Friday, December 20, 2013

Last Day of the Month: Javascript

Calculating the last day of the current month or subsequent months is a common populated form field for quotesrot contracts where an expiry date is required.  Goes a little something like this:

Today's date in MM/DD/YYYY:
// today's date
var d = new Date();
var month = d.getMonth() + 1;
var day = d.getDate();
var year = d.getFullYear();
var vdate = month + "/" + day + "/" + year;

Last day of the next month:
// last day of next month
if (d.getMonth() + 1 == 12) {
  var nmonth = 1;
  var nyear = d.getFullYear() + 1;
  var lastday = new Date(nyear, 1, 0).getDate();
else {
  var nmonth = d.getMonth() + 2;
  var nyear = d.getFullYear();
  var lastday = new Date(nyear, d.getMonth() + 2, 0).getDate();
var expdate = nmonth + "/" + lastday + "/" + nyear;

There are a dozen ways to get to this result and always interested in other ways to get the same info.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Cyclemeter Upload to Strava with Google Apps Script

As a long time Cyclemeter user I have logged about 6000 off-road miles and love the app and it's feature set.  When Strava made it way onto the scene, I was impressed with the community and analytic features that were offered but since Strava has their own mobile apps I have waited long enough for Cyclemeter to add a direct auto-share to their app so I wrote a Google Apps Script to do this for me.

If you use GMail, you are in luck since Google give you Apps Script to add some major automation to a number of their services.  Here is how I did it...

Step 1: Setup Cyclemeter to email you the GPX link to your GMail account.  Go to More -> Settings -> Email Updates (turn on) ->Auto Send Settings -> Done ->Just add the GPX link to the email.

Step 2: Then in GMail setup a filter to label these emails "StravaUpload" by selecting specific information in the Subject.  In my case I used " Cyclemeter Cycle (Mountain)" so it only uploads my MTB rides and not my other activities like runs.  I am going to assume you know how to add filters and labels in GMail.

Step 3: Now the Script.  This part might be a stretch for some but I will share a simple way to do this.  Google Apps Scripts can exist on their own in Google Drive but to create them you need to connect the Google Apps Script to Drive by clicking on the "Connect More Apps" link at the bottom and searching for "Google Apps Script".  You can also create a Doc or Sheet and go to the "Tools" menu and select "Script Editor".  I write a lot of code for GAS so I use the direct method.  Either way, you can get into the script editor and add this function:

 function uploadToStrava() {  
  //Call GMail to look for StraveUpload labeled emails (should only be one)  
  var ulemail = GmailApp.getUserLabelByName('StravaUpload').getThreads();  
  //Quit if email is missing  
  if (ulemail.length != 0){  
   //Get only the first email in the matching array  
   var ulmessage = ulemail[0].getMessages();  
   //Get the entire body of the email  
   var ulbody = ulmessage[0].getBody();  
   //Calculate start position of gpx url  
   var ulbstart = ulbody.indexOf('');  
   //Calculate start position of extension of gpx  
   var ulbend = ulbody.indexOf('.gpx');  
   //Get only substring of link  
   var ullink = ulbody.substr(ulbstart, (ulbend - ulbstart+4));  
   //Fetch gpx file from url  
   var gpxfile = UrlFetchApp.fetch(ullink).getBlob();  
   var gpxname = gpxfile.getName();  
   //Send email to Strava Upload email with gpx attachment  
   MailApp.sendEmail( {  
    to: '',  
    subject: 'Upload to Strava',   
    htmlBody: "Upload attached.",  
    attachments: gpxfile  
   //Move Cyclemeter email to trash  

Since Cyclemeter does not create an attachment in the Auto Send options, I had to get the URL and get the attachment from the link.  Now we need this script to trigger daily... I also didn't care for it to parse a number of rides at once so I left out the looping for uploads for now. 

Step 4: Trigger the script to run at whatever interval you like.  I usually ride in the am so I had the script trigger between 9 - 10am but you can pick the interval you like.

Now I can complete my ride, hit Done in Cyclemeter and my email will send and once the trigger for the GAS runs, the email is evaluated, an email is sent to Strava's upload email with a GPX attachment and my ride shows up in Strava without me having to manually upload it.  Works for me but I hope Cyclemeter adds this into the app or simply adds email GPX attachments in their auto share settings.  Hope this helps you. ~Lou

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Migrating from Posterous to Blogger

At the news that Twitter was buying Posterous, it was only a matter of time before the end would be announced, so I started reevaluating another solution for blogging.  I had written off Blogger for years since it was pretty primitive and lacked features that mattered to me.  With the further integration of Google + and clients on most mobile devices, I decided to go Google and give it a try.

