Thursday, 31 January 2013

I am very slow at article writing

The last two days I spent just writing two articles for my photo tips website. And I didn't even finish them!

I spent this morning finishing them off and scheduling the posts.

In the afternoon and part of the evening today I made some chocolate cupcakes. I haven't tried them so I don't know if they're any good yet.

I also caught up on my email a bit and watched the first episode of An Idiot Abroad with Mauser and Bo.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Workity work

Yesterday I wrote a javascript to add umlauts to text. I had a few issues. One was that the umlauts were appearing next to the letters instead of on top of them. I found this was a bug with the Courier New font, which is used as the default font for textboxes (on Chrome in Win7 anyway): Re: problem with combining diacritcs in HTML5

Next I had a problem with getting an error message about

$ is not defined
(I was using jQuery). But when I paused the script in the console just before the error, I checked the value of $, and it was defined. This had me stumped for a while.

The error actually was correct, it seems that the default wordpress themes (twentyeleven and twentytwelve themes) don't include jQuery. (Quite sensible not to include a js library if its not needed). The reason that $ appeared to be defined in Chrome's console is that the console has some built-in js it loads, which includes $ for selecting elements (with jquery style syntax I think). So $ was defined in the console, but not in the actual page (and $ wasn't jQuery). The solution was simply to create a child theme that enqueued jquery in the functions.php file.

Another problem (that I haven't fixed) is that Korean, Chinese characters etc. don't appear to have the umlauts added correctly. I am pretty sure that this is another issue to do with the textbox or font used.

Today I was mostly working on an article for my photo tips website. (I was doing some of that yesterday as well).

Wednesday, 23 January 2013


Last few days I have been mostly just working on blog posts for my photography tips website. It takes me so long to write an article and then find photos to illustrate it!

I also took some photos of birds in the garden a few days ago. I tried arranging the wheely bins and then hiding behind them as a hide. But the gap between the two bins was too large. The birds would fly down to land, spot me between the bins, and then change their mind and fly off.

I got this photo of a sparrow sitting in the hedge while I was just standing up normally. It's the best photo from that day, but has also been cropped quite a bit to make the sparrow larger.

From 2013-01-21 Garden birds in the snow

Friday, 18 January 2013

Watching and feeding birds

It started snowing this morning around 9.30-10.00am, and then snowed most of the day. It was only very fine snow (not large flakes), but managed to build up throughout the day. Other areas of the country got a lot more snow, and I think even around us the hills got more snow (we are in a valley). But we must have had at least a couple of inches worth.

In the morning I wrote an article for my photo tips website. Unfortunately I still need to take some photos to illustrate it, so it is only really half finished.

In the afternoon we ran out of bird food, so I went down to the shops in the snow. Mealworms are really expensive, £2.50 for 100g - i.e. £25/kg. When I got back I gave some more food to the birds, and they ate it pretty quickly.

We have lots of blackbirds, sparrows, and starlings. The blackbirds are almost constantly in the garden, while the sparrows and starlings alternate between the garden, the hedge, and next door's garden. Wood pigeons and collared doves visit a few times a day. Today we saw two redwings as well.

I mixed up the different bird foods I'd bought then put some out for them, but they didn't seem very interested after that. So I brought the saucers back inside to avoid them becoming covered with snow. I'm sure they'll be happy to have them out again for breakfast tomorrow.

Different bird foods

Put bits of different ones into a tub

Mix around and it's like a posh birdfood, but cheaper

The mixed birdfood is popular with all the birds. It has mealworms and sultanas in for blackbirds and other fruit / meat eaters, and seeds for sparrows and other seed eaters. I think the pigeons and collared doves probably eat anything.

In the evening I watched an hour of Mahabarat. The king of Indraprast (can't remember what his name is) was a total maniac and gambled everything away even when it was obvious that he would loose. Then the king of Hastinapur gave it all back to him. Indiantastic.

