Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! Stats API is Live

For the past few years, people have requested access to the data that I have been collecting for the Wait Wait Stats Page to play around with the data or build a brilliant, interactive infographic. Each of those requests would require that a data export of the requested tables or a MySQL/MariaDB database dump to be created and sent over to the requester. Of course, those exports and database dumps are just snapshots of the data and another request was needed to get update data each time.

That got me thinking about what it would take to create an API service that people can use to get data directly from the Stats Page database. At that time, I wasn’t sold on the idea of extending the PHP codebase that is used for the current Stats Page; as, I was looking at doing a completely re-work of the Stats Page at some point and wanted the code that I would write for an API to also be re-usable for the next version of the Stats Page. I was waffling between writing the new codebase in Python, something that I was already quite familiar with, and TypeScript. While the latter is something that would be interesting to learn, I didn’t have the spare time to pick up a new language and the surrounding frameworks and toolsets; so, Python it was.

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The 1000th* Show Taping and New Wait Wait Stats Reports

Back in March 2019, I was working with Colin Miller at Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! on a request to pull data regarding the various Wait Wait shows that have aired; especially, getting data on shows that excluded Best Of or Repeat shows. The purpose of the request would later be revealed to be trying to determine when the 1000th* original show would land on the schedule. In July, the date and the location for the taping of the 1000th* show would start to solidify. The show would be taped in Salt Lake City, Utah and on Thursday, October 24th. Why Salt Lake City? The very first time that Wait Wait was taped in front of a live audience was at Jewett Center at Westminster …

Stats API Updates: Clean Up and Panelist Bluff Statistics

Ever since publishing the Wait Wait Stats API, I have been working on some of the technical debts that had been accruing throughout the development and release process for both the API and the underlying libwwdtm data access library. One of those items in the technical debt list was to refactor the libwwdtm modules and make the code easier to manage and maintain. Instead of having every function related to a module reside in one code file, those functions are now broken up into core, details, info and utility sub-module under each major module (guest, host, location, panelist, scorekeeper and show). Once the libwwdtm code refactor was completed, it was time to update the Stats API to make use of the refactored modules and make …

New Panelist vs Panelist Report

Over the past couple of months while continuing to work on code that would power the next projects for the Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! Stats Page, I wanted to figure out a way to see how well a panelist has fared against another panelist (say: Adam Felber vs Faith Salie and Luke Burbank vs Roxanne Roberts). After a number of sleepless nights, a lot more than I am willing to admit, I worked out how to pull the data from the Stats Page database and pieced together some of the logic behind it. Since the overall development on the code for the current version of the Stats Page has ceased and any work has moved over to the new data access libraries and web …

All Show Locations Data Entered*

After spending a few hours listening to the Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! audio archive that I have found ways to download from the NPR site over the years, I have gone through and updated the show location for all shows in the Stats Page database.

*: Of course, there are a few shows where Carl Kasell didn’t say which location a Best Of show was recorded or the venue in which a show was taped from (be it at a public radio station or a location with a live audience).

Stats Page Version 3.4.0: Correcting Some Design Mistakes

Ever since I started working on version 3.0 of the Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! Stats Page, one of the design decisions that I made when it came to the individual host, scorekeeper, panelist and guest pages was to use the specially encoded names in the URL. The encoding process would convert certain characters, such as a space, into their URL-encoded version, or “%20” in the case of a space. Well, looking back, that was not really the smartest way of doing it; and, ever since version 3.0 was published back in 2014, I was afraid of breaking any links that may have been created with that URL format and did not have a lot of spare time to re-design the whole thing. As months …