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Journal: How to make "mobile-friendly" web pages 2

Journal by mcgrew

I finally got the full texts of Nobots and Mars, Ho! to display well on a phone. My thanks to Google for showing me how, even if the way they present the information is more like trial and error, but it's actually easy once you jump through all their hoops. I'll make it easy.

First, you need to make sure it will fit on a phone's screen. I've been preaching for years that it's stupid to use absolute values, except with images; if you don't tell the browser the image size and you are using style sheets, your visitors will be playing that annoying "click the link before it moves again" game.

Some of you folks who studied this in college should demand your tuition be refunded, because they obviously didn't teach this.

Giving tables, divs, and such absolute values almost assures that some of your visitors will have that incredibly annoying and unprofessional horizontal scroll (*cough* slashdot *cough*).

None of the elements (images, divs, etc) can be more than 320 pixels wide, and you need to tell the browser to make it fit on a screen. To do this, add this meta tag to your page's head:

<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">

Next, you need to make sure the text is large enough to read without double tapping. The <p> tag does this:

<p {min-height: 16px}>

This needs to be placed after the <body> tag and before anything having to do with text.

To test it, just pull the page up on your phone. If it scrolls sideways, you need to work on it.

If you're worried about your Google pagerank, Google has a "mobile friendly test" here. If you flunk, well, when Google says "jump"...

My main index page fails their test. To make it pass the test I would have to ruin the desktop/tablet design. As it is now, the text is readably large on a phone but it has a sideways scroll, which is tiny if you hold the phone sideways, and I added a link at the very start of the page to a version that will pass Google's test, looks fine on a phone, not bad on a tablet but looks like excrement on a computer. The main index works fine on a tablet, since I've made it as "mobile-friendly" as possible.

I'd have it redirect if it saw Android or iOS, but it's been fifteen years since I've done that and I've forgotten how.

User Journal

Journal: When did Net Neutrality change? 18

Journal by Marxist Hacker 42

As late as last year, I remember Net Neutrality being a libertarian free market concept- preventing a crony corporate takeover of the Internet. Now that it is being implemented by the FCC, it has suddenly become a crony corporate (Democrat Brand) takeover of the Internet, that all good libertarians should oppose.

I haven't had political whiplash like this since the Catholic Church went from those nice monks doing AIDS research and running hospice care centers to those bigots who want to keep THOSE people from marrying.

User Journal

Journal: Operation Pacman

Journal by karniv0re

It's been a while since I spawned an Operation. As I'll remind my audience of approximately zero, I determine operations based on the need for a long term focus on a particular goal. This particular goal is eradicating debt. And since I can't do it all at once, I'm doing it a little bit at a time. Like Pacman eating the little dots (monthly payments) and trying not to get caught by the ghosts (surprise expenses).

I've got my spreadsheet model laid out for various situations. Currently, it is set on what I am calling "Insane Mode" where I basically have no life and pay as much as I can on my loans. Realizing this isn't realistic, I'm going to create a Goal in Simple for Student Loans (and eventually Upstart Loan) and set aside as much as I possibly can in to that, leaving me about $400/month for food. If I go over that $400, then I eat away at my debt payment, causing me to be more mindful of my spending.

I'm also going to make an effort to shop cheaper, doing my grocery shopping at Target and such instead of the local mom & pop, which is much more expensive.

This is coming on the heels of learning that I will be supporting my girlfriend through anesthesia school a lot more than I anticipated. I can still eradicate my debt by bonus time next year though if I stick to this. I won't be eating ramen though, as my health will always come first. But bars, restaurants, and expensive cigars are out. Even expensive whiskey is out. I'll be drinking bottom shelf Evan Williams (which isn't bad, really). But I'm going to get this done. One day at a time. One little dot at a time.

User Journal

Journal: Upgrading Ubuntu End Of Life 13.04 Raring Ringtail on a Sony Vaio 1

Journal by karniv0re

I bought a laptop a couple years ago. I don't know why, because I installed Ubuntu on it and then it sat unused for about three years until my girlfriend's laptop broke and I told her she could use mine. Having a Linux machine is like having an HP graphing calculator that uses RPN â" Awesome for you, but when someone asks to borrow it, they are utterly clueless. All she really needs it for is Internet (all anyone really needs computers for these days is Internet â" hence Chromebooks). So she can get by, but the thing is still on Raring Ringtail, which I came to find out is 3 versions old and End of Lifed. Which means upgrading isn't a snap. So I'm taking some time out of my Saturday to do that and document it here.

