Techie Talk by Judy @ 2:11 PM

PI will be down for hosting service maintenance starting Saturday, January 31, 2009, at 6:00 AM EST.

I’m not sure how long the outage would occur. It’s expected to last an hour or two. But stuff happens.

Email will be down as well as the web site. I don’t think I will actually lose any email – I just won’t have access to it for awhile. But, just in case, if you send me email tomorrow and don’t hear back from me for a day or two, please resend.

Knitting |Techie Talk by Judy @ 11:49 AM

I love tools
I love tools

Yesterday was an interesting day, gentle reader.

First, thank you to everyone who clicked through to Jack Bog’s Blog for Buck-A-Hit Day. $9,920 was raised for very deserving local groups. Thank you, thank you!

It was also interesting because it was the day that I decided, rather early in the morning, to upgrade to WordPress 2.7. I’d been playing around with 2.7 on my local computer, and everything looked OK. But, when I moved it up to the web server where y’all can see it… it was not a happy experience. 😳

I’m really sorry to anyone using IE who started getting can’t load this site messages. I know it was awhile before I noticed. There were some things not playing well together. I got out all of the tools at my disposal and fixed it as fast as I could.

You might have also noticed a few things coming and going, appearing and disappearing. That was caused by the need to upgrade a few plugins that I thought were OK. It should all be back in place now.

I think it’s done. If you find anything that’s broken, please let me know.

I love yarn, too
I love yarn, too

Because of all of that, I think it’s time for a contest. I haven’t had one for a really long time, and I’ve been meaning to. And now it’s the holidays and I’m snowed in and all. So it’s time.

I have three skeins of yarn to give away, so that means I will have three lucky winners.

Left-to-right, Zen Yarn Garden Bamboolicious in Creamsicle; Blue Moon Socks That Rock Medium in Calico; Schaefer Anne in Toni Morrison.

I’d forgotten all about that Calico when I was searching for yarn to make fingerless gloves from. My forgetfulness will be your gain!

Here’s the contest: the first picture in this post is a bunch of tools. Name all of them – every single one – in the comments. I will draw from amongst those who name all of them to select the winner. If nobody names all, I will draw from those who have the most correct. Be sure to click on the picture to see the biggie size.

The rules: Tell me how many tools there are and name them. You can’t say something like a collection of widgets of varying sizes. You may say 9 widgets of various sizes.

All of the tools are in plain sight – none are hidden. There’s one there that may be obscure. But why should I make this too easy?

Contest will close Sunday night at midnight Pacific Time. Decision of the judge (that would be this intrepid reporter) are final. Blah, blah, blah.

Have fun!

Techie Talk by Judy @ 1:21 AM

I just updated to the latest version of WP. As always, if you find something that doesn’t work, please let me know.

If you are looking for the WP write panel usability hack, the new version can be downloaded here:

new toy
new toy

Yes, I have a new toy. I’m not going to talk about it much – just show you a picture. I only have one of them, but thanks to the magic of Photoshop, I am able to show you both sides at the same time. Love it. What I really love is going to meetings with a bunch of geek types. For quite awhile, now, I’ve been forced to watch them casually set their iPhones down on the conference table, carefully arranged to be in sight of everyone there. I kept my poor little PEBL in my pocket, so it wouldn’t feel inferior. The last week I’ve been casually setting my lovely, obviously gen 2 because it’s white, iPhone down on the table, carefully in sight of those with their gen 1 iPhones. It was noticed. :mrgreen: I’m a geek grrl. I admit it.

And why did I make this little purchase? #1 Son’s birthday was a week ago last Friday, coincidentally the same day as the world wide launch of the iPhone 3G. I decided that I deserved a present for his birthday, what with all of his travels and the gray hairs I’ve gained (nicely covered up by Carla The Wonderstylist) and such. Don’t you agree?

At any rate, speaking of #1 Son, when last we spoke he had missed his plane from Germany on Wednesday, but we were hoping that he would be able to get on the plane the next day.

There was no 3:30 AM, I missed my flight, wake-up call on Thursday. So that gave me hope that at least he was actually on the plane. I had asked him to call me from Philadelphia, but no call came. When I checked online, however, I noted that there was probably just about enough time between his flights for him to get through customs/immigration and make it to the connection. Assuming that I would hear only if something went wrong, I hied myself to the airport at the appointed time. I had looked online to see what gate the airplane would be coming in at, and parked on that side of the airport. I remember his return from Brazil and the crazy heavy stuff he had to carry.

And then I went to the waiting area by the security for that concourse and I waited. And waited. And waited. I could see via my new toy that his plane had arrived. A stream of people came up the concourse, met their loved ones and headed off. And no #1 Son. I was beginning to feel a bit of panic, when I finally spotted him. I breathed a sigh of relief and gave him a big hug. Can’t begin to tell you how glad I was to have him in Portland!

