FYWP #257-262: wpautop and shortcodes/oEmbed do not play nice at all

It occurs to me that wpautop() is the register_globals of WordPress—a feature that was instrumental for its growth and popularity, but really needs to DIAF. They should rename the function wppeepee() because it finds a way to pee pee on your content at the most inopportune moments, causing unending headaches in your code.

For those of you who don’t know, wpautop can be seen as nl2br() on steriods, or (as I prefer to call it) a poor man’s Markdown. It’s been in WordPress for almost forever, and it’s hard to imagine writing a blog post without it, even if it’s a Really Bad Idea™.

Continue reading about the interaction of wpautop, shortcodes and oEmbed after the jump →

Review of The Man in the High Castle

The Man in the High Castle by Philip K Dick

I’ve bought this book a while ago, since before I knew that Ridley Scott was working on a TV series based on it. Since the pilot was released on Amazon, Marie borrowed and read it before she started to see spoilers on her social network. Since she read it, we watched the pilot. Since I watched the pilot, I started reading the book in the evening. Since I started reading the book (and it is sci fi/fantasy), I finished it sometime in the middle of the night.

This is why I don’t read science fiction anymore.

Most movies (and I’ll assume this TV show) based on Phillip K Dick are usually loosely based on his books and short stories, where the core ideas (or, more likely, one or two of them) are kept and most of the storyline is not. From the pilot it is clear that this will follow that trend.

I mention this because I find it interesting that when this is done to nearly anyone else’s work readers are angry that either it doesn’t hold true to the original (in the case of contemporary writers), or they clearly list it as an adaptation (in the case of classic writers such as Shakespeare). The only common exception I can think are movies based on comic books—but the source material itself is inconsistent and full of reboots and retellings.

My only real criticism of the book is the use of the I Ching which I found frustrating and boring. After all, you are talking about someone who used to publish “horrorscopes” in college — horoscopes with unfortunate fortunes. This scientist has never taken kindly to that sort of mysticism.

Continue reading some spoilers after the jump →

Ulysses

The new version of Ulysses is out for Mac and iPad. (The Mac version is a free upgrade from Ulysses III; the iPad app is new).

Screenshot showing Ulysses for Mac with a three-paned window  editing notes from _Practice Perfect_.
A screenshot of the updated Ulysses for Mac. The theme is “Tomorrow” and the font is Inconsolata.

It’s really hard to explain what this app is. In fact, I’ve been purchasing (and not using) this application for years before I realized that it strikes the right balance for a certain set of work.

Continue reading about Ulysses after the jump →

Bees

Photo from July 18th, 2009.

Not Bees
Not Bees
China Camp State Park, Marin, California

Nikon D3, Lensbaby Composer, Tokina .45x macro
1/160 sec @ f/6.3, iso640, 50mm

This was the day of the 2nd Annual Worldwide Photowalk. On the way back to the car, I noticed these yellowjackets congregating around something. This became an excuse to pull out a closeup adapter and attempt some macro photography. I had to get pretty close though which caused my girlfriend some consternation.

The photo and processing was done a long time ago so I can’t comment on it very much. It looks like I had a predilection for overly saturated colors back then. 😉

Carts

Photo from March 14, 2015

Carts
Carts
Costco
Concord, California

Sony DSC-RX1
1/100sec @ f/5.6 iso 100, 35mm

I just was feeling the giant row of carts receding all the way into their garden center.

When Marie was shopping, another shopper was indignant, “I can’t get at [a free sample] because your cart is in the way.” I think if you can’t deal with giant-assed shopping carts, you might want to shop somewhere else.

Shopping at Costco in the ‘burbs is always a study in small contrasts:

  • There they are using new shopping carts that are cut lower in the front and are much quieter than the old metal ones in the City.
  • I also noticed that a shopper had left a half-eaten resealed bag of beef jerky in the book and DVD aisle. You’d think with all the free samples, they could have not been so cheap. Especially since I noticed that there are far more free samples here than in the city.
  • I found a term used by the Costco employees who gather the carts: “leave behind.” As in, “Dude, there’s a whole pizza leave behind back there.”

Terry’s Backstreet Photography

Photos from January 24, 2015.

A weekend away from it all was also an opportunity to try to shoot again with my Leica. I haven’t been doing any photography for a long time, especially with this camera — just having it with me was a minor success, even if I left it in the bag almost the entire time.

Finally, while we were eating a quiet lunch in St. Helena, I got the courage to take the M8 out and to start shooting. It’s frustrating to realize that you have to relearn how to focus and expose manually — even more embarrassing is forgetting to take off the lens cap before pressing the shutter button! But then you remember that photography is about learning how to see, and there is a small joy in experiencing that again as a beginner.

