What happened to the WordPress I used to know?

So it’s been a long time since I’ve blogged and this is the first time I’m using the new snazzy WordPress posting process on the website which seems to have been Tumblr-ised

Tumblr’s posting pageImage

WordPress.com’s posting pageImage

But aside from that I started composing a new post and did a preview which didn’t look right at all

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I first thought the preview was broken due to some weird HTML, so I looked for the “View source/HTML” option and I couldn’t find it!

Clicked the help and it stated that I could turn it off in my “Your Profile” submenu.

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Guess what? I couldn’t find this “Your Profile” submenu

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Thought the logical place it would be is in “Personal Settings” or editing my profile but still not there. Clicking the edit link on the preview window brought me back to the new posting page with my full post, and clicking preview still did nothing. It was still loading an old version of the post.

Luckily I tried editing the post via the admin interface and was greeted with the editor I was familiar with and provided the functionality that I love.

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This hits another annoyance that I have with so called “upgrades” that remove features. This things will hopefully get logged on #upgradeIsADowngrade

Broken PhoneGap 3.0.0 Installation and Documentation

// TLDR – start

  • Phonegap 3.0.0 documentation is broken.
  • Download the project template
  • replace your www folder with that in the project template
  • Use “phonegap local build ios”
  • Xcode project files in platforms/ios/HelloWorld.xcodeproj

// TLDR – end

So I go to install Phonegap for while playing around with developing on iOS and find that they have yet again changed their process of installation and setting up projects. While that annoys me somewhat, what really annoys me is that the installation and documentation is broken.

Firstly the following command from the documentation (http://docs.phonegap.com/en/3.0.0/guide_cli_index.md.html#The%20Command-line%20Interface)

$ phonegap create hello com.example.hello HelloWorld

Gives me an error

[error] downloaded www assets in /Users/thewheat/.cordova/lib/www/phonegap/3.0.0/www does not contain index.html, or www subdir with index.html

and it just created a few empty folders

$ ls hello/*
hello/merges:

hello/platforms:

hello/plugins:

hello/www:

Thinking it was just some weird error, I just continued on to the iOS documentation (http://docs.phonegap.com/en/edge/guide_platforms_ios_index.md.html#iOS%20Platform%20Guide_open_a_project_in_the_sdk)

$ cordova create hello com.example.hello "HelloWorld"
$ cd hello
$ cordova platform add ios
$ cordova prepare              # or "cordova build"

This still references “cordova” which was the name of the utility in the previous version before they renamed it to “phonegap”. I changed into the directory and ran the next command which gave the following error

$ cordova platform add ios
-bash: cordova: command not found

Changing it to “phonegap” doesn’t work either

$ phonegap platform add ios
[error] 'platform add ios' is not a phonegap command. See 'phonegap help'

But at least it gave some instruction on what to do. Following that I figured I has to run

$ phonegap local build ios

But alas, more errors

[phonegap] adding the iOS platform...
fs.js:413
 return binding.open(pathModule._makeLong(path), stringToFlags(flags), mode);
 ^
Error: ENOENT, no such file or directory '/Users/thewheat/Dropbox/projects/ios/hello/www/config.xml'
 at Object.fs.openSync (fs.js:413:18)
 at Object.fs.readFileSync (fs.js:270:15)
 at Object.config_parser (/usr/local/lib/node_modules/phonegap/node_modules/cordova/src/config_parser.js:24:45)
 at Object.platform (/usr/local/lib/node_modules/phonegap/node_modules/cordova/src/platform.js:64:15)
 at LocalBuildCommand.module.exports.addPlatform (/usr/local/lib/node_modules/phonegap/lib/phonegap/local.build.js:153:13)
 at LocalBuildCommand.execute (/usr/local/lib/node_modules/phonegap/lib/phonegap/local.build.js:95:32)
 at LocalBuildCommand.run (/usr/local/lib/node_modules/phonegap/lib/phonegap/local.build.js:70:10)
 at Object.build (/usr/local/lib/node_modules/phonegap/lib/phonegap/util/command.js:28:25)
 at CLI.module.exports (/usr/local/lib/node_modules/phonegap/lib/cli/local.build.js:34:20)
 at CLI.module.exports [as argv] (/usr/local/lib/node_modules/phonegap/lib/cli/argv.js:66:17)

I figured, that I had to manually download the template project structure  (https://codeload.github.com/phonegap/phonegap-app-hello-world/tar.gz/3.0.0), extract it, and replace my project’s “www” folder with that in the template.

$ rm -rf www
$ cp -r ~/Downloads/phonegap-app-hello-world-3.0.0/www .

