Friday, August 29, 2014

Can Treehouse Really Sell a Product with This Screen?

I was browsing the web for content management system software and its documentation tonight.  I came across a page for Treehouse. ... the fastest, easiest way to learn to code, make apps, and start a business. Tutorials in CSS, HTML ...

I paused to look a bit:

That's right, they think that using medium gray text on slightly darker medium gray background is a good idea in explaining their product.  Do they really think I will next take time to figure out how to buy it?  BTW, it looks better here in the screenshot than on their real page.

Maybe someone on their staff will shoot a link to this page to their management and say, "we might just be shooting ourselves in the foot here!"

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

How Many OSHA Violations Can You Spot in This Photo?

I checked out the StarTribune this morning and saw this picture.

I assumed they were running an article on OSHA violations in the local contractor market.

My bad.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

It Must Be True, I Saw it on the Internet!

No, those are not rubber bullets.

And that is not "chipboard" in this picture.  Since it is from British media, we'll let them get by with chipboard for particleboard.

Do the media do any intelligence testing before hiring?

Sunday, August 3, 2014

No, Mr. President, That's Not Their Job.

That is what gets in the way of them effectively doing their job.  From an interview published in The Economist. 

The Economist: Yes, tell us about that. We see a lot of business people and they do complain about regulation.
Mr Obama: They always complain about regulation. That’s their job.
He may actually think that's their job - and that is sad.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Flickr Relents - The Direct Link Returns

I was going to publish a post on my travel blog last night before I went to bed.  Unfortunately, when I tried to include the first photograph, Flickr would not let me link to my photo.  There was no link code displayed at all when I clicked on their "Share" icon.  I played with it for a while, then gave up and decided to come back to it today.

This morning, I tried the exact same thing, and, like magic, not only did the "Share" icon display my size options and link code but the old "direct sharing" html link was back!  There are now two "radio buttons" options available where there were none for the past couple of months.

Good grief - the Internet is the wild wild west of the computer frontier.

Here is the the way Flickr now lets you share a picture on your blog.  I will display it two ways.  First, using the iframe embed code that has been the only option for the past two months.

And now I'll use the new html link code that had been "disappeared" for those same two months.

No difference to the viewer, right?  Except that if you "mouse over" the first image, you can run through the whole set while "mouse over" on the second produces the information that I have not not titled the image and it gives you a link to the single image in the set.  By the way, if you click the right arrow to run through that set, you will be able to see the two "radio buttons" that I am talking about.

This will no doubt produce a lot of happy faces for bloggers that use WordPress since that service doesn't support iframes at all.  There has been considerable gnashing of teeth by these folks since the previous Flickr change.

Flickr had justified the dropping of the direct link with a hard-to-find message in one of their FAQs:
The direct link to a photo file is no longer shown on the page. Per the Flickr Community Guidelines "pages on other websites that display content hosted on must provide a link from each photo or video back to its page on Flickr." Linking directly to the photo file doesn't do this.
I am anxious to see if they now "disappear" that FAQ!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Flickr and Blogger Can Drive You Nuts

When Flickr decided to go with Iframe to for the sharing code used to embed their photos (see the post immediately below), I didn't like some of the side effects.  But it was actually a better methodology, and by using Flickr Sets, which I always do, the whole photostream wasn't exposed in every embed.

One other side effect that I had experienced was that when I embedded into a blogger post, I had no photo show up in my "Compose" view of the post.  There was just white space, indistinguishable from the background.  This was pretty poor from a composition standpoint, but I just wrote it off to the war between parents Google and Yahoo not wanting to place nice together.  The same thing shows up in Blogger's Preview.

Today, I added a couple of pictures to an old post on my travel blog - and what's this? The new pictures showed up in Compose, but not the old ones!

More wasted time playing with code to find out WTF!

Here is what happens when I used the link code for a photo two days ago and what happens when I linked to the same picture today:

Now I know that the above two images look identical to you once they are published.  So here is what they look like to me while in Compose mode or on Preview.  (I screen-captured it for you and will publish it as a localy sourced Blogger image.)


That;s right - no image on the two day old stuff, nice image today.  Did Flickr fix a bug?  What' changed, by the way?

Well, here is the old link code generated by Flickr and the new.

