Oct 22, 2017

Dancers are the athletes of God - Albert Einstein

Images in Whitespace – putting a border on and not flowing text around

I wanted to put a border around an image – like this:


I don’t want to do it for all images and so editing the HTML code of the post is used when needed. I just add this code to the end of the ‘img’ tag:
style=”border-style: solid; border-width: thin”

Also I often don’t want text to flow around an image and to fix that, and have the text show after the image (as is the case above), I add this after the image tag:
<br clear=”all” />

Putting it all together, here is the code that produced the above image and picked up from the HTML view in the WP post editor (which is where the changes were put in):

<img title=”share_this_after” src=”http://www.brucemarriott.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/share_this_after1.jpg” alt=”” width=”347″ height=”180″ style=”border-style: solid; border-width: thin” /><br clear=”all” />

I’m sure there are clever CSS ways of doing this as well, but this is simple and gives me the flexibility I want when I want.

Whitespace WordPress Theme – Social Bookmarking options, AddThis and ShareThis

This is the little row of icons at the bottom of posts that enable easy sharing of the post/page with Twitter and Facebook etc.

I did a search and there are lots of plugins around. What I look at is when was the code last updated and does it work with my version (3.0.1). The ‘AddThis Social Bookmarking Widget’ seemed to be used by lots of sites (not just WordPress and I loaded that. All worked fine – very easy. However when it did Tweets it added on the end ‘via addthis’ and there was no easily obvious way to remove it. I did a search and found a thread in the support area of the AddThis website and it seemed to show a couple of ways it might be done – both rather technical however. The first looked easiest but just said add this javascript – I had no idea how this related to the WordPress implementation! Also as I was doing the Google up came a ‘scare’ about AddThis and privacy issues. I didn’t bother to read further, but AddThis can give you metrics on where people go etc and if you ran you own setup you could track what users do anyway. How relevant it is I’m not sure, however to keep trying to fix the Twitter ‘advertisement’ with this background seemed wrong.

Another look around and this time I went with ‘ShareThis‘. Like AddThis it is a hosted service but its instructions on use seems simpler. Of the 7 display options I configured it to use ‘Regular Buttons’ – no 5 of the 7. Using the second configuration option I changed the ordering to put Twitter first. The example image shows, to the right of each icon, the name of that social service eg Twitter. However it does not come configured like this and ‘share’ was the text next to each icon. This can be fixed in the thirs config option titled ‘Click to view/modify the HTML tags’. This has essentially the same code fragment repeated 4 times, once for each option and at the end of each fragment you find: “displayText=’share'”. You just modify the ‘share’ text to ‘Twitter’ and ‘Facebook’ etc. Annoyingly the config page seems to forget this and if you go away and look at the code again you find the changes are not there. In actuality it is all working fine but the result of his is that if you modify anything on the config page again those changes will be forgotten and need to be put in again. A small gotcha.

The only thing then was to adjust the look. As delivered the bottom of a post looked like this:


To my eye the social row seems to hover a bit and should really be closer to the line beneath.

Rather then try and style the social row itself, (to be honest I don’t entirely see how it gets injected or how it might be styled!) I concentrated on the code below and raising up the line of dots so they are nearer what went before – in this case the row of social icons.

In the stylesheet find this:

.postmeta {
width: 500px;
padding: 2px 0px 30px 0px;
margin: 0px 0px 0px 0px;
border-top: 1px dotted #C0C0C0;
}

and change to:

.postmeta {
width: 500px;
padding: 2px 0px 30px 0px;
margin: -10px 0px 0px 0px;
border-top: 1px dotted #C0C0C0;
}

The bold shows the change. Doing that gives this visual arrangement:


That’s it……….

Whitespace WordPress Theme and Wrapping Very Long URLs

Very long URLs sometimes burst out of this content area and bleed across to the column on the right. I say sometimes because Firefox seems to do the right thing and wrap a long URL, whereas Chrome and Safari (and I think IE7) do not.