And now finally it compiles!

$ phonegap local build ios
[phonegap] adding the iOS platform...
[phonegap] compiling iOS...
[phonegap] successfully compiled iOS app

And to open it up in Xcode and finally run the app

$ open platforms/ios/HelloWorld.xcodeproj

Perhaps the node install was corrupted due to something on my computer? But broken documentation such as this really annoys me: a person trying to learn a new tool / library wants to test and play around with it, not debug broken installation guidelines.

(On a sidenote: at least there are some guidelines, there are projects that I’ve seen that don’t give a ‘quick start’ example and assumes you know how to use the tool, which is another peeve of mine)

A Message to Brunei Website Owners – Do you value money or people?

Step 1: Build website
Step 2: Fill page will ads
Step 3: ????
Step 4: Profit?!?!?!

My main issue is ads that seem to fill many Bruneian websites. I understand the need to make money, but when I see multiple and obtrusive ad spots all over your page, it really turns me off. To me, it conveys that you value the money from your advertisers more than you value my experience (as a customer / viewer) on your site. I’m sure everybody is familiar with one of the biggest offenders in Brunei which is BruDirect. Going to the page and I’m greeted with 4 huge ads and no content. I’m not sure how everybody else feels about it, but I for one tend to boycott these sites by not going to them.

I would also like to raise the question as to why so many Brunei websites do this and if there are any globally popular websites that do the same kind of obtrusive ad marketing. I personally can’t name any (perhaps because if I did run into it, I probably boycotting it =p). But either way, I would like to know your thoughts on this matter and, if you would be so kind, do answer the questions below and leave your reply in the comments. Add any additional remarks or comments as you wish.

  1. Do you find ad filled pages in Brudirect ok?
  2. Do you find them annoying?
  3. Do you still read the website?
  4. If you find them annoying and still read the website, why do you put up with it?
  5. How many ads is too much?

Note: I started this post several days back when I ran into a new website (can’t remember the exact URL) that had all those "Your-ad-here" spaces which seemed to litter the page. I’m not against ads as a whole, just website owners who seem it is best to fill the page with all of them. I took some time to let this post sit here so I can simmer down with my utter disdain for the act of ads littering a page. Maybe I’m too idealistic, maybe I just want a better experience when viewing websites or maybe I’m full of it. Let me know in the comments.

Microsoft Office Phone Activation Fail. Proxy server WIN!

So as I recently got a new family desktop I was setting things up and had to install Microsoft Office. I bought a copy of Microsoft office earlier this year and thus proceeded to do the activation. I proceeded with the phone activation and spoke my Installation code for verification. It could not recognize the third group of numbers. Very well. Fine. I will just type it in. Same problem! In my frustration I tweeted that this is why people pirate software. Make a legitimate user feel like a prisoner enough times and they will want to run away and pirate.

Installation Code not recognized:

Product in question: Microsoft Office 2007. Note the activation restrictions: “Distribution and required product activation must occur in Malaysia”

Luckily the sorry does not end there with me cursing Microsoft and product activation. On the box it does say that activation must occur in Malaysia. So I Googled for a Malaysian proxy, configured Internet Explorers to user a proxy (Tools > Internet Options > Connections > LAN Settings > Proxy server) and tried online activation and viola! Activated without any other problems.

Australian Housing Scam

As my wife is looking for accommodation in Australia she showed me an ad that seemed a bit too good to be true: rent was much lower than any other accommodation within the area (suspicion #1). The person insisted that they not go through the real estate website but to email them directly (suspicion #2). On emailing the person in charge the following email was received:

Hello,
First of all I want to thank you for your reply. I really appreciate you took the time to answer me. I am the owner of the apartment located 500/408 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne, Vic 3000. It is still available for rent for $190 p/w including utilities for as long as you need. The apartment is in the best conditions, it is newly furnished and equipped with all the dependencies. I bought the apartment in 2007 and I lived there with my pet until last month when I received a promotion and needed to move to Padova / Italy.

In the apartment you will find a dishwasher, a refrigerator, a freezer, a washing machine, a dryer, an iron, , an oven, a toaster, a coffee maker, vacuum cleaner, a big screen TV, cable TV with the basic access, ADSL internet and Wi-Fi access. Also the apartment is near the public transportation, a shopping mall, a gym, and other facilities. There are no problems if you have any pets, as long as you clean up after them. The apartment has a parking space for one car. I have spent a great amount of money refurnishing the apartment and my request is that you treat it like it was your own. I am not interested to make a lot of money from the rent as I am interested to find a tenant that will take good care of the property until my return(minimum lease period, 3 months).

