Monthly Archives: December 2015

2015 Round-up

Well, 2015 is wandering off, so it seems like it must be the right time for this thing


Let’s look at the numbers first, shall we:

January 1: 215.9 pounds (15 stone 5.9 pounds, 97.9 kg)
December 31: 212.5 pounds (15 stone 2.5 pounds, 96.4 kg)

That’s an unspectacular drop of 3.4 pounds (1.5kg). As is often the case, there have been some major ups and downs – the lowest weight of the year was a probably anomalous 203.2 pounds (14 stone 7.2 pounds, 92.2 kg)  in August, and the highest a positively bloated 221.2 pounds (15 stone 11.2 pounds, 100.3 kg)  in March.


It was an even lower posting year than 2014, but I have started making longer posts again, so perhaps the writing mode is being reactivated.[1]

2003: 2 posts
2004: 515 posts
2005: 576 posts
2006: 620 posts
2007: 747 posts
2008: 833 posts
2009: 718 posts
2010: 717 posts
2011: 770 posts
2012: 665 posts
2013: 607 posts
2014: 484 posts
2015: 469 posts


I’m still happily using the Fujifilm X-T1 as my main camera. So much so that I’ve upgraded to some better lenses (a report on one of those is overdue), and plan to sell some of the older, unused ones, as there’s no point just letting them gather dust, is there?

My guitar thingy has stalled again, so I need a bit more motivation there, as well.

And I really need to get back into walking to work, which might help with the weight thing.

And finally…

Happy New Year to anyone and everyone who reads this stuff.

[1] This sentence wasn’t in the first version of this post, due to DDoS-related flakage.

December 2015 Round-up

Well, December is heading off into history, so it must be time for this old thing to appear


More random fluctuations:

December 1: 214.8 pounds (15 stone 4.8 pounds, 97.4 kg)
December 31: 212.5 pounds (15 stone 2.5 pounds, 96.4 kg)

That’s an actual drop of 2.3 pounds (1kg), which isn’t too bad. Well, if I could do that on a regular basis, I’d  be doing quite well….


I have done a bit of eating, yes. I may even have had a bacon sarnie last weekend.


I’ve managed a few walks, but nothing particularly significant.


The final December total is still subject to revision, but it looks like being a moderately sane 45.


I really must get it together to post about some thingies. Maybe in 2016…

Weight and Stuff Report – 31 December 2015

Up a bit more today, mutter.

I’m having a quiet New Year’s Eve – not going anywhere, and generally relaxing. Well, when I’m not solving annoying website issues, that is. Talking of which, there seems to be another DDoS against Linode, so access to Losing it is a bit intermittent. In fact, it’s flakier than a very flaky thing that’s been eating Cadbury’s Flakes all day.

Today’s photo is something that appealed to me on my Quayside walk the other day.

Light Shadow

Light Shadow

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/7.1
Shutter speed: 1/500s
Focal length: 38.8mm
ISO: 250
Taken: 29 December, 2015
Location: 54° 58.1343′ 0″ N 1° 36.4493′ 0″ W

The Case of the Shrinking Smilies

A while ago, it was drawn to my attention that my smilies had shrunk. Well, to be more accurate, they were being displayed at a rather small size, as you can see here:



I had a quick look at the time, but in the usual way, got distracted and mentally filed it[1] as something to look at when I had the time and braincells to spare. Anyway, I was reminded of this when Sam[2] used one in his comment on my epic upgrade post. And as I was planning to have a quiet day in anyway, today was the day to investigate.

