As If Regular Reality Need Fixing…

As an official geezer, oldster and curmudgeon, I can take delight in the role proscribed. I can denigrate new things as “no big deal” and “Who needs that?” with a withering and wizened stare, the awesomeness of my experience backing up my delight in happy balloon puncturing. (Not available for parties)

However, I am also a gadget monger, a gear aficionado and person who enjoys having the needed tool in the truck, or their pocket or down in the basement cabinet.

It is great to imagine the probability of whether I should have a 48 volt combination chainsaw/winch just in case I break down in the wilderness during a zombie apocalypse and inbound tsunami. Such decision models are entertainment of a high order.

So last weekend, I finally got the time to try out a Christmas gift of Oculus VR googles for the Samsung Galaxy Phone. They had been sitting there , next to my post dinner chair, daring me to open them and get sucked down another tech timesucking rathole.

The Red Headed Irish Wisecraker demanded it , since NBC was advertising their Olympics VR app and she wanted to see figure skating with the new tech.

So I opened the box, and proceeded to read the manual, an old habit but one which has held me in good stead for decades.

I will say, setting aside the curmudgeon pose, that it was fun. NBC delivered crap, but the other stuff was fun. I was particularly fond of the offering by a guy who para skied with a 360 cam on his rig.

It felt like playing with a reel to reel tape recorder when they were the high tech fashion , or playing pong at a table in a bar, or watching the content explosion when CDs were suddenly available on most PCs.. The tech is still early, but it has immense promise.

Oh well, another tech entertainment rathole to spend time on.

So, fellow Ratburgers, what is your impression of the VR offerings to date? Don’t be shy, just scribble in the comment section below.


Users who have liked this post:

  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar

User Interface Changes: 2018-02-11

HeaddeskI have made a number of changes to the Ratburger user interface today.  As always, complete technical details may be found on the Updates group.  This post is intended to be more user-oriented and accessible to a general audience.  There have been no dramatic changes, but several adjustments which are intended to improve the user experience.

Editing Posts

Previously, the only way to edit a published post was as described in the Knowledge Base article “Editing Published Posts”: you had to revert the post to a draft, edit it, and then re-publish it.  Now, if you’re the author of a post, you’ll see an “Edit” button below the author information for the post.  Pressing it will take you to the Post Editor where you can edit the post in Visual or Text (HTML) modes and, pressing Update, directly update it on the site.

The previous method of revert to draft continues to work as before, but may be removed in the future in the interest of reducing the amount of local modifications we must maintain from release to release.

Composing Comments

The comment composition editor has been reconfigured from its previous bare-bones settings to allow you to use the “Add Media” button to include images within your comments without the two-step described in the Knowledge Base article “Including Images in Comments on Posts”, which is now obsolete.

This is not yet entirely functional: image alignment settings are ignored for images included in comments, but you can specify links on images and resize them, which you couldn’t do previously.

Editing Comments

You can now edit your own comments on any post using the standard WordPress comment editing facility, which is much more general than the plug-in we previously used (which, for the moment, you can still use, but which I may remove in the interest of maintainability).  Click “Edit” in the header of a comment you’ve made, and you’ll be able to edit it in HTML (but not a visual editor; that’s not something WordPress implements).  You can also, from the comment editor page, delete your own comments.

Fix: Quote Post for Guests

If a guest (not logged-in) visited the site, they’d see a “Quote” link for posts.  Pressing this would cause a harmless pratfall, since guests cannot comment on posts.  This link will no longer be displayed.

These changes retire a substantial part of the wish list for user interface changes.  As always, making any change to Babylonian tower of kludges and hacks which is PHP and WordPress runs the risk of detabilising things.  I have tested these features both from member and administrator accounts on the Firefox, Chrome, Brave, and Chromium browsers and they appear to be working correctly.  If you encounter any problems, first try clearing your browser cache (you shouldn’t ever have to do this, but incompetent implementation of browsers makes it occasionally necessary) and reloading the page, and if the problem persists please report it in the comments below or in the Bug Reports group.


Users who have liked this post:

  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar

Two Months In

I put up a post after two weeks from the start of Ratburger.org and these were the stats.

53      Posts

400  Comments

38      Members

874    Likes

The two month stats are:

336     Posts

3293   Comments

68       Members

8578   Likes

I think the key to Ratburger.org is the things we don’t do.

