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qisoftware business blog

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Facebook API

Several years ago, because of exponential business growth in our area, I decided to create a Facebook Business Page [2010] providing details about the business community. See this link.

When the Maryland Live Casino opened in 2012, I started doing more with the page, including:

  • Photos & Videos
  • A weekly post about a local business.
  • Added several tabs providing various resources about the area for visitors.
  • Researching local events for inclusion to the page.

I also registered a .org domain to use with the page, however I have yet to set it up. That said, I wanted to start building tools and resources to use with an external site. Two ideas I thought may be useful for the new .org domain; [1] a business directory and [2] a list of upcoming area events.

Today, I completed most of the major work on a Java Servlet that uses the Facebook API to provide the list of Events associated with the page. The illustration shows the Servlet running in local mode on my Macbook.


Note: only using 3 earliest events [updated this image].

I am not sure when the new interface will go into production, however I am pretty happy this project is mostly done [custom formating and fine tuning the remaining tasks]. Over the years, I have done one or two things with Facebook as a developer, however not a lot. This project gave me the opportunity to take a good look at the Facebook API and I am glad I did.


Friday, February 17, 2017

New Political Officials Interface

In April 2011, I developed a political interface allowing visitors to the WiredPages Government & Education page, the ability to query for political officials based on a United States address.

Illustrated in this post, how the interface used to look on the page.

Almost from the very beginning there were issues with the initial version of the interface, mainly because it required three entirely different input resources- to generate the data.

The initial resources included:

  • Sunlight Labs
  • VoteSmart
  • Yahoo

In 2013 or so, I stopped trying to maintain the political officials interface and then of course, the hosting-q.com domain moved to a new IP which caused a security risk for all of the tools I maintain on that domain.

Rather than update my security triggers, I decided to allow most of the tools hosted on hosting-q.com to use the "unauthorized use" message. That said, many of the tools still work-- [I can run them from my local environment]- however I will not update the online versions until I can secure my domains. I am not sure when this will happen.

In any case, yesterday morning I found a service that offers the political data as part of their API offerings-- and decided to implement a new interface. This is how the new interface looks- running in the local environment [via NetBeans] on my Macbook.

Also shown, part of the data returned from the API service. As I have indicated on a number of occasions, I am not sure when I will install the new interfaces I have been updating or rewriting entirely, however I am ready to go if I resolve my domain security issues.


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Jobs, Events, Real Estate--- Hanover, MD- Happening...

Those who read my personal blog [It's Personal], know that I maintain a Facebook Page for Hanover, MD Businesses which attempts to highlight the many businesses & happenings in my hometown.

Hanover, Maryland these days seems more like an ever growing metropolis, rather than the mid-size town I moved to in 1996.

There are several reasons for this...

  • Arundel Mills [huge outlet mall that hosts big outlets for major retailers like Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Ave] opened in 2000. See a complete list here.
  • Maryland Live! Casino opened in 2012
  • Proximity to Fort Meade and the National Security Agency.
  • It also does not hurt that an international airport, BWI is less than 5 miles away.

When I started the FB Hanover, MD Business Page in 2010, I thought I would connect with other business owners in the area, even though my business, QiSoftware is listed with a Columbia address.

In 2013 or so, I started listing websites and Facebook pages for the businesses or events in the area.

New features that I want to add to the pages include:

  • Hanover, MD Jobs, currently the "Use App" button on the Facebook page
  • Area Events, The Casino and RamsHead Stage often offer headliners.
  • Real Estate, another area that has grown quite a bit.

To that end, today, I built two new interfaces that I will eventually integrate as page tabs for the FB Hanover MD Business page. One offering, area jobs as provided by Indeed, and the other, area events offered by Eventful.

Shown below, the new servlets running in stand-alone mode on my Macbook. Just behind the two windows showing the output from each, is the Netbeans IDE which is providing the local server I use for implementation, testing and debug for most of the software I develop.