We walked to the baggage area, hauling his carry-on bags. He had a small duffel, a tote bag full of records (remember how heavy those are?), and his guitar case. We marched to the side of the airport where his plane had arrived – the side of the airport where I had parked. An announcement came that baggage from his flight would be coming on a belt on the exact opposite side of the airport.

OK, I thought, it’s going to be that kind of evening.

We hauled his carry-on bags across the airport to the designated baggage carousel. And waited, and waited, and waited. And his bags did not come. What are we looking for? I asked.

#1 Son: A black, sort of Euro-style backpack and a cymbal case that I brought back for Drummer Boy. All of my clothes are in the backpack. And, uh, my wallet is sort of in the backpack, too, with all my ID and my driver’s license and money and stuff.

Mom: You should always carry your ID on you, not check it!

#1 Son: I’m traveling on a passport. I don’t really need my driver’s license.

Mom: You will need it to drive home from my house.

#1 Son: … that’s true.

We waited. Passengers picked up their luggage. The number of unclaimed bags became smaller and smaller. No new bags came out of the bowels of the airport. Eventually the belt stopped.

Well, I said. The good news is that, since we had to come over to this side of the airport, we’re right next to the lost baggage claim area! You go talk to them and I’ll sit here with your stuff.

Off he went, and I waited. After a bit, a goodly bit, he returned. The airlines didn’t have a clue where his bag was. But there was a second flight coming in at midnight, and his bags might be on that.

After some discussion, we decided to stay and wait, in the hope that the bags actually would be on the second flight, and thus he would have a few rather necessary things like clothing, a tooth brush, and his wallet. But there was no reason to schlep his heavy stuff all over the airport. Instead, we schlepped it to the parking structure across the airport, where I had thoughtfully parked, as you will remember gentle reader, to be close to his arrival. At the car, we had this conversation:

Mom: Did you managed to make it to a yarn shop?

#1 Son: I did! I had to go to two of them, because the first one was closed. But the second one had tons of yarn. The lady in there was really nice, but she was the only person I met in all of Germany who spoke absolutely no English. I had a hard time communicating what I wanted, but finally I pulled up my pant leg and pointed at my socks and said “socks” a couple of times. She pointed at some shelves in the back and I picked up a bunch of yarn and bought it for you. I’m pretty sure it’s sock yarn.

Mom: I suppose it’s in your backpack.

#1 Son: No! It’s in my guitar case! Made great padding.

He popped open his guitar case, and, sure enough, there were 5 balls of yarn. I picked up a ball. There was no ball band, but it looked sort of like maybe Trekking or Opal — that kind of ball and some sort of self-striping colorway.

Mom: This looks… OK. Where’s the ball band?

#1 Son: The what?

Mom: The ball band. You know. The label that goes around the ball of yarn to tell you the fiber content and the manufacturer and the color and all that stuff.

#1 Son: I don’t know. I don’t think there were any. Is it OK? I didn’t get any that was pink.

Mom: Yes, sweetie. I’m sure it’s fine. Thank you for avoiding the pink.

#1 Son: You’re going to blog this, aren’t you.

Mom: Yes, I am. I’m going to brag about how wonderful my son is, who brings me sock yarn all the way from Germany. And who managed to be understood in a yarn store outside his native country. And how wonderful is that?

#1 Son: Is the yarn OK?

Mom: Sweetie, it’s not quite what I expected. But it’s yarn, and it looks pretty, and it will be made into socks. I am so happy that you did this. Thank you very much! Now, let’s move the car over to the side of the airport where your bags will come (if they come) and get you something to eat.

#1 Son: I’m not really hungry, but OK.

He kept protesting that he wasn’t very hungry as he devoured a huge veggie sandwich, a carton of yogurt and a pint of orange juice. We had a nice chat as we waited for midnight and flight #2 to arrive.

#1 Son: Can you look on your phone thingy and see if they’ve found my bags yet? Here’s the claim number. Look how they described the cymbal case as a hatbox. I kept telling her that it wasn’t a hatbox, or even really the shape of a hatbox, and it would be better to use the other category and describe it. But she insisted on using hatbox. And not a clue where the bags were at all.

Mom: Hopefully they’re not looking for a hatbox, because according to the claim lookup online, they are still attempting to locate your bags and that will make them harder to find.

#1 Son: I can’t figure out why they don’t know where they are. Shouldn’t they scan them when they load them on a flight, or something?

Mom: I don’t know. If I’d designed the system they would. And most times when my bags didn’t arrive on the same flight as I did, they’ve been able to tell me what flight they were on. So I don’t know what’s going on with this airline. I’ve never flown it before.

#1 Son: I’m never flying them again.

