My Robot, or Announcing DC Closings

I always know when it’s about to snow. I get a lot of new Twitter followers. Well, not really. Another account I have, @opmdcstatus gets new followers. OPM DC Status (@opmdcstatus) | Twitter The latest Tweets from OPM DC Status (@opmdcstatus). OPM’s DC operating status. Not affiliated with OPM because, frankly, they are not this useful. By @howardjp. Washington, DC A long time ago, way back in 2011, the Office of Personnel Management only offered email broadcast of closings. I worked for the Fed, which followed OPM guidance on closings at the time, but the broadcast announcements would sometimes be

A RESTful interface for MD5 hashes

Or not quite. I had a need to generate MD5 hashes inside a Google Spreadsheet, but Google does not include an MD5 function (and neither does Google does, however, support a function to get XML data and process it with Xpath. So assuming someone had created an MD5 generator on the web that was accessible via XML, I set to work. It turns out, nobody has ever needed this before. But that’s okay, I am a Real Programmer. I installed Ruby on Rails and created a very simple controller for hashes: Which is now accessible via or foo.xml

New University of Maryland Website

The University of Maryland, College Park has deployed their new website, updated a style used for about five years. It doesn’t deliver the types of Web 2.0 features you might like to see, but they do categorize and list the University-hosed blogs, wikis, and other chewy toys on the main page. Information is presented much more logically, and that makes a large institution easier to navigate. On a related note, you can now watch UMTV, the University’s cable television station online at As I write this, they are broadcasting Deutsche Welle. I wonder if anyone carries France 24.

A Brief Note on Feeds

As you may have noticed, there are a number of feeds available on the right hand sidebar of this page. These feeds come from several sources. The Blog feed is generated internally by Textpattern on this website. But the rest live more interesting lives. The feed for the Calendar (or “Events”) is generated by Google Calendar and parsed by FeedBurner into a usable feed. The feed labeled Comments is generated by Intense Debate before going through FeedBurner. The Asides feed is stranger still. It is originally generated by Twitter. From there, my Facebook picks it up and then my website