Adding a Flickr Badge to

My friend Kelly has a question about adding a Flickr Badge to his hosted blog:

You are the only wordpress guru I know and I have a question.

How do I add a sample of pictures from Flickr on the sidebar of my blog? You do it and a few other people have done it both based off of like I am and independently hosted like you. Yours is the coolest, but I understand if I can’t do that with

What do you know guru?


You can’t use the same badge that I do because you need JavaScript and doesn’t allow JavaScript (it’s a security issue). However, there is a solution. Log into your WordPress dashboard and go to Appearance > Widgets. Toward the bottom under “Available Widgets”, there should be a Flickr widget. Add it.

Scroll back up the page and under “Current Widgets” You should the Flickr widget. Click “Edit” and follow the instructions. Then click “Done” and “Save Changes.”

Fun With Numbers

Ken Jennings posses four questions about 2009 which I thought would be fun to answer by making a small JavaScript to calculate the answers:


It turns out that 2009 is not a prime number, as I briefly wondered if it might be. In fact, one of its several divisors is a perfect square. What is that factor?

While you’re killing time on meaningless stuff (I imagine Friday is going to be a slow work day, if you’re in the office at all): what was the last year that had such a large perfect square as a factor? What will be the next one?

And what year is the next prime number?

Solution and code after the break. Continue reading “Fun With Numbers”

Countdown Timer v2.1.1

After dilly dallying around for a couple months, I finally got serious about pushing the 2.1 version out the door. A couple of reasons for this actually.

First, the WordPress 2.5 is coming out end of March/beginning of April and I wanted to get out one more release (this one) before the next version of WordPress hits the streets.

Second, it’s fits with my development flow; releasing every few months when I can.

Here are the list of updates in Countdown Timer v2.1.1:

  • Fixed i18n translation issues where mo file would sometimes not be loaded
  • Updated UI (note: Based on UI code from Google XML Sitemaps)
  • Removed code dealing with recurring events (which has not been included for a few versions now)
  • Added js countdown ability to admin example (which doesn’t have wp_footer hook?)
  • Updated the link to the JS file to make it dynamic in case a folder gets renamed
  • Fixed a bug in the JS file that caused dates to be calculated incorrectly
  • Append a letter to the beginning of the unique id (as per XHTML requirement)…who knew?
  • Added two language files: Swedish (thanks to Mattias Tengblad) and Spanish (thanks to Google Translator)

The biggest change user will notice is the new UI. It’s based off the code from Google XML Sitemaps which I’m assuming is based off the code from WordPress itself. The great thing about the new design is that you can collapse, expand and move around the boxes to fit your work flow.

All the other changes are ‘under the hood’ and deal with code changes to make things work better in a larger variety of situations.

The Countdown Timer plugin is about three months shy of its third anniversary of public release! I’ve basically been maintaining it since the end of freshman year in college, which is when I switched to WordPress.

The first public version was v0.6. It had about 50 lines of code and used a text file to store the data. There was also no UI at all.

Version 2.1 is about 950 lines of code. Storing data in a text file is gone, instead using the WPDB. There are also several support files, including the javascript port of the countdown mechanism which is another 150 LoC.

Since the beginning of last March, there have been over 8700 downloads, which would almost pay for a semester of college if everyone gave a $1 (wink wink)!

Read more or download version 2.1.1!

Update: Had to increment the plugin to version 2.1.1 because of the way that WordPress does version numbers. In short, v2.01 is the same as v2.1. So I had to release this as 2.1.1.

Countdown Timer v2.0, Now with v2.01 goodness!

Update: There was a bug in the initial 2.0 version that required the plugin to have PHP5 or greater. This has now been fixed and it works with PHP4 and PHP5. Thanks to Jim Lynch for bug report.

