Home » Archives for Terry Barker

Add an Image to Header with Grid

Have you ever had the desire to add an image, in addition to a logo, to your header? I haven’t seen a theme yet that allows for it. Yes, you can add a block above or below the header, but what if you want it in line with your logo or nav menu? You’re out of luck. Or, what if you want the nav menu to align with the top of your logo? Most themes vertically center nav items, so soap there, either. Grid to the rescue. Just turn off the existing nav bar, add some header widgets, and … Read more

COBOL resuscitated–again

Some of us have heard about NJ’s call for COBOL programmers, and those who perked up their ears at that, will find this podcast hilarious. The commentators talk about this “ancient” language and what it would take to bring it “up to speed,” but the best part is when they start talking about the “mainframe smell.”

Better Breadcrumbs–A Plugin Comparison

Breadcrumbs can be so frustrating, yet so useful. They give users a shortcut to other parts of your website, as well as a snapshot of the site hierarchy. But, you have to implement them correctly. This is how I accidentally discovered that, and a neat trick by comparing two plugins: Yoast SEO and Breadcrumb NavXT. I’ve never been able to get breadcrumbs working successfully with Yoast, and I recently thought I had made a breakthrough. I got the breadcrumbs to work, but in comparing the result to another breadcrumbs plugin, NavXT, I thought I had found a problem with … Read more

Hacking Work: Breaking Stupid Rules for Smart Results, by Bill Jensen

Got this for one penny at Amazon. Of course, shipping was $3.99, but it’s still a great deal. The book doesn’t have a boiler plate of tools to use for hacking, but it does give a good sales pitch about the risks and benefits. By the way, the work hacking is not the malicious kind–it’s about going around rules when you can get the job done faster, while benefiting the company.

Vendor roulette

Two days ago, a client reported a problem that I suspected was on the web host side. They couldn’t upload media files. This has happened before with Dreamhost, and it was resolved by calling them, and having them clear a cache somewhere. I chatted with a support lady for 90 minutes with no resolution, and her promised followup call never happened. I tried again the next day, and that person found the problem immediately–it was a line in the server log. Wow, who would have thought to look there? This has happened multiple times, sometimes requiring 3-4 separate chats … Read more

Officer, why are you in my room with a flashlight?

I was talking with my landlady last night, and she asked me if I was upset about the cops coming into my room. Say what? This is another episode of my crazy dealings with renting living quarters in Maryland. Some of you may remember a previous landlady’s son being thrown in jail for dealing drugs (turned out he was innocent). And then she died suddenly while he was still locked up. And the druggie housemate that wandered the hall outside my room at all hours of the night. And the house that exploded three blocks away. Here we go … Read more

Linux update

A while back, I posted a story about my adventures with Linux on an older PC. I was stymied at the time, but I have made significant progress since then. The memory boards I had ordered (and didn’t work), were replaced–good job, memorystock.com, and they fit just fine this time. It actually turns out that I probably didn’t need the extra memory–once I installed Xubuntu to the hard drive, it got significantly faster. But, extra memory never hurts. The version of FoxPro that comes with Xubuntu is fully functional with Hootsuite, FaceBook, etc., so I consider that installation a … Read more

Linux will revive an old PC? Not so fast.

I bought several old notebook PC’s a while back, specifically for the purpose of giving them to my grandkids. I wanted to see if I could retrofit them as replacements for newer PC’s, sans Windows. Because, let’s face it, Microsoft has effectively tied their newest OS to any new machine that you buy. Want to buy a used PC and update the OS on it to XP or Vista? Forget it, unless you want to buy a new license. Translation–an additional $100 or so. As you know, you can’t install your Windows OS on more than one machine. You … Read more

A new direction on the job hunt

Okay, I’ve moved through the first two iterations of my job hunt–ramping up my profiles on Google and LinkedIn, and refining my resume so I have multiple versions. That looked promising for a while. On the upswing? I actually got two local job interviews last month. Granted they were referrals from friends, but nonetheless, things were looking up. I was fully qualified for both, but I didn’t get either position. Could SAS work? So. Cobol doesn’t appear to be panning out. I decided to try the SAS market, as I’ve used it quite a bit over the years, and … Read more

My 6 month adventure with (shudder) unemployment

This is an update on the original article, written in 2010. Remember those days when people kept saying “Cobol is dead?” We just laughed, and kept on coding. Well, laugh no more. Cobol is not dead–there are still thousands of programmers out there. It’s just finding a new mainframe position after losing a job that’s dead. I’ve been a contractor for over 30 years, and I’ve never lost any sleep over getting the next contract. Until I finished my contract with Geico, 6 months ago. Reality sinks in At first, I saw lots of job postings in Dice, etc., … Read more