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ptocheia [userpic]

I randomly found a “to-do in 2012″ list

January 21st, 2013 (08:49 pm)

These sorts of lists usually end up containing much more optimism than realism, and this list is no exception to that. It was scrawled out in one of my random notebooks. Let’s see what I wanted to get done, versus what I *actually* got done:

  • Finish 2011 NaNo CYOA novel

    Hah. Haven’t touched it since December 2011. Poor little novel!

  • Translate Quest into Spanish

    Talk about ambitious. Didn’t happen.

  • Continue min of once a week food blogging

    I’m lucky if I get one out once every 2 weeks these days. Hard to say why. When actually writing the posts, I enjoy it. But, I’m coming up on 5 years of having that blog now, so I suppose the novelty wore off long ago.

  • Get WP responsive design theme, update it for

    Oh hey, I actually did this one. Cross it off the list!

  • Responsive design theme for (maybe trash current look)

    Another one I actually did. Course, the old look got trashed for a kinda crappy templatey look with a half-assed header, one of these days I’ll do some reskinning.

  • pull data from twitter, blogs, news. Possible scoreboard?

    Heey, we’re pulling data from twitter, 2 blogs, and I’ve got the schedule up which indeed includes scores (when I remember to add them, at least…)

  • MLP/Last Supper painting

    Didn’t happen. Kinda forgot about this idea. A bloody brilliant idea it is, though!

  • Tumblr for ptocheia (& do what with it?)

    “Make a tumblr” is a pretty sad item to have on one’s to-do list. But make a tumblr I did. And I even update it about as often as I update the rest of my blogs!

  • Once a month work blog post

    Nope. No one read the posts I did make, and as I don’t work there anymore, it’s all kinda moot.

  • Revamp (D7? Rails?)

    Revamped, yes. Looks better now, and is responsive. The job hunt drove the completion of this one. Never learned Rails, still not sure if it’s worth it to learn Rails. Might convert to D7 at some point though, just for organization’s sake for when I (hopefully) start making more art and adding photos of said art to the site.

  • Get better keyboard/piano. Use it.

    Well, hijacking a significant other’s keyboard counts, I presume? Still have to use it more. I suffer from this problem where I like playing songs I know, I only know how to play a few songs, and almost every one of them are songs that Chris can’t stand. And thus the keyboard sits.

  • 2-3x a week gym

    Yeah right. I am figuring out better methods here, at least. Rather than make myself work out for 45 minutes and then dread going back to the gym, I do 20-25 minute increments so it’s a bit more pleasant and I’m thus more likely to want to do it.

  • Do more things with beans

    I’ve made quite a bit of hummus and refried beans in the past year? Let’s pretend that counts.

  • D7 CYOA module

    Yeah, too ambitious. Ignoring the fact you can probably build CYOA functionality with views and fields anyhow.

  • More Drupal meetups

    Not so good at this. Social groups full of people I don’t know are intimidating. Gotta work on getting over that as well, I suppose.

  • Edit binary shirt

    Wow, I don’t remember if I still own this shirt. Got it like 10 years ago, says “You are dumb” in binary. And it’s kinda big and flappy. Or was kinda big and flappy until I gave it to Goodwill or lost it or whatever. Hmm…

And in conclusion, I only seem to be good at getting things done if they involve my websites. Now, to contemplate making a similar list for next year so I have a list of things I haven’t completed to fondly look back on next January!

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ptocheia [userpic]

Holy Hairclips!

September 23rd, 2012 (08:35 pm)

I made a bunch of hairclips.

So many hairclips!

Most hairclips that you buy in stores are a.) overpriced and b.) usually packaged such that colors/patterns I want are inevitably paired with ones that I think look awful. Thus, I made a bunch of my own!

