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Sat, Dec 31, 2011 10:13 pm

Reorganizing Items under All Programs for Windows 7

If you want to add or reorganize programs and folders under All Programs, which you see when you click on the Windows Start button, you will first need to log into an account that has administrator privileges then display hidden and system files and folders. Once you've done that, use the Windows Explorer to navigate to the location for the ProgramData folder, which will, typically, be C:\ProgramData. Navigate to C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs. Within this directory you will see the folders and programs that appear when you view the items within All Programs after you click on the Windows Start button.

You can then move folders and shortcuts about or right-click and choose New to create a new folder.

Some entries you see under All Programs may be under C:\Users\Username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs, where Username is the relevant user account, instead. E.g., if you are logged into the account Jane, some of entries may be under C:\Users\Jane\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs . These are entries that appear under All Programs just for that account, whereas those under C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs apply to all accounts on the system.

[/os/windows/win7] permanent link

Fri, Dec 30, 2011 9:27 pm

Transferring Live Messenger Winks

I set up a new laptop for a user who uses Microsoft's Live Messenger for chatting with friends and relatives. In addition to transferring her documents and pictures, she also wanted me to transfer winks, which are Flash-based animated files used by Live Messenger to display short animated clips of actions, such as blowing a kiss, throwing a snowball, etc., which a user can pick from when sending a mesage to someone.

[ More Info ]

[/network/chat/live_messenger] permanent link

Thu, Dec 29, 2011 5:50 pm

Viewing Hidden and System Files and Folders Under Windows 7

To see the location of hidden and system files and folders under Windows 7, you need to take the following steps to make them visible.
  1. Click on the Windows Start button Windows start button 50x50 at the lower, left-hand corner of your screen.
  2. Select Computer.
  3. Click on Organize.
  4. Select Folder and search options.
  5. Click on the View tab.
  6. Under the Hidden files and folders entry, check "Show hidden files, folders, and drives".
  7. Below the above entry, you will see an entry for "Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)"; uncheck it. You will see a warning that "These files are required to start and run Windows. Deleting or editing them can make your computer inoperable. Are you sure you want to display these files?" Click on Yes.

    Windows 7 - displaying hidden files warning

  8. Click on OK to apply the changes.

    Windows 7 - display hidden and system files

You can follow a similar process to reverse the changes to hide the files again after you've accessed the files you need to access to protect yourself from accidentally modifying any system files.

[/os/windows/win7] permanent link

Tue, Dec 27, 2011 6:14 pm

Spbyot - You are missing administrator rights

After installing Spybot Search & Destroy 1.6.2 through allmyapps, I started Spybot and attempted to peform an immunization, but saw the following error, even though I was logged into an account in the administrator group when I started Spybot.

Error

You are missing administrator rights to perform this action.
If you need to do this, please run this application elevated as an administrtor.

When I started Spybot by right-clicking on its shortcut and choosing "Run as administrator", the immunization performed successfully.

[/security/spyware/spybot] permanent link

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 11:03 pm

Configuring a Mac OS X 10.6 System to Provide VNC Access

Note: These notes have been tested on systems running OS X 10.6, aka "Snow Leopard", but may apply to other versions as well.

I needed to configure a Mac system running OS X 10.6.3 to support remote access from a Virtual Network Computing (VNC) client on a Microsoft Windows system. VNC is a graphical desktop sharing system that uses the RFB protocol to remotely control another computer. It transmits the keyboard and mouse events from one computer to another, relaying the graphical screen updates back in the other direction, over a network. There are many free VNC clients, such as TightVNC, the free edition of RealVNC, etc.

Mac OS X Snow Leopard (version 10.6) comes with AppleVNCServer software. To configure the Mac OS X system for VNC access, take the following steps:

  1. Click on the Apple icon at the top left of the screen.
  2. Select System Preferences.
  3. Under Internet and Wireless, select Sharing.
  4. Ensure Remote Management is checked.

    Note: if the lock icon at the lower, left-hand corner of the screen is showing a locked padlock, you will need to click on the padlock to unlock it, which will present you with a window where you can provide the account name and password for an account with adminstrator access for the system.

  5. For "allow access for", select either "All users" or "Only these users. If you select "Only these users", click on the plus sign, i.e., "+", and click on a user account which should be granted remote management access, then click on the Select button. You will then have the opportunity to grant specific permissions from among the following:
    • Observe
      • Control
      • Show when being observed
    • Generate reports
    • Open and quit applications
    • Change settings
    • Delete and replace items
    • Start text chat or send messages
    • Restart and shut down
    • Copy items

    Pick the permissions you wish to grant, then click on OK.

  6. Click on Computer Settings.
  7. In the "VNC viewers may contrl screen with password" field, place a password to be used for VNC access.
  8. Click on OK.
  9. You will be prompted for the password of an account with administrator privileges to complete the changes. Provide an appropriate account name and password, then click on OK.

    Set VNC password under OS X

Information on the service can be obtained from the command line by obtaining a shell prompt by running the Terminal program under /Applications/Utilities then issuing the command launchctl list com.apple.ScreenSharing.server.

