Joseph Hallenbeck

Anno Domini 2013

I have taken to experimenting with stitching panoramic images together. The one above is of Bear Lake in September of this year. We sped around the lake at sunset hoping to get to the eastern shore in time for the shot. I ran out of the truck down onto the stony beach and started shooting. The resulting photo has has had little post work done in lightroom, but was stitched together using photoshop with a dash of content aware fill to fill in where the distortion curved down into the blue sky and took out a chunk of the right-most...
December 02, 2013

My Favorite PHP Helper Function - A Better Isset()

Filed under: Software Development (updated on 2017-08-22 09:30)
PHP7’s Null Coalesce Operator As of PHP 7 the function described below is no longer neccessary as it’s been superceded by the Null Coalesce Operator. Null Coalesce allows a nice bit of syntactical sugar for a checking if a variable is set and then returns that variable if it is or some fallback value if it is not: <?= $title ?? 'Blog Title' ?> Outputs the value of $title if it is set or ‘Blog Title’ if it is not. It is the same as doing: <?= isset($title) ? $title : 'Blog Title' ?> My favorite helper function for CodeIgniter...
In this article I plan on addressing CodeIgniter’s shortfalls as a framework for validating objects and introduce a method for improving the validator classes re-usability. When To Validate? The answer to this question is simple: whenever we are dealing with input. The (incorrect) assumption that CodeIgniter and many web-applications make is that user input comes in the form of GET and POST variables and a considerable amount of effort goes into validating inputs via these routes. However, GET and POST are not the only sources for user input. User input can come via external sources such as tying into a...
November 19, 2013

Building Pecunia - Introduction

Filed under: Software Development
What is Pecunia? I have been keeping my own personal accounts for some time in a progressively growing spreadsheet that after one decade of use, multiple files, and dozens of worksheets. The entire thing is quite a mess. My solution? Build an app for it! Pecunia will be a simple budgeting application designed from the ground up for keeping track of monthly budgets, annual budgets, and keeping a ledger of individual expenses. With a little bit of work, I should be able to turn it into a multi-user application to launch as an extension on for public use as...
September 23, 2013

CodeIgniter's God Complex

Filed under: Software Development
I have worked with Code Igniter almost exclusively for the last nine months. In that time, I have found it to be a massive step ahead over working with some of the major CMS systems on the market (WordPress, I am looking at you). Nevertheless, there remains some major architectural and blind spots that exist in CodeIgniter as a framework. Some of these issues are resolvable (CodeIgniter’s presumption that you would only ever want to validate the POST superglobal), while others are inherent in it’s design. In this series I hope to look at some of these issues that I...
I decided to share my fix for lightboxing in NextGEN Gallery 2.0.21. This version of the WordPress plugin for some odd reason breaks support for lightboxing the gallery images (that is having the gallery image “pop out” in front of the page when clicked). This fix does not modify the NextGEN gallery itself so we can easily revert to using NextGEN’s lightboxing whenever it gets fixed. Follow these steps: 1. Turn off NextGEN Lightbox Effect Log into the dashboard of your WordPress installation and navigate to `Gallery Other Options and select Lightbox Effects. There select from the drop down No...
September 14, 2013

New Wind-Up Post: Fez

Filed under: Literary Criticism
I have a new post over on the Wind-Up Culture Blog concerning the the extraordinary polish of Fez. Right now, I’m at 82% of Fez completed and the game continues to blow my mind away with the complexity of this indie title.
September 14, 2013

Galleries are Broken

Filed under: Journal
I just noticed today that a combination of the newest version of the nextgen-gallery plugin with my custom jQuery and lightbox code succeeding in completely breaking support of both such that neither the nextgen galleries used in the Art and Photography sections nor the lightboxes used in various blog posts really work. If I have some time this weekend this will all be fixed up shortly. Updated: The problem seems to be documented already with the 2.0.21 build of NextGen. Since there is no fix for the problem and since I already have a lightbox solution installed in the theme...
September 14, 2013

On the Extraordinary Polish of Fez

Filed under: Literary Criticism
I am struggling to find the words that adequately describe the simple joy that is Fez. I think the word that I most often find in my reflection is complete. That is, I think Fez is a more polished and “whole” game than many a modern Triple-A title. Concerning Publishing Unfinished Games It has become too common to see games placed on shelves before they are truly finished. I could point the finger at any number of triple A titles (mostly in the MMORPG and FPS genres) wherein the release of the game is done before production has really honestly...
August 18, 2013

Steam Summer Sale 2013

Filed under: Journal
Outside of a select handful of console titles that I absolutely adore (Zelda, Mario, Shin Megami, Okami, Team Ico), most of my gaming goes on via the PC. The Steam sales are thus regular points of interest in which I indulge myself in buying far more games than I could realistically play through in a year. To save myself from myself, I established a series of simple rules that I (mostly adhere to) where Steam sales are concerned I may only follow the summer sale. I may only make one purchase per day. So here’s my list of this year’s...
A year ago, I promised a complete site overall. “It all has to go!” I said as I started revising stylesheets and pulling apart templates. Then suddenly, I took a year break from blogging. The thing was, that as I started to revise the site I began to realize that the whole thing lacked the certain kind of voice and insight that I had hoped to achieve. It felt rather forced. The site itself did not help much. The template was a kludge of spaghetti code hammered together over a drunken weekend in college and looked nothing like the simplicity...
It has been almost one year exactly since I posted my progress in attending the life studies group in Sioux Falls. I did not attend nearly as much as I had hoped last year. Indeed, with heavy overtime through the fall and only a scattering of visits last winter followed by an outright abstinence through the spring and into early summer – I am surprised that I have this many sketches to scrap up and post.