Battle of the Bucket

Posted 2009.07.15 16.10 in Aquaria, Pointless Blather by Stephanie

Aquarium Diary, Entry # 23

Zebra danios’ plans for world domination suffered a setback today when the entire Fourteenth Light Infantry Fry Division (the Fightin’ Fourteenth) was wiped out in a routine gravel-vacuuming incident. I am certain the zebrafish leader (General Shifty) is reconsidering their decision to conceal the troops among the gravel, especially in light of the regular aquarium tank maintenance that goes on.

Although the incident was unintentional, I am glad as I believe it has bought me some time to regroup and try to determine how best to handle the impending zebrafish rebellion.

The snails are proving to be helpful spies (unless they are feeding me false information), though I have no doubts of Speed Racer’s loyalty. Whenever the zebras finish spawning, he strolls into the spawning areas for a nice scrambled-egg breakfast. Stout fellow. Still, there is only so much he can do, and obviously the zebras are able to produce more eggs than he can eat.

Will keep monitoring, and keep iPhone well clear of aquarium! Still not certain how much damage the fry might be capable of.

Simple Counter Plugin

Posted 2009.07.15 10.12 in Computers/Internet/Technology by Stephanie

A while or two ago, I mentioned I was working on a counter plugin for WordPress. I still haven’t written the documentation, but seeing as that’s not going to happen any time soon I figured I ought to publish what I have so far, and worry about documenting it later.

The specs are all in the previous post (linked above). You can download the file here: SimpleCounter for WordPress.

Here are two examples of how it can look, as the style is entirely controlled via css:

Screen 1 Sample Screenshot

And here is a screenshot of the settings screen (click to enlarge):

Settings Screen

The plugin provides a widget, and it also lets you place a counter on subsequent pages… this is where the documentation is really necessary, I’m afraid. It’s coming though, someday, soon, I promise…

To install, just unzip the file and put the php file into your plugins directory. Activate the plugins, then you can access the settings screen through Settings -> Simple Counter. To place the widget in  your sidebar, just go to Appearance -> Widgets and drag the widget where you want it to appear.

The plugin is tested and compatible with WordPress versions 2.7 through 2.8.1

Undo Button, Take 2

Posted 2009.07.15 7.17 in Aquaria, Pointless Blather by Stephanie

Have you ever done something that started out as just a minor chore that you thought would take a few minutes and make things better, but then the further you got into it the bigger the job got? And by the time you realize it’s going to be a major endeavor, you’re too far into it and you can’t just stop or ‘put it all back’ so you have no choice but to carry on?

So I have live plants in my aquarium. I hate “fake” stuff, and just as important, live plants help with the nitrogen cycle by absorbing some of the nitrates in the water. However, I’ve been getting more aggravated with the fact that it seems nigh-impossible to keep some of them ‘planted’ in the gravel. They come loose, float around, or bits break off, or for the worst offenders, they continually shed bits that then sink, die, decay, and pollute the water.  Grrr!  Plus it’s impossible to get the gravel vacuum in around them without dislodging them all over again, so you can’t even clean up after them! They’re messier than the snails – and believe me, snails are little poop-machines with supercharged poop engines.

So I got the idea to take the plants out of the gravel, and plant them in wee little plant pots that I could fill with a substrate that is better-suited for holding plants down. Then I could put the wee little plant pots in the aquarium, and (in theory) that would hold the plants down, keep them from floating around, and make it easier to clean around them without knocking them loose. In theory.

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