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Charting tools for WordPress

Posted April 14, 2024

This website has included charts on several pages for quite some time: the run log, the bike log and the golf score database have all had various graphs that were created using the Easy Chart Builder plugin by dyerware. It used the original Google Chart API to create a PNG graphic from the information in a shortcode that I updated manually after each new event.

Google deprecated that API in 2012 and according to the Wikipedia page, turned it off on March 18, 2019. For some reason, however, the plugin still worked after that (most of the time). Last week, though, it didn’t work at all. When I went to the Easy Chart Builder support page, I discovered the plugin hadn’t been updated in 11 years. Time to find a replacement, eh?

Google still has a free charting tool called Google Charts and most current WordPress charting plugins use that. I didn’t want to get stuck again with Google deprecating a service in the future, though, so I started looking for alternatives. I found an awesome looking open source graphing library called Chart.js and skimmed through the documentation for that.

Turns out there is a great free plugin that uses Chart.js from Jamie Poitra called M Chart that does everything I want. Jamie has nice documentation here and I was up and running with replacement graphs on all three pages in about an hour. Still need to read up on themes, but I like the default styles and might just leave it the way it is. The Highcharts stuff is interesting – hadn’t heard of that library (or the Norwegian company) before.

M Chart also uses shortcodes, but creates a chart object for each one that is updated like a post or page. Each chart has a spreadsheet-like interface for updating data, so I’ll have to see how I like that workflow. Ideally, I’d like to have the charts update automatically when I enter events into the database, but that is beyond the scope of this plugin. I currently use phpMyAdmin to enter events, so maybe I can tackle that whenever I get around to creating custom data entry screens…

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Same, doge, same

Pic posted April 13, 2024

Dahlgreen’s practice area is exhausting – just ask this Good Boy

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Office TV installed just in time

Pic posted April 12, 2024

Crisis averted – should be set for the weekend

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🫡 Some big checkmarks on the To Do list

Posted April 11, 2024

  • State and federal taxes ✅
  • Office TV installed before the Masters ✅
  • First outdoor training run of 2024 ✅

Upward and onward!

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Windsong Farm – North Course

Pic posted April 6, 2024

Interesting things from John Fought on this one (and so close to Pioneer Creek)

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You suck, ya jackass!

Pic posted April 2, 2024

RIP Joe Flaherty, 1941-2024

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Full Swing S2 ✅

Pic posted March 30, 2024

This season really showcased the best and worst of professional golf (for me)

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2024 fitness planning

Posted March 28, 2024

Mentally, I’ve very much enjoyed not wearing my Apple Watch daily. Physically, I’ve fallen way behind on my general fitness when I don’t track the circles. This week I decided to do something about that.

On Monday, I met with a personal trainer at Lifetime Fitness and took a tour of the Target Center club. We talked quite a bit about my past history and what I think I want to do this year, which is basically get back in running shape and lose weight.

While I elected not to hire him now as my personal trainer, here’s my current plan:

  • Bought new running and gym shoes (and a new gym bag).
  • Started back on the nightly treadmill hill walk with hand weights while watching shows from the list on the iPad.
  • Preparing to run the Get in Gear 10K on April 27, the Milk Run 5K on May 25 and the TC 10 Mile on October 6. And if I get extra motivated, maybe the Afton 25K on July 6 too.
  • Looking forward to the bike trails drying out – want to increase that cross training this year. Might add the bike attachment to Oliver’s roof rack.
  • Planning to walk every golf round this year (like usual).
  • Thinking about getting another weight bench to go with my dumbbell set.
  • Utilize my access to Lifetime for indoor running, stair machine cardio, a return to racquetball, explore new classes and learn to be a better swimmer.

My schedule makes all of this challenging, but you need to prioritize what’s important, right?

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Did not see this announcement coming

Pic posted March 18, 2024

Mystic Lake to open first U.S. LaunchPad Golf facility in 2025

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Yet another social media update 🤔

Posted March 3, 2024

Thanks to the social media manager in my office, I’m now back on the Gram. She has a goal to increase Instagram followers, so I registered @7minutemiles as a private account, followed @targetcentermn and started looking at the current state of that platform. As some of you may recall, I used to be @kingsbury for years and Colleen had her account stolen by a hacker (Meta support was not helpful).

It’s really amazing to me how much content is generated exclusively for Instagram, especially in the food world. Sports and entertainment is also still going strong and I’m slowly re-discovering golf, skiing and regional travel accounts (Meta appears to limit new accounts to 100 follows a day now). A few people have discovered my new account and sent follow requests, but I’m not sure how much I will publish there.

As Cory Doctorow wrote, now is the moment for POSSE – Post Own Site, Share Everywhere. IndieWeb has also written a lot about POSSE, which I had already started to try recently on both Bluesky and Mastodon. Need to think through this a little more, as I never liked when people would just post the same stuff everywhere.

Still really love the idea of people publishing their own sites and content – whether that is a small business website, a personal blog or something else. What I do here is neither free nor easy, but there are options out there for people if you look. The vast majority of people, however, will likely continue to use services like Instagram and TikTok as their only home to the content they create and publish.

As someone who basically dropped off all social media for a time to focus on my personal site, getting eyeballs on your content is infinitely harder, FOMO is strong and with comments disabled on my site, two-way communication is definitely hindered. And as Zeldman says, “go where the people are.

