October 13, 2011

Pumpkin Bites Recipe

1 cup pumpkin puree (pure pumpkin, no sugar)
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup carrots, shredded, boil for 2 min, then rough chop.
2 sticks butter softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/3 cups quick oats
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder (makes it very cake-like, may omit next time)

Scoop spoonfuls onto baking sheet. 350F, 12 minutes.

I made these last year. I don't know if I took any pictures. I brought them to the office and people seemed to like them. I'll try not to be a fail and remember to take pictures next time.

October 1, 2011

How To Sync Foursquare Check Ins to Google Calendar (Two Ways)

Some people treat Foursquare as a game - earn badges and score more points than their friends by checking into every single parking lot and bathroom they ever set foot on. I view Foursquare as a powerful logging tool. You never know when you want to recall the name of that restaurant you went to last year. While there is no effective way to search your Foursquare history other than clicking back page by page in your profile, there are two neat ways that I found to sync up your Foursquare log with Google Calendar. One way is to use Foursquare's feed system. Another way is to use an external service called ifttt.com (Very powerful service that allows you to create interactions between web services like Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, Evernote, Gmail etc. by building connections between their APIs. Learn everything about If This Then That here). I personally prefer the feeds way, but the ifttt way may suit your purpose a little better. Here are the two different ways to sync Foursquare to Calendar:

Using Foursquare Feeds System

1. Go to your Foursquare feeds page (http://foursquare.com/feeds/). You need to be logged in to access your unique URL.

2. Copy the ICS link.

3. Go to your Google Calendar. Under "Other calendars", click the little arrow and in the drop down menu, choose "Add by URL".

4. Paste your ICS link into the text field and click "Add Calendar".

5. Wait for Google to import your Foursquare log into your calendar. It should only take a few seconds. You can then go to your calendar settings to rename your calendar.

Using ifttt

1. Register for an ifttt account.

Optional: If you want to sync check ins to an existing calendar, you don't have to do anything, but if you want a separate calendar dedicated to Foursquare check ins (recommended), under "My calendar" drop down in Google Calendar, choose "Create new calendar". Call this new calendar Foursquare Log or something.

2. Go to Channels and enable Foursquare and Google Calendar.

3. Under Tasks, click Create task. Follow the steps to create the "if Any new check-in on foursquare then Quick add event to calendarName" recipe.

4. You can then customize the Quick Add text if you so desire.

Key Differences

I mentioned earlier that I prefer the Foursquare feeds method. This is because it imports your full log and continues to sync new check ins to your calendar. The ifttt method triggers the Foursquare and Google Calendar APIs each time you do a check in. Any check ins prior to the creation of the ifttt task will not be logged. If you're a new Foursquare user, this won't concern you, but if you want to see the entire check in history, the feeds method is definitely the way to go. Since the ICS link a feed generated by Foursquare, the check in times are accurate. Any shouts are entered in the event description. It also gives you the map of your check in location. Note that it does take up to half a day before each new check in gets synced to Calendar.

Since the Foursquare feed is not something you control and viewed as an "other calendar", you cannot modify or delete events that are logged. You can, however, modify or delete events when you use the ifttt method since this method saves check ins into your existing calendar via Quick Add. Since ifttt tasks are checked every 15 minutes, times may be up to 15 minutes over your check in time. With the ifttt method, you can customize Quick Add text. This may be advantageous to some.