A bit of searching showed that other people were having similar issues. It seems that the cause  was the introduction of emoji support in WordPress 4.2. This changes the code in the function that inserts smilies so that it manually adds a height attribute of 1em, and a max-height of 1em, which seemed to account for my larger smilies looking a wee bit tiny. Now changing that was easy enough. Well, it was easy enough when I’d looked at the code of a plugin called Classic Smilies, the main function of which is to revert WordPress to using older smilies rather than the current ones. Well, I didn’t need that bit, but there’s a recently added function to change the offending code. I added this to my functionality plugin[3]

add_action( 'init', 'smilies_size_fix_init', 1 );

function smilies_size_fix_init() {
add_filter( 'the_content', 'smilies_size_fix', 11 );
add_filter( 'the_excerpt', 'smilies_size_fix', 11 );
add_filter( 'comment_text', 'smilies_size_fix', 21 );

function smilies_size_fix( $content ) {
return str_replace( 'class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;"', 'class="wp-smiley"', $content );

All this does is look at the code being generated for a post and replace a specific bit of text with another.

Well, I saved that to the server, and sure enough, the nasty attributes were no longer being added. But my smilies were still tiny. So I used the inspection tool in Google Chrome, which pointed me at an extra bit of CSS in the header of the page, which looked like this:

img.emoji {
 display: inline !important;
 border: none !important;
 box-shadow: none !important;
 height: 1em !important;
 width: 1em !important;
 margin: 0 .07em !important;
 vertical-align: -0.1em !important;
 background: none !important;
 padding: 0 !important;

Now that would account for the issue. Using the helpful search tool in BBEdit, I tracked this down to the formatting.php file in the wp-includes folder. At this point, I had to have a bit of a think. One solution would be to edit the formatting.php file to remove the unwanted attributes, but editing core WordPress files is Not Recommended. Well, it’s something I used to do, mumble versions ago, when it was the only way to customise some functions, but it shouldn’t be necessary these days, with all the hooks and filters that let you replace just about any function you like. And you have to keep track of all the files you edited, and redo all your changes every time WordPress gets an upgrade, and hope that they’ll still work…

But, as I might have mentioned before, I’m not a coder. Getting the code right would take a lot of fussing and fiddling, and I still might not get it right. So I left it while I went for a shower and had some breakfast. This turned out to be a good move, as I thought of a simpler solution. All I had to do was adapt the function I’d already written to use a new class name for the smilies code:

return str_replace( 'class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;"', 'class="lcb-wp-smiley"', $content ); 

And then use the custom CSS module of Jetpack to add a new style:

/* Fix for WP 4.2+ fixed size smilies */
img.lcb-wp-smiley {
	display: inline !important;
	border: none !important;
	box-shadow: none !important;
	margin: 0 .07em !important;
	vertical-align: -.1em !important;
	background: none !important;
	padding: 0 !important;

Once I’d saved those changes, my smilies looked more like this:



Which is what I was after.

[1] Note to self: mentally filing things doesn’t work, as there are no automatic reminders that way
[2] Hi Sam!  :wave:
[3] Rather than putting lots of stuff into the theme’s functions.php file, I use a plugin so all my custom code stays put if I change themes. Which I may do if I ever persuade another one to work the way I want

Weight and Stuff Report – 30 December 2015

Up a bit today, which is probably more random wossnameness. Or something.

It looks like going out with the camera yesterday was a good plan, because today wouldn’t have been such a good day for it. It was grey and dull, with lots of wind and occasional rain. Nothing like the weather that’s been blasting other parts of the country, but still not nice. So my activity was restricted to popping to Newcastle to buy a thing then to the Metrocentre, where I extracted some other things from the Amazon locker thingy. I’ve never had reason to use them before, as I normally have things delivered to work, but as work’s closed until Monday and I wanted some things now, I gave it a try. It’s quite cool – you get an email with a code, which you tap into the touchscreen, and a door pops open. I was slightly confused because I had two codes, but only needed the first, as both packages were behind the same door. But it was all there, so that was fine.

Today’s photo is of a very sensible character, who clearly knows all about Losing it.

Can't argue with that

Can’t argue with that

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/4.5
Shutter speed: 1/500s
Focal length: 55mm
ISO: 1250
Taken: 29 December, 2015
Location: 54° 58.3218′ 0″ N 1° 35.3117′ 0″ W

We have been busy

The auotmagic wossnames at WordPress have generated an annual report of activity on Losing it, in which you can see which posts got the most attention, and who the most prolific stalkers commenters are – mostly the usual suspects, but there is a new entry…

See the details here


Weight and Stuff Report – 29 December 2015

Well, after a break in Wales, my weight is the same as it was before I left, which isn’t very exciting, but there you go.

