Categories
Technology

Issue with WordPress & Tags/Categories

So I recently returned to my blog and have started updating a bunch of content.

What I’ve done is left Facebook… took a dump of my data from there and am now back-filling it to my blog.

I used to blog all the time, which you can see from the archives, so I have a very old base installation of WordPress that has been upgraded over the years.

At some point, WordPress has combined the Tags and Categories sections of the site into a single table, and they have a joining table that says which is what type of thing, either a Tag or a Category.

Well somewhere along the way it would create duplicates of these, while I never really looked under the hood of the database structure previously, I reckon they probably had one table for tags and another for categories, but as I said above, they have now combined these and the duplicates are causing issues.

In my case, I had something like 209 posts using the category: “Photography” and I had 3 using the tag: “Photography”, when they merged them one of the the items was not copied over and only the one with a 1 after it was copied over… so the slug for Photography example, was “photography1”.

The Issue

When I tried to use this term as a tag or a category I would get the error “Sorry, you are not allowed to assign the provided terms.”.

When I tried to edit the category or term I would get an error which reads “You need a higher level of permission.”, but I am already the admin for the site.

The Fix

It requires access to the database for an easy fix.

  1. Go to the “terms” table. Add a new entry for the problematic term. Give it a unique slug, and save.
  2. Jot down the ID that was just assigned.
  3. Go to the “wp_term_taxonomy” find the two entries for your term and modify one of them to change the term_id to the newly created id.
  4. Do this for each term that is causing you issues, because the odds are it will be because the same terms has a record for both “category” and “post_tag” in the “wp_term_taxonomy” table.

Once done you should be right to go.

Thankfully WP uses yet another table “wp_term_relationships” so the posts that had the tags should retain them and same with categories if it was the category you changed.

Categories
Daily Life Technology

Farewell Facebook

I have left Facebook once more. It’s funny how they make you jump through a few hoops just to get to the delete account button, but I guess they don’t want you to go.

The last time I deleted my account was in 2011, funnily the reason then was because I felt disconnected, even in the connected environment, yet I returned because of a sense of disconnection and I stayed strong on Facebook for a time.

This time I’m out because of the distractions it creates. Facebook is a time-suck. It presents BS that I can’t keep quiet on so I reply to posts, mostly by friends and family, that annoy me because of their inaccuracies. But often, in replying to these posts I spend a bunch of time researching the thing I’m replying about… something the original poster seems never to do, else they wouldn’t post the BS in the first place.

I have other things I need to do, like work, and I have things I want to do, my personal projects, and I find that with Facebook in my life I’m spending too much time dealing with things I don’t need to, things that ultimately have no impact on my life.

I ‘suspended’ my account about three years ago, it’s something Facebook encourages you to do when you hit the delete button. Unlike a delete, your account just stays in stasis. When you delete though, after the requisite 30 days they give you to change your mind, everything is removed. If you go back, you need to sign up again.

Of course I think most know that nothing is ever really deleted on Facebook… were I to go an signup again I am certain my personalisation of the site would be immediate as they’d link my new login to my old profile, even though they wouldn’t show me that old content. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

So I’m out again. Painfully I have to maintain an account for the Camera Club work, but that is under a different login that has no friends and only links to the two camera club groups we maintain. If I get around to building the new camera club website the way I want to, my hope is that we won’t need Facebook for that anymore either.

My final post on Facebook, below, pretty much says what I said above I guess, but I post it here for posterity…

At a time when most people come together I will be pulling away… 

We have so much work on at the moment and much of it is using new concepts and tools I haven’t really used before so I need to remove distraction so I can concentrate on filling my brain with new things.

I know I’m too easily distracted and can have my time consumed researching and ruminating on things that, in the scheme of it all, have little impact in my life, yet they keep my mind churning. To that end I will be bidding Facebook farewell for a time. 

I currently have 6 tasks on, a couple with deadlines that have already sailed by. I also have my own projects that I want to work on, so I need to remove the impediments to doing these things, and the main one is (mostly) useless stimulus that enters my brain and just rattles around in there.

Should anyone need me during this time, you can get me via my email or message me on my phone number. Feel free to send message me your details too. Seems these days most of us only contact each other via Facebook, so when that goes away I won’t be able to find any of you. 🤭

Write it down if you think you’ll need it because once I disable my Facebook tomorrow night this will be no longer available.

For Camera Club folk, don’t worry, I have another account that is JUST for our Facebook group so I can still post updates there, though given our last meeting was last night they will be few until we start up again in the new year.

I hope everyone has an amazing Christmas and new year. I’ll catch you on the flip side, whenever that may be…

Categories
Daily Life Technology

Poor Technology in Our Home

It has not been a good couple of weeks for the technology in our home.

