Stuff that occurs to me

All of my 'how to' posts are tagged here. The most popular posts are about blocking and private accounts on Twitter, also the science communication jobs list. None of the science or medical information I might post to this blog should be taken as medical advice (I'm not medically trained).

Think of this blog as a sort of nursery for my half-baked ideas hence 'stuff that occurs to me'.

Contact: @JoBrodie Email: jo DOT brodie AT gmx DOT com

Science in London: The 2016 scientific society talks in London blog post

Friday, 27 March 2015

Things I can't do on Firefox 36.0.4 - you?

Edit 2 April 2015 - I've upgraded to Firefox 37 but it hasn't improved things at all. I do find it quite interesting that Firefox upgraded itself to 36.0.4 last week and here's another upgrade, though it hasn't fixed the problems.

Edit 1 April 2015 - I've tried disabling plug-ins and add-ons but I still can't do any of the things below. I've added some screenshots in the hope that people might recognise something and go "oh, I know what you've done*"

*the problem began by itself, since then I've also tried to clear cache. Enabling and disabling add-ons looked like it might help (with Wordpress stats in particular) but refreshing the page just took me back to square one.

Here's what everything looks like, click to enlarge the pictures.

WordPress statistics page

Woto: I'm logged in (OAuth with Twitter) but can't see my pages

Can't log in to Storify (or click on 'next page' on anyone else's Storify stories). Permanently stuck at OAuth window which then fails.

Probably quarter to midnight not best time to demonstrate fact that I see no aircraft on FlightRadar but even at expected times there's a complete lack of aircraft icons. Also I can't move the map, I don't live near enough to Heathrow for this map zzom to be of much use to me.


I think I have a new version of Firefox, it seems fairly awful so far - must have unwittingly updated it earlier this evening.

Here's a list of things that I've found I can no longer do with the latest version of Firefox (36.0.4) but which I could do fine on the previous one. Not sure how to fix this, short of waiting for the next update, which I hope will be soon.

Things I don't seem to be able to do include...
  • view my sites' stats pages - they all show up as a blank grey page (fine on Safari)
  • use - no aircraft appear and although I can zoom in or out I can't use the grab and move tool to move the map (fine on Safari)
  • use Storify properly - it stops at the end of the first page and the 'read next page' link doesn't click to go anywhere (infinite scrolling works fine on Safari so I never see this button, it worked fine on the previous version of Firefox too)

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Ways of making sections of or elements in a picture clickable or hover-overable for more info, eg thinglink

For years I've wanted to be able to do this but had no idea how and then this year I've seen two examples that have intrigued me. The way I understand these services is as a cross between a Pinterest board and Google maps where a circle is 'dropped' onto an area of a picture and you can overlay information. When the person looking at the photo hovers over that circle they'll get the information, and with 'thinglink' they can actually click through to a linked website.

I think this is terribly clever and am keen to try it out myself.

The first example I ever heard of was from @Documentally who used thinglink to show "What's in my kitbag (Early 2015)?". I can't think of a more perfect use of the app / technology for that sort of thing, here's a before hovering and after hovering screenshot. On Documentally's post you can click on the blue circle to visit the Tom Bihn website.

The other example I've seen relates to this problem that politicians have with their posh kitchens. Here, The Telegraph has gone through items in a photograph of David Cameron fetching something from his fridge and labelled them with further info. As far as I can tell each bit of information isn't clickable though.

As far as I can tell the graphic, made by Mark Oliver, hasn't come from something I can play around with on the web - I didn't find anything obvious in the source code at least (tho not that certain what I'm looking for).

What other examples are there of this sort of thing? Free? Paid-for?

Thursday, 12 March 2015

In honour of Terry Pratchett I am renaming my "It's probably in here" box to "We had one once but the bit you unscrew fell off and got lost"

Lifehacker would have liked my mum. She instituted the "It's probably in here" box a few years ago and filled it with fuses, odd screws, batteries and other random household things that didn't really fit anywhere in our own home taxonomy. It was an immediate hit in the Brodie household and I have continued the tradition with a box of my own (a shoe box, currently sitting on a bookshelf).

I've added one of my favourite Terry Pratchett quotes to the side of the box (in a pen that I found inside it which is nearly running out of ink). It comes from Witches Abroad and was said by Old Mother Dismass, though no-one knew what she was talking about :)

"We had one once but the bit you unscrew fell off and got lost" - I feel this captures the contents of the box very well.