You can get packs of blank hairclips at your local Hobby Lobby (or other giant craft store) for around $4.50. And, if you’ve already got a nail polish collection, you’re pretty much set in terms of painting them. This also guarantees that they’ll match at least something else you own. If you’ve got various craft supplies, you can raid that as well. I did that with the gold-leafed set of clips, as well the one covered in tiny pastel flowers and the one with small fish glued at each end. I’m half expecting the one with the flowers to fall apart at some point – despite the two layers of clear polish I put on it, it’s still kinda flakey. However, if and when that happens, I can just scrape all of the flowers off and use that clip for something else. Yay!

ptocheia [userpic]

Hiding the node:title field but still having it available (using Omega theme in Drupal 7)

August 31st, 2012 (08:17 am)

I have a Drupal 7 install for a site I’m building, and am using an Omega subtheme. Due to the site’s layout, I’ve needed to place the node title in a different zone (and am using Views to do this) in one of my content types. I needed to hide/remove the node title from the main content area, but wasn’t sure of the best method of doing this. I could just do a “display: none” in the CSS for that field, but it doesn’t seem like good practice to have two identical H1 tags in the content, with one hidden. I tried installing a module called Exclude Node Title, and that worked for the most part, except I also have the Meta Tags module installed, and the node:title field no longer showed up in the meta title field. Looks like this is a reported bug for that module, so this module may be a solution for this issue in the future. On a related note, I’d love to see the title field added to the “Manage Display” page for every content type! That would eliminate the need for this module.

I had the thought of editing a tpl file to make this work, and figured out that this field lives in region–content.tpl.php. Based on what I’ve found looking around online though, I can’t duplicate this and make a version that is specific to that content type. I did find a workaround for this, however – I created region–content–page.tpl.php (as I’m doing this for the “page” content type), added that to my “templates” directory, and edited the HTML around the H1 tag.

Then, this code goes into

function [yourmodule]_alpha_preprocess_region(&$vars) {
  $menu_object = menu_get_object();
  if (isset($menu_object->type) && $vars['region'] == 'content') {
    if ('page' == $menu_object->type) {
      $vars['theme_hook_suggestions'][] = 'region__content__page';

Clear your caches, and this should work!

On a related note, this may also be something that you can do with the Display Suite module. Though, since I just needed to do something tiny, I figured a chunk of code or two would be a more lightweight solution than adding another module.

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ptocheia [userpic]

Post ideas

August 22nd, 2012 (04:26 pm)

-Writing while on break

-places to think about ideas (in the shower, etc)

-what do to when you can’t figure out the next step in your plot (other story areas? Flesh out character histories, details. Work on a plot outline)

-Pushing it to 50k – conversations take up many words, and can really help flesh out characters. Focus on tiny details that will help set the scene in your user’s head.

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ptocheia [userpic]

The process of the Bellossom painting

July 27th, 2012 (07:21 pm)

So I did this Bellossom painting. Since I took pictures at each step, figured I’d dump them here:

Bellossom step 1

I did a sketch on canvas based off of a few pictures, and the background swirls & petals I just kind of made up. Filled in the alternating swirls with silver acrylic paint.

Bellossom step 2

Did a light wash of color using oils and mineral spirits.

Bellossom step 3

Bellossom step 4

Next layer of oil was thinned with a mixture of mineral spirits plus linseed oil.

Bellossom step 5

Did another layer of oil, then a final layer, each of them having more linseed oil and less mineral spirits mixed in.

Bellossom step final

The silver paint got a nice layer of galkyd plus glitter on top. After that, came more galkyd mixed in with gold leaf bits. Still can’t decide if I should have used fewer, larger gold leaf pieces or not. But hey, it was my first time trying that method, mayhaps next time!

ptocheia [userpic]

Dropbox Saves the Day!

July 18th, 2012 (06:06 pm)

So I’m super into keeping my files organized via directory structure. For example, as much as I like the sorting capabilities of iTunes, I dislike that it sorts based on artist in the actual directory structure, meaning all of my awesome mix CDs are structurally compromised and split apart when importing, unless I make a playlist out of them. Which only works if I’m using iTunes.

Anyhow, like every other person with a photo-capable phone out there, I take photos with it. I want an easy way to import, but still a simple directory dump. I use photos on sites, and so I’m also frequently grabbing files and moving them out of said directory(ies). I also wanted organization, so one day in the vague past I decided to eschew whatever native plugin my iPhone was dumping all of my photos in, and find something a bit better. So I went for Picasa. Which worked fine for awhile, but either it’s convoluted or I didn’t take enough time to understand how it functions, because I would inevitably download photos I’d already downloaded, and they’d be stored in mysterious locations. At some point later (perhaps around the time the amorphous Google entity absorbed them) I stopped being able to smoothly move around the interface. It just…changed. Like some googlebeast invaded my directories and started munching on them, so photos I thought I’d deleted long ago started appearing again.

