Me, programs, examinations and coursework.

Posts tagged ‘google’

Correcting Edits

I hate video taking, and the reason for that is simple: I look terrible in front of a camera.

What goes on after that, however, is something I find very fun and probably the most interesting bit of any videomaking process.


Your Feed is being Piped


Image representing Pipes as depicted in CrunchBase

The Yahoo! Pipes logo. Image via CrunchBase.

Yahoo! Pipes is a pretty cool thing that basically allows users to, as they put it, ‘aggregate, manipulate, and mashup content from around the web’.

The thing about Yahoo! Pipes is that it’s supposed to be a tool to let users take content from all over the place and then do interesting things with it, and reformat it so that it fits their needs. Like stock market information. Or… blog posts. Or… RSS feeds.

You see, I’m currently working on this website project that has a little tiny widget that is supposed to take my school’s online bulletin system’s built-in RSS feed and display it on the site. It’s a little feature that I like, and I’m hoping it’ll drive more student traffic onto the site.

Here's the little guy, displaying a poor error at the beginning of the project.

Now, this was set up over the holidays, when the RSS feed was empty and there was nothing on it. When I first saw it, I assumed that the error was a result of an empty feed. So I ignored it.

However, later, I soon discovered that the bulletin was being updated, and the RSS feed was, but this little guy was not. So I had a little search. The site is hosted on, and soon enough, I found a little line in WordPress’s support documentation:

Feed URLs that start with “https://” will not work on our RSS Widget.

And I was not even surprised to find out that the RSS feed my school provided was set by the server’s requirements to only send the feed over HTTPS. As a result, I was stumped. There was no way to directly get the RSS feed over to the widget.

Determined to fix the problem instead of just dropping the widget, I began to search for some options. As a result, I came across Yahoo! Pipes, which I soon discovered was just perfect for the widget.

I’m not a fan of Yahoo!, and I certainly use none of their products (preferring Google), but Yahoo! Pipes proved amazing. While the task I used it for (RSS reconfiguration) could possibly also have been achieved by Feedburner, Feedburner refused to load my school’s RSS feed and claimed my school’s server returned 400 errors. (Which is probably likely.)

Yahoo! Pipes uses a drag-and-drop programming method, not unlike Scratch. It’s really easy and intuitive to use and the only problem I ever encountered was that the ‘pipes’ I created occasionally refused to save and I had to duplicate-save my project six times to get it to work properly. Still, it’s a wonderful tool for anyone who needs to take information from all over the Internet and put it in one place, especially if you need to reformat that information into another form.

I haven’t tried all of it out, but I definitely will take a look at the other features offered by Yahoo! Pipes.

What really interested me was that Yahoo! allowed me to sign in with my Google account, through OpenID. I wonder why that is? Does anyone have any ideas?

Google Announces They’re Developing “Augmented Reality” Glasses |

Okay, fine. In my experience, Google goes bonkers over speculative technology, and actually invests loads of resources into developing it. I know that they’ve been developing a self-driving car, but this is practically overboard. It’s something I want.

Augmented Reality Glasses are devices that I’ve been writing about for years, generally in fiction stories. They’re a dream of most science fiction writers — and a couple of days ago, Google announced their intention to develop some and asked their users about it.

It’s amazing. If this technology actually came to the commercial market (and knowing Google, it probably will… just in about 20 years), it’ll revolutionise accessing the internet again, after the iPhone did it by letting us go mobile. Plus, I can already think of a dozen awesome features that couldn’t be implemented on any other kind of device. 

But if Google is really to develop something like this, what would be the cost? And, judging from the video, how many sensors will be on that thing? What kind of battery would they use? (Knowing Google, again, probably a self-developed battery for this purpose). And how successful will it be?

Maybe the fact that Google’s posted this idea before any kind of technical prototype means that they’re trying to get ahead of the rest of the market. And I can think of no other company that might want to build this but Apple.

To be fair, Google’s a great company. It’s developed an amazing self-driving car (that I’m surprised isn’t on the market today). But perhaps Apple’s vision and history make it more suitable to develop such a product. Then again, Apple isn’t that into speculative technology like Google is.

I just know that I’m definitely buying a pair as soon as they’re a reasonable price. (Probably not in the foreseeable future.) Would you?

>> Google Announces They’re Developing “Augmented Reality” Glasses |

Did you FIND() it yet?

How to FIND() something in Excel with VBA? That was a question that had annoyed me for some time; it was also a problem that prevented me from fulfilling one specification:

The program must be able to allow the user to easily search for someone who has booked before.

While there were many ways to solve it, the easiest was to copy what Pizza Hut Hong Kong does and save it by a phone number.

Moped used for pizza delivery in Hong Kong

These people, besides having great pizza, also have a wonderful booking management system. I think. Image via Wikipedia.

It was easy to dream about. And collecting the phone number would be easy; all I had to do was insert an extra textbox into my UserForm and tweak the macro. Like pie.

The problem was searching for that particular number.

Before, I had come across some tutorial that suggested VLOOKUP(). It was insanely complicated, used a bunch of things I didn’t understand, and then, when I copied it, letter-for-letter; it didn’t work.

So I was put off searching by phone number and decided to dedicate my time to finishing it all off instead.

But when I was searching through VBA code tutorials on Google, I found a little help guide that turned out to be amazing.

This thing taught that there was a function in VBA called “Find”, and it would simply call on the Excel’s wonderful Find dialog and then find it like that.

Surprisingly, it's possible to simulate this with VBA. Just without the user interface.

And so, because there was no harm in doing so, I tried it out. And tried again when I realised I was working on the wrong workbook.  (more…)

The Disappointment with Google+

Okay. There are a couple of things that I really dislike about Google+, and these are reasons why I think it’s taking so long to work out.

  • I was supposed to have early adopter access way back when it just appeared to the public.
  • Nobody else uses it.
  • Google+ is actually really cool.