marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

After a recent blaze of discussion with [personal profile] ideological_cuddle about his predilection for the iPhone (brief synopsis of convo: "Convince me I want this damn thing" - of course, he couldn't) he mentioned the beauty of Windows phones. Since I've been wanting forever to flee the Android ecosystem by hook or crook and since I used to use my ex's Windows phone to surf the Web (almost every night) just because, and because I've had a thing for Windows phones since they uh, came out, I decided right then and there that my next phone would have Windows. And it does! It's amazing how these things can work out.

Because I have budget limitations this is the one I got - it's nothing fancy but it works. For those not inclined to click through or who simply like words with their pictures, it's a Nokia 635 running Windows 8.1 with just half a gig of RAM and a quad core 1.2GHz processor. It's identical to the slightly older 630 with the sole addition of 4G LTE. While there are small quibbles about performance differences between the phones, with the 635 coming out better or worse depending on whom you believe, I won't be discussing that.

This phone is an upgrade (for me) from an LG Fuel running KitKat - a phone that still works perfectly, but the camera broke a few weeks ago so that when you open up the app now to take a picture (or a video) the screen is solid black. All the pictures (and videos) come out solid black, too (but the video portion still captures sound). I'm not sure what that could mean...has the lens shattered? Is the camera software seizing on me? I tried a phone reset but that did not fix the problem. But I'd bought the Nokia by then, so it doesn't matter.

When people talk about how blazingly fast Windows phones are, with any amount or next to no amount of RAM - and trust me, they do - it's true: you have to ignore the piddly amount of RAM because the devs seemed to have optimized the OS to run with as little as possible. The only thing that's not been so fast is the lock screen: sometimes I can't get it to work. It can take up to a half dozen tries, swiping my fingers in all possible directions before the unlock keypad finally scrolls into view.

Also, the battery is awful and I'm not sure if I should go for a replacement or if they'll all be like that. And does this phone get hot when used out in the sun? After 10 minutes, yes, you can fry an egg on it. And the screen does have some glare. This can be helped by reducing screen brightness, but as your hostess is ever so slowly and rather subtly going blind (and it does seem to be a light and angle-based blindness, denying me the dignity of just going all-out blind like any normal person would do) that's not a great option for me. So yes, an anti-glare screen protector is on the way.

But the phone is beautiful and swift and does things you only wish Android phones could do without needing an app for that, which makes up for most of what's mentioned above. AT&T, a network I've never used before except perhaps unknowingly as a fallback CDMA carrier (I was with Net10 before this phone, and with TracFone - Net10's owner - before that), seems pretty good so far and call quality seems kind of flat but perfectly loud and clear as needed. The speakerphone works great (I make most calls hands-free except for any requisite dialpad-pounding involved, and Android's speakerphones have historically been unpredictable and tinny-sounding, featuring harsh reverb and a terrible echo along with mysterious, eardrum-piercing noises).

When I say this phone is beautiful...I hate to drool on it like I have on just about every Windows phone ever, but the style of this one really is quite "wow". It's one long sheet of solid Gorilla glass (I think this is the first phone I've ever had without a screen made entirely of plastic) with no buttons. The screen wraps clear around to the back, which is all plastic. I went for all-black; while there are wild colors involved in this style a) I didn't have access to them at the store I bought this phone at and b) I wouldn't have chosen them, anyway. Black is better.

I miss the buttons along the bottom as most Androids can wake up from pressing on one and I'm all about getting things done fast and effortlessly - even something as seemingly trivial as a screen wake-up. You wake this phone from the power button on the middle right side, but I'm used to that button being on the top right on the Fuel, so I haven't gotten the hang of moving my finger down where it belongs. The button above that is the one I keep hitting. It's the volume control, but I'm so used to pressing there that I just. Keep. On. Hitting. It. Until finally I realize it's the wrong one. And yes, I always look around afterward, waiting for someone to observe my dyslexia-by-proxy and shake their head and mutter, "You idiot. Wrong. Button.".

But outside of wrong-buttoning, a lock screen that's not wanting to give up its ghost and a battery that scares me, the phone is a pleasure to look at it and a pleasure to use. The strangest thing about it has been that I'm used to Android's dialpad button placement and a link for contacts being at the top of the phone app, not along the bottom as an icon-only thing like it is in Windows. But searching contacts is actually easier than it is on Android: just open the contacts list, hit the pound symbol along the top, start typing and what you're after pops into view. I really like that.

