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Anyfeed Slideshow LogoI am very pleased to announce my first independently published project: The Anyfeed Slideshow. This one has been a long time in the making, which started from the desire to display images from an RSS feed on a blog at the office. The idea spawned, that no other plug-in had the capability of taking any RSS feed and extracting a slide show from it, so I went to work.

The plug-in has been tested on a few different systems, all with good results. After some consideration, I added a general public license to the code and looked into registering the plug-in with WordPress. Lo and behold, as of today, the plug-in is officially published on WordPress.org, and available for download from within supporting WordPress blogs.

I’ve already had my first bug found and fixed- It would seem that single image RSS feeds wouldn’t start playing. This has since been fixed and released! Another issue reported was the error “Cannot write RSS feed”, which means the script may not have permission to write to the temp folder. That might require a proxy script to pull the file live, instead of storing and caching it locally.

In any event, I’m totally stoked.

7 Comments Written by in Anyfeed Slideshow,Wordpress at 11:31 am

While I have not yet posted the remaining photos from the trip (why are the last ones always the most difficult to move off the camera?), I wanted to share a photo of the results of the hair cut I received while in Minnesota. He lopped off almost 4 inches! I feel so free!

In other exciting news, the office is presently undergoing renovations.  The entire IT department is being more or less overlooked, but they’re going to re-paint and carpet our area, so it’s not all bad.  The problem is, we have no storage room!  So while the phone guys were re-wiring our server room, we had to remove all of our stuff from it.  Guess who’s office became the new storage facility!

That’s my chair on the lower left there.  It has been challenging, concentrating while the sounds of construction workers ripping up carpet and knocking down walls surround us, but we’re enduring!  How nice that the Agents were relocated to another office during the construction.  I work entirely from a laptop, and thanks to a now broken chair that we’re awaiting a replacement for, I have taken the liberty of relocating myself to the home office for half days.

Our department isn’t the only one being shuffled about:  The Accounting department is having their carpet replaced and walls painted today and they have a great deal more heavy stuff to relocate then we do.  Thankfully for them, they have a storage room which holds most of it.

I sometimes dream of working for a company that actually cares about it’s IT department.  Ours is so frequently treated like nothing more than a debilitating disease which attacks profit.  …and steals candy from little children.  Oh, also a handy scapegoat.

No Comments Written by in Life at 7:56 am

Ever since the first release of Portal, I have been an ecstatic fangirl.  I used to play tons of video games, but these days, I find too many other things that seem more interesting to do (like making websites, or entertaining guests and such.  What happened to me?  Anyway).  Portal grabbed me and re-taught me what a spectacular gaming experience could be.  After an experience like that, I started seeing other games-  2K’s Borderlands, I was floored by the story in Bioware’s Mass Effect 2, but for gameplay, nothing could possibly compete with the simple, brilliant, intuitive and challenging levels of Portal… Except maybe a sequel.

My dreams have come true.  Not only is this sequel continuing an interesting storyline, bringing back old characters and concepts; it introduces a whole new world of possibilities for ways to enjoy the game.

First and foremost, it has a Co-op player mode.

There’s also a robust and story packed 1st person campaign that I can’t wait to explore:

Then there’s the host of all new interesting toys to add to their puzzles.

2011 can’t come soon enough!

No Comments Written by in Games at 8:56 am

Sep 02 2010 New friend

I have a new friend here at work.  He is very curious.

5 Comments Written by in Amusing at 12:45 pm

Having used both jQuery and MooTools in various projects, it’s safe to say that both are extremely useful in the right applications, and one isn’t necessarily better than the other. No one could explain this better then Aaron Newton (MooTools contributor and author of “MooTools Essentials“):

If you go to the jQuery site, here’s what it says at the top of the page:

jQuery is a fast and concise JavaScript Library that simplifies HTML document traversing, event handling, animating, and Ajax interactions for rapid web development. jQuery is designed to change the way that you write JavaScript.

…and if you go to MooTools, this is what you’ll find:

MooTools is a compact, modular, Object-Oriented JavaScript framework designed for the intermediate to advanced JavaScript developer. It allows you to write powerful, flexible, and cross-browser code with its elegant, well documented, and coherent API.

I think this really sums it up. If you ask me (and you’re reading this, so I’ll assume you just have), the question isn’t about which framework is better or worse. It’s which one of these things above do you want to do? These two frameworks just aren’t trying to do the same things. They overlap in the functionality they provide, but they are not trying to do the same things.

I tend to use jQuery because of it’s smaller footprint and wider capabilities, but in my experience, MooTools tends to be a bit more precise then jQuery, so it still has a place in my arsenal.

No Comments Written by in Web Development at 6:00 am

This trip has been lots of fun, but through the whole of it, It just feels like there hasn’t been enough time to spend with the people who were once my closest friends in my home town.  A week and a half is a long time to vacation in such a small town as Mankato, and yet, we ended up so busy during the whole of it, there were people I still didn’t get a chance to see.

As usual the favorite spot to hang out in Mankato was the Wine Café- a building in Old Town which is exactly what it says on the tin- a cafe that’s similar to a bar and coffee shop at the same time.  They specialize in wine, and serve the best Sangria I have ever tasted.

Next up was the Renaissance Festival in Shakopee, MN.  This is the only Ren fair I’d ever been to, and it’s totally awesome.  I’d recommend this place to anyone! I bought a pair of really awesome fairie wings which I don’t have a photo of, my husband bought a great traveler’s hat, I got some new earrings which I’d fallen in love with, and we generally had a great time.  Huzzah!

