Time for Another Reboot

The Dell PC hosting my web server will have been running continuously for one month as of Thursday afternoon.  During that period I have downloaded and installed two new Linux kernels, and now I really need to boot into the newest version.  Therefore, my website will be briefly inaccessible beginning at 15:00 (3 pm) EDT tomorrow.  Sorry for any inconvenience.

Also, sometime between now and the end of the year, I will be performing some hardware maintenance and software upgrades on this server over a longer period of time, perhaps a couple of days.  During that time I plan to put one of my new Raspberry Pi computers in its place.  It will be running the latest version of Raspian, a Linux variant developed for the Raspberry Pi and the Apache2 web server to host a copy of my genealogical website.  There will be plenty of warning, and the transition time from one server to the other should not take longer than one hour and might take considerably less.

My server has a status page, and there is a link to it on the welcoming page, the one with the dinosaur and flags.  The Raspberry Pi will have one, too.

Time for a Reboot

The Dell PC hosting my web server has been running continuously since Wednesday, August 7.  During that period I have downloaded and installed two new Linux kernels, and now I really need to boot into the newer version.  Therefore, my website will be briefly inaccessible beginning at 21:00 (9 pm) EDT this evening.  Sorry for any inconvenience.

Dark Mode Developments

More web browsers have begun to support dark mode detection, and I have updated my mode detection page accordingly.  If your browser is listed but you still do not see green, then you probably need to update your browser.  For most of them the easiest way is to visit the About page or select Check for Updates from a drop-down menu.  My page offers links for downloading an installation file for the latest version of each supported browser.

While the preceding should work fine for Windows and MacOS systems, browsers running on either Android or iOS, though they may support dark mode detection, are unable to utilize the feature since neither mobile operating system offers system-wide dark mode.  This, however, is about to change.  Android 10, formerly known as Android Q, has a dark mode setting; its release date is Tuesday, September 3.  As for iOS, Version 13 is to be released in mid-September, the most likely date being Wednesday, the 18th.

With regard to the rollout of Android 10, as in the past, Google devices will receive the upgrade first, and other manufacturers’ devices will not see it for days, weeks, or even months.  For Samsung phones and tablets this delay has sometimes been six months.  If your phone or tablet is still running Android 8 (Oreo) or earlier, you may not ever receive it.  For reference my smart phone is a Google Pixel 2 running Android 9 (Pie), and my tablet is an old Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 running Android 7 (Nougat).  I am considering the purchase of a new tablet sometime after Android 10 becomes more widely available.

Downtime Today

Beginning at 12:00 EDT today my website will be inaccessible while I perform maintenance to my home network.  The maintenance consists of small modifications to both my cable modem and to my server, each of which will require a reboot to activate a new configuration.  This work should take no more than one hour and might take considerably less.  Sorry if this causes any inconvenience.

No More Watermarks!

This afternoon I finished editing the web pages with photos so that they pointed to local photos rather than to the corresponding photo at photobucket.com.  As usual, I spent 99% of my time creating and testing a shell script to find and edit the pages, but it missed a few that I had to edit manually.  I am glad to be rid of photobucket.com.

Although it is not explicitly stated on some pages, almost all of the photos have been scaled down to fit comfortably on an old computer monitor with a width of 640 pixels.  The monitor on which I am reading this has a width of 1920 pixels and even though I am not filling the screen with this browser window, the window is still wider than 640 pixel.  To view a photo in its full size, usually 750 pixels in landscape orientation, just click (or tap) on it.

Like the history pages, the picture pages still have some remaining issues that I will be addressing at some time in the near future.

There is categorized index to the pictures.

Stumbling in the Dark

Since activating dark mode earlier in the week, I have found a few problems that I had overlooked during testing.  I am ordering them from severe to moderate and plan to fix them in this order.

  • The table information in the name index has poor contrast in dark mode since it displays very pale yellow text on a very pale green background.
  • The pedigree chart uses a table in a less overt fashion, but the text in the column headers presents the same poor contrast, and the text in the data, i.e., years of birth and death, also has sub-optimal contrast.
  • The history pages have no support for dark mode at all.

While noting these issues, I also discovered that the photographs on the picture pages are now being overlaid with an annoying watermark.  Clicking on the picture will display a full-size version at the Photobucket website without the watermark.  Back when a local ISP hosted my website, I was bumping up against their disk quotas as I added more photographs, so I moved all the photos to Photobucket and edited the picture pages accordingly.  In 2013, when I migrated the website to a commercial hosting company, I retained the links to Photobucket.  In 2017 Photobucket changed their policies with regard to free hosting; they improved the service so much that I really did not like it anymore.  I have already downloaded all of my genealogical photos but have procrastinated on editing the links on the pages.  The watermarks have motivated me to begin work on this.


Plunging into Darkness

Early this morning, after several weeks of reading, tinkering, testing, and talking, I upgraded the style sheet for my website to detect my visitors’ color scheme preference and to set the scheme to either light mode or dark mode.  The default is light mode, which is a very pale yellow background with black text; dark mode inverts these colors.  In the talking part of the process, I learned that folks either love or loathe dark mode; the only people who were neutral were those who had never heard of it.

Another minor change is to the colors and decoration of the four link states: unvisited (blue), visited (purple), hovering (red), and active (green).  I have adjusted the colors slightly to optimize the contrast in both light mode and dark mode.  Also, the links are now underscored for both the hovering and active states.  I derived this from the reading part of the process along with some tinkering.  For testing I ran it by a former high school classmate who is color blind, and he approved.

Yesterday, as scheduled, Google rolled out Version 76 of their popular Chrome web browser, and as promised, it fully supports color scheme detection.  It joins both Safari and Firefox; Opera supports detection in a limited fashion.  Other web browsers should follow suit now that the majors have upgraded.  If you are running Chrome under either Windows or MacOS, just visit the About page to upgrade.  Chrome for Android and iOS is being rolled out through the appropriate app stores, but as of the current version Android has no operating system support for dark mode.  Android Q, which is supposed to have such support, is due to be released in August.

As always, comments, questions, and suggestions are welcome.