New Features here at MR&HBI!

First, allow me to call your attention to the episode immediately before this one. You might notice the little icon is a camera. “huh,” you might be saying to yourself, “I don’t remember seeing that one before.” Very observant, Buckaroo! It’s for a new category, Photography, that I added. “But,” the even more observant amongst you might say, “There are already a handful of episodes in that category.” Right again, Wisenstein! I recategorized a couple episodes that were under The Great Adventure and found a couple in Idle Chit-Chat that were better filed under the new category. I expect there are plenty more; the trick is finding them.

The icon is actually my camera sitting on an opened unabridged dictionary. That may seem staged, but that’s actually where we keep the camera these days. Yes, we have an unabridged dictionary open on a stand at all times. No, that does not make us geeks.

Second, way down at the bottom of the sidebar, there’s a section called Other Muddled Stats (or something like that). That’s a wordpress widget I made that counts all the words in all the episodes, and keeps a tally of how many comments there have been as well. I plan to add other stats as well next time I have the hood open. Perhaps the number of times I’ve said “You don’t have to thank me,” or the number of times I’ve blamed the Chinese for things. (Hm… haven’t done that in a while…) Anything you’d like to know? The number of letters typed? Words in comments? Most prolific commenters? If it’s on these pages, I can count it.

The WordPress plugin itself is hand-crafted by yours truly. I started by downloading a different word-counting plugin, but it counted the words on every page load and didn’t have a sidebar widget. All it was was a database query and a loop. My version only counts when the relevant value changes – it only counts words when a new episode is posted, for instance. Once I tidy it up I’ll be adding it to the WordPress repository, so others can also gather useless stats about their blogs. It’s all about sharing the love.

9 thoughts on “New Features here at MR&HBI!

  1. “Yes, we have an unabridged dictionary open on a stand at all times. No, that does not make us geeks.”

    Of course that doesn’t make us geeks.

    It makes us nerds.

  2. Anyway, I seem to recall dozens of road trip episodes that prominently feature photography. Will there be anyway for a blog reader to search for stats on a custom search? Say one were to try to look for the frequency of “elevator ocelot rutabaga,” would there be a search box for that? Or will the stats be completely preset?

  3. I was just telling the guy sitting at the (coffee) bar next to me that I just got into a nerd/geek/dork definition debate debacle. His response: “I hate that one.”

  4. I have an idea for a widget I’d like to see, although it would have to be universal rather than just for WordPress …

    About half the visitors to FOCS come on a search for some variant of “Where is it five o’clock right now?” I would love to have a widget in my sidebar that answers that question — sort of similar to the moon phase widget. It would have a list of locations for each time zone (preferably with an emphasis on nice places to sail), and it would randomly select a location in the time zone where it is currently five o’clock to display: “It is now five o’clock in … SAN DIEGO.”

    • That would be quite simple to code up though I don’t know anything about writing widgets for blogger and whether you can put roll-your-own server-side code on that system.

      It would also be possible to write the whole thing in Javascript, so it runs on the user’s machine rather than the server. The downside is that all the data has to be loaded over the wire each time someone loads your page.

      Either way, the bulk of the work is in assembling the data you want to use.

      • I actually don’t have any Blogger-specific widgets. The ones I use, such as the moon widget, I have simply copied and pasted code from somewhere else.

        Meanwhile, I’m using Pat’s ancient desktop computer, and boy, is it slooooow … much slower than my laptop is even on a dialup connection. It is so slow … (audience shouts, “How slow is it?”) It is so slow that the duck is like a supersonic jet — it’s long gone before one hears the quack.

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