In order to move from Posterout to Blogger you need to use Wordpress as a middle man first and then use an open source app called Wordpress2Blogger conversion utility.  Here are the steps:

Posterous Export:

  1. Visit
  2. Click on the "Request Backup" button next to the space you want to backup.  Depending on the size of the blog this could take minutes or hours.  My 200 post blog took about 10 min or so.  When it is ready you will receive an email.
  3. Go back to and click the download button to receive the zip file of your space.  Although this appears to be in a format for Wordpress to import, the WordPress2Blogger tool will not work directly on this file. Import/Export:
  1. Login to 
  2. Create a new blog with the same name
  3. Go to Tools -> Import and select Posterous
  4. Select the Wordpress_export_1.xml file in the unzipped package download from Posterous
  5. Follow the instructions to import.
  6. Once complete, go to Tools -> Export and export the xml file.
Convert Wordpress Export:
  1. Visit
  2. Click "Choose file" and select the xml file download from Wordpress
  3. Click Convert.  This will convert the file to a blogger import file
  4. Once complete, a file will download in the blogger format.
Blogger Import:
  1. Create your new blog with your blog's name
  2. Go to Settings -> Other and click on the "Import blog" link under "Blog tools".
  3. Select the xml file from Wordpress2blogger
  4. Start blogging on Blogger.
The process sounds elaborate but the process is pretty fast and I was able to move 4 blogs in about 30 minutes so after the first one it is somewhat routine.  There are some differences with Blogger but overall there seems to be ways to do most of what I did before without too much hassel.  I do miss the simplicity of Posterous but as you know it had it's frustrations as well.  ~Lou

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Prep Ruby on Rails Apps for GitHub Publishing


When I started to publish code on GitHub I began searching for the best way to share my code without accidentially giving away my keys, passcodes or usernames. I tried to fork a version for publishing but branch history will still allow the public to see what was in previous versions. After trying a few methods, I opted to store all my passcodes in a *.yml file in config folder and just add it to the .gitignore. This required a few notes to let cloners know what to do with the code in the case they were to use their own keys directly.

Create a file under the ‘/config’ folder ‘ app_passwords.yml’

defaults: &defaults 
    app_key: my_app_key
    app_secret: my_app_secret 

     <<: *defaults

     <<: *defaults 

     <<: *defaults

In order to load ‘app_passwords.yml’ it needs to reside at the top of the ‘/config/initializers’ folder. I placed a file called ‘01_app_passwords.rb’ (I added the 01 to put it at the top of the file list since initializers are processed in order).

In ‘config/initializers/01_app_passwords.rb’

MY_PASSWORDS = YAML.load_file("#{Rails.root}/config/app_passwords.yml")[Rails.env]

Now that the passwords are loaded into the Rails envionment, they can be called from the controller.

In ‘my_controller.rb’


Now that the app’s sensitive data is located in a single place, the ‘app_passwords.yml’ can be added to your ‘.gitignore’ file and it will not be committed to GitHub (as long as you don’t have other commits to your code history). There are now two options for your README for letting users who download your code to change in order to use it with their own passwords.
  1. Change ‘MY_PASSWORDS['app_key’]‘ and 'MY_PASSWORDS['app_secret’] with their own keys and passwords. or….
  2. Add their own ‘app_passwords.yml’ to the ‘/config’ folder.
This seems to get the worry out of the way and let you code and commit without worry (well at least after the first commit and check!). ~Lou

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Dropbox Automator IFTTT

A new tool hit the web this past week that really caught my eye since much of my device ecosystem is connected via Dropbox.  Dropbox Automator is a cloud service that uses the Dropbox API to monitor folders and have file additions trigger a number of automation scripts powered by Wappwolf.  IFTTT, IF This Then That, is a fundamental principal to any piece of code and this reminds me of Automator on the Mac how you build the logic.

The workflow is simple:
  1. Go to
  2. Log into your Dropbox account and authorize Wappwolf (developer)
  3. Choose a folder… (pick a folder to monitor when a file is added) … NEXT
  4. Choose an action(s)…
For Documents you can…
  • Convert to PDF (powered by
  • Summarize
  • Translate
  • PDF to TXT
  • Upload to Slideshare
  • Sign PDF (electronic sig)
For Pictures you can…
  • Upload to Facebook or Flickr
  • Downscale, Rotate
  • Add text, Photo effects, Stamp logos/maps 
  • Stamp a "Dislike" on the image
Any file you can…
  • e-mail
  • Zip
  • Save to another Dropbox-folder
  • Rename
  • Upload to FTP
  • Encrypt/Decrypt
  • Tweet
  • Set Facebook status
My favorite part of this service is that actions can be coupled.  For example, you can drop a picture into a folder, Dropbox Automator can then stamp your logo in the lower right (or wherever), upload the photo to an FTP site and you can place it in your blog.  If you spend enough time looking over the list of baked in automation scripts, there are a number of solutions that can bridge gaps in many of the services you currently use.

