Christopher Merle

Que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be, but first I need more coffee.

Category: General (page 1 of 26)

I didn’t like Uncategorized so I changed it to General. A catch-all category.

Poetical Mail

I’m testing MailPoet for a client. Normally I use a development site, but I needed a site with content to try it out. My client had been using Subscribe2 and it works pretty good, but MailPoet seems to have a few more features that they desire.


MailPoet and Subscribe2 allow you to send emails of new posts either singly or in digest form to subscribers to your website.

The pictures I put in the post are arbitrary. This and the Featured image are from the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Whomper II

Why would you want to do that?

Because I can. Turns out you can change the default editor font of TinyMCE and if you so desire make it match the font seen by visitors to your website.  You create a special css file place it in your theme and then add a function to functions.php file to load it.

It’s not something that’s ever been on my radar. Much of the time I’m editing in the Text tab (so I can see the raw HTML) and whether I used the Visual tab I always used the Preview button to see what my changes were going to look like, but I can understand why someone might want to change the default font of their editor.

I always learn new stuff from client requests.

WordPress 4.5

I had a client contact me this morning that their site had crashed. They received an email message from their host provider saying their version of WordPress had been upgraded. I saw the error message and most likely the upgrade failed, hosing the site. This can only be fixed via FTP. Even the login screen gives the same error message.

I won’t know until I have access to the client’s server to determine what the actual problem is. It could also be a plugin or theme conflict.

Anyway, before warning or advising my other clients about upgrading to the just released WordPress 4.5 I thought I’d go ahead and upgrade this website. I backed up all my files and database and then I updated all my plugins and themes. I then ran the WordPress update and it updated successfully.

It does happen that updates fail and it could be WordPress, a theme or a plugin. You can manually deactivate themes and plugins via ftp access by renaming their respective folder. This breaks the connection and sometimes the error goes away. If it’s not a plugin or theme then WordPress is hosed and you’ll need to manually reinstall the files via FTP.

Update: I checked their site and it was missing files from the WordPress install. I replaced them and their site was happy again.


In a few days the historic first reconnaissance of the Solar System will be complete. Let us hope that it is not the end of our exploration of the Solar System that it is not the beginning of the end, not the end of the beginning but the beginning of the beginning (not the best turn of phrase but it’ll do for now).

Mercury, Venus, the Moon, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn were all known to our ancestors. So it only matters when they were first visited by spacecraft.

  • 1957 — Earth
  • 1959 — Moon
  • 1962 — Venus
  • 1964 — Mars
  • 1972 — Jupiter
  • 1973 — Saturn

But for those discovered in historical times what is the shortest time from discovery to first visit?

  • Uranus discovered 1781, first visited by a spacecraft in 1986, 205 year gap.
  • Ceres discovered 1801, first visited by a spacecraft in 2015, 214 years.
  • Vesta discovered 1807, first visited by a spacecraft in 2011, 204 years.
  • Neptune discovered 1846, first visited by a spacecraft in 1989, 143 years.
  • Pluto discovered in 1930, first visited by a spacecraft in 2015. From discovery to first visit by a spacecraft it only took 85 years for Pluto.

I suppose I could throw Charon into the mix. Charon was discovered in 1978, scant 37 years after it’s discovery because Pluto-Charon are properly a double (dwarf) planet.

Regardless of what it’s classified as, a dwarf planet or planet that many in the public still want to call it that, Pluto has now become a place, a world in its own right. Just as Comet 67P (Churyumov-Gerasimenko) has become a world since Rosetta and Philae have visited it.

Our reconnaissance of the Solar System started in 1962 with a flyby of Venus, a scant five years after the first satellite was launched in orbit about the Earth. The first wave of recon could be said to end this year in 2015 with the visit of Pluto by New Horizons.

"Houston we have geology."

“Houston we have geology.”

It will take a few months before all the data New Horizons collected to be beamed back to Earth but no doubt we’ll see a few stunning images shortly after this historic flyby.  I recall reading about possible targets post Pluto that New Horizons might be aimed at. I’ll have to check up on that.

Python and PHP

I started another post entitled Python vs. PHP. It’s quite long and not ready to be published. I use both languages or rather products that use those languages. I use PHP based WordPress for most of my clients’ sites and my own. I use Python based Plone for just a few of my clients.

I’m trying to decide if I want to continue with this mix of Python and PHP or focus on one more than the other. This article gives a good informed basis for helping me decide.

Python vs. PHP

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