Video Test

This post is just a test post playing with embedding video with the HTML 5 video element. First, I’m going to try just dragging in a video, and see what WordPress gives me, then I’ll probably end up hand coding it.

This video was shot during my 2012 hot air balloon ride, with my iPhone. One problem I’ve had using iPhone video is that it often comes out upside down. It looks OK in Aperture, and in the QuickTime player, but when I go to transcode it into other formats, it comes out upside down. I discovered tonight the trick is to open it in QuickTime player, and export it.

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Random Thoughts

It’s weird how ideas come in spurts. For weeks, now I’ve had nothing much to say, then last night, riding along the bike path, I had two ideas for posts.

Scheduled Posts

I’ve been having trouble with WordPress scheduled posts. I actually wrote both First Bike Ride of the Season and Subtle CSS Error one after the other last night, but scheduled the second one to publish this morning. It didn’t, so I had to release it manually. I just downloaded a plugin to try to fix the “Missed Schedule” issue; we’ll see if it works with this post. Update: It did.

American Idol

I’m watching American Idol again this year. I skipped it last year because I couldn’t stomach the judges, and also felt that it was eating up too much time. This year I’m liking the judges a lot. Harry Connick is especially good. He’s honest, and specific, without being nasty or disrespectful.

The kids, I’m not liking so much. By Top 8 week, we should have been rid of the weaker singers by now.  It seems absurd to me to have someone (C.J.) in the Top 7 who can’t sing in tune—I don’t care about how passionate someone is if they are painful to listen to. Sam Woolf is good sounding but robotic. I liked Malaya, and felt that overall, she’d been improving, but this week’s performance was a mess. Caleb is an excellent performer, but not my cup of tea, Dexter is very karaoke. I like Jessica —I really liked her original, Blue Eyed Lie— but she can get very nasal sometimes. I don’t think Jena’s vocals are as good as everyone thinks, but I do have a little soft spot in my heart for her, since there’s something about her face that reminds me a little of my niece Ally. I think Alex is probably the best of the bunch technically, but he doesn’t seem to be as much of a performer. I can definitely see a career for him as a studio musician/songwriter or producer though.


Spring seems to be oozing in on us. I’ll probably burn the downed branches this weekend. I need to look at the lawn and see if it’s dried out to dethatch, assuming I can get a rental.


Subtle CSS Error

An exercise in debugging Cascading Style Sheets

We launched a new version of the work website this week. We’re still tweaking things, but overall, I like the look of it, especially the subpages. The report pages haven’t looked this good in ages. I think I’ve kind of fallen in love with Open Sans, the font used in the new design, and I like that it comes in both bold and semi bold versions.

Just before we launched, though, we ran into one of those wonderful head scratchers that seem to be the hallmark of web development. We were clicking through the various views, and Garry clicked into the screen to edit an address. In IE, (of course) there was nothing there except the Save button at the top of the page. Since the section is loaded via Ajax, my first thought was that it was some sort of problem with loader script, especially since I was seeing Javascript errors in the error console. I found that error, fixed it, but it still didn’t fix the page.

Brute Force Debugging

Obviously, since we were dealing with a new theme and a new style sheet, those could be the culprit. So was it the new HTML or the new CSS? Turning off CSS showed the form, but was that issue?  Nothing obvious leapt out at me, and I had no idea where to even start looking. Finally, I bit the bullet, saved a backup copy of the stylesheet, then deleted the last third of it. No luck. I reinstated the section I deleted, then deleted another section. Still no luck. Finally, removing lines 400 to 700 revealed the form. From there, it was a simple matter of removing smaller and smaller parts of the stylesheet, until we zeroed in on the offending line.

Here it is:

main .controlbar .minibutton, main .controlbar .minibuttonactive {width:auto; display:inline;  text-align:center;  margin: .07em 0 .34e7em}

Do you see it?

The problem arose out of the fact that, for accessibility’s sake, we’re using ems instead of pixels (px) as units of measurement, because they make it much easier for a user to resize their screen. Pixels tend to be simple integers; ems are often decimals, and in a longish decimal, a typo can hide. In this case, the margin should be

margin: .07em 0 .347em

Once I narrowed into the right line, it was immediately obvious. Nearly an hour to find, 10 seconds to fix.

First Bike Ride of the Season

I went for my first bike ride of the season tonight. I hadn’t been planning on it—the forecast was for rain, but I do need the exercise, I did have the bike in the car, and it felt warm when I left work, so off I went, despite the overcast. Since the days still aren’t long, I decided to start from the Riverside Square parking lot.

I should have known better as soon as I got out of the car, and a cold wind cut right through my heaviest fleece. I hate riding when it’s cold and raw. My ideal is a nice warm evening when there’s a pretty sunset. Still, I pushed on, my legs despising me. I am so out of shape right now. But I pushed on, knowing that a crummy ride now will pave the way for a better ride next week.

My initial goal was just to do 3 miles. Then I decided to go for the YMCA that’s along the path in Warren. A little further, as it turns out, than I intended, but that was OK. I got there and turned around, and as I headed back, I had a tail wind, and my legs started to loosen up. Eight miles isn’t so bad for the first ride of the season.