The digital world hates vertical media

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , ,
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I’ve recently re-learned what a nightmare it is to try to deal with vertical (portrait-oriented) media, whether pictures or videos. Why is it so hard to get them to work?

I mean, I know that all our screens are wide and so is much of how we view the world, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t times that a vertical orientation isn’t useful (if not better altogether). It’s so frustrating that when I do have portrait images, they don’t always render properly and for vertical videos, it becomes difficult to edit them.

food from rollplay vietnamese restaurantFor example, the past couple of months I’ve dealt with an annoyance using WordPress. When I upload a picture that is vertical, the image doesn’t show up (this might be happening to you with the one first image). This seemed to have happened with the update that had occurred around that time. Suddenly, every vertical photo uploaded would come out blank in my blog posts. It took a lot of research and testing to figure out that if re-uploaded the image, it would then work.

More recently, I came across the added issue that if I uploaded the original file from my phone, it doesn’t have the correct orientation and instead shows horizontally, as seen below. So now I have to open the image in Paint*, save it, then it will recognize it as a vertical image (shown on the left, if you can see it). What a nightmare! Strangely enough, if you are on an iPhone, you’d see the below image the proper way, but on a laptop browser and on an Android device it’s horizontal. Yet even odder, on an iPad, it tries to show vertically, but the image is stretched out to fit horizontal dimensions.

sample of broken vertical image that does not rotate properly

So to ensure images show proper orientation across devices means I need to edit the photo before re-uploading to WP, using an image editing program like Paint or Photoshop*. It doesn’t seem to help if I rotate the image first, I usually still need to do the replace media option. And literally all I’m doing in Paint is saving it so that whatever EXIF metadata WP needs gets translated through properly and allows images to show up vertically, as they should. I guess however Apple encodes that data is incompatible with the way WordPress reads/handles the info. For now it’s working, but if things act up again I’ll look into plugins like the iOS images fixer or the Image Rotation Fixer, both of which look like promising solutions.

Additionally, I ran into issues when I was trying to edit a vertical video. Any program I opened it up in would put those awful black bars on the sides so that it ultimately took up the space of a horizontal video. I wanted a final output that would keep the vertical orientation, making it a skinny little thing. All the searching in the world only seemed to lead me to tutorials on how to change the black bars to some background, but none actually addressed my issue.

In iMovie on my mobile devices, it would crop my video to a square. I’d shrink it down so the whole thing showed, but those black bars would come to haunt me. I tried rotating it so it fit the horizontal perfectly, make my edits, save it, then try rotating it, but again: ugly black bars inserted. So ultimately I gave up on such an endeavor, but these experiences leave me wanting so much more when it comes to media editing and rendering.

You’d think in this day and age of technology that they would have figured this out by now. Why is it still such a troublesome issue?

 

*Thanks to a comment on this thread for helping me figure out that solution.

I’ve found the only way to consistently see images with proper orientation on all devices is to edit the photo before uploading to WP in an image editing program like Photoshop. – Cindy Otty

On My Mind, episode 11: summer plans

laelene Posted in general blog, on my mind,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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I don’t do a lot of journal entry type posts here, but there are some things going on that I just wanted to share. Sometimes there is no specific topic; it’s just about life in general.

This weekend, I was very excited to get a shipment notification from Baubax, which I backed on Kickstarter back in September. I had hoped to get it in time for Thanksgiving. So much for that! They originally anticipated being able to get them completed by November, but their campaign exploded way beyond they ever expected. The product is a travel jacket, which they designed 4 of. I chose the red bomber jacket because it seemed like a nice balance between dressy and casual. I hope it fits me well!!

Panda and I have been looking for someone to rent a room in our home. His organization has interns that will be coming next month and they always need a place to stay. There are a few students we’ve considered and I look forward to finalizing details. We’re happy to earn some extra money to help fund my MBA. I’ll be leaving halfway through their stay to get ready for my program. Things are going to be crazy the next couple of months! Maybe in the future we can consider listing a room on Airbnb.

Panda got the Whole Dang Thang, which included fried fish, scallops, gator, calamari, shrimp and more.

