecraft day, which means a Minecraft day is about 20mins.

Just to be interesting 0 ticks is Sunrise, rather than midnight. And midnight itself is 18000 ticks.

Also contained in the data packet is a count down to when the weather changes, in this case there are 7500 (ish) ticks to go.

Which works out as

14670 / 20 to get Real Seconds = 733.5 Seconds, and then its arbitrary to flip this to a human readable time. We have about 12 minutes, or half a MineCraft day, until the weather changes.

Reading out a more recent packet

    [world] => stdClass Object
        (
            [remainingWeatherTicks] => 7339
            [hasStorm] => 1
            [time] => 3827
            [environment] => normal
            [isThundering] => 
            [name] => world
            [fullTime] => 3902379827
        )

Looks like there is a storm on…. But its only Rain no Thunder and Lighting. With 6 mins to go.

On a side note!, watch out for FullTime, as its likely to run away, on a long running server, to something a 32 bit system might not be able to handle! Refer to my Post on Facebook and the Order ID on some thoughts about dealing with that.


Using Tick to Seconds math, means that it is also possible to display the current server time and weather on the website.

I’m using a bit of CSS, and the MineCraft time piece (craftable in game) to show the current time visually. In this case I’ve taken the 16×16 PNG’s and expanded them (by hand) to 32×32, finally converting the time from ticks to the relevant chunk of 360 degrees, offsetting as needed to account for the fact that Sunrise is 0 instead of Midnight.

I do this by adding 6000 ticks and from there treating the ticks complete as a percentage and scaling to meet 360 degrees. Some of the code involved needs a little tweaking and tidying to improve efficiency, but the angle is being calculated by a CRON Job powered script and stored with the full World JSON packet, in an extended object and cached in a file on the file system ready to be read by the web server when a request comes in. So it’s not a top priority to clean up yet.

I was finding that after taking into account the addition 6000 ticks to offset for Sunrise, the whole Sun Moon picture was upside down. So I just added 180 degrees, and corrected it when the angle was greater that 360. Since why bother rotating thru a whole 360 degrees?


$time = $world->time;// grab from data packet from JSON Api Call
$time += 6000;// add 600 for sunrise

// work out the scale factor 360 degrees / ticks in a Minecraft day
$scale = 360 / 24000;
$angle = $scale * $time;// calculate the <span class="hiddenGrammarError" pre=""><span class="hiddenGrammarError" pre=""><span class="hiddenGrammarError" pre="">angle
$angle</span></span></span> = number_format($angle, 0);// clean up
// correct
$angle = $angle + 180;// the image is upside down :-(
if ($angle >= 360) {// clean up again
	$angle -= 360;
}

The rotation component was quite difficult to initially decide how to do, PHP wasn’t quite cutting it so switched to a CSS Transform.
HTML wise it consists of a pair of divs, a pair of images, and a chunk of CSS.

<div class="worldtime"><div class="inner"></div></div>


WorldTime being the one behind contains the Sun Moon Picture as a background image.


And Inner contains the Watch overlay also as a background image.

Apply the CSS transformation to rotate the Sun Moon Picture is just a little nasty, because in rotating the Sun Moon picture it also rotated the overlay (inner).
I decided to apply rotation to the overlay, in the reverse direction (so just sticking a negative sign in front).
Works quite well, but if you can think of a better way to spit out this with the rotation please comment below.

Heres my current Style Code

<style type="text/css">
	.worldtime .inner {
		width: 32px;
		height: 32px;
		background: url('large_watch.png') left top no-repeat;
	    /* CSS3 then proprietary code */
	    rotation: -336deg;
	    -webkit-transform: rotate(-336deg);
	    -moz-transform: rotate(-336deg);
	    filter: progid: DXImageTransform.Microsoft.BasicImage(-rotation=4);
	}
	.worldtime {
		float: left;
		width: 32px;
		height: 32px;
		margin: 0 10px;
		background: url('large_inner.png') left top no-repeat;
	    /* CSS3 then proprietary code */
	    rotation: 336deg;
	    -webkit-transform: rotate(336deg);
	    -moz-transform: rotate(336deg);
	    filter: progid:DXImageTransform.Microsoft.BasicImage(rotation=4);
	}
</style>

The whole WorldTime Div is then wrapped in another Div and jQuery used to once per minute go and fetch the updated time, weather and CSS rotation.

At first I did try using the PHP function to rotate the image, but the quality drop off when rotating by an angle not divisible by 90 was shocking.
So ended up resorting to CSS, which does work a hell of a lot better.

This only covers how to do this using the JSON API, in a future post I’ll talk about decoding level.dat and other Minecraft Files.

Facebook Credits, the Order ID, and dealing with large integers in 32 bit PHP

So, currently at work I’ve been rewriting all our Payment Gateways for Your Members. Making them more better Class based an abstracting out the common functions to a base class, to save memory footprint and code etc.

And came across a problem when rewriting the Facebook Credits handler.

The order ID that gets passed around, as well as the Application ID is too long for a 32 Bit PHP installation to handle when treating it as an Integer.

