Next Week’s To Do List – Bootstrap, AppleScript, Write, Draw, Read

Edited to add: “My Tao! I thought it was Friday!”

Updated on October 13, 2017, to correct a source.

Very little was accomplished from this week’s to-do list. But two important goals came into play to make for an interesting and busy week for me.

First, the failures.

I drew nothing. Nothing for Inktober or Drawlloween, no tiny Halloween images for Faber-Castell (though I do have a previous tiny sketch I’m considering posting), nothing for Blick’s Pen & Ink Challenge, and not one mollusk to be seen.

I wrote no blog posts, ‘though the follow-up posts I wanted to write are still posts I want to write, so I’m shifting them over to my goals for the coming week.

I didn’t build an about page for Linda for the same reason that I didn’t learn a damned thing more than I already knew about Piwik:

I’ve spent the last week learning about Bootstrap, and using it (version 3.3.7, and accompanied by Atom, Firefox Developer Edition, TextWrangler1, and Transmit) to rebuild Sharonda.ink as a static site.

It’s ugly and old-fashioned, at least compared to Twentyanyteen, and I still haven’t figured out how to make favicons work across all browsers, but I think that homely, retro, and static are better options than sleek, modern, and dynamic for the type of site that Sharonda.ink is.

In addition to the Bootstrap site linked above, I followed advice from W3 Schools’ Bootstrap Tutorial, Jonathan Briehl, Bootstrap Bay, and 2My4Edge.

I’m hoping to learn more, improve upon what I’ve already built, and add more content to Sharonda.ink.

And that’ll be the start of next week’s to-do list:

  1. Learn more about Bootstrap, improve upon the build and add more content to Sharonda.ink

Bootstrap makes CSS layout easy, and it makes building mobile-friendly sites easy, too. I only had one real problem during this entire process, and it wasn’t Bootstrap-related, at all:

Once I’d gotten the basic site ready, and SFTP’d it to the server, I found that some of my images weren’t showing up. But only some. And all the missing images were stored in the same folder. I compared that folder’s permissions to those of my other image folders, but the permissions matched. And one image from the suspect folder actually did show up!

I couldn’t figure out why.

Firefox’s Web Developer tools said that the missing images couldn’t be loaded. Pasting the URL for one of the images, as written in the page, resulted in a 404. But Transmit clearly showed that the images had been uploaded. A quick “ls” of that folder via Terminal showed that the images were there, too.

And everything had worked fine locally. Still did. The images were the same. The code was the same. Why wasn’t it working on the uploaded version?

Because the system is different. Apparently the environment where Sharonda.ink is hosted is pickier than my iMac, when it comes to HTML and filenames.

Via “Get Info” on the local copies, I eventually noticed that the “missing” images all had uppercase file extensions, while the working ones did not. Once all the JPGs were switched to jpgs, everything loaded correctly.

An easy fix for a frustrating problem!

Once all of that was done, I set up a “Stable” folder in my Dropbox, in addition to the folder for the development version of the site. I created a “Production Site” folder within my “Sites” folder, and created an AppleScript application for syncing the “Stable” folder to the “Production Site” folder because redundancy is good–especially since tweaks will happen, even to the “Stable” site.

And that’s another thing I’d like to do in the coming week:

  1. Learn more about what can be done with AppleScript

Now, to the past week’s goals:

I no longer need to learn about Skeleton, and Piwik will just have to wait. Participating in Internet events is, apparently, not going to happen for me this month, so I’m taking that off the table, too.

