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Subject: Put the BGG on your PDA--sorta. rss

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Mark Crane
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I was going to a game store about 50 miles away last weekend and wanted to put some game rankings on my Palm (a cheapo zire) so if I saw something I wasn't familiar with I could check out the weight, players and ratings.

I failed miserably and ended up just asking wargamer66 who happened to be there if a game was any good, much to the annoyance of his Antike opponent (sorry!). Anyway, five days later I finally figured out a way to import CSV data into my palm using my macbook and free tools. There are probably more elegant ways to do this but it worked ok, and cost me about $200 in lost productivity!

Here is how I created a database of the top 383 two player games and put it on my palm pda using a mac and free tools.

First do a search for the games you want and paste the results into a spreadsheet. Massage that data until it resembles the example below:

Using the free database program ListDB, and the perl scripts here:

http://home.pacbell.net/dunhamd/

I created a CSV file using this format:

2playaz,Field1,Field2,Unsorted,2buy,own
Unsorted,Battle,6.7,3.5
Unsorted,Puerto Rico,8.46,3.35
Unsorted,Tigris & Euphrates,8.22,3.6
Unsorted,Caylus,8.2,3.76
Unsorted,Power Grid,8.15,3.41
Unsorted,El Grande,8.06,3.22^@

Notice the "^@" terminating character at the end of this sample file.

I converted it using the aforementioned perl script. About 50 percent of the time the perl script would generate a file with a size of 0, but I kept running it until the output showed up.

Obviously, I'm not a programmer, and it would have been quicker to just print out a couple of pages of ratings, but I did learn something in the process.





 
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Matthew Gray
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Rather than searching, pasting, etc, you can also use the (just released today) BGG XML Snapshot. I know some folks have talked about making a offline Palm BGG using that. I hope they do.
 
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John Farrell
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There's also a low bandwidth BGG URL that you can use from your cell phone, but I don't remember what it is.
 
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Mark Crane
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mkgray wrote:
Rather than searching, pasting, etc, you can also use the (just released today) BGG XML Snapshot. I know some folks have talked about making a offline Palm BGG using that. I hope they do.


Good timing!

Hey, is there an import xml wizard for Excel?
 
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Eddie the Cranky Gamer
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mkgray wrote:
Rather than searching, pasting, etc, you can also use the (just released today) BGG XML Snapshot. I know some folks have talked about making a offline Palm BGG using that. I hope they do.


Hey Matt,

I hate putting things in the suggestion area as I get this feeling they are never read, not that I'm saying thats actually the case.

However, if you could get someone to do up a proper mobile stylesheet for the geek I would love you forever. The current version on my Blackberry is a bit of a pain. I mean, it works - and has saved me from some dire purchases - but it could be one million times better.

 
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Matthew Gray
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Friendless wrote:
There's also a low bandwidth BGG URL that you can use from your cell phone, but I don't remember what it is.


Yeah, my "BGG mobile" site: http://mkgray.com:8000/cgi/bgg

It uses the XML API.
 
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Matthew Gray
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apotheos wrote:

However, if you could get someone to do up a proper mobile stylesheet for the geek I would love you forever. The current version on my Blackberry is a bit of a pain. I mean, it works - and has saved me from some dire purchases - but it could be one million times better.


Wow, that's an understatement. I would replace "a bit of a pain" with "excruciating to the the point of being essentially unusable".

I've mentioned it to Scott, but it's hard to fix. Check out the BGG mobile site (previous post) in the meantime.
 
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Iain Cheyne
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mkgray wrote:
I know some folks have talked about making a offline Palm BGG using that. I hope they do.


A Plucker version would be v. nice.
 
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Mark Crane
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Just tell me how to painlessly convert xml to csv...
 
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Diane Close
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mkgray wrote:
Rather than searching, pasting, etc, you can also use the (just released today) BGG XML Snapshot. I know some folks have talked about making a offline Palm BGG using that. I hope they do.


Matthew, that's pretty neat! I took a quick look at getting perl to digest that XML, and it complained about the Memoir entry. Your XML claims to be 8859-2, but the Memoir entry is Windows-1252. It's the only snag.

The other thing I would really like to see in the snapshot is a few capsule comments like you have in the "mobile" site you cooked up. Like so:

Capsule Comments
#1: I always have fun with this one.
#2: great!!!!!
#3: light hex wargame
#4: War games are a no-no for me.
#5: I like this a lot more than Battle Cry. Maybe I'll up my rating after I've played more scenarios.

Where do you get the capsule comments from? I didn't see these in the personal comments, so I'm guessing they are from people's collections. How do you choose? Anyway, I like the comments for a different spin on the rating number. More is better

Thanks!
 
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Matthew Gray
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pdclose wrote:

Where do you get the capsule comments from? I didn't see these in the personal comments, so I'm guessing they are from people's collections. How do you choose? Anyway, I like the comments for a different spin on the rating number. More is better


The capsule comments are based on an algorithm I'm playing with to pick "representative" comments, which still needs some work, but might be incorporated into future snapshots.
 
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