Dusty, our Kobold VR200 Robot Vacuum Cleaner

Vorwerk Kobold VR200 Robot Vacuum Cleaner
Vorwerk Kobold VR200 Robot Vacuum Cleaner

Last week our poor robot vacuum cleaner bit the dust… well the mud. Dusty, that was her name, our Kobold VR-200 Robot Vacuum Cleaner, had already done one part of her run earlier in the morning… David was outside cleaning the front of the house. He decided to wash down the front screen door and the wooden door. I don’t think we’d cleaned them since we moved in four and a half years ago… they were filthy. Anyway, the door has a thing at the bottom that stops the wind from coming it, it also stops the rain when it is particularly bad and makes it there under the verandah. Well, that nifty device works fine, even when the door is being hit directly by a hose. Unfortunately, there isn’t one at the top. Unbeknown to David the water was coming into the house over the top of the door and created a little flood inside the house. Thankfully we have tiles almost everywhere.

Dusty decided she was charged enough and head back out to complete her cleaning run and ran straight into the pool of water at the entrance of the house!

I’ll give Dusty her due, she had great suction and didn’t give up easily. She went in and out of the puddle a few times. When I came into the room and saw her I freaked. I saw the water coming over the door and yelled out for David to “STOP”. I picked up Dusty and ran her to the kitchen, sat her on the sink as the water continued to pour out of her innards. She had water coming out of holes I didn’t even know she had.

When it seemed like she had finished leaking, I shook her a bit and even more water came pouring out. After this, when the water had finally stopped, I packed her full of rice and we set her aside for a few days.

After a few days we put Dusty back on her base to charge up. She lit up, but we couldn’t start her because the filter was destroyed from the water. We went to our local Godfrey’s (the official distributor of the Kobold vacuum cleaners) and spent the $20 on a new filter. Came home, put it in and Dusty attempted to start up. But several warnings appeared on her display. Two of these were battery warnings and she shut herself down. We’re pretty sure she’s a goner. In the days since her passing we’ve come to see just how much she did around the place. We have dust bunnies collecting under and around furniture. Dirt is piling up and we have to vacuum our selves a lot more than we normally would. When the cleaner came on Wednesday and we moved the dog bed we saw a pile of dust that had gathered under it. Dusty would have gone under there to get it.

We will eventually replace Dusty, but we’re waiting for some better tech to become available. There hasn’t been a significant update to the product in the three years we’ve had her and Neato, the company Vorwerk works with to create the VR-200 have some great stuff in theirs now. Unfortunately, as is always the case, Neato only sells the good stuff into other markets and seemingly uses Australia as a dumping ground for its older technology. One thing that is cool with the Neato is how it actually maps your home and shows exactly where the robot has been during its cleaning cycle. The latest version, the D7, lets you draw a simple line across a map to tell the robot to avoid the area. So yeah, for now, we’ve gone back to vacuuming manually, but a new robot vacuum is in our future.

Bose SoundLink Mini

Bose SoundLink Mini
Bose SoundLink Mini

I think we got our SoundLink Mini from Jody for Christmas about 8 years ago. It has been my favourite Christmas present I’ve received in like forever. I take it to all kinds of places. It has been on photoshoots with us, and it is my constant companion when I get ready in the morning, even though we have other speakers in our bedroom. I like to have the sound right there with me in the bathroom. It has been out to the BBQ and kitchen when making dinner. I can’t emphasise enough how much this little speaker has done. And it has proven to be very, very, durable. But one can only suffer so much. This morning, it kind of gave up when I dropped it for the umpteenth time, this time it fell from the top of the shower to the tiles below. Something has clearly shifted inside and now everything sounds distorted. Its life as a speaker has pretty much come to an end.

I likely won’t replace it with another Bose product. They have changed their SoundLink product line and the current offerings seem to be a little lacking. They are made of plastic and just feel cheap. I wish Apple would release a portable version of the HomePod so I could get one (here’s me wishing to own a product that doesn’t even exist).

So yeah, it hasn’t been a good time here for tech. Of course there have been some successes. My iPad Pro is freaking awesome. I use it a whole bunch. Found out at Camera Club the other night that the same USB-C adaptor for the HDMI out on my MacBook Pro also works for the iPad Pro, so that’s a win.

Oh yeah, and this morning, the cat tried to jump on top of my iMac Pro to get up to a higher shelf… iMac Pro doesn’t like cats trying to get on top of it and seemed to jump out of the way. It almost fell off my desk! That would have been a very bad outcome.

Categories
Rants Technology

Vale Google Plus

Google shuttering Google+ has nothing really to do with a data breach… that happened in March 2018, even though that’s how most are reporting it. It is going away because it never made critical mass, and that’s not its fault. Visit OUTK Official Blog for inspiration.
 
We failed Google+! We stuck with Facebook when there was a better alternative that was (somewhat) less intrusive, and less demanding of our personal data (because they already had a lot of it).
 
