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I fought the lawn… and the lawn won

If you give a moose an upgrade…

Filed under: Geek Wannabe on Tuesday, December 4, 2007

She’ll realize it breaks most of her WordPress plugins.

So then she’ll troubleshoot for an hour before she decides to figure it out another day.

But before she logs off, she’ll see that some of her blogroll links are broken, too.

So she’ll get down to work cleaning out the all those bloggers who return 404 pages. (Sniff!)

And while she’s at it, she’ll correct all the changed URLs for bloggers who’ve moved! (Hooray! New sites!)

But not before an evil, ruthless, bushwhacking urge comes upon her! (Grrrrrrrrr…)

She’ll brutally SLASH AND BURN all those links that don’t link back to her. (“Bwa ha!”)

(Some sites she’ll leave up anyway — for unknown reasons — unless it has something to do with bloggers in the possession of certain compromising photos.)

At that point she’ll start feeling guilty.

She’ll worry she might have deleted somebody who DID link to her, who wasn’t returning a 404 page, and who never, ever blackmailed her.

She’ll resolve to ask their forgiveness but also to tell them to contact Her Mooshishness IMMEDIATELY so she can relink to them again.

And after all this toil, she’ll notice that many other aspects of her site require some major updating in order to work properly — but that’s when she’ll just pick up her moose-sized rear end and go shovel down a muffin.

Make that TWO muffins.

Technical Difficulties

Filed under: Geek Wannabe on Sunday, January 28, 2007

I’m not blaming anybody, but my web host DID upgrade some software this weekend and all of a sudden stuff has gone kablooey!

The most noticeable kablooeyness was the disappearance of my Super Sabado post. It’s been there all weekend, but some of you couldn’t see it.

If you came to me through a bonniewren.com link (no “www”) then it was gone. But if you put the www in front of the bonniewren.com, kapow! There it was!

I learned all about 301 redirects and inserted one into my .htaccess file. Hopefully I took care of this problem, but as always, if something seems awry—more than USUALLY AWRY, that is— please let me know, because I’m consistently oblivious.

Monday Morning Mojo: Walkies

Filed under: Bulldog,Geek Wannabe on Monday, January 8, 2007

No comic today! I thought I’d try another movie. Big mistake!

This is my first project with iMovie 6 (6.0.3), and I find it much buggier than iMovie 5. I wasted more time dealing with odd little quirks than actually editing the movie, so I’m not at all happy with the result.*

Also, I usually don’t let Mojo take the lead like that—I just did it so I could hold the camera. We used to use a harness, but Mojo would pull us all over the place. Then we watched a whole DVD’s worth of “Dog Whisperer” shows and realized we just needed a cheapie little leash held up high, under his ears.

We got rid of the harness and now walks with Mojo are a lot more fun—unless you’re trying to operate the Mojo Cam.

And here’s a warning for those of you prone to motion-sickness: this little video might make you a little nauseous.

*For any iMovie people who are curious, here are some of the problems I had: (Read the rest of “Monday Morning Mojo: Walkies”)

Monday Morning Mojo: Where is the love?

Filed under: Bulldog,Geek Wannabe on Monday, November 20, 2006

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve got a new cell phone that doubles as a camera!

It not only takes photos (and really good ones, too!) but it shoots videos as well. To celebrate, I made up an ultra-short movie composed of nothing but photos and videos I took with my cell phone.

Have a look and see:

And here is the link for all you feed readers out there.

Living in the post-candy apocalypse (with a side trip to the Apple Store)

Filed under: Geek Wannabe on Thursday, November 2, 2006

In case you’ve been wondering if I tipped head-first into a giant Halloween bowl of candy, I did. It took forever to climb out, too, especially considering how bottom-heavy I got while I was in there.

We’re talking HUGE. I keep bumping into things I never used to bump into, a sure sign I need to start working out again. Either that, or move into a bigger house.

