As a patron of magic, student magician, and member of the Academy of Magical Arts, I want to know when certain magicians will be performing at the Magic Castle.

So, I've been thinking about building a performer of interest "watch list" to alert me when specific performers will be at the castle.  

As a business and technology professional, I routinely design systems to solve problems for  my clients; however, I no longer do much coding myself; I must rely upon others for the coding of the systems I design.

AMA_Now_Appearing.jpgThe source information are already public knowledge and it appears that the show schedules are updated weekly for several weeks out.

So what remains is to determine how to solve this problem. Let's break this down a bit.

The first step is to define the scope of the problem: The solution must take as input a page URL and a list of keywords (performers) and then check that page on schedule (e.g. 1x every 3 days). If a keyword match is found, send me a notification.

The closest solutions I have found so far are for web site monitoring and the one that appears to be most feature rich is Website Watcher. I'm certain this would work, but I prefer not to leave a task running on my PC.

I also noticed mention of some free and fee based on-line services that will apparently do the same. I know there are also some browser plugins that may be adapted. Ideally, I want a set it and forget it solution.

As a technologist, my mind is spinning with more ideas than necessary about ways to solve this, including many beyond my coding skills. The most elegant I could come up with would be a Raspberry PI inside a custom 3D printed case. This would run some kind of app to monitor the AMA web site for keyword matches and when found, send an alert, flash the LED beneath a glowing AMA logo or owl and perhaps play a magical audio chime to alert me of my favorite performer. Then, to acknowledge the alert, I could waive my hand over the AMA logo.  (Overkill is wonderful, isn't it?)

For now, I'm content to find, build or collaborate with someone to come up with a simple solution.

Back from a DIY marriage retreat

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016
Kathy and I recently had our own 3 day marriage retreat in which we worked through "A Biblical Portrait of Marriage" by Dr. Bruce Wilkenson. Last year we celebrated our 50th year in marriage (for the 26th time) and over the years we have encountered our share of delights and challenges, sorrows and joys together. This was a powerful time for us as a couple to review and refresh our thinking and actions with what the Scriptures have to say about marriage. It was also helpful for us as we continue to raise our four daughters and equip them for the future.
A BIblical Portrait Of Marriage.gif
We were introduced to these materials many years ago in a small group study and then again a few years later when we were able to attend a live event. This time, however, we decided to buy the DVD and workbook and go through it at our own pace. This allowed us to skip past the topics we felt comfortable with and take more time on the topics as needed.

There are a few marriage resources that we have found helpful over the years and this one certainly deserves a top spot. We like to alternate between various resources, including the excellent Love & Respect conference series among others.

I cannot recommend highly enough the value of taking a few days away with your spouse to focus on your marriage. And for those who want to know what the Scriptures have to say about this topic, I can unreservedly recommend these materials.

Disclaimer: I have no connection to these materials and receive no compensation for my recommendation. I'm simply happy to recommend what works for me.