how to navigate an intersection

Lawlessness on the roads

I have long come to realise that Australia is a nanny state of rules and regulations. There’s a rule for just about everything, and I’m starting to realise this is beginning to hamper us when in reality these sort of things should be making our lives better. Safer.

After having spent a lot of time in Thailand and using Thai roads and the lawlessness that apparently goes with driving in Thailand, you can come to both appreciate the rules we have on one hand, but despise them at the same time.

There are times where (especially in the middle of the night) where you can seemingly spend an eternity at a set of traffic lights for no apparent reason. I have a set of traffic lights at the end of my street, and I have to admit, they are pretty speedy on letting traffic out of our street. You only have to stop there for a moment and the lights begin to change. This appears to be the case even if it has only just turned red. The wait is never very long.

Yet there are traffic lights where they seemingly take forever. What’s with that?

Why are there stop signs for turning left on roads where you can see the approaching traffic for half a kilometre?

Why are there red arrows against turning right when there’s no approaching traffic at all? This one can be especially infuriating.

Paris Traffic

I remember seeing a photograph of a classic Parisian roundabout when I was at school, and I remember thinking “How do they do it? It’s chaos! How does anyone not get killed?”

As a kid I couldn’t see it. As a young adult I couldn’t see it either. Our lives are built around a network of safety measures and molly coddling. Rules and regulations designed to give us a “right of way” and a feeling of security as well as entitlement.

It’s this entitlement that breeds complacency on the roads. A righteousness that forgoes common sense. Road rage built around “he just cut me off,” or “I have the right of way!”

But what if we took that entitlement away? What would happen then?

People speed through intersections because they feel “safe” in the knowledge that other traffic should be giving way to them. But what if other traffic didn’t have to give way?

What if we took away the very things that apparently made our roads safer?

One of my favourite presenters, “99% invisible” teams up with Vox and illustrate just how it’s done elsewhere and removes some of the “molly coddling.”

The originality of your design, depends on the obscurity of your source

The originality of your design, depends on the obscurity of your source

Unknown

I don’t know where I originally found this, I had just come back to edit it and add a citation after updating my theme. In doing a search for this quote I only found references to it from my site. I can assure you I didn’t come up with it :)

DST

Daylight Saving Time

According to this server

Thu, 20th Sep 2018, 14:03:51 AEST Australia/Sydney (1537416231)
This timezone is currently in standard time.
Standard time began on: Sun, 1st Apr 2018, 02:00:00 AEST
Daylight saving time begins on: Sun, 7th Oct 2018, 01:00:00 AEST
In Sun days, on Sunday morning at 03:00:00 (3:00 AM), the clocks need to be put back -60 minutes.

I have always thought there would have to be a programatic way of determining when daylight saving started and finished. I know that it’s an arbitrary date and it’s subject to change, but I knew there would be a way to somehow look it up.

I’ve been looking for this before and never really came across anything and even when looking at the date/time functions in php, and even though gettimezone retrieves the current timezone (including whether or not DST is currently in force or not), it didn’t do much to solve the “when does it start next” problem.

Then one day I was playing in the backend of a website and I noticed there was two lines of text under the timezone information that was intriguing:

DST Info

I opened up the trust text editor and went fishing inside the server.

Now, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen timezone_transitions_get before, but for whatever reason, something never clicked. It’s EXACTLY what I was looking for!

In the DateTimeClass there are a myriad of functions to do with what the offset from UTC is, what effect DST has on the timezone, is it in effect now, amongst others; including get_transitions. This returns all the DST transitions for the time zone, past and future.

The only caveat here is your version of php would have to be reasonably up-to-date in the event that a local government changes when DST will start and finish. and although that probably wouldn’t be too often, it’s something that still must be considered.

This snippet I’ve created here isn’t perfect, it’s just bits and pieces cobbled together and it does need a good cleaning out. However, I’ve included it here and it’s available to you if you’d like to use it under the MIT license.

add_shortcode('DST_Info', 'mad_dst_info');

function mad_dst_info(){
$r = "
<style>
table {
  border-collapse: collapse;
}
td {
  text-align:center;
  padding:10px;
  border: 2px solid black;
}
</style> \n"  ;


$day    = 1;
$month  = 1;
$year   = 2018;

$time = mktime(12,0,0,$month,$day,$year);

$time = gettimeofday(time(),true);
  
function _t1($arg) {
 return "  <tr><td colspan='2'> $arg </td></tr>\n";
}
function _t2($arg1, $arg2) {
 return "  <tr><td> $arg1 </td><td> $arg2 </td></tr>\n";
}