Anyway, while I was living it up in the candy bowl my laptop battery decided to go on strike, so I visited the UTC Apple Store to check battery prices.

While I was there I played with some of the new MacBooks and the software that comes with them, including something I never heard of before called “Photo Booth.” It sounded interesting, so I clicked the little Photo Booth icon and started it up.

A video began and I decided Photo Booth must be a movie player of some kind. And I wasn’t going to say anything critical until I knew more, but this movie was pretty darn boring! Kind of like an art student project where nothing ever happens but the actors look pained all the time anyway.

There was only one actor so far, an older woman who did nothing but peer into the space below the camera. I waited, but she didn’t do anything else, except squint. And look kind of peeved. Or maybe she was trying to convey annoyance about something.

Boy, I thought, that gal sure looks an awful lot like my mom. In fact, she could be my mom’s sister! No, maybe a little younger than my Mom. Maybe more like her… her…

… her daughter.

Good grief.

Turns out Photo Booth makes videos using the iSight video camera built into the MacBook screen. And that art movie? It was nothing but a horror flick featuring me—the old, squinty, peevish woman at the UTC Apple Store.

I’m sure Photo Booth will be handy for video chats and the like, but you won’t catch me using it again, unless I put a paper bag over my head.

Site changes are afoot

Filed under: Geek Wannabe on Sunday, September 24, 2006

Inspired by Bonnie Calhoun, April Redmon, and all the other brave souls out there remodeling their sites, I’m experimenting with my theme, my widgets, and my plugins.

Typically, the way these things work is that I make a change, the site goes kablooey, and then Hubby reminds me we’re due somewhere and I have to leave it as it is until I can race home and fix it.

So if you see something you like or hate, let me know in the comments section, but understand that it might only be temporary, anyway.

UPDATE:

According to my webhost, “there was a bug in the latests set of CPanel patches” (heh!) that prevented me from installing a sandbox where I could test things in private, but they fixed it this morning. So you probably won’t see many changes until I’ve perfected the new theme. If you’re curious, though, you can see what I’m doing here.

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My printer is a piece of plaQta

Filed under: Geek Wannabe,Meet the Family on Friday, August 18, 2006

High School Emergency Form (as filled out by Squirt)

Name: Squirt Wren, Sweet Ninja Badass

If your parent/guardian needs an interpreter, indicate what language: Klingon

I wish I did speak Klingon. It would take the sting off of technologicaly impaired weeks like this one when:

  1. The black ink nozzle on our printer clogged up for good
  2. My iBook charger cord spit sparks at me before it died
  3. I dropped my camera and BROKE the lens right off the front

Yes, if I spoke Klingon, I could face all this technology death properly, with a “baQa’!” or “You pathetic mak’dar!”

Since I don’t speak Klingon, I’ll just content myself with the knowledge that my Sweet Ninja Badass turned in a bunch of downloaded forms printed up in baby blue ink.

We broke Blogger

Filed under: Geek Wannabe on Thursday, July 27, 2006

“We” being Bonnie Calhoun and Bonnie Wren, Blogger Breakers Extraordinaire.

As we’ve bumbled through template fixing, we did something that messed everything up, because Blogger definitely hasn’t been the same since we started.

And since I’m in a confessional state of mind, let’s talk about Google. I haven’t been able to access my Google mail, Google News or Google specialized searches since last night. I’d like to blame that one on Bonnie C., but I probably had something to do with it, too.

And it’s hot. And muggy. 87% humidity today, and I know, I know, IT’S NOT PHOENIX. Because if it were, I’d spontaneously ignite. Seeing as how it’s only San Diego heat and humidity and all, I’m remaining in a liquid state.

And it’s not… even… August.

I can walk in slow-mo, too

Filed under: Columns,Geek Wannabe on Thursday, July 20, 2006

Screenshot of Matrix screen
You know how it is when you do a little research on a subject and then all of a sudden all your friends see you as an expert?

