So I used to have an Etsy store where I sold digital things to download, print, and create art with. Over time it became too much to handle and the fees starting eating into my profits, and the market was rather saturated anyway, so I closed it down. I don't really aim to come back to it, but I've decided that some of the things I had up there I'd like to give away here for free. So, if you're into coloring, I've posted nine different drawings, some of which I used to have for sale, and some of which I never got around to scanning until now. I like drawing flowers, cozy things, and sci-fi scenes, not necessarily together, and they're all in 8.5x11in dimensions ready to be printed. Here's a preview of a few of them that I colored:
I follow a number of blogs and forums, and I've been looking for a while for a good way to pull the RSS feeds from most of these into one place for easy reading. On my Linux machine, QuiteRSS works really well. I like the features and interface, but I work on multiple computers throughout the day, and at night I read on my phone, so I really wanted one central place to go for checking up on things. Not wanting to reinvent the wheel, I went looking at the existing options, focusing on self-hosted solutions, because I really didn't want to throw all of that data into another for-profit site that would use my feeds to throw ads at me. And while I can deal with using a private server to install a fully-fledged RSS reader, I didn't really want to bother with logging into another service, then worry about updating it, and seeing that it is still maintained, etc. An RSS reader that stores a username/password combo is just one more security issue to worry about, and means that I'd have to make sure it's not easy to hack and get into. I'm not super concerned about being able to add new feeds on the fly, because I'm usually pretty close to web development tools, or I can wait until I get around to them--it's not the end of the world if I can't add something immediately.
So instead I decided to build my own. The scripts I've put together and modified work without a database because you must edit the file directly in order to add them, so the collection of feed is as secure as your site hosting is, plus there are no SQL calls to worry about. It's viewable anywhere you can run PHP, so there's no bother with logging into anything, and of course that means you can share it all you want just by sending people the link. Since it's all processed server-side, it basically acts like a static site for all intents and purposes, which was exactly what I wanted. There are some small downsides--right now it doesn't support Atom feeds, and there aren't any sorting options, but I'll probably come back to it and add those in the future.
I figured I might not be the only one wanting to do this, so I figured I'd share it here. Under the cut I've put a download link and a short explanation on how it works, so that you can add it to your own site if you like. Feel free to leave any questions you have in the comments.
Continue reading "Making a database-free online RSS reader in PHP"
Today's review is about a handheld virtual pet made by Radioshack back in 1997. If you don't know about these, there were three different models: the Micro Dino that I have here, a PC Puppy, and the Data Cat. You can see the packaging for those pets below:
If you're familiar with virtual pets, especially "odd pets," which is the internet term for pets that aren't made by Bandai, you'll recognize that the cat and dog are apparently Nano pet clones, while the dino is different. According to what I've seen online, this one shares the same ROM as the MGA VR Creatures dino, though I haven't been able to verify this myself. You'll also notice that the cat, puppy, and dino trio are some of the most commonly made virtual pets, along with a baby/human type creature, although I don't know if Radioshack ever made one of those.
If you're interesting in seeing a ton of photos of this one and reading my thoughts about it, click through the cut to the rest of the entry.
While I haven't been playing anything I'm ready to write up a full-length review on, I have been playing through a few things here and there that I wanted to highlight and link to. The following games are either too short, didn't feel worth a completely review, or are too mainstream to really be featured here.
I've mentioned that I have an old laptop that I do most of my web development on in various places, but I thought it'd be nice if I went over its specs and why I use it. I think it's pretty important to minimize the amount e-waste I generate for a lot of reasons, and one of the ways I do that is by trying resurrect old hardware. Now, I didn't rescue this particular laptop off of the street or anything; I actually bought it new from the vendor when I had nothing else to work on. But instead of throwing it out after Windows 7 was clearly causing more issues than solutions, I decided to throw Linux on it instead of calling it trash. So far, my experience with it has been pretty great, and I'm glad I kept it around.
Click the link below to see what it's on it and how I use it from day to day.