Panda got the Whole Dang Thang, which included fried fish, scallops, gator, calamari, shrimp and more.

About a month ago, Panda and I went out to dinner with Calavera for cajun seafood. As I was cracking away at my crab legs, I didn’t realize I was weakening part of my tooth and on the drive home, I noticed that my tooth had chipped. Prior to that, I had noticed a tiny little indentation along the bottom of the tooth, so it must have fractured along that groove. I needed a teeth cleaning anyway, so I scheduled a dental appointment and was told I should get a crown. Since dental procedures are expensive in the US and I plan on going to China this summer, I decided to wait until I go there to get it done. In the mean while, I look silly sometimes with what looks like a gap in my teeth that then shows itself as a missing chunk. At least a gap would look normal!

Now that I know what program I’ll be attending in the fall, it’s all about getting to know what they have to offer. I received a call from an MBA Ambassador today, but I was working and then wasn’t able to reach her later. I’m compiling questions about the program, life in general, and other things to know before I start school. There are four more people I should reach out to (two friends and two ambassadors, one who interviewed me). I think I’ll learn a lot at Admit Weekend next week and I can’t wait to start meeting people, learning, and thinking about what I’ll do. All this looking to the future has me distracted from what I should focus on, but I’m still making good progress at work. Still, I’m itching to train someone up and start handing things off, though it looks like that won’t happen for another month.

I’ve always been interested in helping uncover resources and make them more readily available, so I created an unofficial employee handbook using Trello. Tomorrow I get to train a new girl on it for the very first time! I can’t wait to see what she thinks, get feedback, and hone it into a lasting legacy that I will leave here. I’ve got quite a few projects that I hope will continue to live on when I’ve moved on. I know that our use of Slack will certainly be one of those.

There are so many things buzzing around in my head these days. With my obsession with Trello, I’ve put together various boards to help me track everything I should be doing. Now I just need to get better at checking them… 😛

Office move

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It’s been a long time since we’ve had a major change at the office and today’s the day that we kicked it off. At 6 PM, everyone had their stuff packed in boxes and the movers began to roll things over to the newly opened section of the office, which has been under renovation for weeks (nearly 3 months). We have officially taken over the entire floor and get to enjoy the new area. Our current space will be closed off for renovations before the big reveal in May, when the entire office will be at its peak. I’ll get to enjoy that for about a month before I head off for business school!

At the end of the day, we went to the new part to start putting together new furniture, arrange desks, and get everyone’s boxes to their place. We have a ton of new meeting rooms and a nice hardwood area where the cafe and event space/theater are. I’ve found my new favorite room, which is a little one that can fit two people and is tucked up right against the window. It’ll be a cozy place for me to do webinars and get away from the mess of people in the main area.

For the next month, we are all going to be crammed into a space that is about half of what we were in. This means that the sales team is no longer in their own area and quite honestly, all of us are dreading the level of noise that means across the entire open office. I’m pretty sure I will seek reprieve in one of the meeting rooms or other public spaces. Or, perhaps I’ll be able to work outside a bit since our wifi signal can sometimes be picked up downstairs in the courtyard.

Tomorrow’s going to be a strange day as we discover a new pattern. I always enjoy some change, so this should be fun. :)

What are your fears?

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , ,
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I’m not a very fearful person.

I’m not scared of bugs, or rollercoasters, or flying, or snakes, or public speaking, or traveling alone, or so many of the other common fears people seem to have.

The creature-related fears come up a lot since I volunteer at the National Museum of Natural History and I handle caterpillars, grasshoppers, hissing cockroaches, various beetles, Australian stick insects, butterflies, moths, tarantulas, and vinageroons/whip scorpions. I’m constantly amazed at the folks who are grossed out or terrified of these guys. Obviously if we have them out at the museum, they’re not going to hurt you. Yet children still cringe and cry when a butterfly circles them with their erratic dance and adults still make a face and stay ten feet away when they see a live insect or arachnid on someone’s hand.

