Be watchful of what you eat

6. December 2011 12:29 by Cameron in Misc  //  Tags: , , , , , ,   //   Comments

I'm fine, but I had an interesting night at the emergency room last night. I ate my regular broccoli beef meal from Chinese Combo King, a local Chinese food restaurant near campus, and shortly afterwards I had an allergic reaction to something in the food. I have been eating at Chinese Combo King since I was a freshman at LSU and have had no issues with the ingredients of the food. However, last night, I noticed that the food tasted differently like it was cooked with a different spice than I was used to. At the time, I didn't think anything of the difference in taste. I just thought there was a different chef cooking the food last night that used a different recipe. It took about 10 minutes for me to notice that I had begun breaking out in hives. Prior to last night's incident, I had never really broken out in hives so it was a bit alarming to see it develop so rapidly. I received a professional opinion from a nurse from my healthcare provider that I should check in to the emergency room to get appropriate care for my condition. 

Once I got to the emergency room, the visit lasted about 5 hours. They were pretty packed when I arrived. I am definitely thankful to have gone to the ER though. I'm feeling much better today. Sadly, I think that last night will be the last time I eat at Chinese Combo King. It's strange that after 21 years, I have discovered an unknown allergy that causes me to break out in hives. I will be getting tested by an allergist over the winter break to narrow down the root cause.

My recommendations for everyone is to always be aware of the foods that you eat. Sometimes we cannot know the ingredients in the food we eat or in my case, not even know you were allergic to something. I'm no medical doctor, but something that they recommended me was to take Benadryl and Zantac simultaneously to help reduce inflammation. Zantac acts as an antihistamine like Benadryl but works differently so they can be taken together. These can be purchased over the counter and will definitely help with immediate relief. If after you've taken these you aren't seeing any results, consult a professional opinion about your condition. I hope this helps anyone with a similar case in the future.

Happy Holidays!

Nearly finished with my XBL Scraper and starting my PSN Scraper

3. December 2011 14:31 by Cameron in PhantomJS, Xbox Live, PSN  //  Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,   //   Comments

I've made a ton of progress on my XBL scraper over the past couple of months and am nearing completion. Features include grabbing a user's full list of games and achievements for all time as well as pulling a subset of information based on a date range. I implemented the date range feature because I wanted to speed up incremental updates. One of my beta testers has reported it takes about 15-20 minutes to do a full dump of his information. He also has over 100 games with about 40-60 achievements each.

Right now, my XBL scraper only pulls down information for the currently logged in user. I had thought about having my users on my site provide their login information for pulling down their achievements and recently played games, but there are huge security concerns with me storing Xbox LIVE user names and passwords in my database. One disadvantage to me pulling information from other user profiles is that any achievement that I have not unlocked the image will be returned as a grayscale image. This is not a huge issue though. I'm more leaning towards using my own account to get user data instead of other users' accounts because I don't want to be burdened with security of storing their credentials on my server. If people want color images for achievements, I will just need the community to submit their color images for their achievements to the database. I have also been thinking of a way to have my script run idle on my server while waiting for input from the caller. This will hopefully speed up processing of the data.

On the PSN front, I have begun analyzing various data sources for getting trophy data and recently played games for a PSNID. I've started developing a similar script for pulling information for a PSNID. The PSN scraper is still in its infancy, but it is making steady progress. With my analysis of PSN trophy images, it appears that images for trophies will be returned as color images for public trophy profiles and personal trophy profiles. However, the locked trophies show a locked image next to the trophy. I'm hoping to get community involvement to submit complete trophy images for the locked images. With the way that PSN shows earned trophies, with enough people in the community, the missing images should easily be filled in automatically.

I plan to release premium subscritpion APIs for these scripts in the future. Please stay tuned for more information.

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