There’s always something to howl about

What’s joy to a Bloodhound? Work, of course. Here’s that hard-working Bloodhound praxis applied to the problem of having fun.

I built from an API that FBS Systems — creators of the FlexMLS system — made available last year. I may be the only person taking advantage of this interface. I don’t know of anyone else in Phoenix who is, in any case.

That much is cool, and the API, along with Flex’s general philosophical approach to software openness, enabled me to build a very robust search tool, much more robust than anything you can buy from IDX vendors. Still better, I can extend my search power whenever I want, building “pre-fab” searches that solve problems that might not be intuitively obvious to more-casual users.

Here’s an example: Doctors relocating to Phoenix — may their names be legion! — can do a radius search from any Phoenix-area hospital. Always on-call? You can live within walking distance. Need to be to the hospital within 30 minutes? You can search within a 15-mile radius.

My end of this stuff is all written by me, in PHP, with the code running on the SplendorQuest server. I can change the site whenever I want to, in the never-ending quest for better results.

All that is fun, and this is a big part of Bloodhound life for me, building and refining the tools we use every day — on- and off-line. Everything that I’ve worked on over the past four years is available to me to make new tools, and I’m mixing and matching that stuff all the time. The number of engenu pages on our sites is enormous by now, but the number of engenu-like pages runs to the tens of thousands. Even now I’m working out how to use ScentTrail to auto-generate an engenu-editable cloud-based transaction management site for every client we touch.

That idea — the equation of software with control — is something that I should write about. But not today. For now, Bloodhounds just want to have fun.

That image is a screen shot from Twitter. Every time someone runs a search from, a Tweet is auto-posted summarizing that search. There is search-engine juice to be had from Twitter, but this is just dumbass fun for me, a perfect expression of the fundamental witlessness of Twitter: Zippy the Pinhead reporting on the latest real estate search news.

This is funny: generates between 50 and 150 searches a day, so the Tweet-count for that account — PhoenixBargains — is fast approaching 4,000 (semi-)unique Tweets.

This is funnier: The PhoenixBargains Twitter account has 54 devoted followers.


11 Comments so far

  1. John Kalinowski April 22nd, 2010 10:36 am

    Cool stuff! Any problems with using “MLS” in your URL? I toyed with a couple ideas, but thought that was verboten by the NAR goonsquad?

  2. Greg Swann April 22nd, 2010 3:42 pm

    > Any problems with using “MLS” in your URL?

    Zero. It’s a fight I would like to have, FWIW.

  3. Al Lorenz April 22nd, 2010 11:29 am

    Super Gregg! I really like the paragraph that starts with:

    “You’re using the most-robust MLS search available to consumers in the Phoenix area – the same software and the same database professional Realtors use. But, even so”

  4. Greg Swann April 22nd, 2010 3:44 pm

    > I really like the paragraph

    Bless you, sir. Thank you. I’m going to make a short video for the top of the sidebar illustrating the process of refining a typical search.

  5. Alex Cortez April 22nd, 2010 3:09 pm

    Greg, I definitely see how Bloodhounds have a higher level of professionalism (and by extent, work ethic) than others in the industry. Kudos to you for your work.

  6. Greg Swann April 22nd, 2010 3:51 pm

    > I definitely see how Bloodhounds have a higher level of professionalism

    Maybe just a greater tolerance for pain. 😉

    Nice to see you, Alex.

  7. Robert Worthington April 22nd, 2010 3:13 pm

    greg, I also have flex mls and absolutely love it. Any plans of forcing registration in the future?

  8. Greg Swann April 22nd, 2010 3:47 pm

    > Any plans of forcing registration in the future?

    Never. Ever. Never.

  9. Cheryl Johnson April 23rd, 2010 4:46 am

    Oh. I. See.

    The MLS search results go to Posterous, and Posterous is automatically sending them on to Twitter via a TwitterFeed app…

    I could build that. Not as elegantly as Greg, of course, but it would get the job done. 🙂

  10. Greg Swann April 23rd, 2010 8:10 am

    > I could build that.

    You bet. That part is duck soup, an easter egg. I thought about making a TwitterBot available to other people, your own chance to feed a list of random gibberish to the scintillating minds of Twitterville.

  11. Thomas Johnson April 23rd, 2010 7:14 pm

    Your twitter thing is a tour de force. I am building IDX links and tweeting those with a
    twitterbot on a schedule, but not as someone engages. Brilliant, my friend!