I will also take a minute to mention how much I fucking hate Ubuntu and the monstrosity of a desktop environment, Unity. Fuck the whole thing straight to hell. I have probably uttered the phrase "Fucking Ubuntu..." more times than I can enumerate. Now, I would have installed Debian, but a couple years ago when they first started coming out with UEFI, Ubuntu was about the only distro that handled installs with ease. I'm sure Debian has caught up by now, but I'm not willing to spend a whole weekend on this. Half of a day is all it's getting.

So here we go.

I'm following along with Ubuntu's guide, but I'll repeat the steps here as we all know how links tend to disappear years down the line: https://help.ubuntu.com/commun... First of all, I didn't want to do everything with sudo, especially things I know I'm going to need to be doing as root, so I'm just going to

$ su -
Password:
su: Authentication failure

Goddamnit. Yet another thing to hate about Ubuntu. They treat their users like children (because most of their users are) and they don't even give them a root account. It's like the movies where the experienced guy gives the untrustworthy guy a gun but it's not loaded, and the idiot finds out later when he tries to shoot the experienced guy. Anyway, I'm an experienced guy, so I have to manually enable root.

$ sudo passwd root
Enter new UNIX password:
Retype new UNIX password:
passwd: password updated successfully

Now we can proceed.

$ su -
Password:
#

Update /etc/apt/sources.list

# vim /etc/apt/sources.list

## EOL upgrade sources.list
# Required
deb http://old-releases.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ CODENAME main restricted universe multiverse
deb http://old-releases.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ CODENAME-updates main restricted universe multiverse
deb http://old-releases.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ CODENAME-security main restricted universe multiverse
 
# Optional
deb http://old-releases.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ CODENAME-backports main restricted universe multiverse

# apt-get update

You should also make sure some meta-packages are installed so the upgrade can continue without problems. Update-manager From version 6.06 and up you will need to install the update-manager and update-manager-core packages.

# apt-get install update-manager-core update-manager

Kernel This part takes a while, as the headers are pretty weighty.

sudo apt-get install linux-image-generic linux-headers-generic

Run the upgrade And then this part really takes a while, as you know.

# apt-get update
# apt-get dist-upgrade
# do-release-upgrade

Then do it it again. And again. Until you're caught up. Ugh, this takes forever.

User Journal

Journal: Sorry I haven't written...

Journal by mcgrew

I have two new stories nearly finished, but I've decided to see if I can sell first publication rights to a magazine. If everyone rejects them, I'll post them then. If one is accepted, it will likely be quite a while before I can post.

With three books in the works I've been really busy. Hell, I've been working harder since I retired than I did when I worked! I got the index pages to my three published books and the "coming soon" page for Yesterday's Tomorrows "mobile-friendly". I don't know why I'm bothering; almost nobody surfs in on a phone or from Google. But at any rate, I got the book Triplanetary and the first two chapters of Mars, Ho "mobile friendly" as well. The Time Machine is next; the epub versions of my books are better than the HTML versions, on a phone, anyway. Twain, Dickens, and God are going to be mobile-hostile for quite a while because of all the artwork in them.

I couldn't make the main index "mobile friendly" without making it look like crap on a computer screen, so I made a copy "mobile friendly", posted it as mobile.html and added a link from the main index.

Site stats say Google has spidered, so I tried to find Mars, Ho!" by googling on the phone. Nothing but Marsho Medical Group, Andy Weir's The Martian, and a facebook page for someone named Mars Ho. Googling "Mars, Ho! novel" did bring up Amazon's e'book copy halfway through the page.

"Mars, Ho! mcgrew" brought up Amazon's e'book first, followed by the mobile-hostile main index, THEN the actual Mars, Ho! index which IS "mobile friendly" (it passed their test). And I thought "mobile friendly" was supposed to raise your ranks? What's up, Google?

The second copy of Yesterday's Tomorrows came yesterday. I didn't expect until the day after tomorrow. I went through it twice yesterday and it's almost ready; there is still a little work before it's published, but it won't be long.