$my_format="D, jS M Y, H:i:s T ";

$current_offset = timezone_offset_get();
$tzstring = ini_get('date.timezone');
$tzstring = "Australia/Sydney";
date_default_timezone_set($tzstring);

$r .= "<table>";
	$r .= _t1("<h2>According to this server</h2>");
	$r .= _t2( date($my_format, time()) , "$tzstring (".time().")");

	$check_zone_info = true;

    // Set TZ so localtime works.
    date_default_timezone_set($tzstring);
    $now = localtime(time(),true); /////////////////////////////time(), true);
    if ( $now['tm_isdst'] ){
		$r .= _t1("This timezone is currently in daylight saving time.");
    } else {
		$r .= _t1("This timezone is currently in standard time.");
    }
    $allowed_zones = timezone_identifiers_list();

    if ( in_array( $tzstring, $allowed_zones) ) {
      $found = false;
      $date_time_zone_selected = new DateTimeZone($tzstring);
      $tz_offset = timezone_offset_get($date_time_zone_selected, date_create());
      $right_now = time(); /////////////////////////////////////////////time();
      foreach ( timezone_transitions_get($date_time_zone_selected) as $tr) {
        if ( $tr['ts'] > $right_now ) {
            $found = true;

          break;
        }
        $tr_old = $tr;
      }

      if ( $found && $tr['offset'] != "UTC") {

        $message = $tr_old['isdst'] ? 'Daylight saving time began on: ' : 'Standard time began on: ';
          $r .= _t2( "  $message ",date($my_format , $tr_old['ts'] + ( $tz_offset - $tr_old['offset'] )));

        $message = $tr['isdst'] ? 'Daylight saving time begins on: ' : 'Standard time begins on: ';
          $r .= _t2( "  $message ",date($my_format , $tr['ts'] + ( $tz_offset - $tr['offset'] )));
		
		$damxdaystogo = date("D" , $tr['ts']);
		$damdayofweek = date("l" , $tr['ts']);
		$damtimeofday = date("H:i:s (g:i A)" , $tr['ts']);
		$damadjustment = ($tz_offset - $tr['offset'])/60 ;
		$dambackforward = ($damadjustment < 0) ? "back" : "forward";
		$message = "In $damxdaystogo days, on $damdayofweek morning at $damtimeofday, the clocks need to be put <em>$dambackforward</em> $damadjustment minutes.";
		  $r .= _t1( "  $message ");
		
		
      } else {
        $r .= _t1( 'This timezone does not observe daylight saving time.' );
      }
    }

    // Set back to UTC.
    date_default_timezone_set('UTC');
    date_default_timezone_set($tzstring);
	$r .=    "</table>";
  return $r;
}

You may notice several things:

  • the screenshot above is taken from the backend of WordPress 
  • that information in the backend of WordPress is actually incorrect (DST doesn’t begin at 1am for that timezone)
  • the code itself creates a shortcode for displaying the data
  • the code is the actual code used by this site
  • I have attempted to correct the the DST conversion that WordPress has in it, but I haven’t got it quite figured out (just yet)

Anyway, it’s a work in progress.

Tooth be told

I’ve never had a tooth out before.

In fact, it’s been over 25 years since I’ve even been to the dentist!

Not because my teeth are great or anything. Truth be told, they’re quite in need of some work. But after a couple of weeks of intense facial pain that has caused endless sleepless nights, I went and had the tooth taken out.

I’ve jumped out of aeroplanes, and broken my leg… but nothing prepares you for the fear and adrenaline of a dental visit

I saw the dentist last week and was given the option: root canal over 2-3 visits totalling ~$1500 plus a required crown at some point (about the same price again), or pull the bugger out in one visit for a couple of hundred.

Not that finances play a big part in the decision (although it does help), the decision was almost made for me. The torture of 3+ dental visits vs 1 and the jobs done.

It’s a no brainer.

I’ve just got home. I still can’t talk properly. My mouth, jaw and gum feel like they’re as big as a tennis ball. I feel like I’m drooling all over the place and keep wiping non existent blood and saliva from my bottom lip while at the same time try and wet my teeth because my mouth feels so dry. It’s a flurry of mixed emotions.

I’ve jumped out of aeroplanes, I’ve broken my leg jumping off mountains, I’ve even been in some pretty life threatening situations, but nothing prepares you for the fear and adrenaline of a dental visit.

As he’s inserting the needle I realised my head is pushed back into the headrest with so much force that my neck was tensing up. My hands were clenched on my stomach squeezing my phone so hard that I felt Apple phones may not be as strong as we think they are.

