Meta Archives, page 2

Not only do I blog about blogging, I also blog about this very blog! So meta!

Code Confusion

I received an email from an editor at Fabrikzeitung, a monthly magazine published in Zurich, Switzerland by Rote Fabrik. They were planning an issue about QR Codes and asked whether I would write an article expanding upon my post, Why does that QR Code go to Of course! As an aside: I believe this is the first article I’ve ever been commissioned to write—and got paid for.

Well, they sent me an actual physical copy of the issue, and it looks very cool.

Front cover of Fabrikzeitung #285 Quick Response
Front cover of Fabrikzeitung #285

Here’s my article.

Code Confusion by Justin Watt, from Fabrikzeitung #285 Quick Response
Code Confusion

For those who might be curious, you can read the full text here:

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Long overdue for a redesign

The last time Justinsomnia went under the knife was 2007, and the web has changed a lot since then. Allow me to impress this upon you with a single image. The graph below represents the percentage of mobile browser traffic to my blog over those last 5 years. Hello iPhone and Android users!

Percentage of all mobile traffic to Justinsomnia from November 2007 to October 2012
Mobile traffic from November 2007 to October 2012

In the span of a single year, mobile traffic jumped from almost nothing to nearly a third of my total traffic (before settling down around 15% this year). Given that there’s now a significant global audience of people browsing the web with smaller screens, I decided it was time to get up to speed on responsive web design. (If you’re in the same boat, I highly recommend checking out Apple’s developer docs on Configuring the Viewport. It was eye-opening.)

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Happy Birthday Grandmommy

I spent last weekend in Indiana, celebrating the 90th birthday of my grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Barnette, known affectionately as Grandmommy to her six grandchildren, and Mary Lib to everyone else.

Justin, Stephanie, and Grandmommy on her 90th Birthday
Justin and Stephanie with Grandmommy

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Hotel Wifi JavaScript Injection

So I’m checking my blog on the hotel wifi, like ya do, and I notice something a little off with the style. There’s a dark colored bar at the top of the page that shouldn’t be there. That’s funny. Maybe a recent Firefox update changed how they treat CSS?

Justinsomnia screenshot showing weird blue bar
Screenshot of Justinsomnia with weird bar circled in red

I probably wouldn’t have thought much of it, except my blog had recently been hacked (someone had gained elevated access to my web hosting account and prepended every single PHP file with a base64 encoded rootkit), so I immediately decided to view the source. Sure enough I saw some unfamiliar CSS and JavaScript that had been injected after the <head> tag (reformatted here for readability):

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Emending an esoteric Exif error

From November 2006 until June 2007 (coinciding with my use of Ubuntu’s Edgy Eft v6.10), there was a bug in the old photo importer (or in Gimp, I’m not sure which) that failed to set the Exif orientation tag to 1 (aka top-left) after rotating a photo. This was solved in the following release of Ubuntu, though the fix was somewhat incomplete—as I wrote about in How to fix Eye of Gnome’s photo orientation in Ubuntu Feisty.

What this means is that the vertical photos I edited in Gimp during that time had an Exif orientation tag indicating that the top-left of the image was something other than the top-left as it appeared when I hit save. The funny thing is that Firefox (to this day) completely ignores this orientation tag. So I had no idea there was a bug lurking in the Exif metadata of the photos on my blog.

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