Born Geek

King Features Comics Feeds

October 6, 2018

Since I no longer subscribe to my local newspaper, I now primarily read daily comic strips through RSS feeds. comicsrss.com carries the vast majority of the strips I read, but several key strips are not included. It turns out that these missing strips are all owned by King Features which, frustratingly, doesn’t provide RSS feeds to their strips.

I have now fixed that.

My new project, comics-rss, is now available for users interested in creating RSS feeds to the comic strips provided by King Features. The project is admittedly brittle at the moment, but it has worked well for me so far. A number of improvements are planned:

  1. The script currently caches the comic strips locally, linking to the cached copy. I’d like to provide an option to use direct links instead, skipping the cache altogether.
  2. Cached strips are not currently cleaned up, so the folder into which they are stored will grow each day. I’ll be adding an “expired” configuration option to clean things up.
  3. Error checking in the configuration file isn’t very robust, and needs to be improved.

I would be interested in any feedback you might have on this project. If you find bugs or have suggestions for improvement, be sure to file them on the project issues board.

Infinite WordPress Redirects at DreamHost

September 29, 2018

Do you run a WordPress site hosted at DreamHost? Are you seeing infinite redirect errors after adjusting the Do you want www in your URL? setting in the DreamHost control panel? Well friend, I had that same issue. Let me tell you how I fixed it. In this example, I will be migrating from the Add www to the Remove www value for the aforementioned setting.

Step 1: Change WordPress internal settings

  1. In WordPress, browse to the Settings » General menu item.
  2. Change both the WordPress Address and the Site Address to the new URL (in this case https://borngeek.com). Make sure there’s no trailing slash.

WordPress URL settings

Step 2: Change DreamHost control panel settings

  1. In the DreamHost control panel, navigate to the Domains » Manage Domains menu item.
  2. Click the Edit link next to the domain you want to change.
  3. Set the Do you want www in your URL? setting to the desired value.
  4. Click the Save button to save the change.

DreamHost URL settings

Step 3: Change https settings (if applicable)

This is the step that I got tripped up on (but finally stumbled upon). My site has HTTPS turned on, and there’s a setting we need to change.

  1. On the Domains » Manage Domains page, click the https On link next to the domain you’re changing.
  2. Change the Choose exact URL setting to the variant of your choice.

SSH settings

Now sit back and wait the 5 to 10 minutes for everything to take effect.

Snickerdoodle Cookies

September 18, 2018

One of my favorite cookies!

Coating

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cinnamon

Cookies

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2-2/3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the coating ingredients together and set aside.
  3. In a second medium bowl, combine shortening, sugar, and eggs, mixing together well.
  4. In a third bowl, mix together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Add the shortening mixture to the flour mixture, combining well.
  6. Roll dough into balls (size of your choosing), and then roll into the cinnamon and sugar mixture.
  7. Place the balls of dough on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  8. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.

Note that the larger the cookie, the longer it may take to bake fully.

Chicken Pie

September 16, 2018

Here’s another great recipe I grew up eating. The sage in this recipe is the key!

  • Pie crusts (we use store-bought ones like the ones from Pillsbury)
  • Shredded, cooked chicken (roughly 2 to 3 cups); we typically get a rotisserie chicken and use part of that
  • 1 package (1 pound) frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1 stick butter (can use less if desired; 1/2 stick might be ideal)
  • 1 chopped onion
  • One can cream of chicken soup
  • 1-1/2 tsp sage
  • 1-1/2 tsp poultry seasoning

Cook the package of frozen vegetables in salted water. While that is cooking, prepare the bottom pie crust in a pie dish. Next, melt the stick of butter in a skillet, and saute the chopped onion in it. In a large bowl, mix the onion, shredded chicken, cream of chicken soup, and the cooked vegetables. Add the sage and poultry seasoning, mixing gently so as to not tear up the vegetables.

Put this mixture in the bottom pie crust and cover with the top crust. Cut small slits in the pie crust for steam to escape. Bake at 375 until the crusts are done (30 minutes or so).

Photo Post-Processing

June 23, 2018

I know that in the world of photography, post-processing is a very personal topic. Every photographer has a different workflow, especially when it comes time to process their photos. Mine has always been pretty haphazard, and for a long time I haven’t been as happy with my photos as I would like.

I shoot RAW images, which ultimately gives me a lot more creative control over the end product. Maximizing those possibilities, however, requires effort that I frankly haven’t been putting in. I’ve recently decided to change that, and I’m already seeing improved results. One of my recent photo albums, focusing on garden macro images, is the first album into which I put extra effort into the post-processing step. I’m really happy with every single photo in that album.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been watching a lot of online tutorials on post-processing workflows, tips, and tricks. Anthony Morganti’s YouTube channel has been particularly helpful to me (he has lots of great pointers).

I’ve posted a few photos below to show the before and after effects of what I’ve learned. All of the “before” shots are photos that are posted in my public albums (all three of these shots come from the Lausanne, Switzerland photo album). If you happen to be reading this in an RSS reader, click through to the site for a better before/after experience where the images are stacked.

The first photo is a shot of a castle we visited. My “before” shot lacked detail, was fairly flat, and was generally overexposed. The “after” shot uses improved color, is a better crop (removing a stray head from the bottom of the shot), and has more detail.


This second photo was taken in the castle above. Again, there was missing detail, highlights were really overblown, and there was a general lack of contrast.


One final example originally suffered from overexposure and a lack of contrast. Note how so much more detail shows up in the leaves of the grapevine.


I’m looking forward to using my new-found skills in future photo albums.

June Garden Macros

June 12, 2018

I’ve posted some new macro photos taken from my garden tonight. The colors in some of these photos are really beautiful, in my opinion. I hope to continue posting new photos like this.

Switzerland Photos (Part 2 of 2)

May 30, 2018

The second set of photo albums from last year’s trip to Switzerland have been posted. First up this time is an album on our visit to Lausanne and its surrounding areas (a nice place to visit), followed by an album about Zermatt and the Matterhorn. Enjoy!

Switzerland Photos (Part 1 of 2)

May 26, 2018

Last year, my wife and I spent two glorious weeks in Switzerland. While there, we hiked over 90 miles and visited a number of incredible places. We both fell in love with the country, and we intend to return in the future. If I had enough money, I’d even consider living there (though the cost of living is ridiculous)!

I’ve finally posted photos from this trip to my photos site. The first two albums cover our visits to Luzern and Wengen. Wengen is my top spot in Switzerland, and is perhaps the most beautiful place on Earth.

I will post two more albums in the next week or so, covering the second half of our trip. Stay tuned!