Other things I like: my main MS email account is finally linked to a phone. I've never been able to check non-Google email on any phone without actually logging into the site - which I refuse to do from any phone browser for security reasons - so I went years without being able to use that feature in a meaningful way, as I only get junk and a little personal mail on GMail, which is quite intentional, again for security reasons. As an added bonus, my Google account is linked to this phone as well, so my Google and Windows email accounts are running as native apps.

When I first set up the phone I did something I never do and actually read (some of) the instructions, which was truly fortunate, as the ones I read told me there was an app for importing contacts from my Android phone. The one thing I'd dreaded about switching from Android to Windows was having to laboriously hand-type in every contact from one phone to the other. But the instructions took me to a link that explained there's an app for that called Transfer My Data; the app pulls data from your Android account right into your Windows phone.

I didn't believe it, of course, but I downloaded and ran the app, anyhow because dread. It failed on the first run, imported all of my contacts on the second run, and imported less than half my texts and maybe a third of my pictures in each run after that. Repeated runs did nothing to change my luck. I wound up deleting incomplete threads from my texting app as retries were giving me what I already had in duplicate, then triplicate, and I gave up getting the rest of my pictures off of my Fuel. I can always import them from another source later (they're on Google Drive - and everything I imported to my Win phone and all that's accumulated since then is stored on OneDrive, so that should work out).

There's nothing I miss about using an Android except for Android apps that aren't being published on Windows. I'm a hopeless ColorNote, GO! homescreen and GO! texting addict - and I was also a 1Weather addict, but the MSN Live Weather Tile is so good I'm not missing 1Weather too much. (1Weather crashed a lot, anyway. On every Android I ever had. They really need to look into that.)

This phone feels more grown up than my Androids did: it looks more grown up, the styling, fonts and display feel more grown up, and it displays my email (very grown up) and got me using IE like that's a normal thing to do, when being a Firefox addict since 2006 I thought it would be a difficult transition to make just for the sake of using a browser on my phone. But I guess from using IE so much on my ex's phone it simply doesn't bother me (which, after years of rebelling against IE, feels just terribly grown up). While I'd love to see Mozilla publish a browser for the Win phone platform, they need to fix Firefox on Android first. That's another post but the synopsis of it is this: outside of webpage display, which overall is okay, the browser sucks.

IE on a Windows phone displays webpages rather well. I have it set to load mobile websites first - and for sites that don't have a mobile option, display will be as nice or as shitty as the website's devs and designers make it. That's why responsive design is kind of a thing these days, and why people should be doing it. My own blog has a responsive stylesheet and it looks quite good on this phone (again, the ex's phone figures into this because I finished the design a year or so ago by checking it on that).

Other things that make this phone feel grown up: I linked a payment option to it (something I never, ever did on any Android) to buy my first-ever paid-for app - a sort-of replacement for ColorNote that displays a sticky note as a tile on your home screen. It's available for free but I bought it for the color and font options because I have this Pretty In Pink (and magenta) thing going on here and I love using handwriting fonts (an option ColorNote actually does not have).

The best parts of using this phone are how the lock screen shows how many missed phone calls, unread emails and texts I have and how it feels to use the native texting app. On Android I could never use the stock keyboard (too tiny and hard to see, so I'd make too many mistakes and couldn't find the subset keys fast enough or at all, depending on which ones I was after) and the only replacement for it that I could live with - the Big Buttons keyboard - has the same bug as the stock keyboard, wherein hitting the top right of any key risks selecting the key above it. Which I did constantly, right up until the very end.

The Windows keyboard has no such problems, and has auto-correction built-in for when I'm not paying enough attention. Auto-correct is right maybe 90% of the time (Android's native auto-correct never comes close) and when all else fails, it has a built-in Swype-y type of thing (just drag your finger around; the software will figure out what you mean with surprising accuracy) that actually works. I sent entire chains of texts with it one night because my eyes were tired, and while it was a bit slower than straight-up typing for all the corrections I had to make, it works better than Swype with less jitteriness and smoother, more swoopy glide-y stuff built right in. I had to say "swoopy, glide-y" at least once, because I always do when I'm talking about Windows phones...sorry.

But they're so swoopy and glide-y! It's simply amazing. Overall I'm pretty pleased with this phone.

Oh, and yes, the camera (my entire reason for buying it) works quite well. I just wish it had flash and a front-facing camera, too.

marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

See ETA at end...

