Category Archives: technology

How to Embed NextBus DC in iGoogle

NextBus launched last week for Washington, DC.  The system easily allows bookmarks for favorite routes but it doesn’t make it easy to take those bookmarks with you to your iGoogle home page.  This is how you setup a new iGoogle gadget to show the status of favorite routes.

  1. Go to wmata.nextbus.com.
  2. Select your route, destination and bus stop and then a blue box at at the bottom of the page shows when the next buses will arrive. This is the piece we want to take with us to our iGoogle page.
    42 Bus to Downtown
  3. Click “Update page address so that it can be bookmarked.”
  4. Using your mouse, Right Click and  choose View Page Source in Firefox or Chrome or View Source in Internet Explorer or Safari. This opens up a new window with the source code of the web page.
  5. The address needed is at the bottom of the page in an iframe tag.  The quickest way to find it is to press Ctrl + f to access the search function. Search for iframeThe iframe looks like this:
    <iframe id="mainFrame"
    src="http://wmata.nextbus.com/customStopSelector/fancyNewPredictionLayer.jsp?a=wmata&r=42&d=42_42_0&s=7018&ts=6905&cssFile=http://www.wmata.com/css/nextbus.css&bookmarkableURL=http://www.wmata.com/rider_tools/nextbus/arrivals.cfm#"
    width="80%" height="700" frameborder="0" scrolling="auto">
    </iframe>
  6. Copy the web site address from the beginning through to the last part before “&css” because this is the direct link to the NextBus page for this route.   In the example below the part to copy is marked in red text:
    http://wmata.nextbus.com/customStopSelector/fancyNewPredictionLayer.jsp?a=wmata&r=42&d=42_42_0&s=7018&ts=6905&cssFile=http://www.wmata.com/css/nextbus.css&bookmarkableURL=http://www.wmata.com/rider_tools/nextbus/arrivals.cfm#
  7. Login to your iGoogle page and click on Add Stuff on the top right part of the page.  Use the gadget named “iFrame” and then add it to your iGoogle page.
  8. Return to your iGoogle page, click the drop down menu for the new iFrame Gadget and finally choose Edit Settings.  Use the settings in this example below.  Most of the gadget’s default settings work but a few need to be changed:
    src: Paste the source link from step 6 here.
    Title: Give this gadget a name so it is easy to find on your iGoogle page.
    Height: The default height is unnecessarily tall.  Try a shorter gadget — 225 pixels worked well on my page.When you’re done click on Save.
    Setup iFrame Setup
  9. If everything worked your iGoogle page will now include a gadget showing your favorite bus route showing when the bus will actually arrive.  Here is a screen shot of my iGoogle page with the new gadget showing NextBus for the 42:
    Next Bus is on your iGoogle Page
  10. Here is this same bus route embedded on this web page to give you a live example:
  11. And if that isn’t cool enough — try going to your new iGoogle page on your iPhone or Android phone.  There you’ll find your new gadget in all of its mobile glory:
    iGoogle NextBus on iPhone

Let me know if you have any issues with this or know of an easier way to access your favorite routes quickly.

Thanks to heryandotus for sharing his custom NextBus page since it inspired me to figure out how to do the same thing for those who aren’t web monkeys [via].

Wake Up On Time with Wakerupper

Today is the first day of the 19 day Fast in the Baha’i calendar. Baha’is abstain from food and drink when the sun is up so it is important that I wake up earlier than usual to have a good meal. Waking up is rarely easy since I’m such a happy sleeper so I need all of the help I can get. Enter: a free web based telephone calling service called Wakerupper to help me stop slumbering.

wake up logo

Wired magazine wrote about Wakerupper back in November and I immediately tried it but it was not fully available then except for beta testers. Without an account all you can do is schedule a single call. My single reminder calls worked well but the real beauty of a service to call a phone number is to schedule multiple calls on a schedule.

Wakerupper is basically a service that calls a telephone exactly when you want with the message of your choosing. According to the company:

“Wakerupper is an experimental service that aims to make telephone alerting as easy and inexpensive as possible. In one easy step, on one simple web page, Wakerupper enables users in the United States and Canada to schedule telephone reminder calls.”

Today I got an email inviting me to be a beta tester for the servce (yay, right on time!) and it is working great. Details on how it works are below. Continue reading Wake Up On Time with Wakerupper

The Engagement Heard ‘Round the World

traffic
Did you know that when you surf the web that the sites you visit can tell where you are located?

I sent out an engagement announcement email in December that directed readers to a web page.  Evanwilder.com is able to tell where site visitors are physically located and this map shows that in detail.  The map above shows the location of the last 100 visitors to evanwilder.com. Typically the people who view the site are from the USA but after the engagement email went out Amanda and I could tell which friends living overseas and who among our friends and family had checked out the web page.

How to: Add a Event to your Calendar with just a Phone Call to Jott

How often do you find out about an event that needs to be on the calendar but you are far from your organizer? Since you know I love tools that keep me productive I want to show you this new way to get things on your calendar by talking it into your phone. It works with a free service called Jott and the free Google Calendar. Here’s what Jott has to say about it:

Why is this cool? Because you can now create a Google Calendar event in a single step, from anywhere, simply using your voice. Just call Jott, say “Google Calendar”, and then the time of the event and what it’s about….and you’re done. We’ll take your voice, convert it to text, and insert it into your calendar for you.

I tested this myself and this video shows how it went:
Jott to Calendar

[Jott and Google Calendar]

New Yahoo! Music: Listen from the Web

The new Yahoo! Music has an great new function that allows you to listen from the web site to any of the 2 million+ tracks in their collection as long as the music is in a playlist. To enjoy this unlimited music on the web install the Firefox plugin on your PC. Here’s what Yahoo! says about the beta version of the plugin:

If you have a subscription to Yahoo! Music Unlimited and want to listen to your tracks in Firefox using the Yahoo! Media Player, you need to install this plug-in. It currently works with Yahoo! Music web playlists, but full-length playback may not be available on other pages of Yahoo! Music at present.

Let’s take a look at some screen shots:
Continue reading New Yahoo! Music: Listen from the Web

Verizon Adds Service and Charges Without Consent

Verizon logoVerizon Bill MistakeVerizon Order Cancellation

A couple of weeks ago I told you that I took my internet provider business from Comcast to Verizon hoping for better prices and service. I had my first hiccup with Verizon this week: the second bill arrived and it included charges for items that I did not order and never used.

The items that they were charging me $14.99 for were Verizon Security and Backup Bundle 5GB and Verizon Games on Demand Unlimited. I don’t know how Verizon thought it could place these items on my account without me asking for them. The good news is that the customer service representative did take those items off my account and credited my account on the current bill.

I’ve always heard that it is important to review bills for extraneous charges and this was the first time that I’ve noticed such a trick on my own bill. Let me know in the comments if you’ve been over charged by your internet service provider.