EricSkiff.com Open Source Everything

3Jan/061

The First Great Coding Binge of 2006

Well, I don't know if it was the fact that I was laid up for a good portion of the past week or just that my brain was rested and ready to churn out something creative, but last night I was struck by inspiration, and couldn't stop coding for hours.

I'll release the results here in the next day or two under the GPL (I'm working out some final bugs right now), but basically I've written an open source myspace friend adder in Perl. At first I was wary of all the steps involved but I've done some web automation before and the WWW::Mechanize library is amazing. It really makes jobs like this easy. I went from concept to working code in about 4 hours.

The script literally logs in as you, goes to the pages you specify in a simple comma separated CSV file, and then adds all of the friend IDs that are on those pages. It's been working amazingly, as there are a lot of great bands that we've played on the GlitchCast. The theory is that if they like the music they're "friends" with, they might also like our show and the other music we feature.

Part of me feels a little grey about the spammy nature of these invites, but I'm not just sending this to users at random, these are people I think genuinely might be interested in our show.

Myspace makes you enter a "captcha" after every few friends you add, so I've added a simple "pause" mechanism to the code, prompting you to go and add a friend by hand so it can continue on it's merry way.

Adding friend 1468183...captcha detected. Go add a friend manually.
Here's the current page:
http://www.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=invite.addfriend_verify&friendID=1468183
Hit enter to continue.

If I had any doubts as to whether this was worth the effort, they've already been put to rest. Four bands have written me just this afternoon, asking to be included in the GlitchCast.

Outstanding.

At the moment, I'm getting hit with the captchas pretty frequently, so I'll have to tweak the "sleep" time between adding friends a bit and see if that helps. I've also got 33 pages of pending friend requests, so that might have me in a higher "penalty bracket" or some such.

It's been fun to play with myspace and hand-craft some of the tools I need. Being that I run on Linux here at home and didn't really want to run this stuff on the work PCs, there were no commercial options available for me anyway.

Once I get this properly cleaned up and released, I'm going to start working on some ways to stay in contact with those on my friends list. It should be fairly easy to modify this script to log in and message those on our friends pages and do things like "thanks for the add" and "Check out the next show, it features Edie Carey" to all the Edie fans that have friended us.

Now, there's a good chance that if you're reading this, you found this page through google looking for a free and open source myspace friend adder. The perl code will be available here soon (either tonight, 2005-01-03, or tomorrow). In the meantime, check out the podcast that got me excited enough to put in all this effort just to promote it: The GlitchCast - bringing great independent and under-appreciated music to the Podsafe Music Network

3Jan/060

Family, Friends, Viruses, and Code

Whew.

I mean really... Whew. I was attempting to think about this post beforehand so I could write a short, funny sum-up of the last 10 days or so, but it's just not possible, so I'm winging it.

We escaped NYC just after the transit strike lifted, and made our way out to CT to visit with Sara's family. Her mom was violently ill, so it was pretty laid-back, and we had a nice, quick, Christmas morning exchange before we headed up to visit Sara's extended family.

Now that Sara and I have been together almost 7 years, the cousins are really starting to feel like family, and I love hanging out with them. The only wrench in the works was that I was having a pretty hard time with my allergies and the 3 dogs + wood fire, so I ended up sidelined for a bit of the night.

The next day, we went to the mall.

Yes. The day after Christmas.

Even though there were about a million people all trying to return stuff, find various exchanges in the right size, and elbow their way around, it was actually quite enjoyable, mostly because I didn't have to be anywhere myself. I spent a good deal of time just walking around and people-watching, and since I wasn't in any hurry, I didn't have the shoulder-ache of stress that most of the other people there seemed to carry.

I got myself some generic loratadine+pseudophedrine, which combined with my singular pretty much stops my allergies in their tracks, so the rest of the visit was quite enjoyable.

After saying goodbye to Sara's family (and recording episode 13 of The GlitchCast with Sara's sister Jenn), we rented a car and made our way to upstate NY.

Seeing my family is always great, as is hanging out with my best friend Rye and getting to see Kate and Doug, who drove out for New Years. Although it was great to see everyone, I ended up with just about the nastiest stomach bug I've had since I was in middle school. I'll spare you the details, but suffice to say that I was really sick, and 3 or 4 days later, food is still a touchy subject.

Unfortunately, that meant that the New Year's Eve revelry was pretty low key, but we had a good time playing lots of games like Super Scrabble, Texas Hold-em', and Apples to Apples.

It went too quick as always, especially since I slept through a pretty good portion of the latter half of the week, but I certainly got a lot of downtime to brainstorm on what the next year will bring.

To all of my friends and family, I don't know if I could ever express it enough, but I love all of you and thank you for making 2005 one of the best years ever.

I had a realization last night while saying goodnight to Sara and before embarking on the "first great coding binge of 2006 (more in the next post)." We just spent 10 days in stressful situations, surrounded by company, and packed in cars, malls, and overcrowded rooms, and yet in that time, we didn't have anything close to a fight or even an exchange of words. What that's not that abnormal for us, it just hit me that compared to most couples, that's like running a marathon without breaking a sweat! If that's not love, I don't know what is! I love you Sara, here's to a great 2006.