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ADD custom status messages to smashrun autoposter

posted Jun 8, 2010, 7:02 PM by Steve Craig   [ updated Apr 9, 2011, 5:37 PM ]
My friend made http://smashrun.com - free statistics tracking for nike plus runners and walkers - its SWEET!

Smash Run does straightforward, free charts and statistics tracking for Nike+ #nikeplus #nike devices.  I use it with my iphone, but since it works on the nike xml files, any ipod or other nike plus enabled device should work as well.  http://smashrun.com is the sane answer to Nike's Flash Monster at http://nikerunning.nike.com/nikeos/p/nikeplus/en_US/plus/#//sync_landing/ . Even Nike's target URL is like WTF?!  With a URL like that, you know its... in need of improvement.

My favorite functionality on Smash Run is an autoposter which controls the syntax of results messages written to your Facebook newsfeed.  It is certainly going to appear with twitter functionality in the future as well.

The only product of this type that I use is smashrun.com (I haven't been back to nike+ since first creating the necessary login and account to store the uploaded xml run objects, and I've never tried http://slowgeek.com) and I'm wary of technology that can post status updates on my social networks, so I decided to put some time into the construction of the syntax of the status messages the site will post on my behalf.

Additionally, dollars to donuts says this thing on Smash Run is the most comprehensive autoposter out there of its type for nike plus statistics tracking tools.  So why not push it to its limits and see if there are enough characters available to capture and post some whimsy along with your workout data?

Here's the scoop:  firstly, remember that there is a hard character limit: 1200 is the max.  My current syntax bumps right up to that at 1172 characters.

Start with the codes a la http://smashrun.com
All status codes must start and end with a % symbol.

%distance%
The distance you ran in the unit you booked it in. If you save a run as a 10k by manually adding it, it stays a 10k. Nike runs use the unit you've currently configured in your account settings, or the view unit in the upper right corner of your run report.
Example: 2.28 miles, 5.25 km

%pace%
Your average pace per unit of distance - miles/kilometers.
Example: 7:05/mi, 5:10/km

%when%
A relative time when the run occurred.
Examples: Yesterday morning, Two days ago, Just

%timeOfDay%
The time of day you started your run at.
Example: 5:25am (yeah right)

%time%
The total time your run lasted.
Example: 45:15

%speed%
The average speed of your run. (Same logic for the distance unit as the other fields)
Examples: 7.9mph, 10.1kph

%hrMax% The maximum heart rate you attained during the run.
Example: 185bpm

%hrAverage% Your average heart rate during your run.
Examples: 160bpm

%random%
We'll pick a word at random from the pipe-delineated list you provide. The entire length of your custom post must be less than or equal to 1200 characters.
Syntax: %random:word|word|word%
The pipe [|] character is just above the enter key on your keyboard.

Here are the default http://smashrun.com autoposter messages:
%when% ran %distance% at a %pace% pace.

%when% ran %distance% in %time% at %timeOfDay% at %pace% pace (%speed%).

%when% %random:knocked out|ran|killed|blew through|finished|nailed|conquered% a %distance% run at a %pace% pace. %random:Feeling great|Sweet|Nice|Yeah%.

Not bad: you can do better.  First, think about the abstract structure of the sentence construction you like.  To my mind, the most straightforward message with character that stays relatively snappy is two independent clauses glued together with your choice of downturned (walkers would choose semicolon) or energetic (runners will use more colons) punctuation.

I'll pause briefly at this point.  Punctuation is key for a kickass status message, of course, since to maximize your available characters used for content you will want to leave the punctuation constant and outside your random clauses.  And, since facebook prepends your name to the beginning of all posts, I try to "go with that" and utilize third person.

My overall formulation is:
{"Steve Craig", inserted by facebook}
was doing this (%random%)
this long ago in the past (%when%)
and
simple past tense verb synonym for walked or ran (%random%)
this amount (%distance%)
at a
adjective synonym for your chosen speed that denotes slow, fast, or in the middle (%random%)
%pace%
;
closing independent clause (%random%)

Here is a short version of my autoposter (it only contains two items inside each %random% array but is otherwise identical to my autoposter):

%random:had nothing else to do|rededicated himself to the struggle against a sedentary lifestyle% %when% and %random:straggled|ambled% %distance% at a %random:pathetically slow|apathetic% %pace%; %random:he is now resting at home|the gasping has now ceased%!

Again, every character counts, so be aware and place whitespace outside of %random% containers. One final word of advice:  if you have a decent texteditor (textpad for PC or textmate for Mac) than use it to do this syntax.  Then save it (make sure the entire message is all one line, no linebreaks) before cutting and pasting it into http://smashrun.com/ That way, you can make changes, update adjectives, etc locally and save them before uploading them to the site.  If something goes wrong, you still have a local copy.


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