And the rest of my to-do list looks like this:

  1. Build an about page for Linda, because I mention her all the time
  2. Write a follow-up post to SketchBook as a Subscription (Or, Maybe I’m a Hypocrite)
  3. Write a follow-up post to Checking out Firefox Developer Edition 57.0b3, focused mainly on containers, but also extensions for 57 and that whole Cliqz thing
  4. Draw daily, and draw anything I want
  5. Learn to write HTML footnotes without having to consult Compendiums: How to Create Footnotes in HTML every. Damned. Time.
  6. Get cozy with BBEdit.
  7. Write daily. Not just blog posts.
  8. Finish reading Helen Scales’ Spirals in Time: The Secret Life and Curious Afterlife of Seashells
  9. Do more print-on-demand, but only a little, and certainly not enough to create frustration

1. According to the linked page at Bare Bones Software, TextWrangler is not compatible with High Sierra. I don’t have High Sierra because, apparently, my Wacom driver isn’t compatible with the new OS, yet, either. But TextWrangler was, for me, better than Atom for spell checking alt texts while building Sharonda.ink, and I was glad to have it on hand. I hope BBEdit is similarly useful!

Next Week’s To Do List – CSS Frameworks, Follow-up Posts, and Ink

Updated 10 October 2017 to fix a link.

Updated 12 October to link to this follow-up-post, as well as to add visual indicators of progress.

I don’t work on much during the weekend, when Linda is home, other than on projects that involve us both. And I’m starting to have trouble keeping track of the things that I want to work on during the weekdays, when she’s at the office.

I have Todoist on my iMac and my iPhone, and I use it, but honestly, I’m going in so many directions right now that my Todoist is basically a list of items that regularly get postponed to either “Tomorrow” or “Next week”.

I’m also wanting, more and more, to focus my online activities around my own tiny,  lint-covered strand of the web, and reading a Guardian article this morning about minds being “hijacked” by smartphones only served to strengthen that desire.

So I’m thinking that a weekend to-do list is in order, and that there’s no better place to put it than right here.

Learn

  1. W3Schools’ Bootstrap 3 Tutorial
  2. Get Bootstrap’s Getting Started
  3. SitePoint’s Getting Started with Skeleton…
  4. More about getting Piwik up and running at NearlyFreeSpeech, with WordPress as root, and what that might end up costing me in terms of resource usage

Build

  1. A responsive, static site for Sharonda.ink
  2. An about page for Linda, because I mention her all the time

Write

  1. A follow-up to SketchBook as a Subscription (Or, Maybe I’m a Hypocrite)
  2. A follow-up to Checking out Firefox Developer Edition 57.0b3, focused mainly on containers

Draw

  1. Schreeching fanged fiends, gigantic Martian mayhem, running swamp citizens, shattered reel monsters, teeming Jasons and tiny Halloween symbols, all in ink
  2. Anything suitable for Blick’s Pen & Ink Challenge
  3. mollusks in any media

And, finally, I’d like to decide how I’m going to turn these weekend to-do lists into visually effective checklists for keeping track of which things I have and haven’t accomplished.

This post may be updated (with notes up top, because transparency) over the next day or two, as well as throughout the coming week.

Yay, productivity!?

Print-on-Demand is a Disease

I wish I were kidding.

I love drawing, and I love it when the things that I draw print well, but it’s hard to just do the print or the poster, and not start resizing images and creating transparencies so that you can put the simple frelling1 thing that you drew on all the other products that whichever print-on-demand company offers.

And then you move on to the next company….

I hate it.

I hate the way that it cheapens what I’m doing.

I hate the inauthenticity.

And I hate that I feel compelled to keep at it.

Three days ago, I was really freaking happy over a print of a mandala I’d drawn in SketchBook. I was happy repurposing some old designs to make a few stickers on Society 6.

(Of course that’s a referral link! How could it not be???)

Today, I am just so damned done that I can’t stand it any more. I’ve spent every wife-free hour doing nothing but print-on-command prepping and posting  since the 28th of September.

This afternoon, I took Nena for a walk, and I realized just how much doing POD work, for me, feels like unhealthy behavior.

So, I’m going to back off for a bit, resist the urge to keep putting products up, as well as the one to start taking products down, and maybe spend some time doing other–productive, yet healthy–things.

I realize this post holds no value for most potential readers. But if there are any other POD people out there who can–or absolutely can’t–relate to what I’m saying, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.


