Displaying Amazon’s single-use coupon codes in your site

Until recently it has been impossible to display a single-use coupon code from Amazon to shoppers without having to pay about $50/month for a web service or writing some code yourself.

That all changed recently when a kind, giving programmer threw together a simple WordPress plug-in which allows you to do just that.

It’s so new it doesn’t even have a snazzy name!

Also, you have to manually install it since it’s not in the plugin marketplace for WordPress yet.

Here’s the link to the code you’ll need.

Instructions for installing (in case you don’t already know how to manually install a plug in:

  1. Download the plug in by clicking on “Download Zip”
  2. Log in to your WordPress admin panel
  3. Go to Plugins
  4. Select Upload Plugin
  5. Browse to the zip and select it.
  6. Click Install

In a few moments the zip will install itself and that’s it!

The plug-in is super simple. All it does is display the codes you paste into it wherever you place the shortcut code.

To get going with this:

  • Click on Coupon Code
  • Paste in your codes (or any series of  numbers if you want to test it)
  • Save Changes
  • Create a page (I did one called “test” just to give this a try)
  • Place the shortcode, [gowpccd], in the body of the message
  • Save and view the page

You’ll notice that when you refresh the page, the next code is displayed.


(Many thanks to Wodpress Developer Karpstrucking for writing this short but highly useful bit of code!)



Shoulder Pain Relief

Photo credit: Jhong DizonSince I spend a lot of time at my desk working on a computer, I end up getting some shoulder discomfort which, over time can lead to considerable pain.

From what I can tell, it’s a series of micro-traumas to certain shoulder muscles as a result of the wholly unnatural activities that come with computer work.

I tried a number of things to resolve this including various chiropractic and massage modalities over the years.

In the end, I found a couple of things lead to more improvements than others. So I’m noting them here on the ole blog.

Of course, these are just my anecdotal experiences and your results may vary.

The improvements came in the form of two main things: an exercise and a couple of nutritional points. … 


Samsung SG4 Update to Lollipop (Sprint)

phone storage fullApparently it’s necessary in some cases to reset to factor settings after an upgrade to Lollipop.

After a much anticipated update finally arrived, I eagerly went through the motions to get it onto my phone.

After the phone restarted, I immediately noticed I was just about out of storage. Many of my apps needed to update themselves but could not due to insufficient space.

While I wasn’t keeping a super close eye on my storage, it seemed odd I would be almost out since I keep a pretty lean phone.

Deleting apps wasn’t solving the problem either.

So I backed up the phone with Helium and Samsung (for phone log data, etc.) and did the factor reset.

Much better! Phone is only half full now. It’s still restoring a few apps but I don’t see it eating up 6 GB with apps.

As much as I didn’t need the interruption this morning, it’s always nice to get a clean, efficient phone again–at least for the time being.

All is well now. If you have problems with your Lollipop update and storage, I’d highly recommend taking the time to do a reset.


Swedish Family Legacy Lives On

In June our oldest daughters will travel to Sweden with their Grandma to visit their cousins and other relatives.

This is something Mom started with me when I was about 9. I visited Sweden several times as a youth and then the last time when my Mormor (Swedish for “mother’s mother”) passed away.

Traveling overseas changed me in subtle ways. It helped me to see there were many kind of people in the world (even if a lot of them were apparently blonde and blue-eyed like me).

I’m so excited for my daughters and this new adventure of theirs. They’ll see new terrain, travel by train, help their cousins practice some English and probably pick up a few Swedish swear words, just for starters.

And who knows. Maybe they too will be impressed enough to carry on this tradition for a few generations more.


Nextdoor App Could Learn From Waze

GangtsaThere is this really great app and website called Nextdoor (www.nextdoor.com).

It brings members of a neighborhood together by operating as a nexus point for their intra-‘hood communication, if you will.

The Nextdoor app is far more effective than Facebook Groups because its structure is more closely aligned to the function of a typical neighborhood.

For example, a primary function of any neighborhood is to remain or become safe for its inhabitants.

One way that is accomplished is by being more alert to what’s going on.

Nextdoor enhances this basic function by providing a way to raise awareness very quickly that something is happening in the area.

Nextdoor App Message screen

Nextdoor’s New Post Window

If one sees a suspicious character, it’s simply a few linese of text into the app (or website), mark it as an urgent alert and every other member gets a text message to their phone.

Awareness raised!

I’ve been playing around with it a lot lately, though, and feel they could do even more to make it easier to post such alerts.

