Blogosphere

Blogiversary #17 and
Autumnal Equinox

Blogging

Even though this is the “official” 17th Blogiversary of CB&D, we have a history of on-line presence several years prior to having a weblog. I started with an online webpage repository with photos of my grandchildren, some of our friends and radio/flying club activities a couple of years before we started to blog. I had an account at “Keyway” network with those items I mentioned. That was about in 1995 when Keyway was just getting started. Then, just about the time that Damsel and I were getting married in 1998, I found an Internet Service Provider where I could get my own website domain. I started up a family website which eventually became our family blog, the now defunct Wandering Minstrel and Cap’n Bob & the Damsel. I even had a Neighborhood Watch blog (also now defunct) to report on and deal with problems in our neck of the woods at the time.

Before blogging, I was already a software professional, but didn’t have many internet-specific code skills. I spent a lot of time learning commonly-used web languages: JavaScript, PHP, HTML, CSS, W3C Standards and much more. It was all fun and interesting. Then, by that time, blogging struck me as something we might like to get into. I started with BBLOG, a simple interface for on-line posting and after a while I discovered WordPress which resulted in our launching of the blog platform we now employ.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, now that we have upgraded the WordPress Theme to Blogstream, we’ve become inclined to post more regularly. Maybe we’ll be here for the NEXT* seventeen years?

* I should be well into nonagenarian territory by then.

First Day of Autumn

We learned from our landscape crew foreman when we first moved here that Arizona (our part of it, at least) has five seasons: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer and Second Spring. The latter starts up around the September Equinox and lasts several weeks until the first autumn-like days show up in late October. The (clickable) image of the “Devil’s Tongue” cactus shows how it looked last year at the beginning of “Second Spring,” with one open flower and several buds around the crown of this barrel cactus.

In closing, we wish for you all to have mild weather, blue skies and green lights this fall season. We’re going to gird our loins for the return of the “snowbirds” that typically increase our local population from around 7K summertime heads to more than 25K during the late fall, winter and early spring months.

Updated WordPress Theme

Well, we’re updating the theme again. This time, I found a “modern” WP theme (“Blogstream“) that mostly meets my personal desires in what a theme should do and how adaptable it might be for my purposes. At the moment, it is still pretty much “stock” in that I am only using native widgets to facilitate the sidebar information. The colors and flag banner in the new theme are reminiscent of the old Stars and Stripes theme (image above right). There is a full-size image of the old theme here

For future upgrades and customization, I will have to learn the mysteries of widget production in order to include some of the old sidebar gadgetry such as the ephemeris and the random quote generator. I’m hoping that the old PHP and JavaScript code will be useful when I’m creating new widgets.

Let me know if there are any functions or other things that seem “broke.”

Theme Updating in Progress

UPDATE 07/16/2022: I think this is where we’ll pause in the theme modifications; we now have a color scheme similar to the Stars and Stripes Theme and the sidebar links are available. This will be it for a while until I figure out how to get my graphics and some of my coded gadgets imported.

Since the patio thermometer reads 112° in the shade today, it seemed like some indoor activities might be in order, so I decided to start monkeying around (a technical term) with the WordPress Themes. What you’re seeing now is some of the first modifications to the “Classic” theme, one of the WP defaults. It will be uphill from here, but I started by removing a bunch of the sidebar entries because there was just too much unneeded stuff. Remaining are the links (Blog Roll), the search form and “Meta” or what I will call “Access” in the future. The order of those will likely be changed.

The “Classic” theme has some good points and some undesirable (to me) characteristics, most of which I will try to convert to how I would like for them to look. My first undertakings will not be too much as in the sidebar mods I made. I mostly did away with code (commented out with notes and date). I am going to try and use some of the original Stars and Stripes code as adapted to the Classic format. One step at a time.

In the (clickable) image above, I took a photo of a couple of new trees that the landscape crew put in down by the road in front of the house. They’re still small, but will grow to be a nice addition to that part of the property.

Let me know if you are having any problems with the theme as the work progresses.

Update on Stars and Stripes Theme

. . . and Where We Go From Here.

After many attempts at picking through the old “Stars and Stripes” theme code to try and achieve compatibility with the newer versions of WordPress, I have concluded that I don’t think I can get there from here. Therefore, I am going to abandon further attempts at trying to make the old theme work. I am disappointed with this decision, but it is what it is.

Going forward, my plan is to continue using the bland, no frills default theme for the time being, while looking into some of the newer platform features to customize into a new S&S theme. I am not giving the effort much of a time budget in our busy schedule (wink) but it will give me something to look into when I get some spare time (wink again).

In the meantime, go look at a video I uploaded to U2B with Damsel and our new pup, Tucker . . .

Stars and Stripes Theme Progress Report

I have been working on restoring our old theme the “Stars and Stripes” format that we’ve been used to since 2008 or so. The news is generally good since I found and corrected the major incompatibility with WordPress 5.8.2. There was a code module that was attempting to connect to the database and I commented it out without really troubleshooting it. The old theme now works without crashing, but there are still some bugs in it so I have not enabled it yet.

The remaining bugs have to do with the way the drop down menus work and most importantly, how the comments section works. The former is no big deal, but the latter – comments – is a big problem. The theme modules apparently are not recognizing a logged in user and requiring a new login each time a comment is to be submitted. I’ll be looking into that.

Assuming that I cannot find and fix those bugs to my satisfaction, I am also looking into upgrading the theme format to a later version that I can modify to sort of resemble the old theme but with new “blocks, widgets and menus,” none of which I am familiar, so it may be a while before I know enough about the new stuff to be able to put it to good use.

Meanwhile, the “default” WordPress theme is still functional. Stay tuned and thanks for reading.

WordPress and PHP Upgrade Complete

Arizona CardinalToday, we upgraded both WordPress on the blogsite and the Version of PHP on the server side. It turned out to be a several-step process with two intermediate WP upgrades in addition to the final WP update. We should be good for a while now that everything is copasetic with the Server configuration.

Image – An Arizona Cardinal is easily spotted hiding among the thinning leaves of our backyard mesquite tree. Click on the image to enlarge.

As you can see, the WP stock default theme is being used in lieu of our custom theme from before the change. This will be the theme until I can find a replacement theme that I can customize to resemble the previous theme. This may take some time since most of the WP themes I have been looking at are unsuitable for our familiar two column arrangement.

Thanks for your patience while we go about getting things customized. I still have our Food Blog site to upgrade, so I better get to that.