Buffer Feature Requests

Dual Window

LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google+ have significantly different character number restrictions than Twitter. Naturally, Twitter limits posts to their notorious 140 characters. LinkedIn allows 700, and Google+ / Facebook allow about five thousand.

I like to post things with a quote from the articles I share that captures what I found most interesting about it. Generally, they fall between 200 to 200 characters. Too long for Twitter, which means I editorialize it to make it fit.

Something amazing about the Pocket tool to share to Buffer is it provides two different textareas. One for Twitter and one for everything else. Brilliant! So much so, that I am tempted to completely change my workflow to push anything I want to share to Pocket just so I can share it with Buffer in a way that makes sense. On Facebook the preview URL appears to Pocket rather than the actual destination which slightly bothers me because I’d prefer the source to get attribution.

Tumblr

It would be nice to be able to share to Tumblr through Buffer. It seems odd that Buffer would support App.net who has been dying for years and will finally be gone in 6 weeks yet not one of the larger social networks?

The post Buffer Feature Requests appeared first on Rants, Raves, and Rhetoric v4.

From Buffer Feature Requests published February 04, 2017 at 10:15AM.

Fun With Regex

We replaced the old ticketing system with a new one. Naturally there are people who are concerned about losing access to old tickets. So we looked at exporting all the tickets. My coworker had the better method of getting out the data with one issue.

Because the old sytem used an HTML editor for a specific textarea, the content in them was difficult to read without expertise in HTML. Fine for a former Webmaster like myself, but few people who will need this read it like they do English.

My first thought was to look for products that clean up HTML. I even got excited when I notice HTML Tidy comes with our Linux OS, but that just converted the HTML to standardized format of HTML. (And trashed the plain-text portions of the ticket.) I did not find options for removing the HTML with Tidy.

So, my next thought was to try Regular Expressions (Regex). Certainly it ought to be doable. Just Regex is hard. No, difficult. No, turn your hair gray at 22. But, it can do anything if you put your mind to it. And I ran across RegExr which really simplified the process by showing how my pattern worked in sample content.

In the end I mad a simple shell script to clean up the files.

#!/bin/bash
#############################################################
# Convert HTML to plaintext using sed.
# Created by Ezra Freelove, email
#############################################################
# Variables
WORKINGDIR=/stage/$1
if [ -d $WORKINGDIR ] ; then echo “… found dir; continuing” ; else echo “… missing dir ; bailing” ; exit; fi
DESTDIR=${WORKINGDIR}/fixed
# Make a list of files to convert.
cd $WORKINGDIR
WORKINGLIST=`ls *.txt`
# Fix the files
mkdir -p $DESTDIR
for WORKINGFILE in $WORKINGLIST
do
sed -e ‘s|<br[\ \/]*>|\n|g’ -e ‘s/<[^!>]*>//g’ -e ‘s/&nbsp;/ /g’ -e ‘s/&lt;/</g’ -e ‘s/&gt;/>/g’ $WORKINGFILE > ${DESTDIR}/fixed_${WORKINGFILE}
done

The regexes are:

  • s|<br[\ \/]*>|\n|g which means match HTML <br> tags and replace with a newline character . The <br> tag tells a web browser to go to the next line.
  • s/<[^!>]*>//g which means match a less than (<) out to the next greater than but exclude an exclamation point. Delete everything between. This handle the HTML elements and their attributes. This like <p class=”MsoPlainText”> or </span>. For some reason the date and username of the person who updated the ticket are stored as <! 2017-02-03 username>, so I had to figure out how to keep them.
  • ‘s/&nbsp;/ /g’ which means match the text “&nbsp;” which is a non-breaking space it with a normal space.
  • ‘s/&lt;/</g’ which means replace the text “&lt;” with a “<“. And finally the same thing but for greater than.

An easy way to match all of these latter ones would be pretty cool, but I think dealing with the most common ones is good enough.

Initially I was going to remove all the character codes like &nbsp;. In the end, I decided that the ones I handled should help people. The more rare ones can be determined easily if someone runs across them.

The post Fun With Regex appeared first on Rants, Raves, and Rhetoric v4.

From Fun With Regex published February 03, 2017 at 04:45PM.

