WordPress Futzing Redux

I start 2011 as I started 2010: Screwing around with blogging software and themes. The goal is to get an updated theme in place over the next two weeks so that I can ignore it for a few years. If you spot anything broken, please send along a note.

A Brief Interlude, With Bees

There’s a bee hive in the Oak near our front door. The bees are good neighbors, coming and going in small numbers and seldom straying into the house. One day a limb is going to come crashing down and we’ll get drenched in honey.

On Thursday, the bees swarmed. I was at work and missed it. Yesterday, they swarmed again.

Here’s what the swarm looked and sounded like at its peak.

Ten minutes later, the swarm was half this size; an hour later it was gone. Today, the hive has returned to its normal routine.

This Year’s Must-Have Thing

To get his Wii, a co-worker went to Toys ‘R Us at 4am on a Sunday morning. He was 34th in line.

Word is that some of the craftier game shops are boosting their profit margins by selling their Wii inventories on craigslist and eBay.

MEMORY CHECK

I stopped for gas this morning and the pump rebooted. I swiped my debit card, but instead of the usual

 Is this a debit card? Y/N 

query, the pump responded with

 MEMORY CHECK 

and a stream of self-test diagnostics. After about a minute (slow, but faster than rebooting my Windows laptop), the pump signaled readiness. I swiped my debit card again.

 MEMORY CHECK 

Could my card have acquired special powers? Having a “reboot” card might be cool, but it wouldn’t offset the loss of the “buy things” magic. No such luck; the card worked in another pump.

A Change in the Podcast Routine

The weak link in my commute-time podcast listening routine has turned out to be the lack of unpolluted channels in the Bay Area FM band. First it was periodic interference from like-minded commuters who had also settled on 88.3 FM to broadcast. I’d be stopped in traffic, and fragments of other people’s music would stomp on whatever podcast I was listenening to. Figuring out which car was listening to the Beatles, Mariachi, or Country Western got to be a game. One morning I’m pretty sure the Grateful Dead was almost certainly coming from an 18 wheeler in the next lane. Every once in a great while, it would be another podcast stomping on mine.

Lately, 88.3 FM has been colonized by some distant religious station that’s either acquired the frequency or jacked up their transmitter power. Their signal is just strong enough to prevent the car radio from getting a reliable lock on my Tunecast. Scanning the FM band for other clear channels turned up no good candidates. Out of frustration, I tried listening to commercial radio. That lasted a few minutes. Whatever demographic I’m in isn’t one that broadcasters cater to.

What to do? I’ve gone over reviews of other FM transmitters, but those reviews suggest that what I have now is as good as can be expected. Replacing the car radio with one that has an audio input jack seems like overkill, though they’ll probably be standard equipment in a few years. Cassette adaptors have a spotty record. I may try one, but it’s not high on the list. For now, it’s back to burning podcasts onto CD.