Posts from April 2012

  • April 23, 2012

    I’ve been looking for a good way to display my Instagram photos on my blog — some perfect storm of a solution that offers me control & flexibility, yet doesn’t require me to authorize a 3rd party to access my data. Since Instagram doesn’t offer their own public feeds (unlike Twitter, Flickr, etc), there aren’t many out-of-the-box solutions While sites like Listagram, Statigram, Instafeed, and Instagrid do a great job of showing other people my feed, they’re not designed to allow me to use that content on my own site.

    Thanks to a little Node.js code running on Heroku, I was able to build a little public feed of my Instagram photos. Basically, this Express app uses my Instagram API credentials to pull my recent images and presents the data via JSON. It leverages the instagram-node-lib project, too, which makes communicating w/ the Instagram API from Node a snap. I also threw in some Redis (Heroku makes this so trivial) to do some basic caching, to improve load times as well as reduce the Instagram API calls. Sprinkle in some front-end jQuery and a little CSS to make it all pretty, and you’ve got my brand new Instagram page. Not too shabby if I do say so myself! Be sure to scroll down and click on the “Gimme more photos…” button, too.

    Here’s the complete server-side code, if anyone is interested:

    And on the client-side, here is my jQuery, which handles the AJAX call as well as the animations:

    Apologies for any mistakes or smelliness — I don’t write a lot of JavaScript… But considering how quick and painless this was, I might just start! In any case, I hope this is useful for someone out there. Definitely let me know if you have any questions, or if you run into any issues with my new page.

  • April 07, 2012

    Last weekend, Elena and I dragged 8 of our best friends down to Miami for a ridiculous South Beach getaway to celebrate our joint bachelor/bachelorette parties. Or, as Jeff so eloquently put it: a “pre-bachelor and bachelorette party coed bach/bach weekend vacation”… As you’d expect, it was pretty awesome.

    Of course, it’s not difficult to have a great time in Miami, especially when the trip starts off in a streeeeeetch Escalade limo… That’s right, since we flew into FLL, Jeff booked a limo for us to get to South Beach, and it wound up being an Escalade. Seriously, this thing was so long that it wouldn’t fit in the Walgreens parking lot when we made our driver stop for champagne and other alcohol-related supplies. What an epic way to kick it off.

    The basic bach/bach activity list went like this: breakfast, pool, cabana party, lunch, beach, dinner, drink, club, eat, and sleep — with plenty of mojitos and rum & cokes mixed in throughout… We hit up the usual spots like Delano, Shore Club, and Lincoln Road Mall, but most of the time was spent at our home base of the Surfcomber Hotel, a freshly-remodeled boutique Kimpton property with a sick lobby and some of the nicest hotel staff ever. My favorite dinner of the weekend was at Tudor House, a new-to-us spot in the Dream Hotel led by Chef Geoffrey Zakarian. Drinks on the roof (at Highbar) followed by an outdoor dinner for 10 w/ oysters and lamb belly? Yes, please!

    More important than any detail, though, was the simple fact that the whole thing happened. Let me just say that to have 8 friends make the trek with us is an amazing thing. It’s hard enough getting people together at home, let alone for a vacation… I mean, I’m not going to fool myself that South Beach didn’t have anything to do with their decision! But thank you to Jeff, Lisa, Jason, Angela, Colleen, Laura, Wally, and Aaron for spending their time and money to celebrate with us.

    And a special thanks to Jeff for basically putting the whole thing together, and for pushing me to finalize plans. Couldn’t have done it without you, buddy!



    All of my photos from the trip are available on Flickr:

  • April 03, 2012

    This past weekend, we lost an incredible member of our family: my parent’s retired Greyhound racing dog Whistler. He was certainly one of the most affectionate and lovable dogs that I’ve ever met, and he will truly be missed.

    My parents adopted Whistler back in 2006, just after he had retired from racing. Back in his prime, Whistler was the real deal: he raced (as “Whistler’s Sound”) a total of 157 times and saw the Winner’s Circle after 30 of those runs. He also finished 2nd, 3rd, or 4th a whopping 66 times, which is pretty awesome… Sometimes when Whistler was sleeping, he would move his legs as if he was reliving those glory days in his dreams.

    Whistler was always up for an impromptu photo shoot, too, whether on one of our cross-country trips or just while chilling in the backyard:


    Goodbye, Whis… I am so sad to see you go — but I’m glad you finally caught that rabbit you’ve been chasing.