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🫑 The US Government Has a Microsoft Problem

Posted April 16, 2024

This Wired story (paywalled, but available via Apple News if you have that) is something I’ve long thought (and worried) about. Everything is fine and dandy, until it isn’t…

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Charting tools for WordPress

Posted April 14, 2024

This website has included charts on several pages for quite some time: the run log, the bike log and the golf score database have all had various graphs that were created using the Easy Chart Builder plugin by dyerware. It used the original Google Chart API to create a PNG graphic from the information in a shortcode that I updated manually after each new event.

Google deprecated that API in 2012 and according to the Wikipedia page, turned it off on March 18, 2019. For some reason, however, the plugin still worked after that (most of the time). Last week, though, it didn’t work at all. When I went to the Easy Chart Builder support page, I discovered the plugin hadn’t been updated in 11 years. Time to find a replacement, eh?

Google still has a free charting tool called Google Charts and most current WordPress charting plugins use that. I didn’t want to get stuck again with Google deprecating a service in the future, though, so I started looking for alternatives. I found an awesome looking open source graphing library called Chart.js and skimmed through the documentation for that.

Turns out there is a great free plugin that uses Chart.js from Jamie Poitra called M Chart that does everything I want. Jamie has nice documentation here and I was up and running with replacement graphs on all three pages in about an hour. Still need to read up on themes, but I like the default styles and might just leave it the way it is. The Highcharts stuff is interesting – hadn’t heard of that library (or the Norwegian company) before.

M Chart also uses shortcodes, but creates a chart object for each one that is updated like a post or page. Each chart has a spreadsheet-like interface for updating data, so I’ll have to see how I like that workflow. Ideally, I’d like to have the charts update automatically when I enter events into the database, but that is beyond the scope of this plugin. I currently use phpMyAdmin to enter events, so maybe I can tackle that whenever I get around to creating custom data entry screens…

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🫑 Clown app, FTW 🍟

Pic posted April 12, 2024

I know the after work clown fries and diet cokes aren’t healthy, but they sure do make me happy

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OK, that was pretty cool NASAπŸŒ›

Pic posted April 8, 2024

Watched the NASA livestream as it passed Cleveland

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ba da ba ba ba 🍟

Pic posted April 3, 2024

Large clown fries for a dollar is probably my favorite app promotion of all time

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🫑 Watchguard Mobile VPN with SSL Client ***

Posted April 2, 2024

*** Mobile VPN with SSL Client does not support Macs that have the Apple M1 or M2 ARM-based processors. In addition, macOS 13 (Ventura) and higher do not accept SSL connections to untrusted self-signed certificates. For more information, see this KB article. An alternative is to use the OpenVPN Connect client for macOS.

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If ‘boiling the oceans to run the server farms’ isn’t number one on your ‘existential risks to humanity posed by Al’ then you can stop talking about existential risks to humanity forever thanks…

— The research fairy

Quote posted March 31, 2024

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Link: British Library cyber incident

Linked March 29, 2024

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🫑 March 2024 Apple Updates Part II

Pic posted March 25, 2024

macOS Sonoma 14.4.1 βœ…, iOS 17.4.1 βœ…, iPadOS 17.4.1 βœ…

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Snaptacular. πŸ“±

Pic posted March 25, 2024

Wonder how much First Ave makes annually from Apple

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Our first Bird Buddy ❀️

Pic posted March 23, 2024

That only took almost three months – are birds even real? This cute house finch is the first visitor to our little yellow feeder…

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🫑 Delta Airbus A321

Posted March 18, 2024

So far this plane has stayed in one piece (and has free WiFi for all)

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The Collatz conjecture πŸ€”

Posted March 14, 2024

This story in Scientific American gets very technical very quickly, but the root scenario is [really] pretty simple:

Take a natural number. If it is odd, multiply it by 3 and add 1; if it is even, divide it by 2. Proceed in the same way with the result x: if x is odd, you calculate 3x + 1; otherwise calculate x/2. Repeat these instructions as many times as possible, and, according to the conjecture, you will always end up with the number 1.

Hard to believe with all the “smart” computing resources in the world, there is still an unsolved math problem. Also hard to believe I almost studied mathematics here.

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Plex Media Server?

Pic posted March 14, 2024

Thinking I might want to build something like this at home. Please let me know if you have any tips or tricks to share…

Music βœ… | Movies βœ… | TV βœ… | Photos βœ… | Backup βœ…

Carbon Copy Cloner βœ… | Backblaze B2 βœ…

Synology DiskStation DS1522+ 5-Bay NAS Enclosure?

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Arizona @ Wild 🚨🚨🚨🚨

Pic posted March 13, 2024

Wild win, 4-1 (and I checked out the IPTV)

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🫑 Microsoft default font change

Posted March 10, 2024

Thought I was losing my mind, but turns out Microsoft just decided to mess with us, changing the default Calibri font to something called Aptos (previously Bierstadt). Smooth move, Ex-Lax…

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Instagram–WordPress integration in 2024

Posted March 9, 2024

Now that my temporary five-minute ban from Instagram appears to be over, I started looking at ways to re-integrate those posts with this website. Back in the @kingsbury days, I used a plugin to do this, but saw a few recent stories that mentioned trying IFTTT automations.

