Category Archives: Twitter

Calculating The Length of a Tweet in EverQuest II

EQII Share Dialog

As some of you might know, EverQuest II allows you to Tweet and post updates to Facebook via its EQII Share interface. The problem is, if your tweet message is too long, it will fail with some cryptic error in your chat window. While the EQII Share dialog window shows a character count, it does not take everything into account. Here are some additional things to consider:

  • Every tweet contains the automatically added #EQ2 hashtag. Along with the additional space character to make ” #EQ2″ that’s 5 characters added to the tweet.
  • If you have your character’s name set as a prefix in the EQII Share options, this needs to be counted as well. For example, if I use the name Krysstie as a prefix (8 characters) then a total of 10 characters will be added to the tweet as “Krysstie: “. You must count the added colon and space that comes after the name.
  • If you include a screenshot with your tweet, this is another 21 characters taken away from your message. 20 for the URL itself and 1 character for an additional space. The URLs will be something like: http://t.co/OTgeCCFg which happens to be a screenshot one of my characters took.

So, in the case of Krysstie, my message in the dialog can not be more than 104 characters if I include a screenshot. 10(name) + 104(message) + 5(#EQ2 hashtag) + 21(screenshot URL) = 140 characters. If I don’t included a screenshot, then my message can be 125 characters.

I’ve sent feedback from within the game to improve the dialog to take these things into consideration when calculating the character count; however, with the Chains of Eternity expansion just about to be released, I’m pretty sure it will be way down on their list of priorities. :) Anyway, hope someone finds this tidbit of information useful.

Website Changes for October 2012

Here’s October 2012′s list of changes changes to my websites. :)

Friday, October 26, 2012

While I was trying to get a new version of Apache (2.2.23) and PHP (5.3.18) installed and working on my system to better match what Surpass Hosting upgraded my server to on the 23rd, I noticed that I had a slightly newer version of the Inception Blu-ray page than had been uploaded. It now has the back-cover image and properly sized player to match the trailer’s actual dimensions. The things that happened concerning the server upgrade and me trying to get these newer Apache and PHP versions installed and working would probably warrant a separate post.

Suppose I should change the published date on this post to match the latest date on it. Uhh.. maybe not.. it changes the permalink for the post as well, breaking the old link. Better change the published date back to the original LOL. Hrmm.. food for thought with these posts. I know what to do next time. Make sure I change the permalink to contain just the month of the post and not the day. Actually, I can’t do that either, at least not easily. I’d have to manually change the permalink in the database. Ehh.. I’ll think on the matter.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Decided I would try out Twitter’s new Embedded Timeline widgets. I’ve added this newer version to both my main website and blog. I also decided to test out a #NASCAR search widget on my NASCAR page. At the moment I’d call them a work in progress. For example, I’ve defined the link color to be blue or #0000FF for the widget on my main website and they do show as blue in Firefox; however, they don’t in IE9. The #NASCAR search widget is also missing a lot of tweets that a normal #NASCAR search shows. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt for now in case there is some behind the scenes work still going on that I’m not aware of or some setting that I need to tweak. If it doesn’t start to work better in a few days then I’ll probably get rid of it.

How to Remove the Chat Widget While Watching NASCAR RaceBuddy or Media Center

If you’re like me, you could probably careless about the social media chat widget thing that is to the right of the NASCAR RaceBuddy and/or Media Center video streams. I do my chatting in a separate Twitter tab within the browser or a separate Twitter application such as TweetDeck. Not only is the chat in these widgets less than desirable at times, but it also seems to cause the video streams to constantly lag and start/stop when the chat widget updates and scrolls items down/up. This is the primary reason I decided to see if I could stop the chat widget from loading in the browser. You can always move or resize the browser window to hide it if that’s all you want to do.

My main browser is Firefox (version 10.0.2 as of this writing) within Windows XP Home/SP3 and this is what I did: After poking around in the source code for the page, I found a JavaScript file being loaded that most likely handled the chat widget. Using Adblock Plus, I added a custom Ad Blocking filter to block ||cdn.gigya.com/JS/socialize.js from loading. This is what the Adblock Plus Filter Preferences dialog should look like after adding the filter:

AdBlockPlus Filter Preferences

Success! No more chat widget on those pages and the video was much smoother afterwards. Note: this will affect any webpage that uses the same script to display a similar chat widget.

I haven’t tried it yet but I suspect adding an entry to the Windows’ HOSTS file for cdn.gigya.com to point to 127.0.0.1 would have the same effect and would prevent all browsers from showing the chat widget (or anything else associated with that sub-domain).

Blog Updated to WordPress 3.3 and Other Website Changes

WordPress 3.3 was just released and I’ve completed upgrading my blog. Nothing to it really. Just clicked the update button and it did the rest. :) Well, I did back-up the database and directory structure before starting the process.  I also had to do my usual code tweaks to vars.php and wp-login.php that I do with every upgrade.