The code block at fault is shown below this paragraph (and it could purely be bad coding that led to all the overrides - there are floats, absolute positioning is used on a link and there are all kinds of margins and padding). I'm not sure if I'm coding anything correctly, but my weird coding is mostly because the linkbar under each entry is two linkbars that I've jammed together. All DW styles have the misfortune of having two linkbars where we could get by with just one - one is for .entry-interaction (like sharing the post or leaving a comment on it) and one is for .entry-management (like editing a post's text or tags). The absolute positioning on the most errant link in question is, if I recall correctly, because I want to use border-radius on the reply count and it doesn't clear or position correctly without some pretty wonky code - which led to the reply count laying on top of the reply link in every browser except Firefox using just my original code - before I added in the following hacks.

/* original code */
.entry-readlink{position:absolute;} .entry-readlink a{float:none;vertical-align:top!important;padding:8px 12px;background:#555;font-size:95%;color:#fff;border-radius:50%;margin: 0 0 0 1.8em;}
/* because ms ie8/9/10/11/webkit desktop/phone will not parse a normal fucking margin: http://stackoverflow.com/a/22085269 - ie is flipping margin display with chrome/opera webkit and ie8/9 hacks will not work on dw */
.page-entry .entry-readlink a, .page-reply .entry-readlink a {margin:0 0 0 1.8em !important;} .entry-readlink a, .entry-readlink a {margin:0 0 0 5.3em !important;} @media screen and (-ms-high-contrast: active), (-ms-high-contrast: none) { .entry-readlink a {margin:0 0 0 1.8em!important;} }@media screen and (-ms-high-contrast: active), (-ms-high-contrast: none) { .page-entry .entry-readlink a,.page-reply .entry-readlink a {margin:0 0 0 5.3em!important;} }
/* revert fx back from universal hacks above */
@-moz-document url-prefix() { .entry-readlink a,.entry-readlink a {margin: 0 0 0 1.8em!important;} }

In order of arrangement:

The first hack is universal - for IE, Chrome, and Webkit on Opera - I don't even want to know how Presto renders reply count links now, but it never gave me trouble before I added absolute positioning, which I believe is what screwed everything up in all browsers but Firefox. This hack involves writing your property/value declarations normally but then adding a space before the ! in !important. Like the hacks that follow, it clears the reply count link.

The second and third hacks - @media screen and (-ms-high-contrast: active), (-ms-high-contrast: none) {} - in theory work only in IE 11 but in practice work in any version of IE that supports the IE Edge HTML declaration (which I was using long before DW adopted it last week) so that's 10, 11 and presumably (unless MS has changed shit around again) the upcoming 12 (and no, I haven't grabbed an IE 12 preview yet and don't even know if one's available). This is to reset the universal hack for IE Lt because the reply count link fails to clear on the .page-recent, .page-entry and .page-reply views in all Webkit browsers but only misses clearing on the .page-entry and .page-reply views in IE versions 8, 9, 10 and 11 (don't even ask me to discuss 7).

The final hack resets Firefox to my default CSS, since it always worked just fine in Firefox despite fucking up in every other browser.

Which sort of brings me to the reason I wrote this post: I have multiple hacks for every version of every browser in existence that I can safely use on Dreamwidth except for IE 8 and 9 (the space before ! hack works in these versions, but I had to reserve it for my Webkit issues, so I'm shit out of luck). The only other hacks those IE versions will recognize are forbidden by Dreamwidth: backslash hacks (your CSS will be completely stripped by DW's CSS cleaner) and conditional comments (you can safely add these to your s2 but DW's compiler will just blithely ignore them).

While I'd like to kill the absolute positioning that led to this mess I don't think I can without re-introducing whatever problem I was solving. And while I'm not exactly asking my reading list for CSS help (I'd just drag myself over to [community profile] style_system if I was really, uh, determined, but they tend to get all flinchy at even the merest mention of IE problems, which will keep them from actually helping me almost every time) if any of you can see where I could kill or edit any part of my original code to not need the hacks, I would truly appreciate it.

ETA, early next morning: as usual, closing my laptop and being unable to re-open it for over 12 hours brought instant clarity. The code at fault was indeed .entry-readlink{position:absolute;} but the absolute positioning was more non-critical than I first recalled. All it did was allow me to set a negative margin on .entry-readlink a, and while setting that margin solves another problem I'm having (the reply count number sits either too low or high on every linkbar depending on which number it is - my layout is truly Bug Paradise) it's not important to keep it if that means keeping all the hacks I had to work around it.

I'm keeping this post up for now because it highlights two topics that sort of matter: 1) it shows absolute positioning can be kind of hard to play with in many browsers and 2) to remind me we could always use more good hacks (especially on Dreamwidth, given our CSS cleaner and s2 compiler limitations) to work around problems like that.

marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

Because it's already growing kind of hellacious and/or hilarious, depending on the strength of your agreement - or lack thereof - with boolean logic, uh, its author.

