Well, that’s one win

A client wants to see if we can make his site more mobile-friendly (and hence improve his Google page score) without actually changing the design (a very attractive job by Greg Buckingham). I’ve built the site on a well established mobile-friendly framework, so the question becomes one of whether I’ve done something to nullify that, or if the site content (much of which predates the mobile web) is messing things up.

I started looking into it and pretty quickly recalled that I’d set it to be a fixed rather than a responsive layout. So that’s an obvious place to start.

Rather than mess with a live client site, my next step was to set up a test site and start modifying it to match the appearance of the current site without affecting the mobile-friendliness. There’s a newer version of the Zen framework, so I went with that. And in raw form, as promised, it has a perfect mobile score.

Now to make some changes. OK, the new framework does away with direct editing of the CSS in favor of SASS, which is a good move, really. So I have to install some tools to work with that. The host where I have my test site doesn’t give me the ability to install these tools, so I fired up my virtual linux box. Re-created the test site (after doing a fairly big upgrade of the OS — it’s been a couple of months since I’d used it). And then installed the tools. For good measure, copied in the site logo for a start. And …

Nothing. Nada. Zip.

Checked the selinux settings. Cleared up all the notices. Again.


Went into the server logs. SEGMENTATION FAULT.

What in the nine billion names of God? Installing the developer tools hoses the OS?

This sounds like a good opportunity to work on something else for a while. Like this blog. I’ve had an issue since I set it up that while the site was at www.guyjeansjapan.com, the admin pages were at guyjeansjapan.com (sans ‘www’). This has caused various issues. For example, previewing didn’t work. The site stats wouldn’t load. And every so often when I was trying to accomplish something, I’d get logged out and the browser wouldn’t remember my credentials to log me in again.

There’s a place in the control panel for these settings, but they were disabled. So I searched around until I found a config file hack that did the trick. Back in business now. Everything works as expected.

While I was at it I found a like/dislike button plug-in. This was a request from Nana. Also some sharing settings that I’m not sure how much use I’ll make of, since I keep facebook in a different browser and have it blocked from this one.

Pity the client’s not paying me to sort out my own blog. (On the other hand, the mobile friendly work is all speculation at this point, as I haven’t yet given him an estimate for the job.)

In Japan, Woody Allen would need new source material

Not only is there no God, but try finding a plumber on Sunday.Woody Allen

We had the kitchen faucet replaced last year. If I recall correctly, it was on a Sunday.

Anyway, we had called the plumber because the old faucet was leaking, and we hoped he could just replace a bushing or something. But he said the faucet was too worn, and he sold us a new one. He had everything he needed on the spot, and even took a credit card. I thought that was pretty impressive service.

Lately, though, Nana noticed that the faucet was leaking. Thursday was a holiday, so she spent some time digging through the papers to come up with the warranty on the faucet — two years, so we were still covered. She called the plumber.

And he came immediately.

On a holiday.

He had a look at the faucet and decided that it was the manufacturer’s responsibility. So Nana called the manufacturer (again, on a holiday), and scheduled one of their people to come today.


She asked him to arrive before noon as she was going somewhere in the afternoon. (This was a deception. She wanted to watch her drama at 1.)

(Nana says the drama starts at 1:05.)

The plumber from the manufacturer arrived a few minutes before noon, in the pouring rain. He got to work right away. It took some time but he found the culprit: an O-ring that he replaced and then tested to make sure it was sealing properly. He explained to Nana in some detail how the O-ring had failed.

Total bill for two plumbers to visit, one on a national holiday and one on a Saturday: Zip. Nada. Rien. サービス. All under warranty.

Of course, this kind of service doesn’t come cheap. The initial replacement last year was kind of expensive, and it was more for the labor than the faucet.

Newly repaired faucet
Newly repaired faucet

Also true of many sports figures

I was at dinner last night at a Shinjuku izakaya with Nana and a couple of older women, one of whom used to run a yakitori restaurant in the neighborhood.

At the next table were a couple of younger women. And when Nana got up to use the restroom, one of the older women at my table turned to these two and started a conversation.

I don’t remember what was said before the ball was handed to me, but the following was totally a logical progression from that (I swear):

So how long have you been in Japan?

(This is one of my jokes as it’s a standard question from Japanese meeting a foreigner.)

Young Lady No. 1:
Well …
I’ll bet I’ve been here longer.
Young Lady No. 1:
I’ve been here since 1989.
Young Lady No. 1:
You’re right! That’s longer than me!
Young Lady No. 2:
Me too!