Drag & Drop Rock & Roll

I really need to decide which in my list of “coming soon” features for myRockinApp will get my full attention. One is dragging and dropping an artist onto a chart to compare their popularity over time (in two different ways) but … rats … that’s not really what I just took a bunch of screenshots to talk about … the other is this … either a simple array or — more fun — a groovy algorithm to combine multiple artists that are actually the same artist … like all the versions of

Mike Knott that include but are not limited to …


  • Mike Knott
  • Michael Knott
  • L.S.U.
  • L.S.U. (Life Savers Underground)
  • Life Savers

Or Miss Joan Jett


Finally … FINALLY … it looks like they have all her shizzle on Spotify.

And the artist that got me started thinking about this, Ronnie James Dio


I want to make something that will grab me just the Rainbow or Black Sabbath albums on which he is the lead singer. I’d also like to write something that gets me just the songs off other artist’s albums like Roger Glover‘s Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast as well as Kerry Livgren‘s Seeds of Change.

Of course, making this drag & drop, too, is probably the easiest and least frustrating way to do this … and … make a way to save the dropped artists as a group the user can name something like “Dio and Friends.”

I’ve found several promising looking bits of documentation and tutorials for jQueryUI and using that with AJAX, etc.

Note to self: Add Elf to database.

I’ll likely do this first because the multi-line charts sound like they’re gonna be quite a bit more difficult.


And I need to find out why so many albums have no art like Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers above. Meat Loaf has that issue, too.


Automate the Tedious Stuff

One of my responsibilities at my day job is maintaining this page.

It goes back through 2014

You might think it’s ugly now but it used to be like the rest of our site — an infinite bulleted list of text links.

This responsibility includes running the 1-2 GB raw video through Premiere and uploading a more reasonably sized WMV to the server. While I’m in Premiere, I find a nice frame to use as a thumbnail. Then, I cut the third cell from each row, pasting it in the next row because they want them descending order. Often enough, this tedious task includes rework because I paste the cells incorrectly so a row has too few or too many. Every month, there are, of course, additional rows. Adding those “year banners” helped but I only just thought of that, like, a few weeks ago.

After two years, I decided I’d had enough and wrote the script below. First thing I had to do, however, was win an ongoing battle to convince The Powers That Be the videos did not need to be embedded in a Storyline course to be tracked in our “LMS” so we’d know how many people were watching them and if it was worth our time and effort. That process didn’t work for two reasons:

  • The videos are too big for Storyline, our crap “LMS” or both
  • So we started creating the course in the “LMS” increasing the already unreasonably high number of clicks required
  • Multiple clicks just to watch a video followed by multiple clicks to complete a single-question assessment serving as an Acknowledgement (which they never actually do) is far too cumbersome for the user. The process to create that single-question assessment in our “LMS” is the most cumbersome part of dev and maintenance.
  • There’s Google Analytics for tracking

Once the videos were freed from having to be an “e-learning” course and were now available on-demand, I changed all of their names from things like “Patricia_Carroll_PHS_guidelineForAndSoOn_July17_2015.wmv” to “071715” and stored them in a single directory so I could do this …



Now every month all I have to do is add the date to the array on line 5. Once a year I’ll add the year to the array on line 3. This script saves me a ridiculous amount of time.

This also means users click just once, not nine (yes nine) times to watch a video.

Swallowing My Pride and Spitting It Out

It’s not much (as a reader pointed out) but I’m quite pleased with every victory and every nugget of new knowledge. Behold, my latest victory:


Now I just need to combine it with the last victory and previous victories.

You Have No Idea

There is no greater technological accomplishment in the history of man:


Not the printing press, not the plow, not radio, penicillin, birth control pills, or the computer compare to this. I am king of the world.

Pretty Presidents

Not sitting presidents, but presidents sitting pretty. Bathed my presidents in Bootstrap (with some jQuery bathsalts) today and learned more than expected.

I started with just a little jQuery to give my form fields focus:


I couldn’t stop there and applied some Bootstrap so these pages would match the rest of the site–which I must say is now the only site I’ve ever made I’m willing to show people since the original site I made for my students when I was teaching at New Horizons Computer Learning Centers of Michigan way back in the day.


It took a couple tries of learning what I needed to and could do when using Bootstrap from scratch (not examples from tutorials) which was lots of fun. Seriously, it was the most fun I’ve had making mistakes in a long time.

I quickly realized my focus was overriding the CSS from the theme but I like my focus way better than the one the theme’s CSS provides. I’ll have to go in there and start hacking around to make it my own theme.

My “display” page, however, still looked rather pathetic:


Until …


I need to dig in and learn how to narrow those columns but the biggest thing that jumped out at me was the knowledge that the Party column wasn’t being truncated–it actually only had the text “Democratic-Repu” in those rows! I was delighted that I knew right where to go:


I changed what I would call the width but is actually called VARCHAR in SQL from 15 to 25. I’m glad I’d only entered four of those before realizing that.

I know I can also easily fix that in PHPmyAdmin but I am chomping at the bit to learn how to do these things using the Command Line.

I totally dig that PHPmyAdmin shows you what the command/code is. Learned a bunch today with zero pain.