Mom: OK

At the appointed time, we stood next to the baggage carousel of doom. And waited. And waited. And passengers picked up their bags and left with smiling faces. And we waited. We were both sure that we were waiting in vain. All of a sudden, I spotted something…

Mom: Is that your backpack?

#1 Son: OMG! It is! [grabbing it off the belt]

Mom: Look! Look! There’s the hatbox… er, cymbal case.

#1 Son: Very funny. [grabbing it off the belt]

Mom: Is there anything else?

#1 Son: That’s all!

Mom: Yea!

He dug around in his backpack for his wallet, and pulled out another skein of yarn.

Back we went to the car – now closer than last time. Mom, I’m really tired. I can’t begin to tell you how tired I am. Please just drop me off at your house, and I’ll come over tomorrow and pick up my car. OK?

So that’s what we did. And when he walked in his door, all of his friends and roommates – who had been waiting for his return – sent up a shout of joy that was probably heard all the way to Salem, and scared him half to death. And, what with all of the excitement, I left the yarn in his guitar case. And that’s why I have no pictures of it to show you. But he has promised to get it to me on Monday, and then, gentle reader, you can maybe help me figure out what it is.

P.S. On Friday he came over with his roommate E to pick up his car. When he opened its door, he said, Ah. You knit me a steering wheel cover. How cool is that!

Mom: Notice anything else different?

E: It’s clean! It’s really, really clean!

Mom: Yes, it is. It’s also full of gas and has brand new registration tags.

#1 Son: It does? Mom, you’re the best mother ever!

We’ll see how long that lasts, eh?

Techie Talk by Judy @ 10:57 PM

This post is just for WordPress users who have found this blog by following a link from a more, shall we say, technically themed blog, and have been surprised (and even dismayed) to find a WP hack in amongst a discussion about stuff like hand-knit socks and yarn. This is a knitting blog. That’s what I talk about, more or less. But sometimes other things creep in. WordPress, for example. You can get the link to the hack here, without having to search through knitting stuff.

Although there is much to like about WP 2.5, the write panels suck. A great deal of scrolling up and down is required, disrupting the once smooth workflow. The width of the write area is limited, even on wide-screen monitors. The notification of pending posts and drafts has been removed. Usability is way, way down.

So I took matters into my own hands and fixed what I thought were the most egregious faults.

You can see a picture of the new panel here. If you are a self-hosted WP 2.5 user and would like to incorporate these changes, you can download them here. The files all go in /wp-admin/, except for global.css, which goes in /wp-admin/css/. Back up your files first. Use at your own risk. No implied warranty. Etc.

A ticket was opened in Trac requesting that this be made an enhancement in a future WP release. The ticket has been closed by TPTB as not being valid.

An idea has been posted in the WP Ideas Forum. Please go over and vote for it. This is the only way that we will get the developers to fix the write panel workflow. You will have to register in order to vote, but it’s easy and painless and you need not give away any personal information. Your email is used only to send your password.

Sorry, I can’t help you directly if you are on But you can still go over and vote for the idea. Whatever changes are in the next release will impact you as much as me.

Knitting |Techie Talk by Judy @ 8:13 AM


OK. So can you tell that I’m happy that the clown barf stripy socks are finished? Oh, I cannot begin to express my joy at this event!

I don’t hate them. Really. But I want you to follow this link and then scroll down until you find High Desert. Then pop the bigger picture up.

That’s the yarn that I saw in the skein. Glorious, isn’t it? Whodda thunk it that it would knit up like this? The colors in the sock picture are brighter than they actually appear in real life. It’s early in the morning and raining again so the light was a little weird.

These socks had it in for me right up until the last. I finished up the ribbing, and leaned forward in my chair to fetch my needles from my knitting bag. As I sat back I heard crrruunnnchhh. Yep. Broke two harmony needles. One from each circular. Aaaaaaaarrrrrrgggggghhhhhh I’m not safe around wooden things, apparently. I’d best stick to metal.

The Particulars:

In completely non-knitting, techie news, I’ve been fighting with the new WP 2.5 admin panels. All I can say is ICK. The write panels were especially horrible, as all of the little check boxes and drop-down lists were moved under the post write area, making it necessary to scroll for a bazillion miles every time I posted. Which I realize has not been often lately, but let’s not digress.

A long, long, long thread started over in the support forum amongst those of us not happy with the new arrangement. The end result was that this intrepid reporter, along with a few others, made changes to the panels to make them more usable. You can see a picture of the new panel here

If you are a self-hosted WP 2.5 user and would like to incorporate these changes, you can download them here, although I think this is the version that has an extraneous comma in the draft list. Or, to get the very latest version, download directly from the WordPress bug report. The files all go in wp-admin/, except for global.css, which goes in wp-admin/css/. Sorry, I can’t help you if you are on

Didn’t know I had such mad codr skilz, didja? 😆

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#1 Son's Blanket


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