A riproaring rollercoaster of a journey through time, space and that side road just over there...

Prism Plugin Test

Written by:Chris of Arabia
Published on October 11th, 2015 @ 18:10:00 , using 132 words,
This is just a short test of the Prism code rendering plugin written by Lea Verou. For some, as yet, inexplicable reason, it isn't applying the CSS as it should, hence the code being shades of brown, rather than the nice rainbow coloured stuff it ought to be.
 *	- Add todos
 *	- Delete todos
 *	## Further challenges
 *	- Mark as completed; styled with a strikethrough.
 *	- Mark all as completed
 *	- delete all todos
 *	- delete all completed todos.
 *	- Edit a todo. Inline editing.

function makeTodo(text) {
  var $todo = $("
  • "); var $button = $(""); $todo .text(text) .addClass("todo") .append($button); $button.on("click", function() { $(this).parent("li.todo").remove(); // Or $todo.remove(;) as a more terse option }); return $todo; } $("#save-button").on("click", function(e) { e.preventDefault(); var input = $("#input-field").val(); var $todo = makeTodo(input); $(".todo-list").append($todo); $("#input-field").val("").focus(); }); // (strings) Array of strings // (string) Item in the array of strings var strings = [ "Foo", "Bar", "Baz" ]; strings.forEach(function(string) { var todo = makeTodo(string); $(".todo-list").append(todo); })

    Updating the skin on this blog

    Written by:Chris of Arabia
    Published on October 9th, 2015 @ 20:18:00 , using 907 words,

    Procrastination is a terrible thing. At times, It seems my default response to many things, so they get put off until they're absolutely needed and can no longer be avoided.Witness this blog. For too long, I have left vague (and not so vague) hints that it needs looking at, but then got nowhere with it. I did start something on my offline installation, but once I got word that the new b2evolution was coming out, that stalled. Well v6.6.x has come and gone, been installed, been upgraded, and upgraded, and is now up to 6.6.4 like the number means anything particularly at this point, yet the skin is the same.

    So why this post then?

    Well, a few weeks back Francois and team announced that they'd updated all of their skins to be compatible with version 6, including the one I've been using here since it was first set up around 10 years back (happy birthday blog). For the sake of swapping out the header image to the one of my Desert Tower shot, I'd supposedly got myself an upgrade to something rather more current, hadn't I? Well, it seemed not.

    I tried swapping over to the new one, but it quickly became apparent more was needed than that. So what's wrong with it then, putting aside the obvious point that it's all a bit brown - #895c46 brown to be precise - there are a few other things that mitigate it being a straight swap out and job done:

    • The contrast between the background and text is fairly low. At some point I've tweaked things a little here; the basic text for paragraphs is a bit darker, the links are a bit lighter, but not so in the updated skin at b2evo
    • The text is generally on the small side, making it harder to read than it needs to be. For some reason, the new version starts things off by shrinking the default sizing a little to 0.9em. This doesn't look a comfortable on all devices; it's OK on my old 24" HP monitor, but not so much on my 13" laptop screen with it's 1,600 x 900px display.
    • The font is a bit boring if truth be told. It's based around Tahoma, falling back through Lucida Sans, Arial, Verdana, and Sans-Serif if it's not available. Possibly worse, is that it doesn't veer away from san serif fonts at all for any component on the page - it's all a bit samey, and rather workmanlike.
    • On higher resolution screens, the rather narrow width for the content - it's 900px wide - seems rather a waste of all that screen real estate to be going for a narrow strip down its middle. It doesn't even seem to take any design cues from any of the grid systems out there, like 960GS, an approach which now feels feels like it's been around since the ark in web terms
    • Lastly, and this is the BIG ONE, the skin has been created as a 'fixed width' design and is in no way responsive, or mobile friendly. That needs fixing - seriously...

    What needs to be done then? Sounds like time for another list doesn't it, but first let me just explain why this post even exists. In part it's going to be a reference as to what needs doing; a 'Statement of Requirements', but mostly it's going to be a constant reminder that I must actually get it done - no escaping, no skivvying off, and definitely no more procrastinating. The list then...

