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Tue, 17 Nov 2009

Now I'm 3

[Nov 17 10:35] Starting trial factoring of M56256019 to 2^68

Intel Pentium III Mobile 933MHz

Posted on 17 Nov 2009 at 10:39 in /technology. -- Permalink

Mon, 16 Nov 2009

I am 2 workers

[Worker #2 Nov 16 11:54] Resuming primality test of M22697959 using FFT length 1280K
[Worker #2 Nov 16 11:54] Iteration: 892644 / 22697959 [3.93%].
[Worker #1 Nov 16 11:54] Resuming primality test of M22697947 using FFT length 1280K
[Worker #1 Nov 16 11:54] Iteration: 881449 / 22697947 [3.88%].

My computer is helping to find out whether the numbers 2^22697959 and 2^22697947 are prime. If it keeps working on this 24/7, it's expected to finish around 3 December.

Links: Mersenne prime (Wikipedia), GIMPS.

Posted on 16 Nov 2009 at 13:15 in /technology. -- Permalink

Fri, 30 Oct 2009

Garmin eTrex Vista HCx on Ubuntu 9.04

I have found it unexpectedly hard to get my computer (running Ubuntu 9.04) to talk to a Garmin eTrex GPS device.

It's basically the usual situation - the device comes with some Windows-only software, which is very basic (to put it mildly) but makes sure that upload and download of data works out of the box. In Linux, of course, nothing ever works out of the box, which is part of the fun. But in this case I needed to try lots of different drivers, command line tools, GUI backends before any data at all was exchanged between the GPS device and the computer.

What did work well, finally, was a combination of GPSBabel (which converts all sorts of GPS file formats into all sorts of other GPS file formats), GPSD (whose special strength seems to be real-time processing of GPS data) and Viking (a graphical program to manage maps and GPS data). Apparently Viking needs a file containing a single line of code so it finds the GPS device at "USB:" - this is explained in a GpsPasSion post. This post was one of the very few relevant hints available online which I found really helpful. It also mentions Gebabbel (excellent choice of name!), which is an easy-to-use backend to most functions of GPSBabel.

Posted on 30 Oct 2009 at 19:02 in /technology. -- Permalink

Sun, 11 Oct 2009

Uploading an OSM map to a Garmin GPS device

Software needed:

This is what I do:

  1. I go to openstreetmap.org and select the part of map I want, then click the "Export" tab and export the map data as "OpenStreetMap XML Data". The downloaded file is named "map.osm", which I change to "output.osm", the filename expected by GroundTruth in the next step. I put the file into the GroundTruth directory.
  2. I start the Windows equivalent of a shell ("Start" menu, "Run", enter "cmd") and change to the GroundTruth directory. Here I run "groundtruth makemap -rules='http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/GroundTruth_Hiking_Map'" - because what I want is a map more detailed than a road map. From the downloaded file, this creates several files in the "Maps" subdirectory. (In order to keep files which were produced earlier, it's good to rename this subdirectory to something else, then create a new subdirectory named "Maps".)
  3. I copy the file named "123456.img" from the "Maps" directory to a newly created subdirectory under "C:\Garmin", then start the MapSet ToolKit. Here I select the new subdirectory under "C:\Garmin" to "Source IMG files" ("Select IMG"), add the file to the "Selected IMG files" ("Add"), select the same directory as "Mapset directory", enter a "Mapset name" and a "Product Code" of my choosing. Make sure the path to the cGPSmapper folder is correct. I also tick "Install in MapSource" under "Options". Then I click "START".
  4. I start MapSource and select my new map (which has the name I gave it in the previous step) from the drop-down list in the upper left corner. I zoom out until I can see a boundary of the map, then click on it in order to mark the map ("Map" in the "Tools" menu needs to be ticked for this, or the "Map" icon clicked). The map appears in the "Maps" list in the left part of the window.
  5. I can now transfer the map to my GPS device, either by clicking the relevant symbol or by selecting "Send to device" from the "Transfer" menu. Since MapSource doesn't seem to recognise properly the memory card in my device, I put the card into a card reader connected to the computer. An existing "gmapsupp.img" file on the card will be overwritten, so it's probably best to copy it somewhere before transferring the new map onto the card.
  6. It's possible to use sendmap instead of MapSource to create a "gmapsupp.img" file and upload it to the device ("sendmap20 123456.img" on the command line). Sendmap will scan ports for a GPS device or memory card to upload the file to.

