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crimulus’ weekly Twitter updates — 2010-12-19

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Posted by on December 19, 2010 in Twitter Updates

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USPS Shipping XML API Testing Idiosyncrasies

If you’re a web developer and happen to develop software for use in e-commerce, chances are, somewhere along the lines you’ll need or want to integrate with the big 4 shippers’ (UPS, USPS, FedEx, DHL) APIs.  You’ll find right off the bat that they all offer rather robust APIs, so your options are sufficient.

Then you’ll get to programming and realize that the documentation is pretty crappy, but specifically I want to address the idiosyncrasies of the USPS “test” environment.  Effectively, what USPS means when they say “test” is not a test of robustness of your application, but simply whether or not your application can build a sample request (an EXACT sample request), and send it to their server.  Yeah — it’s like asking a math teacher to write the numbers 1 to 30 on a sheet of paper (in order) before he/she can get hired.

The problem is, the USPS docs don’t tell you this, nor do they show you the sample request.  So, for others who are about to embark on a few hour journey finding these details on Google (or worse, emailing USPS directly …eeek) I’m going to sum up a few facts here.

The most laborious for me so far is the one I already mentioned above.  For a rate request, the docs show you a RateV3Request, but in testing you can only use a RateV2 request (which does not support package dimensions).  Also, you must use the zip codes 10022 and 20008 for origination and zip, as well as 10 lbs. 5 oz. for the weight, and “LARGE” for the size.  Everything else (LAUGH) you have leeway with.

If you don’t use these exact values, you’ll get responses like “Please enter a valid zip code for the sender” (which of course makes you think you wrote the XML incorrectly) or “The package size must be ‘Regular’, ‘Large’, or ‘Oversize.'” (even though you have “regular” quite clearly in the request.

The advice is to get to production as soon as possible, though why USPS would design things this way is beyond me, but them’s the cards, you gotta play ’em.

I will add more here as I find them obstaclicious enough (yeah I just made up that word).

Amendment 1:  I should add that the issues about the documentation not mentioning the “canned” requests is only applicable to the PDF documentation.  It is stated quite clearly in the HTML versions.  Go figure …


Posted by on May 20, 2010 in Computers, How-To, Programming


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Google AdSense rejection and cross-domain duplicate content experience

Since the rejection replies you get from Google regarding applications to their AdSense program can be quite vague and even cryptic, I thought I would share my experience. First things first, you are not going to get to talk to Google directly — you have to use the forums. (Here is my thread.)

My rejection was simply:

Hello Jeremy,

Thank you for your interest in Google AdSense. Unfortunately, after
reviewing your application, we’re unable to accept you into Google AdSense
at this time.

We did not approve your application for the reasons listed below.


– Unacceptable site content

Looking around their restrictions, I really could not find a solution, as I couldn’t find any rule that I explicitly violated.  I posted a request for insight on the forums, and a very insightful user (wasaweb) pointed out my extensive duplicate content on and  And it’s true — I use my blog’s rss to feed much of the content on my music site.

Since I want to keep the sites separate, I saw no reasonable solution, but then I discovered that recently Google began allowing cross-domain canonical URLs.  Eureka!  I simply set the canonical URLs on the pages on that fed from to the appropriate page that fed the same content on  When I resubmitted the AdSense application, it was approved!

Keep in mind that there are a LOT of reasons you might get rejected from AdSense, but given that this was very simply successful, I thought I would share.

I also noticed an immediate reorganization of my results on Google (for the better).  I’m hoping it has some positive effects on PR on both pages as well.


Posted by on March 8, 2010 in Computers, How-To

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Twitter weekly updates by crimulus for 2009-11-29

  • Well when it all comes crashing down it sure does so with a fury … #
  • I have Google #Wave invites. Will send you one if I know you and you would like it. (Let me know your email) #
  • The light at the tunnel just makes it impossible to enjoy the simple peace of the dark. #
  • RT @YouQuotedQuotes Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it. ~ Mark Twain #Quotes #
  • RT @Historyday On this day in 1991 Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of Queen, died at the age of 45 from AIDS complications. #history #

Posted by on November 29, 2009 in Twitter Updates

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Twitter weekly updates by crimulus for 2009-11-01