    1. The v6.x version of Vastitude is to be installed and its included header image replaced [COMPLETED]
    2. The font-size is to be made larger and line-height adjusted if needed [COMPLETED]
    3. The font-color is to be matched to the old skin you see here now (this may have changed by the time you read this)
    4. The overall width of the content area is to be widened to 960px initially, and the rest of the grid adjusted to match
    5. A new font stack is to be selected from the rather excellent selection of choices across at Google Fonts and applied as a direct replacement for the current one
    6. The font stack is to be split. This is to vary what's used for body text, header tags and possibly something a little more esoteric for the heading text to sit in keeping with the header image itself
    7. Lastly, the skin is to be made responsive. At first, this will just be a case of removing the fixed pixel dimensions to get it fluid, but once that's behaving as expected, @media queries can be introduced to tidy things up at various break points

    There are a few constraints I'll introduce at this point.

    • I'm not writing the skin from scratch, so all changes will be done as changes to the current style.css file
    • I've no wish to open up the PHP code on the site - I don't think I have to to be honest
    • The site will retain it's background colour for now (I have other ideas ruminating). As easy as that is to change, it would likely raise a whole bunch of other design considerations
    • I'll be avoiding anything that messes with the default CSS Prism code rendering plugin - as the skin sits at the moment, it turns most of it brown, which doesn't help the readability of code at all
    With that, it's time to get on with something and see what happens. Let me know what you think as it goes along.

    Read this fantastic article about b2evolution

    Written by:Chris of Arabia
    Published on August 18th, 2015 @ 22:48:00 , using 51 words,
    I would say that wouldn't I. Well I did write it after all. Seriously, though, if you'd like to learn a little about the software that powers the blog you're reading right now, give this article at Sitepoint a read and let me know what you think - An Introduction to b2evolution.

    Things move on (a little)

    Written by:Chris of Arabia
    Published on August 15th, 2015 @ 18:26:00 , using 53 words,
    Posted in Blog Updates
    This blog is beginning to look like all I do is report on software updates - the kind of stuff no one gives a flying fart about. Still, it's now running b2evolution version 6.6.2, which is a sizeable upgrade, though you, the outside viewer, would not know that. There is though, more to come (honest).

    Obvious problem is obvious

    Written by:Chris of Arabia
    Published on July 13th, 2015 @ 14:34:00 , using 23 words,
    Posted in Blog Updates
    This blog skin looks like a piece of crap. It needs updating to the new version first, but other things to do first...

    C&K. talk...

    Written by:Chris of Arabia
    Published on July 13th, 2015 @ 12:28:00 , using 2243 words,
    This is old, maybe 5 years old, but it has the germ of something contained within it, a rambling discourse going everywhere and nowhere. We've not talked like this in a while, but I hope we pick it up soon. Be well K...

    C: Demonic or not, me being late or not, not having knowingly listened to Slipnot before or not. Whatever, that's a fine set of words to guide the pushing of the shutter button. You look good too. Stick with it.

    K: First, lateness is a forgivable offense in my book, I live in a state of perpetual lateness, but pride myself on being non hypocritical and I organize my closet in rainbow order so I figure it's a wash there.

    Next..Slipknot. ditto. My husband listens to them, so I ended up hearing their one or at least one of a very few "slower" songs that don't totally offend my sensibilities in a sort of freak accident type way, and i liked it very much. I still don't and never will really like or listen to a certain type of heavy metal music, I just usually don't like it and don't find it very melodic, but I do now however have a new interest in READING some of their lyrics as well as a new respect for some of the crunchier bands and I will now give certain recommended ones or ones with particularly appealing lyrics a 10 to 15 second test shot of their songs I've never heard in case it's a hidden beauty like this one.

    Annnnd. Thank you. These lyrics speak to me in a deep and intimate way, it's now a challenge of mine to portray images which are deeply connected to me in some personal way..but to do so in an image that isn't always a self portrait. Sometimes I can't and when that happens...this happens. Thanks again...your supportive words and your kind encouragement have been more important to me on my journey of artistic discovery than you probably know. I appreciate it all very much.