Or take my friend, who is afraid of traveling by herself. Granted, this is probably something a LOT of people have not done or may never do. But the limitations you put on yourself when you can’t bring yourself to strike out on your own can keep you from a certain independence and self-discovery. I love my time traveling on my own, especially in foreign countries. I find those the most rewarding experiences to look back on. Should fear of some stranger in the world hurting you stop you from trying this? Or should you plan carefully, be vigilant and smart, and go for it?

Things like these make me wonder why people are so fearful. Of course, I’m not without my own fears, which generally are related to dying and pain, like falling from really high up (so stable buildings are fine, but if I have to balance on something to cross a chasm…) or not having some stability in my life (financial, emotional, or otherwise). But my fears don’t come up very often and they don’t make me shake or scream or cry or run away. So how do people deal with these fears they have that probably come up pretty consistently?

You’re bound to find a spider or two in your home at some point. You’ll probably board a plane to travel. You may not have to do massive speaking events, but you’ll probably have to present in front of a group occasionally.

So if you’re afraid of these things, what do you do? Do you spend exorbitant amounts of time worrying, fretting, sweating? Do you try to avoid them at all costs? I’m curious.

For me, when my fears come up, it’s more about planning for the future. This usually means that I spend some of my time concerned about the idea, but that allows me to consider how to prevent unwanted situations. I imagine having to deal with death and maybe I cry at the thought, but then I think about how I would get through it. I think about what life would be like if I had no money or I was all alone and consider the hard choices I might make. These are the types of fears I tend to have, about things that haven’t happened. It makes it a lot easier to deal with since I have time to think through possible reactions and courses of action.

My fears are mostly things I may never have to go through. I find it fascinating all the fears of things people have do have to contend with. Why am I not afraid of them? Why are so many people? And what are your fears?

“If I…” series

laelene Posted in general blog
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If I made lip balm: I’d make all kinds of new flavors
If I was a cat: I’d sleep allllll day and ignore mice/birds.
If I had no hair: I’d get cold really easily & scare ppl with my weird head.
If I could, I’d get a phd

If I designed homes, I’d have lots of windows on all sides & access to the roof 

If I designed high rises, the windows would open or there’d be balconies 

If I designed clothes, I’d cover the knees

If I ran a restaurant, I’d have picture menus

If I had all the money in the world I’d run cat shelters and tours.

If I made cars or seats, I’d add foot rests

If I made cars, I’d make their lights not too bright

If I designed hotels, I’d have open rooftops 

If I had an airline, I’d send surveys to pre-order food

If I built an airplane, I’d make the windows bigger and have a daylight section

Happy Leap Day!

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , ,
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I know it’s not a true holiday, but it sure feels like it should be. Today was one of the quietest days at the office, with a surprising number of people leaving early. Tomorrow are primary elections so a lot of kids are home and it’ll likely be another quiet day at the office.

In the future, I hope that I’ll be at a company where we can celebrate Leap Day by encouraging people to get one more day of trying something new. I mean, it’s only once every fortyear…

I celebrated with a colleague by taking advantage of Melting Pot’s $29 4-course deal. We saved over $10 each! It was great to slowly enjoy our meal and chat about all sorts of random things. Wouldn’t it be nice to get an extra day here and there to enjoy quality time with others?

So what did you do on this Leap Day?

How many places have you lived?

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , ,
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Seems like an innocent question, no? And for most, it’s pretty simple to answer.

But for me, it requires some clarifying: what do you consider a place? A town, a region, an actual building/unit? And what do you mean by “lived?” A place you consider a home? A place you spent a certain amount of time at? A place where you had a bed?

See for me, each of those results in a different answer. This question is laden with possible answers, much like the similar “Where are you from?” Things aren’t so straightforward when there are moves abound in your life. In different contexts, I use different ways of identifying with a place I’ve been. For example, Penn State University at State College in Pennsylvania, where we lived on Apple street in two graduate apartments. I choose to use any of the five potential ways to identify with that part of my life depending on what I’m connecting with. Is it the memory of fishing with my dad in the first apartment? The cooking I remember my mom doing and the teaching I remember my grandma doing in the second apartment? Is it the fact that Pennsylvania was the first area we lived in (in America) and because of that we had Amish friends who invited us to their home Christmas? Is it that we’d enjoy delicious ice cream and I enjoyed perusing the cool gemstone exhibit at the university? The one I connect least with is State College, but it comes up when discussing connections to cities.

