Just Upgraded and Did Some Bug Fixes On My Blog.

Today is the day of upgrades. Not only did I do my WordPress, but some internal upgrades as well on my PC, including FireFox. Perhaps the biggest was the Kernel upgrade on my Linux OS, and everything seems to be working a bit better there after that. So, all this killed about three hours this afternoon, as I sat glued to my chair in front of my PC watching progress bars after progress bar flash by.

This post is mainly is a test post to see if my Twitter post alert plug-in works. I hope to have fixed that bug where it would send Twitter alerts of new posts from my WordPress, but for some strange reason, it would show the post from five years ago–not very helpful for someone on Twitter following my Weblog. So when I press send, I will see.

Success! I just posted, and all looks great. I checked the short-URL on my Twitter post, and it took me straight back to this post. So happy that worked on the first try. Now my Weblog and Twitter can live in harmony once again. 🙂

Oh Yes, Comment Spam – You Suck.

For the last week, on my spare time, I had overhauled my website. Mostly cleaning up the data tables and plug-ins here on the weblog, but also the other projects on my website as well. But for a brief period, around two days, I left my spam filters in their default settings while I deleted and added plug-ins as part of my janitorial efforts. During that time, over 50 spam comments warnings were deposited in my email, and 15 of those made it onto my weblog. Since completing my updates and general cleaning, the comment spam blockers have been reactivated and are now doing their jobs, making my on-line experience a happy one. Life is good, or is it?

Party Girl 2015 B Weblog Image

Something that I always worry about is never knowing that I maybe blocking legitimate comments from my weblog. Although I have always had this rule that if someone wants to post a comment on a blog that looks and acts as a spam comment, then rightful so–it should be blocked. But what if it is from a friend who wants to share with me some really cool websites, and wants to tell me and my readers to go to a really cool web-link, or photo, then that should be a plus, right? Well, as I found out the hard way, what seems really cool and awesome looking, is more than likely not. I mean, that is the bases of advertising, to suck you in, lure you to what ever it is someone wants to sell you. Like the woman in the red dress, the packaging looks awesome, but until you remove the packaging, you have no idea what you are truly getting.

Anyway, I guess the at risk of allowing those doors to open, I will keep them locked, even at the expense of losing just one legitimate comment. Living with the spam is something I just think is repulsive when trying to run a good website–there ought to be law on comment spam, but for now we have plug-ins to keep them out. Thank you to the creators of comment spam blockers–thank you.

Getting a Grip: Really

Okay, the title might have been a bit too ambiguous, but it is true, I did buy a grip for my semi-pro camera. Actually the proper term for it is called a vertical grip, but the company that I bought it from called it a battery grip. Either way, it gives me more gripping in both the horizontally and vertically positions, and doubles my battery life becuase it houses two batteries at the same time. And yes, I bought this unit from a company in Ontario, Canada which probably had it imported from China.

The Sony A77 with a Battery Grip Nov 26 2013 small image

The cost of the until is very cheap compared to buying the Canadian Sony item, by about $200.00. The Chinese knock-off only set me back a cool $60.00, and a six day wait for it by post. I tried the authentic Sony Canada merchandise, and I could only find very small differences in the look and feel when comparing it to this unit. I guess the real test is to see if the knock-off unit holds up to the test of time.

I am not going to fib a false sense of grandeur here about how heavy the camera now becomes with this added extra bit of appliance to it. I think I am getting close to over 2Kg now. But size does give more gripping surface area, and if you have big hands, then you have something to hold onto with it. Right of the bat, I found that I could use all five of my digits, firmly gripping the camera, than what I had before without the battery grip.

The plus side, I double my battery life, and the camera becomes more stable when shooting vertically. Though I must say, even with one battery, I would have to do some serious shooting to drain it in one go, but for long hikes in the bush, or back to back studio gigs, the extra battery would be a life saver me.

Looks are important, and having the battery grip, does change the camera’s whole look. To me, the camera looks means, very pro like, and whenever I see one on a camera, I stop and notice, so I hope that this happens to me out in the field.

Let the Pie Explain

I am going to use this post as an excuse to try out my Pie Graph (easy chart builder plug-in) and let this visual representation explain how my day went. I did work today, putting in a full 10 hour day. It was necessary becuase we are still having massive server issues at my work, and some of the equipment is still not installed that is needed for us to move into the final phase of the new system.

These are exciting times, for both myself and my employer, but the wear and tear is taking its toll on me.

Here is how my day stacked up:


The promise made by my employer was that If I work this weekend, I can have a long weekend next week. I agreed, and here we are at day 7. I am so tired.

New Poll, New Plug-in

I did a little house cleaning here on the blog. I got rid of many old files and plug-ins from Word Press becuase I noticed that over half of them were no longer supported. Doing a little house cleaning on the blog seems like the best thing to do while having some free time at the personal computer, so I seize the opportunity this time and really went at it.