    C: Where's the blushing smiley when you need one? :oops:

    I do listen to a fair bit of metal (Metallica, Trivium, even some Lamb of God (am I really 48 listening to this stuff?)), or at least stuff that's inclined in that direction, but I'm probably more your 70's classic /prog rock type of guy. So I'm more comfortable with Thin Lizzy, Rush, Genesis and those sort of guys, but I'm equally happy with Radiohead, Smashing Pumpkins, Massive Attack, Depeche Mode and many others.

    I love this sort of portrait work, but haven't the faintest idea how to pull it off to be honest. My skills were honed in film and at a time when fine grained sharpness was the order of the day - movement was anaethema (unless it was the obligatory flowing stream), tripods a must and the rule of thirds enforced by the Inquisition. Breaking that mold is something I aspire to, but it's proving tricky I must say. I keep watching an looking and hopefully learning along the way. I'm starting to look into things more, rather than through or past them - there's hope yet.

    K: You took the words out of my mouth. I'm about to turn 40, and very much still in love with the music I grew up on. Music for me is like a definition of my life, I define and recall all of my life through the musical soundtrack playing in the background at the time.

    I don't think your ALLOWED to be 40-50 and not have a place in your heart for Metallica. That's one reason I made sure to say that I didn't like a "certain" type of metal music, namely the stuff that is what I call (probably incorrectly) death metal. If the vocals sound like a growl....I'm not going to like it. Metallica is not in that category, nor or misfits, or any other band pre1987 for the most part, or hell not many pre 1993 in my book either.

    Love Radiohead, a group of guys that I grew up with and went to high school with opened up for Radiohead during their world tour in the 90's. Remy Zero. If you don't know them....get to know them. They are incredible. Wonderful guys as well. The drummer was a special person in my life and he just passed away on Jan 1st of this year and so they are likely going to be releasing a new Remy Zero album this year in his honor...all unheard stuff..if your just discovering them, now is a great time to do so.

    Here is one of my favorites: www.youtube.com/watch?v=NEEJecwFG0w

    If you can find it, listen to a track called "Hollow" it's a track that I love and it's one that really showcases my sweet friend, Gregory Slay, on the drums and his talent is highlighted on that track. I can't find a video for it though.

    I could talk to you for hours about the film issue. I'm going in the opposite direction of you, I'm trying to shoot more film, but I don't have a space for a dark room and I'm weird about letting others develop my film. I do have a fair amount of it on my stream, but I don't usually note it or anything. In my opinion, and that's all it is, I have ZERO photographic training, is just throw the rule book out, let go of "pretty" and look instead at light and also give your attention to the "edges" of things. The interesting parts of everything in life are always on the peripheral, out on the fringes in the outer spaces. The other thing I have found helpful is to look through your favorites and find the recurring theme, find the thing that makes art lovable for you and then aspire to emulate it. And of course it goes without saying, do what you love, post what you like, don't shoot with the preconception of pleasing anyone but you. No matter what you do or how you do it, there will always be those people that just don't get it, and those are not the people that you want to direct your art towards. Art is more of a magnet than a hunter, and people are much more alike than we are different so if you do what speaks to you, it will speak to those that need to hear it, those that are listening, and those that are open to it. The only real rule you need to follow is being truthful, being genuine and authentic to yourself and the rest will follow. It's much better to be heard perfectly clear by a few than to be misunderstood by masses. Anyway, these are just my philosophies and in the spirit of truthfulness...I'm a bit of flake so take it with as many or as few grains of salt as you see fit. oh...and lightroom helps. ;)

    holy crap...I just hit preview and that's realllly long. sorry about that.

    C: Weeee! When you get going, you get going don't you? I'm not complaining though. It's rather nice to find people on here that you can just fall into a natural line of conversation with.

