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User Journal

Journal: Thanks, Obama! 16 16

Journal by Captain Splendid

Talking to a Caribbean-based business acquaintance this week reminded me that, no matter my feelings for the Obama administration, I will be eternally grateful that he's taken Cuba off the table. Because in the pantheon of stupid american wedge issues, the Cuban embargo is near-lock for the title IMO.

Bonus conspiracy fun: The lifting of the embargo, and its timing could be seen as a nice little spoiler for the only 2 GOP candidates who have any shot at beating Hillary next year, Bush and Rubio. Most of the other candidates can choose a wide range of answers when presented with questions on the topic, whereas the Floridians actually have serious history and ties on this, making finessing the issue that much harder.

Oh, and before someone thinks they're clever by telling me that President Perry or whoever would just go back to the status quo faster than you can say "fuck you liberals!", good luck with that. The GOP only cared that it reliably delivered Florida's electoral votes, and it stopped doing that a good couple of cycles ago. It's dead, Jim.

User Journal

Journal: Catholics have jumped the shark 15 15

Journal by Bill Dog

I'm not Catholic, but even if I was:

1) I do not recognize this ball of mud in space as "our Sister, Mother Earth". How long before Catholics, who already come dangerously close to or cross the line into worshipping false idols, refer to it as "the Blessed Holy Mother Earth"? Water is blessed to make "holy water", so when will dirt be? Say three Hail Gaia's and you're absolved of your sins against "her"? I'm envisioning a creepy earth cult a la the movie Avatar. Stop the madness. Stop making little godlets out of other people and mere things.

2) This "sister" is not now crying out to us nor never has, because it doesn't have vocal chords and it's not alive. It's a giant dirtclod that has living things on it, most of them soulless/not made in God's image and therefore as valuable as the rock they live on.

3) I will not say a prayer for "our Earth". I don't pray for inanimate objects. Nor do I deify them.

These are based on an article I read at lunch about it this week on ArsLeftica. I ignored what the author said about the Pope's writing, and refer only to the quotes. Which appalled me enough; I don't care to read the original source on this one. (I don't want to know fully how bad it is.)

p.s. Note that I consider Catholics to be my fellow brothers in Christ. Same with Mormons. I trust that our acceptance of Jesus will enable us to go to the place that's the best. (Where I guess it'll all be straightened out.)

User Journal

Journal: solidarity vs. feeling like you need a shower 32 32

Journal by Bill Dog

My dad made an interesting point in the car on the way to lunch today. He wondered how my bro-in-law's folks, who are dedicated Liberals, could buy Toyotas, when they don't use union labor.

It's a bit of a conundrum. If you're a Leftie, you have disdain for anything American. Yet the Japanese automakers dodge unions like Wal*mart.

While it's still a capitalist system, how's a socially conscious person supposed to support the labor movement without also indirectly supporting their (private) employers.

User Journal

Journal: you dirty girl 8 8

Journal by Bill Dog

Driving home from work Thu night I was at a stoplight behind a minivan with a PBS supporter license plate frame. The minivan had a large rear window, and I could see part of the taller SUV in front of it, with a Ron Paul for president sticker! I'll bet the minivan driver was road-raging in there!

The week before I was behind an SUV with a/an "If you're gonna ride my ass, at least pull my hair" license plate frame. I had to pull up next to the driver at the next light to see the person standing behind this statement. It looked like the lady from that pitbull rescue TV series.

That same afternoon another lady had a license plate frame of "Look out, Mary's driving". I wonder if that was self-bought, or if it was a "gift". She seemed to be driving just fine.

User Journal

Journal: Number Five 2 2

Journal by mcgrew

I just sent off for the fifth and, I hope, last pre-publication copy of Yesterday's Tomorrows. I was sure it would be finished a month ago, but there were problems printing it due to some of the illustrations being too high of a resolution. It took a month to get the fourth printed.

I can't decide whether or not to assign an ISBN to it, since the book may not be legal in all countries. What do you think? I only have three or four left, and a block of ten is $250. Should I use one? The only country besides the US that has bought my books was Great Britain, and very few there although the web site gets visits from all over the world.

I'm pretty sure I'll never sell a book in Australia, because they're crazy expensive down there; tariffs, probably.

Oh, if you want to read the copy of Huckleberry Finn at my site, better hurry because when I post Yesterday's Tomorrows I'll have to take the Twain book down to make space. It will be back up this fall when I renew my URL and upgrade my hosting level. When it's back up I'll have a version that's easy to read on a phone.

