My Name is a War Song

I'll Sing You a New One

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March 22nd, 2018

Well worth $20

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I have been pulling the hard drives out of dead PCS, ones that I could not boot and do a full reformat and install on, and then recycling the rest. As a result I had a stack of hard drives that I didn't know what to do with. I couldn't just throw them out or recycle them intact, there might be information I didn't want someone to be able to retrieve on them. So after some thought, I went looking to see what could be used that cost less than a "convert an internal hard drive to external" kit. This is what I found, and it works great.

It's not pretty, there's a wall-wart power supply that you hook to your drive, and a dongle that attaches to the ribbon cable connection of the drive that plugs into a USB 3.0 port on your PC. Set the jumper on your hard drive to master or single, attach the power, turn it on, wait for about twenty seconds and then plug in the USB. Wait for windows to find the drive and spin it up (this is not instant, it takes a bit) and then use file explorer to do what needs to be done. The drive just hangs out there naked and on life support while you rip out what you need, but it does the job.

It's a bit of a trip looking at the contents of these old drives, not just for what is on them but also for how tiny they are. I have 64GB USB drives because they are cheap these days and I could fit the contents of all but one of my stack of old hard drives onto one of them, and the last drive on another with four gigs to spare. This entry was originally posted at where it has comment count unavailable comments.

December 18th, 2012

And it started out so well

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Today was "update stuff that hasn't been updated for years" day. It started out well enough, I updated the installation of eFiction on Hafoc's website and things went swimmingly. There's a  major update on that forthcoming, slowly, and I'm sure all the problems I didn't have today will show up then.

Then I went to work on Omnifariously Knotty and pretty much crashed and burned.

My problem there is that I dearly love the layout theme, but it's not been updated in over two and a half years. I've used some tweaks that other people have created, or tried to. One works (the date tabs include year for posts over a year old), but the one I worked on again today worked only partially. It was supposed to wrap the main content under the second column to use some of the wasted space as you scroll down. Well it worked great on the "home" page but when I when I checked it on the Categories page and the About page... nope. The content ran under the second column. No matter how often I look at the assorted template files I can't see why it works on home.php and not on categories.php or any of the other files that I tweaked. It's one line added to them, not exactly a lot of room in that for errors.

There is also a much more annoying problem with that layout. I've installed the OpenID plugin on my instance of WordPress but the layout doesn't display the option to use it. I poked and fiddled with the comments.php file today to try to get that fixed. That also didn't go well. I need to learn how to use php with forms (or at all really) and figure out how to construct the if/else loop in there to drop through the options of having a login account (which no one has other than me), supplying an email address, or using OpenID. Sure, as the site stands now people can use a name and email to comment, but I'd really, really like to have OpenID as an option.

Maybe I should just go looking for a different layout theme. *sigh*

February 1st, 2011

ISO: Flickr Lite

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On the off chance that someone on my reading/friends list on any of my journals has the answer....

I am looking for an image/photo gallery script/program I can install on my website that basically acts like Flickr for one person. I want to be able to upload images at full size and have a thumbnail and a medium (about 500px) size (at least) generated by the script. I should be able to tag the images at the very least but being able to group them into sets/albums/galleries would be handy. A comment area would be a plus. I, though not necessarily others, should be able to get direct links to any of the generated image sizes as well as the original image. A web interface for uploads would be handy, but not required, and it would be awesome if I could just dumped images into a directory by FTP even if I do have a web interface available.

As I recall my host has PHP4 by default but does allow me to force the use of PHP5 (this is how I got WordPress working there) and I can make SQL databases (MySQL I think, I haven't checked on the specifics there recently).

So, any suggestions?
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July 1st, 2008

This is just too cool

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A biking (bicycle, not motorcycle) jacket with LED turn signals, and it's a DIY project!

September 7th, 2007

Any Adobe Acrobat gurus here?

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I've been collecting free knitting patterns from websites for a while, and while most are in PDF format many are not. PDFs are certainly easier to collect since they are one file rather than several so I thought I'd convert them to PDF myself.

Unfortunately (or fortunately maybe) I started with the ones I collected from Berroco, since the majority of their patterns are in PDF already I figured I'd just convert the few older ones that aren't. After I removed the site navigation and the extraneous ads for the yarn and other patterns and otherwise cleaned up the page so it looked how I wanted it to as a PDF, I tried using Acrobat to convert it.

Screen captures under the cut )

Is Acrobat just that bad at converting HTML or is there something I'm missing? There's no reason I can see for the inserted line breaks in the heading or for the double spacing in the body. Is it because the containers are tables? Maybe it doesn't like external stylesheets? I don't want to invest too much time into this project but I want the PDFs to look good, and in Berroco's case, like the PDFs they put out themselves.

ETA: Well the link spacing issue is just that, a line spacing issue in the CSS. While 1.5em works on a webpage it needs to be 1em in the PDF. Maybe that's the issue with the lack of padding in the tables as well. Still haven't figured out the problem in that heading cell with the inserted line breaks....

ETA2: In fine hacker tradition I have managed to strip the CSS down so it mostly works. I combined a few tags and removed some empty paragraphs. I ended up adding the padding to the paragraph tags in the instructions rather than to the section ID because Acrobat's CSS handling is borked. It's not as pretty as I'd like and there's a bit more slash and burn than I'd hoped for before I can convert the files, but it works. Thankfully Berroco uses one style sheet for their pattern pages (except for a few really old patterns, which I don't think I saved any of) so the actual CSS hacking is done. I just need to cut chunks out of the HTML and tweak it before I convert to PDF.
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