1. Can your translator microbes handle that one?

It’s a Tentacle Mandala Print, Sucker!

This framed print just came via FedEx today, and boy, am I relieved!

It's a Tentacle Mandala Sucker Framed Print
It’s a Tentacle Mandala, Sucker!
Framed print drawn by me, printed by Inktale. You can get your own, better-sized, framed or unframed version at my Inktale shop.

This is my first mandala drawn in SketchBook 8.4.1. It’s my first time ordering anything from Inktale, the first framed print I’ve ordered of my work from any print-on-demand service, and my first design incorporating a well-hidden digital signature along with a “Samu”/”Sharonda” chop with my name and date printed below.

Sizing–which is my fault; I should have left a bigger border–aside, everything turned out exactly how it was supposed to.  I’ve since resized before making the print available for purchase.

The photo above had an Instagram filter applied, but in the real print, sitting a few feet away from me for reference, lipstick red looks like it did in SketchBook and in Preview. Ditto for Antwerp blue, pinkish white, and process blue. The pinkish white, scribbled suckers show up even where they touch the white background. My hidden signature really is hidden (at least at 12″x12″) and my not-hidden name and date are clearly legible. Subtle variations in the red background of the chop show up, too.

I really couldn’t be more thrilled with the way this piece printed.

(Given the timing, I feel compelled to mention that this mandala was drawn using the Busted Fountain Pen brush from SketchBook’s Inktober 2016 brush set. [For those who are interested, the 2017 set–which is a lot like the previous set–is available here.])

I don’t expect that you’ll dig this mandala as much as I do. But if you’re inclined, you can get your own appropriately sized, framed or unframed poster of my tentacle mandala here.

There’s currently nothing else in my shop at Inktale, but you can see new stuff when it’s posted by clicking here.

Finally, this post may or may not be updated as It’s a Tentacle Mandala, Sucker becomes available on other products and/or through other print-on-demand services.

In the meantime, I need to attach a hanger to a frame and figure out which room is going to get one square foot of eight-legged zen.

Checking out Firefox Developer Edition 57.0b3

I want to tell you that I hopped from Godzilla to Mozilla, but it was yesterday’s Firefox article at Ars Technica which sent me off to download Firefox Developer Edition 57.0b3. I had thought about downloading some iteration of Firefox 57, just to get myself ready for when certain extensions I’ve relied on for years (‘though less so in recent ones) become obsolete. The Ars article made me want to stop thinking and start doing.

I haven’t actually done much with 57, yet, aside from starting this blog post and taking a bunch of screenshots, so please bear with me. I haven’t installed any extensions, and I’m already missing having either an ad blocker or NoScript on board. But this post will mostly be about how awesome 57 DE looks.

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 8.55.30 AM - About Firefox Developer Edition 57.0b3
Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 8.55.30 AM – About Firefox Developer Edition 57.0b3

There may be overlap between the features I’m highlighting in this post and features which exist in the current stable version of Firefox. In fact, I’m sure that’s the case. I keep Firefox on hand for InFormEnter, but it hasn’t been my default browser in a very long time. Truthfully, since Vivaldi‘s notes feature stepped up to handle what I used to do with the aforementioned Firefox extension, and running OS X/Mac OS reduces the urgency of using something like NoScript, I haven’t used Firefox much, at all. I open it from time to time, make sure it’s updated, see what’s new, get frustrated, then go back to browsing in Chrome or, more likely, Vivaldi.

