www.SponsorMyLoans.com

I sometimes wish I was a lawyer or a doctor, or even a used car salesman. These are the types of jobs where you can really help out a friend. When you do something as specialized as web development, opportunities to help out friends, thereby adding to the continual cycle of people helping people*, are limited. That is why I'm always glad to lend a hand when a friend needs some web work done.

In this case, Luke (of blogaboutbeer.com fame) came up with a crazy plan to sucker — um, I mean encourage others to help repay his college debt. Thus was born www.SponsorMyLoans.com. I lent a hand in turning it from a generic template website into the gloriousness that it is today*. In exchange, not only did I get a karma card in the great favor exchange game of life, I also got free advertising for troothpicks.

From the press release:
Portland, Maine � In an unusually audacious move, Luke Livingston, of Portland, Maine is asking everyone with access to the Internet to help him retire his student loans. Livingston, 23, is a 2007 graduate of Clark University, in Worcester, Mass., and like most of his contemporaries, finished school encumbered by a mountain of debt.

Go have a look at the site, if for nothing else to see some neat troothpick banner ads.
Sunday December 9 2007File under: links, coding

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14 Years of IDs

Okay, so I want to try out this idea that kind of pushes the technical limit of "blogging". I've written a little javascript dealy that allows you to flip through all the IDs I've ever received in my life. The ID part, while maybe a bad idea re:"identify theft" according to some, isn't so limit-pushing. The embedding of the javascript into a blog post, however, is something I haven't seen before*. What does that mean to you? Hopefully nothing. Hopefully you will see a Anacortes Middle School ID with some goofy kid below and some buttons. If you do, check it out. If it isn't working for you, click here to see the non-blog version.






Wednesday December 5 2007File under: pics, misc, coding

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New Host

As some of you may have noticed, over the past 2 months or so, BdW has not been exceptionally reliable. Sometimes it was super slow in loading. Other times, it wouldn't load at all. It has been a source of frusteration for me that I've constantly been trying to deal with by alerting my web host. While he was always quick to respond (as soon as I could track him down), it still meant lots of downtime which isn't good for anybody.

Now, though, I am pleased to announce that I have moved to a new host*. From preliminary tests, it is a big step up. Pages compile uber-fast and the ftp access is also quite snappy. I have yet to figure out how to set up other domains (so troothpicks will continue to stay over at Cheapstream for the time being). Anyway, I guess the point is that things should work better now. If you notice a problem, please tell me. And if you know someone that quit reading because of these previous technical issues, please encourage them to give me another try.

With the move to a new host, I figure it would be a good time to launch some minor upgrades which I will just quickly mention. First and foremost, I've introduced searching by tag. That way, if you want to find all posts about, say, food, you can just click "food" under "filled under:". I also tweaked the way the pagination buttons work to account for space. It is a temporary fix, but I think it is kind of neat. (Scroll down to the bottom and hover over the page numbers.) Lastly, I changed the RSS to be a little more standards compliant. If you've got upgrades that you would like to see*, please let me know.
Tuesday October 23 2007File under: coding, blog

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Link Letter

Huzzah huzzah! BdW has to come the rescue to save you all from another boring Monday*. That's right, folks, I am pleased to announce the debut of my eighth self-conceived*, home-coded nerd game. (To view all the games, be sure and check out the games page so conveniently listed on the left hand column of this very page.)

The goal of Link Letter is to create a chain of words, each one letter apart, starting at one word and working your way to another (hopefully the in-game instructions will be a little more articulate than that). Currently, there are 20 levels with the possibility of adding more levels (or maybe even separate tracks) later, so get some while the getting is good. Oh, and I've brought back the community high score board with this one, so you can fight tooth and nail to beat out Joe Mama.

Link Letter is written with a javascript front end, so I must deliver my standard hasn't-been-tested-on-Mac caveat. If someone gives it a go, please let me know if it works. As the matter of fact, I'd love any kind of feedback anybody has. I'd love to make this game as good as possible so it might have a shelf life of more than, say, a week*, like all the other games.

Happy linking!
Sunday September 30 2007File under: games, coding

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BdW Version Update

Inspired by IHJ post about improvements and upgrades (kudos to Chris for the homegrownedness of them), I thought I would share a few of the improvements that have gone on here since the last upgrade. Most have been kicking around for a while, but have mostly gone unnoticed because of placement, etc. (not that any are fancy enough to warrant fanfare...)

Link Blog: Following Ryan's example (see right hand column under all the pictures), I've added a link blog. This is for the interesting/useful sites that I come across in my daily web meanderings that I want to share but don't want to make a dedicated post about. The most recent links can be found down the left hand column or you can view them all at the archives.

Ads: So I added ads. I'm hoping that they are unobtrusive, helpful, and possibly even profitable. I'm up a whopping $1.98 currently. Feel free to click on them. Every now and again, good stuff pops up there. Currently, they are located far down the left hand column on the main page, at the bottom of People's Guide to Anacortes, and at the bottom of any permalinked page.

