Techie-Jim.net

Pixelating the world, one bit at a time.

End of a Computing Era —

Throughout the 1990s and into the early 2000s CPU producers Intel Corporation and AMDInc. have delivered large performance gains and decreased power consumption with each new generation processor they delivered – roughly every 16 to 18 months in line with Moore’s Law. However, the times have changed.

While each new generation does have roughly double the number of transistors as the previous, the performance and power gains have dwindled. That, combined with mobile platforms becoming the next big thing, has caused the loss of excitement in the PC industry and the loss of sales for the two big processor makers as well as computer manufacturers. This has caused them to rethink their strategy going forward.

What does that mean for the masses? In short it means more mobile (like phones, tablets, and maybe even watches?) and longer-run enthusiast/performance computing. Essentially both are now retooling for delivering more mobile processors faster while pushing back performance chipsets to coincide with lower performance gains and fewer sales.

Power, Performance, Portability

Even though they are smaller and used for lighter and typically less demanding applications, consumers still have a lot of expectations. They demand smooth transitions, HD video, responsiveness, and long battery life. This means more power needs to be packed into a smaller space with less power consumption. So far the power has increased quite a bit over the last couple of years but power consumption savings have waned. Luckily for the mobile manufactures the battery industry is stepping up with new – and often few and far-between – lithium ion and silicon-oxide batteries with higher power densities.

An Extension of Life

For desktop computers this means a longer life. This has already been happening as people and companies are holding on to computers longer before buying new due – partially due to a down economy. The processor makers seem to realize that now and have moved back their big next generation launches to allow for larger performance gains. While a typical 30-50% performance gain seemed to be the norm in the 1990s, today a new generation processor – which is often just a rehash of an existing die – only delivers between 10-20% gains today. So instead of a disappointing release of a new processor every year and a half, why not deliver a 20-40% gain every 2-3 years? At least the processor makers seem to have seen this question now given their new roadmap changes – AMD does not even have a performance chipset on it’s current roadmap.


WordPress: Public Content Template in a Plugin —

The WordPress logo: a dark gray W within a circle.Most of my development of plugins for WordPress has been in the backend. So for quite a while I was content with using the API calls to change items in the administration or adding a JavaScript include to the front end here or there (for items that have easier-to-utilize front-end API setups like Widgets). Then I hit a brick wall (figuratively), but was able to break down that wall only have figuring out the exact search to do in Google. “content in WordPress plugin” … no. “public content plugin WordPress” .. nope. “front-end content in WordPress plugin” … nada. So how do you add a custom template in a WordPress plugin? Wait… duh! It definitely has to do with “template”! Read the rest of this entry »


WordPress: Adding TinyMCE Instances/Textareas to Plugin Meta Boxes —

The WordPress logo: a dark gray W within a circle.While working on a plugin for WordPress I needed to add a TinyMCE editor to dynamically generated textarea elements. Oh, how do go about doing this in a WordPress-centric way…

I did an exhaustive search and found a number of people asking about the same thing. Most suggest using wp_editor (this function has replaced the deprecated the_editor) function, but that would not work in my situation. I am adding the fields through JavaScript, not PHP.

There is also Danny van Kooten’s suggestion - also made on a number of other sites like the WordPress forums and Stack Overflow – to embed scripts, styles, and loaders into your own code using functions like wp_enque_script/style, and wp_preload_dialogs. However, even this suggestion is rather dated and uses some functions, styles, and scripts that have changed, no longer exist, or now require other scripts and styles. Generally it is not WordPress-friendly as you are essentially copying scripts and styles that may change over time, get removed, or require additional ones in the future.

Oh, woe is me! What to do…

I know, read through the core code of WordPress! So that is exactly what I did. At first I was hoping to find some easier way to load up all the necessary scripts and styles. After it quickly became clear that was not going to happen – WordPress adds a LOT of various scripts and styles to make their modified TinyMCE instances work – I turned to using their own function just for loading.

What do I mean? I simply added wp_editor to a block of html that was hidden. PRESTO! That function added all the necessary scripts and styles for TinyMCE and any subsequent calls to the normal tinyMCE.execCommand(‘mceAddControl, false, textAreaElementId) loads up an instance of the editor onto the given textarea id!

One thing to note is that if you use any JavaScript to move the editor or any of it’s parent elements around – such as a drag and drop action or within a sortable/slidable area – the editor will become non-editable after the action completes. Probably some kind of TinyMCE bug but you can solve this by removing the editor from the textarea using tinyMCE.execCommand(‘mceRemoveControl’, false, textAreaElementId), then add it back after the action has completed – most JavaScript libraries like jQuery provide some kind of onStart/Begin and onComplete/End action callbacks – using the mceAddControl stated in the previous paragraph.


