Monday, October 17, 2005

Added Plazes Sidebar Badge

Needed a bit of a distraction today, so I decided to brush up on my web services skills and see what makes the Plazes web API tick. Since I see you have to email them and get them to send you a developer key I decided to just steal some stuff that Peter Rukavina wrote and change it a bit to work on a blogspot site. (For us unwashed masses. I'm such a revolutionary.)

If you look down the sidebar near the bottom you should see a line that looks like this:

Where is al?

Alexander's House [map]
Data from Plazes. Code here.
I've talked about plazes before here. It's basically a way of tracking where you are based on the MAC address of the wireless router you're connected to at the time, with lots of integration with Flickr and Google Maps.

Peter Rukavina wrote the code to do the 'where am I' thing. I made a few changes to it so that I could include it in an IFrame, not having the luxury of PHP includes on a blogspot page. Mostly I stuck some font info into the code and ripped out the flickr stuff since it seems pretty useless at the moment. I'm also using a wrapper script that calls the main script from a non-web accessible location, since it stores passwords in plain text. (yuck.)

I was on the verge of quitting using Plazes but this makes it useful beyond the 3 or 4 people who actually have accounts that I know.

So now I'm thinking about how to enable other blogspot and otherwise PHP-less users to have similar functionality on their site. I could use my fairly empty hosting to make a site / service where you request a plazes user name and it returns their current location. This doesn't seem too difficult, but I'm still new at this stuff.

It's funny, though, I'm only ever in about 4 places, at home, at the Commons, at Timothy's or at Baba's yelling at people on PEILocals. It's not like you really need a stalk-o-matic to find me. But I went and added one for you, anyway, because I'm such a great guy.
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