It's a really nice book, with stories by Isaac Asimov, John W Campbell, Murray Leinster, Frederik Pohl, Neil R Jones, Kurt Vonnegut, A. E. Van Vogt, Theodore Sturgeon, Poul Anderson, Phillip K Dick, Frank Herbert, James Blish, Lester del Rey, and Jerome Bixby. Covers of the magazines they appeared in are shown, with short biographies and photos of the authors. It's also well-illustrated with illustrations from the original magazines.

Random Scribblings: Junk I've littered the internet with for two decades will probably be next year.

Oh, how do you like my new shirt?

User Journal

Journal: Eclipse: The Loathe of My Life

Journal by karniv0re

Eclipse is bad, man. And I'm not saying that because I used it once and didn't like it. I have used it daily for 5 years. I remember it being pretty decent somewhere around the Helios/Indigo era. But once Juno hit, everything fell apart it seems. I'm currently still sitting on Juno, with two versions gone by now, because while, yes it is fucked up, it is a known level of fucked up. I don't know how much worse they've made it since then.

For a while, I kept a list of everything wrong with (my) Eclipse:

- SVN commit sometimes gets stuck.
        - Solution: Sometimes cancelling it and trying again works. Sometimes you have to restart Eclipse.
- Red Problem error on POM file after updating shared component
        - Solution: Manually update project under Maven
- JiBX binding fails when any change is made to the component
        - This is due to the JiBX autobuild plugin being fucked up and having to disable it
        - Solution: Do a clean install every time
- JRebel reloads forever, but doesn't execute
        - Solution: Stop server, recompile, start again
- Closing when SVN locks up locks the whole app.
        - Solution: Kill w/ task manager. Start again.
- Error shows in IDE, compiles w/ manual MVN command
        - Solution: Delete Maven Persisted Library from build path
- Debugging / Changes/ JRebel reloading causes IDE to lock up.
        - Solution: Kill w/ task manager. Start again.
- Toolbar gone for no good reason
        - Solution: Window -> Hide Toolbar (Why is it not "Show Toolbar"???)
- Shows errors after updating Maven dependencies in text editor.
        - Solution: Restart Eclipse
- "Perspective Switch Job has encountered a problem" when debugging from Java perspective and it hits a breakpoint and tries to flip you over to Debug.
        - Solution: Restart Eclipse
- Save stops working (ctrl+s, or :w in Vrapper)
        - Solution: Close editor (it will ask if you want to save, so say yes) then restart Eclipse
- Deleting project leaves closed project folder in package explorer
        - Solution: Restart Eclipse
- Link with Editor stops working in Package Explorer
        - Solution: Restart Eclipse
- WSDL file giving warning: WS-I: A problem occured while running the WS-I WSDL conformance check: org.eclipse.wst.wsi.internal.analyzer.WSIAnalyzerException: null ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Nested exception is: java.lang.NullPointerException The WSDLAnalyzer was
  unable to validate the given WSDL File.
        - Solution: No idea. This is apparently a bug in WST or something.
- Parent project of a multi-module project shows as in error with "Import cannot be resolved"
        - Properties -> Project Facets -> Check Dynamic Web Module, Java, Javascript
- XSD shows as an error in project with "src-resolve: Cannot resolve the name 'xxx:whateverType' to a(n) 'type definition' component."
        - Solution: No idea.

Notice how most of the solutions end with "Restart Eclipse." Ugh. It's the new Windows.

Unfortunately, I can't use IntelliJ. As much as I love some of the things you can do with IntelliJ, I gotta have multi-module support. I don't work in a single module. I work in several at the same time. IntelliJ's limit on that is a deal breaker.

Anyway, I've been trying to clean up my workspace all day, which is proving to be a Sisyphian task. Screw this. I need to code. I'll just have to live with the false-alarm red-Xs and warnings. Just like I live with Eclipse. *fart noise*

User Journal

Journal: Product Review: Seagate Personal Cloud 5

Journal by mcgrew

Around the first of the year all three working computers were just about stuffed full, so I thought of sticking a spare drive in the Linux box, when the Linux box died from a hardware problem. It's too old to spend time and money on, so its drive is going in the XP box (which is, of course, not on the network; except sneakernet). I decided to break down and buy an external hard drive. I found what I was looking for in the "Seagate Personal Cloud". And here I thought the definition of "the cloud" was someone else's server!

I ordered it the beginning of January, not noticing that it was a preorder; it wasn't released until late March. I got it right before April.

