Spring Plantingpalooza

Last year, Erika and I planted our first ever vegetable garden. We quickly became obsessed with it, and this year we’ve upgraded from 2 beds with approximately 50 square feet, to a total of 6 beds, with over 285 square feet (more than 5x the growing space)! We’re pretty psyched to see what we can produce this year, and will be trying a bunch of new vegetables, in addition to more of the varieties we liked from last year.

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Recent Social Importer Updates

I’ve been trying to make small improvements to the Keyring Social Importers package (and People & Places) that I maintain, and have made a number of them over the last few weeks. Here are some details of recent updates which you may have missed:

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Peak Design Everyday Backpack 20L Review

Towards the end of last year, I jumped on the Kickstarter bandwagon for a new backpack. They blew their goal away, and it turned out to be a really professional release that went smoothly, and delivered on time. Major kudos to the folks at Peak Design.

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Amazon Echo (Alexa) vs Google Home (Assistant)

I have both of these devices at home, and have had them each for a few months (at least now). I got the Amazon Echo first, so have had it for a lot longer. I grabbed a Google Home because they were on sale and I wanted to compare the 2 systems. Here’s an outline of my experience thus far.

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Social Importer Upgrade

Today I pushed some updates to:

  1. People & Places
  2. Keyring Social Importers

These updates make it so that the Twitter, Foursquare and Instagram importers are now dynamically identifying and indexing People and Places, and marking them with a taxonomy within WordPress. I’ve also added a new system for “reprocessing” old posts which Keyring imported, so that you can go back and perform some function on those posts without having to import them again. You’ll find reprocessing tools under Tools > Import > Reprocess Keyring Data.

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People & Places

Over the years, I’ve been working on a system to aggregate data that I publish to other social networks/sites back into my control, on my own WordPress install. Thus far, that has resulted in the creation of Keyring (plugin) to provide an abstracted interface to all of the web services I’m interested in, Keyring Social Importers (plugin) to do the basics of importing the data from different places, and Homeroom (theme) to display it all. Today, I’ve been working on a system that will detect people who are mentioned in an interaction, and link them across posts using a custom taxonomy. It does the same for physical locations, so I’ve called it People & Places.

Essentially, this plugin is just a pair of custom taxonomies, with some specific ways of referring to things. Pretty basic. It gets more interesting though when you update Keyring Social Importers to the trunk version, which will now work in tandem with People & Places to link everything up. I wouldn’t recommend it on a production site just yet — there’s a lot of rough edges still.

When KSI is pulling in content from each service (currently looking at Twitter, Instagram and Foursquare), there’s a new block of code that makes sure People & Places is available, and then looks for certain pieces of data. If it finds them, it bundles up the details, and passes that along in the import process. When posts are actually inserted, it will attempt to link up that post to the People/Places it found. If the People already exist, then they’ll just be linked, in the same way tags work. If they don’t exist yet, then a new Person entry will be created, and that will be used.

I plan to add in a basic term-merging function, so that you can manually (maybe automatically?) identify “duplicate people” across different networks, and intelligently merge their entires (re-linking any posts involved), so that you build up a single, combined view of your interactions with a particular person. I envisage some interesting possibilities with the archive pages for these taxonomies, and that over time it will build a really interesting dataset of your interactions, the places you physically go, etc.

I’ll probably still move the code around a bit, and there are definitely some bugs around duplicates and handling things across different networks, but it seems to be working so far. This is also probably the time to figure out a decent way to allow re-processing of imported data from the raw copy that the importers save in postmeta. Installing this new code will start gathering data on new imported entries, but won’t go back and do the same on all the posts you’ve already got. Rather than deleting all that data and re-importing/processing everything, I’d like to have a simple way to re-process the raw data that’s already stored locally.

Snow-shoeing in Breckenridge, CO

Yesterday I went up to Breck with Erika. She went snowboarding, and I tried out my new MSR snowshoes. I started out at the Breck Nordic Center, and hiked for maybe 3 miles or so, before heading back to Peak 8 to meet up for bloody marys and fries. It was a gorgeous day, and snowshoeing was fun. I ran into a few people who said there were moose around, but I didn’t see them unfortunately. Being out there made me really curious about what it’d be like to do with a full pack on, and be going backpacking in full winter. That’s still on my list of things to try out. Here are some pics from the trails I took (Willow, Engleman, Peaks Trail).

A Clean Slate

I’m pretty excited to be setting up a brand new website here on my brand new domain, beau.blog. As part of being the company managing the new .blog domain name, we were able to reserve a single domain each, and I grabbed my own name, which I think is pretty darned neat.

My plan is to move my personal blogging over here to beau.blog, and keep Dented Reality as something of a lifestream/aggregation tool. I’ll probably experiment with some really non-traditional-blog display of the data over there, and keep this one pretty “bloggy”.

Anyway, here we are, at the dawn of a new year, also at the dawn of a new website. Even with all the Snapchats and Instagrams and Facebooks and whatnot out there, I still firmly believe that we should control our own online identity and presence, and that owning a domain, and controlling the information you present there, is the only way to do it. Viva la WordPress!