Posted on 11 Oct 2009 at 22:44 in /technology. -- Permalink

Mon, 29 Jun 2009

Backing up Delicious.com posts

From BinnyVA's txt collection.

Posted on 29 Jun 2009 at 15:21 in /technology/internet. -- Permalink

Fri, 12 Jun 2009

Addendum: How to extract audio from an mp4 video file

A more elegant solution, plus links, from Binny VA.

Posted on 12 Jun 2009 at 11:11 in /technology. -- Permalink

Mon, 08 Jun 2009

How to extract audio from an mp4 video file

for nam in filename.mp4; do nice mplayer -ao pcm "$nam" -ao pcm:file="$nam.wav"; done

Then, for example:

lame -b 192 -h filename.wav filename.mp3


nice oggenc -q5 filename.wav -o filename.ogg

Conversion to mp3 or ogg can also be integrated in the "for" loop above. See here: Howto: convert aac/mp4 to wav/mp3/ogg on Linux.

Posted on 08 Jun 2009 at 01:21 in /technology. -- Permalink

How to mount an ISO as CD

sudo mount -o loop ~/Desktop/filename.iso /media/cdrom0

Posted on 08 Jun 2009 at 01:16 in /technology. -- Permalink

Sat, 30 May 2009

Twitter toolbox

Backtweets searches for links on Twitter - nice when you seem to remember you found some website because someone tweeted it, but can't remember who that was. It works fine with link shortening services like TinyURL and bit.ly.

Microplaza searches one's Twitter network for links, filtering out all tweets without links.

Tweetscan can be used for e-mail alerts (similar to Google alerts) - e-mails which collect tweets containing certain keywords. Tweetbeep does basically the same.

Flapstor charts trends for keywords on Twitter in a simple diagram, which can also be embedded in a website.

Twitnest creates a visualisation of one's Twitter network.

Tweetdeck is a kind of browser specifically for Twitter. Filling the whole screen, it's supposed to help you organise your Twitter stuff - display conversations, tweet yourself, follow certain topics etc. Too bad it needs Adobe Air to run on Linux.

An article at MBA Jobs lists several other Twitter tools, among them Tweetstats, Plodt, Twitterfriends, Monitter and Qwitter (which sends an alert when someone doesn't follow you any longer). Another article at Mashable gives an introduction to hashtags, with links to several tools which are useful in this context.

Posted on 30 May 2009 at 15:55 in /technology/internet. -- Permalink

Thu, 08 Jan 2009

Wordpress 2.7

I've installed WP 2.7 on two websites now - in both cases, installation didn't pose any problems whatsoever and everything worked right out of the box. It wasn't even necessary to disable any plug-ins and re-enable them after the upgrade (as I realised because I forgot to do that). Also, nothing went wrong with my customised versions of the K2 theme.

I'm very happy with the new admin area, where everything seems to be in the right place and a lot of things seem to work faster now. But above all, if it's really true that you can from now on upgrade to newer versions of WP with a single click right there in the admin area, that's a real breakthrough.

Posted on 08 Jan 2009 at 14:35 in /technology. -- Permalink

Sun, 04 Jan 2009

Ubuntu and Xubuntu on my Satellite

I'm very happy with both the standard Ubuntu (8.10/Intrepid Ibex) and the Xubuntu desktop on my ancient notebook. Xubuntu, which uses the Xfce desktop instead of Gnome, is supposed to use less resources; I'm not sure it makes much of a difference on my computer, which is just slow no matter what I run. I'm quite impressed with small Xfce things like the terminal emulator and the Thunar file manager, both of which start up in no time and work really well. I can even use my Dropbox with Thunar - I integrated it into Nautilus (which, like all the other stuff, works in Xfce too) but the Dropbox folder is displayed and synchronised in Thunar as well.

Posted on 04 Jan 2009 at 19:43 in /technology. -- Permalink

Fri, 02 Jan 2009

Ubuntu installation on Toshiba Satellite - thumbs up

The installation didn't pose any problems at all. Even the DSL connection worked just like this. Only I ended up, rather expectedly, with an 800x600 (or so) screen resolution. This, however, I managed to fix by replacing the xorg.conf (in etc/X11) with some lines I found in the thread of a video resolution how-to in the Ubuntu forums.

So here we go with a fully functional - if really slow - Ubuntu 8.10 on an ancient Toshiba Satellite laptop. Very pleased ...

Posted on 02 Jan 2009 at 22:33 in /technology. -- Permalink

Wuala vs. Dropbox

While I'm copying the remaining important (?) data from my Toshiba laptop (see previous post) to a USB hard disk drive - sooo slooow! no USB 2 - I'm looking at these "Traces" here again after several months and find I posted a couple of entries on Wuala. Yes, it's a great thing - but in recent months I've used it less and less, and have used Dropbox more and more because the latter is so much more convenient to use. It's hard to imagine any online storage system that's easier and nicer to use than Dropbox, in fact. Even without integration into the file manager on one's local machine it's great because the web interface, recently improved, is extremely good.

Posted on 02 Jan 2009 at 17:27 in /technology. -- Permalink

Installing Ubuntu on an old Toshiba Satellite 1800 laptop

My old (2002?) Toshiba Satellite laptop is the one which crashed on the day of my arrival in China 2004. More precisely, what crashed was Windows XP. The crash was due to a problem which was fixed in a Service Pack (was it SP 1?) which was published days later.

Being stuck in China without my restore CD (I had thought it safer to leave that behind in Germany), I had no choice but to go for the Linux-only option. I think my system was a dual install before that crash but I'm not quite sure anymore. Anyhow, I installed Xandros Linux. That I messed up a few months later while trying to use it with a more recent kernel (because I wanted to run SpamAssassin); a few weeks after that, a new Xandros version with an up-to-date kernel was published. I had already switched to Suse, though. The installation needed some serious tweaking which my brother-in-law performed over the internet (using SSH, I guess). The combination Satellite - Suse was lovely, it makes me nostalgic to think of it. It sure was slow (and whenever I tried to rip whole CDs, the computer would get so hot that it shut down), but that was OK once you got used to it and acted accordingly.

A little more than 2 years ago I bought a new laptop computer. Since I wanted something really, really nice and really, really small my choice was clear: It had to be an IBM Thinkpad X60. It does have its strengths and I like it, but it really is no better than my old Satellite - except, of course, for the greater speed which comes with a newer processor. The greatest disappointment was the battery, which died after just about one year. Sure, Linux is partly to blame for that, but the battery of the Satellite is still OK (even though not particularly strong) after years and years of Linux. I'm pretty sure my next computer will be another Toshiba laptop - unless I settle for a Mac, of course.

A few months ago, I realised that support for Suse 10 had finally stopped. I didn't take the Satellite out of its old bag after that - until today, when (out of a mixture of boredom and the urge to do something new at the beginning of the year) I decided to give it a new lease of life by installing some up-to-date version of Linux. Since I don't have any blank DVDs, I can't use Suse so I'm settling for Ubuntu. I'm trying the normal version first; if that doesn't work, I'll go for Xubuntu and see what happens.

Posted on 02 Jan 2009 at 17:16 in /technology. -- Permalink

Fri, 10 Oct 2008

Using an external display with Kubuntu Hardy

Apparently there's no way to get an external monitor (or projector) to work with any built-in graphical tool, or with the "System Settings" in the K menu. In order to get any signal at all from the VGA socket of your laptop, you still need to add a few lines to your xorg.conf (which is normally found in /etc/X11):

SubSection "Display"
  Depth 24
  Virtual 1024 768

This has to go into the "Screen" section of xorg.conf I found what I needed at Launchpad: Useful dual-head configuration requires manual editing of xorg.conf to set Virtual. Careful with the two numbers behind "Virtual" though: it's easy to mess up what you see on your screen if you put something different from your actual screen resolution here.

Posted on 10 Oct 2008 at 16:41 in /technology. -- Permalink

17 years of Linux

Linus B. Torvalds's message (5 Oct 1991) which started it all is found here. An article at The Register explains the context.

Posted on 10 Oct 2008 at 15:31 in /technology. -- Permalink

Sun, 28 Sep 2008

How to find open wireless networks

"According to the latest stats on WiGLE, roughly 37 percent of the networks listed in its database are unencrypted and wide open for anyone to use," writes Brian Krebs in a Security Fix article. He introduces Wigle.net (Wireless Geographic Logging Engine), a database which can be searched for wireless networks by geographic area or SSID. I wonder how good it is for areas outside the U.S.

Posted on 28 Sep 2008 at 21:18 in /technology/internet. -- Permalink

Wed, 24 Sep 2008

CSS positioning - a long way to go

Home with bronchitis and not up to anything good anyway, I spent an awful lot of time today trying to create a more unified appearance for my several web pages. Basically I re-created shapes and colours from my "Entries" blog for the other pages. Apparently I still have a lot to learn when it comes to positioning boxes and stuff ...

Posted on 24 Sep 2008 at 20:29 in /technology/internet. -- Permalink

Tue, 23 Sep 2008

A tiny portable wiki

Wiki in a Jar - it's fairly basic but easy to use and just a few dozen kB in size. Runs from a USB stick or whatever (e.g. Dropbox or Wuala), both in Windoze (comes with a .cmd script) and in Linux (.sh script included, too); you could actually just e-mail it to yourself, I guess. It isn't intended to (but can) be used over the internet: it's a personal note-taking device. Unfortunately it messes up special characters like the German umlaut letters ä, ö, ü.

Posted on 23 Sep 2008 at 16:57 in /technology. -- Permalink

Webcam works in Kubuntu

It was extremely easy this time. I downloaded a driver from http://home.mag.cx/messenger/, extracted it and followed the instructions in the included README file (which says, basically, "Run the quickcam.sh script" - but for me this only worked when I ran it as root!), then kept pressing Return as prompted by the script. I get nice video from my Logitech "Quickcam Messenger" in XawTV and Ekiga (the VoIP application). The camera probably won't work after a reboot but that problem will be easy enough to solve with some script.

sudo modprobe quickcam

This may actually be enough.

Posted on 23 Sep 2008 at 16:50 in /technology. -- Permalink

Mon, 22 Sep 2008

Now even safer!

Regarding my new online blog entry editor, I still had to do something about quotes (single and double), which got commented out so I ended up with ugly backslashes in my text and links wouldn't point at the proper URL. This was easy to solve with the PHP "str_replace(search, replace, subject)" function.

Then I also built in two basic security features: one makes sure I get an e-mail message whenever my editor page is used, the other asks for a password before displaying the form from which a user can post an entry.

Posted on 22 Sep 2008 at 19:07 in /technology/internet/blosxom. -- Permalink

Posting Blosxom entries online, without FTP

I've started experimenting with PHP again. I used the "import" function to use one single file for the navigation on most of the pages on my website, and another single file for the links in the right column of some of my "old blog" pages. Now I've just finished a kind of simple blog entry editor, where you can enter a title and some text and select a category, which will then be saved as a text file in the correct directory on the server.

Posted on 22 Sep 2008 at 18:43 in /technology/internet/blosxom. -- Permalink

Mon, 15 Sep 2008

A print style sheet

I learned something interesting from a book my brother-in-law gave me: "Advanced Professional Web Design", by Clint Eccher - how to create a style sheet for printing blog entries.

The following the style sheet (print.css) which I added to my "Entries" blog. It makes sure the font is big enough to be legible on the print-out and suppresses the header, sidebars, footer, the form where visitors can enter comments (basically an empty text field) plus the invitation to leave a comment, horizontal lines, the link to the comments feed and the trackback link.

p { font-size: 12pt; }
#header { display:none ;}
#sidebar-1 { display:none ;}
#sidebar-2 { display:none ;}
#footer { display:none ;}
form  { display:none ;}
hr  { display:none ;}
h4#respond { display:none ;}
span.commentsrsslink { display:none ;}
span.trackbacklink { display:none ;}

I also added a line to the file header.php (which is one of the files of the K2 theme I'm using) - a normal style sheet link:

link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" media="print" href="print.css"

Some PHP code before "print.css" ("echo get_template_directory_uri();") simply makes sure the style sheet is found. (There are a few backslashes too many in this line as it is displayed here - I haven't yet found a way to display code properly in Blosxom.)

Posted on 15 Sep 2008 at 20:07 in /technology/internet. -- Permalink

Wed, 10 Sep 2008

Making a Wordpress blog more secure

I found some good hints at Maketecheasier.com. The AskApache plugin (mentioned there), however, acted strangely when I tried to use it with Wordpress 2.6 on two different remote servers. Also, the wp-security-scan plugin was consistently unable to act on its own recommendation and change the table prefixes in the database used by Wordpress. Maybe this was due to my being consistently incapable of granting the necessary privileges to the respective users? But if so, I guess I ran into a problem with the MySQL database "wizard". Anyhow - safer now, I think.

Posted on 10 Sep 2008 at 18:47 in /technology/internet. -- Permalink

Fri, 05 Sep 2008

Running Wireshark as a non-root user

As pointed out on the Wireshark Wiki, in order to capture data, Wireshark needs root privileges. Running Wireshark as root isn't particularly safe. Wireshark even warns you when you do that. A safer method involves capturing data using dumpcap (included with Wireshark) as root, then later looking at the saved captured data using Wireshark as a non-root user. In this way, at least those parts of Wireshark which parse the data don't run with root privileges. I wonder whether there really isn't any more comfortable method - one which allows you to look at the data in real time without being root - but maybe there just isn't.

Posted on 05 Sep 2008 at 17:30 in /technology/internet. -- Permalink

Sun, 31 Aug 2008

Finding out more about GPG

It's interesting how little information is available on the web on how to check downloads using a PGP/GPG signature. Everybody seems to know - but I don't. Didn't. Now I do. Quite often an .asc file is offered with the relevant download - but what are you supposed to do with it? Do this:

gpg --verify signature-file.asc downloaded-file

However, this will only work if your GPG already knows the public key of the person who signed the file. This public key needs to be imported. Where do you get it from? Well, from a key server ... Obviously you can look for the key yourself, using KGpg or whatever. It's more convenient, though, to have GPG download automatically the public keys it needs. Uncommenting a line in the GPG configuration file does the trick (this file is normally found in the directory home / [username] / .gnupg / and is named gpg.conf):

keyserver-options auto-key-retrieve

Posted on 31 Aug 2008 at 23:42 in /technology. -- Permalink

Plone for work

I spent an outrageous amount of time these last few days installing and setting up Apache, MySQL, PHP, then WordPress and finally (after failing to get anywhere with Joomla) Plone on my local machine. Plone will probably be the platform for the revamped Ai De Newsletter website - I'm quite impressed how easy it is to give Plone exactly the look you want, and creating a nice layout with photos works like a breeze. I wonder what problems I'll run into once I start installing the system on our remote server. Below are some links to useful Plone-related websites:

Posted on 31 Aug 2008 at 18:27 in /technology. -- Permalink

Sat, 23 Aug 2008

Google hacking myself

Reading "The Google Hacker’s Guide" (by Johnny Long; available for download as a PDF) and trying out a few searches, I found an open directory listing on my website, which gave away not just the names and details of all the files in that directory but also the version number of my remote webserver and similar information. Immediately closed this security hole by uploading a (basically) empty index.html file to that directory.

All directories on the Ai De website which at first glance seemed to be open were, in fact, safe: clicking on the relevant Google search result led to a "You don't have permission to access ..." plus "404 Not Found error" message.

Posted on 23 Aug 2008 at 18:53 in /technology/internet. -- Permalink

Thu, 21 Aug 2008

PDF Split and Merge

This is an excellent program - a Java application - which can split PDF files into individual pages or sections of several pages, and merge several PDF files into one single file. Versions are available for Windows, Mac and Linux. For Linux, download the zip archive, unzip it and call the .jar file like this:

java -jar pdfsam-[version].jar

Click on the relevant plugin (split or merge), add your PDF file(s), select your options and click "Run".

Posted on 21 Aug 2008 at 23:23 in /technology. -- Permalink

Wed, 20 Aug 2008


BinnyVA has given us Nexty, a really, really good task manager (what is often called a "GTD" or "Getting Things Done" application). And you can't just download it free and install it on your own local or remote server, you can even sign up to it on the internet and use Nexty online, with Binny paying for your storage and bandwidth. I like Nexty a lot and find it extremely useful.

Posted on 20 Aug 2008 at 18:55 in /technology/internet. -- Permalink

Wuala open beta

Wuala is now in open beta, no longer in closed alpha, and it can be used without any installation, right from a web browser. When you click "Start" on http://wua.la, a Java applet will launch the thing. Obviously you still need to make sure that an up-to-date version of Java (JRE) is installed on your computer, and you have to enable both Java and JavaScript in your browser. The new Wuala can be used to share files with people who don't have a Wuala account of their own: all they need is a link and a password for any directory you have shared with them. That's a really nice feature.

Posted on 20 Aug 2008 at 18:45 in /technology. -- Permalink

Backing up my MoinMoin wiki

With SSH access to the remote server, this works like a breeze. Using SSH, create tar.gz files (tar czf filename.tar.gz path/to/directory) of the following directories on the server, then download them and public_html/cgi-bin/moin.cgi using sftp://

share/moin/ (This, of course, contains share/moin/config/ and I guess it's optional - I'm erring on the side of "just get it all" ...)

Note that this doesn't include the configuration files of my webserver (Apache). It would probably better to back these up, too.

In order to restore the whole MoinMoin thing, it will suffice to upload these tar.gz files and moin.cgi to the server and put/expand them in the correct directories.

This is based on the "Backup" section of the MoinMoin HelpOnUpdating page.

Posted on 20 Aug 2008 at 18:29 in /technology/internet. -- Permalink

Sun, 17 Aug 2008

Sticky notes: KNotes vs. Tomboy

While KNotes is better than nothing and its very simplicity is commendable, I find Tomboy incomparably better. You can format text, link from one note to another, link from a note to a directory or file, drag and drop e-mails into a note (OK, apparently this works only with Evolution, but still ...). Yes, I'm comparing apples with oranges here.

Posted on 17 Aug 2008 at 17:51 in /technology. -- Permalink

PuTTY, Tripwire, remote calendars/GTD

PuTTY is a nice toy, too ... But I don't really see any advantage over SSH access from a shell.

In other developments, I've struggled using Tripwire. I really should remember running it with root privileges; but even so I've had results I can't really make head or tail of. I guess I haven't got the settings right yet but I don't feel like getting into this right now. Reading poverty-relief-related blogs seems more fun, but this, of course, isn't a subject for this blog here.

The Lightning calendar extension for Thunderbird is nice, but apparently if you want to use a remote calendar (so you can use it from different computers, e.g. at home and at the office) you need to use Sunbird instead. In order to use remote calendars, you need to install the mod_dav module for Apache on your remote server, which I tried but failed to do. Anyway, I think it would be enough for me either just to reactivate my Stikkit account or to give BinnyVA's Nexty a try.

Posted on 17 Aug 2008 at 15:08 in /technology. -- Permalink

Thu, 14 Aug 2008

SFTP and SSH access for my website

OK, I re-established secure access to the server of my website again. Had to create a new key pair (or did I really?) because I lost the local copy of my private key during my recent new install.

Posted on 14 Aug 2008 at 20:11 in /technology. -- Permalink

That other (K)Ubuntu on my machine

I just realised that what I thought was Ubuntu (with Gnome) on the other partition of my HDD is in fact the Kubuntu (with KDE 3) whose wired internet connection I somehow shot down while trying to get a wireless connection to work. Apparently the Kubuntu installer, when I installed Kubuntu again, found the existing system, displayed it to me as "Ubuntu" (which isn't wrong, of course) and left it alone, repartitioning the hard disk 50/50 and installing Kubuntu again on one of the partitions.

Well. So I was able to recover some files which I thought I had lost during my second install. They don't matter anymore anyway. I'm keeping the Kubuntu without internet connection for the time being for no good reason - won't need the space on the other partition, and when I do I can still erase everything. Two partitions sized ca. 38 GB each instead of one big partition: no obvious advantages, no obvious disadvantages.

