Random Instagram Back


A few weeks back I logged onto The Bauble to post up an entry and noticed that the site was taking a lot longer to load than normal. After it finally did appear I spotted the Instagram bubble, usually displaying a random image from my Instagram account, had up and died on me. The bubble was there, just no image.

This sorta thing gets at the pedantic coder in me. The feature had been working before for months and now suddenly wasn't. Worse I was in work and had no chance during the day of discovery to try and fix things.

What is a Jester to do?

I quickly logged onto the site and disabled the feature until I could get some time to work on it.

What had happened was the third party site that I used to pull down my Instagram feed from had decided to rebrand themselves. Rebrand and at the same time inform nobody they had done it nor make sure that the new stuff was backwards compatible with the old services they provided.

This of course presented me with a problem. I needed to recode the feature so that I could get my random image bubble working again. But should I go down the road of coding to the new service or using the actually api calls that Instagram provides?

See, back when I first wrote the code for that bubble Instagram kept all their calls private from the public. Now, it seems, they have opened up everything. So one quick developer account creation, a little json parsing, and some multi-dimensional array headaches later I was once again pulling down my Instagram feed and getting a random image to load.

This time from the source itself.

Not a bad way to waste some time on a weekend where the aim was to do very little ;)


Camping it's in....cars?


Myself and the Lady have always enjoyed a spot of camping. One of our earliest trips away was just the two of us heading off to a little spot down in Kerry that I know of from some college mates. Nothing but us, some books, a few food supplies and the tent.

I had never had her pegged for the sort of girl who enjoyed camping but she really did. To the point that we have tried to get away at least once every summer since. We don't always achieve this target, because of life and what not, but the thought is there.

This weekend we managed to go though, meeting up with the sister-in-law and her soon-to-be husband. We found a moderately okay campsite near the sea, met up and pitched our tents. It was a grand weekend of camping and craic, with some cooking and coffee brewing over portable BBQs and gas burners.

Which would make for a fairly pointless entry I suppose, but that isn't the point of this entry.

In the past we have gone camping with people that would be classed as 'glampers'. Glamorous campers. They would bring huge tents for two people and even have inflatable mattresses to sleep on. Zombie apocalypse survivors these people may not be ;). But at least they stayed in tents, which at the end of the day is around 90% of the whole camping adventure. The fun if you will.

At the weekend we saw two, yes two, completely separate groups who never once pitched a tent. They were not going full nature on us and sleeping around a campfire. Nor had they carved open some large animal and climbed inside to use as a messy sleeping bag. No both these groups slept in their cars.

As we sat around our camping table in hoodies with a torch for light the girls beside us sat in their car watching Netflix on an iPad mounted on the dashboard and eating a take-away. Then they changed seats and slept in the car.

Kinda of negating the whole need for paying money to pitch a tent one would suspect.

Anyway it was such an odd thing to see twice in one weekend I figured I would ramble on about it for a few minutes.

But to close I also just had a fairly bad start to my working week. An entire cup of coffee just spilled over myself, requiring new clothes to be bought in order to get through the working day. All before eleven in the morning as well.


Amazon Reviews


As my sales have slowly crept up and up I have become one of those sad folk, a.k.a. dedicated stats freak, who checks the Kindle and Createspace reports almost daily.

Sure the little graphs don't increase every day, that would be madness, but they do go up every so often and that is thrilling to see. Mainly because I don't know who is buying these copies. From the physical side of things I can account for six of the eight copies that have been shifted, so that is really cool. On the Kindle end of things I have moved seventeen units and I definitely can only be sure of eight of them. Which is brilliant!

The other thing that I check semi-daily is the review section on the Amazon stores. Now a few days ago I had five reviews on the Kindle copy and sure all of them were from people I know. But the thing is it was still a great way to see what people thought about the book. However it now appears that Amazon reviews can be removed by the Amazon gods themselves.

This sort of sucks the big one.

I get the reasoning behind it: a person could get fifty or sixty mates to post reviews for them and bump up the stats. However it is a little disappointing to see reviews being removed by some unseen being. An all powerful entity that goes all godly on reviews.

The reviews that were left safe and sound were made by people that have reviewed other things on Amazon previously. So it seems that if you do get friends to review your stories they have to have reviewed at least two or three other things on Amazon in order to make sure their reviews get kept.

Ah publishing...it is a complicated thing.