Trailcam: 28 Sep to 15 Oct

A new spot. And a quiet one. This is a newly cleared area where I used to dump stuff for shredding. It’s all shredded now and I thought it would be a popular nocturnal thoroughfare. It doesn’t seem to be used much at all. The odd squirrel and magpie. The camera is tilted a little to high, so I’ll tilt that down a bit and perhaps put a bit of food down.

Some posts have ‘Continue Reading …’

They shouldn’t though. I couldn’t figure it out at all. Why should posts, mostly from the older pages, suddenly start showing the Continue Reading link. Here’s an example:

Continue reading

There are lots of posts like this. All in the later pages. I’ve checked the theme settings and it’s fine. The next obvious thing was the blocks or raw HTML itself to see if there was some sneakily embedded tag that was causing mischief. Nope. All looks fine.

I finally found the problem. White space in the excerpt widget. Easily resolved by deleting it. But why? How has this happened? And it looks like it’s always the same amount of whitespace. In the screenshot below you can see the highlighted whitespace just before deletion.

It’s annoying, and what’s also annoying, is whether it’s going to happen again. I’m wondering whether a recent update caused this but I can’t think why it should.

Mysterious whitespace appearing in the excerpt widget

By copying the whitespace and pasting it into vi, then saving and running od on it I get:

dougie@office:~$ od -c temp
0000000 \n \t \t \t \t \t \t \n
0000010

I’m not sure how meaningful that is, but if it’s accurate it looks like that, for whatever reason, lots of my posts have acquired a newline, 6 tabs, and a newline. I wonder why.

A week on the trailcam

12 to 21 Aug 2020

This new spot for the trailcam is proving to be quite interesting. Despite being just a few metres from the house and close to the feeders it’s just out of view, and it’s surprising how much wanders by that I normally miss.

Quite a lot of scraggily looking birds. I’m not sure if they’re in moult, or juvinile birds, or both. There’s also quite a lot of the greater spotted woodpecker drinking, both adult and juvenile. I think it’s the same juvenile each time. It has quite a distinctive red dot on the right-hand-side of the nape of its neck, but it’s not always easy to see, and I suspect there may be more than one juvenile around.

Hedgehogs and mice appear in the dead of night.

The water is a huge hit. Birds that I don’t often associate with drinking from the ground level seem quite content to spend a bit of time there. Chaffinches, robins, blue tits, lots of long-tailed tits, and I’m pretty sure there’s a treecreeper that makes a brief appearance. The water depth may be a little too uncertain for them but a few of the bigger birds certainly have a dip. The greater-spotted woodpecker having a good bath at 13:10 is, I’m fairly certain, not the same juvenile that appears earlier.

There’s often a bit of background action too on the feeders, mostly Jackdaws and woodpeckers.

the tacx tyre and the Saris M2

Tacx trainer tyre

So there I was, plodding up some pass in the Czech republic, slogging steadily through the middle of a Rouvy server, minding my own business, when BANG! A mechanical! On a smart trainer. A blowout.

I hopped off my bike and moved to the side of the road. Fished out the tyre levers, which had conveniently appeared on a nearby workbench, and had a look at the problem.

Tacx trainer tyre – exhibit A
Tacx trainer tyre – Exhibit B

I have my doubts about the Saris M2. I miss my Tacx Vortex. It’s a pity that it fizzed and sparkled when I tried to fix it. It’s pretty much unfixable now. It’s now a perfectly functioning not-smart trainer though. The Saris M2, with its scary clutch knob, makes me nervous. So much tyre squashing involved.

Moving to a dedicated trainer tyre was definitely a good move. It’s quieter and smoother. Not sure about the battery life though. Is it connected to the trainer? Is it a co-incidence that since changing to the Saris M2 that the cracks have begun to show in my trainer tyre?

On the surface of things I certainly seemed to have a smoking gun. But I’m a bit puzzled. Admittedly the tyre is not looking its best, but I was surprised it had resulted in such a rowdy blowout. I decided that it was just a fluke, and the tyre had a bit of life in it yet.

Tacx trainer tyre

I wasn’t wrong. There was some life yet. Another 12 minutes to be precise. Then there was another loud bang, not dissimilar to the first one. Luckily I had another nearly new tacx trainer tyre, I just had to find it. I was nearly at the top of the pass too. Annoying.