There are several restrictions when integrating widgets and interfaces on Facebook pages, including size restrictions and using resources from secure sites. Neither of my sites, qisoftware.com nor hosting-q.com uses SSL certifications, however I hope to incorporate this feature to one or both of the sites- sometime in the future.

In the meantime, I do have other options for installing the new interfaces to the Hanover MD Business Page-- as a tab on the Facebook page, however want to hold off to investigate as many options as possible. Hopefully, I will have these new interfaces in place in the near future.


Sunday, January 01, 2017

Business Tools I Love


Friday, September 30, 2016

New Celebrity Birthday Interface & Issues...

Last week I finished populating the Celebrity Birthday Database I maintain locally on my Macbook. It was a manual process, in that I no longer maintain the database online for security reasons.

In the past, the WiredPages Style and Events page used the data within a Java Applet to provide visitors with the current Celebrity Birthdays.

Initially, I developed a JDBC servlet which on a daily basis- extracted the data from a source and then inserted the data to my online database. About 3 months before retrieving all of the data for a complete year of celebrity birthdays- I made a mistake and deleted most of the records. The most recent backup was missing about a month of the records.

Also when I checked the online database, I found the data was corrupt. Birthdays that I had intentionally deleted, [that first year I checked every day to insure the data being inserted would be useful to WiredPages visitors and therefore manually deleted some of the records my software inserted]-- were somehow reinserted. I know this was malicious because of the birthdays selected for reinsertion.

I maintain several databases I custom built for WiredPages, and the Celebrity Birthday Database perhaps the most valuable in that the data was mined from a credible source-- initially with software.

Because of the security issues with both the idea of theft of the database and the insertion of data I did not want, I chose not to leave a credible database online at the current location.

My plan was/is to move the entire site to a more secure host and create and build the new version online from the Celebrity Birthday Database I maintain on my Macbook.

I have been planning this move for awhile. Right now, mainly hoping that DOJ and others help with the resolution of the many legal issues involved with my business and personal affairs.

So though I try to do very little in the way of coding, and even less in the way of updating anything online-- I did do a little work today.

I am moving away from the Java Applet and starting to work on new interfaces that provide the same data to WiredPages' visitors without the Applet. In the future, I will continue to use Java-- however mostly only Java Servlet technology. This will be more friendly for mobile devices and the newer browsers being used with the latest releases of operating systems, i.e., Windows 10, Chrome, etc..

Shown below-- my work environment today, including my IDE, local Database Management Software and a Firefox browser window showing how the new Celebrity Birthday Interface will look. The interface is shown in stand alone mode-- however will be easy to integrate on the WiredPages Style & Events Page when I decide to move everything online.


I was so pleased to complete the insertion of the remaining records to the local Celebrity Birthday Database earlier in the week, I could not wait to rewrite the JDBC Servlet interface to access the data. I really miss coding and researching new ideas for WiredPages. I hope to get moving on other updates in the near future, however wanted to provide some of the details involved.


Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Amazon Associates: New Tools & Services

Over the past year or so, Amazon has added new incentives to its Associates Program, as well as discontinuing some of the services that have been around for awhile.

Some of these changes include:

  • Native Shopping Ads
  • Amazon CPM Ads have been around since 2014.
  • Amazon Widgets are no longer available.
  • Listmania Lists are no long available for incorporation in an aStore Category.
  • Since the Spring 2015, Amazon has been offering "Home Services" giving associates a wider range of products to offer- that may require additional servicing after delivery. See more on Amazon Home Services here.

Recently, I took the opportunity to look into the Amazon CPM Ad Network and integrated specified ad codes in more popular areas of the qisoftware.com site, i.e., the blogs.

The ads have been running for about a day, however I was able to review performance reports based on almost "real time" [delayed in most cases by no more than 4 hours] reporting.

I also use the Amazon Product Advertising API, however because of a security risk with triggers I build into my code/widgets, I have discontinued their use for now. Sometime in the future, I hope to re-establish this important monetization feature for the WiredPages area [sub-domain] of qisoftware.com.




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