  • We don’t monetize our Members.
    • No ads that play videos.
    • No selling of your e-mail addresses.
    • No unwanted commercial e-mails to your inbox.
  • We don’t specialize in error messages like  503.
  • We don’t make you wait forever for our pages to load.
  • We don’t disrespect our Members and treat you like children.

As always the credit for the interface goes to John Walker. He has made some wonderful decisions that have made this site simple and stable.

The next goal is to have about 200 Members. At that number I feel there will be better discussions and more varied posts. So ….. all that is needed is for the current Members to invite two more to the site.  That shouldn’t be too hard for even the Minky* has two friends.

In conclusion, I am very appreciative of time you have spent here. I have learned a lot from your comments and your posts.  Almost as good as a side of fries with my Ratburger but can anything really top that?

* This is the Member with the monkey avatar.

Like 11+

Users who have liked this post:

  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar

Tax Relief Already Taking Effect

Get ready for more good news. I just got my pay stub for this week’s check, and federal tax withholding went down $50. That’s going to give me $100-$150 extra a month net (depending on whether it’s a 2 or 3 paycheck month). Pace elitist politicians and media, that’s a significant bump for me with no change to my salary. These are the concrete numbers you’re going to start seeing as people begin getting paid under the new rates in the coming weeks. #MAGA

Like 11+

Users who have liked this post:

  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar

Knowledge Base: Cross-Posting and Copyright

Ratburger.org asserts no copyright (including compilation copyright) over anything published here. Authors retain copyright over anything they publish here, and are free to publish their work anywhere else without any restrictions whatsoever. (If another venue requires that the work not have been published elsewhere, that’s between the author and that publication’s editors.)

Material whose copyright is not owned by the person who posts it should not be published on Ratburger.org, except for quotations and excerpts for critical purposes under the doctrine of fair use.  Such material should be identified as to its source including, if on-line, a link to the original document.

This is intended to actively promote cross-posting.  In particular, people who wish to submit material to sites which pay for content are encouraged to post drafts here for comment among the user community before subjecting them to scrutiny by editors and a larger audience.


Users who have liked this post:

  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar

WordPress Update Installed

I have just installed the WordPress update to version 4.9.2.  This update contains security, bug fixes, and support for a new audio format.  There should be no user-visible changes.

WordPress is, along with BuddyPress, the software foundation upon which Ratburger.org is built.  Ratburger has a number of features which require changes in the WordPress core code, so I have integrated these changes into the new release.  It’s always possible, of course, that I may have fat-fingered something, so if you notice anything which seems amiss (the update was installed at 22:20 UTC on 2018-01-17), please note in a comment or in the Bug Reports group.  I will leave this post at the top of the main page for around twelve hours.

If you notice something funny, please try clearing your browser cache and reloading the page.  This update includes some JavaScript files which your browser will probably store locally, and if they conflict with changes in the core code, may produce odd results.  The Web is designed so flushing the cache shouldn’t be necessary, but shoddy browser implementations don’t follow the rules, so it’s often necessary.


Users who have liked this post:

  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar

Knowledge Base: Quoting Posts and Comments

[Bumped to the top because you can now quote posts as well as comments.]

A new feature is now available on Ratburger.org.  While reading a post or comment on a post (but not within a group), if you’d like to respond, there’s a new [Quote] item within the post or comment header.  Just click it (it isn’t obviously a link, due to the style of headers, but it changes to the fat fingered fist and link colour when you mouse-over it) and by default the entire post or comment will be copied as quoted text into the reply box.  If you only wish to copy a brief passage (as you usually should), highlight it first before clicking [Quote]: only it will be quoted.

Quoting post or comment text will usually preserve formatting and structure within the comment, but given the tower of hackery and kludges which is WordPress, there will always be edge cases it doesn’t handle correctly.  But, for the most part, it does what is intended, and it’s a lot less fiddly than copying and pasting the text yourself, setting it as a quote, and making a link back or the original post or comment comment.  The name of the author is quoted and linked back to the text you quoted.

This works only for main posts.  It doesn’t work in groups, which have nothing in common with the WordPress core functionality and are, from a programmer’s standpoint, Satan’s spawn.

Give it a try.  As far as I can determine, after massive modifications of the original open source code, it more or less works, but if problems and quibbles outweigh the perceived benefit, I reserve the right to consign it to the poubelle.