These days Facebook seems a necessary evil, especially if you’re a developer of in business.
 
For some people Facebook IS THE INTERNET.
 
And in developing nations, Facebook is fostering this idea… they are basically trying to be the AOL of the past where users will log in and be contained to a single system that only lets in information it wants on its network.
 
So I think the data-breach is NOT the reason, Google makes it pretty clear in their blog post that it’s low consumer use compared to the cost of maintaining it. The data breach was a non-breach, yes there was the chance of it, but Google says it can’t see that anyone actually took advantage of a the vulnerability.
 
While I haven’t used it a lot in recent times, I will miss Google+. With it and Path going, it’s a sad time. Sure Twitter had up and comers; like Plurk (it was never going to go anywhere with a name like that), Alpha, Mastodon, et al, but they exist/ed as mere clones of the original.
 
Google+, Path, Ello, etc, offered alternatives presenting their individual and different fundamental ethos to Facebook. Google+ fast became about communities, Path was about close groups like friendship groups or family, and Ello was trying to be an ad-free Facebook who wasn’t interested in your data, they just wanted to give you a space on the internet, their plan was to make their money selling premium services that you could take or leave. But like the others, there was no critical mass for any of them and that was the downfall. Even poor MySpace 2.0 couldn’t get anyone back.
 
It seems Facebook has won and now has us all. We’ve forgotten how to use the Internet and we’re happy in our enclave of those who agree with everything we say (even when we are very wrong at times).
 
I don’t see a way forward and I believe Facebook is bad for the future of humanity. But at the moment, it’s what we have.
Categories
Daily Life Technology

Instagram sucks, but is a necessary evil in modern times

There’s a thing on Instagram where people follow others, purely with the hope that those they just followed will follow them back… then the buggers unfollow.

Usually when I get a new follow, I’ll jump onto their Instagram feed and check them out. I’ll usually give them a few likes if I like their content and if they are matched followers for following, or have more follows than followers, and I like their content I’ll follow.

If, however, they have tens of thousands of followers and are following few it is rare I’ll follow back; unless they have exceptional content.

It’s an annoying model to work by, the idea that they follow thousands and thousands only to unfollow them, they become “influencers” and declare themselves such in their profiles, in the hope of getting wares from brands, and that has largely worked in the past, but hopefully that time is coming to an end.

For me, on Instagram, at time of posting, I have 760 followers, I’m following 2,436 with just 42 posts. I’ve never been one to care too much about my follower numbers, but I’m hoping to get some more models interested in shooting with us so I need to reach a wider audience to do so.

Cultivating a social media following is hard work. You need to follow, comment and like other people’s work, you need to continually produce material and you need to push it hard. Or you need to do what the others mentioned above do, follow a bunch of people purely so they follow you back, so you can then unfollow them to appear more popular than you are. Ultimately though, it’s a constant battle with the algorithms that manage the social media sites. How to get seen more often when the site is no longer showing content in date order, rather determining by their own rules, how you will appear to others. The only way to beat that is to have more followers and to have more interactions… and the only way to do that is to do the same back. Follow more, interact more, appear more… and that’s just what the sites want, more engagement, more information, and more they can sell on to advertisers for targeting. It’s becoming quite the sorry excuse for a “social” interaction.

Categories
Rants Technology

Zuckerberg Testifies Before Congress

A day a lot of people have been waiting for has come. I’m currently watching a Facebook live stream by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Mark Zuckerberg testifying to a joint hearing titled “Facebook, Social Media Privacy, and the Use and Abuse of Data”.

Senator Cruz just grilled Mark Zuckerberg on whether Facebook is a political platform (acting as an entity entitled to First Amendment rights) or a safe-harbour (which would allow users to post anything). Mark Zuckerberg replied that Facebook is a platform for ideas. Cruz, not happy with the answer repeated the question two more times then went into a mini-tirad about republican and “conservatives” being oppressed on Facebook. He cited pages that were removed, he specifically referenced them as “Republican”, “Christian”, “Conservative”.

Cruz wanted to know Zuckerberg’s personal knowledge of the 15,000+ safety workers whose job it is to vet content for hate-speech and the like, he wanted to know if Facebook only hires liberal employees who may have a bias towards removing Republican content.

I’m thinking Cruz missed the point as to why this Judiciary Committee was formed… because of the role of Facebook in the election of a Republican President through the use of Facebook user data that was mined by an app developer and used to set up Cambridge Analytica, a company that has been involved in a bunch of misleading activity in a bunch of elections all over the world.

Largely the questioning that I’ve heard, which is only a little bit from the hours during which Mark Zuckerberg testified, seemed largely ignorant about how the system works, indeed how computer systems work. Cruz in particular seemed only interested in getting it on record that he felt his people were being actively oppressed. Cruz cut Mark Zuckerberg off often when he was attempting to answer a question… it seems that the senators are restricted by time and some want to get as much of their views out as quickly as they could, limiting Mark Zuckerberg’s replies.

