ST:TNG Treadmill Review #11: Samaritan Snare

Samaritan Snare
Season 2 Episode 17
Original airdate: May 13, 1989

Netflix Synopsis

With Picard away for routine surgery, the Enterprise responds to a distress call from a Pakled vessel.

My Brief Review

Structured like an episode of The Love Boat, this is a mostly entertaining but not great episode. In one storyline, Picard and Wesley spend 6 hours on a shuttlecraft to Starbase 515, where Wes will take exams and Picard is going for what turns out to be a heart transplant. In the other storyline, Riker and the Enterprise deal with a ship full of simpletons on a ship full of stolen technology that is beyond their comprehension. They kidnap Geordi, but a clever ruse by the Enterprise bridge officers saves the day.

Then, with Picard’s surgery going awry, the Enterprise travels at warp 9 to get to the starbase so Dr. Pulaski can save his life. Which makes one wonder why the whole shuttlecraft scenario happened at all. (Bad writing!)

Memorable Moment

Communicating with Geordi in front of the Pakleds, Riker, Data and Worf speak in code to relay their plan to rescue Geordi from his dimwitted captors. Worf gets quasi-mystical for a moment.

Crew Rando

It’s the return of Ensign Gomez! I expected her appearance in the previous episode to be a one-off, but she’s still here… presumably because the story needed someone in engineering, and we don’t really know anyone there besides Geordi.

Distance Rating: 5K

IMDb score: 6.6/10

Introducing my new album… a ROCK OPERA no less… 8-Bit Time Machine!

Anyone who’s following me on the social medias knows I’ve been working for the past couple of months on what is probably my most absurdly ambitious solo music project to date: a rock opera with a retro-geeky theme.

The album is finished. I’m still working on perfecting the masters before I release it for download and get CDs pressed, but you can now immerse yourself in the full 8-Bit Time Machine experience over on the new website I’ve set up for the album:

8bittimemachine.com

The website features a page for each of the album’s 11 tracks, where you can listen to the track while reading the lyrics and notes about the story. (Note: As the audio is in MP3 format, it will work in Firefox. Any other modern browser that supports HTML5 audio will play the tracks automatically.)

Stay tuned for more information about a final release date!

8-Bit Time Machine

P.S. Yes, there is a track (a rather musical one at that) consisting of nothing but sounds from Atari 2600 games.

P.P.S. Yes, there is also one track with full-on autotuned vocals. How do I rationalize this use of one of my most despised audio technologies? You’ll just have to listen to figure it out.

CSS snag of the day: images in tables with max-width set, not displaying properly in Firefox

When did Firefox become such a steaming pile?

OK, that’s not how I intended to start this. Just kinda had to get it out there. Anyway, a client brought an unusual bug with their website to my attention today.

Since embracing responsive web design last year, I’ve become quite fond of using this little bit of code to make images resize dynamically to fit their containers:

img {
  height: auto;
  max-width: 100%;
  width: auto;
}

Most of the time this little bit of CSS works magic. But in this particular case, it did not. The client has put together a table on a page to present a set of photos of board members. In most browsers, the table looks great and is fluidly scaling down the images. But in Firefox, we found it was clumsily overflowing its borders, rendering the images at their full sizes.

After working my way through a few surprisingly unhelpful posts on Stack Overflow, I found my way to this, which seemed to hold an only-too-simple answer:

table {
  table-layout: fixed;
}

I don’t know about you, but I never use table-layout. I’ve come to realize there’s a whole realm of CSS that I just basically never touch, because it’s (usually) completely unnecessary to the way I build pages. But every once in a while, these things come in handy. Turns out, table-layout: fixed was exactly what I needed to — BOOM! — fix the problem with the too-large table images in Firefox.

And, suddenly, CSS was magic again.

RegisTrap 0.4 released

Luckily the bug in RegisTrap I discovered yesterday after upgrading to WordPress 2.7 turned out to be a very minor one. I just had to move the return $errors; line outside of a conditional in my function to ensure that it’s always returned, even if no error value was set. In the previous version of WordPress, it didn’t matter that if there were no errors the function was returning… well, nothing… but in the new version it seems you can’t apply an error handling filter without returning a WP_Error object.

Anyway… it works now, and you can download version 0.4 right now from my site. I’ve also checked it into the main WordPress Subversion repository, so it should be showing up on the official site sometime fairly soon. Enjoy!

Special thanks to Jenny for happening to try registering for the site within about 8 hours after I had upgraded, and bringing the problem to my attention. Otherwise I might have gone days or weeks without knowing the plugin was broken!

It’s definitely still necessary though, because in about a day of running my site without the plugin I had already received over a half dozen spam registrations.