Well, I finally managed to push Countdown Timer v2.0 out the door. It’s a bit later then I wanted, but it’s out and that’s all that matters for now. The biggest update for v2.0 is the ability to have the time automatically update using some Javascript. The idea for this has actually been around for a while and credit for it goes to Tobias (see: Ultimate Countdown Timer; 1-Up’d by a 14 Year Old). I was hoping I could use a lot of Tobias’ code, however I had changed a lot between then and now.

During the development phase, I wrote some code that basically took a look at what value the timer was at and then subtracted one second from that. Unfortunately, it quickly became clear that this method would not work. Because there are a variety of options in what units of time are displayed, screen scraping and then recalculating would have been pretty cumbersome. It also meant that I had two ways of calculating the time (the first way was the PHP-based fuzzyDate function I wrote, the second would have been this monstrosity). So I did what any code programmer does and copied myself. I converted the PHP-based fuzzyDate function into Javascript and then passed the needed values to the JS function. Voila!

In any event, here’s the changelog:

  • Updated plugin description line
  • Rearranged text in the installation notes to emphasize using the widget rather then the code
  • Fixed a bug that crashed the plugin if no dates were present (a PHP 5 problem??)
  • Implemented the ‘register_activation_hook’ function rather then the old way
  • Changed the way DB updates are handeled. Instead of having a specific update regimine for each version, the plugin will only update an option field if it doesn’t exist (if it exists, but is blank, it will NOT update…as it shouldn’t).
  • Updated fergcorp_countdownTimer_fuzzyDate with another variable so that the real target date is always known.
  • Removed code dealing with updates since WP 2.3 now does this automatically
  • Bug fix. Widget title isn’t saveable due to a programming error. Thanks to Michael Small for the catch.
  • Renamed some functions from afdn to fergcorp
  • Added JavaScript function for JS countdown
  • Tabbed $afdnOptions array to make it more readable
  • Fixed strtotime typo
  • Brought time display inline with current WordPress practice. This fixes the dreaded timezone glitch.
  • Strip non-sig zeros option added
  • Fixed bug where “No dates present” would _not_ show if the data was returned instead of echo’d
  • Renamed to $getOptions to $fergcorp_countdownTimer_getOptions to avoid clashing

Read more or download version 2.01!

Note: Comments moved and closed. Please leave future comments, questions, pleads for help, etc on the Countdown Timer page.

Countdown Timer v1.97 Technical Preview 2

It’s been many moons since I released the last technical preview of Countdown Timer 2.0. Honestly, things were stalled for a bit because I was busy with school and trying to figure out how I wanted to do what I wanted to do with the program.

The semester is over and I got it all figured out. So welcome to Countdown Timer version 1.97, better known as version 2.0 technical preview 2.

The Javascript that handles the updating of the countdown has been completely rewritten. I ended up scrapping what I had and then taking the PHP code I was already using and converted it to Javascript. This is the “elegant solution” I mentioned I was looking for earlier.

In terms of stability, everything seems fine; I am currently using this Technical Preview on AFdN. There are a couple known bugs that deal with stripping non significant digits and I haven’t fully tested the upgrade process. Other then that, everything is complete. I’m hoping to have 2.0 shipped before the New Year.

Go download it!

Countdown Timer v1.95 Technical Preview

Okay folks, this is a technical preview of version 2.0 of the Countdown Timer.

The biggest change is that timers can now countdown automagically with JavaScript. Now, a word on the JS. This is the first version and there are only two modes: on and off. That means that you can’t change the format of the Javascript countdown (it will always display the years, months, days, hours, minutes, and seconds). I’m working on an elegant solution to this problem and would welcome any code, comments, suggestions, feedback, etc.

Other updates include:

  • Tabbed $afdnOptions array to make it more readable
  • Fixed strtotime typo
  • Brought time display inline with current WordPress practice. This fixes the dreaded timezone glitch.
  • Strip non-sig zeros option added
  • Fixed bug where “No dates present” would _not_ show if the data was returned instead of echo’d

In terms of stability, everything seems fine; I am currently using this Technical Preview on AFdN.

Download the file and try the goodness