Pro tip for [personal profile] fox: don't confuse programing with writing. People don't think or speak in algorithms. The logic they use is immediate and intuitive and won't tolerate strict parsing. Parsing can lead to race conditions. Which is exactly the problem being described, come to think of it.

But parsing race conditions can lead to sitewide buffer overflow, resulting in the Blue Screen of Unsubscribe. Also, brackets != parentheses. Guess what I'm about to do (the damn button is right over there ---> on all the DWs, not just on mine!)?

HIT IT.

marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

So as some of you might know I have two jobs that take a long time to get to and from every day and haven't had a day off from either in like a month and have four cats and three people including myself to clean around and/or because of at home on a daily basis. I also take online surveys and maintain this blog because if I don't write I die. So I lack this thing called "time" many people talk about and therefore I eat terribly most of the time. This is especially sad because outside of writing (and sometimes, coding) my only other truly pleasurable activity is cooking. Everything. From scratch. Which obviously I no longer have much time to do. "From scratch" these days means: "Ooooh look, I made a salad. It's fresh!" which I eat with fried food or pasta and yeah, I'm so sick of salad I barely eat anything resembling a vegetable anymore, hot or cold.

It's not that I don't buy good, fresh food so don't have it around; I simply never cook or eat it. So I was eying a huge chuck roast up in the freezer the other day when I got this wild hair that even though I don't have time to cook I'd do so, anyway. Because who cares if I start prepping it close to midnight and throw it in the crock pot and it's done by tomorrow morning. I can eat some of it for an early dinner before work and the housemates can eat the other nine pounds of it that I'll never have time to look at again so it won't go to waste.

The only part I dreaded was the chopping. In my last life my ex did that for me because I hate chopping the way most people hate dental work and dying. I'm not good at it, I can't do it fast, the knives suck even if they're someone else's who swears they're just great (my taste in knives is so high-end I'd need another job to even indulge it) and I normally think chopping is a time-sucking waste of life. But after a few days the chuck meat was defrosted and I was all in for making this so there was no going back. I got home a little early tonight (for me - is "almost midnight" a little early?) and laid the meat on my glass cutting board (I knew it needed to be chopped into thirds to fit in the crockpot - go spatial reasoning), laid the veggies out on the counter - green peppers, yellow peppers, scallions, onion, celery and carrots that would all need to be chopped - and got so discouraged about having to grab a few knives and actually chop these things I made broth instead. Which I kind of needed to do first, anyway, so I could get it warm in the crockpot before adding any other ingredients.

Once I got the broth going (beef stock, orange juice, Worcestershire, soy sauce) I chopped the veggies and meat and braised it in olive oil to lock in the juices (never tried that before - hopefully the idea works), dumped it all in the crockpot, scrubbed the kitchen, did the dishes, cooked another meal (pasta, of course - this time it was fettuccine with braised portabello mushrooms and grape tomatoes in a white wine butter/cream sauce because working with beef made me crave something very savory - God was that good), cleaned and scrubbed the kitchen again, did another round of dishes and finally went to bed. I'd gone to the kitchen to begin chopping thinking I'd feel tired and just awful once it was over but I feel better now than I have all day - in fact, better than I've felt in a week. More centered, more focused...satisfied.

Perhaps it was all the cooking. Cooking from scratch really can do wonders for my mood. And maybe chopping wasn't such a bad way to pass the time, after all...

marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

I have to check across TLDs again to see if it's just a test for my market/demographic/geographic location/GPS coordinates/hair and eye color/height and weight/assumed occupation and income level or if it's a change that went live everywhere (but judging by one thread I'm subscribed to on Google about the Googlebar, which years later and after it's complete disappearance people cannot stop talking about as though it still exists, I suspect it has gone live everywhere). I'm thinking that outside of needing to pull out a really large spaghetti fork to untangle whatever CSS they use for #logo these days (I literally have not looked at their source code in over almost a year!) it won't be any big deal to fix. The logo is simply laying in my sidebar now (and I say "my sidebar" because Google doesn't have a sidebar anymore- I'm basically recreating a sidebar you usually only get on noscript display). While I promised myself a long time ago to never update my script again because "hair-pulling timesuck", I cannot have logos laying in sidebars. The effect renders the sidebar links useless, and even more importantly, makes it look like I was drunk when I coded the damn thing.

marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

Because seriously, folks: math! It's simple math to solve two of these questions. For the third question, if you've read anything about how to invest money at all then you know the answer to this one, too! You don't even need common sense! And I quickly did all the math in my head. So if you got less than three out of three right, tell me, what is your excuse?

marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

I disagree with Mr. Nimoy - I don't see why being different from the pack means you should have to become better than the pack or become essential to the pack in order to succeed. It's like how a woman has to become better than a man at what he does to be considered even half as good as him because ha ha, she's not a man. Who perpetuated that? Probably someone like Mr. Nimoy who started off by constructing a myth, until eventually that became our de facto way of sorting good enough (male, still breathing; can even be in a coma, doesn't matter) from not good enough (hyper-intelligent, sensitive, smart and ambitious woman who typically gets nowhere). So if you're half-white you must become better than both blacks and whites at at least one thing to be considered good enough for either race or to have any peace or self-satisfaction? Can we all - or can any of us, for that matter - aspire to be better than everyone else? At anything? Should anyone different enough from others have to? Should they have to beat their heads against that wall of striving and perfection and ambition and reaching higher than themselves from now until the day they die because it's the only way to redeem themselves for not being the same as the white male majority? Are these the things I owe society for being a bit different? For failing my prenatal genetics course that as a woman I could only partially pass by not having the sheer nerve and stupidity to be born anything less than a snub-nosed, blue-eyed blonde? Yes, folks, I failed Pre-Natal Genetics 101 with a solid F, but I'm not at all sorry that I did.

Seriously? Tell me why he's right. Or how that's not what he's saying - I'm so in the mood to hear this.

marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

I'm so far behind on news that I only see it when I crack open this ancient artifact the stores still sell called a newspaper, and that's only when I eat at home, which is just a few times a week. It takes me so long to get through a newspaper these days (I'm still catching up on November's) that I only buy one every other week and not on Sunday, either, because I rarely have time to shop the way I'd like to and cutting coupons is like OMG, I need to hire someone. So I only found out tonight that there's a good followup to my post about web form gender options while eating and reading a newspaper from Feb. 27th - that Facebook has made a huge improvement by adding a text box to theirs.

I don't use Facebook so it won't affect me (I don't know if I ever picked a gender with them, nor which one I might've picked since it's not a real-name page, anyway, and I don't care) but I'm posting this, anyway, to give a nod to [personal profile] darkoshi for pointing out the 58 flavors Facebook lets you choose from nowadays and [personal profile] firecat for wanting to see a text box everywhere.

marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

ETA: filed a Support request. Now that I'm thinking about it, I swear I've seen something about this bug spoken of on Dreamwidth before but since it's not on the Known Issues list I'd like to see it get fixed.

...editing an entry after you've deleted its tags from the Manage Tags page recreates its original tags. Just noticed it while disabling cookies so I could check my bloggy blog while logged out like other readers might be. Editing the post in question just a few days ago (*ahem*, this one - and please don't ask me to explain my love for that song but I think it's fantastic) somehow recreated them. I just didn't notice it did until about five minutes ago. I thought for a second: "How could I have missed deleting any tags?" because I definitely went all scorched Earth and deleted every last tag a few weeks ago because I don't want to see tags on any of my posts ever again. Then it hit me that the tags in question went to the one post that had tags to begin with that I've edited since deleting all my tags.

Oh Dreamwidth, you're still so buggy, and so far along now out of Beta.

marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

...this poem? I can only recall small fragments of it - and some of them I might not recall correctly. This isn't the first time I've asked for help locating the full text and/or the author's name and it might not be the last since I will keep littering Google's search index with this nonsense every time it starts to bug me again until someone finally supplies the answer or else I become like the subject of the poem - whichever comes first.

Mrs. Mayer

Mrs. Mayer, Mrs. Mayer,
Growing leaner, sadder, grayer,
Her husband dead and children grown
Tends the cleaning store alone.

[A few more stanzas follow in which Mrs. M grows increasingly bitter with everything from the weather to - yeah, she sounds just like me...but still even her facade can crack when...]

Under skies of springtime blue
Mrs. Mayer smiles at you.

It's a really short and simple poem. I might've last read it 20-25 years ago (yes, so I'm getting old, too; what of it). I'm fairly sure the poem was written by a woman. I read it in a book of poems borrowed from either my high school or local library in LI, New York. The poem might've been in an anthology of less famous authors but I highly doubt it as the writing seems pretty precise and well-formed.

Someone. Please. Help. Me. Find. The rest of it?

Also, *ahem* since I'm talking about libraries, anyhow, [personal profile] silveradept - if I were to go to the library to find it, how would I locate it armed with so little information? Is that even possible?