Author Archives: tony

WordPress Content Disappeared

While editing a WordPress post the other day I clicked on Add Media before I had saved or published the draft.

When I tried to upload the image I received the error WP couldn’t write to the disc. Odd. I then returned to editing and went to save a draft before I investigated what was going. Then I got the error that I was unable to save the past as the post did not exist. I returned to the the Dashboard and there were no posts or pages, only a few categories and comments.

I tried to look at the site’s home page but it returned the error the no content could be found in that category. All my posts were gone and no media was listed in the media library when I logged in again. The admin section worked fine, the page template displayed but there was no content for the pages.

The problem was a corrupt database. To solve the problem of WordPress content that has disappeared just run Repair on your tables using PHPMyAdmin and your site will come back to life.

Microsoft Laser Mouse 7000 Recharging Problems

I love Microsoft hardware, regardless of what you think of their operating systems it’s hard to argue they make good mice and keyboards. I bought a new mouse yesterday – a Microsoft Laser Mouse 7000 and left it to charge up overnight but this morning I found it hadn’t. The charge light was flashing red, instead of pulsing green (recharging) or solid green (recharged).

A search shows that this model has problems with its supplied battery. I tried the quick fix for the Microsoft laser mouse not recharging, putting a folded piece of paper on top of the battery to make it press on the battery detector, but this didn’t work for me. A new battery, somewhat thicker than the one supplied by Microsoft gave an initial green glow before it too started flashing red.

If you want to know what battery works with the mouse try an Energiser Rechargeable 900mAh. It has a slightly longer positive terminal and slightly larger girth. The mouse is now recharging fine.

Extracting RAR files online

As a Windows user I occasionally receive .rar files that I need to expand. In the past I’ve had to install a piece of software (I generally went with Stuff It Expander) to extract the contents. Of course every piece of software you install wants to add context menus, program groups and system tray icons – something I wanted to avoid adding to my new machine.

I’ve found www.wobzip.org that will allow me to extract the contents of .rar files online. As my need to do this is infrequent the overhead of uploading the file isn’t too much pay. The beauty of this site is that as well as downloading individual extracted files you can also download a .zip file that can be handled natively by Windows XP/Vista.

Media PC

I recently updated my main production machine and was left with a fairly recent (three years old) machine. After pondering what to do with it I remembered it had a silent power supply and this would make it an ideal candidate for a media PC.

I did some research on open source media software and had almost settled on Media Portal when Microsoft released the Windows 7 RC. The RC is the Ultimate version and has Windows Media Centre included. With W7 being a freebie for the next six and a bit months (before it begins to nag) I thought I’d give it a go.

After downloading the .iso and burning it to a DVD using the free burner program ImgBurn I put it in the DVD drive and rebooted the PC. A fresh install of Windows 7 took about 15 minutes. From memory I only had to make three selections for the entire process. Once the install had finished there were a couple more reboots that added about 10 minutes to the process but once these were done Windows 7 was set to go.

First impression is that Windows 7 is quick. Very very quick. I have Vista running on a Quad Core with 4GB of RAM but Windows 7 on a Dual Core with 2GB seems snappier. It takes the best of the visual elements of Vista and improves the task bar with icons and great preview thumbnails.

Setting up Media Centre was a breeze, all I did was point to the directories I wanted to use for movies and television shows, change the setting to make Media Centre run on start up and it was ready. The interface is stylish and intuitive, although options once are playing a file and you wish to quit can be a bit confusing.

I want to keep the media PC as lean as I can so this meant finding a way of getting content on to the machine without installing uTorrent. The answer was Windows Live Sync. I added a wireless network card to save running CAT6 through the roof and installed LiveSync. Now all I do is add/download the media I want on my main PC and it automatically syncs to the media PC at the other end of the house. It takes about 5 minutes to transfer an hour tv show, about 10 to do an average movie.

The biggest plus is that we may now actually get around to watching all the shows we have stored up. Prior to this we would have to decide what we wanted to watch and either convert them to DivX or create a DVD, burn the DVD and watch it that way. Given the time this takes, and the media we went through (we always seemed to loose the RW discs) we’d just sit and flick through channels instead. Now everything we have is there, ready to watch straight away.

I’m impressed with the set up and Windows 7. I’ll be upgrading my production machine and the media PC once the final version is released. Microsoft certainly seem to have got it right with W7.