The following page says more about it all and gives a solution that seems to work:
http://perishablepress.com/press/2010/06/01/wrapping-content/

I implemented like this…

In the stylesheet find the Hyperlinks section near the top and add the bold text:

a, a:visited {
color: #017F8D;
text-decoration: none;
white-space: pre;           /* CSS 2.0 */
white-space: pre-wrap;      /* CSS 2.1 */
white-space: pre-line;      /* CSS 3.0 */
white-space: -pre-wrap;     /* Opera 4-6 */
white-space: -o-pre-wrap;   /* Opera 7 */
white-space: -moz-pre-wrap; /* Mozilla */
white-space: -hp-pre-wrap;  /* HP Printers */
word-wrap: break-word;      /* IE 5+ */

}

Note: I first added the bold text to the ‘#content p’ definition so it would apply to any text. However this caused double spacing in listings like the code above and made other posts looked oddly formed with an extra blank link here and there. Using <pre> tags around code could help sort that but it’s extra work and the general extra blank lines here and there would have needed individually sorting too. Ultimately this is a long URLs problem and that’s what I’ve sorted.

Whitespace WordPress Theme and Right Column Moving Under Content Area

On some posts I noticed that the contents of the right column would appear under the content (the middle column). Horrid!

Looking at the CSS of the page as rendered on Firefox and with Web Developer extension – which I don’t know much about and don’t use much – showed that it was there because it was seen as content and not a new div. Old hands will have known this all the time I’m sure. So somehow the Content area was not being closed off as it should.

More poking around and I found the problem was repeatable:

  • If commenting (in posts) was switched on then this did not happen.
  • If there were no comments and commenting is closed then no problem.
  • If there are comments and commenting is then closed then there was a problem

The problem turned out to be a lack of a closing </div> in those circumstances – the logic was flawed.

To fix, go into comments.php

Find this code (note I have collapsed spaces from the start of lines):

<?php else : // this is displayed if there are no comments so far ?>

  <?php if ('open' == $post->comment_status) : ?>
     <!-- If comments are open, but there are no comments. -->

  <?php else : // comments are closed ?>
     <!-- If comments are closed. -->
     <p>Comments are closed.</p></div>

  <?php endif; ?>
<?php endif; ?>

and remove the bold </div> to give this:

<?php else : // this is displayed if there are no comments so far ?>

  <?php if ('open' == $post->comment_status) : ?>
     <!-- If comments are open, but there are no comments. -->

  <?php else : // comments are closed ?>
     <!-- If comments are closed. -->
     <p>Comments are closed.</p>

  <?php endif; ?>
<?php endif; ?>

Also towards the bottom of the file find this

<?php do_action(‘comment_form’, $post->ID); ?>

</form>
</div>

and remove the bold </div> to give this:

<?php do_action(‘comment_form’, $post->ID); ?>

</form>

And the last change is to add a </div> as the very last line in the file, which should then look like this:

<?php endif; // if you delete this the sky will fall on your head ?>
</div>

Whitespace WordPress Theme – Some Cosmetic Changes

Whitespace is no longer available and I suspect that few are using it these days. I’ve decided to stay with it for now because I still like it an its also an excuse to do some WordPress tweaks and learn more.

Colour Change
First up I wanted to add a little bit more sparkle and the Links colour has been changed to something a little lighter:

Old: #017F8D
New: #019CAD

However for hover links I retained the old colour generally and that punches them up a bit more. The change is scattered all around the style sheet – follow your nose!

Headings Change
I also decided that having heading all in lower case seemed to make them less readable and do I commented out the forcing of it in the stylesheet:

#content h1 {
color: #000000;
font-size: 20px;
font-family: Georgia, Helvetica, Sans-Serif;
font-weight: normal;
margin: 0px 0px 0px 0px;
padding: 0px 0px 10px 0px;
/* text-transform: lowercase; */
}

Footer Change

I also deleted the standard blogrole that seemed to overflow the footer and also the Admin links back to WordPress and XHTML checking etc. Also in the footer I commented out the left and middle floats and did a left float twice the width and put the Tags listing in there. I decided against a classic cloud with variable text sizes and used this code:

<div>
<h2>Tags: </h2>
<ul>
<?php wp_tag_cloud('smallest=9&largest=9&separator= || '); ?>
</ul>
</div>

Left SideBar Change
I also created a bit more space between entries in the Recently Written list – a custom bit of CSS because I wanted all the other links in the sidebar to have the original spacing. Probably not done optimally but it works for me.