After visiting friends in Saint Cloud, MN, we traveled further east to have coffee with a close friend at a George Webb Restaurant in New Berlin, Wisconsin.  This was the same restaurant that a close friend who recently passed away would have coffee.  As I was unable to attend his funeral, I wanted to at least say my mental goodbyes in the place we’d spent the most time together.

From there, we moved on to sweet home Chicago to stay with a close friend.  Last night, we went to the best pizza place on earth:  Pizzeria Uno #1, on Ohio St. in Downtown Chicago.  It was every bit as good as I remember it.

Tomorrow, I plan to arrive in Denver Colorado at the very first Chipotle, located on Evans St near the campus of the University of Denver.  Meet us there!  We plan to arrive at 7:00pm local time. 

2 Comments Written by in 2010 Roadtrip at 10:27 am

Aug 15 2010 Suddenly, arrival!


We left the house at about 10:30pm Pacific time, heading up I-680 to meet I-80 towards Sacramento.  I drove the first leg of the trip, letting my husband sleep to recharge in preparation for taking over when I could no longer lift a finger.  This system worked out perfectly!  I made it part way into Nevada, and let Brian take the wheel after a fuel stop shown to the right.

Nevada always takes a hundred million years to drive through, and I only managed to sleep for an hour, so I ended up driving for a while, then taking another 45 minute nap.  I woke up to the most beautiful sunset I’d seen in quite a while- Brian pulled over so I could snap the photo below.   I was very disappointed at the dead battery to my Digital Rebel- I wish I could have taken these with a better camera (but now I have something to look forward to with the return trip!)

I slept for quite some time, barely hanging onto consciousness for most of the night until morning broke.  We had breakfast at Embers (there’s a name I’d almost forgotten!)  Gassed up, and drove another few hours until this glorious sight was ours to behold:

We decided to push through to Mankato this morning.  I am presently typing this from the Microtel Inn & Suites, which a friend recommended to me (Hi Bob!).  Sleep will come shortly- but not until at least 8:00pm CST.  Mankato at 4:00am is a very, very lonely place.

4 Comments Written by in 2010 Roadtrip at 3:31 pm

Aug 13 2010 The Journey Begins

Today, my husband and I will be embarking on the first roadtrip we’ve taken in 4 years. The route will take us North East, to Minnesota, where we were both born and raised. During our trip, I will do my best to take photos and keep a triplog of all the interesting encounters and experiences we have, here.

I have added my location via Google Lattitude to the sidebar. My first destination is Mankato, MN- I hope to send an update before I get there.

Ciao!

No Comments Written by in 2010 Roadtrip at 6:19 pm

OpenID has been a very popular way of allowing the internet to share it’s users with one another in a way that benefits everyone– without forcing the nuisance of creating yet another account to manage on the users. Some time ago, a gentleman by the name of Will Norris put together a plug-in called ‘wp-openid’ which not only provided your readers the option to log in using OpenID, but also included an OpenID Server- meaning you could use your blog’s URL to log into other places, too! How great is that?

From what I can tell, Will and a group of other talented people formed the “DiSo Project,” which has now been very quiet for quite a while. Will’s WordPress plug-in was absorbed and renamed to just “OpenID.”

All was well in the world until, to everyone’s displeasure, the plug-in’s server functions stopped working! Why was it broken? Well, it hasn’t been updated since November of 2009. What’s happened since then? Ubuntu 10.04 was released, and packaged with the new release of PHP (5.3, which had been released 10 months earlier). The OpenID server side module was full of “pass by reference” variables (&$var). This was depreciated in 5.3, causing a “call-time pass-by-reference” error every time you tried to make use of the server side of the plug-in.

How to Fix It

First, find the file. It should be located here:
<Wordpress Root>/wp-content/plugins/openid/Auth/OpenID/Server.php

Once you have the file open in any editor, do a find and replace as follows:
Find: &$
Replace with: $

Save the file and upload it back to your server (if necessary), replacing the original. You should now once more have a functional OpenID Server. Hooray!

6 Comments Written by in Wordpress at 1:12 pm

I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist with my code. Be it HTML, XML, CSS, JavaScript or PHP, I always keep things as neat as possible and follow the rules available to me.

When writing a website from scratch, most of the developers I’ve worked with will always take the shortest, easiest methods.  Images are quickly cut and saved, CSS is written out as part of the header, Javascript is written haphazardly across the body, generated XML is written as a single line, HTML is indented poorly if at all…  These are the things that drive me absolutely crazy.  What’s worse, many times these sites will not display accurately in browsers other then a particular version of Internet Explorer, and because everything is so haphazardly strewn about, it sometimes takes longer to fix the code so it displays correctly in other browsers then it did to write the thing in the first place!

Before I call a website complete, I have a mental checklist I run through.

  1. Does the site pass the W3C validator?
  2. Does the site pass the W3C CSS Validator?
  3. Is all Javascript contained within the header?
    (Extra credit: Is it all in one included file?)
  4. Is all CSS contained within included CSS files?
    (Extra credit: Is it all in one included file?)
  5. Are all images in formats that enable the lowest file size?
  6. Does the site look identical in all browsers?

This is of course not complete- but more a basic list that ensures you avoid the problems listed above.  There are a number of sites which provide fantastic lists for what to check before finishing your project;  The best I’ve seen so far is Launchlist, which gives you a very verbose and logical place to start from, and lets you add your own to it if they missed anything.

If only more people followed these rules, we’d avoid the issues caused by “Internet Explorer Only” websites.

No Comments Written by in Web Development at 6:00 am
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