  • RT @Historyday Work on Mount Rushmore came to an end on this day in 1941. #history #
  • Why, conservative conjecturists, do I continue to have to point to @KarlRove as the steady voice of reasoned opposition? #
  • A great joy of parenthood: rediscovering the magic that blowing on your hot food cools it down … 🙂 #
  • Happy Halloweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen. #
  • Wow! I just noticed if you search “Jeremy Tharp” on Google, direct links to my songs on show up. COOOOOOOL!! #
  • Alright everyone, it’s official! If you haven’t checked out the new it’s up. Visit, listen, comment, enjoy! #
  • RT @YouQuotedQuotes There´s only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that´s your own self. ~ Aldous Huxley #
  • lol Why’s it every time #FB changes something there’s a huge outcry? I like the latest updates, but I wish it would save livefeed as default #
  • Don’t regret losing the past. Anticipate every new day, because it is another perspective from which you get to witness the world. #
  • You don’t have another life, so you can choose to enjoy the one you have completely, regardless of adversity, or be miserable. #
  • Woohoo … the CCHM’s are finally accruing! Check ’em out at #
  • RT @nprpolitics Whose Recession is Over? Not Obama’s Very insightful analysis. #
  • RT @history_geek RT @zedletter Name that animal! (then tell me what it is!) #
  • Check it out — full commenting on all my albums and songs along with “like” and integration with popular sites #ECHO #
  • .@jskit I just installed #ECHO! Get it for your site now #
  • The new is mostly ready — still a little content to fill in. Also, Tharp ME! URL Shortener #
  • @Vanadaar Don’t know if I’ll upgrade to Karmic just yet … am leary of further deterioration of multi-monitor capabilities in xorg :\ #
  • RT @vanadaar BP: Ubuntu Karmic #
  • RT @TheOnion Sports: Phillies Hope To End 364-Day World Series Drought r o f l #
  • Holy crap! Beatboxing “Inspector Gadget” on the flute … freakin awesome: #
  • RT @Historyday 80 years ago today Black Tuesday hit Wall Street wiping out thousands of investors & beginning the Great Depression. #history #
  • Freedom: the right of the advantaged to take from the little guy and for the little guy to spend his life getting a fraction of it back. #
  • Freedom (ideal): the ability to enjoy the world the way one wants. Freedom (reality): reckless abandon in the pursuit of self interest. #
  • If, in pursuing freedom, you lose some of your freedom at the hand of someone else’s pursuit of freedom, have you actually won? #
  • A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where 51 percent of the people may take away the rights of the other 49. ~Thomas
    Jefferson #
  • The fastest path to freedom is through self confinement.
    The slowest path is through confinement of others. There are no other paths. #
  • RT @TheOnion Obama´s Declaration Of Swine Flu Emergency Prompts Pro-Swine-Flu Republican Response lmao #
  • Five Myths About Health Care in the Rest of the World –TR Reid Washingon Post
    #WaPo #
  • RT @YouQuotedQuotes Eggs cannot be unscrambled. ~ American Proverb #Quotes #
  • Good band practice … lots of work to do, especially on set 4. Will post recordings demain matin. #
  • Off to Town Crier practice … looking for New Years plans? Come see us play at the Shenandoah Farms fire hall … #
  • Still haven’t tried Linaque? The brain teasing game of unweaving that will twist your mind into knots! (I created it.) #
  • I don’t mean to alarm anyone, but I think we’re being followed … #Firefly #
  • It just occurred to me that we’re only 2 months from the next decade … holy freakin crap. I still remember how it felt at the end of 1989 #
  • Feels like a fruitless Monday … feel like I forgot something. Anyway, hopefully the rest of this week is a powerhouse of productivity! #
  • Check out the new — slowly adding more content — also new theme at Thoughts? #
  • Work alias now live at Still have to fill in all content, but that will probably be next weekend. #
  • Ok here is the final mockup of the new Starting building the PHP implementation now … #

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Posted by on November 1, 2009 in Twitter Updates

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Twitter weekly updates by crimulus for 2009-10-11