Still, people like Jason Kottke remain great examples of self-publishing ideas and implementation. I love reading his posts like this one on the latest kottke.org site redesign. My RSS reader follow list hasn’t changed much over the years, but there is still some great stuff that pops up in there from people like Teri Kanefield, Brian Krebs, Charles Edge, Tom Bricker, Mistletunes and Phil Roberts.

Back on the platforms, I got to explore Threads with the new Instagram account and didn’t see a lot of personal value there. The “For You” view was awful and the “Following” option showed that most activity on accounts I care about is remaining on the Instagram side.

I still enjoy reading content on Mastodon via Ivory, which remains the closest experience to what I had with Twitter and Tweetbot. Recently learned I can follow tags there and have been enjoying the “SKIING” tag a lot. Also like Bluesky, but wish I could use a Tapbots app for that service instead of the website.

Instagram on the web is much better than before, but I’ll probably get back to using the iOS app again once I have the full follow list in place. Still happy I hibernated my LinkedIn – it will be there if I need it in the future, but don’t miss it day to day…

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First round of 2024 @ Willingers

Pic posted March 2, 2024

New personal record for earliest start to a Minnesota season ever (three previous March rounds: 3/7/2000 @ Oak Marsh, 3/20/2021 @ Willingers and 3/23/2012 @ Valleywood). Shot an 87 from the whites – pace was awesome and I love the new rangefinder

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2024 Minnesota PGA Foundation Pro-Am

Pic posted February 26, 2024

End of an era – the Tapemark is NO MOR

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The Club Doctor Is In

Pic posted January 30, 2024

It was a pleasure to meet Stan Steuter before he retires from the Golf Club Hospital (after 57 years). Re-gripped all my irons with the Golf Pride style recommended by Stan (and Doug). Said the kids next door (Tenant) are very nice…

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What a finish at PGA West

Pic posted January 21, 2024

The American Express tournament is fun to watch on that great Pete Dye course – Dunlap with the historic amateur win…

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Live golf from Hawaii season 🌈

Pic posted January 4, 2024

OMG, love watching The Sentry from Kapalua every January

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🫡 Minnesota Golf News ⛳️

Posted December 11, 2023

  • Hollis Cavner is taking Royal Golf Club private January 1 (and investing $4.5 million for a full-scale restaurant, golf simulators, pickleball courts and upgrades to the club’s locker rooms). Memberships will be $20,000 for early birds, then jump to $40,000 (with monthly dues of $700).
  • Award-winning golf executive Tom Beaudry is leaving Nemadji Golf Course in Superior, Wisconsin, and returning to northern Minnesota next season. Look for Tom in 2024 at historic Pokegama in Grand Rapids.

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Beautiful last round of the year

Pic posted November 18, 2023

Shot an 85 from the whites @ Ridges at Sand Creek

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Another beautiful late season round

Pic posted November 3, 2023

Shot an 84 from the whites at Ridges at Sand Creek

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Skipped Vikings-Packers for this

Pic posted October 29, 2023

Greatest day of 37F golf ever? Shot an 81 from the whites @ Ridges at Sand Creek in Jordan

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Last round of the year (?) in Jordan

Pic posted October 21, 2023

Windy and warm(ish), with lots of beautiful color – played well, with an adjusted 82 from the white tees

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Link: The Life of Joel Goldstrand

Linked October 19, 2023

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October golf in Cannon Falls

Pic posted October 15, 2023

Shot an 87 from the whites at Cannon Golf Club

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Five Years of Bonus Time

Posted October 8, 2023

Hurray! Today marks bonus birthday number FIVE after the big brain experience on the U.S. Bank Stadium train platform in 2018 (here are links to the previous bonus time posts: year one, year two, year three and year four). The whole episode now seems so distant – very happy to have this history here (and still so, so thankful to everyone involved).

Everything health-wise continues to be good – don’t need to go back for any follow-up for another two years and my eyesight has evolved to the point where I can even play golf again without glasses. I do still tend to wear them while driving at night, but that’s about it. My old TBI eye specialist has moved on, so I started seeing the regular family eye doctor this year. He said my prescription has changed slightly, but gave me the option to hold off on a new order.

Feeling more fit since I started a real training plan for the recently cancelled TC 10 Mile and the activity logs for the past year have all been active. Didn’t bike as much this year, but played more golf and logged more real running miles. Bought some actual hiking shoes this year and spent a lot of time at nearby Afton State Park (and almost signed up for the Afton 25K – hope to do that next year, along with Get in Gear and the Milk Run). Still throw my name in the annual London Marathon drawing, but have never been picked. Disney 2025?

Speaking of Florida, we attended our first ever spring training games in Fort Myers this year and had a great time. My brother and his wife drove over from Orlando for some of the games, which was wonderful. Not a lot of other travel this year, but we continued to cross new restaurants off the list, went to a lot of Twins and Saints games and had a good year of concerts (Smashing Pumpkins, Jerry Harrison, Muse, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Cure, Duran Duran, Pearl Jam and Peter Gabriel, among others).

And speaking of concerts, I’ve recently returned to the sports and entertainment world in a newly created technology role at Target Center. I’m excited to learn a new league and learn how arenas operate compared to stadiums. While there are a lot more events, the technology infrastructure is smaller and it will be a fun challenge to optimize the operation. Also excited about the Life Time Fitness facilities in the basement of the building – what a great thing to have for Minnesota winter workouts.

Go Wolves! 🏀

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More nice color down in Jordan

Pic posted September 30, 2023

Shot 86 from the whites – Ridges at Sand Creek

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Nice color in Chaska today

Pic posted September 23, 2023

Shot an 86 from the silver tees @ Bluff Creek

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