It happens to me all the time—why, I don’t know. Just one of those amusing little foibles of human nature, I guess.

BONNIE: Yup. (examines fingernails) I just installed two PLUGINS on my WEBSITE.

CARPOOL MOM: You have a website?

BONNIE: (nonchalantly) Oh, it’s nothing. Really.

CARPOOL MOM: That reminds me! Did you see Oprah today?

BONNIE: Um, no. But I did take a look at her website’s SOURCE CODE and did you know she actually uses TABLES for FORMATTING? Ha! I don’t know who her designer is, but—

CARPOOL MOM: (frowning) I don’t remember Oprah doing any shows on designer table coverings.

Yes, I have quite a geeky reputation amongst my friends. And I get tons of requests to help people with their websites, too. TONS.

BONNIE: Let me do your website for you! Please, please, please?

FRIEND: I, uh, oh, I don’t know…

BONNIE: But I’m ever so cheap! In fact, I’m free! A free website! Just for you!

FRIEND: Uh…

Being a webmaster is an important responsibility, as you might imagine, especially if you’re doing it for a friend. So I frequently check my friend’s site just to make sure all is hunky dory. And on Monday morning—yowza!

Her site was trashed. Completely unreadable. She had been hacked!

Of course, I handled this crisis as calmly and authoritatively as any level-headed webmaster would.

BONNIE: (running around the living room, arms flapping) We were hacked! We were HACKED! WE… WERE… HACKED!

I searched through all the files and in a few of them found strange snippets of code that did not belong—code I’d never seen before—with phrases like “ERROR_REPORTING” and “base64_encode”.

And when I finally figured out how to translate all this base64_encode stuff, I discovered it contained a URL! A URL that pointed to… A ROMANIAN WEBSITE.

BONNIE: (running around the living room, arms flapping) We were hacked by ROMANIANS! We were HACKED BY ROMANIANS! WE WERE… HACKED… BY ROMANIANS!

What the Romanians wanted, I don’t know, but they really messed up the site. And how they got into the files in the first place, I don’t know, either, but it took me some time to find all the little bits of code they added. At one point I just gave up and uploaded one of my backups. Now the site loads perfectly.

And of course, all my friends are dying to hear about this online adventure.

BONNIE: (sniffs modestly) Yup. Spent most the day cleaning up some website files. HACKERS, you know.

SWIM TEAM MOM: Huh?

BONNIE: It was nothing, really. Just one of my websites. Got HACKED. By ROMANIANS.

SWIM TEAM MOM: Romanians? Say, didn’t Nadia Comaneci marry an American gymnast?

Yup. That foible of human nature thing—you gotta love it.

Gravatars, schmavatars!

Filed under: Geek Wannabe on Sunday, June 4, 2006

I just spent a chunk of my morning trying to enable gravatars. Hopefully I’ve got them working now, but if you see any strangeness going on (outside of the usual Bonnie strangeness) then contact me ASAP!

If you aren’t sure what a gravatar is, it’s pretty cool. You sign up at Gravatar.com, using the e-mail you usually post comments with.

Then, if you comment at a site that has enabled gravatars, your avatar shows up in the comment section next to your comment. See here:

screenshot of me using my gravatar

You Blogger people already have this option for all comments made at Blogger, but there’s a whole world of non-Blogger sites that won’t accept your Blogger avatar. Gravatar.com offers you a free and easy way to get your mugshot out there in the real world!

On my site, if you haven’t registered for a gravatar, this picture will show up:

Default gravatar at Ballpoint Wren

I had a few problems getting the few gravatar plugins I tried to work: activating any of them caused my entire site to throw up an error message. But this Gravatars2 plugin took off running right away, no fuss, no muss.

Also, there’s a waiting process when you sign up for a gravatar, during which Gravatar.com “rates” your gravatar (PG, R, X, etc.), so be patient. My application took two days or so to be rated.

 
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