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A settled nomad living on the edge of Appalachia. I love to listen to music, spend time with my family, and play sports. I'm lucky enough to write code for a living. I'm often accused of having no "filter" as I tend to overshare. I make beer on occasion and try to sample new beers whenever I can.$BillRawlinson

FeedList plugin Update

2 min read

I tis a little unusual that I am writing a second blog post about my feedList plugin but I think this one change warrants a second posting just so I know that people are aware of the change.

If you aren't aware feedList is a plugin I wrote for the wordpress blogging platform that lets you pull other feeds (either atom or rss) into your blog's pages, posts, and sidebar. It is pretty flexible and well tested and is widely used around the wordpress blog-o-sphere.

The reason for this post though is that I have moved where I was hosting the plugin from google's code site to the wordpress plugin database. By doing this users will be notified from within their blogs administrative interface when the plugin is updated. However, I messed up a little while adding the plugin to the site so the name changed from Feed List to feedList. This update doesn't really have any effect on the code but rather, just making the end users lives easier when they want to update.

Unfortunately, due to my renaming mistake, you need to download and update your copy manually one time before you get the benefit of this new feature built into wordpress 2.5 that lets you update the plugin via single link click within the administrative interface.

In order to download the plugin just visit this page, then click on the download button. It will come down as a zip file. To install it just copy the feedlist.php file up to your wordpress plugins directory. Your old feedlist file might be called "feedList.php" (notice the capital "L") please delete it before you upload this latest version. Then go into your wordpress admin and make sure the FeedList plugin is activated. I'm really sorry for the inconvienence but hopefully this will make your life easier in the future.

I would have just fixed it in the first place but almost immediately after I uploaded the plugin there it was downloaded by 13 different people. Since they were already using this new system, and had found the plugin via that page I figured it wouldn't be fair to change it on them immediately.

Make Money By Listening to Music

3 min read

Ok, it isn't quite that easy - but almost; I've done the hard work of building a revenue stream from listening to music - you just need people to care what your listening to, have a blog, a account, and an amazon associate id. With these ingredients you can, potentially, make money simply by listening to music. How? Well, I'm about to tell you.

First off you need a blog and a way to display RSS feeds in your blog. I use wordpress and a plugin I wrote for it called FeedList. FeedList is pretty easy to use and is what shows "My Recent Music" on the homepage of this site. Secondly you need a account. is a cool service that provides a way to keep track of what music you are listening to. It then makes that list of music available via an RSS feed. That RSS feed is then consumed by the wordpress plugin FeedList and displayed on your blog. Nothing to difficult yet I hope.

Now, however, instead of using the RSS feed in the normal way I created a Yahoo! Pipe that will convert your RSS feed into a different RSS feed. This new RSS feed contains links to instead of and each link has, embedded in it, your Amazon associate id so that when people click on the link and buy that music from Amazon you get a referral fee.

That's it. You listen to music, collects the info about the music you listen to, then Yahoo Pipes grabs that info and sends you an RSS feed with amazon links that you can then display on your blog for people to click on. I told you it was easy!

OK so that is the easy overview. Here are some more complete instructions:

  1. Create a account and keep your username handy

  2. Download and install the plugin that works with the program you use to listen to music with. The plugins are about halfway down the page.

  3. Create an amazon affiliate account and keep your amazon affiliate id. If you don't you can use mine strictlymovies-20

  4. Setup a blog using wordpress, or some other blog engine, just make sure the one you pick has a plugin, or the native ability, to display RSS feeds on the blog

  5. Use the following URL as the feed URL you want to display in your blog.

    Just replace YOURUSERNAME with your username and YOURASSOCIATEID with your amazon associate id (or mine; just note if you use mine I will make money because you are listening to music).

  6. Get people to view your blog; tell your family and friends, write blog posts, etc.

You can make even more money by showing ads on your blog (google adsense) but using your music to automatically generate ads is a lot less intrusive and far more personalized to you. So, go on, give it a try!