The fact remains that I am writing this post in Firefox Developer Edition, and that’s the most I’ve done in a Mozilla browser since I was able to weed it out of my Zazzle workflow. And, since noodling with Sharonda.net is how I’m most likely to test a browser, expect far too many screenshots of FDE 57’s developer tools:

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 8.27.19 AM - Firefox Developer Edition with Developer Tools Docked at Bottom
Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 8.27.19 AM – Firefox Developer Edition with Developer Tools Docked at Bottom

The bottom of the browser window is the default position for FDE 57’s developer tools, but it can be changed to a side position:

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 8.27.28 AM - Firefox Developer Edition with Developer Tools Docked at the Side
Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 8.27.28 AM – Firefox Developer Edition with Developer Tools Docked at the Side

Or even switched to a separate window:

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 8.28.42 AM - Firefox Developer Edition with Developer Tools in a Separate Window
Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 8.28.42 AM – Firefox Developer Edition with Developer Tools in a Separate Window

It can also be switched to Responsive Design Mode, which gives the option to choose from a healthy list of device views:

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 8.28.04 AM - Firefox Developer Edition Responsive Design Mode Choices
Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 8.28.04 AM – Firefox Developer Edition Responsive Design Mode Choices

(Kudos on including a Kindle Fire! Any Kindle Fire!)

And, apparently, I no longer need to install Colorzilla in Firefox:

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 8.37.39 AM - Finding the Eyedropper in Firefox Developer Edition
Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 8.37.39 AM – Finding the Eyedropper in Firefox Developer Edition

I wonder when that happened?

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 8.37.56 AM - Firefox Developer Edition Eyedropper Magnifier
Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 8.37.56 AM – Firefox Developer Edition Eyedropper Magnifier

FDE 57.0b3 also sports some sleek and pretty page-loading graphics on those lovely square tabs mentioned in the Ars article.

I’ll not only accept, but embrace the criticism that this review is wholly superficial. It is. I’ve got little else to go on besides how this iteration of Firefox looks, and really, it looks beautiful.

Mozilla’s totally willing to tell you so, itself:

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 8.35.45 AM - about:mozilla - The Book of Mozilla 11:14
Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 8.35.45 AM – about:mozilla – The Book of Mozilla, 11:14

“The Beast adopted new raiment and studied the ways of Time and Space and Light and the Flow of energy through the Universe. From its studies, the Beast fashioned new structures from oxidised metal and proclaimed their glories. And the Beast’s followers rejoiced, finding renewed purpose in these teachings.”

Want to check it out for yourself? You can download the Firefox Developer Edition from Mozilla.org.

The Great Godzilla off Kanagawa

I stumbled across this on Society6 this morning:

The Great Godzilla off Kanagawa
The Great Godzilla off Kanagawa by DinoMike at Society6

You may not know this about my little family, but Nena‘s bathroom (formerly the guest bath) is A.K.A. “The Tokyo Room”. It got that name because the wife’s favorite shower curtain, which hangs in the room, has a silhouetted city skyline, complete with one part that looks to us like a shadowy Godzilla hanging out amongst the skyscrapers.

So, when we found a Godzilla bank at Phat Collectibles  (R.I.P. Anaheim store), this happened:

Godzilla bank with "Save Tokyo" sign
Our Godzilla bank with homemade “Save Tokyo!” sign. It’d make you want to drop in a dime, right?

Linda and I are obviously shameless. It’s also obvious that we need that freaking awesome Godzilla print for our freaking awesome (yet underdeveloped) Godzilla-themed bathroom.

Hopefully, the trend toward obviousness continues with the Society6 links, above.

Just to be clear: They’re affiliate (“curator”) links. I.e., you buy through those links, and I get a little sumpin’ sumpin’ to put toward my own purchase of the print.

At least I hope that’s how it works: You get an awesome print, I get $ to save up for the print, and DinoMike gets $$, too.

And Godzilla? He gets to extend his rampage through our little piece of Anaheim.

Anyone else in the mood for some Blue Oyster Cult?

 

Sketchbook as a Subscription (Or, Maybe I’m a Hypocrite)

Last month, I wrote a post about abandoning Ulysses because it was becoming software-as-a-service, or SaaS. To be fair, I did point out, in that post, that Autodesk at least offered enticements when SketchBook switched over to the SaaS model.