Vodafone Mobile Broadband – Cost Problems Using Abroad – Be Very Careful. Also Poor Customer Care.

I’ve just been over to Turkey for 4 days and it was also the first time to try out my Vodafone Mobile Broadband modem abroad. The reason I went to Vodafone (who don’t supply my mobile phone – that’s T-Mobile) was because they do reasonably cheap use abroad – £9.99/day for up to 50Mb. That’s not all countries – the list is here: http://www.abroad.vodafone.co.uk/index.cfm?do=abroad.blackberry&me=a3&nu=1&le=3&business=true&sn=s7&wtcgn=(business)Using%20your%20data%20abroad&wtcgs=Costs

Before going I checked that Turkey was in the £10/day footprint and I also downloaded the latest version of Vodafone Mobile Connect which in the release notes mentioned having a Turkey specific update, though I can’t recall what now. Although I download the full version of connect sometimes the system just seems to use the Light version on the USB Modem – an E172. Before going I also did all the Windows updating – although I never have it setup to auto update, just warn me if there are updates, I don’t want to run any risk of Windows forgetting and downloading huge updates.

In Turkey the link seem to work intermittently – picking up different providers I think, but I didn’t take a note. I did though see if the software could bring up a list of providers that I might select from, but could find no option like that. But I don’t think I should need to do any of this – it really ought to just sort itself out and that’s what it did. I was able though look at the graph of Use on the Connect software and it was showing 25Mb for the month, which was after 2 days use – so nowhere near the 50 MB per day. And that’s intuitively correct – I just want to check emails and do some light surfing while away enjoying myself. Then the modem just stopped working. I had no idea why.

I got back to the UK yesterday and tried and use the modem today and still it was not working. So I try to login to my account on the Vodafone website using normal broadband – and the account seems to deactivated.

So I ring up and get put on hold while investigations are made. The lady comes back saying the bill was very high because I had been using the phone (its not a phone!) abroad and its £10/Mbyte. So I explain its not a phone and it only cost £10/day. And she says that Turkey isn’t in Europe and it doesn’t count. And i say I checked the website and it is in the plan. More consulting while I am on hold. And then she says I must have used more then 50 Mbytes and then it £5/Mybte. And i don’t believe this.

So I ask how much do I owe and she says she doesn’t know. Credit Control apparently  disabled the account and there is talk about £120, but no detail and the detail will not be known until the next bill. So Vodafone might be claiming I used more even

I’m now very nervous:

1) I’ve used the system as advertised and not excessively and yet I am being told I owe a lot of money.
2) Vodfone send no email or call or anything to warn me that the account was suspended – appalling.
2) Vodafone customer service don’t really seem to be at all familiar with price plans – I find myself talking to somebody who was clutching at straws to justify what had happened rather then realising the price plan I was on and really understanding what may have happened. Even with the detail numbers  known I worry about having a conversation with the ordinary customer care people who seem to front things.

I am now very, very nervous about using abroad – the only reason I’m with Vodafone. Luckily I am not going abroad for a while now. But this is not good.

I’d welcome other views and experiences and war stories about who one should ask to talk to if one finds oneself in this position. Also when will costs be known? What might have happened etc.

But for the moment I remain very apprehensive of Vodafone’s ability to deliver a solution (PC hardware/software and billing/roaming) that properly honours the sales proposition and just seamlessly works at the cost stated.

iPhone phone audio stops working when ear-phones ‘oddly’ unplugged…

I tried to answer somebody on the iPhone today and could not hear them and they could not hear me. If i pressed the Speaker button then I could. I tried dialling out to people and again the same thing – it was clearly no one off. Powered-right-off and on and still the same. Updated iTunes to 8.0.1.11 (desperate stuff I know!) and still the same.

Did Google search on ‘iPhone mike and speaker stopped working’ and got salvation on first link returned.

They say to plug earphones in and out a few times because the iPhone can get confused and think earphones are plugged in when they are not. I did this and all was sorted. The page I visited is here::
http://www.iphoneatlas.com/2007/08/30/no-iphone-audio-a-simple-fix/

It all fits because up until now i have never, ever, used the iPhone for music and yesterday I put some music on it (I had just got a Nano iPod up and going and so had the music fresh in iTunes). So I play music on my iPhone for the first time and lo, the phone has problems when I decide to do a crazy thing like unplug the headphones!  It may be Apple, it may just be the Jailbreak I suppose. But it’s not good or cool and another reminder that the iPhone might be wonderful in a number of respects but reliability and stability is not one of them.

