Author Archives: Mark Headrick

Website Changes for April 2015

Main Website

I updated my NASCAR page to get its news feed from Yahoo instead of ESPN after it started to bug out. I also added a new speed test to my Latest Speed Test Results page. It’s DSLReports‘ new Speed Test which is still a work in progress.

Finally, I’ve started to test out using HTML5 with Flash fallback video players on my site. I am using my Inception Blu-ray page for these tests. Currently I am testing out Mediaelement.js player. I have also tried out the JW Player and Video JS players. I suppose I should make one test page for each player to see which works best.  I’d use the JWPlayer if it didn’t have the logo always on the player (the free one anyway). I’m still playing with them to see which I like better.


The main thing with my blog is that I have disabled the Really Simple Share plugin because of what they’ve started doing with it and am now using the Jetpack Sharedaddy module to place Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ buttons on my posts. Using it for now anyway.

That’s all for now. If I think of anything else I’ll update this post. :)

Website Changes for March 2015

All Sites

After running various website speed tests (Pingdom, Google PageSpeed), it told me that I should enable compression (gzip) and take advantage of the browser’s cache. So, I started to do some research on how to turn those on at my webhost. For compression, I finally noticed an “Optimize Website” option in cPanel after I had tried some things in .htaccess that were not working. There I was able to enable it for the following mime types: text/html text/plain text/xml text/css application/javascript. The results were rather dramatic. A 40K html file would be compressed down to 10K or something.

For the caching part, I found the following piece of code to be placed into the .htaccess file in my highest level directory:

<IfModule mod_expires.c>
          <FilesMatch "\.(jpe?g|png|gif|js|css)$">
                      ExpiresActive On
                      ExpiresDefault "access plus 1 month"

And, hey it worked! Files of those types are now set to expire after 1 month. Before, Firefox was caching things based on how recently the file was modified. I found an explanation here: Two Important Differences between Firefox and IE Caching. After making these changes, the response headers coming from the server were now like:

Cache-Control: max-age=2592000
Connection: close
Date: Wed, 11 Mar 2015 23:02:20 GMT
Etag: "1410-419260a0e3ec0"
Expires: Fri, 10 Apr 2015 23:02:20 GMT
Server: Apache

These changes affected the behavior of all my websites. I was also advised to make the connection keep-alive but I think my webhost has that disabled for performance reasons.

Main Website

I modified most of the main pages to show a last modified date in the central time zone. A lot of pages still show an eastern timezone (DVD pages mainly). It’s a difference between the date being generated via SSI (server side include) and PHP which has been configured for the central timezone even though the server itself is in the eastern timezone.


My Blog was updated to WordPress v4.1.1. Backed-up the database and file structure and clicked the update button. Not that big a deal. I also figured out how to add a function that would tell me how much memory PHP was using in the Admin section without changing any of the core files:

function memory_stats()
{ // BEGIN function memory_stats
   if ($_SERVER['REMOTE_ADDR'] == HOME_IP) {
      echo '<p style="clear: both;">Memory used: '. number_format(memory_get_usage(true)). ' bytes.<br />';
      echo 'Peak Memory used: '. number_format(memory_get_peak_usage(true)).' bytes.</p>';
} // END function memory_stats
add_action('in_admin_footer', 'memory_stats');

On average the admin portion uses around 40MB. I have PHP configured to 128M. I then noticed some CSS problems after one of my plugins updated and corrected that.


I updated my galleries to Zenphoto 1.4.7. Actually, I’m using one of the master support builds due to some bugs I discovered that were corrected in the support version. I’m not going to go into detail about what all I did. Not in the mood right now and I doubt anybody cares LOL. Actually, it could be its own post if I wanted it to be.

Well, that’s all I have for now. :) If I think of anything else I’ll update this post or make another.

Website Changes for January 2015

Main Website

Other than the normal updating of the Firefox Configuration and Winamp Info, I updated the Hardware page after getting a new router for Christmas from my sister! I got an ASUS RT-AC68U Wireless-AC1900 Dualband Gigabit Router. Below is what it looks like from the front. It’s great! I can stream movies on my HDTV from Netflix again!


I also modified my Speed Test Result page with a test from with the router in use. Since I have everything hardwired to the router, I have the wireless part turned off. That’s about it for my main website.


I have updated my blog to the latest WordPress version 4.1 (last month actually). I have also installed a couple new plugins. I replaced Twitter Facebook Social Share with Really Simple Share because I like the HTML5 version of the Facebook Like button and it seems to still be updated. I did have to tweak the CSS to get the buttons and surrounding border to align and appear how I wanted. For those curious, here’s the CSS I added to the bottom of the plugin’s style.css (I should probably move it my theme’s style.css instead.. yeah).:

.really_simple_share_twitter, .really_simple_share_google1 {
   padding-top: 4px;
.really_simple_share {
    border: thin solid #1944A8;     
    border-radius: 5px;
    padding-left: 5px;
    background-color: #F0F4F9;

I have also installed the Anti-spam plugin which seems to be working fairly well. It’s keeping them from Akismet and going into my spam folder that I then need to deal with. I also discovered a bug with some of my code that excludes categories which caused the Category filter in the admin post list to fail. I have updated my Excluding Categories from Different Parts of WordPress post with the changes I made.

Well I guess that’s all I can think of for now. If I think of anything else I’ll add it. :)