Archive for September, 2008

RSS photo album import Facebook application

I must be one of a dying breed of people who maintain their photo collection on their own servers because a quick search for tools to help synchronise a hosted album with Facebook yielded few results.

There are plenty of options if you use hosted services like flickr or picasa. I also found this app that is specifically designed for the Gallery album software which I could probably have bent to my needs but I wanted something that was not app specific so that was excuse enough to embark on my first FB app.

The Application [Link to Application on Facebook]
The application uses 2 RSS feeds to communicate the album and image data. I assumed that most albums would publish feeds to allow users to keep up to date with the latest album updates so this seemed like the a reasonably standard interface to use.

  1. The album feed
    The application consumes a feed that contains basic information about the albums in your photo collection. This is just to allow users to select which album they would like to import.
  2. The picture feed
    This feed points to the location of the images themselves. The application currently only looks at the enclosures. The descriptions etc could be used (if provided) to populate captions…

Currently the application uses the ‘guid’ associated with the album and passes this as a parameter (you can specify the paramter name in the settings) to the picture feed. This could obviously work differently but gets the job done for now.

The application then creates a Facebook album with the same name and cycles through the images and uploads them to the newly created album. The photos are uploaded in batches to avoid timing out the request. The batch size is configurable for the moment.  The uploader will also split images over multiple albums when the number of images exceeds a limt (also configurable). The current FB limit is 60 images per album. The labelling of split albums is also configurable to some extent.

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Twitter Updates for 2008-09-26

  • i feel like Tan Tan men (with lots of sesame oil…) #

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Twitter Updates for 2008-09-23

  • back from Noosa but the mind is catching a later bus. #
  • Made good use of the Japanese vernal equinox holiday and built a Facebook app. #

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Twitter Updates for 2008-09-17

  • enjoying the change of scenery up in Noosa. #

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Twitter Updates for 2008-09-14

  • tired from the Redlands classic (75km bike ride) but pretty stoked with the 6th placing. Crap signage through, everyone got lost! #

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Twitter Updates for 2008-09-12

  • psyching up for the Redlands classic on Sunday. #

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Twitter Updates for 2008-09-11

  • the turkey catchers came around with their trap and took away No 1 pyramid building scrub turkey. there is another trap set for turkey No 2 #

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My brief newbies guide to Tokyo

Ok, a couple of pointers if you’re on your way to Tokyo for a couple of days…

  • It takes about 1.5 hours to get into the city from the airport so you need to factor that in.
  • I’d recommend catching the Limousine bus in from the airport to whichever hotel you were planning to stay. It eaves from right outside the arrivals gate so it saves you traipsing all over the airport with luggage, to get to the trains. It takes about the same amount of time.
  • Your biggest cost will be accommodation. Eating and drinking can be cheap if you avoid the luxury hotels/restaurants. (Cheaper than Sydney/Brisbane unless the dollar keeps dropping)
  • Hotels in the central (more convenient) parts of the city are more expensive. Villa Fontaine are a reasonably priced option although the rooms are very compact. The Roppongi one is very close to the action (and to the ANA which is one of the hotels that the Limousine Bus stops at)
  • Public transport has a consolidated ticketing system which is handy as you don’t have to worry about prices, you just insert the card when you jump on and off. The cards cost 500yen ($5) to buy and you charge them. you can use it on almost all of the trains and most of the buses.
  • You’ll find plenty of stuff out there on what to see in Tokyo. Depends on what your thing is – art, buildings, alcohol, shops, electronics shops, porn, people… Its got it all ;)
  • Some tips on the various centres around Tokyo (you should be able to Wikipedia them all too)
    • Roppongi: Was a red light area from post war days frequented by US Army types (and still has lots of bars/clubs of all variety) but a couple of big developements have raised the bar a little. Roppongi Hills and Midtown are the developments – they both have huge towers so you cant miss them. Lots of restaurants here as well – good for a look
    • Shinjuku: Its like a mini tokyo, in one place – HUGE. Station is a big as Sydney city so don’t organise to meet anyone here. You will get lost when you go here.
    • Harajuku: See previous Cosplay mention. Lots of kids hang out here so interesting people watching and kids/crazy fashion. Also home to Yoyogi park and Meiji Shrine which are worth a look.
    • Omotesando: The Champs-Élysées of Tokyo. High end brand shops and well dressed guys and girls. The usual array of restaurants etc.
    • Ginza: Another high end shopping area with a number of big department stores. Worth going into the basement of a dept store and checkout the gourmet food stalls.
    • Ebisu: Lots of good restaurants and bars. A little more classy than Roppongi and less full-on. Famous for Ramen retaurants.
    • Shibuya: Centre of Tokyo pop-culture. Go here to get an eye-full of high skirts on very tannned highschool girls and boys with super glue in their hair. More bars, clubs and restaurants abound. Home of the famous crossing that you need sonar to avoid the people coming at you from all directions as you make your way accross.
    • Other: There are heaps of cool places that are just out of the way so its worth getting lost and hoping to stumble on something. There’s no point trying to give directions to them as you wouldn’t find them. 
  • Street names are not a reliable way to navigate as 90% of streets don’t have one. People typically use landmarks (buildings) and train stations. 
  • There are Taxis everywhere so carry the address of your hotel (preferrably in Japanese) in case you get very lost and can’t find a train station. A lot of cabs have navigation systems now so you should be ok. Minimum cab fare is 770 yen. The fare ticks over faster late at night.
  • The Subway system is pretty straight forward, so just as long as you can find a station, you should be able to get home. you can pick up an English subway map in most of the stations.
  • There are plenty of people who love to practise their hard earned conversational English on anyone looking foreign and remotely lost so if you walk up to a street sign with a confused look on your face, someone will probably start talking to you.
Here are a couple of tours that I often reccommend to the Tokyo, first-timer:
Imperial Palace – Ginza
Hire a bicycle and ride to and around the Imperial Palace (centre of Tokyo). From there ride over to Ginza and do the Department stores.
Yoyogi – Harajuku – Omotesando
Head to Yoyogi station and walk through Meiji shrine to Harajuku. Either head to Yoyogi park from here if you packed lunch or stroll down the main street of Harajuku and grab something. From there continue walking and you are in Omotesando brand heaven
Shinjuku Gyoen (park)
For those feeling adventurous, head to Shinjuku and make your way (if you can) to Isetan department store. Head to the basement and grab an assortment of Japanese goodies for lunch. You can’t really eat there so head out of the department store and on to the huge Shinjuku Gyoen park. Pay the 250yen (I think) entrance and relax in this oasis in the middle of the Shinjuku madness with your lunch.
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Twitter Updates for 2008-09-09

  • trying out twitter with Quakk from my WM6 mobile. fairly sparse feature set at this stage but seems to function. #
  • ceTwit has more features but isnt very thumb friendly yet. user profile images dont display for me either #
  • watching scrub turkeys take over our garden, building mounds the size of the pyramids… #

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Twitter Updates for 2008-09-07

  • absolutely amazing in BrisVegas today! makes you feel like building something… #

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