 <iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="272" mozallowfullscreen="" msallowfullscreen="" oallowfullscreen="" src="" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="500"></iframe>
And, here is the new:
<iframe src="" width="500" height="272" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen></iframe>

A little changing of the order of things but the real change is from "http" to "https"

Why?  Well, Flickr fessed up to changing some SSL things here.
Sometime in the last few months, we went and updated our API SSL endpoints. Shame on us for not making a bigger deal about it!
But without much explanation.  And why does Blogger show one of the images in Compose and Preview but not the other while showing both when Published?  Beats me.  But I'll accept the improvement in functionality without argument.  But it would be nice if these behemoths software concerns just shared with us poor customers what they are doing once in a while.  I know that not all of their customers are nerds like I am - but a lot of normal folks ask us what's going on from time to time.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

My iPad Crashes When I Display Flickr Photos on My Blog

Well, not the iPad, actually.  Just the Safari web browser.

I store my photos on Flickr.  I have a travel blog on Blogger.  Embedding photos from Flickr on the blog is not particularly easy but I have been doing it for several years.  The Safari web browser on our iPad now crashes any time we try to load my TravelBlog.  It is reproducible.  And, I can load every individual post currently visible on the blog - it only crashes when I try to load the entire current blog!  What changed? 

Flickr used to generate some HTML code to use in accessing pictures from elsewhere on the Web.  I simply copied that code and pasted it into my blog posts.  It looked like this:

<a href="" title="Albany-24 by T J Sawyer, on Flickr"><img alt="Albany-24" src="" height="214" width="320" /></a>

Back about November of 2013, Flickr "improved" their linking mechanism and began producing this type of embed code, instead:

<iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="271" mozallowfullscreen="" msallowfullscreen="" oallowfullscreen="" src="" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="500"></iframe>

What Flickr did was to change their default from embedding just the picture to embedding the full Flickr page in what is called an iframe. (iframe is a WWW concept, not an Apple concept)  Now I was not particularly happy with this change on the part of Flickr, but I could live with it.  It meant that viewers of my blog could get distracted (bored?) and just start to scroll through all the pictures on the referenced Flickr set.  I could probably control that by putting each blog photo in its own Flickr Set, but I didn't want to go to that much trouble.  I already group the photos into a set for each post and don't really mind if a reader decides to explore that whole set.  I checked a few other blogs and noticed that other bloggers, such as the widely read Ann Althouse, have continued to use the Flickr link on her blog.  I don't believe she even complained when the change was made.

So, I began using the new embedded iframe code back in December.  After about two weeks in Egypt, the Travel Blog would no longer load on our iPad.  I suspected a memory problem and began the usual remedies.
  • I closed the other tabs in the Safari browser.
  • I killed all the other apps that were running (Not a trivial task under iOS!)
  • I restarted the iPad
  • I even upgraded the operating system to iOS 7.04 - a new look and feel that deserves its own rant, but I'll do that later.
All to no avail.  I searched the Internet for solutions and found a lot of people having trouble with the new Flickr and an amazing number having iPad Safari problems.  So: let's isolate the problem further.

Consider those two pieces of code that I have above.  Let's just embed them in this post:

If I display this post or this blog.  All is well.  However, what happens if I repeat that last embedded picture?  I tried repeating it 25 times.  The blog loads fine.  If, however, I repeat it 50 times, the blog will no longer load on the iPad.  Instead, it crashes Safari!

I will leave it as an excercise for the interested reader/coder/computer science major to determine the exact number of imbedded iFrames that are required to kill Safari.

Now to my real rant!  Why hasn't this condition been analyzed and documented on the Web?  You can search for "multiple iframes crash safari" or a variety of variants and not find anything that resembles documentation of the real problem.

Worse yet, search for "Blogger Flickr iPad" and you will find nothing but nonsense.  For example, here.

There appear to be many people that think this is a Flickr problem.  It is not.  It is just a very sorry implementation of a browser by Apple.

What is a web browser?  It is nothing but a file listing program.  These have  been around since the days of the IBM 701 in 1953.  I suspect that a file lister was one of the first programs written for the SHARE library.  Sure, there are a lot more file types to be handled now than "in the old days" but give me a break.  When your file listing program has an issue with the number of items in a table or with some other constraint,  you don't just crash!  Put out an error message saying "Number of iframes on this page exceeds internal limit" and then render what you've got so far.

Good Grief, what are they teaching the young coders nowadays!