Users who have liked this post:

  • avatar
  • avatar

Knowledge Base: RSS Feeds

Ratburger.org, like most WordPress-based sites, offers RSS feeds which provide notification when new posts and comments are published.  You will find links to these feeds in the “Meta” section of the sidebar at the right of the desktop site or the bottom of the home page on mobile devices under “Entries RSS” and “Comments RSS”.

These feeds are XML files in the RSS 1.0 standard format which list the most recent 25 entries and comments on the site.  You can subscribe to these feeds with any compatible feed reader (sometimes called an “aggregator”), of which a multitude exist.  You just supply the URL of the feed to the reader program, and it will show the recent entries.  You can usually tell the reader to poll the feed, for example, every ten minutes, to inform you of new posts and comments.

For example, here is the Entries RSS feed as displayed by the QuiteRSS program, which is free and available for Linux/Unix, Windows, and MacOS.

Entries RSS feed as displayed by QuiteRSS

QuiteRSS has an embedded Web browser, so you can see the entries and comments right in the reader.  Other RSS feed readers may just provide links to the items.

Following RSS feeds allows you to follow activity on the site without the need to keep refreshing the site or cluttering up your E-mail in box with lots of notification messages.

You can also follow new posts (but not comments), by following Ratburger_org on Twitter, which is also linked in the “Meta” section.


Users who have liked this post:

  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar

Wall for DACA?

Would a deal giving us funding on the wall in exchange for a deal on DACA be acceptable?  I watched the incredible meeting yesterday at the White House unfold with a smile of wonder on my face.  Both sides stated their desires and their positions pretty well and without the normal political sound-bite talking points either, what a refreshing thing to see!   To me the natural compromise would be the wall for DACA (with immediate family only, no chain migration).  I know there are some of us that would see that as a betrayal, but when you consider that we’ve wanted real border security for generations, a deal on 690,000 folks that are already here is a reasonable price to pay to finally get this done.


Users who have liked this post:

  • avatar
  • avatar

Stage One Complete

Hi Ratburgers,

I think we are at the end of a beginning. The original thought was to get a community going with a basic interface. Nothing fancy but also nothing too frustrating. Our goal is not to wow anyone with our interface but to wow people with the community we build. Kudos to John Walker and those who made the open source code we are using.

We encourage robust debates, Extra Hot; more genial differences, Medium; and free flow of the non-controversial, Mild.  We want also you to feel free to post Long, serious posts; Short, casual posts; and Tweet and chat posts. All three of these length are needed for good varied communication.  The desire is through these six general categories to better serve the Membership.  (Writers of Posts: Please remember to check these categories when publishing. We reserve the right to change categories if needed.)

I will try to explain more fully. You come to the site and all you see on page one are posts that don’t suit your general taste. You could go through all the pages to pick through the ones you want or just click on the category you prefer. Say you are tired of the bickering about hot topics, click on Medium or Mild. Say you are up for some robust debate, click on Extra Hot. This also goes for people short of time, click the Short or Tweet posts. Those who have more time and want to be intellectually challenged, click the Long posts.

Please be aware that Extra Hot, robust debates, are not for everyone. They will get heated and push our principles to the limit. People who like those  like the heat.  Let us not begrudge them their fun.

This is a free site. We enjoy the ad free environment. I like the tag line, “You get your money’s worth in the first minute at Ratburger.org.” You are guests of the site. We want you to spend a fun and fulfilling time here. We also want you to not get in the way of other Ratburgers enjoying the site. My desire is that we never step on your principles. We respect people who passionately hold their beliefs. And please also respect our dream of having a civil engaging community.

These are some of our principles.

PRINCIPLES OF AGREEMENT

  1. This site is for entertainment. Posts need to add not subtract from the site. Fun is important.
  2. No attacking the person. Attacking words are okay. People get to openly disagree and have vigorous debates over ideas not personalities.
  3. Keep it clean. This site should be family and children friendly. (The web has plenty of places to express non-family thoughts and images.) This does not mean that we don’t handle in John Walker’s words “gnarly subjects” but we do it without the coarseness of most of the Internet.
  4. Keep it legit. Respect copyright toward images and text. Give attribution when needed.
  5. This is a conservative site. If you can’t respect those principles please find a site more conducive to your ideas.

These are not rules they are principles. When two competing principles collide the Admins will have to decide.

The Rule of Ratburger is to have fun.

 

 

Like 15+

Users who have liked this post:

  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar