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Monday, June 13th, 2005

Weekend Activities II

Yesterday I got sick of coding and wanted to get out. The San Diego Chargers were having their free, open-to-the-public minicamp this weekend and it was a perfect opportunity. I took the kids (yes, Chelsea wanted to go, and Boo didn’t have a choice) and went down to Chargers Park, the training fields behind the Charger’s administrative offices, which, as it turns out, is only a couple of miles from my home. It wasn’t as crowded as I was afraid it would be. We moved around a bit, watching the various squads work out, but we ended picking a space between the bleachers that opened into a small grassy area as home base. A lot of little kids were playing in the grassy area, and Boo was having a ball running around with them and playing with his little football. I was able to keep an eye on him, with Chelsea’s help, and watch the scrimmages at the same time. Our fourth draft pick, Darren Sproles, looks great! He’ll be used as a kickoff and punt returner, but he makes a great running back, too. The whole defensive line is looking much better on the pass rush, even without our number one draft pick and training camp holdout Shawne Merriman. He better get his butt here fast or he’s going to get the Phillip Rivers treatment!

It’s going to be a great year for the Chargers. We came out so strong last year, and it looks like all we’re doing is getting better. We’re filling in the pass defense holes that held us back, and our run offense with LT is superb, and if Brees doesn’t turn into a flash in the pan, he’s got a lot of great receivers to work with. Brees showed off some excellent long range accuracy, so it’s all looking good!

Boo watched some of the players and showed some real interest. I asked him if he’s decided what position he wants to play, and he seemed uncertain. Of course, he can’t talk yet – he’s only 14 months old. I suppose I shouldn’t try to bottle him up in one slot yet. He has time.

Chelsea braved some of the crowds that I couldn’t manage because Boo got upset, and managed to get LaDainian Tomlinson’s autograph on her football. I got real close to Drew Brees before Boo got panicky, and nothing was worth subjecting him to that. Still, I saw a lot of the players up close. All in all, it was a great little piece of NFL to keep me going through the summer. Only 59 days to the first Chargers exhibition game of the 2005 season!

Posted by Greg as Family & Friends, Football at 14:29 PST

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Weekend Activites

I had some personal free time this weekend, and I spent most of it (staying up way too late on Friday night) writing code for my Google Fame WordPress Plugin project. I knew I had had previously written about this project, but as I search my blog I don’t see anything about it, so it must have been the post that imploded on me that I refered to in my June 1st post.

On my right sidebar is a placeholder I put in for the plugin. Basically, I’m going to stop reporting how my site places in Google search terms and create a metric that will fit in that little space, with maybe more column length. My goal is to use the Google API to create a script program in PHP that will search Google, then search through the Google results to find any reference to my website and give a “X out of X results” rank, using a couple of search terms. Yeah, it’s a vanity feature. But my WordPress blog runs entirely on PHP, as does the Mambo software I am playing with to set up my entire site (plus one for NACE and one for my daughter’s high school color guard,) and I want to learn how to work with it better, which means practice. In my experience, it is a lot more satisfying to learn how to code in a new language by working on a project, and not a simple one, and building subroutine after subroutine as you get more familiar with it. I just can’t stick with learning from a manual.

So far I’ve created a PHP script that takes a hard-coded search term and manages to find the X out of X part. That’s a far cry from what I eventually want, which includes storing the search terms and results in my online database, creating an Administrative interface to control it, and a front end output. (The “front end” refers to the webpage you are reading right now; the administrative part, or “back end” is the control interface that only I can get into that I use to create and manage content and website appearance.) My next step is to create an interactive interface, using XHTML forms and PHP. That’s what I was working on this weekend. I had never worked with forms in HTML before, and XHTML is even more strict, so most of my time went into learning how to create a form and take its input and use it in the program. It sounds simple, but the devil is in the details. I think I have the form stuff down but I didn’t get to finish the code for the interface. After this, I’ll work in fetching the input from a database and storing the results there.

Posted by Greg as My Website, Programming at 14:03 PST

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