Numbers

Google Maps has just added street numbers for its Australian maps. No more wondering exactly which block the arrow is pointing at, you can now see the street numbers when you zoom in.

google-maps-numbers.gif

Finding Your Way At Highpoint

Spotted at one of Melbourne’s major shopping centres, Highpoint.

No Need To Standalone

Web developers have been using the very handy IE standalone for a while now. It gives access to IE versions dating back to IE3. While a handy tool to check backwards compatibility there are some limits and drawbacks.

Now Microsoft, yes, Microsoft, have come to the party and released a virtual hard drive that comes with a licensed copy of Windows XP SP2 and IE 6.0 installed. While targeted for the cross over time as people update from IE 6 to IE 7 it’s an incredibly handy (yet large) download. All you need is the, also free, Microsoft Virtual PC and you can have fully functioning IE 6 and 7 on the same PC. Hopefully further down the track they may release the 5.0 versions as an alarming number of people are still using these dinosaurs.

Back It On Up

Cameron’s recent data loss is an example of why online back up will become an integral part of home computing in the years to come. As our memories are increasingly stored in digital format (I know in the 9 months of my son’s life there has not been one film based photograph of him taken) people will be looking for a secure off site means of ensuring no harm comes to their pictures or files. Often though, like Cam, it won’t be until after a disaster has hit

I’m currently using Mozy; a free, automatic, secure back online back up system from Berkeley Data Systems. It’s simplicity itself – you download the application, tick the boxes on the predefined back up sets (such as ‘Word Documents’, ‘Music’, ‘Mo vies’,’Photographs’,’Financial Records’ etc), Mozy tracks down all your files and away it goes. You can define your own back sets if you wish and even drill down to the file level to add or remove files for a particular set.

Mozy claims to use differential backup, so it should only back up the bits of your Outlook file that have changed, but I haven’t found that to be the case in my instance. The Mozy icon lives in your system tray and behaves itself very well by only backing up when your system is idle. My only problem with this has been it back ups when I have an unattended torrent going so it can impact on your bandwidth.

You get 2G of backup for free, which covers most of my documents save for my music and video collections. There is a premium service, currently offering up to 20G for USD$39.95. If you want to try it and use my referral link https://mozy.com/ref/UTVC5L we both get an extra 256MB of back up space.

Soft Taskbar Shuffle

Want to organise the order of your programs on the Windows XP taskbar? Then try the fantastic free Taskbar shuffle and shuffle to your hearts content. I always like to have Outlook the left most program, followed by Firefox. How about you? What order do you like your programs in? Or is just me?

Outlook Attachments Unattached

If you’re looking for an easy way around “Outlook’s dumbarse ‘protecting you from shadows’ attachment filter” download and install this handy attachment options extension for Outlook. It allows you to specify which level 1 attachments to let through; very handy if you have someone mailing you Access databases.

Search Upgrade

I’ve been a huge fan of Microsoft’s Desktop Search since it was released, it has changed the way I use my PC and is amongst the first things I install on new PCs. I dream of the day they integrate it with their recently purchase, Foldershare (A magnificent free product that allows you to sync your files seamlessly over the net using P2P technology. It also allows you to search and download from any of your computers from any net connected PC as long as your PCs are turned on. Try it now if you have more than one PC and you want to keep files in sync across them.).

To get an improved version of Desktop Search download the beta of the Windows Live Toolbar. The toolbar doesn’t work in Firefox but it does allow you to update Desktop Search and gain a couple of great features. It installs a new toolbar in Outlook that allows you to save Desktop searches as virtual folders within Outlook – so now Outlook can display search results that include files as well as emails/tasks/appointments. It also changes the Windows default search function (found on the Start menu) to use Desktop Search which means the end of searches that won’t ever find what you’re looking for.

Australian SMS Spam

It seems SMS spammers have chosen a public holiday to launch another SMS spam attack.

The content of the message, from premium SMS number 19996111, goes something like “Free MSG. You have a secret admirer! Reply CHAT To Be Connected! For help call 1300885902. Average msg cost $2.70”. From what I have read you won’t be charged to receive this message but replying will see your bank balance reduced at a rapid rate. To follow what happens with this particular spam and for links on how to report it follow this thread in Whirlpool.

If you recently received a ‘system message’ spam entitled ‘Funny Clip’ you can find information on it at this Whirlpool thread.