    Well I've found Hollow, but it's playing like crap for me - bad internet connecton tonight (it's about 23:00 here). From what I'm getting though it's a good song, very intense and I can see where the hook up with Radiohead came in from. I was just reading about Gregory on Wikipedia. It doesn't say too much as you'd expect, but it's always sad when someone so young (I can say that these days) passes on. I've already had one brush with mortality and this kind of stuff touches a nerve. I'd not heard of Remy Zero before, but they sound like they're worth checking out. I'll see if iTunes has anything to offer up.

    I like your take on shooting. I might have to copy that out somewhere and re-read it at a later date. I'd be fascinated to know how that sort of mindset develops and what sort of environment is needed to encourage that level of free thought. My upbringing encouraged conformity and knowing ones place in the greater scheme of things. Couple that with an education heavy on science and the three 'r's, drilled forcefully into an unwilling skull in a single sex school run by Christian Brothers and you tend to find free thinking at something of a premium. LoL. From there it was straight into the RAF and more discipline.

    As far as film itself goes, I've done the developing and printing thing years back, but that I suspect was never an issue in itself, just the way photography was viewed in the sources I learned from and the very occasional foray into the world of male dominated camera clubs. I must admit that I hate the photography for competition thing and being sized up by ones peers - where does that fit into art I wonder? One of the few pieces I've done recently that I actually like, was this one called "In Your Room" (another musical connection) - that one resonates for me, check out the lyrics, there's a message in there. Even that photo was inspired by someone else though, I'd not have thought of trying it otherwise.

    Well I think I've written enough for one evening, I have work in the morning. Til later then.

    K: brevity is not one of my strong points, I know this.

    Brushes with mortality? Doesn't sound good...hope your weren't left any lasting health problems, take care of yourself!

    I actually can relate more than you might expect, if you've read very much of my many diatribes (also not brief) on pimps stream(s) you might even be surprised, but I spent 13 years of school in a private christian environment that included an hour of church service daily in addition to a religion class every day. Not sure how much church that adds up to over the years but the way I see it, I've done a lifetime worth and so my Sundays are spent elsewhere. But point is, I know very well that these environments do nothing to promote free thinking. Quite the contrary. My take on it is that the control and order in life has it's place and you needn't abandon it in all other areas but it might come as a relief to free yourself of it in the area of creating art. Aren't we all just complicated and multi-faceted! How one goes about releasing that control and expressing their emotions through art isn't something I could make a good call on, but I do think that it could be nothing but of benefit, both emotionally and even physically. I carry stress and emotions in very very direct physical way, it's visually obvious even and art is absolutely a means of bleeding that off. I think in some ways you have to assume that no person will ever see it, as if it's just for you and then just put if out there quick, like ripping off a bandage. I don't think that competition has really any place in art beyond the maybe the educational stages, it's a interesting point though and one that is debated often. The 2 schools of thought being that all art is at some level self promotion rather than self expression and the other being that is only expression. It's probably both as we are all in possession of an ego. I think the more you take art into the core of humanity the less it is about promotion but I certainly know of good and talented artists that don't bother to hide the fact that there is self promotion going on and that 's fine when it's not contrived or denied I think. While I'm making presumptions I would guess, based on my own experiences, that you likely have a wealth of untapped inspiration within your very discipline oriented life structure. You will likely find if you explore your deeper feelings about that and it's effect, both positive and negative it will just flood out into your images before you realize what is happening. The act of creating art is in and of itself an act of self exploration and growth. I already see plenty of depth of thought and quality of technical process in your work so it's already all there and the fact that you express a desire to take it to another level means to me that's it's already available to you, it's just a matter of you taking that step into that zone that you keep right under the surface.

    Ugh. gone on and on to long again. These subjects are so interesting to me that I find it hard to not have full on lengthy conversations about them when they come up. I need to learn how to do this better and shorter!! sorry again.

    C: Stop apologising (please). It would be great if there were a way of tracking down the (public) thoughts of other flickr members, other than asking them to point them out or stumbling on them by accident. You can see their favourites or contacts, but not what they've had to say for themselves.

    The rest of your musings and observations I need to digest with a good cup of tea and most definitely outside the office (where I am now)

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