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In Edmonton, it's more like "April snow - June show"! It seems that only a short while ago, I was shoveling mounds of snow and the whole yard was blanketed (NO ... smothered) in a covering of white. Fortunately, the show-shovel broke at the appropriate time and we're now enjoying a bountiful summer.
However the saying goes ... the time to be in Edmonton is NOW. Flowers are blooming all over the place and it's completely amazing. (Of course, Alex is bent on destruction and thinks that each bloom is something for "pick and play", rather than "show and tell". Our irises have taken quite a beating, recently. And so have a number of our other plants! The only exception, of course, is the dandelion. Although Alex does love the yellow blooms, she often passes them by, in favor of the more rare, exotic and alluring flowers. You know ... the ones we want to keep!)
It's difficult to believe that the summer solstice is still a week or so away. We go to bed now at 10:30 PM and it's still light out. Wake up at 4:30 AM ... it's still light out!! (Where was all this light in the winter, when we REALLY needed it?) Our neighbor, Paul, across the lane (who loves a good joke) ... was eager to point out to Scott that, "Soon will come the soltice and 2 weeks after -- the first frost." YIKES!! Scott's nether regions puckered up as he thought of the prospect. ANOTHER winter ... OMG!
Southern Alberta has been innundated with rain these past few weeks. Not here. In fact, up till the day-before-yesterday, Scott was hand-watering the back yard and dancing a jig, just hoping that 1/8th indian blood would result in SOMETHING "aqua". (Of course, if we were REALLY desperate, we could have expended the energy and actually WASHED the car ... which is 10X better than any native American dance, as far as producing rain.) We were too lazy, I quess. The rain dance was as much as we could muster and fortunately, it's paid off ... because, during the past two days, Edmonton has looked more like Vancouver.
Well ... the summer plans are laid and we'll be embarking on a trip in less than a month's time. Nothing like the PCT Hike we did in 2002. More of a 'family visit' thing ... Vancouver, Red Bluff, Seattle and a few points in between (okay ... mostly pit stops at the local 7-11, where Scott can test the water depth ... ). Hey! It's tought to time your pit-stops with your pee stops. Ask my grandpa (God rest his soul) ... who wrote a letter to the oil companies, complaining of his peeStop-pitStop dilemma. "You go gramps!")
Back to the flowers. They're not ALL from our backyard, but they ARE from backyards ... three of them ... all in our immediate vicinity. (1) Anna, who lives next door. She's a single lady that emmigrated from Ghana, Africa and runs a couple physical therapy practices. (2) Paul, (the Oop's buddy) from across the lane. He's an ex-firefighter who lost his wife a number of years ago to breast cancer. (3) Our very own yard (at least, whatever the Oop hasn't eaten, mutilated or spindled)!
Funny, but because the weather has turned, we're getting to know folks again. (Everyone was shuttered in for the bulk of the winter months, just like us). BBQ parties, go-carts up and down the alley, kids staying up and playing into the night ... are among the new sounds that we hear, well into the twilight.
Lawn-mowing has resumed again (with a fevor), as rain only makes the grasses grow. Dandelions (the second-batch ... "the reinforcements") are coming up as thick as thieves. The spot that the cat peed in all winter-long? THE BEST and THICKEST grass around! (Nice to see that our expenditure in cat food paid off! Now ... if we can only get him to 'spread it around'!)
I hope that you've enjoyed the flower show. Some of these things, like the 'bleeding heart', I never really noticed (or saw) until I migrated north. Yes ... I definitely miss the Yuccas, the palms, citrus and other plants of the desert. I especially miss the smell of the desert after a rain storm, when the wetting of sage and creosote yields an especially wonderful aroma ... or the early spring scent of orange trees in bloom. Those who live in the American south-west know what I'm talking about. (Before I die, I want to find a way to bottle that smell and sell it, because it is so fresh and so pure.)
The lesson here, I think, is to enjoy where you are, in the moment, as you never know when that smell, that sunset, that feeling, will be the last.
Did'ja notice? This is our first post using the hot-off-the-presses "Photo/Caption Zoom" version two!
Posting a valid XHTML 1.1 ImageMap -> Hey, What's Going On?
I recently began validating against the XHTML 1.1 standard, rather than the XHTML 1.0 (Strict) standard. There isn't much of a change between the two, so the move wasn't too difficult. However, while checking validation on some old entries, I noticed that image maps yield errors.
I tried fixing the validation problems, but the result was an image map like the one on this page. It validates fine against the 1.1 standard, but doesn't work - either in IE or FireFox. (You can check this with the validation button ... but do it before opening the "Read Full Story" link).
