Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling!
A while back I wrote my original script to tweet event reminders from Google Calendar and it’s been through a couple of iterations since and been broken for a while. Well finally I got round to update it to use OAuth to connect to twitter using the twitteroauth library and switched to using Postmark Inbound for handling the incoming e-mail.
What you will need
- Web hosting with php
- A Google calendar attached to a Gmail account
- A Postmark account
- A Twitter account
- My script
Getting set up
Register a new twitter app from the Twitter Developer Site (making sure you sign in with the account you want the tweets to come from) – fill out all the necessary fields and click create. On the next page you should get the OAuth details (Consumer key and Consumer secret) and a section to generate your access token and access token secret, these all need putting into the section at the top of the script.
Install the script on your web hosting, along with the twitteroauth directory from twitteroauth at GitHub. If you got to the script URL in a web browser you should see it post a , to your twitter account without any errors. (I need to add some testing code really!)
Set up a server in your Postmark account then go into the Settings page for that server and update the Inbound Hook to point to the full URL of the script on your server to point to your script for inbound emails. Make a note of the inbound e-mail address from the server tab of your settings as you will need this to forward the calendar reminders to.
Add your Inbound Email address as a forwarding address to your Gmail account. It will send a confirmation code to the address, which you can collect from the Inbound section of the Postmark interface
Create a filter in your gmail account to forward your calendar reminders to the Inbound Email address from your postmark account (Mine forwards anything from email@example.com).
Now everything should be in place to start sending reminders. For each event in your calendar set up e-mail reminders for the number of days/hours before you want the reminder tweeted. These should then appear something like this at twitter:
<Description> this afternoon at <time>, <Location>
<Description> next Saturday at <time>, <Location>
Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.
Yes I know it’s now the 2nd December so this is a day late, but here’s a list of the online advent calendars I’ve seen so far (and I’ll probably keep adding to it!)
24 Ways – Web development tutorial every day till Christmas
DTS Advent Devotionals – A devotional each day on the names of Jesus
Adfont Calendar – A free webfont every day in advent
Prezzo – A competition to win vouchers each day
Inky Advent - An inky picture each day by Johanna Basford
Advent verses – My own one with the advent verses I’ve put in the girls advent calendar
Christmas is Coming – A christmas themed illustration every day
Yo Illo Illustrator’s Advent Calendar – An illustration each day from the group of London Illustrators (found via @VeerUpdate)
What I was doing…
Fixing a bug in some SQL
You know that I have served your father with all my strength,
yet your father has cheated me and changed my wages ten times. But God did not permit him to harm me.
In the many years that Jacob had worked for Laban, he had a tough time. First he agreed to work for 7 years so that he could marry Rachel and then Laban swapped his daughters so that he ended up marrying Leah instead, then he had to work a further 7 years to marry Rachel.
Laban consistently deceived Jacob, and attempted to cause him harm by changing his mind and their agreements so many times, but as he did, God protected Jacob from coming to harm. Just before these verses we see God at work in the situation in that which ever marked cattle Laban said Jacob could have, God caused to prosper.
The vodafone website doesn’t seem to have any record of my data usage and is confused about how much I’m allowed (see screenshot below), so when I received a text from them saying I was near my limit (with no detail as to how close, just the price for going over) I decided to get in touch with them about it.
Here’s the full transcript from my online chat with them, with just my personal details removed:
Ahmed: Hello, you’re chatting with Ahmed, one of Vodafone’s online customer service specialists. May I take your full name and mobile number please?
You: Hi it’s Ricky Moorhouse and the number is <REMOVED>
Ahmed: Hi Ricky
Ahmed: How are you today ?
You: Good thanks.
You: I don’t seem to be able to check how much of my allowances I’ve used on my online Account on the vodafone website
You: and I just got a text saying I’m nearing my data limit so I wanted to get it sorted out so that I can see
better how much I’m using
You: Can you see what is causing this?
Ahmed: I will check now
Ahmed: Thank you for the information. Could you also please provide me with the first line of your address and post code?
Ahmed: and your date of birth please ?
Ahmed: I found here that up to yesterday
Ahmed: You used only 183MB
Ahmed: Not to worry
Ahmed: Your allowance is 250MB
You: ah ok
You: any idea why that doesn’t show in my account online?
Ahmed: this what am working on now
You: ok thank you
Ahmed: Can you try to check that tab which is called unbilled usages
You: ok..just trying to get there it seems slow at the moment
You: so I’m on the My Bills page and there’s the block saying what I’ve used since the last bill – is it the link “See your usage since your last bill” ?
You: ah then there is an unbilled usage tab
You: ok – that tells me how many minutes are used and remaining but no mention of data
Ahmed: Is it showing on any other tab ?
You: for the previous bills it shows in the summary, but nothing for the unbilled/current period
Ahmed: ok, Do you have your mobile handy ?
Ahmed: Great dial 44555
Ahmed: It is free
Ahmed: and tell me what you will have ?
You: options for inclusive minutes or account balance
Ahmed: that is what it says on the screen ?
You: no it was a voice menu
You: I went for balance and just got a text
Ahmed: ok check account balance
You: that has the data usage in as you told me
Ahmed: What doe the text says ?
Ahmed: Does that clarify the situation for you?
You: It gives me a way of getting the information so that’s good – I was hoping to be able to use the website or the iPhone app – but if they’re not going to work at least I can get the information
Ahmed: Am quite sure there is something on the web site keep looking
Ahmed: am sure you will find it
Ahmed: Is there anything else I can do for you today?
You: I will do, I have been looking every couple of weeks since signing up to vodafone but I could still discover it
Ahmed: Keep checking
Ahmed: I hope you find it
Ahmed: Is there anything else I can do for you today?
You: Thank you
Update 3rd Nov 3pm: Phoned Vodafone today about this and they suggested that I could find the total at the bottom of the unbilled calls section, but after 21 pages of bill it turned out there was no total. In the end they agreed that there was an issue so they’ve raised it with the technical team to look into and I should hear back within 3 working days – but they might have to delete my account in the process :O