I envision and improvement to be a sort of marriage of function between what Nextdoor does and what the popular crowdsourcing GPS app Waze can allow you to do.

With Waze, when you’re driving along and see a speedtrap, your phone already knows where you are. So that part of the alert or incident is already known.

From there you’re two taps/clicks away from saying what it is you’re recording (in this case, a speed trap–see image below).

Suspicious activity

Waze GPS App – Report Window

Back to our neighborhood issues, Nextdoor could benefit from this same sort of user interface enhancement.

Today I was riding my bike to my office a few blocks away from my house (I know, horrible commute).

Still in my neighborhood, I spotted a pretty suspicious looking fellow walking down one of the main residential roads. I know for a fact he doesn’t live in our subdivision. But he was just walking somewhere and I didn’t see enough to bother  the cops with it at that point.

The question is, where is he going? Just passing through or is he just practiced at looking more harmless than the other ganster types and really on his way to sneak into someone’s back door?

This is a perfect use case for Nextdoor.

Only thing is, I’m I’m going somewhere, too–and I’m riding my bike.

So now I have to stop, get off my bike and text/dictate an update to Nextdoor?

Instead, why not make it so that all I have to do is open the app and instantly touch an icon that represents the location of a “Suspicious character”?

A follow-up option could offer me to input the person’s general direction or that they are stationary, which would help neighborhood eyeballs estimate which way to point.


Others in the area get an update (which could now be very specifically alerted based on their home’s location) and I’m on my way.

I wouldn’t even need to get off my bike.

Often you just want more of the aforementioned eyeballs on the scene–to let people know maybe they should pause from their favorite program or website and take a peek out the window.

Waze does this sort of data collection extremely well. No doubt that helped a lot in making the app easy to use which, in turn, increased the demand and value of the application (rumored to have sold to Google for $1.1 billion recently).

It goes along with the old adage “if you want people to do something, make it easy for them…”

Nextdoor is well on their way to making it easier for neighbors to help neighbors but, in my opinion, they could make Urgent Alerts much easier.


Don’t Hate The Bad News

ShineonYou can probably finish this phrase: “What you give is what you ____.”

I think that’s largely true because we all agree it is, but that’s as metaphysical as I’m going to get in this post.

Recently I’ve had a few friends kvetch about the amount of bad news they see friends posting on Facebook and threaten to block anyone who posts such needlessly.

It’s a fair thing to do. We all get to choose our friends and thus, by extension, what we see from the friends we keep.

I’d like to offer another view though. … 


Amazon automatically refunded my movie after crappy viewing experience

Just got this to my inbox today. We tried to watch Home Alone Christmas Eve and it was a particularly poor viewing experience.

It seemed like we had to restart the video about 10 times.

We finally got through it and I forgot about it.

Then this:

Amazon refund 2014-12-29_16-07-57

I’ve always been a big fan of Amazon as both a consumer and a seller so this shouldn’t really surprise me, but it did–and pleasantly so!


Google Inbox Meeting Invite Fail

No calendar invite functionality in Google Inbox (at least not yet)?

This seems like a pretty important fail but maybe it’s just me.

Just finished setting up a meeting with a friend for this week.

A bit later, I received an email from him and viewed it in Chrome on my Windows PC.

It had a subject, but the email was blank.

Inbox shows blank instead of  invite 2014-12-07_22-14-02 … 


Use Google Inbox Snooze to Place for Coupons

If you get coupons and like to use them, but often forget to like I do, Google’s new Inbox reminders/snooze feature might be of interest.

Here’s a coupon I received today from Michaels.

Inbox Snooze to Place

We like to go in there for homeschool craft ideas, picture frames and the like, so I would like to use this one–especially since it’s a decent discount and doesn’t seem to have an expiration.

So all I need to do is remember to use it.

Google Inbox snooze to place to the rescue!

You can now snooze emails to a time or a place.

So I just looked up my local store’s address and popped it into the place field after clicking on the click in the email (you can see it just above the “Pick place” dialog in the image above).

I’m going to try and test this by visiting Michaels in the next day or so.  I’ll post an update on how it works.


Google Inbox: First Impressions

Wow. HUGE update to Google’s email experience with the new Inbox app for both desktop and mobile.

Definitely a cleaner, more focused feel.

Really like the Compose (aka: “+” ) favorites showing who I email the most.  That’s a nice touch.

And reminders right there too…hmmm. May have to revisit certain reminders which I’ve been tossing into Evernote for lack of a better path.

Also, now that all travel related mail is in one place, it’s clear I need to do more of that. ;-) …