Return of the Auroch?

Move over bison burgers, the ancestor of cows is coming back.

Scientists edge closer to bringing back the aurochs, the fearsome cattle breed last seen in the 1600s

The creature, the ancestor of modern cattle, once roamed forests and marshlands from Britain to the Balkans and beyond to Asia and North Africa.

But it disappeared from the British Isles in the Iron Age and was driven to extinction in the rest of Europe by the 17th century, with the last specimen dying in Poland in 1627.

Now researchers are working through a process known as back-breeding, which entails selectively mating existing breeds of “primitive” cattle which retain much of the ancient aurochs’ DNA.

Good for them for going at this with breeding. I still kind of want to point the scientists to Jurassic Park in the part where it talks about wildlife tourism.

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From Return of the Auroch? published February 01, 2017 at 06:16PM.

Digital Memory Blackouts

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Last Gift From Nannie

The Google Photos Rediscover This Day feature felt I needed reminding of today five years ago.

It is true that I took some photos (1,2,3) while on a beach trip. And it is also true that I cherish these photos. But it is also true I cherish them because they make me weepy and sad.

So, if their goal is to improve my day, then that was an Epic Fail.

The photo used here is another photo I took a few months later after she died and still processing my grief. That beach trip was the last trip we took. My trips over the next few months would be preparing my heart for her death. These photos were the last good time.

I could turn off Rediscover This Day. That seems like taking a sledgehammer to drive a nail. Maybe if all I had in there were bad memories, then sure.

I guess I could delete the photos about which I do not want to be reminded. While more selective, using the service as a way of sharing and storing seems pointless if I have to selectively store things I may not want reminding about somewhere else.

Better would be a “never remind me about this again.” A blackout for certain photos or sets that I specifically do not want to see again.

The post Digital Memory Blackouts appeared first on Rants, Raves, and Rhetoric v4.

From Digital Memory Blackouts published January 30, 2017 at 06:51PM.

Collected Quotes Jan 2017

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
― Martin Luther King, Jr.

There are books, that one has for twenty years without reading them, that one always keeps at hand, that one takes along from city to city, from country to country, carefully packed, even when there is very little room, and perhaps one leafs through them while removing them from a trunk; yet one carefully refrains from reading even a complete sentence. Then after twenty years, there comes a moment when suddenly, as though under a high compulsion, one cannot help taking in such a book from beginning to end, at one sitting: it is like a revelation. Now one knows why one made such a fuss about it. It had to be with one for a long time; it had to travel; it had to occupy space; it had to be a burden; and now it has reached the goal of its voyage, now it reveals itself, now it illuminates the twenty bygone years it mutely lived with one. It could not say so much if it had not been there mutely the whole time, and what idiot would dare to assert that the same things had always been in it.
― Elias Canetti, The Human Province

It was much better to imagine men in some smoky room somewhere, made mad and cynical by privilege and power, plotting over the brandy. You had to cling to this sort of image, because if you didn’t then you might have to face the fact that bad things happened because ordinary people, the kind who brushed the dog and told their children bedtime stories, were capable of then going out and doing horrible things to other ordinary people. It was so much easier to blame it on Them. It was bleakly depressing to think that They were Us. If it was Them, then nothing was anyone’s fault. If it was Us, what did that make Me? After all, I’m one of Us. I must be. I’ve certainly never thought of myself as one of Them. No-one ever thinks of themselves as one of Them. We’re always one of Us. It’s Them that do the bad things.
― Terry Pratchett

To be normal is the ultimate aim of the unsuccessful.
— Carl Jung

But the problem is, I don’t know how to be the glass half full girl, but I also don’t know how to not be the glass half empty girl. Those are two extremes and I feel like I’m somehow caught in the middle.
— chasingsettingsuns

I’ve noticed before that if you go too long without anyone seeing you, really seeing you, it’s easy to start wondering if you’re really there.
— Maggie Mitchell

Everything you see or hear or experience in any way at all is specific to you. You create a universe by perceiving it, so everything in the universe you perceive is specific to you.
— Douglas Adam

Two important facts about our minds: we can be blind to the obvious, and we are also blind to our blindness.
— Daniel Kahneman

Because let’s be very clear: strong men – strong men, men who are truly role models, don’t need to put down women to make themselves feel powerful. People who are truly strong lift others up.
— Michelle Obama

Happy endings are a luxury of fiction.
Trudi Canavan

PP

The post Collected Quotes Jan 2017 appeared first on Rants, Raves, and Rhetoric v4.

