Tweeting on a button press with the Raspberry Pi

A while ago my door bell broke. So I did what any sensible person would; I decided that instead of buying a new one I would hook up an old bell I had to a Raspberry Pi and have the bell ring when someone pushed a button on my door. But then I though, “well, that’s a bit boring.  My doorbell should tweet me, too!”

The long and the short of it is that I couldn’t get the mechanics of the bell ringer to work but had a lot of fun with the tweeting side of things because it involved my first shot at doing some Python code. And the really good news is that it’s ridiculously easy to accomplish.

This was roughly my process…

Continue reading “Tweeting on a button press with the Raspberry Pi”

Did you like this? Share it:

Book review: Instant simple botting with PHP

I had the chance recently to read the book Instant Simple Botting with PHP, written by Shay Anderson and published by Packt Publishing. The book is designed to be a very quick and easy (hence the title!) introduction in to creating bots to scan web pages and collect information from them.

The book seems squarely aimed at beginners in PHP and object orientated programming so lives up quite well to the “simple” aspect of the title. However, I wouldn’t really say “instant” because there are quite a few pages dedicated to setting up PHP and making sure it works with a simple “Hello world”. My preference would have been just to assume that  someone that wants to know how to create bots probably already has PHP set up and has at least a passing familiarity with it. But as it seems to cater to real beginners I suppose it needs to hand-hold people through the setup.

The code is clear throughout and easy for anyone to understand and follow and by the end of it you’ll have something that will very basically scrape a web page. If you’re a beginner I’d imagine you’d be left with some sense of accomplishment and something pretty simple with which you should be able to tinker without getting too caught up with a tonne of code or complexity. However, if you are any kind of seasoned developer then you will probably find the book too light-weight as there are no advanced techniques are really discussed. But then, what would you expect with just around 60 pages in the book?

However, as I’ve said, the code is nice an clean, the book for what it is is well written, and the author discusses some good practices.  Great for a beginner but probably not enough for a mid/seasoned developer.

Did you like this? Share it:

Easy page scraping with Zend\Dom (from Zend Framework 2)

The other day I was interested in getting some information from the sussex.academia.edu site, specifically I wanted a list of tags for each of the faculty members. Now, this sounds relatively easy except when you consider that initial page contains a list of links to various schools/departments people have listed, and then under each of those pages you have different fieldsets with different types of people on them (and I was only interested in the faculty fieldset), and each person may or may not have tags and even then those tags may be hidden behind some javascript so that you click and view all of the tags… When you consider all of that you would be forgiven in thinking that it’s actually quite a daunting task!

Let me assure you, though, that by using Zend\Dom from the Zend Framework 2 library it’s actually a really simple task. In fact, I did it in around 20 lines of code.

So let’s start by looking at the code and then break it down a little more.

Continue reading “Easy page scraping with Zend\Dom (from Zend Framework 2)”

Did you like this? Share it:

Zend Studio and SVN 1.8

I use SVN for most of my projects at work and have diligently kept it up-to-date with the latest versions of the work copies. What happens when the working copy structure changes, as it did from 1.7.x to 1.8.x, is that Zend Studio gives error messages about the SVN connector client not being compatible. Annoying! However, if like me you’ve recently updated your SVN version to 1.8 and want Zend Studio to be compatible then it’s just a matter of a few easy steps for you to take.

Continue reading “Zend Studio and SVN 1.8”

Did you like this? Share it:

Same height for elements

A while ago I wrote a jquery plug-in that allows you to easily make selected elements all the same height. Well, it turns out that it could be a little better because it didn’t take in to consideration margins, padding and such. So here’s a slightly more robust version.

Did you like this? Share it: