WordPress Mobile Update

wordpress mobile image

So anyway, I’ve been checking on the information floating about the interwebs(tm) recently regarding “mobile blog” stuff. Seems Google’s changing up how their SEO and such works. (That would be blog-technobabble which means their search ranking and algorithm stuff.)

I was really starting to sweat this a bit, as I spent quite a bit of time getting this site to look just like I wanted it to, dragons and Merchant Princess types and all. But I’m Mr. Calm and Collected(tm) when it comes to all things tech, and I did a little futzing about. (This would translate to: googling about.)

Sure enough WordPress.com already has the mobile set up built in, and my theme is a “responsive” type which means it can resize depending upon platform. The blogger DOES have to turn it on, though. (Which, of course I hadn’t. Doh!)

So I flipped the virtual switch, checked a couple of settings and viola! mobile aware and such is now active.

Anyway, on a tablet, the blog should look like this:Wordpress Mobile-tablet

And on a phone (iphone or android device) it should look like this:

Wordpress Mobile-phone

Now if stuff DOESN’T look something like this when you happen upon my site, I’d appreciate a heads up. Just comment or if you see this via Google+ or Facebook or Twitter, just let me know what you ARE seeing.

I do appreciate you all stopping by now and then in my corner o’ the blog-o-sphere!

‘Twas the nightmare computer upgrade – a photo essay.

So I’ve been missing for the last couple days online (for the most part). This post will show in all the geeky-gory detail,  why.

Warning!!!! There will be tech and some geek-speak in this post, as well as quite a few photos.

First things first, I have always built my own computer systems. It has been cheaper and I prefer knowing the components that make up my gear. Stuff like this was my bread and butter for 20+ years, and even though I no longer do IT support/admin, I am a Linux-propeller-head geek and keep up with things…or so I thought, which leads to the “nightmare” part of the title of this post.  😀

This upgrade started like every other I’ve ever done:

The new gear:

IMG_20150217_123912766IMG_20150217_180008532IMG_20150217_124223406IMG_20150217_124638695

The rig before the upgrade:

The workhorse. Full tower. Thermaltake Kandalf

Then away we go:

New gear to the left and removing the old gear on the right.

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New gear plugged in on the left and first power test on the right.

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Here we see that I have successfully put everything together and the system boots just fine.

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Then disaster strikes. (Self inflicted disaster, but disaster nonetheless):

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In this shot, we see the old gear jury-rigged on top of the new gear.

In all of my research, I missed the bits about new computer boards no longer having older EIDE hard drive connectors. It just didn’t dawn on me. So here we have me cloning a critical hard disk to a new drive. (By critical, I mean that unless I do this, my new gear will be excellent for anchoring boats…without a complete reinstall of the operating system, applications and hours of reconfiguring everything back to where I need things to be.)

And here we see the new gear with the “fixed” drive before power on tests.

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AND THEN! This is where I discover that everything is still completely FUBAR, and have to set up the old gear again to re-re-clone said drive. Huge errors on the new disk meant that the new stuff was still boat anchor material.

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Here we see everything back in place, with a good power up test.

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Case finally closed after two days of futzing….and new gear purring along with 6 cores and 8gig ram. Relieved doesn’t begin to cover the feeling there. 😀11002397_10203965424511109_1678809928_o

Screenshot from 2015-02-20 19:48:22

During that two day period, this was the way I felt, alternating between each state roughly every twenty minutes:

states of IT

Computers only suck when you least need ’em to…

The last two days have been annoying. All I wanna do is write…SOooooo of COURSE my computer decided to take a monstrous dump, crashing a drive, and taking a dvd-writer down with it. Of course said drive is the primary drive, and of course diagnostics show nothing WRONG with the drive, except of course that it won’t boot, or show up anywhere but in the diagnostics section. For a tech/geek, this is like giving a starving dog a rubber bone.

After much wailing and grinding of teeth, turns out the drive electronics (the lil’ board on the outside of the brick) is failing in the i/o channels…meaning the drive shows up nicely, but nothing gets in or out beyond that.

Turns out the dvd-writer blew up because I decided to USE it to burn some updated operating system discs. Damn thing has been sitting in the box for years without being actually run, and the first time up, it apparently thought it would suicide in sympathy or something. Stupid suicidal gear.

While I am glad there are backups and dropbox for the important data saved to a different drive, I have to rebuild the operating systems (-I have three on the main drive-) from the ground up.

I NEVER back up the operating systems themselves because in 20 years I have NEVER seen a successful restore outside of a corporate backup/restore solution, and even that is iffy.

Of course this requires having a working dvd writer…good thing I pack rat my old gear. le’sigh.

It only tends to do this when I can least afford it to occur, or when I least WANT to put on the propeller hat. Thankyousoverymuch Murphy.

Rebuilding the system also means BUYING a new drive, so I predict Bestbuy is in my future this fine evening. (Mostly because the local mom/n/pop stores are closed, or never have what I need.)

https://caseyjp4.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/7d898-6a00d8341bf98153ef013485c343a0970c-800wi.jpghttp://

Tech-Geek troubleshooting alert! -warning posted.


So my nexus 7- 2012 tablet has been set up to use Cyanogenmod 11 nightlies. Lately it has been sputtering and acting seriously weird with odd crashes and update strangeness.  So I put on my propeller hat and start digging into the system.  And yep, oops…I’ve been using GAPPS for an older version of the operating system for months.. Bang head on desk. Install new GAPPS package….and suddenly my ol’ tablet is rockin’ like a new one.

Cyanogenmod = awesome custom ROM for android devices. -replaces stock android operating system.
Nightlies= latest raw updates. (beta code).
GAPPS= Google-Apps = framework and base Google application packages.

E-reading software…an update

 

 

 

 

 

Recently I accidentally pushed an old post griping about e-readers.  After quite a bit of research, my eventual solution was to purchase a nexus7:

I got this primarily for the form factor (it fits like a trade paperback in my hand),  and the price and performance are outstanding. The Nexus7 also has the added benefit of doing ALL of the things I usually do with my much smaller phone, which is convenient, as I’m mobile near wifi hotspots quite a lot.

After a few months of futzing about with different E-Book software, I finally came up with Moon+Reader Pro as my go to e-reader.

I love the fact that it is extremely customizable. Everything from font to page color/texture to…well just about anything you want to make the experience “yours” is available with this software

Its ONLY drawback is that occasionally (and I do mean this in the strictest sense of the word) it will come across an epub or other format that it mis-handles. For these situations, I have a choice of e-readers to fall back on.

My second favorite e-book software actually surprised me a bit. If it weren’t for moonreader, my main choice would be the NOOK reader from Barnes and Noble. While not as full featured, it handles all of the basics beautifully, and I’ve yet to see ANY book not render properly with it.

The next choice in line is the KOBO reader which isn’t at the top of my list for readers, BUT it has online store capabilities that I like.

Another okay selection is the Aldiko reader. This isn’t nearly as customizable, BUT its online store has access to multiple sources such as Smashwords  and  Oreilly. Another feature that is aces here is the ability to add your own catalogs/stores. I just wish this reader was just a bit easier on the eyes.

My last choice on this list is Amazon’s Kindle software. While a very efficient reader with some nice customization options, my WORST complaint is that it natively only works with the Amazon proprietary ebook format (AZW). I prefer epub and non-drm formats for portability and access.  (You CAN convert other formats to AZW, but its a pain, and if the book is DRM”d (Digital Rights Management)—a fancy term for encrypted, its an even more hackish mess.)

I CANNOT STAND PROPRIETARY FORMATS. There. I feel better now.

 

A big reason for that mini-rant  (besides hating vendor lock-in) is that my entire e-book library is handled by this doozy of an application that lives on my main desktop PC..behold Calibre!

This was an absolute godsend from the coding deities as it allows me to store my books, edit metadata, back the books up to the cloud AND serve the content to any device I want.

(Another feature of MoonReader+Pro is that it has native calibre functionality, which is nifty if you don’t have or want the calibre companion application.)

I also use Calibre Companion for connecting to Calibre.  This picture is a default view on my tablet:

I’m not a big “reviewer”, but these are the choices that work at this point in time.

Hope that helps if you’re hunting about for e-reader software, as I think it is a very good start.  There are TONS of e-book applications out there…these are my choices.

 

The writing process evolves…for me.

Screenshot from 2014-04-12 05:18:04When writing “After the Burning: Princess“, I was in old school mode where every page was printed out. When revising/editing I would take a red pen and mark the crap out of the pages with corrections/notes/etc.

Now that I’ve moved to the self publishing game (and with my old printer having bitten the dust), I’ve had to think of new ways to do this…and so far what I’ve come up with is working pretty well.

At certain points, (every few chapters) I save the document as a pdf file. Then I convert that to the epub format (my preferred e-book formatting standard) using Calibre and then content serve the result to my nexus7 and my e-book reader(s). I usually use Moonreader Pro, but also check the work on the nook and kindle software for consistency.  Now I can see the work as a reader would. At each point I spot something, I just look up to the manuscript on the screen in my word processor…and make the change.

The picture I’ve attached shows my Archlinux desktop with my workflow setup. You can see the desktops/windows on the right side of the pic.
Web (research/cat vacuuming) on the top, then a music player in the second desktop(window).
The third window has all of the outline/backstory/overview documents tiled for easy go-to. The fourth window is the manuscript.

I love technology.

p.s.
For those curious, I do NOT use microsoft products. My work is always cobbled together in Libreoffice Writer, and if a MS word document format is needed, I just use a “convert to .doc file save as xxx”.  Writer can save in multiple formats including PDF.

For novels/manuscripts/etc., without a lot of weird formatting issues, this is a snap, and I’ve found no consistency errors using Libreoffice.

So a new toy for the road and an observation.

First up, to compliment the driving gig, I went out and snagged this:

http://www.laptopmag.com/review/laptops/samsung-n150-plus.aspx

While this was a bit pricier than some other netbooks, this thing has the BEST keyboard of any netbook I’ve ever looked at. While the keyboard size is a wee bit crampier than a regular board, its still comfy for extended typing adventures, and does so in a form factor that is light years easier to haul about than my ol’ monster laptop. AND with downtimes in the taxi game, its easy to pull this out and write or slide over to a wifi spot and check mail/surf/etc.

Oh I’d also be remiss if I didn’t say that I wiped MS winblows off the thing within an hour of purchase and installed the wickedly cool Ubuntu Netbook Remix instead.  Obligatory screenie is here:

My netbook desktop operating system

So my inner geek is satisfied, and my creative side now has an outlet while staring out the window of the car between fares.

The observation is simply this:

When a person climbs into a cab for a ride to somewhere from somewhere, and the cabbie smiles and says, “How are yo doing this –fill in the blank time of day–?” 99% of the riders begin blabbing more than how they are doing. They literally find that question the trigger to unload their lives to the driver. This isn’t a complaint. More often than not its very enjoyable and gives a person such as myself (creative type) fuel for characterization beyond pure invention. But it is interesting how very like a bartender the cab driver actually is, and how very like a good psychoanalyst a driver needs to be in order to please the rider and get that all important 10% tip over the fare.

I’ve only been doing this gig for a short while, but I’m guessing that if a person takes up the driving game without good people skills, they will quickly start wondering how to make any money after paying for the overhead costs that the transport biz requires.

Personally, just a smile and a small interest in the passenger’s tales usually generates a LOT of extra income above the fare itself in the form of tips, and during slow periods, this really can make the difference between a profitable day or a break even day.

While I’ll be using this space for some interesting stories from the world of the driver here going forward, I’ll first say that I will NEVER break confidentiality or name names. The point of this blog is for me to have an outlet for things I find interesting, not anything else. So if you happen by here and something sounds familiar, well that is because (another observation here) it just might as a LOT of people’s stories have a similar feel after awhile.

Mostly I’ll focus on me and my reactions to things as well as car driving adventures and leave the taxi cab confessions to HBO. –that show is more realistic than I could have believed though. -grinning.