A quote from that earlier post:

“I’m not a fan of the software as a service model (SaaS). I loved AutoDesk’s Sketchbook Pro. I still have Sketchbook Pro 6 installed on my Mac. But I didn’t, haven’t, and probably won’t ever sign up for the subscription version of Sketchbook.

“That said,  Sketchbook at least offers regular brush downloads for the subscription version of their software.”

This is the part where I confess that just yesterday, I ponied up for a year’s worth of SketchBook SaaS.

I’d spent Tao only knows how long on Friday installing, testing, and (in some cases) uninstalling (while keeping the files) brush sets for the trial version of SketchBook SaaS.

I know! I know! All of those brushes don’t make up for enabling–encouraging, even–the SaaS model! I know it doesn’t!

I know that subscribing when SketchBook SaaS has at least one major issue1 won’t urge anyone to fix that issue, either.

But radial symmetry makes me fairly forgiving. SketchBook SaaS’s ability to handle larger files than SketchBook Pro 6 is a softening touch, too.

The deciding factor, though, was that I spent more time drawing during the 7-day trial on SketchBook’s SaaS version that I probably have in the past several months combined. All those brush sets, and the new tools, and the tutorials, and the expansiveness joined to make for a whole lot of inspiration. And that, to me was worth the $29.99/year.

So, yes, SaaS is bad.

It’s still bad, and will probably always be bad as a sole option.

You know, in general.

But it’s a teeny bit better than I thought it was in August.


1. Sometimes, PNGs save at 72 PPI, even though the image size is set to 300 PPI, and the same file saves to PSD at 300 PPI. At least according to the inspector in Preview. The PNG may be either 72 or 300 PPI according to The GIMP, and PNGs exported through The GIMP from the same PSD end up at 300 PPI, as verified by Preview. None of this matters if I’m sending the PNG to Inkscape for a bitmap trace before resizing in Affinity Designer, but sometimes, raster is the right call. This issue is confusing and frustrating, and, so long as it persists, SketchBook can’t be the only graphic app I use on anything that’s destined for print.

Imagine the paragraph above as an example of workflow!!!

Sharonda.ink, 301 Redirects, and Big Screens vs Little

Sharonda.ink now has content. Enough so that yesterday, I set a 301 redirect1 from this site’s “Visual Art” page to the new site.

Go ahead and try it.

Copy this:

https://sharonda.net/visualart

Or this:

https://sharonda.net/visualart/

Paste it into your address bar, preferably in another tab.

Hit “enter”.

Nice, huh?

You can even try this one:

https://sharonda.net/visualart/halloween-survival-tips

But this one doesn’t work:

https://sharonda.net/visualart/halloween-survival-tips/

And I can’t figure out why.

The trailing slash is obviously the only difference between the two URLs. I thought that maybe the difficulty had something to do with the Sharonda.net page’s status as a child of the “Visual Art” page, and I made a few different attempts at correcting the .htaccess, but nothing I tried would work for that fourth URL.

I’m kind of OK with that, though.

My guess is that not many people have bookmarked that page. And a three-out-of-four success rate on something that isn’t that important to me, or to anyone else, and which steers me into somewhat unfamiliar territory?

Yeah. I’m good with that.

(But if anyone wants to leave a comment about what I might have done incorrectly, I’d be even better with that.)

In any case, sharonda.ink now has content. And it presently looks like this:

Sharonda.ink screenshot 09-20-2017
Sharonda.ink screenshot 09-20-2017

That’s not too terribly different from the last time I screenshot the site.

Content changes aside, the visual changes have all been down to trying to make things work on mobile. The screenshot above was taken on my 27″ iMac. The octopus graphic is only partially visible on my iPhone, and the part that shows isn’t necessarily enough to make it recognizable as octopodian.