If I continue to use the iPhone it will be without playing music on it for now. I’m sure there are ways of operating the player/headphone functionality that does not cause problems but finding and learning them I’m not interested in. And anyway we are told about the legendary usability of Apple and how it just works. Well what I’d like is the ability to unplug the headphones anywhere at anytime and still be able to hear callers and for callers to hear me. Not a lot to ask.

Finally note that mine is an original (non 3G) phone, jail broken to allow use on my providers network (T-Mobile) and updated to v2.1 software.

Windows XP Hibernation Fixed

Note: I run Windows XP service pack 2 – I may well upgrade to SP3 at some point but decided not to jump straight in. It may be that SP3 would have fixed this – don’t know.

Problem: When I tried to Hibernate my system it would start to go through the motions and then in the System Tray the following message would come up “Insufficient System Resources Exist to Complete the API” and the system would stay powered up. This has always been the case since I got the system – I just decided to devote time to fixing it today…

Some quick Googling lead to this Microsoft Knowledge Base Page:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/909095

Running the update patch has fixed the problem which seems to be associated with having more than 1GB of Ram – I have 4GB (of which only 2.75Gb is usable to XP).

Belkin UPS UPSD.EXE Falls Over when restarting from Windows XP Stand By

UPSD.exe came with my Belkin UPS and I think is responsible for talking directly to the UPS over USB. When it falls over the PC is not in the loop and can’t power down properly or tell you what the UPS is up to – bad news. After resuming from putting XP into Stand By, UPSD would throw up an error message that it had fallen over and did I want to send details to Microsoft etc.

A Google did not throw up much particularly, so I thought I would check for new software (which I guess shoudl have been my first response!):
http://www.belkin.com/uk/support/article/?lid=enu&pid=F6C1400-EUR&aid=6153&scid=0

I was using Belkin Bulldog Plus v 3.2.19 and a new version was released in January – 4.0.2

Installing the new version threw up lots of messages – it looks like their installer does not do a good job of uninstalling the old version. I struggled through (sorry can’t recall all I did but at some point I did a Program Stop on the System Tray Icon. If I were updating again I would stop the System Tray component, Remove all the Belkin Software and only then install the new.

But good to say that 4.0.2 plays happily with XP Stand By.

Original jail broken iPhone and 2.1 Software update

My phone was jail-broken so I could use it on T-Mobile where I have a contract running I cannot move from. One needs to be careful in talking about Jail Breaking because it seemed to be 2 things originally:

1) A part that enabled you to use another mobile provider for comms
2) A part that enabled you to add new applications especially created for a jail-broken iPhone. This was cool because the original iPhone was closed and there was no Apple market for extra apps.

Now the 1 part seems to exist very separately from the 2 part – to the point where you can use iTunes/Apples normal iPhone update facility and still the phone talks to the ‘alien’ sim just fine. The only thing you loose is not being able to download jail broken apps, but there are not so many of them anyway, and to be honest all I ever really wanted was just to use the iPhone with the network I need to.

Anyway I upgraded to 2.1 using the normal Apple facilities and all went well:
1) T-Mobile still working
2) they fixed the Mapping Locate me now feature
3) back to more snappy machine – ie can move between menus more quickly than with 2.01 and 2.02

Unknown – still not sure about occasional browser crashing.

I’d stress again this is an original iPhone, not a 3G one. While my iPhone can talk to third party comms providers I don’t believe there is a software solution to do the same on the iPhone 3G yet. So while I might not have fast comms at least I have the benefit of not changing contracts and all that stuff.

While I’m glad that Apple have dug themselves out of a hole they should never have made, I’m still not sure about iPhone usability overall and the lack of 3G on mine is a drawback when I have a Nokia E61 that does. I’ll probably run the iPhone for a week and then review. Slightly longer term, my mobile contract comes up for renewal at the end of the 2008 and teasing out a new mobile will be fun.

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