Jeffkillian.com initially started as a Geocities website when I was in 6th grade. Over the years, it has slowly evolved into a place where I can practice and become familiar with web development as it progresses. I started out coding with Microsoft Frontpage, then moved to Dreamweaver. Initially, there was very little coding, and it was all WYSIWYG. However, as I learned more, I could make it more interactive.


I incorporate drawings and blog posts to keep those that are interested updated. Through the evolution of the website, I was forced to learn HTML, PHP, CSS, XML, jQuery, javascript, and the handling of MySQL Databases. I've put online some code samples.
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Twitter Bot

I get a lot of random ideas for programs that I could write simply to test my knowledge of coding/see what I can come up with. One of these was a twitter bot (you'll find out for whom later). I had never really messed with twitter other than briefly signing up, but I figured I'd give it a shot and see what I came up with. I looked into a fair amount of different solutions, but a lot of them just were not plausible. There were two main things that had to be done:

Problem 1: Write a script that would post some sort of content to twitter
Problem 2: Be able to run this script every so often automatically.

Basically, when all was said and done, I wanted to be able to sit back and just let my account tweet by itself. I looked around for some solutions and came upon this page, which uses OAuth (via php) to post to twitter utilizing the Twitter API. This solution wasn't exactly what I was looking for, and to implement it I needed to use cURL which was not supported by my server. After many failed attempts and hours of googling, I developed my own sort of roundabout way of doing it. It is not the most efficient way, but it definitely gets the job done.

To solve Problem 1: Taking advantage of the php mail() function, I set up a webpage that, when visited(and given a certain passcode so that random bots cannot set it off), automatically sends an email to a twittermail account. Twittermail is a service that takes in an email and posts the contents to your twitter feed. I take the content that I want to tweet, and send it in the email. However, this does not simply happen automatically.

To solve Problem 2: I knew I could utilize Cron from the server and set it up to fire every so often, but I did not want to risk messing up the server in getting that to work (I am using a friend's server and try to err on the side of caution if possible). The solution I found was to use Windows Task Scheduler. I didn't have to download an extra program and have it running all the time, I just used the generic task scheduler that was included in Windows. The scheduler runs a python script which read the contents of the webpage every 30 minutes (thus firing an email to twittermail). The only downside of this is that, every 30 minutes, a command prompt window pops up on my screen for about half a second. Also, the tweeting only occurs if my computer is on. However, it is working well so far.

And that was it. I got to learn about task scheduler and reinforced some knowledge of php and python. I also learned a fair bit about the twitter API, though I did not end up using it. I haven't posted what the twitter account is because I actually made it for a friend, which makes it appear as though she tweets random crazy things. There's no connection to the friend unless you know what to search for, but I'm waiting until the bot has tweeted a bit more before I reveal it to her. I'll post a link to it when I do.

EDIT: I've been discovered. Link

Spring Break - 2012

I got back from spring break last weekend. It was a blast. I went with a lot of my friends, and it was a great way to spend some time together as we near the end of Senior Year. We drove from school to Panama City Beach, Florida, where we stayed for about 4 days, and then we spent the remaining 3 days in New Orleans, which was absolutley mindblowing.

The drive to PCB was overall about 12 hours (with a stop in the middle to rest up before we continued the next day. Here we are after arriving (our hotel is in the background). Panama City Beach was unreal in that, it was crammed with tons of college students. I guess I should have expected this given that it was the second most suggested place to go for spring break. Initially we were going to go to Destin, Florida, which would have been a bit chiller. However, after spending some time in PCB, I'm glad we went there. It was good to finally get the true college spring break thing (lots of studying and trips to museums) done and out of the way.

New Orleans was also pretty cool. We had a bit more downtime there, because it wasn't so packed with beaches or things to do, so we got to relax a little and take in the sights. We experienced Bourbon street (again, there were lots of places to study along it). We no longer had to sleep two to a bed, but we each had our own bed which was a surprise. However, despite asking for it when booking the hotel, no rosepetals were to be found on the beds.

Degian, Josh and I had decided beforehand that, on the day we were going to drive home, we should do skydiving. I'll make a post about it later once we get the actual vidoes, but for now, just know that it was pretty freaking fun.

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