Anyhow, I became disenfranchised with Picasa.

I’ve had a Dropbox account for awhile now, but aside from using it to grab a bunch of old PSDs of art off my Windows machine, I’ve mostly left it alone. Well, it became sentient. At some point during the Picasa fiasco, when I connected my phone to my computer, Dropbox just randomly started grabbing all of the photos off of my phone. I never enabled anything. I didn’t even open anything when connecting my phone, Dropbox just did it. And, this is normally the sort of behaviour that irks me when an application develops a mind of it’s own and starts doing something I’d never asked it to do. However, in this case, I was already disgruntled about my Picasa situation, and often put off grabbing photos off of my phone because of it. But, no more! Dropbox just grabs them and unceremoniously dumps them into a single directory – automatically organized as each photo is already named based on the date of photo took anyhow. So, Dropbox is both sentient and  telepathic. You have been warned.


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ptocheia [userpic]

How to create multiple local websites on a Mac Mini with Lion Server

July 13th, 2012 (08:30 am)

Lion Server comes with a basic web service with a default site. So you get that up and running, and you’re all wanting to use your Lion Server as a testing environment for several local sites, not just a single site (i.e with virtual hosts) . It was a bit of a pain for me to get that set up. Googling around to figure out how to do it resulted in me finding bunches of people complaining about how Snow Leopard was better for such things. I eventually figured it out, though, and pieced the instructions together here:

1.) Move your directory (or create a new directory) in:

[Hard Drive]/Library/Server/Web/Data/Sites/

2.) Add the site to the Server application under Services -> Web. For settings I used:

Domain Name: myurl.local

IP Address: Any

Port: 80

SSL: none (I’m sure you can stick this in later)

Store Site Files In: Find your directory from #1

I just left everything else as default.

3.) In a terminal, edit /etc/apache2/httpd.conf

sudo vi /etc/apache2/httpd.conf will open the file in Vi with write access

Edit this file and add this: NameVirtualHost *:80

4.) Navigate to: /etc/apache2/sites/ (cd /etc/apache2/sites/)

Look for a file ending in [newurl].local.conf

Edit this file and add this: NameVirtualHost *:80

5.) Edit the /etc/hosts file and add this to the list of hosts: myurl.local

6.) Restart the web service using these commands:

sudo serveradmin stop web

sudo serveradmin start web

7.) Open a browser and navigate to newsite.local, and (in theory at least) the site should load!

YMMV on these instructions – I started in at the point where the default local site was already set up and working, so I’d make sure that’s all good before jumping in. Also, I’m still not completely sure if #4 negates the need for doing #3. So, feel free to try this while skipping #3, in case I totally stuck in a redundant step.

Anyhow, this worked for me. My next steps are getting MySQL installed and running, and then getting GIT up and running. I’ve been storing locally for way too long, and am looking forward to getting a nice central repository for myself and others to check things out from.

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ptocheia [userpic]

Making responsive navigation with selects work on Drupal 7 with Omega theme, plus tinynav.js

June 14th, 2012 (06:13 pm)

Oh holy crap. So I just spent several hours trying to find the teeny error that would make my dropdowns work. Finally found it, and am celebrating with this post.

So, let’s say you’re building a site in Drupal 7, and you’re using the Omega theme as you want a fairly easy and intuitive way to make your website responsive. Wide horizontal menus are a pain in the patootie on tiny screens, so you’re thinking “Hey! I can make my menu a sweet form select instead for the mobile view!” There’s no Drupal module to do this (yet, at least. I’m half tempted to figure out how to = build one myself at this point), so you go check out tinynav.js, which is a tiny sweet js that’ll get your nav all nice and selected in no time. Basically, it’ll look at whatever html list you tell it to, and make a version that’s a “<select>” tag with each “<option>” as a menu item. Then, you hide this on wider screens, and hide the list nav on your smallest screen width.

Installing it’s not too bad – just save tinynav.js to wherever you’re keeping your theme’s js files. Then, add code to whatever script file you’re using for all of your custom javascript. Your code’ll look a lot like mine, I bet!


You’ll want to make sure your tinynav.js is loaded into your library file. To do this, you’ll need to first open your theme’s info file and add in the details for tinynav there. Might look something like this:

info file

So after this, you need to enable the file. Using your admin toolbar, go to Settings -> Themes ->Whateverthehellyourthemeiscalled and click the “Toggle Libraries” tab. You should see whatever you decided to call your file sitting there with a checkbox beside it. If you don’t see it, go clear your cache, stat! Anyhow, enable it once you see it.