I went to Tesco’s this morning for some top-up shopping – just a few essentials like croissants (yes, they bloody are essential, so there!), a nicely discounted cheeseboard (four different cheeses on an actual board), and so on.

Then, as it was looking like being a nice day, I decided to take the X-T1 for a walk. Well, I took the bus into Newcastle, then took it for a walk. I went down Grey Street and Dean Street to the Quayside, where it was indeed a lovely day. It was clear, bright and not at all cold. A lovely day for late December, that would have passed for a lovely day in September.

I walked on to the Ouseburn, then along the riverside path until I reached the bit that’s still blocked off, mutter, then around a bit and then back down to the Quayside, where I got the bus back to the Monument, where I took a few more photos before getting the bus home.

Today’s photos will be appearing over the next few days, but here’s one to be going on with:

Perfect Day

Perfect Day

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/11
Shutter speed: 1/500s
Focal length: 16mm
ISO: 2000
Taken: 29 December, 2015
Location: 54° 58.1606′ 0″ N 1° 36.2176′ 0″ W


Weight and Stuff Report – 28 December 2015

And here I am, home again, after that slightly different Wales trip. My brother is continuing to recover, and might just get out of hospital this week. I’ll have to plan a return visit so I can actually spend some time with him…

The journey home was uneventful and punctual. Well, having to stand on the cattle truck train from Pencoed until it emptied at Cardiff wasn’t ideal, but it wasn’t for long enough to be all that bad. From there to Cheltenham, it was fine. I then had the usual 40 minute wait for the next train, which is how I plan it to allow for delays. The only fun bit was having to get right to the back of the train to find my reserved seat in first class (I don’t normally travel that way, but the upgrade was just £20, so I went for it). This was all very nice – wider seat with more than enough leg room, non-full luggage racks, and hardly anyone else there (out of 25 seats, around 5 were occupied for most of the way). I had a free cup of tea and a slice of cake. Could have had more of the same, but didn’t bother. Arrived in Newcastle nearly on time, and then I had to wait for the bus, which got me home for not long after 7pm.  Which is where I am.

Today’s photo is of the Durham Light Infantry memorial statue in Durham:

Duham Light Infantry Memorial

Duham Light Infantry Memorial

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/2.8
Shutter speed: 1/500s
Focal length: 28.3mm
ISO: 800
Taken: 22 December, 2015
Location: 54° 46.6262′ 0″ N 1° 34.5345′ 0″ W

Stuff Report – 27 December 2015

Today I was joined by big brother Steve. We had some lunch, then headed to University Hospital  of Wales in Cardiff to visit our recovering brother Geoff. We had a chat and a general catch up, leaving when Geoff was getting noticeably tired. We then returned to Pencoed for a coffee and a bit more chat before Steve headed for home in West Wales.

Here’s a picture of Tigger. We haven’t had enough Tigger around here lately.



Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/1
Shutter speed: 1/70s
Focal length: 8mm
ISO: 6400
Taken: 30 June, 2015

Ups and downs

Hmmmm. Looks like we’re currently operational…

I got some alerts from Pingdom[1] this morning telling me that Losing it was down. Having done all that server updating yesterday, my first thought was that I had broken it after all. My second thought was that it was more likely a routing issue between Pingdom and my Linode.

So, rather than struggling with a site that might or might not be up, I had a  look at the Linode console, which told me that they were aware of a problem affecting access. Further looking at their status blog showed that the problem was apparently a DDoS attack affecting their London datacentre, which is where my virtual server lives.

Seems to be back now, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it drops off again.

[1] Useful service that sends alerts by email, SMS and Twitter if a monitored site goes down. There’s a basic free version (which does the job for me) and various more fancy versions that you have to pay for. Worth a look if you want to know when your sites are broken