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Disabling the Gallery menu page broke all of the links. Oh well… I have restored it for now until I figure out a better solution.

Time to say goodbye to the gallery?

So, because I am a glutton for punishment, after I got done with my battle with the computer, and then writing about it, I noticed that there were updates for all my plugins, my themes, and WordPress itself. I ran the updates (I did at least back up the database first) and broke the shit out of my web site theme. It was a fairly easy fix, but testing it out, I once again winced at the broken-ness that is my WordPress-Gallery2 integration. The WPG2 plugin that allows this to work was orphaned some time back and it’s looked wonky after the last few updates, but I was waiting to see if they would ever add built-in integration to the Gallery3 project. I guess not – I went to the Gallery site and saw the following post:

Gallery is going into hibernation

The Gallery team has decided to take a step back from actively maintaining this project. Truth be told, most of the core team got busy with their lives over the past few years and we haven’t had the time to really actively maintain the project in a long time. The forums have continued to be lively and helpful and there is still plenty of good conversation there – but no new code has been written in the past 6 months and that’s not likely to change.

So after over 14 years, 3 major revisions of the project, many tens of releases, hundreds of contributors, tens of thousands of lines of code, almost a hundred thousand forum topics and almost four hundred thousand comments, it’s time for us to shutter up shop.

Why not just leave the site up and operational? Unfortunately – it takes time to actively maintain and police our site. The Gallery website is constantly under attack by spammers and our servers require maintenance. We’ve been doing that for years, but it’s time to call it quits. [more]

This is sad… Gallery was a wonderful project and it made putting up the albums for the web site so simple and functional. I spent many hours working with it and am sorry to see it end.  I think maybe the solution for fixing my broken Gallery interface may just be to follow that lead and retire the Critterweb Gallery completely. It’s not like I don’t have all the photos themselves… but I have held off on removing the old albums because, while some of them became painful to look, they captured moments in time, and our thoughts at those moments, and I hate to not preserve that.

Hmmm… I also just realized that removing the Gallery completely will break all of the old posts that used it. I’d have to purge the old blog posts to fix that (or manually re-locate and upload hundreds of photos) and that again comes down to being reluctant to lose those glimpses into our lives through those years.

I think, for now, I am going to remove the link to the gallery itself, so it no longer loads that broken embedded viewer, but leave it active and leave the posts.

For now.

I think.

How’s that for wishy-washy?

Another unexpected hour sacrificed to the computer gods

So… I decided to get a jump on the day and put the stack of receipts on the desk into Quicken, only to discover that the computer was once again hung on a BIOS screen. Apparently Windows Update had rebooted the computer, and this is what happens about 75% of the time when that elderly computer gets rebooted. Still feeling pretty ambitious, I thought ‘well, I know there is probably a BIOS update to fix that issue, I might as well just go ahead and fix it’ and off to Dell’s site I went.

Dell is apparently unhappy that I had updated this old machine to Windows 7 a while back and refused to show me updates for that OS, but there was indeed a BIOS update – 1.1.11 as opposed to the 1.1.4 I was running. I downloaded it and it told me I had to unplug everything except the mouse and keyboard (I grumblingly did so) and then refused to update because it needed admin rights to access the flash memory. Huh. I was logged in as admin and UAC is disabled. I had to tweak compatibility settings to run it, then it flakes out at the next step, says I am running an ‘unsupported configuration’ and it can’t read the BIOS. WTF? BIOS has nothing to do with the operating system, it loads on the machine hardware itself. Argh…

I had to haul the machine out of it’s little cubby in the desk, which is always a pain, and plug the old Windows XP disk (thankfully I am a bit of a data hoarder and never erased it) back in and boot to that. Updated the BIOS and it didn’t hang – the issue is intermittent so it remains to be seen if that was the fix. Oh, and when I plugged everything back in, I was reminded that my Kensington Expert Mouse only works if it’s plugged in to the front of the machine. The mouse is even older than the computer itself, but I love that thing – best trackball ever made – so I put up with that glitch even though it means the door to the desk won’t close properly.

So now I am booted back into Windows 7, the stack of receipts is still on the desk, I no longer have the inclination to fool with them and am questioning why I didn’t spike my coffee this morning.

I think the computer is well past retirement age. I haven’t replaced it because I hardly ever use it except for Quicken and to print, but I hardly ever use it because there is generally extensive drama involved when I try (see above) so maybe it is time to think about a new machine.

BTW, I am well aware this is my first real post in over a year… that is a topic for another day. Right now I guess I just need to bite the bullet and balance that checkbook.

[Insert cheesy ‘under construction’ animated GIF here]

I’ve been trying to dust off this poor web site, make some repairs and slap on a fresh coat of paint…

  • Backup of content and database – check
  • Upgrade to latest version of WordPress – check
  • Upgrade of all plugins – check
  • Upgrade of theme – check
  • Revamp tired layout… um…

That last part is going to take some work. It definitely needs to be changed, I just need to figure out what direction I want to go in.

The Gallery in particular is a problem, as it’s very awkward to update, and the WPG2 plugin that allows connectivity between Gallery2 and WordPress is no longer being maintained. I discovered this when a site migration broke the heck out of the critterweb three years ago; I would have thought there would be a solution by now (in particular I was hoping Gallery3 would implement something within the program itself)  but there’s no sign of that happening. I am not on a computer much these days, outside of work, and there is no reliable app for adding photos to Gallery2 – I suspect even if there was there wouldn’t be an easy way to add those photos to a WordPress post from my phone or tablet. So it might be time for that old gallery to retire. I am still puzzling that part out.

As for the layout, I have already started tweaking that somewhat and it’s just a matter of coming up with a less bland color scheme, some new styles, and a new set of header images and I am bumping up the header size a little bit and changing the layout of that header section. My ultimate goal is to streamline a process to start putting all my content here again, and linking it to Facebook if I choose, rather than just post it there out of laziness.

Back online, with a few site upgrades

I know several people noticed the site has been down for a few weeks; I have now re-enabled it and I also went ahead and updated WordPress — and the Atahualpa theme we use — to the latest versions. Everything seems to be working fine but please let me know if you notice anything weird.

We have been having some serious animal challenges lately – among other things, two sick cats (and we can’t seem to find a diagnosis) for a month now,  a little foster kitten (well on her way to being a cat at this point) who gets diarrhea every time we try to get her on to dry food, and a sudden crisis that caught us quite off guard and resulted in one member of our critter family now no longer being with us.  That is what prompted the site shutdown.  I was going to actually wipe the site and start fresh but instead I am just restructuring it a bit so that I don’t get smacked in the face with things that make me sad each time I visit the page. The menus are changing a bit, and the random photo block has been removed, but all the photos and posts are being left in place.  And the theme update fixed a bug that has made posting a real pain in the behind for the past few months, now that it’s fixed I’ll try to get back on here more often now.