Structured Blogging

1 min read

Structured Blogging Plugin

Version: 1.0 pre17

In an effort to jump on the microformat bandwagon I have installed the Structured Blogging plugin for wordpress. It enables me to easilly add posts of various types that will automatically be formatted with the correct microformat. For instance, this post is a "Software Review".

I had to do some minor hacking of the plugin to get it to work but that is because I am using the bleeding edge release of wordpress (a nightly build) and the plugin was developed for the officially supported releases. Fortunately, the hackery was pretty simple because the plugin code is fairly well documented.

I may go back and update all of my old review posts to use the microformat appropriate for them.


Simply PicasaWeb

3 min read


Make a Donation to Webberful (that's me)
Fill out the form and send me a few dollars for this plugin - I've spent a lot of time creating and supporting it:

How much do you want to donate?

I have created a new wordpress plugin for the picasaweb service offered by Google. PicasaWeb is a free (or paid depending on your needs) service offered by Google that lets you store your photos online. The plugin is very, very, very simple and limited but it works. It will grab the rss feed for your album (or albums) and display the thumbnails linked to the appropriate link. That's it. I leave styling of the images, wrapping in additional html, etc to the end user.


22 Nov 2006
Updated to support new parameters such as size (change the size of your thumbnails that come from google), pass in just a username (instead of the whole URL), or a username and albumid (to easily show thumbnails from a particular album). It is even easier to use now that before!

07 Feb 2007
You can now have the plugin pick one of your albums at random and display images from it.. Just set the showRandomAlbum parameter=true and don't provide a url or albumid (just a username).

16 Feb 2007
added new argument "linkToAlbum" which will force thumbnails to link to their containing album instead of to a full size version of the image.

09 Mar 2007
Google changed their feed format so I had to update to fix it. If you are installing or updating after this date READ the readme.txt IT IS IMPORTANT or else your install won't work.

14 Mar 2007
A big update that deals with the Google feed change. See the readme.pdf file for more info on installation. This version uses a stripped down version of the Zend Framework. Also, make sure you revert back to the old rss.php in your wp-includes directory if you grabbed the 09 Mar 2007 update.

31 Oct 2007
A nice update that removes the Zend framework dependency. A huge thanks to Kiro for his work using lastRSS to handle the google feed. This also fixes a problem where feeds wouldn't load at all because Google changed the path to the album feeds.

08 Nov 2007
Minor update that resolves a FATAL ERROR when activating the plugin on some hosts.

02 Feb 2009
Renamed to Simply Picasaweb. Also added a new feature to let you include thumbnails within a blog posting.

03 Feb 2009
Updated LastRSS to extract some media data; added new option LinkToSourceImage - read the readme.txt for further details; plugin is now available via wordpress plugsin db

I use this plugin on my sites homepage and that is how the thumbnails appear there. If you would like the plugin download it from the wordpress site, unzip it, put the simply-picasaweb directory in your wordpress plugins directory, activate it, and then call the picasaWeb function as shown (see readme.pdf) in your blog template where you want the thumbnails to appear.

Wordpress 2.0 not showing comment count

2 min read

There was a problem with my site after I upgraded to wordpress 2.0. It was never showing an updated comment count. It turns out this had to do with the SpamKarma2 plugin. There is no easy way to update the comment count value. Wordpress2 stores this comment_count value in the wp_posts table. Therefore I wrote a quick script that will update your site if you are having a similar problem.

Here is the script:

Just put it in a new file in your wp-admin directory - then visit it in your browser via the corresponding URL (if you follow the link save it as comment_count.php). After you visit the file it will just show you a blank page. However, it worked so make sure you delete it when you are done. To confirm it worked just view any post that wasn't showing the correct comment_count and see that now it is.