My contract here in Italy expires in October 2013.

Because I had to move to Italy so soon I didn’t had the time to find a trustworthy agent, I had to take the apartment keys with me. I had a real bad experience with the renting agents from the area with my previous home. I can’t come to show you the apartment and I don’t have any friends in the area to send the keys. I found an alternate solution in order to close the transaction safe for the both of us, it is an international delivery solution called Express Metrix (I will pay for a 2 days delivery),they will provide assistance in handling the payment and delivery of the Keys and Lease Agreement.With this procedure you will be able to check the apartment before I receive the payment.

Let me know how this sounds to you.

Looking forward to your answer.

Best regards,

Milda Stoehr.

After Googling this search phrase “I received a promotion and needed to move to” and found the following 3 links:

  1. Suspicious Housing
  2. Apartment Rental Scam
  3. Beware of new rental share accommodation scams (see comments for some scams)

This is probably a bogus escrow scam and I hope this will help inform people of these scams and to be wary of dealings with people online. While it seems to be Australian focused, a friend mentioned that there is a similar thing in Canada and probably in other countries as well. It’s sad to see people to resort to such tactics but we all need to be vigilant.

Have a great week and stay safe people!

My OS X Issues

So I recently got a 13″ Macbook Pro and after month with it as my full time operating system, here are my issues with the Mac OS X as a heavily keyboard dependent user who has been in a Windows and Linux (Ubuntu/Debian) world for many years.

Command + Tab Application Switcher

One of the things apparent to me when I used a Mac previously was that when you Command + Tab (Mac’s version of Window’s Alt+Tab) to switch between open applications, it won’t show all the current windows open, just the applications. So, for instance, if you have 3 Finder windows open, when I Command + Tab I will only see one icon as show below.

3 Finder windows, 1 Finder icon in the application switcher
3 finders 1 icon

I can see the rationale for this as it doesn’t clutter the application switcher screen but I personally do not like it. There is a way to switch between multiple windows of the same program (Alt + `)(Command + `) which is good that it is accessible but still the inconvenience of having to switch to the application before switching to the right window. This is detrimental to my workflow and productivity on a Mac. I guess to combat this, expose was created for window selection. Expose nicely lays out all open windows on one screen for the user to select and bring to the foreground, and it is even keyboard accessible. However it is not as efficient as alt+tabbing on Windows because each time expose launches, you would have to search for the correct window on the screen before clicking it and proceeding. Witch solves this problem but it will cost you (€9.95) and I’m actually surprised at how few people want this option (current score is: -21).

Expose in action on 3 Finder windows:
expose finder

Finder

Finder is the equivalent to Window’s Explorer used for file management. One thing that became apparent to me when moving between OS’s is that OS X likes to create hidden files on USB drives and these files are never show in Finder. You simply can’t show hidden files in Finder. I also like to go to the folders by typing in the location using the address bar in Windows. This is something I also cannot do easily with Finder: the “Go To Folder…” dialog box has no auto complete and just does not offer the flexibility of a address bar where I can type and search on the fly.

OS X’s “Go to the folder” dialog instead of an address bar
finder go to folder

In Finder you cannot list directories first. Thus if you’re trying to access a folder that is deep in your folder hierarchy, you are just searching the sub directories of a folder, you will find yourself searching for the folder among the files. There really needs to be an option for this.

Folders sorted together with files instead of before
finder folders and files mixed

Cut and Paste
No copy and paste but cut and paste. Yes there is cut and paste in a text editor but there is none for file management in Finder. This is a big deal for me as I will use cut and paste very heavily in file management as it allows me to do all my file management via the keyboard. With Finder you’re forced to use the mouse to move files by dragging the folders into the necessary location. This ends up to be a huge time waster. It seems some 3rd party file managers (Path Finder and RAGE Macintosh Explorer) do implement cut and paste feature but if you cut files and forget to paste them (or you interrupt your cut with a copy and paste elsewhere) you can lose the files you previously cut. Windows and Linux has had cut & paste for years and here is Mac OS X without it. I find that hard to believe and also that only now in Snow Leopard you can restore your (accidentally) deleted file to the original location.