I had plug-ins dating from as far back as 2004! Imagine the possible security risks? Shocking!

Anyway, all is clean and mostly up to date with some fresh plug-ins to replace the old, and the complete deletion of unwanted and unsupported files.

One plug-in I replaced was my Poll plug-in. It was one of those early 2004 plug-ins that had a lot of staying power. It looked good, but was fraught with many limitations. So, off to the deletion chamber it went, and is replaced with a plug-in called UPM Poll, something that I will give a few days to try and see how well it works.

The poll is up, along the side bar, at the right for this post, at the very top of the page. Please have a go at it, and cast your vote. I would really like to see how it works, and see how it looks too, and see if it holds up to the previous poll plug-in I had before. I know, another weather poll.

Just testing a new Plug-in

OK, I am testing out this new plug-in that I installed on my  blog, on WordPress called “Easy Chart Builder.”  I want to start using more charts on my blog. Doing it through SPSS, and R, and then copying the images over, is getting too cumbersome, so I am hoping that I found an easer way.

OK, lets see if this work?

ADDED: August 2nd, 2011. I have taken out the test graph.

It looks like I am limited with scaling on each graph I do. According to the creator of the plug-in, this graph will resize to fit into an iphone, or touch pad’s screen. The graph looks great, but I wonder if it will be too much work to code the data into it, rather then just pasting an image in from R, or SPSS? The Statistician’s conundrum.

Ad Blocking While Surfing the Net

I am sort of a rebel when it comes to what I allow into my home. When watching TV, I see very few commercials as my home-made PVR simply allows me to fast forward through them. I only listen to ad free radio content, preferably, CBC Radio One from Vancouver, and when I am surfing the net, I try to cut out as many ads as I can.

In my quest to rid ads altogether from my Intranet experience, I am finding this battle more and more challenging to do. For example, on two of the most visited places I go while using my browser, ads are like the plague there, and when I block the ads on those sites, the ad companies seem to try harder to circumvent the code that blocks them from the programs that I am using to block them altogether. Now it has gotten to the point that when I block URLs that contain adds from within my browser I might as well not look at them becuase they are void of any useful information. I know this sounds drastic, but when I am doing research, I brows hundreds of websites in one sitting, and I can have several very clever pieces of code do some very funny things to my browser that try and grab my attention in those sittings.

I have had a site that had some web code that tried to shut down my browser. One site that tried to open several pop-up windows, even with the pop-up blocker on. And even one web site that had a scrip that tried to open my email program and send out an email to that company!

I never bothered to report these website becuase there is no one really worthwhile to report to except for the web hosting company and domain name companies that are suppose to regulate what these people/organisation do online. So, it is really a free for all world out there, with law enforcement agencies overwhelmed, and with very little powers in the first place, why bother. Could they really combat this problem anyway?

So this is what I do to cut out most of the ads. Now, I target the legitimate ads. The illegitimate ads are much tougher to cut becuase, well, they are illegitimate. So, the first thing you need to do is down load the FireFox web browser. I am sorry if your running Window$, OK, I am. These fixes are not going to fully help you out becuase of the nature of your operating system. It is proprietary, and as such, it needs to send advertising to you–because that is what you paid for. That is capitalism, so deal with it. However, if you want a good chunk of these ads stopped, and you value your on-line time, then use LINUX. There, my plug!

Here is a really good website to get you started blocking ads, especially those Google ads. You can use it on Window$ too. 🙂

How to Get Rid of Google Ads!

The plug-in for FireFox is here: Adblock Plus — for annoyance-free web surfing. Adblock plus 1.3.9

So, give it a shot. I think you will be happy with the results, and how much faster some of the web sites load up too!

Added, July 10, 2011: Now that I have lived with the ad blocker for a few days now, I can safely say that it is working out great. It does not wreck any the off web pages that have mass amounts of advertising on them, and so far, it seems to be catching all the scrips that sneak ads onto your browser. I’m giving it 8 out of 10.

More Programing Work – Yay.

As luck would have it, I needed more money, as if none of us do, and there in a text message plea for help, from a friend, came an offer for a small job. An offer popped up that sort of landed on his lap, and then he slid it over to me. I said yes. A company in the lower mainland (Vancouver, BC) needed a whole pile of web development work done on their sites. They have their own servers, and tons of clients, but not enough specialised staff to keep up with the demand and workload.  I guess lately they had gone through a substantial increase in business when they took over some foreign contracts, and then found themselves short handed.

I had a good talk with the company owner. He told me that it was actually finding the qualified talent that is hurting him. He had several hundred applications, but the manager learned through some rough experiences with former workers that people often over qualify themselves, so he now checks everyone’s credentials. He told me that roughly, off the top of his head, that at least a quarter of all his applicants lied on their qualifications when they submit their resumes. I thought this was a very interesting bit of news.

So, for a small fee, I created some XML code for their favourite piece of graphics software to make fancy widgets that they can customise. They wanted a dedicated button program that they could use for one of their clients, a school. The goal was to create buttons that could have text customised, change colour and logos easily, and have it uploaded to this website with a press of the Enter button. In less than an evening I had three different prototypes that they could test. They liked two out of the three, so the deal was made. And did I mention that was for Linux applications?

The great news is, there could be more opportunities later on down the road.

I bet you are asking why I did not get a job with them?

They were sufficient with their IT department and had no software/programmers staff vacancies. None of the other positions I qualified for, or would want. But I am sure they will keep in touch with me. They like my work, service and price.

TweetDeck on Ubuntu 10.04

I used TweetDeck a while ago, but stopped when I had issues with Adobe-Air as there were some bugs and installation issues when they moved up to a newer version. Since then, 2008-2009, a lot has changed, and both the Ubuntu repository and Adobe have changed to accommodate the tweeting population of LINUX users. Of course, this is my opinion as there are still some who say it still has a long ways to go.

All I’m going to do is show you how easy it is now to stall both the Adobe-Air program and TweetDeck for Ubuntu 10.04, as compared to what it was like back in the of Hardy (Ubuntu 8.04). Oh those were the days. Running the program is another post for later on.

Step one:

You need Adobe-Air Application Loader on your system. This is now so super easy becuase it sits in the repository. Use the repository, as I heard from some of my friends that the downloaded version from Adobe has some bugs in it still.  Just go to Synaptic, type in Adobe, and you should see it there. Mark it for installation, and fifty percent of the work is done. System –> Administration –> Synaptic Package Manager.

Adobe-AIR Application Loader can be found in: Applications –> Accessories. You should not have to worry about it again becuase once it is loaded on your system it should recognise any AIR file when you double click on it.

Step Two:

Click Here for TweetDeck’s Website: http://www.tweetdeck.com/

With the Adobe-AIR Application Loader happily installed on your system, the next step is to get TweetDeck. Go to the TweetDeck website, click on “Desktop,” and you should be whisked of to the page that has the download button on it. Please refer to the image below.

For me the Install Button did not do anything. I think it has to do with LINUX does not like self extracting files from outside sources off the net. Which is a good thing becuase that is how you catch ninety percent of those viruses and other garbage that people like to shove onto your system. So you will have to download the TweekDeck file on to your system. In my case, the file was “TweetDeck_0_35.0.1.air” at the time of this entry.

Make note of were you down loaded the TweetDeck AIR file (Commonly found in $Home/Download, directory)  and you should be able to just double click on it to start the installation. If it does not start the self extraction, then try and make it an executable by right clicking on it and go to Properties, then click on the Permission Tab and choose “Execute.”

On my system TweetDeck is found in Applications –> Accessories –> TweetDeck.

Happy Tweeting!

Tweet Deck in action running on Ubuntu 10.04

This is what TweetDeck looks like in action. I will take some getting use to with multiple columns and some of the update/streaming features it has if you are only used to using the Twitter Web Site, or some of the single column programs like GTwitter and Twitux.


One problem I did encounter which seems to be a problem for other users too is I lost my menu and desktop tray icons. I chose not to put the icon on my Desktop, but I figure that must of also meant not choosing to put a Desktop Icon when I first set up DweetDeck. After the next boot-up I lost the menu link.To get it back that took a little working around. This is what I did:

  • I first created a launcher right on my Desktop by right clicking and choosing “Create Launcher…”
  • I left “Type” as “Application,” and filled in the Name and Comment as TweetDeck
  • The “Command” I put in opt/TweetDeck/bin/TweetDeck
  • For the TweetDeck Icon, click the icon link (Upper Left hand coroner of the Launcher Window) and follow this directory: opt/TweetDeck/share/icons   and choose the TweetDeck_128.png image as your icon.

This will create a icon on your Desktop. You can move it up into the Desktop Tray, and edit your menu and place it in there too. If you are not sure, write me a comment and I will add more details on how to do that.

This is Just a Little Test Post to Get My Twitter-feed Working – Not Important

I’m setting up my Twitter Feed to work with the blog. This is tough getting everything just right with so many settings, yikes.

Lets see if I can get this damn thing to tweet for me.

Added: Success! It worked! Yeah!

Now when I post, my Twitter feeds are send out to alert everyone that I have posted. Am I doing the world a favour by broadcasting my blog posts and jumping on the social media bandwagon, or is all this internet stuff just a complete waist of time and energy? Well, I kind of like it, and I am paying for it.

Heh heh, it appears that there are some who are anti-social media. I guess not everyone is a fan of networking. Hey-this is how you get the “better” employer to notice you, as compared to the social Luddite employers who are still stuck in the 80’s.