WordPress Plugin (notifying users tagged in comments)

I wrote a plugin by hacking together some ideas based on the Notify on Comment plugin.

Essentially, I was looking for a plugin whereby someone mentioned or tagged in a comment (using the familiar @username syntax from Twitter) would be notified. They wouldn’t have had to have made the post being commented on, nor would they have had to made a comment on that post yet in order to be notified. It can notify multiple tagged users in one comment (eg. Hi there, @user1 and @user2) — it will notify both user1 and user2 via the emails they have registered as users on your WordPress install.

Now, because this plugin only queries the user database in WordPress, it’s not going to be useful for a wide range of blogs. But, if you’re a multi-author blog looking to shift more of the conversation away from emails or private posts and into the main stage of your blog and its comments, this might work for you.

Included in the zip file is all you need to upload it to your plugins directory on your WordPress install. It has a very basic email template, which you can adjust using some of the markup from the plugin file itself.

Download the awkwardly named plugin, Tag User Notification.

Arduino, PHP, LCDs, XBees: Tactical Texting in Public Spaces

While the adventure in working on this project began months ago, I’ve finally sorted through the mess of files I made and put it all together in a nice handy zip folder. Using Arduinos, XBees, LCDs, and PHP, this project was challenging from a technical stand-point, but I think the project is now at a place where it can act as a foundation for a number of other projects I’m hoping to take on.

While the most-recent installation of this project was on view as part of SRSI, I’m already looking at the Arduino-TVOut library dreaming of what to do next.

Certainly, it’s no surprise that I really, really like working with text. I think there’s something about text that allows an accessibility to the work that isn’t always possible with an exclusively image-based presentation. So, while I had some loftier ambitious at the start of this project, it was actually the process of running into those walls that helped me to move this project into something that is more flexible and expansive (in the long-run).

I think there’s a lot of strong potential for this project — it’s possible for these to be battery-operated (though in my tests, you won’t get a hugely long run out of them), and even if you are tethered to a wall-based power source, you can still install these in a variety of situations. Being able to dynamically insert messages into public space is very fun and as this project continues to develop, it could provide the groundwork for a lot of new tactical activities.

Should you like to take on a similar project, I’ll detail the hardware/software requirements, code, and some general details below…

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Parsing RSS Feeds for the Arduino + LCD + PHP project

I’ve made some really great progress on this ongoing Arduino + LCD project over the last couple of weeks — some of the two larger hurdles are now out of the way, the results of which you can see in the video above.

Since the video was shot, I’ve improved the PHP script some more to ensure that the text is properly broken up over the appropriate lines on the LCD and I’ve also removed those strange characters, which were resulting from newlines in the Twitter RSS feed, I think.

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Arduino + LCD + PHP, Part 2

The epic adventure with Arduino, LCDs, and PHP continues. I’ve finally made some progress in terms of breaking up the words and lines appropriately. It felt like a huge achievement, since I had been trying to figure out this line-break thing for quite a while.

You can check the majority of the progress in the video below, and all of the steps along the way are below! Don’t mind the nonsensical example texts. So first off, I figured out I needed to send Arduino very specific information to know where to line break.

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More Arduino + LCD + PHP fun

My work on this ongoing LCD Arduino project has been continuing over the last couple of weeks, I just haven’t had the time to update appropriately.

So, I switched over my plan of attack from Processing to PHP. I figured this made sense for a couple reasons: first, I’m already very well-acquainted with PHP, I’ve written and hacked together a good amount of code in this language before and so I feel like I’ll spend a lot less time just figuring this out and more time actually doing; second, I don’t think I was really going to use Processing for its strengths, and instead, I was going to rely on its string functions, which pale in comparison to PHP.

I’ve made quite a lot of progress over the last week or so — all of which is detailed below. There are still some major problems I need to sort out, but for the most part things are about where I’d hoped them to be at this point.

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How to Make a Randomly Assembled Text

php script from the Algorithmic Walk by Broken City Lab

Back at the end of March, we went on an Algorithmic Walk with some brave folks (who not only trusted in our custom software generated algorithm, but also ignored the weather). I had previously posted a link to where you could find a custom-assembled algorithm, should you be curious to try it on your own, but I also wanted to post the code, in case anyone has any need for generating  a randomly assembled text.

So, after the jump, there’s the PHP code for those interested. I’ve tried to make helpful comments throughout, and the text is sized to fit on an 8.5 x 11″ page if you want to print it out.

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