Mostly about my amusement

Month: February 2007 (page 1 of 2)

RSS feed and Tarski Links Widget

Sidebar_arrangementtThe RSS feed on this web site became broken and I tracked it down to the Tarski Links widget. I use the Tarski theme as one of my two themes. The regular links widget looks awful so the Tarski theme guys came up with a replacement that looks pretty good.

But it breaks my RSS feed. Enabling that plugin somehow caused a blank line to be inserted before my feed. I did not bother to report it to the Tarski or WordPress forums since I am sure that I somehow made a mistake when I copied the code.

While I was playing with the code and confirming that I am not a programmer, I realized that I wanted some of the widgets to go away when people look at a post. I came across Otto’s page and installed the Executable PHP Widget.

Before widgets became available, I would add to the sidebar.php file the functions I wanted to display, like the weather icon. Being able to run PHP code in a widget is pretty useful.

I removed the Tarski Links widget and copied the following code lifted from links.php in the Tarski theme. This was pasted into the PHP Code widget.

if (is_home()) :
echo “<div class=”bookmarks”>n”; wp_list_bookmarks(’category_before=&category_after=
echo “</div>n”;

And poof the Blogroll links look good, my RSS feed works and I am happy. On the home page it appears, any other page it doesn’t. I repeated this a couple of times with other items on my sidebar.

The correct way would be to code this all as a widget, and include a check mark for “show on home page only” but I’m not a programmer and this works for me.

Year of the Pig

Happy New Year to all!

Yesterday we went to Flushing to take the kids to see the dentist and have an early dinner with the family.

It was not a smooth ride. That was not a big surprise, it was Chinese new Year’s Eve after all. Lily’s brother called to give us a heads up; he could not get near Flushing. Main Street and College Point were not moving at all. So we came across Northern Boulevard hoping to turn south on Union Street. No joy there, the police closed Union in that direction.

We had to make a u-turn on Northern, drive to Parson’s, drive down to Roosevelt, just to turn up on Union Street. The graphic is close and does not reflect the joy of driving with so many other happy drivers.

Flushing Traffic on New Years Eve

The good news is that there were lots of parking spots since hardly anyone could get there. The bad news is we needed to be on the other side of town. Good exercise for everyone. It was so crowded on the street that I put my 36lb daughter on my shoulders.

One walk to the dentist, some shopping (my favorite hobby shop went out of business 🙁 ). Afterwards we had dinner near where we parked. It was all good.

Not your normal Valentines Day

Ice-and-grassI left work early before 11 this morning. I had to do something that you just can’t do remotely and as soon as it was done, I headed home.

We’ve been hit with an ice storm. Everything is covered in a layer snow and ice. I just got the mail and if it were not for the grass sticking out of the ice I’d have not gotten back to the house in one piece.

Lily’s on her way home. All the LIRR trains are messed up so she is headed to a station that normally we don’t go to. I’m going to get her and leave the kids with my folks.

This is not what I had in mind for Valentines Day! Oh well, Valentines Day really is everyday. Lily and I don’t get gifts for each other (18 years with her this year, there is no way I can surprise her anymore). It’s much more fun to get gifts outside of the holidays.

Wonder if she still wants those diamond earrings…

With the proper medication a productive life is possible…

Nintendo Wii pic from kotakuThis morning Lily saw the Toy’s R Us flyer with a Nintendo Wii bundle. It came with

  • One Wii Console (1 remote, nunchuk, and Wii Sports)
  • One Rayman: Raving Rabbids
  • One Mario or Zelda organizer stand and CD case

The store opened at 11 am. We were the sixth couple and we got two sets. We are giving one set to our niece and nephew.

So now in my living room I have an XBOX 360, a PS3, and soon a Nintendo Wii. On the Xbox I play Burnout Revenge, on the PS3 I’d love to play Call of Duty 3 (Sigh, can’t explain or play that one around the kids), and on the Wii Rayman is too cool to put down.

Can’t wait to get an additonal remote and nunchuk…

Image lifted from

Virtual Private Servers

According to Wikipedia:

“A virtual private server (also referred to as virtual dedicated server or virtual server, and abbreviated VPS or VDS) is a server run through virtualization in tandem with other virtualized servers on one physical computer.”

Which is a pretty good description. I use TekTonic as my VPS provider and I don’t have a complaint about their service since I get a good uptime. I pay a really good fee and definitely get what I pay for.


But I think with any VPS there are things you need to check on. I notice that processes that I need (oh say, my apache web server) will inexplicably die without any reason in the log.

Lately I have not been getting my mailed database backups. I have a cron job that backs up all my blog data and files, and another one on my basement for pulling down the gpg encrypted file so no data has been lost. The mail process died (postfix, only listens on localhost) and a weeks worth of automated mail got queued up. I also need named since this host is a back DNS server for my domain.

I was thinking of doing uber script magic then I realized I should just put the following into root’s crontab.

0,15,30,45 * * * * /usr/sbin/rcapache2 start >/dev/null 2>&1
0,15,30,45 * * * * /usr/sbin/rcnamed start >/dev/null 2>&1
0,15,30,45 * * * * /sbin/rcpostfix start >/dev/null 2>&1

It’s not elegant but it works. I don’t need to know if it was successful or not and this was a quick fix.

PayPal Security Key (Looks like SecureID to me)

Paypal_logoSaw this link on Digg. Engadget had some info on this last month too.

The PayPal Security Key.

Generates a unique six-digit security code about every 30 seconds. You enter that code when you log in to your PayPal or eBay account with your regular user name and password. Then the code expires – no one else can use it.

PayPal Security Key – PayPal.

Two factor authentication available on PayPal. They look like a bank so it’s about time.

I don’t use PayPal much. I have concerns about getting verified and dislike a company getting access to my bank account. Credit cards have an established dispute system in place for fraud; someone charges my PayPal account and gets it from my bank money and it’s good luck to me.

If I did use PayPal frequently then I’d get this immediately and make sure charges and transfers must use this. It won’t protect against the smart phisher (Phisher: “all we need is your code for 30 seconds, plenty of time!”) but it will help against sites that harvest peoples IDs and static passwords.

Insert disclaimer for work HERE

There probably should be some disclaimer about me and the work place…

Question: How many bosses does it take to screw in a light bulb?

Answer: One. He holds up the light bulb and expects the universe to revolve around him.

How to Change the World: Is Your Boss an A**hole?.

I don’t have much opportunity to suffer through this list as my problems are usually my doing. But I have seen other people’s boss behave this way.

It’s a fun read, scroll to his comments afterwards. Some of them are choice too. People really shouldn’t say things like “describes every boss I’ve had since” if only because it really shows they have a problem.