They also updated the Twenty Eleven theme to version 1.3; however, since I am using a Child Theme, I lost none of my changes and after doing a file comparison it looks like nothing has changed within the files that my child theme is using, such as header.php.

I also added a GetGlue widget (to find these, go to the Widgets section of your account settings) to both my blog and main website, and updated the Twitter widgets on both as well. After adding the newer Twitter widgets I needed to adjust some of the CSS to allow for a wider side-bar and also widened the main content area of the blog’s main page while I was at it. There was more empty space between the two than there needed to be. I also adjusted the appearance of the H3 header tag when used in the context of a post. It looks cool as a widget title in the side-bar but was getting lost in posts as it’s smaller than the normal text. Anyway, it looks fine now:

H3 header tag In a post.

Here’s the changes I made in my theme’s style.css file to make these changes:

#content {
	/*	margin: 0 34% 0 7.6%; */
	margin: 0 34% 0 3.8%;
	/*	width: 58.4%; */
	width: 62.4%;
}
 
#primary {
	margin: 0 -29.4% 0 0;
}
 
#secondary {
	/*	margin-right: 7.6%; */
	margin-right: 3.8%;
	/*	width: 18.8%; */
	width: 25%;
}
 
.entry-content h3, .comment-content h3 {
   font-size: 100%;
   font-weight: bold;
}

Now I need to figure out how to get WordPress’s post editor to look the same. :) But, I think I’m going to go play EverQuest II right now.

Google+ and My Thoughts After a Few Days

Google+ LogoI suppose unless you live under a rock or just don’t really care much about these things, Google has taken another stab at a social media network. This time it’s called Google+. The last one they tried, Google Wave, was pretty much a flop. This time, I think they might have got it right, or at least certainly much better.  Currently, it’s in a beta phase where you have to be invited to join. Nothing more than a marketing gimmick really; however, I suppose it does help to keep out some of the riff-raff (bots, spammers, etc). Since this is in beta, the final interface and behavior may change from what I’m describing.

Before I go on too much farther, here is my Google+ Profile page (I made a custom sub-domain that redirects to the actual profile as I can remember it much easier than my Google+ ID).  Since I have shared some items with the Public Circle, anyone on the web can see those posts on my profile. More about this circle business later. Google+ is similar to Facebook in that you can upload photos and videos, share items with groups of people, comment on anything and everything, and it even has its own version of the Facebook Like button, the +1 button. That multi-colored button above this post is Google’s +1 button. You may have noticed when looking at my profile that it has a +1′s tab. These are all the items outside of Google’s network that I have clicked a +1 button on. This is one difference from Facebook’s profile which does not have a “Like” tab. By default, you would not have been able to see this tab; however, I chose to make it visible to the public.

Circles

So, what’s this Circle business? This is one of the most important aspects of Google+. Circles are groups or lists of people. You can add anyone to one or more circles. It has a few circles such as Family, Friends, Acquaintances, and Following already defined. You can, of course, make your own circles. For example, I have a NASCAR circle and a EverQuest II circle. Whenever you add someone to a circle (which is like Following someone on Twitter), they are notified that they’ve been added but they will not know which or how many circles they’ve been added to. There are also special global circles. One is the Extended Circles, which is like Facebook’s Friends of Friends list, where it will share an item with everyone in your circles plus everyone in their circles. There is also the Public circle which means anyone on the web. They will see the post on your profile page even if they are not a member of Google+. You can also choose to share something with just individual people.. like sending a private message. You can also choose whether or not anything you share can be re-shared.

Stuff I Haven’t Really Messed With Yet

There are some other features of Google+ that I haven’t messed with yet. One is Hangouts where you can share a webcam feed with a circle of people or watch someone else’s webcam feed. I don’t have a webcam so it’s not something that I would initiate myself. There is also a thing called Sparks which appears to be a list of interests that you want to follow. It seems to find all the shared posts relevant to the topic or interest you specify based off keywords and/or other search algorithms. So, in my case, I could choose to add a Spark that looked for anything NASCAR related. You can also Chat with others but I have not done that either. Come to think of it, I don’t remember me ever doing that in Facebook either.

Is it better than Facebook or Twitter?

All I can really say right now is that it’s different and will most likely augment them. It’s too premature at this early stage to give a final review. One of the problems right now is that Google+ lacks much of the functionality that Facebook and Twitter have due to the lack of 3rd-Party Apps and an API to interface with the service. All of this is coming I am sure. Right now I can update my Facebook status with a Tweet using the Selective Tweets Facebook application. Something like this doesn’t exist for Google+ yet (well, that I know of.. things change so fast these days). There’s also not an automated way for me to update Google+ with the current song I’m playing in Winamp. Although, I did just have an idea about that, hehe.

There are a lot of details I didn’t go into here because if I did this post would be huge and would probably warrant their own post.

For now, all I can say is that Google+ is not too bad. :)