Acquiring the Post (or Custom Type) ID in WordPress Admin using JavaScript —

The WordPress logo: a  dark gray W within a circle.While working on a WordPress plugin and adding a Javascript block in I had a need to grab the post ID in Javascript. How do you do that? Is there a built-in way? Do I need to handle that myself? Are there any issues with doing it in some way? I’ll explain the oft-suggested way and the way WordPress’s own core does it. Read the rest of this entry »


Oh deer… —

Screen capture of the deer just after it went through the windshield of a bus in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

Deer and bus collide in Johnstown, PA.

Patrick Buchnowski of The Tribute-Democrat newspaper of Johnstown, PA reported on a deer smashing through the windshield of a CamTran bus on Tuesday. As the white-tailed deer made a sprinting leap across the highway it suddenly found itself inside the front entryway of the Johnstown bus. It stumbled deliriously around the bus for a while. The driver reported stopping the bus, opened the doors, and allowed the deer to eventually exited the bus under its own power. No people were injured and the health of the deer is unknown. The video below shows the driver, as well as a sole curious passenger at the back of the bus, being surprised by a sudden new passenger as the deer attempts to flee in every direction:

” target=”_blank”>”Deer Fare – 5/14/13″ by TribuneDemocrat

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Orbital Garbage —

Rendering of the location of low-orbit space debris. Large quantity of white dots surround our planet and expose just how much junk we have put into space.

Rendering of the location of low-orbit space debris. Image courtesy of NASA.

Space junk. Orbital debris. The hazards of space. Whatever you want to call it, it is an issue for governments and companies to consider when sending things into space. The debris floats around and can cross paths with operating satellites, the space station, or vehicle attempting to exit the gravitational influence of our planet on its way to another planet or possibly a galaxy far, far away. What can be done about it?
Read the rest of this entry »


Adventures in Cloud Computing – Part 2 – Base Setup —

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Cloud Adventures

Getting the cloud setup in the way that you need is the easy part. Getting everything to work together with your applications… not so easy. To start off with, you need to create a account(s) with the provider(s) you are going to use. It is not necessary to put all of your infrastructure in one provider but do realize that the speed of your applications or cloud infrastructure may suffer if you are needing to connect across the internet to access data or applications within another provider. Here are a few items to think about when designing the infrastructure you need…
Read the rest of this entry »


Adventures in Cloud Computing – Part 1 – Intro —

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Cloud Adventures

cloudAs I continue this adventure and bring more sites into the fluffy, dewy rolls of water vapor that is cloud computing I will share what I learn and give my opinion on the technology, it’s progress, and who may want to start off on their own adventures to the cloud. Over the coming months I will create a multi-part series that I will tag cloud and place under the new “Cloud Adventures” series on my site.

I will be learning a lot as I progress through the stages of migrating websites, developing new, and creating a scalable setup and grow it along the many plans that have been set forth.

For the most part this series will focus on our chosen vendor, Rackspace, but will also include some information and reviews of Amazon Web Services’ products as I do use their S3 data storage service quite often for business and personal needs and Dreamhost’s new DreamObjects storage service I am currently using for personal data backup.

 

Cloud Adventures Index


LEDs: They Keep Getting Better —

Photo of an EarthLED ZetaLux 60-watt LED bulb operating within a partially enclosed lamp. The light is very white and slightly blue.

Photograph of the EarthLED ZetaLux 60-watt equivalent LED bulb. Photo taken by Jim Robinson.

Just as I was going to put this post about a new breakthrough in commercial LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) up I noticed another advancement on the research side! So this article will feature 2 new advancements in LED technology! We start off with a start-up company asking for initial funding though the popular crowd-sourcing/crowd-funding site Kickstarter and claiming an impressive jump in current LED bulb efficiency. Then we move on to a new advancement in LED research with a university claiming the first warm-white LED without running the blue-white light produced by LEDs today though a phosphor filter! Read the rest of this entry »


Doomsday Clock Remains Unchanged For 2013 —

Doomsday Clock - ZoomedThe Doomsday Clock is developed by nuclear physicists and published every year in terms of “minutes” or how close the world is to a major catastrophic disaster such as nuclear war or other man-made disaster. It is accompanied by an open letter to the President of the United States of America (USA) highlighting the reasons the clock is currently set at what it is. For this year, 2013, the clock is remaining unchanged from last year: 5 minutes to midnight. Read the rest of this entry »


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