I did a workshop on productivity and now know that I took a bunch of knowledge for granted that could be helping people. So my new goal is to do a better job documenting stuff just in case it’s of use to people. To be clear, I don’t really care what people do with the time they reclaim from trivial and/or unpleasant tasks. I just hope to alleviate some degree of suffering. Maybe they’ll use their extra time to go for a walk or pet a puppy or something. You might also note the sub 60 seconds video tutorial time.1 1 I just want to tell you something as quickly as possible. Video tutorials seem to tend towards lengthy meditation sessions although now that I can control the playback speed very exactly they may become tolerable.
Bean with Tools on the Ocean of Storms flickr photo by NASA on The Commons shared with no copyright restriction (Flickr Commons) We’re taking a much deeper dive into accessibility lately. It is a fruitful and good thing to do but also one of those deceptively deep topics with lots of complications. As a result I’m learning a good bit so I better write it down before it’s all forgotten. Two Handy Tools Thanks to both Matt and Jeff, I ended up using a few different tools.1 Google’s Vox Plugin helps you get a better idea what the experience was going to be like for someone with issues seeing the website. Using this will enable you to understand exactly how some of your decisions play out. I found it very handy. As a minor warning, there appears to be no way to turn it off/on short of disabling the extension. Despite that, I really think it’s a good idea to spend some time using this tool. It really helps. The other useful tool so far has been the Siteimprove Chrome extension. It’s pretty handy to see what warnings/failures are in play in each page. It’s led me to realize that there are so many problems. Bits of Useful Code One of VCU’s requirements is a text only view for the […]
We had some trouble with the selected display name not showing up correctly in comments. It worked fine in themes which displayed post and page authors but comments was often incorrect. That wasn’t good from a user experience perspective and also concerned me a bit in terms of what students might expect to be showing vs what actually was showing. A bit of Google-ing prior to trying to write it from scratch led me to this post which I was able to add to a network activated plugin and be done with the issue. I tend to link in the source of stuff I used to solve the problem1 in the plugin. That gives me an embedded reference/footnote in case I ever need to revisit it and it provides a kind of credit as well. Good for me. Possibly even good for the author of the fix. Having a plugin network activated for fixes of this type is also handy. It keeps the plugin numbers down and ends up being a single place for adding/removing/troubleshooting random custom functions like this. 1 Harvard may not agree.
Locus Online Perspectives » Cory Doctorow: Demon-Haunted World In 2015, HP pushed a fake security update to millions of Officejet owners, which showed up as a routine, ‘‘You must update your software’’ notification on their printers’ screens. Running that update installed a new, secret feature in your printer, with a long fuse. After six months’ wait, the infected printers all checked to see whether their ink cartridges had been refilled, or manufactured by third parties, and to refuse to print with any ink that HP hadn’t given its corporate blessing to. CS50 Updates Course Policies, Asks Students To Go To Class | News | The Harvard Crimson Students are now “encouraged” to physically attend the course’s taped weekly lectures, according to the two-page document. Malan had previously tweaked the course policies in fall 2016 to make lecture attendance optional. Attendance is now also expected at every discussion section until the first mid-semester exam. Malan wrote Thursday that previous CS50 students had reported the online presentations lacked the energy of in-person lectures. Meet Me in the Google Doc For, Uh… a Performance? | KQED Arts took part in a previous incarnation of the Google Doc as shared canvas. “We had no idea how it would develop,” she says. “Over three hours, the doc took on a life of its own. It […]
I’m a big fan of Events Calendar Pro. It makes all sorts of date related things in WordPress very pleasant. The free plugin also does a great job. I did run into a bit of an issue this afternoon as I tried to take events I created in one site and get them into another. Since the events are a custom post type you use the normal WordPress Tools>Export to get them out. That worked fine and I was able to import the events into the new site. The issue came with venues. I’d defined some Venues so I wouldn’t have to keep entering the same addresses again and again. I was able to export/import them in the same way I’d exported the events and they showed up fine as content. Unfortunately, it seems like plugin references the venues via post1 IDs. My imported venues ended up with different IDs and the IDs reference by the events ended up being random WordPress posts (in the traditional sense). This led to venues with names like ‘untitled 4’ or ‘a moment of calm in online teaching.’ Trying to change them on the backend to the venues I’d imported led to weird duplications and the prior information displayed no matter what I did. I didn’t have a huge number of events, maybe 13. […]
This is an attempt to explain a pattern of troubleshooting WordPress through a specific event and perhaps reinforce the need for me to be humble in all interactions with people. So even if you never have this problem this might be useful. Symptoms An admin for one of our sites using FeedWordPress and suddenly can’t see any feeds in her syndicated sites view for that plugin. She sends me an email. I drop into the site and check. All looks good to me. Sadly. Sadly. Sadly. I respond to her and say it seems to be working on my end . . . has she tried another browser, computer, login/logout/restart etc. It’s easy to end up assuming the person reporting the problem is wrong by default. I get a fair number of emails. Many of them, probably most of them, report problems that are more human than mechanical. It’s easy to fall into a trap of assuming it’s a human issue, especially if a superficial inspection confirms that suspicion. It’s also called a trap for a reason. Avoid it if at all possible and if you fall into it please attempt to climb out.1 A bit later she indicates that she has done these things and the problem persists. I go back to the site. It still works for me. […]
Twitter Bots Use Likes, RTs for Intimidation — Krebs on Security A huge collection of botted accounts — the vast majority of which should be easily detectable as such — may be able to abuse Twitter’s anti-abuse tools to temporarily shutter the accounts of real people suspected of being bots! Dominikus Baur – Data Visualization: Data Futures Data Futures is a live experiment about the connections between our data and ourselves. It is run in conference settings, with a large, real-time visualization on a projector, two moderators (Daniel and me) and the participants’ smartphones. Catalog of friendly, useful, artistic online bots, and resources that can help you make them | botwiki Software development 450 words per minute – Vincit –listen to the audio — And it’s not the kind of synthetic speech you hear in today’s smart assistants. I use a robotic-sounding voice which speaks at around 450 words per minute. For comparison, English is commonly spoken at around 120-150 words per minute. h/t boing boing Death of an earl – Thomas Morris Then Doctor West came, who advised a frying pan made red hot to be applied to the head… A ‘glyster’ is an enema. Tobacco enemas were widely used at this date in resuscitation – the standard treatment in cases of drowning. So although blowing tobacco smoke up a […]
Pure click-bait gold, baby!1 You know I’m focused on those high-traffic titles. And now on to the show . . . I’m doing a site for the esteemed Jon Becker’s school law class. The goal is to take tweets that exemplify really bad legal choices by public school administrators. They even have a hashtag – #schoollawwtf. Since we’re taking tweets into WordPress for further analysis we end up with some weird constraints. I can’t rely on useful titles if we want to automate this as the tweet content might contain any number of things and the regex to try to purify it wouldn’t be worth the hassle. New content wouldn’t have any body text either because it’s just a tweet. Granted, I could duplicate that text in the body but I didn’t really see much point in that. I opted to stick the tweet URL in a custom field. That soon led me to the handy wp_oembed_get function which was new to me.2 That worked very nicely for display on single posts (screenshot and code snippet below). Where it ended up failing me was when we needed to display a bunch of tweets in need of analysis. All I had were the Twitter oEmbed element to show and clicking on them would take you to Twitter-land rather than to thee […]