Marie, waiting for food
Marie, waiting for food
Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen, St. Helena, Napa Valley, California

Leica M8, Cosina-Voigtländer NOKTON 35mm F1.2 Aspherical
1/125sec, iso 160, 35mm (47mm)

Continue reading about some photos I took with my Leica M8 and iPhone 6 after the jump →

Holiday on the beach

Photos from February 15, 2015.

I turn the ever-boring “Stretch-X” workouts in P90X on the rest days into excuses to go running. On some days, the time and place fall in line with a holiday, in this case President’s Day weekend on a beautiful late-afternoon in San Francisco.

Holiday on the Beach
Holiday on the Beach
China Beach, San Francisco, California

iPhone 6
@ ƒ2.2, ISO32, 4.15mm (29mm)

How lucky I am to live in such a place that I see this on my weekly run!
Continue reading about this photo after the jump →

The Innovator’s Dilemma and the impossibility of remaking an organization

One year ago today (2014-03-03):

During Tech budget and resourcing meeting for the 2014-2015 Annual Plan, one of the ideas proposed was possibly sourcing an incubator group to (re)“build Wikipedia or other major project in line with the Vision from the ground up, without prior constraints from existing technology, processes”, or communities. The idea was, even if it didn’t succeeded it would cause the organization “to think differently, to create energy around being BOLD,” and catalyze the movement.

This had some currency from many of the participants1, even the C-level2 involved, that was until a director argued that this was infeasible due to the Innovator’s Dilemma. Ignoring the obvious misreading of the book, he argued that because this might destroy the existing order inside the organization, it couldn’t be done by the organization itself, and thus the proposal died despite never going up for consensus consideration.3

Deciding that it is politically stupid to point out their Readers’ Digest understanding of a deeply-flawed business text, I instead argued that an organization built around vision, rather than profits, does not have the same constraints that allow disruptive technologies to spell their undoing.

That argument didn’t carry weight because people with more experience than me were sure that this initiative would be defunded in the next annual plan and that no one would ever get behind a project that is a direct threat to them. Incubation outside the WMF is only possibility.

It’s sad that people don’t bother to know the most basic lived history of their own industries (or have a terribly short memory).

I give you the history of Firefox:

The Mozilla Firefox project was created by Dave Hyatt and Blake Ross as an experimental branch of the Mozilla browser.

The Phoenix name was kept until April 14, 2003, when it was changed because of a trademark dispute with the BIOS manufacturer, Phoenix Technologies (which produces a BIOS-based browser called Phoenix FirstWare Connect). The new name, Firebird, met with mixed reactions, particularly as theFirebird database server already carried the name.

The project which became Firefox started as an experimental branch of the Mozilla Suite called m/b (or mozilla/browser). After it had been sufficiently developed, binaries for public testing appeared in September 2002 under the name Phoenix

Hyatt, Ross, Hewitt and Chanial developed their browser to combat the software bloat of the Mozilla Suite (codenamed, internally referred to, and continued by the community as SeaMonkey), which integrated features such as IRC, mail and news, and WYSIWYG HTML editing into one software suite.

Dave Hyatt would leave Netscape4 for Apple in 2002 and go on to architect the number one competitor to Firefox, Safari and WebKit (the core of Safari and Google Chrome). Blake Ross would work at Netscape/Mozilla until 2004 and be nominated the next year for Wired magazine’s top Rave Award, Renegade of the Year as all of Mozilla’s resources had were redirected to Firefox, a project started internally by two employees to combat the poor direction of original Mozilla project.

So yeah, Fuck you.

One Year later

It really is astounding when you think about the level of incompetence that was on display.

There are only two large-scale consumer-facing Internet non-profits: The Wikimedia Foundation and Mozilla Foundation (which owns Mozilla Corporation). Someone makes a statement that everyone accepts and affects the entire annual budget. Meanwhile, the only other company that shares organizational affinity with yours is a living counterfactual to the statement.

I didn’t say anything as I was sitting on my resignation letter and didn’t want to humiliate my colleagues, but the disappointment I had back then was immense. Now that I’m gone, that disappointment has turned into relief.


  1. In the months since this time whenever I mentioned this to a WMF staff member, often you’d pretty much have to hold him or her back from wanting to switch into this team if it were to exist. 
  2. Chief level, as in CEO, CTO, Vice President, etc. 
  3. Not that it would have won that given that this would have required a resource sacrifice among all the Directors… Still, it would have been worth it just to see who cared more about the mission and who more about their fiefdom (or their job). :-) 
  4. Mozilla Foundation before it was separated in from Netscape in July 2003.