User Journal

Journal: Days Go By 1 1

Journal by stoolpigeon

The Offspring released a new album in 2012 and I didn't know until yesterday. There are implications to that I need to get sorted but now you know what I'm listening to all day while I work.

They have a newer song out which I heard on the radio, which is what clued me in that something had been done since Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace. (Which was the 'new album' in my brain until yesterday even though it's 5 or 6 years old. Not that that is a big deal. I also think of Seventh Son of a Seventh Son as 'new' Maiden and that came out in '88)

I may start streaming US radio stations to stay more aware of what is going on in music back home.

User Journal

Journal: Linux Genius 3 3

Journal by stoolpigeon

I have a file on my machine - render.conf

I just did the following:

        cp render.conf render-snap.conf
        mv render.conf render-main.conf
        mv render-snap.conf render.conf

And then I just laughed at myself for a bit. It made sense when I did it and as soon as I had I realized how stupid it was.

User Journal

Journal: sacrilegious bumper stickers seen today 11 11

Journal by Bill Dog

From my afternoon drive home today:

  • Not clever or funny:

    Dog is my co-pilot

  • Clever and funny:

    JESUS IS COMING!
    Look Busy!

p.s. About another bumper sticker I saw recently, being something like:

Don't tailgate me or I'll flick a booger on your windshield

Funny, sure, except it was on a PT Cruiser that was painted with images of food. I.e. it was a delivery vehicle for a food preparation service! Ew!

What will these marketing geniuses think of next? Coming to a pizza box near you:

Driver carries less than $20 in change.
Driver picks his nose.
Enjoy your pizza!

(Fine print: Not responsible for unordered, extra toppings.)

User Journal

Journal: A suggestion to mobile browser makers and the W3C 4 4

Journal by mcgrew

There are an awful lot of pages on my web site, and I've been busy making them all "mobile-friendly". Most of them are little or no problem making them look good on all platforms, but there are three that are especially problematic.

I jumped this hurdle (well, sort of stumbled past it) by making two of each of the pages with a link to the mobile page from the index.

Ideally, I could just check to see if it was a phone or not and redirect phones to the mobile page, but there's no way to make this 100% successful*. Each brand of phone has a different user agent, there are a lot of installable phone browsers. On top of that, is it an Android phone or an Android tablet? With the minimum typeface size and viewport set, those pages are fine on the PC version but the phone version looks like crap.

Apple should have thought of this when they made the first iPhone, and Google should have thought of this when developing Android. The answer is simple, but it can only be implimented by browser makers and perhaps the W3C.

From the beginning of the World Wide Web, browsers looked for index.html, the default front page in any directory. This worked fine before smart phones, but no longer.

Phone browsers should look first for mobile.html, and if it exists display that, and display index.html if it isn't there. Tablets and computers would behave as they always have.

It doesn't have to be mobile.html, it could be any name as long as everyone agreed that it was the standard, like they did with index.html.

Maintaining a web site would be much easier if they did this. What do you guys think?

* A reader tipped me to the Apache Mobile Filter. It looks promising, especially since my host uses Apache. I'm looking into it.

User Journal

Journal: I Hurd it on the grapevine

Journal by tqft

tqft@tqft-hurd:~$ uname -a
GNU tqft-hurd 0.6 GNU-Mach 1.4+git20150409-486/Hurd-0.6 i686-AT386 GNU

qemu-img Not kvm-img as on the documentation on debian which apparently doesn't recognise that as a valid command or program (I looked via synaptic as well).

Running xfce, apparently gnome and kde don't work yet.

Yet to do a proper reboot.

Download dvd iso, follow commands (except as above), click as per usual debian install. Done

User Journal

Journal: How to make "mobile-friendly" web pages 3 3

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: The new podcast

Journal by DisownedSky

I'm trying to not let this turn into an obsession, or to dstract from my work on the Wow! Signal, but so far it kind of is. The new podcast is the Unseen Podcast, and it is an uneditted, uncensored, open participation approach. Each episode features a panel, with the panelists drawn from a pool of people who just raise their hands by joining a G+ community. So far, we've done 4 episodes with 5 unique panelists, hoping to hit 30 panelists by Episode 26.

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?

Slashback

Journal: I READ THE NEWS TODAY OH BOY 6 6

Journal by Jeremiah Cornelius

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