Archive for the ‘Technobabble’ Category

Stars and Stripes Theme Progress Report

Wednesday, November 17th, 2021

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

Monday, November 8th, 2021

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.

A Classic 1955 Packard Clipper

Saturday, November 6th, 2021

1955-packard-clipper.jpg

Damsel took this photo of this classic 1955 Packard Clipper a little over a week ago. Neither of us remember seeing this car at any of the car shows or rallies that we have attended recently. The car appears to have the original paint job and when you click on the image to enlarge you may see some pitting on the hood (or maybe dead insects, I can’t tell). Besides that, the car looked very nice as the owners drove by along Wickenburg Way near the Maverik Gas station. You may notice our inflated local gas prices in the background which have gone up another $0.20 or so per gallon in the last week. Let’s Go Brandon!

Website Upgrade News

As I stated before, we have started the migration to the upgraded PHP and WordPress packages on our personal family site, VernaBob.com. The site is now running the new stuff and, as I feared, our old custom theme we used has some deprecated code and is incompatible with the new platform. As a result, I am using a stock WordPress theme and it will be that way until I can find the time to customize it. Some of the convenient features I used for posting are no longer available and I have to do a lot of the repetitive functions by hand rather than clicking a button.

So, I will be upgrading this website in the next few days and you can expect to see some major differences in the way the blog appears. I would appreciate any feedback you may have as to what you’re seeing and if anything is “broke.” I will try and get a “Stars and Stripes” theme going over the next few weeks, as time permits. Meanwhile, we will be functional with the new PHP and WordPress packages. This will be the last post under the old PHP and WordPress.

Cloudless Arizona Skies

Monday, November 1st, 2021

GOES East Image 10-28-21

The skies are a little cloudy today, although over the weekend and a couple of days before that, there were no visible clouds over Arizona and much of the Southwest. I captured the GOES East image above last Thursday and cropped/resized it for this post.

Observing the cloud free image reveals some interesting things that can be seen from the satellite. You may have to click on the image to enlarge it to be able to see what I’m going to mention below.

First, in the upper left corner of the image, snow on the Sierra Nevada mountains is visible next to the Owens Valley in California. To the South, you can see the Salton Sea located in Riverside and Imperial Counties. Southeast of the Salton Sea across the Arizona/Mexico border in Sonora is a darker area which is Pinacate Peaks volcanic area just north of the Gulf of California, the north shores of which is at the bottom of the image.

Now, going north along the CA/AZ border (the Colorado River), you eventually come to Lake Mohave on the NV/AZ border. Then, continue up to Lake Mead where the river turns to the east along the border. Lake Mead shows as a couple of blue blobs but it is actually one body of water partially obscured by the overlaid graphic representing the border.

The dark area about one third of the way across Arizona’s north border is the Kaibab National Forest which extends southward to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon which can be seen between Kaibab Plateau and the forests of the South Rim below the Canyon.

The dark areas extending south and east below the Grand Canyon are the forested areas of Arizona. The north boundaries of these forests form a semi circular feature which is the Mogollon Rim (say “muggy-yon”). This forms the boundary between the forests and colorful high desert areas of Arizona. We can personally tell you that the scenery up on the Rim is extremely nice.

Moving over into New Mexico, we have a couple of notable features. The white spot in lower central NM is White Sands National Park. Also visible is the Rio Grande River which can be seen flowing from the west Texas town of El Paso up through Albuquerque and although not seen in this image, into southern Colorado.

I like it when the clouds part and I can see all these features and more.

ISP Software Upgrade Progress: I have started migrating our personal family blog to the new software. Progress is impeded by daily life events – dogs – family – home chores – blogging – and the like. I should have a report about the Cap’n Bob site soon.

CB&D Weblog Going Down? Maybe/Maybe Not

Sunday, May 23rd, 2021

sinking.jpgEarlier this week, I received notice that the version of PHP used by this website is going to disappear from the Internet Service Provider we use. Pursuant to their notice, I dutifully went to the ISP control panel and directed that this site be switched to the newer, supported version of PHP. Well, when I switched to the new version, it resulted in a big crash. When attempting to view the site in a browser, I get a “This Page isn’t Working” message in my Browser.

Image: An artist’s rendition of the SS Kalifornia’s Final Voyage. We certainly don’t want to be doomed like them. Click to enlarge.

After consulting the WordPress help pages, I tried a few thigs to see if I could wake the website up, but to no avail. Since I am using a VERY OLD (ca. February 2008) version of WordPress, it appears that I am going to have to upgrade the WP package in order to proceed.

WordPress recommends that I do the upgrade incrementally (all old versions of WP are available) to avoid potential problems that could be encountered by trying a “long jump” upgrade. I am at version 2.3.3 and need to upgrade to the current WP version which is 5.7.2. That sounds like a lot of incremental upgrades but there is a saving grace; if I can get version 3.7 going, the WP team tells me that there is an upgrade “button” that will take me to the latest version.

