Miscellaneous

‘Twas the Night Before Passover

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When I was a student at Multnomah we had to do a final project for our Pentateuch class. I wrote this. I found it the other day as I was going through our filing cabinet and pulled it out to read to the kids for Passover. Enjoy!

‘Twas the night before Passover, when all throughout Israel’s foe
Not a creature was stirring, not even Pharaoh.
The Hebrews painted blood on their doorframes with care,
In hopes that the Spirit wouldn’t stop there.
The Egyptians were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of pyramids danced in their heads.
And Moses was sitting and talking with God,
About all the things he done with his rod.
Nine plagues he had brought on the land with a clatter,
But Pharaoh still didn’t know what was the matter.
Away he sent Moses each time with a flash,
Oblivious that again with God he would clash.
More rapid than eagles his curses they came,
And he whistled and shouted and called them by name.
Now, blood! Now, frogs! Now, gnats! And, flies!
Dead livestock! Boils! Hail! Some locusts! Dark Skies!
The tenth one reserved for the firstborn to fall,
God dashed away, dashed away, dashed away them all.
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
All the nation of Egypt started to cry.
So, up from the houses the curses they flew,
At all of the Hebrews who’d known what to do.
In the twinkling of twilight they slaughtered a lamb,
Then cooked as commanded from the the Great I AM.
They ate with their cloaks tucked in at their waist,
And as God had commanded they did this with haste.
The bread that they ate couldn’t have any yeast,
If it did, it would certainly spoil the feast.
And bundles of gold and silver they pillaged,
Cause God made them favorable to all in the village.
Now Pharaoh was pondering “What should I do?”
“Cause if they don’t leave, I could die too.”
So he bid all the Hebrews and Moses to part,
But wouldn’t you know it God hardened his heart (again).
He sprang to his chariot, to his team gave a whistle,
Then his army flew like the down of a thistle.
They chased them until the Red Sea they arrived,
But Moses had parted the sea on both sides.
The Hebrews, they crossed the Red Sea without trouble,
So Pharaoh decided to try on the double.
He started to cross the Red Sea with his troops,
But then toward the middle looked up and said “Oops!”
The waters they started to tumble and fall,
Not one man survived, not one man at all.
Then Moses exclaimed, ere they walked toward the land,
“To God be the glory, we were saved by His hand.”

How to Download Your OverDrive History in CSV Format

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The Background

As a family we read a ton. I started reading to my kids nightly when they were young and to this day we still have story time almost every night. It is a highlight of our family time together. As a result, my kids also love to read. This became an issue when we found ourselves visiting the library multiple times a week to get more books for my son. So, eventually we just started maxing out our library card. It was not unusual for us to have 50 books checked out. That, however, brings its own set of issues. When you have to return the books it can be a challenge to find them all!

Then we found out that our library partners with OverDrive and we can get books for our kids in e-book format with the click of a few buttons. (You should be hearing Handel’s Messiah playing in your head right now) Our world changed forever. Gone were the multiple trips to the library or searching high and low for missing books.

After much research we found out that we could get Amazon Fire tablets for our kids to use as e-readers (strictly e-readers) and we could load them up with e-books. Many of the books on OverDrive will let you check them out in Kindle format. Then, you simply use Amazon’s parent dashboard and you can share the selected Kindle books to your child’s tablet. It’s a bit of a wonky process, but it works pretty well. Now, we have a different issue entirely. Our kids are flying through books like crazy and I’m constantly researching for new series. Oh well, I guess it’s a good problem to have.

Downloading the history

Well, the other day I wanted to get the history of all the books we have checked out with OverDrive. To my dismay, there was not a way to do this. But, hey I’m a programmer! I can do hard things. So, I decided to work something up. At first I thought I was going to have to screen scrape the data from the OverDrive history page and programmatically next through every history page to compile it all. But then I noticed that when I clicked between the pages of history that the screen did not refresh, which suggested to me that a web service was being called. Voila! After looking through the networking calls being made by OverDrive I discovered their REST API and found out it is pretty easy to use and has a ton of information. So I set to work and here is the fruit of my labor. It is a browser bookmarklet. Simply drag the link below to your web browser’s bookmarks bar to create the bookmarklet. Then, when you are on your OverDrive history page click the bookmarklet. It will download all your history data and compile it into a CSV file that you can open in Excel or any other similar program. I hope it works well for you. Please leave a comment if you find it to be useful.

Bookmarklet:
Download OverDrive History <- drag this to your bookmarks toolbar

The code

Here is the code for the bookmarklet in case you are curious.

