I’ve found something to dislike about Chrome – the white flash when transitioning between pages. On the dark photography site I’m working on now, it’s incredibly irritating – like a flashlight shining in your eyes in a dark room.

If I didn’t have the full-page background image I could apply a background color to html in the stylesheet and that would (I think, from what I’m reading on forums) fix it, but I have such an image so I’m stuck with the white flash.

This is enough to make me consider going back to Firefox. Is there a fix for full-page backgrounds?

I have a current client who’s working on two businesses – one is sort of a hobby site for now, the other is a full-fledged ecommerce site.

For the hobby site, money was definitely a factor in getting up and running quickly. My client purchased a commercial theme from a prominent and well-regarded theme developer – in fact, I’ve always really liked the attractive range of themes offered by this company.

My client found a theme she absolutely loved. We got it installed pretty easily. The way that images are added to the portfolio was a little tricky to understand at first, but we got the hang of it quickly.

Then we realize that there’s an issue. The theme automatically resizes photos in various dimensions on different sections of the site – small thumbnails on the home page which have full-size modal windows; a large rectangular featured posts slider on the home page, and a larger image on single-post pages that’s rectangular.

Hmm…

This is a problem. The way the theme is set up, it will not allow you to use portrait images. Well – you can use them, but they’re going to cropped to landscape proportions even on the single-post page – the theme does not have any provision for portrait images.

This seemed dumb (and many other people in the forums agreed). This is a portfolio theme after all, and from my experience lots of people have portrait images in their portfolios…

I posted a note in the forum asking about this and was given an answer about creating an algorithm to detect image orientation. I have no idea how to do that and asked for clarification and have NEVER heard back. That was last Saturday, nearly 7 days ago now.

So… I found a four-page, years-long thread about adding some custom coding to detect whether an image has portrait or landscape orientation. It was confusing, it had almost no input from tech support whatsoever – it was a matter of frustrated users taking matters into their own hands.

My client’s understandably unhappy about (1) the lack of support from this theme company, which she’s paying for, and (2) the fact that she’s going to have to pay for customizing a portfolio theme that’s built only for landscape images.

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Now while all of this was going on, before the lack of support became evident, I bought a subscription too and set up a hobby site of my own. It was going pretty well, until I found that thumbnail images on the home page can’t be sized independently of thumbnail images on a single-post page. So if I want a nice large 300×300 px image in my post, I’m forced to have a 300×300 px ‘thumbnail’ on my home page.

Not good. I posted on the support form about my own theme issues. I was told “you need to edit entry.php file and do the same there.”

Unfortunately, this theme doesn’t have a file called entry.php.

Plus, I found that tech support told another paying user the same erroneous advice about entry.php. Geez.

So, long story shortened, I still have no answers. And the likelihood that I will ever do business with this company again is, well, you know. I have purchased prebuilt themes from time to time for clients, and while they always have some kind of little issues I’ve never had problems getting help like this. Not a good way to treat your paying clients, guys.

This seems trivial, but it took me hours to troubleshoot this problem. I hope I save someone else from that.

WordPress custom post types are great – they make it so easy to create any kind of ‘cataloged’ posts, like a portfolio, or a library of DVD’s, or products to sell. I’m building a portfolio and testimonials using custom post types and for the most part this has gone really smoothly.

The one major hiccup was pagination. If you want to display say 10 custom posts on a page (an actual WordPress ‘page’) and then have the user be able to flip to the next page, you’ll need to use some kind of pagination like WP Page-Navi.

I spent hours trying to get paging to work on my testimonials, until I finally found a very important note in a discussion thread about custom post types:

You cannot create a Page using the same string name as your registered custom post type.

That means that if I register the custom post type ‘testimonials’ I cannot display it on a page named Testimonials. One of them has to be different.

Whew. I wish I’d found it earlier, but making that simple change fixed my pagination issues in a second.

Yesterday around lunchtime I opened up Thunderbird to discover that about 40 emails were missing out of my inbox.

I wasn’t that concerned because I’ve had things like that happen before, but as I went through the numerous recommended recovery steps and still had no email, I started thinking about what was actually in the inbox.

A few were digests I hadn’t had a chance to read yet, a couple were newsletters I wanted to go through later, but most of them were client correspondence I’d already replied to, or was awaiting a reply to. Nothing horribly important.

So now I only have four emails in my inbox. That’s a lot better. I’m still going to try to recover that missing mail, but what happened was not actually that bad. That’ll teach me to clear out my inbox more often, maybe.

My Windows 7 saga may be coming to a close.

During last night’s tech support call with Microsoft, I was instructed to do a repair install, an in-place upgrade of Windows 7 using the Win7 DVD. I didn’t even know I could do this.

I tried this four times. The first two times, it got halfway through (that’s about an hour) and never rebooted as it was supposed to. I rebooted it manually; that did not work and it took a while to get back into Win7.

The third time, I thought to turn off the firewall because it was giving me permissions messages when the install started. The tech support person neglected to mention this to me). This time, when it got to the point where it was hanging, it actually did reboot – but not all the way. It took me into the boot menu among other places and again failed to restart where it left off.

Then I found this excellent Windows 7 repair install tutorial on the Windows 7 forums.  I tried it the process once more with both the firewall and antivirus turned off. Same thing – it rebooted, but not all the way.  Frustrated (to say the least) I gave up and turned off the machine.

So this morning, when I turned it on, right after the ‘Starting Windows’ screen I see an ‘Upgrading Windows’ screen. 10 seconds later I’m back where it left off last night. I have no idea why it worked, but I’m certainly not complaining.

Once it finished up, I went back to the tutorial and followed the steps listed. Everything appeared to be fine, I just had to redo my settings for monitors, type, etc., nothing major.

And then the first big test – did the external hard drive, which Win7 has failed to recognize since last Sunday, actually work?

It DID! So something good is definitely happening.

I’m imaging the main internal drive right now before I do step 18 in the tutorial – disk cleanup. Hopefully that will go fine, and then perhaps I will peek at System Restore (the cause of all this trouble) to see if it’s working. I’m not quite mentally ready to do that yet, and I have a lot of work to do this weekend after missing a few days due to the Windows issues. But I’m cautiously optimistic about the prospect.