Permalinks: I've improved the way BdW permalinks. A "permalink" is a link that will always point to a given post (even if it is years down the road). Now, the page will have only the one post and the comments associated with that post along with an abbreviated left hand navigation column. Permalinks are great for when you want to send a specific post to a friend* or link to a specific post from your blog. To get the permalink, just click on the title for any post.

Comment Encoding: Over the years*, there have been some issues with cutting and pasting links into the comment area. I think I've got all that worked out, so paste away.

Coming Soon: I've got a couple more support pages coming soon, including an about page that will hopefully be useful to new visitors and a resume page to showcase all the web design work I do. Since I know you will be holding your breath, I'll be sure to point out when I get those launched.

New Match Em! sets: Unfortunately only one reader submitted their own match set for addition into Match Em! (Thanks Joe!). I added in a couple more sets as well, so be sure to check them all out.
Friday August 17 2007File under: coding, blog

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Match Em!

With all this trivia that has been floating around in my head and life of late, I had to find an outlet. What I've come up with should prove to be lots* of fun.

The game is Match Em, and as the name suggests, it is a matching game. I consider it accessible trivia, because even if you don't know each and every one, you can usually reason out at least a few correct answers. The game also tracks the average score of everyone who has played for a given data set. Examples of data sets currently included are Painters and Paintings, States and Nicknames*, Car Makes and Models, and much more. So try it out. Let me know if you have problems or questions. (Please to note: it hasn't been tested on any Macintosh browsers. If you try it out on one, let me know if it works.)

The part of this whole shebang that I am excited about it the ability to add new data sets easily. For this, I was hoping that I could call on you, dear reader, to help out. What matching sets can you come up with? Send me (via e-mail or the contact page)* anywhere between 7 and 14 matching items in a given category. In about a week, I'll add all [appropriate] submissions to the game.
Sunday August 12 2007File under: games, coding

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Web Guy for Hire

Over the past 7 years or so, I've often dreamed of making a career of independent web work: contracting for a company here, creating small business websites there, working on my own projects in between. While the projects (and therefore income) have been far from steady, I've done some really fun projects. One recent project of note is Cardinal Points, a website for my neighbors' small business.

I want to point this out for a number of reasons. For one, in the vast spider web of links on the internet, search engines reward those sites that are linked to. Also, there's something to be said for promoting local business. (Anybody need a water maker installed on their boat?) Finally, I wanted to use this as an example of the fine work I am capable of. (You knew there was going to be a plug in there somewhere.)

Do you or someone you know need a website: small business, blog, photo gallery, event announcement? Perhaps just a touch up on your current site, or adding a bit of that fancy Web 2.0 functionality? I'd love to help. I charge about half of what you'll find elsewhere (thanks, in part, to my low overhead*), but have the experience and skillz* that rival the best. I won't go into more of a pitch here (because, let's face it, 98% of BdW readers have as much need for my services as Saxtor has need for a blog (ZING!)), but if you have any interest at all, contact me and I'll answer all your questions.

( * hover over for additional ramblings)
Tuesday April 10 2007File under: work, coding

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More Word Games

Speaking of word-nerdiness, working on Another Word Game started me on a slippery slope of word games, both playing them and creating them. The two latest games are offshoots of AWG, but different enough to be fun in their own right.
BUNGLE: Essentially, this combines Boggle game play, Scrabble scoring, and the tile replacement of Another Word Game. Oh, and it's timed. Like AWG, this is written in Java.

WORDOMANIA Based on the popular (and addictive) clickomania game, this is a puzzle word game similar to AWG. The object is to use as many of the initial tiles as possible. When one is used, it disappears and everything above it drops down. Once an entire column is used, everything to the right of it will slide left. This is written in Javascript, so even if Bungle and AWG didn't work, this should (although with a slightly higher chance for browser non-compatibility). Check out the screen shot.

Thanks again to those folks that helped work the kinks out by taking the time to test these. If you have any questions or encounter any bugs, let me know.
Sunday March 18 2007File under: games, coding

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Another Word Game

What happens when you leave a computer programmer to his own devices? Well, first he watches a lot of movies. Then he recodes his blog. But soon, he feels the call of those sweet sweet algorithms, with their object orientated logic and structured syntax, and he can't handle it. He must write something.

Well, this is my something: Another Word Game. Inspired by boggle, Word Racer, and Wordy, the premise of this game struck me while lying in bed one morning. The object is to use up all the initial letters once while reusing letters as infrequently as possible. Points are awarded on length of word and number of reused squares.

To play, you need to have java installed. If you don't have it installed already, it is kind of a pain. Sorry about that. Also, it might not work on some Macs (I don't have a Mac to test it on.) Thanks to Andrew, gretch, marg, Saxtor, rus, Sara, Amanda, and Deanna for help with the testing. If you come up with any bugs, let me know. Enjoy!
Saturday March 10 2007File under: games, coding

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