wordpress & backslashes

One of my pet peeves about wordpress is that because it’s based on PHP and MySQL it doesn’t like backslash characters at all. It just eats them up and screws up your post. But I’ve found a simple answer. Use numeric entities instead. Just type in \ or \ to get a nice \backslash.


zsh editor integration

A top tip from the zsh book:

autoload -U edit-command-line
zle -N edit-command-line
bindkey 'ee' edit-command-line

Binds M-e to “stick this command line in your text editor.”


mutt completion in zsh

After a little while spent battling with zsh’s completion system today, I have made it complete my aliases file. My setup is slightly non standard (although not that unusual I think) in that the aliases aren’t defined in my ~/.muttrc file. Instead, they’re in ~/.mail_aliases. To get zsh to know about this requires a small function to go in your ~/.zshrc:

_email-mutt() {

I managed to get that by looking at the source for the _email_addresses completion function. I don’t know how I could have got by without it. The zsh book should turn up in a few days; maybe that will enlighten me more.


Scanner Software

Mum’s laptop has a history of troubles after being “seen to” by a local computer repair service. One of the remaining problems is the scanner, which doesn’t install. It’s a xerox 2400 and the software is junk (don’t bother with the web site; it’s a slightly old model and they don’t list anything but the latest, sigh). I tried to get it to install both with the supplied CD and the latest drivers downloaded from the support site. Both produced the mysterious error, “The required section was not found in the INF. file.”

Of course, instead of googling for this message first as I should have done, I detoured to and downloaded regmon and filemon to work out what was going on. Needless to say, this produced nothing, although I did notice a logfile, setupapi.log which seemed to contain slightly more information.

Finally, googling for <a href="”>”The required section was not found in the INF. file.” produced an answer on a site called Visioneer. And it turns out that the Xerox scanner isn’t a xerox scanner after all; it’s a rebranded Visioneer model. But they do have a support page detailing the registry adjustments you need to make to fix the scanner install. I’d like to link to that, but their web site is so bad you don’t want to go there. Use the google cached <a href="”>copy instead.

Anyway, the thing finally installed and I am now confronted with the true awfulness of “PaperPort” and “Xerox OneTouch” which need to be abused (configured is too light a word) into behaving like sane programs. I think my chances of getting the email button on the scanner to launch Thunderbird are slim to say the least.


Bewl Water

Yesterday we walked around Bewl Water. It was around 12 miles in total. We were certainly feeling our feet by the end of it. There was quite a bit of road on the walk, but that didn’t stop there from being lots of birds and other wildlife.

Of course the walk was greatly assisted by a slap up meal in the middle at the Bull Inn. I had bangers and mash and got a heck of shock when I saw the size of the dish it was served on. But very tasty anyway, even if I couldn’t finish it all.

I’d like to go back and cycle around the same track. I reckon that would be a nice gentle ride. Far easier than walking for sure!


Room Allocation

More wedding planning this evening. I now have a new hatred of smokers—they are “special cases” because only certain rooms in the hotel have easy access to somewhere you can actually smoke.

Even with that aside it’s incredibly difficult deciding where to put everybody. We’ve just spent an hour and a half sorting this mess out. It’s done now though. That means we have to sort out the table seating next…


Citation Sources

One of the useful things about blockquotes is that you can specify where you’re quoting by adding a cite attribute. But current browsers don’t offer you an interface to use this information. Sounds like a job for greasemonkey! So I wrote cite.user.js to get around it.

Unfortunately, I should have looked around first—I might have seen Citeable Blockquotes, which does what my script does, but more and better. Ah well. It was an interesting learning experience; it took only minutes to put together.


FireFox Extensions

Firefox is a fine web browser. But one of the best features is the ability to add in extensions. These are a few of the extensions that I have to install.

  • AdBlock. Lets you switch off the annoying flashing adverts.
  • Web Developer. If you’re developing web sites, you need this to understand how your web pages really work.
  • View Cookies. A simple but useful tool if you’re developing web sites.
  • Live HTTP Headers. Shows you what really happened under the hood. Again, more useful for web site developers.
  • GreaseMonkey. This should be installed by default. It lets you use JavaScript to alter any web page in any way. Very handy for fixing up those little “broken” things lying around the web.
  • Show Anchors. Really handy for linking to some particular piece of a web page instead of the page as a whole.

The other extremely handy extension is the DOM Inspector, but that’s more of a builtin thing than an extension.



Last night on my way home, I managed to cycle into a pedestrian who walked out in front of me. Thankfully, neither of us were hurt that much; just a little dazed. Unfortunately, this morning I found that my hip is bruised on the bone from falling off the bike. That means this evening’s walk is probably off. Whilst I can walk, I can’t walk fast or long distance.

Still, at least I didn’t manage to injure myself more seriously!


IMAP server

Last night I got very irritated with IMAP. Well in fairness, I got irritated at evolution because it insisted on showing me a prefix of Mail/ to all my folders. Every other mail client in existence can be configured to ignore this prefix as there’s no reason for the physical layout of your mail store to be reflected in how it’s conceptually layed out.

Anyway, I thought I’d try a new IMAP server to make things better. I switched from uw-imap to dovecot. I chose that because it works ok with mbox format. I’m not ready to switch all my mail to Maildir format yet. Installation was a breeze thanks to the port. I ran it alongside the existing server for a short while to confirm that everything worked ok. Thankfully, there are good migration instructions. I would have made better progress if I’d read them first. 🙂

So after upgrading the mail server, I went back to evolution. Unfortunately, after all that effort, I found that I didn’t like it terribly much. It seems to have much of the same functionality as thunderbird, but the interface is a lot more cluttered. Also, the folder subscription mechanism doesn’t appear to work for me, so I end up with lots of folders that I don’t want to see…

I think I’ll come back to it when I upgrade to Ubuntu Hoary, which has gnome 2.10 and should include a newer version of Evolution. For now, I’ll stick with thunderbird.