For the rest of the evening I did a little bit of work on the CTH website, and some more debugging of why wp_cron wasn't working on one of my wordpress sites. I also watched Ray Mears' Wild Britain.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

JPEG compression and high res displays

This morning and the first part of the afternoon I was working on an article (that I should have written on Tuesday) for my photo tips website.

In the afternoon and part of the evening I made a lemon swiss roll.

In the evening I also watched Winter Watch. I had an email from Sitepoint with a link to an article about optimising images / websites for high res displays: CSS Techniques for Retina Displays. Reading the comments on there led to this blog post: Retina Revolution, in which the author suggests just using double size but highly compressed images. Since the double sized image will be displayed at half the size on a normal screen, the high compression is not very noticeable.

I have my doubts about this, as even with 80% compression you can get quite visible JPEG banding, e.g. on a blue sky. The example images they used didn't really have areas of gradual tonal gradation.

This test: Can bigger images be smaller? gives a more technical look at the same thing. At normal viewing sizes on a standard resolution screen, there is a difference between the standard size and double size images. But I wouldn't say one was better than the other.

Viewed at 200% (I don't have a high DPI device unless you count the Nexus 7), the double size image was probably better. The double size but more compressed image lacked JPEG artifacts around edges, and had more detail in detailed areas. But it also had worse looking smooth areas, with visible compression artefacts. The standard size image looked much better in smooth areas.

The other issue with double sized images is that they are subject to being resized by the browser for standard resolution displays. Browsers used to be pretty terrible at this, though Chrome doesn't seem to be too bad. Probably most modern browsers aren't too bad, but it would result in a worse image quality for users of some browsers that aren't good at image resizing.

JPEG Mini also looks like a good service for compressing JPEG images without loosing quality.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013


Well after getting quite a bit done on Monday, it seems things have gone back to normal. Over the last two days I haven't managed to write any articles for my photo tips website. Instead I've been doing CTH work and also a bit of Holiday at Home stuff.

Hopefully that will be mostly out of the way now though so I can get on with some article writing tomorrow. My To do list is ever expanding still.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Getting stuff done?!

Somehow today I actually managed to get quite a few things done. In the morning I wrote an article for my photography tips website, and planned / tested out what I am going to do for Holiday at Home on Weds.

In the afternoon I wrote another article for my photography tips website.

In the evening I was not so successful. I spent a lot of the time just trying to debug an issue with a wordpress plugin. I also watched a cooking with dog and how2basic youtube videos. I finished watching The NeverEnding Story with Mauser and Bo. And I watched Winter Watch with Clare, Brian, and Billy.

It snowed quite a bit today (though didn't settle much). I kept the birds well supplied with sultanas on a regular basis.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Male Monarch of the past tense of be

Most of this morning I was preparing my pog website update.

Most of the afternoon I was doing CTH work.

Most of the evening I was making some bread cakes. Unfortunately they went down when I glazed them :( Maybe next time should glaze them before rising.

Thursday, 10 January 2013


Today I checked the stats for my websites.

I did some more CTH work.

I went out and took a few photos, then finished up an article for my photo tips website that I had been working on yesterday.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013


Most of today I was writing an article for my photo tips website. I also tried to find out why wp-cron wasn't working. I didn't find out, but accessing the wp-cron page manually did make the cron tasks run.

In the evening I watched Mahabarat and VR Troopers with Billy and Mauser.

I uploaded some photos from a foggy day in December as chicken pell:

Tuesday, 1 January 2013


This morning I started work on another article for my photo tips website, then we all went out for a walk along the canal. It was quite muddy.

In the afternoon I did more work on my article, then played on Civ IV for a bit.

In the evening I watched the penultimate episode of Dai Rangers with Billy. I did some more CTH work, then played on Civ IV again. After winning a cultural victory on Civ, I checked the article I'd written for my photo tips website yesterday. Today's article I'll have to finish off tomorrow.