I was annoyed with its lack of documentation -- it had a tiny pamphlet full of pictures and icons and very few words. Whoever put that pamphlet together must beleive the old adage "a picture is worth a thousand words". Tell me, if a picture is worth a thousand words, convey that thought in pictures. I don't think it can be done.

I did find a good manual on the internet. For what I wanted, I really didn't need a manual, but since I'm a nerd I wanted to understand everything about the thing. Before looking for a manual I plugged it all up, and Windows 7 had no problem connecting with it. It takes a few minutes to boot; it isn't really simply a drive, it must have an operating system and network software, because it looks to the W7 notebook to be another file server. Its only connections are a jack for the power cord and a network jack.

The model I got has three terrabytes. I moved all the data from the two working computers (using a thumb drive to move data from XP) and the "cloud" was still empty. Streaming audio and video from it is flawless; I'm completely satisfied with it, it's a fine piece of hardware.

However, it WON'T do what is advertised to do, which is to be able to get to your data from anywhere. In order to do that, Seagate has a "software as a service" thing where you can connect to a computer from anywhere, but only the computer and its internal drives, NOT the "personal cloud". And they want ten bucks a month for it.

I downloaded the Android app, and I could see and copy files that were on my notebook to my phone, but I couldn't play music stored there on it. I uninstalled the crap. "Software as a service" is IMO evil in the first place, but to carge a monthly fee to use a piece of crap software like this is an insult. Barnum must have been right.

If you're just looking for an external hard drive, like I was, it's a good solution. If you want what they're advertising, you ain't gettin' it. The Seagate Personal Cloud's name is a lie, as is its advertising.

User Journal

Journal: Found at a Catholic site 39

Journal by Marxist Hacker 42

The legal impossibility of a Christian polity in America is formally declared in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The so-called 'free speech' and 'free exercise' clauses of the First Amendment are purely secular mandates. They are a rejection of the Catholic notion of the common good, mandating that there be no restraint whatsoever on things that damage souls and ultimately destroy the State itself. They grant as lawful precisely what many popes have called unlawful: unconditional freedom of thought, of speech, of writing, and of worship -- as if these were so many rights given by nature to man. The language of the First Amendment reflects the Protestant-borne, Enlightenment-bred faith of the deistic Framers in the ability of unaided human reason to define and sustain liberty apart from Trinitarian Truth; that is, without a cooperative effort by the Church and the State. Thus, all manner of violations of natural and divine law, including the "right" to murder children in the womb, and the coming "right" to "marry" someone of the same sex, are found lurking in the secular mandates of the First Amendment. The true Church foresees these errors. Oddly enough, the Secular State itself will not be able to endure its own mandates.

User Journal

Journal: We've been spelling it wrong for over a quarter century 8

Journal by mcgrew

I'm surprised that this hasn't been addressed by the academic communities. Someone with a degree in English or linguistics or something like that should have though of this decades ago.

This word (actually more than one word) has various spellings, and I've probably used all of them at one time or another. The word is email, or eMail, or e-mail, or some other variation. They're all wrong.

It's a contraction of "electronic mail" and as such should be spelled e'mail. The same with e'books and other e'words.

So why hasn't someone with a PhD in English pointed this out to me? I have no formal collegiate training in this field. It's a mystery to me.

User Journal

Journal: Are printed books' days numbered? 4

Journal by mcgrew

In his 1951 short story The Fun They Had, Isaac Asimov has a boy who finds something really weird in the attic -- a printed book. In this future, all reading was done on screens.

When e'books* like the Nook and Kindle came out, there were always women sitting outside the building on break on a nice spring day reading their Nooks and Kindles. It looked like the future to me, Asimov's story come true. I prefer printed books, but thought that it was because I'm old, and was thirty before I read anything but TV and movie credits on a screen.

And then I started writing books. My youngest daughter Patty is going to school at Cincinnati University (as a proud dad I have to add that she's Phi Beta Kappa and working full time! I'm not just proud, I'm in awe of her) and when she came home on break and I handed her a hardbound copy of Nobots she said "My dad wrote a book! And it's a REAL book!"

So somehow, even young people like Patty value printed books over e'books.

My audience is mostly nerds, since few non-nerds know of me or my writing, so I figured that the free e'book would far surpass sales of the printed books. Instead, few people are downloading the e'books. More download the PDFs, and more people buy the printed books than PDFs and ebooks combined.