The data that Facebook uses is largely provided by us, the user. The other data you may not know Facebook is getting is from the way you interact with other data on the site. The pages you like, the photos your friends post that you like. Also when you’re not actually on Facebook, but you’re browsing other websites, if they use something like the Facebook Pixel, which is invisible to the user, then Facebook gets data about what you’re doing on the site you’re visiting. The same with any site that has a Facebook-supplied “Like” button or Facebook-supplied commenting tools.

A senator asked about Facebook’s declaration that you, the user, own your data, but that you, the user, don’t get a cut of the money Facebook makes from selling access to that data. But Mark Zuckerberg did of course remind him that in the TOS, you are agreeing to allow Facebook to use that data without financial compensation.

A question came up about how the users get to control their content usage. And Mark Zuckerberg replied that for each post, of any kind, users get to decide how that data is used. The senator then went further to ask if the user can determine how Facebook uses the data… and Mark Zuckerberg replied that yes, and quoted the Facial Recognition service that would tag you in photo automatically, he replied that “yes, users can say they don’t want Facebook to recognise them in photos”… but he didn’t say that Facebook STILL records that data, they just don’t show it.

The was clearly a push for Facebook to allow a user to see ALL of the data Facebook captures, including the information about you they buy from data brokers and then match to users through their algorithms, but is never shown to the user.

The hearing continues as I press publish on this post. I just don’t have time to watch it, I have things to do, and I’m not a US citizen and it seems that the blinkers are firmly on with the senators about their own direct constituents and how Facebook affects them. Some of the senators brought up how Facebook allows users to post or target things which would be deemed as illegal if Facebook themselves posted it and in fact are illegal for the user to target or post. An example raised included a realtor who was targeting ads for a new property development to exclude people of colour and how that was illegal according to the Fair Housing Act… I’m all for Facebook doing what they can, but as a global company they can’t also do the work of the police and judiciary of all the nations of the world and all the sub-locations within those nations, to have them do so would be a massive overreach and would effectively make them an arm of the law. If they had to report that a housing firm was targeting only white folk, would they also have to report people who broke local statutes such as drinking alcohol on a Sunday in a location that doesn’t permit it, which they may determine from a person posting a photo of themselves (or being facially recognised in a photo posted by a friend), drinking alcohol where the photo was created on a Sunday. It seems laughable that the government would want Facebook to do something like that, but then maybe, through the call for oversight, they’re also hoping to get access to Facebook’s systems so THEY can have access to all that data at no cost.

Who knows what will come of the testimony from Mark Zuckerberg, likely not a lot, because as I said, Zuckerberg didn’t get a lot of time to respond to questions and the questions largely seemed ignorant of the system, the technology, or the implications of if Facebook did what they asked them to do, the gaping hole it would leave for that one new role for Facebook to have more power than they ever really wanted (or did they).

Categories
Daily Life Technology

Philips Hue and our Home

Just Philips Hued the heck out of our home:

  • Hue Hub,
  • Light Strip,
  • Light Globes x 4, and
  • a Hue Go.

We’ve put the light globes in the kitchen, in the bedroom, in the ensuite, and my room. The Go is in the lounge room, he’s name is Hugo. The Lightstrip is on the back of our bedhead so it pushes the light up the wall.

The light bulbs are just the basic white ones, the Go and light strip are able to change colour, but we’ll likely just keep it white.

Now setting up scenes… apparently it’s not OK to call the scene that turns off the bedroom light and sets the light strip behind our bedhead to 1% as “Sexytime”. 🤪

In addition to scenes, there are automations. We have one kicks off when we come home turning on a few of the lights, just have to fix it up now so it only does so when the lights are needed.

Totally love controlling the house with Siri… now we have them, Philips will likely bring out something new. 🤣

Apple’s “Home” application makes it all so easy. There are a bunch of other items I want. Ceiling fans, garage door opener, blind openers, I want everything automated, but slowly, slowly, the products will get better and more abundant as time goes on.

Apple Home App
Apple Home App showing our devices

Categories
Technology

Dusty is Awesome

Our little robot vacuum cleaner, Dusty, is so cordial, she* says things like:

“Thank you for emptying my dirt bin and cleaning my filter”.

To which I often reply:

“That’s OK, thank you for keeping my floors clean.”

She does and awesome job and I am truly grateful to have her. She’s a Kobold VR200 and having had another one “Pickles”, an LG Roboking, I declare that Dusty is a far superior device.

*Dusty is a she, not because she’s carrying out domestic duties, but because she’s freaking amazing! Pickles, our previous robot vacuum, now lives in the Garage. Pickles is a he, and he was pretty good when we first got him, but started to go a bit crap after a while.