Posted on 14 Aug 2008 at 19:37 in /technology. -- Permalink

Wed, 13 Aug 2008

Ai De website upgraded, too

I finally got round to upgrading Wordpress and K2 (to 2.6/RC 7, respectively) for the Ai De website, too. The old version of K2 had caused errors when you did certain things, e.g. clicked on "Older" to see, uh, older posts; so the website hadn't been fully functional for several months. The reason I didn't upgrade earlier was that I knew this wouldn't be a completely trivial thing. I had made some changes to two PHP files of K2 - header.php and sidebar.php, and of course these files were among those which had been changed by the authors of K2 as part of the upgrade. So I had to incorporate my changes into the new files.

This took me quite a while, but turned out to be much more straightforward than I had anticipated. What really kept me working on the upgrade for hours, though, was the fact that the header part of every page (which displays the blog title, blog description, header image and navigation) is apparently put together in a different way from before - with the result that the upper part of my header image disappeared under the title/description/calligraphy part. I tried a few CSS tricks (position: absolute etc.) but didn't get anywhere. Eventually I realised that doing just 2 simple things might solve the problem: adding 60 pixels of empty space to the top of my image and inserting a line into my extra stylesheet to override the standard height of the image, which is set in the stylesheet which comes included with K2 (#header { height: 260px; }). I was lucky - it works.

Since I still haven't found a way to put one of my narrow columns to the left of the main column in the new K2, the Ai De website has one single sidebar now instead of two. I placed the list of categories and the RSS feeds below the search window, archives and links. It's not as good as before but still OK.

Posted on 13 Aug 2008 at 18:17 in /technology/internet. -- Permalink

Mon, 11 Aug 2008

Upgrading to Wordpress 2.6 and K2 RC 7 (2)

It would have been so nice if I had just needed to go to the "K2 Options" in the blog admin (under "Design") and select my stylesheet under the "Style" heading. Hmm ... Doing this did give me back my colours, fonts etc., but not my arrangement of "widgets" (i.e. recent entries, blogroll, archives, categories ...) in the columns to the left and right of the main column. Apparently I need to put everything into place again manually, using the "K2 Sidebar Manager". Which is very slow and does strange things sometimes. Well, I guess that's not too bad for a major upgrade of both Wordpress and K2, and obviously I'm willing to pay a price for using this great theme.

Posted on 11 Aug 2008 at 18:00 in /technology/internet. -- Permalink

Upgrading to Wordpress 2.6 and K2 RC 7

Nothing very remarkable here - I was surprised that the blog looked like nothing had happened after the Wordpress update (from, if I'm not mistaken, 2.3). However, when I logged in and the usual database upgrade had finished successfully, too, I ended up with a "fatal error" caused by the file "dashboard.php":

Call to undefined function wp_register_sidebar_widget()

In other words, the "dashboard" didn't work anymore. I was still able, though, to go to other admin pages, e.g. edit.php, and browse from there to the plugins section (I'm sure I could have gone to plugins.php directly), where I disabled all plugins before going ahead with updating my K2 theme. It's great that K2 is documented so well: K2 Release Candidate 7 Released. Now, after I've installed and activated the new "k2-disable-widgets.php" plugin, I can access the dashboard again and everything looks fine.

On the admin side, that is. On the visitor side, my blog now has the standard K2 look, which together with the "widgets" I use looks rather confusing. I'll still need to put my own stylesheet into place again and see what has become of my arrangement of widgets in the three columns.

Posted on 11 Aug 2008 at 17:38 in /technology/internet. -- Permalink


A few days ago, I decided it was time again to wipe my hard disk and start from scratch once more. Somewhat bored with Ubuntu/Gnome (which I found great - but sometimes I just like trying something new), and made curious by what I had read about the new KDE (version 4.1), I went for Kubuntu. Liked it right away. However, after I had tried and failed to get wireless internet access to work, I was left without any internet access at all. After a few repair attempts I just installed Kubuntu again, this time going for the suggested Ubuntu plus Kubuntu install.

Installing KDE 4.1 was easy: you just need to invoke apt-get twice (install KDE 4, then dist-upgrade). KDE 4.1 isn't yet completely stable - but it's lovely! The only really bad thing which has happened to me so far was a text file (about 50 lines) whose content disappeared without a trace when I tried to save it (I ended up with an empty file). I guess that Kate is to blame; it had already acted funny in other ways before eating my file.

Posted on 11 Aug 2008 at 17:37 in /technology/internet. -- Permalink

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