Most people just read the HTML online, maybe that's a testament to my m4d sk1llz at HTML (yeah, right).

Five years ago I was convinced ink was on the way out, but there's a book that was printed long before the first computer was turned on that says "the news of my death has been greatly exaggerated".

* I'll write a short story about the weird spelling shortly.

User Journal

Journal: Final Thoughts at End of Contract

Journal by Marxist Hacker 42

Things that were not explained adequately upon conversion from CW to ICE.

  1. Bonuses- it was thought by my management that QPB applied to all blue badge employees including ICE. If I had known I wasn't going to get bonuses, I would have asked for higher base pay.
  2. Vacation Time- MUST be taken while still an employee, and unlike what the recruiter who wrote my job offer told me, cannot be used to extend your final week. Any unused vacation time will be lost at end of contract, by policy. In addition, apparently you lose it at the end of the year, I really should have taken WW52 off, then the sting would not be so bad now.
  3. ICE as a stepping stone to full employment at Intel is a lie. I couldn't get anybody, despite spending many hours on networking, to give my resume a second look. I even learned a new tool in this contract that is internal and can only be used at Intel and is completely worthless outside of Intel. No matter, I've had many interviews outside of Intel, and will land well, but I'll keep this in mind the next time I am tempted to take a short term contract at Intel.
  4. Being a blue badge, if you are ICE, still means you're treated more like a resource than like a human by human resources. Many policies are used to reverse decisions that your manager, who is working more closely with you, has made.
     

Software Project Management At Intel in non-software divisions

  1. Brooks Law is almost unheard of at Intel. Hardware Managers think that all software projects can be completed in less than six months, and therefore throw contingent workers at the project. Since software estimates, in general, are 75% engineering and 25% new science, they are wildly inaccurate. When the project inevitably fails to be complete in the first six months, the temptation is to break Brook's Law by adding more contingent workers. The time to ramp up CWs on the project of course exceeds the time to complete the project if you kept software engineers working for more than 18 months at a time.
  2. Agile or Waterfall- Pick one and stick to it. This crazy combination used on software projects in hardware divisions is ridiculous, as is the general lack of written requirements.
  3. It's hard to hit a moving target- input data integrity must be respected. If you don't have input data integrity, then there will be bugs. Bugs add complexity. Bugs make software estimates inaccurate. Lather, rinse, repeat.

On the new diversity initiative

  1. There is no link between surface appearance and how a person thinks, or how capable they are. None at all. While this makes the apparent racism of the past a mistake, this also makes modern affirmative action programs equally racist and invalid.
  2. There is no link between religion, sexual orientation, or disability and how a person thinks, or how capable they are. Such factors should not enter into hiring or promotion decisions at all, and when they do, that is what Intel needs to eliminate from the system.
  3. There IS a link between certain forms of mental illness and the ability to innovate. Since mental illness affects the brain directly, having somebody with a well controlled mental illness on your team increases diversity of thought, which leads to innovation.
  4. I believe that the uncertainty surrounding the diversity initiative was a part of my failure to convert to FTE. Not necessarily outright discrimination against a white male, and due to my autism I fall into one of the protected groups anyway and HR is well aware of that. But I believe the way the diversity initiative was announced, and the weeks of confusion surrounding it before BK finally clarified his position, coming at the same time I was trying to convert to FTE, meant that I had a harder time of trying to get my resume noticed and find open, externally advertised jobs for my skillset.

Final Thought and contact info

While my search to convert to FTE at Intel has failed, my external search has succeeded. I have at least one, maybe two job offers in hand; I will likely be back to work sometime between March 25 to March 30. This posting will be crossposted to Inside Blue before I leave Intel. Comments section below is open.

 

User Journal

Journal: Where's my damned tablet? 11

Journal by mcgrew

I'd like to know why in the hell nobody is selling a tablet, or maybe an app for existing tablets, that will let me watch over the air TV on it?

All the necessary hardware is there. Wi-fi and bluetooth are radios. Some cell pones can pick up FM music stations, and have been able to do so and have done so for years.

The FM radio band sits between channels six and seven on the VHF television channels. If it can hear radio, it can see TV.

The technology is there, why isn't the commercial device to be found? Offer a tablet I can watch TV without the internet and I'll buy one. Maybe two.

The two most beautiful words in the English language are "Cheque Enclosed." -- Dorothy Parker

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