From Collected Quotes Jan 2017 published January 30, 2017 at 07:24AM.

Stress and decisions

422575945_e293c5d53dSomeone in Athens found some pipe bombs. They took it to the police headquarters to report having found it.

People question how he could do something so dangerous. My reaction is I can easily see someone thinking of the police and taking them there.

The reason why we train people how to conduct themselves in dangerous situations is because people are effectively TERRIBLE left to their own instincts. Our instincts are all over the place. Sometimes good; mostly bad. Think about all the situations where we practice what to do:

  • tornado warning
  • fire
  • active shooter
  • hurricane
  • choking
  • CPR

The hope is the training will overcome any bad instincts and save lives. And these are just a handful of situations. The military wants people for a few years because it is going to take half a year or longer just to get people not using their worst instincts in an extremely wide variety of stressful situations. And the more good training they get, the better behaved in battle they will be.

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From Stress and decisions published January 26, 2017 at 06:06PM.

Gotcha Jerks

Part of the political content that lately makes me uncomfortable about discussing political things are the gotcha posts. Someone makes a mistake and another person on the “good side” catches them in that mistake and cuts them down in epic style. (We call  it “owning.”) The one I saw prompting this post was a name redacted Facebook post where someone was glad the GOP is going to end Obamacare but did not realize their ACA insurance would go away as that is from Obamacare. It ended with the “friends” gloating about the post still being up and not deleted after getting owned so hard. I also have seen interviews where Fox News, Daily Show, John Oliver, and Tomi Lahren all shut down someone who was on the other side. It is easy find people on our side who does this kind of thing to people on the other side.

And easy to adopt a superior feeling at catching the people on the “bad side” in their mistake. The thing is people on the “good side” make mistakes too. Both (or all) are doing this to each other over and over in a perpetual pointless cycle. Catching a person in their mistake is going to make them more invested in their side not less. Because they know they made a mistake, they are going to become more invested in proving the other side is wrong.

Both sides are making the other more committed because of this activity. Neither side is getting the other to convert over getting embarrassed online. Conversations between strangers in forums or public spaces are all about catching mistakes to embarrass each other. Friendships on opposite political sides have devolved into replicating this activity, such that it is more important to prove friends wrong than discuss to understand new perspectives.

I am tired of this. I am sure others are too. I bet they thought their side winning the election would end it. That was a mistake because it just means the losing side wants to push harder to prove they indeed still have the moral high ground. And the winning side will push harder to prove they indeed have a mandate to govern. It solves nothing. Growing empathy works leaps and bounds better.

This sat in queue for a while as I tend to let some posts marinate. I ran across this LinkedIn story where a woman let board members think she was the secretary and man coyly asked her for the expert opinion to shame their sexism and felt the comment below by Fred Patterson more eloquently expressed my last point:

This will be my last post to this and as I write I know I shouldn’t continue. I am so confused by what I keep reading. People are so offended by this mistake or misguided move, but yet they revel in it. Joy in the train wreck that is sure to leave someone injured. This is why racism, sexism, etc continue. It is the voyeuristic delight and if it were ever gone that delight will be as unacceptable as the slight was. So many posts of jubilation and so few of TOLERANT understanding that there are people that need guidance. I’ve learned those lessons in my life from coworkers, my sons, someone I’ve never met. They didn’t take joy in it they took time and humbly helped. I’m convinced that the vocal minority doesn’t want this to end because they would have to sit idly by until a new issue appeared. Be kind. Be helpful. Coach. Mentor. Most of all set a great example for others coming up in life. Good luck.

So… Instead of reveling in each other’s mistakes, lets kindly help each other.

The post Gotcha Jerks appeared first on Rants, Raves, and Rhetoric v4.

From Gotcha Jerks published January 14, 2017 at 07:33AM.