Business Cards for SXSW

For SXSW I wanted to do something memorable with my business cards, something that would separate me from my peers and entice potential employers to actually visit my website!

The plan…

A bunch of students here at BDW decided to go analog and create business cards by hand using an old printing press. I began documenting the process of creating a business card and came up with the idea to film every business card I made and have a custom video produced for each business card. That was people could go to my website and see their individual business card being made.

The process only lasted for about 16 cards before I got bored and stopped filming. But I did manage to produce 16 videos! Below is a list of links to each individual business card! If your a recruiter, please check out the rest of my site while your here!


Ajax Flickr Widget – WordPress

I recently wanted to have my Flickr photostream displayed in the sidebar of this site. I couldn’t find a simple widget that would display my photostream without having to hack a bunch of CSS to make it match my site, I also needed to photos to load in after site load because it’s a bit heavy on the images. I needed a better solution, so I decided to build my own. The result is almost ready to be released for WordPress as a plugin. Just a few minor cleanup issues.

Basically, it works off the phpflickr library, users fill out a simple form to get started and the module loads the most recent photos in the photostream asynchronously in order to ensure the site’s fastest possible load time.

I thought it might be helpful to quickly review how to write an ajax enable WordPress 3.0+ plugin:

Initialize the Widget:

class Flickr_Gallery extends WP_Widget {
	function Flickr_Gallery() {
		 $widget_ops = array(
		 'classname' => 'flickrgallery',
		 'description' => 'Displays most recent flickr photos from the stream according to a specified username.');
		$control_ops = array(
		 'width' => 250,
		 'height' => 250,
		 'id_base' => 'flickrgallery-widget');

		 $this->WP_Widget('flickrgallery-widget', 'Flickr Gallery', $widget_ops, $control_ops );

Output a form where users can fill in the necessary information:

// produce the form for the widget
function form ($instance) {
$defaults = array('catid' => '1', 'numberposts' => '5');
$instance = wp_parse_args( (array) $instance, $defaults ); ?>
<label for="<?php echo $this->get_field_id('key'); ?>">API Key:</label>
<input type="text" name="<?php echo $this->get_field_name('key') ?>" id="<?php echo $this->get_field_id('key') ?> " value="<?php echo $instance['key'] ?>" size="20"> </p>
<label for="<?php echo $this->get_field_id('secret'); ?>">Secret:</label>
<input type="text" name="<?php echo $this->get_field_name('secret') ?>" id="<?php echo $this->get_field_id('secret') ?> " value="<?php echo $instance['secret'] ?>" size="20"> </p>
<label for="<?php echo $this->get_field_id('username'); ?>">Username:</label>
<input type="text" name="<?php echo $this->get_field_name('username') ?>" id="<?php echo $this->get_field_id('username') ?> " value="<?php echo $instance['username'] ?>" size="20"> </p>
<label for="<?php echo $this->get_field_id('numberphotos'); ?>">Number of Photos per Page:</label>
<select id="<?php echo $this->get_field_id('numberphotos'); ?>" name="<?php echo $this->get_field_name('numberphotos'); ?>">
<?php for ($i=1;$i<=99;$i++) {
$i = $i * 3;
echo '<option value="'.$i.'"';
if ($i==$instance['numberphotos']) echo ' selected="selected"';
echo '>'.$i.'</option>';
} ?>
// produce the form for the widgetfunction form ($instance) {
 $defaults = array('catid' => '1', 'numberposts' => '5');  $instance = wp_parse_args( (array) $instance, $defaults ); ?>
 <p>     <label for="<?php echo $this->get_field_id('key'); ?>">API Key:</label>     <input type="text" name="<?php echo $this->get_field_name('key') ?>" id="<?php echo $this->get_field_id('key') ?> " value="<?php echo $instance['key'] ?>" size="20"> </p>
 <p>     <label for="<?php echo $this->get_field_id('secret'); ?>">Secret:</label>     <input type="text" name="<?php echo $this->get_field_name('secret') ?>" id="<?php echo $this->get_field_id('secret') ?> " value="<?php echo $instance['secret'] ?>" size="20"> </p>    <p>     <label for="<?php echo $this->get_field_id('username'); ?>">Username:</label>     <input type="text" name="<?php echo $this->get_field_name('username') ?>" id="<?php echo $this->get_field_id('username') ?> " value="<?php echo $instance['username'] ?>" size="20"> </p>    <p>   <label for="<?php echo $this->get_field_id('numberphotos'); ?>">Number of Photos per Page:</label>   <select id="<?php echo $this->get_field_id('numberphotos'); ?>" name="<?php echo $this->get_field_name('numberphotos'); ?>">   <?php for ($i=1;$i<=99;$i++) {		$i = $i * 3;        echo '<option value="'.$i.'"';        if ($i==$instance['numberphotos']) echo ' selected="selected"';        echo '>'.$i.'</option>';     } ?>    </select>  </p>