The new tyre is on, and today I managed to complete the ride without a mechanical. But I’m really, really not sure about the Saris M2. Surely a tyre was never designed to be quite so squashy …

Tacx trainer tyre

algorithms

It’s a long time since I did my A levels. Actually, I never did A levels, I did Highers, but they were almost as good, or better, depending on which side of the Who Cares fence you sit. But algorithms are implicated. Great things algorithms, when they work. Sometimes they don’t.

I’ve been using Teamviewer for years. In a personal capacity. Very personal in fact. Pretty much tautologically selfishly. Friends and Family don’t even come into the frame – it’s pretty much me me me. Or, me and the PC in the garage.

My case use, pretty much my sole case use for the last year or two, is to use one of the PCs in my house, to connect to the PC in my garage. I have a Linux PC, and a Windows PC, and I’ll use one of them (usually the Linux one) to connect to the Windows PC in the garage.

Why? Two reasons. 1. to do the massive upgrades that Microsoft lob into the universe at occasional intervals, and 2. to download videos for Rouvy rides that I take a fancy to. It’s not great when Microsoft decide that your Windows 10 PC wants to do an upgrade, and it’s gotta do it NOW, just when you’re settling into the little cog for a slog up some pretty alpine pass.

My Rouvy rides were getting a bit jumpy, and I realised that garage PC just wasn’t cutting the mustard. Cutting the mustard? Where does that come from …

Hmmm, well I’m not sure I’m any the wiser, but my garage PC, imaginatively named garage, was at the bottom end of the spec for Rouvy. But the spec of my office PC, in my house, was a bit better. With the addition of a bit of memory and a budget graphics card it would be a better fit.

So, long story short, I swapped things round. The Office PC went in the garage, and the dusty garage PC came in the office. And all was well. My Rouvy cycle rides along canal paths and up alpine passes did not get easier, but they did not get easier with a better frame rate.

This hasn’t gone down well with Teamviewer. It starts simply enough. Rather than walk down the stairs, go out the back door, unlock the garage, check the PC for updates/downloads, it’s easier to fire up Teamviewer.

And then the problems begin …

COMMERCIAL USE DETECTED

If you click on More info you get taken to a Teamviewer page where you can explain yourself. I thought, why not. It’s not unreasonable. I wasn’t too chuffed tbh. There was the presumption of guilt. Hints of Capita TVL about the tone. Capita TVL are an organisation that combines incompetence, dishonesty, bullying and cowardice in one easily manageable package, and every year they get the contract to collect the BBC licence fee. It’s what Capita do. Make money out of misery. And blame their own data for the fact that their own data is bad, and somehow make out that it’s someone else’s fault that they’re really bad at what they do. They’re pretty nasty.

But surely Teamviewer aren’t the same as Capita? Surely Teamviewer are quite good with data? I filled in the form, explaining that, it was just me, in my house, connecting to my PC, in my garage. Sorry, but I wasn’t even helping out friends or family. Surely personal use doesn’t get much more personal than that?

Apparently not.

Teamviewer say that it can take a while to respond to their online form. Specifically:

We are aiming to solve all requests within seven days. Please note that we will attend to every request. Sending multiple requests will prolong the process.

https://www.teamviewer.com/en/support/commercial-use-suspected/

So I was a bit surprised when my response came through just a few hours after submitting my form. Almost as if it were, I dunno, automatic, or processed by some algorithm, rather than looked at by sentient entity.

Unable to Confirm the Situation

No matter. There are other ways. I could, for example, get off my arse and go downstairs, outside, unlock the garage, and check for updates. Do me good. Or I could use one of the many free remote desktop utilities available for Linux which would do all I need. All is well.

Horizontal Scrollbars

Are a thing. Quite a big thing. I like to keep an eye on ideas about good practice for presenting information on the web. I still haven’t got my head round the alt tag for images – where and how to use the alternative text and image title attributes for instance. And is opening an image in a separate tab good or bad? And how much do I care?

At the moment I’m using the twentysixteen theme. I quite like it. Nice and simple. Recently I wanted to paste a bit of code so I selected Code Block in the Gutenberg editor. It looked terrible. A sort of unwrapped inverse video that I found not very clear to read.

