The Robservatory

Robservations on everything…

 

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Control animated GIF playback on WordPress sites

I wanted to embed an animated GIF in my post about changing the iOS Settings screen. However, because the GIF was about 4MB in size, I didn’t want it to auto-load—and in general, I find auto-playing GIFs annoying. I wanted something that would stop and start on click, like this (wonderfully subtle) example GIF

So I did what any WordPress user would do in such a situation: I went looking for a WordPress plug-in that offered control over GIFs.

I initially found WP GIF Player and GIF Animation Preview. Both did what I wanted, mostly, but they added a bunch of their own HTML and CSS, and/or relied on the WordPress media library (which I don’t use). After testing both, I just couldn’t get them to work with the GIF and the size/position that I wanted to use. Perhaps there are others that would work, but I got frustrated and gave up searching.

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Center embedded tweets on WordPress sites

WordPress has a neat built-in feature that, when composing a post, if you put the URL to a specific tweet on its own line, like this…

https://twitter.com/rgriff/status/827901296258584576

…then WordPress will automatically convert it to a tweet link, like this:

By default, though, the embedded tweets will be left-aligned. I wanted them center aligned, as above. And because I just wasted 15 minutes figuring this out, I’m documenting the solution here to save myself future aggravations…

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Got tables? Use TablesGenerator.com

Whether writing here or on Macworld, I often find myself relying on tables to convey lots of data points in an easy-to-read manner. As examples, check out the tables in my Nintendo add-ons pricing rant, or in my analysis on the cost of LED lighting. (Or even in my mother-of-all-tables post on OS X release dates.)

Tables play a key role in all of those articles…but creating tables in HTML (or even Markdown) is, quite simply, a pain in the butt. The syntax is simple enough, but structuring complex tables with some entries spanning multiple rows and/or columns can be time consuming.

Often, too, my work starts in Excel, and it seems like a lot of redundant effort to take Excel’s table-based layout and recreate it in an HTML-based table layout. (Excel has an export to HTML function, but the HTML it builds is heavily styled and needs a lot of editing.)

Enter TablesGenerator, an amazing tool for creating tables. Not just HTML tables, but pure text tables, LaTeX tables, and even MediaWiki tables (whatever those might be).

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