So the next time you ask someone about the places they’ve lived, pay attention to how they express themselves. Do they talk about the general area, perhaps by country/state/province? Do they instead focus on the actual city, or even the town? These are interesting clues to which part of their experiences and memories they connect with more strongly. And when you answer the questions, consider how you feel most comfortable discussing it. You might learn more about yourself than you had paid attention to before.

In case you’re curious, here’s my tally…

If a place is a town: Shenyang, Jieshou, State College, Topeka, Ballwin, Brewster, Valencia, Westwood, York, Singapore (Clementi?), El Segundo, Centreville, Chantilly. 13

If a place is a region: Northeastern China, Anhui Province, Pennsylvania, Topeka, St. Louis, New York/Connecticut, the Greater Los Angeles area, Northern UK, Singapore, Northern Virginia/DC Metro. 10

If a place is a building or unit: dozens! Laolao’s home, Nainai’s home, Apple St. grad housing, across the street housing, Topeka townhouse, Topeka house, Laolao’s new place, St. Louis apartment, St. Louis house, Connecticut hotel, New York house, Valencia apartment, Valencia house, first year dorm, second year dorm, UK dorm, summer apartment, fourth year dorm, summer dorm, final quarter apartment, Singaporean friend’s, Singaporean coworker’s, Panda’s apartment, Panda’s summer dorm, El Segundo apartment, Virginia apartment, and Virginia condo. 27

If lived means where I’ve considered home: Shenyang, Jieshou, Penn State, Topeka, St. Louis, New York, LA, and Virginia. 8

If lived means where I’ve spent more than 6 months: Shenyang, Jieshou, State College, Topeka, St. Louis, New York, Valencia, Westwood, York, El Segundo, Centreville, and Chantilly. 12

If lived means where I’ve had to be since I couldn’t crash elsewhere: I’d say that pretty much is exactly the same as the building interpretation of “place” as mentioned above. 27 again

Of course, different combinations of the “place” and “lived” concepts yield different results. I went with what I felt most comfortable with. What would your lists look like?

Zooming time

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: ,
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I don’t know what is going on, but my sense of time recently has been all out of wack. Was it already two days ago that I last posted? I feel like it’s been a blink of the eye. The hours at night always seem that way, yet the daytime hours drag. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was blogging?

Ooooh! I just realized that the clock is after midnight…

Well I guess this is a sign that I’m too tired to be up much longer. At least I know I’m not completely crazy. Nonetheless, time does feel very odd these days. Too fast yet too slow all at once. You ever feel that?

Wounded soul

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , ,
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wounded soul poem

The sadness in his eyes…

Hidden behind a veil of indifference

Yet —

Deep in his wounded soul

A broken heart

Hello Brits!

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags:
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I was checking my Alexa rank today, wondering what sort of influence people might think I have as a blogger and I was pleasantly surprised to find that I’m ranking in the UK! If you’re not familiar with Alexa ranks, it basically tells you how trafficked your website is. So the number is telling you that you’re in the top ## of active websites.

I typically hover in the 2 million mark globally and 700-800k in the US. Two years ago, I was randomly ranking in Turkey at around 100k (with 60,491 as my best). Since then I haven’t ranked in a foreign country as far as I know. But today, what a cool thing to see that nearly HALF my traffic is from the UK and I’m 177,368th in line.

alexa rank 2.10.16

Most US-based bloggers will see at least 80% of their traffic come from the US, so there must be something in the air to make all these Brits visit my site. Pretty cool and a fun little fact to make me smile. If I ever find myself focusing on building my blog more, I’ll aim to bring my global rank back down below 1 million. The best I ever had was 884,613 two years ago (whoa, on Panda’s birthday, I just noticed :)). My best US rank was 180,889 about a month before that. I’d love to beat those numbers again one day. It’s fun to see traffic grow and watch the ranks improve!

So wherever you are, I’d love to see you stick around.

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