var OverDriveHistory = {
	baseURL: window.location.origin,
	restURL: '/rest/readingHistory?page={0}&perPage={1}&sortBy={2}',
	header: 'Title,Sub Title,Author,Series,Publisher,Publish Date,Star Rating,Star Rating Count,Matrity Level,ISBN,Cover Art URL,Borrow Date',
	csv: '',
	currentPage: 1,
	lastPage: -1,
	pageSize: 100,
	sortBy: '',
	error: false,
	init: function(){
		var t = this;
		if(t.isOverDriveHistoryPage()) {
			if(typeof jQuery == 'undefined') {
				t.getJavaScript('//code.jquery.com/jquery-latest.min.js', function(){
					t.start();
				});
			} else {
				t.start();
			}
		} else {
			alert('Please run this bookmarklet from your OverDrive history page.');
		}
	},
	start: function(){
		var t = this;
		var url = t.baseURL + t.restURL.replace(/\{0\}/g, '1').replace(/\{1\}/g, t.pageSize).replace(/\{2\}/g, t.sortBy);
		
		t.sortBy = jQuery('.AccountSortOptions-sort').val();
		t.showOverlay();
		
		jQuery.ajax({
			url: url
		})
		.done(function(data) {
			t.lastPage = data.links.last.page;
			t.csv += t.header + '\r\n';
			t.getData();
		})
		.fail(function() {
			t.error = true;
			t.finalize();
		});
	},
	getJavaScript: function(url, success){
		var script = document.createElement('script');
		var head = document.getElementsByTagName('head')[0];
		var done = false;
		
		script.src = url;
		script.onload = script.onreadystatechange = function(){
			if(!done && (!this.readyState || this.readyState == 'loaded' || this.readyState == 'complete')) {
				done = true;
				success();
				script.onload = script.onreadystatechange = null;
				head.removeChild(script);
			}
		};

		head.appendChild(script);
	},
	isOverDriveHistoryPage: function(){
		return window.location.href.toLowerCase().indexOf('overdrive.com/account/history') == -1 ? false : true;
	},
	getData: function(){
		var t = this;
		var url  = '';

		if (t.currentPage == t.lastPage + 1) {
			t.finalize();
		} else {
			url = t.baseURL + t.restURL.replace(/\{0\}/g, t.currentPage).replace(/\{1\}/g, t.pageSize).replace(/\{2\}/g, t.sortBy);
			jQuery.ajax({
				url: url
			})
			.done(function(data) {
				var isbn = '';
				for(var i = 0; i <data.items.length; i++){
					isbn = '';
					for (var x = 0; x < data.items[i].formats.length; x++) {
						if(typeof data.items[i].formats[x].isbn != 'undefined'){
							isbn = data.items[i].formats[x].isbn;
							break;
						}
					}
					
					//Title,Sub Title,Author,Series,Publisher,Publish Date,Star Rating,Star Rating Count,Matrity Level,ISBN,Cover Art URL,Borrow Date
					t.csv += t.escapeCSV(data.items[i].title) + ','
					+ t.escapeCSV(data.items[i].subtitle) + ','
					+ t.escapeCSV(data.items[i].firstCreatorName) + ','
					+ t.escapeCSV(data.items[i].series) + ','
					+ t.escapeCSV(data.items[i].publisher.name) + ','
					+ t.escapeCSV(data.items[i].publishDate) + ','
					+ t.escapeCSV(data.items[i].starRating) + ','
					+ t.escapeCSV(data.items[i].starRatingCount) + ','
					+ t.escapeCSV(data.items[i].ratings.maturityLevel.name) + ','
					+ t.escapeCSV(isbn) + ','
					+ t.escapeCSV(data.items[i].covers.cover510Wide.href) + ','
					+ t.escapeCSV(data.items[i].historyAddDate)
					+ '\r\n';
				}

				t.currentPage += 1;
				t.getData();
			})
			.fail(function() {
				t.error = true;
				t.finalize();
			});
		}
	},
	escapeCSV: function(value){
		var t = this;
		var newValue = value;
		
		if(!newValue){
			newValue = "";
		} else {
			newValue = newValue.toString();
		}
		
		if(newValue.indexOf('"') != -1 || newValue.indexOf(',') != -1 || newValue.indexOf('\r') != -1 || newValue.indexOf('\n') != -1){
			newValue = '"' + newValue.replace(/"/g,'""') + '"';
		}
		
		return newValue;
	},
	showOverlay: function(){
		var html = '';
		
		html = '<div id="history-fetch-overlay" style="position: fixed;width: 100%;height: 100%;top: 0;left: 0;right: 0;bottom: 0;background-color: rgba(0,0,0,0.5);z-index: 1000;"><div style="position: absolute;top: 50%;left: 50%;font-size: 50px;color: white;transform: translate(-50%,-50%);">Fetching data. Please wait.</div></div>';
		
		jQuery('body').append(html);
	},
	removeOverlay: function(){
		jQuery('#history-fetch-overlay').remove();
	},
	finalize: function(){
		var t = this;
		if(!t.error) {
			var fileName = "OverDriveHistory.csv";

			if (window.navigator.msSaveOrOpenBlob){
				// IE 10+
				var blob = new Blob([decodeURIComponent(encodeURI(t.csv))], {
					type: 'text/plain;charset=utf-8'
				});
				window.navigator.msSaveBlob(blob, fileName);
			} else {
				var pom = document.createElement('a');
				pom.setAttribute('href', 'data:text/plain;charset=utf-8,' + encodeURIComponent(t.csv));
				pom.setAttribute('download', fileName);
				document.body.appendChild(pom);
				pom.click();
				document.body.removeChild(pom);
			}
		} else {
			alert('Something went wrong. Please try again.');
		}
		
		t.removeOverlay();
	}
};

OverDriveHistory.init();

Amazing Vanishing Lego Wall

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My son, who loves Lego, built a pretty awesome creation the other day. It is a super cool cave scene with a hidden surprise … a vanishing wall. He designed and built it all himself and I was so impressed I just had to upload a video of it.