From the Garden

Posted in التصوير at 12:29 am by

Young praying mantis on cucumber vine
Young praying mantis on cucumber vine
Lawrenceville, GA, July 25, 2017

(This very tiny mantis was approximately one inch long.)


Recalled to Life

Posted in Life at 5:09 pm by

For almost as long as I can remember, I’ve started my day with a glass of apricot nectar. I have no idea how or when this started; it’s always been with me, just as the sun rises every day. Originally, back in the day, it was Libby’s in a glass bottle, and every time we visited my grandparents, or they visited us, they would have the 64 oz. cans (larger and less expensive, but for some reason not available near us) for me. Later, there were even 12 oz. (and 6 oz.) cans I could bring with me camping and on trips—I was the weirdo who came to breakfast with a juice can and didn’t drink the watered-down hotel orange juice). Wherever in the country I was, I had my Libby’s apricot nectar, and breakfast was good (even in Syria, two decades ago this summer, one of my favorite breakfast treats was when we had some sort of apricot jam or preserves in which to dip our bread…not Libby’s, or nectar, but still apricot, and delicious!).

At some point in the last decade-plus, Libby’s rebranded its juices as Kern’s (by then both brands were owned by Nestlé), but the bottles (by now plastic and smaller) continued, and all was well…until about January, when bottles and cans began disappearing from store shelves and were not being restocked. In fact, all Kern’s nectars, except the 12 oz. mango and guava cans, disappeared from the groceries, even though the company claimed still to be producing them. I tried Jumex apricot nectar, which was available in 12 oz. cans in certain stores, but it tasted too much liked spiked punch for me to drink, much less enjoy. So early in 2017, my long run of a glass of apricot nectar with breakfast sadly came to an end :-( Yes, it was only juice, but when it has been a part of your life, daily, for so many decades, it is still a loss that you mourn.

That didn’t stop my mother and I from eyeing the spots where the Kern’s apricot nectar had been, hoping beyond hope it might return. And, suddenly, early this month it did reappear at the local Publix, in a new and larger 64 oz. bottle, with a slightly different (I would argue better, slightly more apricot-y) taste. I have no idea what caused the sudden return (perhaps a series of complaints by other weirdos like me? I can’t imagine there are that many of us), but I am thrilled—and all is well with breakfast, once again :-)


iOSify Bookmarklets and adding bookmarklets on iOS

Posted in Software at 7:14 pm by

I don’t do much web browsing on iOS (I just can’t handle the small screen), but I do visit a number of sites regularly, some of which do stupid things that make them annoying or hard to use, especially in Mobile Safari. On the desktop, it’s usually easy to “fix” these annoyances with a bit of JavaScript or CSS or a quick trip to the Document Inspector, but none of these are readily available on iOS. Fortunately, however, bookmarklets still work in Mobile Safari.

Unfortunately, though, adding bookmarklets to Mobile Safari is cumbersome at best. Unless you sync all of your bookmarks from the desktop, it’s almost impossible to add a bookmarklet to Mobile Safari unless the bookmarklet’s author has done some work for you. On the desktop, you’d typically just drag the in-page bookmarklet link to your bookmarks toolbar and be done, or control-/right-click on the in-page bookmarklet link and make a new bookmark using the context menu. One step, so simple a two-year-old could do it. The general process of adding a bookmarklet to Mobile Safari goes like this:

  1. Bookmark a page, any page, in order to add a bookmark
  2. Manually edit the aforementioned bookmark’s URL to make it a bookmarklet, i.e. by pasting the bookmarklet’s code
  3. Fun! :P

To make things slightly easier, Digital Inspiration has a collection of common bookmarklets that you can bookmark directly and then edit back into functioning bookmarklets.1 It’s still two steps, but step 2 becomes much simpler (probably a five-year-old could do it). This is great if Digital Inspiration has the bookmarklet you want (or if the bookmarklet’s author has included an “iOS-friendly” link on the page), but what if you want to add Alisdair McDiarmid’s Kill Sticky Headers bookmarklet?

To solve that problem, I wrote “iOSify Bookmarklets”—a quick-and-dirty sort-of “meta-bookmarklet” to turn any standard in-page bookmarklet link into a Mobile Safari-friendly bookmarkable link.

Once you add iOSify Bookmarklets to Mobile Safari (more on that below), you tap it in your bookmarks to covert the in-page bookmarklet link into a tapable link, tap the link to “load” it, bookmark the resulting page, and then edit the URL of the new bookmark to “unlock” the bookmarklet.

Say you’re visiting http://example.com/foo and it has a bookmarklet, bar, that you want to add to Mobile Safari.

  1. Open your Mobile Safari bookmarks and tap iOSify Bookmarklets. (The page appears unchanged afterwards, but iOSify Bookmarklets did some work for you.)
  2. Tap the in-page link to the bookmarklet (bar) you want to add to Mobile Safari. N.B. It may appear again that nothing happens, but if you tap the location bar and finger-scrub, you should see the page’s URL has been changed to include the code for the “bar” bookmarklet after a ?bookmarklet# string.
  3. Tap the Share icon in Mobile Safari’s bottom bar and add the current page as a bookmark; you can’t edit the URL at this point, so just choose Done.
  4. Tap the Bookmarks icon, then Edit, then the bookmark you just added. Edit the URL and delete everything before the javascript: in the bookmark’s URL. (Tap Done when finished, and Done again to exit editing mode.)

The “bar” bookmarklet is now ready for use on any page on the web.

Here’s an iOS-friendly bookmarkable version of iOSify Bookmarklets (tap this link, then start at step 3 above to add this to Mobile Safari): iOSify Bookmarklets

The code, for those who like that sort of thing:

I hope this is helpful to someone out there :-)


1 For the curious, Digital Inspiration uses query strings and fragments in the URL in order to include the bookmarklet code in the page URL you bookmark, and iOSify Bookmarklets borrows this method. ↩︎


Welcome, “The Month in WordPress”!

Posted in Open Source, Software at 1:59 am by

I stumbled into the افكار و احلام dashboard today to make a new post, and I noticed a new item in the “WordPress News” feed: a monthly roundup of what’s going on in the WordPress project. The WordPress Blog has, for as long as I can recall, limited itself to posting about releases (new versions, betas, etc.) and the occasional other high-profile news item, so if the blog was your main ongoing point-of-contact with WordPress (as I suspect it is for most users, more-often-than-not including me), you didn’t learn much about what was happening or where the software was headed until a release featuring those changes landed in your lap. So this is a welcome change, a quick overview of big items and pointers to other things that may be of interest, but on a monthly basis to still keep the WordPress Blog low-volume (and thus low-annoyance).

It reminds me of the weekly-ish Camino updates begun (I think) in 2005 by Samuel Sidler (with assistance from Wevah), first on Camino Update and then later on his own blog, and later taken over by me when Sam got busy with other things (and it would surprise me if Sam’s fingerprints weren’t on this new WordPress monthly roundup in some way). Over the years, those updates filled an important communication need in the Camino Project. It’s important to make it easy for people interested in your software to see what you’re doing (or that you are still doing something!), especially when those tentpole events like releases have a relatively long duration between them, but to do so without either requiring those interested people to dig in to the daily activity of the project or overwhelming them with such details or project jargon. I feel like “The Month in WordPress: June 2017” strikes the right balance and hits the mark for WordPress, and I’m excited to keep reading the feature in the months to come.

So welcome to the web, “The Month in WordPress”! :)