Am I Not A Woman And A Sister

Did you see the Google link of the day? It’s a very nicely painted photo of a woman in profile reading a book on a beach before the ocean. It is Mary Prince.

It is she who said, Am I not a woman and a sister? when as a slave she petitioned for the abolition of slavery.

In the picture there are gulls or other white sea birds wheeling in the air, but Mary is intent on her book.

What book is it? Perhaps she is reading her own book – The History Of Mary Prince, a West Indian Slave, related by herself.

You can get it on Amazon. 

Here’s the first paragraph of the Wikipedia entry for her:

Mary Prince (1788 – after 1833, age at death approx. 45) was a British abolitionist and autobiographer, born in Bermuda to an enslaved family of African descent. Subsequent to her escape, when she was living in London, England, she wrote her slave narrative The History of Mary Prince, which was the first account of the life of a black woman to be published in the United Kingdom. This first-hand description of the brutalities of enslavement, released at a time when slavery was still legal in Bermuda and British Caribbean colonies, had a galvanising effect on the anti-slavery movement. It was reprinted twice in its first year.

Ironically, the only thing I haven’t been able to find is who painted the Google picture.

Column Blocks in Gutenberg

I mentioned before that I am using the Gutenberg plugin on a self-hosted WordPress site. Today I was working with columns of text. In Gutenberg, everything is a block (as in building block). Images are blocks, headings are blocks, tables are blocks, quotes are blocks. And columns are blocks.

By their nature column blocks are a container for two or more columns, and within that container are the blocks for the individual columns. They are all wrapped up together ready for use.

As I found out today, the container block in the columns block is skittish.

To see what I mean by that, please read the article I wrote about it that links to a short video that illustrates how fiddly it is in the back end to find the bit of block you want.

Here is the link to Columns Blocks (article will open in a new tab or window)

On the plus side, lots of things used to be more skittish Gutenberg and have now settled down. The Gutenberg team are coding at a rapid rate and things are starting to shape up. I just took a look around for new blocks that people are making – pull quotes, pricing tables…

I think there will be a real possibility that users will be able to make pretty much whatever they want with whatever theme they like, rather than have to look for another theme or use a page builder.

Against that, I guess one could ask then why not just use a page builder and forget all this Guttenberg stuff?

Maybe the answer to that is that not all page builders provide all the features one might want and not all page builders are free. In the interests of the great mass of users, maybe Gutenberg will live up to its promise.

First though, it has to get the columns block right.


I posted the video of the ‘hover’ problem in a FaceBook Gutenberg group I am in, and Bjarne Oldrup mentioned this option in Divi and agreed that Gutenberg would benefit from having this feature. I have to wonder whether the code implementation is an easy task…

No More Pencils

I write about politics, and personal experiences at No More Pencils.

Here are some of the most recent posts:

Supreme Court On Trump’s Third Travel Ban is about the Supreme Court decision to uphold the third version of the travel ban. That court decision, which was in June, passed me by. I wonder how many others missed it and what the practical consequences of the ban are. What is happening, today, now?

Who Will Be Notified Of This Post is a reflection on a decision to move from Google’s Feedburner to Jetpack for people to follow No More Pencils, and about some of the problems I ran into.

The Weather And Brexit is about the poor sales figures in the first Quarter in the UK, and the prediction of the Bank of England governor, Mark Carney.

UK Returns Policy is a sympathetic piece for the stores that have to offer free returns, and how stores figure out what they actually sold, and how they can plan for the future.

The GIUK GAP is geopolitics and how Russia has to negotiate a narrow and shallow passage if it wants to bring its Northern fleet into the Atlantic. The deep sea maps from the University of Oslo reveal what that means.

Sixty Million Tonnes Of Wheat is what the US produces each year. I had some fun visualising what that tonnage would look like and how far it would stretch.

and on…

Small Websites

Reb from WriteMeow commented that

When I first got internet at home, 1997, I got perhaps 10MB from the carrier to build a website! This included a long and incredibly complicated URL with several slashes and a ~ tilde.

It reminded me that that I wanted to share a couple of ways to make small sites that I recently came across.

Example 1. Small

Carrd (note two ‘r’s in the name) is offering ‘Simple, free, fully responsive one-page sites for pretty much anything.’

Here’s one I made earlier: Moi

Example 2. So Small It Exists Inside Its Own URL

Nicholas Jitkoff, the vice president of design at Dropbox, and a former Google designer has made itty bitty. It takes html (or other data), compresses it into a URL fragment, and spits out a link that can be shared. When the link is opened, it inflates that data on the receiver’s side.

The clever bit is that the site is not hosted anywhere: It is contained within its own URL.

Here’s one I made earlier (with a link to itty.bitty)

Have fun!

Blogger Outreach Tricks

I got an email a couple of weeks ago, out of the blue, addressed to me by name and asking whether I would like to link to an article that the sender had written.

He or she explained how the article enhanced something I had written about the Hemingway app.

Earlier today I got a a follow-up email asking whether I had had the chance to review the first email, and what were my thoughts.

By chance, I was looking at the traffic sources for Photograph Works, and one of the traffic sources was Pitchbox. So I took a look.

Pitchbox describes itself as an ‘Influencer Outreach & Content Marketing Platform’.

Prices start at $195.00/month.

Watching the intro video on Pitchbox I see that one of the features designed to make life easier for its users is that it picks up personalisation information by scraping the target websites – in this case, my site.

The person who sent me an email picked my site and others on the basis of keywords he/she chose.

Then Pitchbox scraped my name to make it appear that the emails I receive are personal.

Well, yes, that’s business – and who wouldn’t go for the easy option if it is available.

But it’s not a way to make friends now that I know how it works.