At first, I thought I was coding the thing wrong. Then, I thought that maybe the W3C Validator had a bug. This is the kind of problem that will make you run around and chase your tail!
I couldn't let it lie. (After posting instructions for coding image maps that validate against the XHTML 1.0(strict) standard, I was determined to figure out what was going on.)
I received the following message in today's mail:
Hi, [your "blogging by email" tutorial is a] great addition to the b2e-site! It helped me a lot. I have one question with which maybe you could help me. When posting a message through email, the lines are broken off, which results in a bad layout of the message (see it at www.grasland.info). Any idea how to solve this? I tried adding a paragraph class but this did not solve it. Thanks in advance.
To be quite honest, though I put up the tutorial about blogging via email, it's not a feature that I use much (aside from tests, like this one). And those tests are mainly to see if the email connection is working and so are short, in length. So ... I'm putting up this longer one, to see how my email client(s) handles long entries, to see if I too, get ugly line breaks.
I am using HTML in this email-by-blog entry; things like "<p>" and "<blockquote>", just as I would if I were making a post in the back office.
Oh, I did note something very odd (and I submitted a bug report about it), the very last time I tested blogging by email. When I made my original tutorial post, I included some special code I use to color <div>'s, which looks something like: <div class="olive dotted">. It worked fine. Then, the last time I tested 'blogging by email', I used the EXACT SAME CODE, but the equal sign was converted to "=3D" and the post failed because it wouldn't pass the HTML-checker. I couldn't figure out WHERE the "3D" was introduced (and I still don't know). I checked the email header that was being sent to b2evolution and they weren't in the email (that I could see). I concluded that b2evolution was adding them, which was odd, because the first time I tested 'blogging via email', this wasn't an issue. Odd. (I've later learned that 3D is the CHR ASCII code for the equal sign, so it's not arbitrary ... knowing this still hasn't helped me solve the issue).
Without pinning down the source, the ONLY way I could get around the problem was by modifying the getmail.php file, around line 248, adding
(which simply collapses any "3D" that is found). (The fix will deprecate nicely IF it goes back to working properly, as that string will simply not be found).
Anyway ... I experienced a line break problem as noted in this morning's email. Turning to the PHP code, I've managed (I think) to find a work-a-round. Here's what you can add (again to the getmail.php file, around line 248). The red text needs to be inserted, to solve for the line break issue and collapse any multiple white spaces.
// CHECK and FORMAT content
$post_title = format_to_post ( trim($post_title), 0, 0 );
$content = format_to_post( trim($content), $Settings->get('AutoBR'), 0);
$content = str_replace ('=3D','=',$content); // if you're having problems with "=3D"
$content = ereg_replace("[\r\t\n]"," ",$content); // replace returns, tabs or newlines w/spaces.
$content = ereg_replace(' +',' ',trim($content)); // collapse white space
PS - I'll add this bit to the "blog-by-email" entry, when I get a chance.
b2evo how-to: Blog Entry Sent via Email to a Friend
This is a tough one to describe. Maybe it's better to come at it a different way. Say someone is visiting your site and likes a particular entry. "Hmmm," they might think, "Mary would really be interested in this." It's one thing to have that thought, quite another for them to be motivated enough to actually DO SOMETHING about it (fire off their email client, type an email, hunt down the permalink address to the specific entry, cut'n-paste it) ... that's a LOT of steps! Wouldn't it be convenient to have an "email a friend" link that does the same thing, but automatically and quickly? No email client, no cutting and pasting. Just click, add email addresses, maybe a short note and then BOOM - done!
If you think this might be a useful feature, then you've come to the right place! You can have a link like the one below that says, "Email Story", then pops up a form when clicked. No complicated b2evolution database changes or core file hacking. Three steps and you're done. You'll undoubtedly spend more time configuring the CSS to style the pop-up windows, than installing the thing. To get your very own 'email-this-entry' link, read on, brave blogger...
Getting the Photo/Caption Zoom Working in your Blogs
When I posted the CSS Photo-Caption Zoom entry, it was meant for a larger web audience than just b2evolution users. However, since I posted an entry about it on the b2evolution forums, I've been getting some questions about how (exactly) to get it going in a b2evoution blog.
The nail was hit squarely on the head, when Bomani left a comment saying:
I've searched your site and I'm trying to find explicit instructions on "how" and "where" to enter the code to use the Photo-Zoom feature in b2volution.
I see the code (html, css), but I have no idea on where they should be inserted.
If beaten about the head soundly enough emails, comments and the like, even I can take a hint!
To get the photo/caption zoom working on your b2evo blog, read on!