If you are a developer, you can build scripts by creating a SOAP webservice (example code provided as well) and add it to the action marketplace.  Manuel Berger is the guy behind the service and I think this is a great start to an awesome idea.  

Couple of important mentions in my testing so far.  
  1. CREATE YOUR FOLDERS FIRST!  You must log into Dropbox and create a folder to use before starting your automation since the current build of Dropbox Automator does not allow you to create folders.  
  2. BE PATIENT!  There is a slight delay in the trigger so be patient!  When the automation completes, the service will create two sub folders in your trigger folder (processed and result).  This takes the file you add, moves it to the processed folder and the result will be placed in the "result" folder when complete.  I am assuming this is done to avoid any looping issues that could come up. 
So try it out and start automating…  ~Lou


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Motorola Surfboard SB6580 Playing Nice With Apple's Airport Extreme


This past week my Zoom cable modem was dropping my connection a lot due to the increased speeds that Cox was delivering in my Premium Internet package. The current service should deliver around 25Mpbs down and about 15Mbps up but I was not seeing anywhere near that.  I had the Cox technician come out to adjust some of the connections inside and outside the house and he recommended using a Docsis 3.0 compliant cable modem.  I did some research and found the Motorola Surfboard SBG-6580 which has a DOCSis 3.0 cabel modem coupled with a dual Wireless N router that can have both a internal and guest wireless broadcast.

Inside the house I have the first generation N Wirelless Apple Airport Extreme which has been functioning as my router for the past 3 or so years.  First I read a couple of posts on just disabling NAT on the Surfboard and keeping my router configuration on the Aiport the same.  This worked alright but was prone to losing connectivity since there is really no way to completely disable the router portion of the Surfboard. This resulted in both devices being disconnected and then the Surfboard being put back online followed by the Airport.  

To avoid this issue, I opted to do the following:

  1. Use the Motorola router's NAT (aquiring the public IP from the ISP)
  2. Setup the Airport to hand out a series of addresses on the same submet (10.0.x.10 - 25)

Below are the setup screens for the settings in both the Surfboard and Airport:


Once the Surfboard's modem connects, it will establish that verified handshake with your ISP, then the router gets the public address and distributes an address to the Airport.  The airport is given a specific range of address which get marked STATIC on the Surfboard and all your devices are now talking to the Airport without any disruption.  This has been bomber even if the power goes out and the system comes back up.  Below are my connection stats:


Thursday, August 4, 2011

ChromeBook Experiment, and It Looks Promising


On June 15, 2011 Google's official Chrome operating system was finally released and hit the market on a couple of models by Samsung and Acer.  ChromeOS is a lightweight operating system built on a striped down version of Linux to run the Chrome browser.

Since I live on Google and our company is also on Google Apps, I wanted to see how feasable it was to function on a device so forward thinking.  Obviously this is not a replacement device for a superuser or someone who has specific needs like running SolidWorks or doing long form video editing.  What it does offer is a sleak device that boots in 8 seconds, (6 to the login screen) from the off state and gets you on the Internet to do what we all do there, browse, research, email, socialize, share...and the list goes on and on.

With so many companies attempting to move today's desktop applications like video editing, engineering tools like CAD and other CAE applications,  even going as far as hosting full sofware developement environments to offload the resources need by the user. 

Personally I have been interested in this for a couple years and had purchased a eee701 on Amazon for about $140 USD and installed ChromiumOS, the open source project of Google's ChromeOS, in order to get a feel for how this could be.  The early days were rough, as many open source tools are at first, but I have to say Google has really moved this product forward and it is a pretty good V1 product.  Don't get me wrong, there is still room for improvement but instead of focusing on what an internet browser only operating system can't do, focus on what it can.  

So over the next month or so I am going to put the 11" Acer Chromebook to the test and see how it stacks up to other secondary computing devices like tablets and smartphones. So far the only major issues I have run into would be:

  • GoToMeeting is not supported
  • Skype is not yet supported for the full experience
  • VPN for Cisco (although the current build does support L2TP/IPSEC (with shared key or user cert)
So far most of my usage is very doable on the Chromebook.  Server management for Linux is simply done via SSH by doing a CTRL+ALT+T and that lands you in terminal and away you go.  Remote Desktop for Windows can be done with certain extensions but does require a VPN connection so I am personally out of luck till the CISCO VPN support is available, which Google promises.  More information to come in the weeks to follow. ~Lou