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Liber Umbrarum Available!

Posted 2009.04.30 20.07 in iPhone by Stephanie

Well I don’t know when it happened because I never received a notice from Apple, but Liber Umbrarum et Lux was released and is available for download – in time for Bealtine too!

It might have been yesterday or today, but whenever it was, here’s the link where you can grab it: Liber Umbrarum et Lux at the App Store

It is, of course, free – so enjoy!


Super Simple Counter 2

Posted 2009.04.29 18.31 in Computers/Internet/Technology by Stephanie

I’ve been working some more on the super simple counter I mentioned here. It’s still very simple, but maybe not super simple any more. The goal is still to replace the older (and more complicated) cgi-based counter with something that is entirely contained within WordPress. I’ve already achieved that for the main site counter, but I also have a number of page-specific counters on some of my static pages (eg. the Lasers page, Knife-Making page, etc.)

I’ve been enhancing it further, and adding more features. It now includes all the following features, in one easy-to-install WordPress plugin:

  • Can be used as a sidebar widget or placed anywhere else on the site.
  • Output is styled through the theme’s CSS file, using a .counter class.
  • A starting number can be specified, to facilitate migrating from other counters.
  • The counter defaults to display only on the site’s Front Page, but can be set to appear on all pages.
  • The counter only increments when the site’s Front Page is displayed.
  • The counter can be suppressed so it doesn’t even display on the Front Page, just increments.
  • The counter logs the last visitor IP address, so page refreshes aren’t counted.
  • The number of digits displayed can be set.
  • The counter can be configured to display the output with commas separating the thousands.
  • The title can be customized (only applies to the sidebar widget.)
  • Settings are configured through the WordPress Admin site, as a Settings sub-page.

In addition to the saved settings, I’m looking to include the functionality of run-time arguments to enable further customization. 

Much of the functionality is already in there, only a few things are yet to be enabled. I’m testing it now, and when I’m confident it is working as advertised, I’ll post a link to download the plugin. Oh – and this time, there’ll be Documentation!  🙂

Adventures of Grrbll

Posted 2009.04.25 14.14 in Comics by Stephanie

Grrbll Chapter 1

I Like It Hot

Posted 2009.04.25 9.20 in Pointless Blather by Stephanie

Not long ago I was having lunch with my dad. We were at a chinese food place, and when we placed our orders, I asked for hot sauce. We’ve eaten there before and from experience we know that they usually bring a tiny dish with like a teaspoonfull of sauce, so I specifically asked for A Lot of hot sauce.

So they bring the soup, and my dad starts on his soup, and I’m sitting there waiting. He asks, “You don’t want your soup?” And I said “I’m still waiting for my hot sauce.” then the next thing I said suddenly resonated very strongly with me: “I shouldn’t have to eat food that isn’t spicey.”
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Theraputic Apathy

Posted 2009.04.24 10.36 in Life On Drugs, Pointless Blather by Stephanie

In his book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey wrote that those highly effective people learn not to worry about things they can’t affect. That is, you have spheres of influence, and if a situation is outside your spheres of influence, then worrying about it is a waste of your time and energy: focus on stuff you can affect or influence, and let the rest sort itself out.

Worrying about things which are out of your control will just increase your stress and add to the grey hairs. The real problem of course is, it’s easy to say Oh you can’t control it so don’t worry about it, but when ‘it’ is something or someone you care about, it becomes difficult to stop worrying. Indeed, I think we’re probably biologically programmed to care and want to help people – if you’re in a tribal hunter-gatherer society surrounded by lots of dangerous Nature, everyone you know and see is family or extended family or friend, and if they’re in trouble it’s in everyone’s best interest to help them.

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I (Heart) My iPhone

Posted 2009.04.23 20.19 in Computers/Internet/Technology, Pointless Blather by Stephanie

The iPod Touch, which I used for some 6 weeks, was a great piece of kit. Certainly it was a big adjustment from my old (circa 1994) HP 200LX, but as a PDA the Touch was very colourful, small, and cute. It was the sort of thing you could become very fond of.

But the iPhone… It’s been what, like 2 weeks almost? And I have to say.. I love it. 

Seriously – it is the kind of technical jiggery-pokery that you find yourself just staring adoringly at. 

iPod LurveI’m no Apple fangrrrl or Apple apologist, nor am I an Apple cultist. They make mistakes and screw things up, they’re just another business like every other capitalist corporation. But when they get it right, wow do they get it right.

I mean, this thing is about the same size as my 3rd generation iPod – the one with the little B&W screen, the four buttons over the scroll area. Same size, yet this sucker packs almost as much storage space (solid state nowadays of course, none of that archaic spinning platter business), a big colour touch-screen, wi-fi, bluetooth, GSM cellular, and a GPS for goodness sake! Just reading the tech specs on Apple’s website, made me feel almost Star-Trek.  Aside from the usual specs like memory, screen size, etc, there’s a category for sensors.  Sensors! It’s almost like a tricorder and communicator rolled into one.

Anyhow – enough babbling.  Bottom line is, I love my iPhone. It is an almost-perfect piece of technological jiggery-pokery.

It just needs a blinking light.

Super Simple WordPress Counter

Posted 2009.04.23 17.40 in Computers/Internet/Technology by Stephanie

I’ve been using a fairly complex cgi counter program, and spent some time today making a WordPress widget that would interface with it so as to have my fancy counter displayed in the sidebar.

After playing with it for a while, adding more and more options, I realized that I was really over-complicating it. I don’t need all the fancy capabilities of the cgi counter, and it would be easier to build a solution that didn’t have to rely on outside components.

So I started over, and made a super simple counter that can be added to a WordPress-powered site as a plugin. The ‘full featurelist’ is as follows:

  • Super simple to install – just upload the plugin, activate it, then activate the widget.
  • No other files to load, no complicated data / font directories required.
  • Position it like any other sidebar widget.
  • Output is styled via your theme’s CSS file.
  • Only appears on your site’s ‘front page’ (whether it’s a blog page or a static page).
  • Remembers last visitor so page ‘reloads’ won’t increment the counter.
  • Easy to configure, via the WordPress Widget admin screen.

There isn’t really much to configure:

  • You can set a title, or use the default (Counter)
  • You can specify the number of digits, or leave it at the default (6 digits)
  • You can select whether or not to use a comma to separate the thousands
  • You can manually change the counter number (*)

(* this option is to allow you to switch from another counter to this one without having to start over at 1. Obviously, tinkering with the number more than once is cheating.)

I’ve named it StephCounter and anyone interested can download it here: Please note, it comes with no support, no warranty, and (at the moment) no instructions. It is released under the GPL license and uses PHP.