To anyone familiar with SQL at all you may think my approach is a little unrefined and it is. What follows is the code I wanted to use - however It didn't work with my version of mySQL. Honestly, I don't know if works with any version of mySQL or if maybe I just have a minor syntax error.

I believe the first example will work for all versions of mySQL but the second version will only work with MySQL 4.1 or later.

Wishlists are Live

2 min read

Amazon has this nifty feature called wishlists that you use to quickly mark things that you would like to have but aren't willing to buy yourself - well at least not on that day. Wishlists are kind of like wedding registries but without a real event to excuse you making such a list of greed. However, for families such as ours where everyone is so spread out I think the wishlist is a great idea. So, with that in mind I have added wishlist functionality to the site. Basically, what I do is use the amazon webservices (4.0) to pull down our wishlists to this server so you don't have to visit amazon unless you actually want to buy us something - nifty eh?

I saw a couple wordpress amazon wishlist plugins but nothing really did what I wanted and they all used an old version of the amazon webservices platform. So, I created a php class and a fairly simple function to interface with the class and BAM! we now have our wishlists integrated into the site.

Here is the php class file I use to create the wishlist display - it will also display a bunch of results from a search as well - but that functionality isn't really done yet.

And here is the function I call to display a wishlist. There are a few parameters you can pass in and in general I think they are pretty self explainitory - as always if you want to use this and have questions - just post them here as comments and I'll try to help you out.

Comments By Me - Highlighted

2 min read

Today, while at simplebits I came across a post about Author Highlighting. This pertains to comments to posts and making the owner of the blogs comments stand out a bit more than everyone elses. The simplebits site is done with MoveableType (an fine blogging tool) - however I use wordpress so Dan's exact method wouldn't work for me.

Fortunatly for me a fellow by the name of Hasam added a comment to the story that shows how he does it with wordpress. So that you don't have to dig through that prior post to find the solution I am posting it here.

Basically you can just replace the code you have in your wp-comments.php file with the following chunk. The code you see here replaces the code that 39 and ends at line 42.

Technically I just inserted line 39 (set the password to look for, 41 (get the author "email" address, and updated line 42 which adds the class "authorComment" to any post made by me.

The real trick to the whole thing is using the email field as a password. Basically, as the author, you put the predefined password into the email field and then this code checks to see if you have the right password, if so it adds the authorComment class. This is better than comparing against author name or a known email address value as it prevents others from impersonating you.

Make sure you change the authorPassword variable value to something else and thats about it. If you have any questions or need help getting this going just post a comment here and I'll try to help you out.

Five Star Reviews

1 min read

Since I have begun listing some of the books I have read or am reading on the site I thought it would be fun to add review "stars" to the site but without wanting to really put the code in to do reviews. So I went hunting for a "review" plugin for wordpress and of course I found one

However, there were two problems with it that I felt needed to be addressed. First, the images didn't have any kind of alt text and secondly the plugin pointed at some lame ratings images that come with wordpress. The alt text issue was pretty easy to fix once I had decided on some decent ratings graphics. Now, since all of my books reviews point to the books at I didn't figure they would care if I used their "star" images. With that decision in place I made the minor alterations to the plugin, uploaded it, tested it out, and BAM! everything seems to be working fine.

Download the plugin and read the about.txt file for installation instructions. All credit remains with Roy Tanck of who created the plugin that I just modified.

Quotable Quotes

1 min read

I have added a little "Random Quote" goodie to the left hand side. It was a quick PHP hack. I built a file of about ten quotes (maybe less) and then used some simple regular expression parsing to display a random quote and author from the file.

Now, I'm mostly a novice at php coding so my style may not suite your tastes. There, you have been forewarned.

Here is the source :

And Here is the sample quote file:

Just replace the value "yourquotefile" with the relative path to your quote file. I use a simple text file. Each quote has to be separated with the text --NEXT-- and each quote/author pair is delimited by a tilde (~). Change any of this to suite your needs. Thanks to">phpFreaks for the start on what to do.