So I tried it with the preformatted block option. I think it looks better. Cleaner, and with a border. But the code I pasted was wrapped, and I find that difficult to read.

But is it just me? I started searching for how to add a horizontal scrollbar to the code or preformatted block and found it a muddy field. First discovery I made was that this behaviour seemed to be particular to the twenty sixteen theme; the other themes I tried defaulted to horizontal scrolling.

And I seemed to be in a minority in liking horizontal scrolling. All the search results were for people trying to work out how to disable horizontal scrolling, whereas I seemed alone in wishing to find out how to enable it. I’m intrigued to find that on the whole it seems people don’t like horizontal scrollbars in code windows.

But I like it so I tried to work out how to enable it. I think I’ve sorta managed it but whether it’s right I’m not sure. Seems to work. I used the Inspect facility of Firefox to prod and poke and try a few things, then I added:

.wp-block-preformatted {
    white-space: pre;
    overflow-wrap: normal;
}

and

.wp-block-code {
    white-space: pre;
    overflow-wrap: normal;
}

to the Additional CSS section of my theme customisation.

That seemed to work so I went hunting for the settings. I’m using a child-theme and I quite like to know where things live. I looked for recently changed files but there were no likely culprits. I was a bit puzzled so back to the internet, and I discover that these customisations are saved in the database itself. I’m not sure why, but I wasn’t keen on this. I’d prefer it if they were there, in green and black in a text file that I could see.

So I’ve removed the code from my Additional CSS bit, and put it in style.css in my child-theme directory, and it still seems to work.

I do like the way other themes do it though. I think the styling is nicer in twentytwenty but I don’t like the way it displays categories and tags in block capitals. Maybe I’ll tinker in that direction somewhere down the line.

Why did the slow worm cross the road?

If you went down to the woods on Friday and tried to drive along the Hamsterley Forest drive, you may have encountered four grown men in a protective huddle around a corner of the asphalt. You may have driven carefully around them (they were not for moving) and wondered why they were standing as they were and where they were.

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a slow worm before. And they’re not a worm, they’re a lizard. And they’re kinda gorgeous. So I’m quite pleased that we were there to give it the rolling roadblock it justifiably deserved to get from one side of the road to the other.

Once we’d seen it safely on its way, we continued safely on ours. Out into the forest and up on to the common. Where the sun shown and the flies buzzed. All is well.

A week on the trailcam

6 to 12 Aug 2020

I moved the trailcam. This turned out to be a good move. I moved it near a water trough and at around ground level. This spot isn’t visible from the house, or the garden for that matter. Quite secluded. It has proved to be a popular drinking spot.

There are lots of moulting magpies. Or perhaps just one moulting magpie. One moulting magpie looks pretty like another to me. It’s also possible that it’s a juvenile. There are a few sequences of a blackbird feeding its youngsters, (4:00 and 7:05), with what appears to be some peanuts that I’d scattered on the ground. Although they look pretty scrunched up I think I’ll keep the peanuts in cages until the birds are a bit bigger. A few long-tailed tits show up from time to time. I love the whirring their wings make when they fly off.

Some interesting blackcap behaviour at 4:33, where a female, possibly juvenile, blackcap approaches a female chaffinch. I don’t know what’s going on there. Perhaps it’s a juvenile looking for food. It also illustrates a conundrum I occasionally have with the Garden BirdWatch scheme. If I observe a bird on the trailcam, but not from my usual watching positions, do I add it to my records?

The juvenile greater spotted woodpecker is a regular visitor, at 8:56, then 9:58 visible on the fat-block feeder in the background, then at the water trough at 15:23, 18:03, 18:28 and 18:58. There’s a nice catch of a male bullfinch in the sunlight at 14:33.

I’ve moved the camera again. When the birds are perched on the nearside of the trough they’re just a little out of focus so I’m guessing it’s just a shade too close to the camera. And the trough needs filled. Poor birds are having to bend down a long way to get to the water. The other thing I may try and adjust is the timer. The default recording period is 10seconds, but in theory this should extend if activity is being detected, but in practice this doesn’t always happen. This can be a little frustrating if there’s activity on the camera and the recording suddenly ends.