You’d think this would be enough. But no, there’s more! I eventually figured a few things out, through trial and error.

First off, Drupal 7 has jQuery 1.4.4, which is apparently a bit too old to get tinynav.js to work. So, I grabbed a copy of jQuery 1.7 min, and added that in in much the same way I added tinynav.js (save to your js file, then add to the js library via the .info file for your theme – setting the weight higher so 1.7 comes first. Then, enabling it in your theme’s settings). As an aside, this totally might not be kosher at all, using two different versions of jQuery and all. But, it works? So I’m gonna go with it until a better idea comes along.

At some point I thought I needed modernizr.js as well, due to it being in the tinynav.js demo. But alas, I was misled, and ended up uninstalling it.

In conclusion, javascript is a big ole pain. However, I have working mobile nav now, so I don’t care. Woo?





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ptocheia [userpic]

How I got around a WordPress code injection

May 20th, 2012 (10:59 am)

A friend recently had her WordPress site hacked. Viewing the source code revealed a <div style=”display: none;”></div> tag in the header, with a bunch of spammy links within that div. I took a look at both the code and the database, but as I haven’t had much experience in looking for injection (and the Google research I did was less helpful than it could have been) I didn’t really find much. There might have been some sort of SQL injection somewhere, which inserted javascript such that it always displayed in those divs. The links would change on page refresh, and every once in awhile there were no links, just that div tag, so my assumption is javascript.

As I mentioned, I never found a way to actually remove the script itself, since I couldn’t find the script. But, I did surgically remove the script from the template, as it were. Pretty basic, actually, once I narrowed things down a bit. I just went into the part of her template setup that was generating the page headers, and found wp_head in that code. Rather than having it print the entire thing, I exploded wp_head, splitting it at the “<div” and “</div>” tags. There’s no legitimate reason any plugin would stick div tags in a header, so it’s unlikely there’d ever be more than that one set in there. Now, the template prints everything before the “<div” and after the “</div>”, but nothing in-between, thus removing that injected code from the front-end display of her site.

I also gave her some advice on how to make her WordPress install a bit secure. Unfortunately, whatever that code is is still in her install somewhere. I’m crossing my fingers that all it’s capable of doing is grabbing spammy links, so hopefully there won’t be any more troubles with her site in the future.

ptocheia [userpic]

403 errors and SSL Certificates using IIS7 on Windows 2008

May 8th, 2012 (03:14 pm)

Through the will of the gods, I somehow ended up as a client’s sysadmin for their Windows Server. Their site had an SSL certificate that I managed to get installed. However, there were a few folks that kept getting these pesky 403 errors when they tried to view any page with the SSL certificate in https. Specific systems, too – mostly on Windows behind some kinda firewall.

As, despite what I’m doing, I am no Windows sysadmin, I was at a loss for what the heck was going on, and ended up harassing Network Solutions about it. Turns out we needed an upgraded certificate, as some older systems would not recognize the discount (or “Xpress”, if grammatically incorrect branding is your thing) certificate. So we got a sweeter one, and installed it. Yet, the errors persisted.

The big problem for me was that I could not replicate the error. All seemed fine in Virginia’s Internet Land. Most of the issues were coming from Australians (which sent me down a brief and incorrect path of thinking it was a freaky cookie issue, something I dealt with before with timezones and a SSO about half a year back). Anyhow, “403″ is pretty generic. So, I went into the IIS manager dealio and set the 403 errors so that non-local browsers would get a detailed view. And, got someone who was actually getting the error to send me a screenshot. Turned out it was, in fact, a 403.13 error. Something about IIS trying to find a revoked certificae list and failing. And, apparently, if you’re looking at the site from behind a firewall with proxies, this’ll fling 403 errors all up on your junk and such.

Cause, I revoked that initial “Xpress” certificate when I added the new one. Anyhow, apparently the solution was to turn off the option in Windows 2008 that checks for a revoked certificate list (CertCheckMode). Course, there was no easy way to do it, I had to get all down and dirty in the Registry for that bastard. Boo! Anyhow, that fixed the situation, so all is good in the land of SSL certificates.

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