Create a standard "Save" function:

// save the widget
function update ($new_instance, $old_instance) {
$instance = $old_instance;

$instance['numberphotos'] = $new_instance['numberphotos'];
$instance['key'] = $new_instance['key'];
$instance['secret'] = $new_instance['secret'];
$instance['username'] = $new_instance['username'];

return $instance;

Output the widget:

// print the widget
function widget ($args,$instance) {
	$key = $instance['key'];
	$secret = $instance['secret'];
	$username = $instance['username'];
	$numberphotos = $instance['numberphotos'];
	echo $before_widget;
	echo $before_title.$title.$after_title;
	// load in your custom output function below
	echo customeOutputFunction();
	echo $after_widget;

We must also have a function to register the widget with WordPress:

// register the widget
function load_flickr_gallery() {

Finally, add the hook that will register the widget when WordPress loads widgets:

//add_action('widgets_init', 'load_flickr_gallery');
add_action('widgets_init', create_function('', 'return register_widget("Flickr_Gallery");'));

Now, if we want ajax functionality, add:

// Function for handling AJAX requests
function flickr_gallery_handler() {
	// Check that all parameters have been passed
	if ((isset($_GET['mywidget_request']) && ($_GET['mywidget_request'] == 'some_action')) && isset($_GET['page'])) {
		$fpage = (int)$_GET["page"];
		if($fpage < 99){
			echo outputGallery($key, $secret, $username, $numberphotos, $fpage);
		} else {
			echo "The page you requested is too large!";
	} elseif (isset($_GET['mywidget_request']) && ($_GET['mywidget_request'] == 'some_action')) {
		// Otherwise display an error and exit the call
		echo "Error: Unable to display request.";

And add the ajax handler to the init():

// Add the handler to init()
add_action('init', 'flickr_gallery_handler');

Now simply include some sort of ajax script to the front end in order pass the request:

	function ajaxLoadGallery(dest) {
		jQuery("#gallery-container, #gallery-container ul, #gallery-container p").fadeOut();
			type    : "GET",
			url     : "index.php",
			data    : { mywidget_request    : "some_action",
						page : dest
			success : function(response) {
				// do something with the server response here


And your all set!

Feel free to add any other functions outside this class, or inside for that matter, just remember not to violate any WordPress reserved function names you should be able to add any function you want!

Facebook Unfriends

Could you not image a scenario where being able to “dislike” something would actually be helpful? I can. How about PR people? If I have a band and I start wearing fuzzy bunny costumes to all my shows I can immediately get a concrete response on the web. As opposed to getting fewer likes on my site then normal, I might get some dislikes and know for sure that people don’t like my bunny outfits.

That got me wondering what else Facebook isn’t telling us, which led me to “Unfriends” the page where you can actually get an answer about who doesn’t want to be your friend on Facebook anymore! It took me all weekend to build and probably won’t work right for the next few weeks anyway, but it’s done enough for alpha testing anyway.

I’ll do a proper writeup on how it all works tomorrow, but for now, try it out!


Facebook and Wolfram Mashup

Recently Joe Corr showed us an example of the facebook api he’d been playing with. It allowed users to login via the facebook login button, then grab interesting information with the return data. In class we were playing around with several ideas:

  1. What if facebook could predict who you’ll be hooking up with after you break up with someone?
  2. What if facebook could predict who you’re most likely cheating with?
  3. What if we could predict how has a crush on you?

I came up with an idea to simply take the numbers that represent you i.e. your birthdate, facebook id, age etc. and run them through the Wolfram API to see what interesting information we might extract.

As it turns out, some of the most interesting information has nothing to do with numbers but rather information regarding your name.

Anyway, check it out!