Monthly Archives: February 2010

Plugin Transfusion – Netflix-X2

**Updated** 2/24/2010
I kept the motivational momentum going here and have made this plugin totally widget-capable. Totally tested and declared stable as version 1.3! Updated download links.

Over a year ago, I decided to take Albert Banks’ WordPress Netflix plugin, fork it, and maintain it as a new plugin…

I did this because Albert’s version didn’t support newer RSS feeds that Netflix provided, and it lacked some functionality that I desperately wanted to have (displaying movie reviews I’ve written on the Netflix site). So, I decided to maintain my own version for better, and for worse.

My interest and motivation to work on this plugin has drastically diminished lately – but today I got a transfusion of sheer inspiration to do some much needed house-keeping. Ever since it’s inception in 2006 with Albert’s first version – this plugin has used functions from MagpieRSS to ingest and parse the RSS feeds. Well, unbeknown to me this library has not been maintained since 2005 and never even made it out of beta status (even though wordpress’ rss.php include file has it built in?). I decided to bite the bullet today and make some modifications to my plugin… Most notably it’s now using fetch_feed function from SimplePie vs Magpie’s fetch_rss function.

I had to modify some of my other code for pulling descriptions, titles, and links – but one of the users of my plugin had already started that for me so I just had to take it the last mile.

I did some other random cleanup, removed the annoying ^M characters that always seem to get in there when going from windows to linux, and I now call the rss.php include file instead of the depreciated rss-functions.php file. All in all, it was a good day for the Netflix-X2 plugin… maybe some day I will get around to improving the widget configuration! Right now it just hacks together an unordered-list style widget and gives no other options. but, hey… at least it is widgetized!

Feel free to try the plugin out:
Download the latest release:

Trials HD “Marathon” Achievement

I am one persistent, stubborn, ornery ass son-of-a-bitch.

Trials HD is an amazingly fun motorcycle game.  Sort of like the old-school “Excitebike” game with a modern twist.  I have really enjoyed playing this game backwards and forwards; enduring literally countless moto-bike spills, endless attempt at completing nearly impossible tracks, and having a blast doing it.  GG Trials HD.

Enter the “Marathon” Achievement.

This achievement is ridiculously hard.  You have to complete a 20-track long tournament, straight through, without falling or retrying even once.  It’s so hard, that the developers actually swapped out a couple tracks with a recent update to try to make it even remotely a possibility to attain.  Anyone that has ever played Trials HD knows that it’s a pretty significant challenge just to get through some of the tracks in that game.  Period.  The game is even nice enough to keep track of your retries and falls for you (counted as ‘faults’) – and this is a counter that I have driven up into the hundreds and hundreds.  The mere thought of attempting to conquer TWENTY tracks…. Straight… in one singular tournament without a single fault is just a staggering premise.

Yet, I found that this was the only achievement I was lacking in this game.  I had to get it.  Had to.

“It’s impossible – Just give up” – I heard from several different people including my Wife, my Brother (happy birthday apparently), and even my own self.  And really; I was starting to think that was the honest truth.  This is damn near impossible to accomplish.  But I had set my mind to it.  I had to accomplish it.  There was no way I was giving up.

I started thinking about all the easy achievement points I’ve been getting recently…  Blasting from a 9,000 gamer score to over 15,000 in just a couple of weeks.  All those painfully easy achievement points demanded a penance of blood.  A consequence of my choice to pursue them.  I had to validate my gamer status, even if only to myself.  I felt a need to justify my gamer score, and that this impossibly difficult achievement would do so.  I simply had to get the Marathon achievement.

I don’t know if I’ve ever worked so hard at something in all of my life.  I have spent an un-trackable amount of time meticulously analyzing and honing skills on all 20 tracks.  It’s so frustrating, because if you fall on the 17th track out of 20 – you still have to start from track 1 in order to get the achievement.  It really seemed like the world did not want me to succeed – on probably my best run ever; my xbox froze once on track 18 while I had 0 falls.  Just a soul crushing event.

I kept grinding it out.  I kept analyzing the harder parts of each track and forming an exact strategy and pattern for each obstacle, trying to do the same thing every time.  I kept trying.  I kept re-trying.  I don’t have any official stats but I wouldn’t be surprised if I have played these tracks up to a thousand times.  It’s just completely ridiculous.

But I started to notice it getting easier.  I found myself getting further and further, and more often.  I got to a point where I started to notice myself getting to tracks 15,16,17 pretty regularly without falling.

And, then, FINALLY… Today, after weeks of pursuing the 40 point “Marathon” achievement – I have succeeded.  I got through a couple close calls, frequently paused and nervously tried to compose myself before moving into the 19th and 20th tracks…  I made it.  I finally survived this rancid despicable ordeal.  I feel amazingly good right now, extremely proud of my hard works’ eventual success.  February 14th lives onto a tri-fecta of celebration.  My beloved brother’s birthday, Valentine’s day, and the day I got the Marathon achievement in Trials HD.

All I can say, once again, is I am one persistent, stubborn, ornery ass son-of-a-bitch.