And that needle! Oh My GOD! How far in does that go?

It never seemed to stop. Any further and I’m sure it was going to come out the other side.

It was funny to watch someone grab a huge set of pliers (ok, he called them forceps) and start pulling at the tooth. Wiggling it this way and that, around and round in large circular motions, I’m just waiting for the inevitable THWANG (my effort to literally relate the sound of an electric pulse/shock zapping down my body).

He paused and went back for round 2 but after another minute or two he came to the conclusion that it was going to have to be split. If I could have spoken I would have asked, “c’mon doc, give it one more go!” But I just bit down and started doing mental back-flips as he wound up that drill and the sound paralysed me.

Even now an hour later I’m still visibly shaken. My pulse is racing and I feel a headache coming on that I know isn’t real, it’s just that I’d built myself up to expect so much pain, to have come out unscathed is such a relief. (Yes, the anaesthetic hasn’t worn off yet. I’m not looking forward to this)…

✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧

And now three hours later the pain has kicked in. It’s more of an uncomfortableness, that exacerbated by paper-cuts of the mouth. What feels oddly more sore than the gap in the gums are the locations where the needle broke the surface of the gum and how he did the dance around the nerve area.

I’m continually salivating and feeling more and more queezy at the thought of all that blood and saliva congealing around the gause. I’ve changed it out numerous times. Bigger ones, smaller ones. I’ve determined smaller is better (they hold less saliva).

Time for some pain killers.

virtualmin settins for php

php file upload limit in virtualmin

upload_max_filesize exceeded in php.ini

I can never find this setting. Everytime I create a wordpress development server I end up having trouble finding it.

There use to be a setting in WordPress itself, and if that is there, you’ll have to update that.

I use Apache and PHP on a linux server which I usually administer via virtualmin/webmin (highly recommended). But it can often take me a moment or two to find exactly where I need to be for some features.

Maximum file upload size is one of those and the setting lies as follows:

Go to virtualmin and select the virtual server you wish to edit.

Scroll down to Services and select PHP Configuration and then Resource Limits and change as appropriate.

Save and you’re done! There is no need to reload anything.

You could choose to edit the setting directly in php.ini located in /etc/php/x.x/apache2.

WordPress SSL

This is probably going to have a few additions to it, but let’s just start with making the site admin area force https://.

To do that, open wp-config.php and this towards the end of the file:

define(‘FORCE_SSL_ADMIN’, true);
 No need restart anything, just save and reload your admin page
no wordpress icon

Remove the WordPress logo from the admin bar

Want to make your WordPress site more “white label” to users who are logged in?

Originally I was just going to remove the icon, but there is a whole wordpress menu under there. Let’s just remove the whole lot!

If you have a child theme in use, you can add the following code snippet to the functions.php file. Otherwise use a plugin like Code Snippets (not affiliated in anyway, it’s just a plugin I use), and create a new snippet. Make sure to “Save and Activate” the snippet.

add_action( 'admin_bar_menu', 'remove_wp_logo', 999 );

function remove_wp_logo( $wp_admin_bar ) {
$wp_admin_bar->remove_node( 'wp-logo' );
}

from the WordPress Codex: https://codex.wordpress.org/Function_Reference/remove_node

wifi under magnifying glass

Incorrect wifi password in iOS

My kids are always playing in areas of the iPad or iPhone that they really shouldn’t be. Unfortunately Apple have never allowed us to have a truly restrictive setup for kids in this way.

Every now and then they muck up the wifi and have tried connecting to someone else’s wifi and then they can’t reconnect to our own as it prompts for a password (or it simply doesn’t connect). Entering the correct password greets us with the annoying “incorrect password” dialog.

You know it’s the right password, it hasn’t changed in years (that’s probably the first thing we’re doing wrong right there, but that’s a whole other bag of problems).

If you have tried entering in the password, and you’re confident the password is correct there are three things you can try, the last of which will almost always work, but I like to start with the softer options:

  1. Forget the wifi network and then try to reconnect. This one will generally work if it wasn’t prompting for a password to begin with and just not connecting.
  2. You could change the wifi password in your wifi router and try connecting to that. It IS a good idea to change it once in a while anyway. If the device then connects, you could then change it back and try connecting again.
  3. Go to:
    settings >> General >> Reset >> Reset network settings
    and clear the network settings. You’ll need to confirm this with your pin but you will lose no data. DO NOT do a factory reset, in that case YOU WILL lose data. Make sure you are only resetting the network settings and continue.  After the device restarts you should be able to login without any issues.

Good luck and I hope this has helped solve your issue