But what was worse was the difference between the menu presentations for desktop and mobile. I had used a semi-transparent (rgba) background color for widgets to give those entries contrast on the desktop. But the mobile version of the menu uses the color from “a” for link text, and it appears against the page’s whitespace. Meanwhile the desktop version uses the color specified by “.secondary a” for link text and appears against the octopus graphic. The semi-transparent CSS background color appeared on both the desktop and mobile versions of the menu, making only one of them clearly readable.

Hence, the quick and simple, dark, wavy-looking addition to the octopus graphic.

The good news is that:

  1. the most difficult aspect of building the portfolio is done, and
  2. I’m optimistic about having my art portfolio as a separate site from Sharonda.net.

I’m using Twenty Seventeen as the theme for this site, and I love it for text-y posts with maybe a graphic or few, but I don’t like it much for galleries.

Twenty Fifteen, which I’m using at Sharonda.ink, is—to my eye—better for galleries than Twenty Seventeen is, but not so great for busy, text-filled blog posting.

So, the plan is that all blogging–including whatever blogging goes on during Inktober and Drawlloween–stays at Sharonda.net, while sharonda.ink maintains a gallery format with fewer, less wordy updates.

I’m happy with that sense of separation.

Next on the agenda is to add a few more pages at sharonda.ink, possibly replace Jetpack’s WordPress stats with self-hosted Piwik on both sites, and to get back to blogging about anything that isn’t related to sharonda.ink, all before the beginning of October.

Wish me luck!


1. I followed the “How to Redirect a Page Using Htaccess” section of elegant themes’ How To Create Redirects With WordPress. (Yes, I needed instructions.) I’d prefer not to rely on PHP or add another plugin to my WordPress mix.

Progress at Sharonda.ink, and Reacting to React

Updated September 25th, 2017 to fix a footnote link.

So, after creating my Sharonda.ink domain, I spent a bit of time exploring my options. A huge chunk of my motivation for this exploration was provided by the buzz about WordPress, Gutenberg, React, and Facebook. But it only took one day to sink in that, regardless of what happens with WordPress and GPL licensing in the future, I don’t want to leave NearlyFreeSpeech.NET. Since WordPress is such a flexible platform, one that I already know I can install and run on NearlyFreeSpeech, and one that I know I can update via CLI, I set up a new NFS site, got WordPress up and running1, pointed my new domain in the right direction, and set up TLS via Let’s Encrypt.

Then I got down to business.

I decided to use the new site as an art portfolio.

I futzed with the three themes included in a default 4.8.1 install (Twenty Fifteen, Twenty Sixteen, and Twenty Seventeen), found the proper dimensions, and started making graphics in SketchBook Pro 6.

This is what the public face of the Sharonda.ink looks like as of this morning:

Sharonda.ink Screenshot 09-15-2017
Sharonda.ink Screenshot 09-15-2017. Note the cute little linking graphics on the white half of the page. If you scroll down, you’ll find a matching pair here on Sharonda.net.

“Nothing Found.”

Hopefully, that won’t be the case for long. I’m doing a lot of work in the back end, and am optimistic that some of the effort will be complete enough to publish soon.2

But the reason I’m posting this progress report—the real reason it’s happening now, instead of waiting to post when the site is ready for consumption—is that I stumbled (via Reddit) onto Matt Mullenweg’s latest post On React and WordPress.

I’ll be honest with you: I don’t know enough to give you an analysis of how React‘s terms could cause problems for WordPress or its users. I don’t know enough to give myself an analysis of the issue, either.

But I know enough to know that I don’t want to have to worry about it.

Because of that, I’m relieved that Automattic has decided to leave React out of Gutenberg. It was a good decision, for me, if not for anyone or anything else.

And that makes choosing to build my new site with WordPress a good decision, too.


1. Remind me, sometime soon, to post about how my method of setting up TLS with WordPress on NearlyFreeSpeech differs from the official instructions. It’s minor, and mostly involves me not doing some of the included steps, but I should probably write it out while it’s still fresh in my non-webdev brain.
2. Keep your Dropbox well-organized, kids! Especially your art files and photo files! OMG!