Replace not Merge
Take note that if you have 2 folders (A and B) of the same name and try to replace one folder with the other (drag folder A to folder B’s enclosing folder) do take note that it will replace folder B with folder A and not merge the 2 folders into one. Thus any files in folder B will be lost. This is very important and I can forsee a lot of cursing and swearing if this concept is not understood. For the record Windows merges the 2 folders giving the user with a folder containing files from both of the folders.
finder replace not merge

Menu Bar

So on a Mac the Menu Bar is always on the top and menu items change dynamically based on which application is currently in focus. The problem here is that you have to select the application first before being able to access any menu. So if you have another application window besides the current window you are using you cannot just access the menu item of the other window, you will have to click on the other window, move your mouse back up to the top of the screen where the menu bar is and file the item. Another time waster. You also cannot navigate menu items like you can in Windows. In Windows you can simply press the Alt key and menu bar is selected and thus you can use the navigation keys to move around the menu. Quick and simple. You can even use shortcuts to access menu items by pressing the key for the letter underlined in the menu. While you can place focus on the Menu bar in OS X using an awkward shortcut of Ctrl + F2 (am trying to find a way to mimic the single button Alt keypress in Windows) , there is no possible quick navigation of the menus.

On the right side of the menu bar there are icons/text that act as shortcuts to certain fuctions (e.g. wireless, bluetooth, volume control) or just for information display. The problem is that some programs have enough menu items to hide some of these icons and there is no way to view these icons in the hidden state. The only way around this is to remove functionality/information from the menu bar itself, preventing me from using it the way I want to. Windows has a feature to hide system tray icons and there is a toggle button to show them all. OS X needs a feature like this.

Menu bar in Mail – hiding some icons
menu bar mail
Menu bar in Finder – revealing hidden icons
menu bar finder

Window Menu

In Windows you can access the window menu by pressing Alt + Space. You can do things like maximize, minimize, restore and close the current window. You can even resize and move the window just by using the keyboard. That is just great and helps productivity. For OS X there is no window menu. You have to use the mouse to move and resize the window. Worse yet you can only resize the window my using the resizer in the bottom right of the window; you can’t resize from any other corner, ONLY the bottom right. I found that Afloat allows moving and resizing windows via the mouse as well as “always on top” and transparency features that I get with Compiz in Linux.

Zoom / (Smart) Maximize

In Windows the title bar has 3 buttons: minimize, maximize and close. In OS X you also have 3 buttons (on the left rather than the right), close, minimize to dock (-) button and zoom (+) button. Zoom does a ‘smart’ maximize that maximizes the window to occupy the optimal space, not the full screen. I can see that makes sense because when you maximize windows sometimes you get a lot of whitespace or useless space, but the issue with this is that it is inconsistent between applications and gets frustrating at times. So I found RightZoom that makes the Zoom button do a maximize like Windows and better still adds a shortcut to this.

OS X’s zoom button: love it or hate it
zoom button

Home and End

If you work with any kind of text in Windows I believe the Home and End buttons are your friends as they are mine. It seems these friends have had a change of heart in the Mac world. I’m using a standard (Windows) keyboard with and when I press the Home / End buttons they bring me to the start / end of the document I’m editing instead of the start / end of the line that I’m used to. I know there is the Command + Left / Command + Right to do this but call me lazy if I think an extra button to press too much inconvenience. Thankfully I found DoubleCommand which allows the Home and End keys to work as I expect them to.

Inaccessible window/dialog box that float on top

I found that there are some windows/dialog boxes that cannot be accessed via the keyboard application switcher (Command + Tab) or window switcher (Command + `). Open TextEdit (though I think it works in all applications), in the Menu bar > Help > TextEdit help. The window that appears is now inaccessible by the standard keyboard window selector shortcuts mentioned but can be accessed via expose. The worst part is that the window floats on top of everything you’re doing forcing me to reach for the mouse or find the window in expose. This can also happen if a samba share goes offline and you have it mounted

Mac Help window inaccessible via Witch (which is supposed to show all opened windows)
inaccesible help window

Keyboard inaccessible dialog box / help window
no selecteable dialog box same with help filepicture 1

Conclusion

These are my main issues with OS X and there are several other (minor) issues. As you can see there seems to be people with similar situations to mine as there are 3rd party applications developed to overcome these issues. After using a Mac I have realized that Macs jeopardize (my) keyboard skill portability due to the use of the command key instead of ctrl key for many functions and also due to the fact that Apple keyboards have a different layout. I guess the same can be said for long time Mac users in the Windows / Linux world but the fact that Apple not only dictates OS X’s the software but the Apple hardware and both ‘offend’ my quest for keyboard shortcut portability. Just as how Opera changed their new tab shortcut to Ctrl + T from Ctrl + N many version ago for consistency among the other tabbed browsers I can only hope and dream that Apple would give an option to make OS X shortcuts work like they do in Windows.