I do have some time to get all this done, not only to this blog, but two others I maintain on the same ISP. The deadline for removal of the old version of PHP is not until December of 2021, so there are a few months in which I can get thigs fixed. I will probably start on one of the blogs soon and others to follow later.

Some of the custom gadgets I use will be gone since I modified their code to do a few things I like to have like the image viewer and a few others. I also expect the overall appearance of the blogs will change since I do not think the old templates to be compatible.

Maybe this is all for the better, but if you get a splash page saying the blog is gone, then I might either be working on it or it is gone forever. I will let everyone know the results.

Another New Camera Lens

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2021

SL1 w/New 250mm LensI posted here before about acquiring a 400mm telephoto lens for my little Canon EOS Rebel SL1 and that lens is worth every dime I spent on it. The only drawback is its size and weight when you want to go out into the desert to capture a few photos of critters. It is a bit clunky lugging it around on a walk up the road or for other events where you might want to get photos of subjects that may be dozens of yards away or perhaps more than that.

Image – Camera with the new EF-S 55-250mm Zoom Lens attached. Click on the image to enlarge.

The SL1, when I purchased it in 2014, shipped with the standard 18-55mm lens and an additional 75-300mm telephoto lens, neither of which were of really decent quality. The latter, after a couple of years, developed an autofocus intermittency and had to be scrapped. Plus, in 2019, we replaced the stock lens with a superior quality 18-135mm lens.

So, the bottom line is that I wanted a lightweight intermediate zoom lens for those times that I mentioned above. So far, since I received the new lens last Thursday, I am pleased with its performance. I took the cactus wren photo today at a range of about 35 feet and the lunar photo last Friday during the full February “Snow Moon.” I cropped both images down from the full-frame size to enhance the subjects. Click on either image to enlarge. I am especially pleased with the sharpness of the mountains and craters on the moon which is not bad for an intermediate telephoto lens.

Cactus Wren on Saguaro Snow Moon

I other news, I renewed my expired AZ Driver’s License yesterday. The expiration was covered by an extension due to the pandemic, but that extension ran out at the end of February, so I drove to the MVD and got my renewal. I should get the new license by mail in a week or two.

In other other news, our COVID-19 vaccines have not yet arrived in our area. There are two venues in town through which we can be vaccinated but neither on-line registration is yet available. We’re both eligible for the vaccines by virtue of age.

Canon EF 100-400 mm High Performance Telephoto Lens

Thursday, April 16th, 2020

Telephoto LensIn the not too distant past, maybe last December or so, Damsel and I watched a documentary on our local PBS station about wildlife photography. It was very interesting to see the birds and other wildlife that we regularly see here near our retirement home, being showcased in a presentation about amateur photographers and the wildlife subjects of their interest. We both enjoyed watching the informative documentary and learned some things as a result. Foremost, I concluded that the stock 100-300 mm zoom lens I use with my Canon SL1 is inadequate for the type of work we saw on the show.

We both enjoy photography and have both made some extraordinary shots from time to time, but when something is out of the capability reach of our equipment, it shows. After watching the documentary mentioned above, the cerebral juices started flowing and had been simmering since until I read a View From The Porch article that mentioned the lens I now have. I was impressed by the results Tam posted and put the lens on my wishlist at Amazon. When I finally had enough money tucked away to cover the cost, I went ahead and ordered the lens.

Today, the Good Truck of Brown® delivered the package. Aside from some imperatives that had to come first, I could hardly wait to try the new toy out! At last, I had the time to unpack and attach the lens to my camera. I went straight outside and took about 35 shots of “stuff” I regularly see around here. The two below are just a couple of things I was able to capture on my maiden outing with the new lens. A Curve Billed Thrasher at the backyard bird feeder and a Mourning Dove in the Mesquite Tree by the RV Drive. Click on either image to enlarge.

Curve Billed Thrasher Mourning Dove in Mesquite Tree

UPDATE: I added photos of a house sparrow and a Gambel’s Quail below.

House Sparrow Male Gambel’s Quail

I shared these and some others on the FecesBook™ thing. I am very happy with the initial performance of this lens as compared to my old zoom lens. The built-in image stabilizer and the quick-to-respond ultrasonic focus drive mechanism were splendid in allowing these and other photos from a hand-held camera/lens combo.

The product page from Canon is here and the Amazon listing is here (the price went up since I ordered mine for a little over 1.8K).

By the way, our CARES Stimulu$ was in the bank yesterday and has now been distributed to charities in our neck of the woods. I did not use those funds for this purchase. Damsel and I believe investing the .gov money back into local charities will get it to work where it’s needed. Charity begins at home.