Tuesday, July 22, 2014

parkie, the power of simple javascript

Years ago I lived in a neighborhood in Boston that had annoying alternate-side parking rules: something like the 1st and 3rd Wednesday had street cleaning on the right, so park on the left, and the 2nd and 4th Wednesday was the reverse. (I guess this was defined more in a "even/odd #'d side of street" kind of way, but the street was one way, so left/right made more sense.)

It was a fiddly thing to deal with... recalling the date, figuring out the date of the next Wednesday, figuring out which Wednesday of the month it was, remembering which side that implied, etc so I made a Javascript page for it: http://kirk.is/tools/park/ . Super minimalist, it just does the thinking and prints the results, but it "shows its work" so to speak so you can see the reasoning and confirm it for yourself.

My cousins now live in that house, and I revived it (and updated, the day of the week had changed, actually) and gave them a shortcut to the page on their iPhone's homescreen. (In theory I could also have made it a Bookmarklet, which would let it work "offline", though I don't think you can put those on the homescreen, and it's not like these phones are offline that much anyway.)

I like tiny bespoke projects that make life notably better. (This one reminds me of the kind of programming people would do in BASIC on old 8bit computers, but modern portable tech and ubiquitous networking make it much more convenient!)

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