So a number like “239724439419867” was ending up as “1.7592246582797E+14″ when stored/processed, or converted to a string.
Now the obvious way to process this is to convert it to a string another way, which is somewhat difficult since before you even start it is in a format that you can’t handle.

The saving grace here is the fact that data is passed to you as a JSON packet (aside from the fact the Order ID is in the $_POST variable and thus a string, so I could of used it from there).

This led to me to look at the JSON packet, which starts as a string but when decoded the large integers are still a larger integer than can be processed (whether you json_decode to a Array or to an Object, the problem persists). So I thought about how to process the raw JSON packet and make sure the order ID, and other large integers are treated as strings.

If you look at a Raw JSON packet you can easily spot whats a string, integer, object or array.

Take this example Facebook Credits JSON Packet, (wrapped for readability):

{"order_id":239724439419867,"buyer":197803678,"app":148748711865470,
"receiver":197803678,"amount":5,"update_time":1320075413,
"time_placed":1320075408,"data":"","items":[{"item_id":"<item_id>","title":"Post",
"description":"A New Purchasable Post",
"image_url":"<some url>","product_url":"<some other url>",
"price":5,"data":"<data>"}],"status":"<status>"}
  • order_id is an integer as it has no ” around it
  • status is a string as its surrounded by “
  • Items is an array as its surrounded by [, in this case containing a single object, entries/items are comma separated.

So after thinking about this I decided the best way to sort this out was to convert the integers in the raw JSON packet to strings before decoding.

In pseudo code.

Lop off the { and } from the start and end
Explode around ,
array walk each item
split on :
check if there are no " in the second bit
if none wrap in "
glue back together

Something alone the lines of:

function largeint($rawjson) {
  $rawjson = substr($rawjson, 1, -1);
  $rawjson = explode(',' , $rawjson);
  array_walk($rawjson, 'strfun');
  $rawjson = implode(',', $rawjson);
  $rawjson = '{', . $rawjson . '}';
  $json = json_decode($rawjson);
  return $json;
}

function strfun(&$entry, $key) {
  $data = explode(':', $entry);
  if (FALSE === strpos($data[1], '"')) {
    $data[1] = '"' . $data[1] . '"';
    $entry = implode(':', $data);
  }
}

I’m not sure in terms of memory footprint if its cheaper to do a substr of $data[1] and check if its a ” or not.
I suppose it could test the string length of the detected integer to see if its invalid/unable to process, but then you would be performing a string function on an integer and again the problem would arise.

But as a block of code is does the job, its obviously not ideal for all situations, since in this case I want the integer as a string, I’m not using it for math, but if I did, we probably need to do some bizarre unpack-ing or something.

Any opinions or improvements give us a comment below :-D

My Leeds Hack 2 Project

Thought I would write a blog post about what I built in 24 hours for Leeds Hack 2 last weekend. I kinda got distracted last week and not had the time to write this post.

You can look at all the projects that people finished over on the Leeds Hack Website.

So what did I write

I decided to write something that I had been pondering about for a while. It’s called Spotify Roulette and revolves around the idea of crowd sourcing a new artist or area of music to listen to.

Originally it started off with me posting on Twitter quite a while back asking for something new to listen to, to which @Stanton responded with Hybrid. (I can’t find the original tweet on twitter but it’s here on Spotwitfy) Which are actually quite nice to listen to and I have a nice Spotify playlist to listen to.

I was wondering if there was a way to automate this.

So thru the combination of the Twitter and Spotify Meta Data API’s, means I can post out to Twitter, await a response, parse out the Artist and then pop open Spotify with a random track by that Artist and if the requester wants a playlist can be generated, and thru a limitation in Spotify, drag and dropped into Spotify to listen further to the Artist.

In short

In short its pretty straight forward.
Just a handful of calls to a couple of different API end points to get an Artist ID from the name, then their albums and the tracks on these albums. Chuck in a little GeoIP to hopefully check the tracks are available in the requesters’ region.
Grab the first track, pop open Spotify and grab another 10 tracks to make a playlist.

Finally I used Nerf Guns to help demo! Russian Roulette stylee.

Responses

People on Twitter can either response with text, an artist which we parse out the @user and the hashtag word. Then look that up on Spotify.
Or a response can be either an HTTP open Spotify link or a Spotify protocol link. Either to the artist page, track or album.
if it’s the Artist, I can parse out the artist ID and look for albums and tracks.
Currently not playlist urls, but that’s easy to implement.

Technology

So we used,

  • Twitter API, using @Abraham Twitter oAuth Library
  • Spotify Meta Data API
  • MaxMind GeoIP
  • jQuery and jQuery UI
  • Rick Astley
  • Nerf Guns

Give it a Go

Give it a go and offer me some feedback.
Watch out for Rick Astley tho. He likes to crop up every now and again….

It’s still a little rough round the edges in terms of theme/layout.

Spotify Roulette (http://spotifyroulette.com/)

Future

Hopefully if people like it and use it I can expand further.

Perhaps use Facebook to share playlists, or another way to crowd source a new artist. And if Spotify release a HTTP API for generating and saving playlists then incorporate that too.