In November 2010, I started the Flashlight Wiki after getting frustrated editing someone else’s wiki and being unable to stop spam attacks there. At the time, I purchased the domain flashlight-wiki.com as an alternative to flashlightwiki.com which was already taken but not used. Then, in November of last year, flashlightwiki.com was abandoned and I was able to purchase it.
I think generally it is better to have a domain without a hyphen in it because people might not remember to put the hyphen in when linking to the site or typing it in to their browser. So I knew that eventually I wanted to move the wiki, but I didn’t want to deal with it yet and was afraid that moving it might cause the site to lose page rank, which gives the site priority when people do searches on Google. I have been getting about 300 visitors a day, so I didn’t want to lose that, even though the site doesn’t generate any real revenue, with the small AdSense ad only generating a few dollars a month. Continue reading
Today I was reading a post at Budget Light Forums where a guy baked (broiled, actually) a black flashlight in his oven and changed the color (link). Well, since he told a bunch of other people who also own more black flashlights than anyone could need, soon a lot of people were doing some baking. Some of the lights would turn orange or bronze. Some just turned brown or kind of purple. So naturally, it wasn’t long before I turned my oven to broil as well. I chose two lights that I don’t really like that much, one of which is an inferior copy of a light I do like. I took them apart and removed all the electronics, switches, o-rings, glass lens, and then put the aluminum parts back together. I tried one of them and it turned kind of purple. So I put the second light in there and then added a third light that I really do like. The color changed within about 30 minutes, though I kept the first one in the whole time to see if it got lighter. They all came out differently. Here is a picture of the three lights plus a control that was not baked.
The first one is kind of chocolate brown, maybe like an old penny (here’s a post of what it used to look like). The second light looks like it is made from copper tubing and used to look exactly like the unbaked third light. The last light is sort of reddish brown, again maybe a shade of copper but with more red (before). Pretty neat.
Later on a guy posted a video on YouTube where he just puts the light directly on a burner of his gas range and cranks up the heat. Takes about 3 minutes that way. Later on after I put the lights back together, I took this picture. I’m really liking the way these turned out. Each one has a distinct color.
For some reason, I don’t even remember why, I was checking out my Dish Network account online. One of the choices is My Pay Per View Certificates. So I clicked it and it said I had certificates for 2 free movies. The certificates were effective back in October, but they expired that day (January 31). Well, I was at work, so I couldn’t watch movies and the odds couldn’t be good for me to get home and be able to find and watch two movies back-to-back that I really wanted to see. But they have a neat feature where you can go online from anywhere and tell your DVR to record things, so I tried that, but the site isn’t compatible with Internet Explorer 7. So once I got home, I went through and found Moneyball, which I had really been wanting to see anyway. Then I had to look for another movie and found Ides of March, where George Clooney is running for president. I guess. But then somewhere in the rules when I was picking the movies it told me that once I started watching the movie I would only have 24 hours to watch it. Well, that gave me some time. I could watch one tonight and one tomorrow night. But, also I could also start watching it any time up until April. Even better. I love having a DVR. And those terms are pretty decent (although the movies were something like $6.99 each which I would never pay).
So I wanted to start watching it a couple of days later and got an error message saying I couldn’t watch it with the digital output device I had connected to my receiver. I have a really old HDTV that doesn’t even have HDMI jacks, so I didn’t think anything was digital, but I figured that rather than deal with it now, I would look that up later.
This weekend I thought that maybe my digital output device was the toslink audio cable. Instead of carrying an electrical signal, the cord is fiber optic and carries light from the satellite to my audio receiver without any loss in quality or interference. So I disconnected it and the movie played no problem. I could play audio through the TV instead of the surround sound system.
Good movie. I’m glad I checked my Dish account. I checked again just now and no new certificates. Don’t know when I’ll get around to Ides of March.
I was able to have a new theme for the blog activate for people using mobile devices like iPhones or Android devices. It gives a simpler layout that is easier to read on a small screen. I thought it would be nice to find something like that for the Flashlight Wiki as well. Again, the built-in browser for my iPod tends to show a page as if the screen is normal size, shrinking everything down. Then you have to zoom in to read things and pan around to read lines of text. So a simple interface would be nice.
Wikipedia has a special version of its site available that starts http://en.m.wikipedia.org that is meant for mobile users. MediaWiki calls themes “skins” but Wikipedia’s mobile site is something more complicated. A lot of the features of Wikipedia are very complicated, starting with the front page and all of their infoboxes and automatic conversions from or to metric and english units. It looks great on Wikipedia, but it is hard to implement on a personal wiki. So I know it is possible to get good results on a shrunken screen because when I visit Wikipedia on the iPod, I see the mobile version.
But when I visit my site, I get this:
I have an offline browser on my iPod that I can use to store my entire blog. By pointing it at my archives page I was able to get it to download everything (takes a while), but the problem is the iPod has an awful browser, Safari, that does a terrible job of rendering pages on a small screen. With the blog it shows the banner image at the top of the page and then a thin, microscopic column of text for the blog entry. So you have to zoom in on the column, but it is a pain.
I started looking for solutions and found a plugin for WordPress that completely changes the look of the blog if you try to view it on a portable device. The plugin is called WPtouch and was specifically designed for the iPod Touch and iPhone, but works for Android and Blackberry as well. I don’t think it does anything for iPad, but that’s okay because the iPad has a bigger screen. Although WPtouch is free, they have a pay version called WPtouch Pro that gives you the ability to configure the look more and also control how it looks on an iPad. Well, I’m not going to pay, but I am very particular how things look.