  • RT @PJA64X You can fool some of the people all the time, & those are the ones you want to concentrate on. — George W. Bush #
  • Off to Wardensville for the weekend … come see 28 Sides Designs at the Fall Festival! #
  • Come check out 28 Sides Designs this weekend at the Wardensville Fall Festival! #
  • haha! … Michael Moore on Hannity Great interview and fantastic logical maneuvering by both sides. #
  • LOL! Ana Marie Cox: Apparently Nobel prizes now being awarded to anyone who is not George Bush. #
  • Ok, so now that Fox News is making all these gains in ratings..3x that of any other network..who is this mainstream media they always hound? #
  • RT @PJA64X No legacy is so rich as honesty. — William Shakespeare #
  • Just rewatched Gods & Generals..and I stand with disdain against the bigots of this world who broadcast disrespect in the name of freedom. #
  • Grah … I need a new video game or tv series on dvd to get trapped in … #
  • As partisan and right wing as @KarlRove can be, the guy is smart, and knows how to present a point
    . #
  • RT @wceberly 138 yrs ago, Oct 8, 1871, Great Chicago Fire begins: kills b/t 200-300 people, destroys 17,450 buildings #
  • Since I haven't plugged it in a while: Great brain teaser puzzle game (designed by moi) #
  • rofl … just happened across … "Let me google that for you" #
  • Life would be terribly empty without the occasional urge to shoot someone in the face! … #
  • @silverclassics What version is it? in reply to silverclassics #
  • No commentary yet
    on the Town Crier recordings from last night's practice, so I'll post it again: #
  • @silverclassics It's probably written on the cd in reply to silverclassics #
  • RT @YouQuotedQuotes Don´t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first. ~ Mark Twain #
  • Celebrating the invention of the barcode: 🙂 (or is it www.| ||| | || |||| |.com? #
  • A few recordings of songs from #TownCrier practice last night if anyone is interested: (Don't expect studio cuts!) #
  • RT @QuoteDaily "Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save." Will Rogers #
  • Worst company in the freaking world: #Verizon Terrible products, terrible services, and terrible customer service … and no other options #
  • @youquotedquotes Amen to RT @hungryyogini — I don't care if you quote Hitler, as long as it's real and relevant. #
  • Many good Libyan domain names available..great 4 URL shorteners. Among the top of my list:,,, (lol) $115/yr #
  • We come from the farms&
    the city streets&100 foreign lands&we spilled our blood in the battle's heat now we're all Americans –Steve Earle #
  • The only true enemy is the one who refuses to understand his adversary. #
  • lmao … I think this is about the clearest
    truth about #Obama discourse I have ever seen #SNL #
  • RT @PJA64X More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones. — Saint Teresa #
  • RT @PJA64X Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change. — Confucius [Underwear and socks are legal exceptions.] #
  • A compelling argument to actually verify your facts before you regurgitate
    them to the world: ( #
  • RT @wceberly Iron helmet ´from 1066 Battle of Stamford Bridge´ found in Midlands antique shop [ COOOOOOOL !! ] #
  • RT @PJA64X And in the end, it´s not the years in your life that count. It´s the life in your years. — Abraham Lincoln #
  • I love the highly unlikely Carville/Matalin pairing lol #
  • Done with the Monday meetings, task orientation, settling to do actual productive things … and it's already almost noon!!! #
  • RT @PJA64X Don´t accept your dog´s admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful. — Ann Landers [eh? Evidence? No, it's PROOF!] #
  • Thank You #MiamiDolphins for "eekin" one out … esp. against the AFC East. Chad Henne new starter? #
  • Light fixture done, fan done, truck loaded (still more trash to get out), dishwasher is upstairs, need other parts for woodbox..going after. #
  • RT @PJA64X I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ. — Mahatma Gandhi #
  • A homeowner without a rake is like a sneeze without a tissue. #
  • Ok wood is all split, yard build/install light and fan fixtures, load junk on truck, move dishwasher upstairs, finish wood box. #

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Posted by on October 11, 2009 in Twitter Updates

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CSS Vertical Centering on Variable Dimensions!

So maybe you’ve asked yourself, how in the HECK do I do vertical centering with variable width objects inside variable width objects?  It is insanely impossible.  Maybe you haven’t asked yourself the question, but you’re about to learn the answer.

Many people who wrote HTML back in the day remember the valign=”middle” tag from tables.  It was always easy to handle centering in tables.  In divs and boxes, however, it’s not so straight forward.  In face, the only somewhat relevant css tag is “vertical-align.”

Of course, many many people completely misunderstands what the vertical align tag is for.  It has nothing to do with vertical centering within an object.  It refers to how side-by-side objects center related to one another.

This article really has nothing to do with what vertical-align means, but it is certainly relevant to the above solution.  If you’re having trouble with vertical-align, google it and you’ll find a bajillions explanations.

So, the little snippet of brilliance I want you to see here is that, in fact, CSS DOES provide a way to do vertical centering.  What?  Didn’t you just say that it doesn’t?  I did.  But there is a pretty easy exploit, thanks to vertical-align.

So without any further buildup, here is the solution:

1.)  Use a strict doctype, because if you don’t, you’re an idiot.  😉  j/k — if you don’t understand, check google.  I personally prefer HTML 1.0 strict, but use as you wish.

2.) Create a “div” element — any size, but definitely use a set width and height (px, em, % — it’s irrelevant).  It should have the css style “text-align: center; white-space: nowrap;” (I’m presuming, of course, that you want horizontal centering as well.  If not, substitute left or right — it makes no difference.)

3.) Create an element inside the div with the following style:  “vertical-align: middle”  Woohoo we’re done right??  No … not yet.  The object now has to be vertically centered to something.  And, intuitively, if somehow there were an object that is 100% in height and we were vertically centered to that, we’d be in business.


4.) Now create a div inside your element with the following css style:  “display: inline-block; height: 100%; width: 0px; vertical-align: middle;”.

<div style="width: 150px; height: 90px; position: relative; text-align: center; background-color: pink; white-space: nowrap;">
<div style="display: inline-block; height: 100%; width: 0px; vertical-align: middle"></div>
<div style="width: 22%; height: 11%; background-color: skyblue; vertical-align: middle;"></div>

That will give you a blue box horizontally and vertically centered inside the main div.

You may ask yourself how it’s any better than just using margin-top: 44%; — and it’s not for a fixed width object, but it will work for a VARIABLE WIDTH OR HEIGHT object. (Think images!)

So there you go. That’s the solution. Exploit the one little vertical align ability CSS gives you — vertical align with the adjacent object that is 100% tall, bam — fluid vertical centering with variable dimension.


Posted by on February 11, 2009 in Programming

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