I signed up for a free account and created an applet that would trigger when a new photo was uploaded to Instagram, then create a WordPress photo post. This worked, but the results were not really what I wanted. It created a post, but didn’t download the image to my local media library (it just linked to the Instagram image URL). It also seemed to grab smaller 640×640 images and not the larger originals.

So I went back to see what plugin I used before and was excited to see that Iain Poulson is still publishing and supporting his excellent Intagrate code. There is a free lite version and a paid pro version, but I was worried by his 2018 blog post about Meta messing with the API for image sizes.

Submitted a question to him about that, but also just reinstalled the lite version to test it out. It seems to work great so far, but image size varies from post to post. Thankfully, my new theme handles smaller images much better than the old one, so it may be a moot point. Excited to have this back in place…

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Already kicked off the Gram?

Pic posted March 8, 2024

Wish I would’ve snapped a screenshot, but Meta said my new account was suspended due to community standard violations. Hit the appeal button, entered a couple codes, then got this…

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🫑 March 2024 Apple Updates

Posted March 7, 2024

macOS Sonoma 14.4 βœ…, iOS 17.4 βœ…, iPadOS 17.4 βœ…, tvOS 17.4 βœ…, watchOS 10.4 βœ…

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Link: iJustine on the new M3 MacBook Airs

Linked March 7, 2024

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Had to bring in more gear

Pic posted March 7, 2024

First year I’ve missed The Tourney in a while, but the iPad setup will have to do this year

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Portland Trailblazers in the crib πŸ€

Pic posted March 4, 2024

The view from IT during pre-game is πŸ’―
Home team W, 119-114

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🫑 Apple Music algorithms

Posted March 4, 2024

Not sure how advanced the technology is behind Apple Music’s personal stations, but the David Kingsbury channel this morning played an Atmosphere song (which I hadn’t heard in a long time), followed by Quarterflash, a song from Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours album, Steely Dan and Robert Palmer. Hmm…

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Yet another social media update πŸ€”

Posted March 3, 2024

Thanks to the social media manager in my office, I’m now back on the Gram. She has a goal to increase Instagram followers, so I registered @7minutemiles as a private account, followed @targetcentermn and started looking at the current state of that platform. As some of you may recall, I used to be @kingsbury for years and Colleen had her account stolen by a hacker (Meta support was not helpful).

It’s really amazing to me how much content is generated exclusively for Instagram, especially in the food world. Sports and entertainment is also still going strong and I’m slowly re-discovering golf, skiing and regional travel accounts (Meta appears to limit new accounts to 100 follows a day now). A few people have discovered my new account and sent follow requests, but I’m not sure how much I will publish there.

As Cory Doctorow wrote, now is the moment for POSSE – Post Own Site, Share Everywhere. IndieWeb has also written a lot about POSSE, which I had already started to try recently on both Bluesky and Mastodon. Need to think through this a little more, as I never liked when people would just post the same stuff everywhere.

Still really love the idea of people publishing their own sites and content – whether that is a small business website, a personal blog or something else. What I do here is neither free nor easy, but there are options out there for people if you look. The vast majority of people, however, will likely continue to use services like Instagram and TikTok as their only home to the content they create and publish.

As someone who basically dropped off all social media for a time to focus on my personal site, getting eyeballs on your content is infinitely harder, FOMO is strong and with comments disabled on my site, two-way communication is definitely hindered. And as Zeldman says, “go where the people are.

Still, people like Jason Kottke remain great examples of self-publishing ideas and implementation. I love reading his posts like this one on the latest kottke.org site redesign. My RSS reader follow list hasn’t changed much over the years, but there is still some great stuff that pops up in there from people like Teri Kanefield, Brian Krebs, Charles Edge, Tom Bricker, Mistletunes and Phil Roberts.

Back on the platforms, I got to explore Threads with the new Instagram account and didn’t see a lot of personal value there. The “For You” view was awful and the “Following” option showed that most activity on accounts I care about is remaining on the Instagram side.

I still enjoy reading content on Mastodon via Ivory, which remains the closest experience to what I had with Twitter and Tweetbot. Recently learned I can follow tags there and have been enjoying the “SKIING” tag a lot. Also like Bluesky, but wish I could use a Tapbots app for that service instead of the website.

Instagram on the web is much better than before, but I’ll probably get back to using the iOS app again once I have the full follow list in place. Still happy I hibernated my LinkedIn – it will be there if I need it in the future, but don’t miss it day to day…

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Grizzlies in the crib πŸ€

Pic posted February 28, 2024

What a nice looking backup shot clock – fantastic job by the crew
Another home team W, 110-101

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