$ launchctl list com.apple.ScreenSharing.server
{
	"Label" = "com.apple.ScreenSharing.server";
	"LimitLoadToSessionType" = "Aqua";
	"OnDemand" = true;
	"LastExitStatus" = 0;
	"TimeOut" = 30;
	"Program" = "/System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/AppleVNCServe
r.bundle/Contents/MacOS/AppleVNCServer";
	"EnableTransactions" = true;
	"TransactionCount" = -1;
};

If you don't see it listed try launchctl list | grep -i Screen.

The program listens by default on TCP port 5900.

[/os/os-x] permanent link

Tue, Nov 29, 2011 8:23 pm

Starting OSXVnc From a Command Line

I needed to remotely start VNC server software on an Apple OS X 10.3, aka Panther, system. I had SSH access to the system.

I could tell the software wasn't currently running by checking to see if the system was listening for connections on the default port, tcp port 5900, using the netstat command.

$ netstat -a | grep 5900
$

I tried started the software running in the background by issuing the command /Applications/OSXvnc.app/OSXvnc-server & at a terminal prompt, but OSXVnc didn't start, because, though I was logged into an account with administrator privileges, I wasn't logged into the root account.

$ /Applications/OSXvnc.app/OSXvnc-server &
2011-11-29 10:22:55.218 OSXvnc-server[385] Main Bundle: /Applications/OSXvnc.app
kCGErrorRangeCheck : Window Server communications from outside of session allowed for root and console user only
2011-11-29 10:22:55.225 OSXvnc-server[385] screen format not supported.  exiting.

So I then used sudo to assume the identity of the root account to run the coomand. When prompted for a password I entered the password for the administrator account under which I was already logged into the system I was then able to successfully start OSXvnc.

Greg-Computer:/ JDoe$ sudo -s
Password:
Greg-Computer:/ root# /Applications/OSXvnc.app/OSXvnc-server &
[1] 397
Greg-Computer:/ root# 2011-11-29 10:29:50.345 OSXvnc-server[397] Main Bundle: /Applications/OSXvnc.app
2011-11-29 10:29:50.353 OSXvnc-server[397] Waiting for clients
2011-11-29 10:29:50.353 OSXvnc-server[397] Started Listener Thread on port 5900 

By then hitting enter, I could get back to the shell prompt and check to ensure the program was listening on port 5900.

Greg-Computer:/ JDoe$ netstat -a | grep 5900
tcp4       0      0  *.5900                 *.*                    LISTEN

If you need to change the VNC password, you can use the storepasswd command in the /Applications/OSXvnc.app directory.

$ /Applications/OSXvnc.app/storepasswd -h

usage:  storepasswd <password> <filename>

Stores a password in encrypted format.
The resulting file can be used with the -rfbauth argument to OSXvnc.

The VNC password is normally stored in /Applications/OSXvnc.app/.osxvncauth.

You can change the password by using sudo to assume the identity of the root account and then using the storepasswd command, similar to the example below:

Greg-Computer:~ JDoe$ sudo -s
Password:
Greg-Computer:~ root# /Applications/OSXvnc.app/storepasswd Some-Password /Applications/OSXvnc.app/.osxvncauth
storing password succeeded.
Greg-Computer:~ root#

You can then use ps | grep OSXvnc | grep -v grep to find the process ID for the the existing OSXvnc server process, kill it with kill -9 <PID> and restart the software using the -rfbauth parameter. E.g., /Applications/OSXvnc.app/OSXvnc-server -rfbauth /Applications/OSXvnc.app/.osxvncauth & will start OSXvnc running again using the password stored in /Applications/OSXvnc.app/.osxvncauth. Putting an ampersand, &, at the end of the line puts the process running in the background, so that it will continue to run even after you log off.

Greg-Computer:~ root# ps | grep OSXvnc | grep -v grep
  397 std- S      3:12.77 /Applications/OSXvnc.app/OSXvnc-server
Greg-Computer:~ root# kill -HUP 397
Greg--Computer:~ root# /Applications/OSXvnc.app/OSXvnc-server -rfbauth /Applications/OSXvnc.app/.osxvncauth &
[1] 466
Greg--Computer:~ root# 2011-11-29 20:04:00.879 OSXvnc-server[466] Main Bundle: /Applications/OSXvnc.app
2011-11-29 20:04:00.886 OSXvnc-server[466] Waiting for clients
2011-11-29 20:04:00.887 OSXvnc-server[466] Started Listener Thread on port 5900

References:

  1. OSXvnc 1.71 Frequently Asked Questions
    Last Modified: 20 July 2006
    Redstone Software

[/os/os-x] permanent link

Thu, Nov 24, 2011 12:01 pm

Burning an ISO File to Disc with Disk Utility

Under Mac OS X, you can burn an .iso file to a blank CD using the Disk Utility application. You can open the application using the Finder. You will find Disk Utility in Applications/Utilities. When you have opened the Disk Utility application, take the following steps to burn the .iso file to a blank disc.
  1. Click on File.
  2. Click on the Burn button.
  3. Browse to the .iso file you wish to burn to disc. Click on it to select it then click on the Burn button.
  4. When you see the "Ready to burn" message, click on the Burn button. A Disk Utility Progress window should open showing you the progress of the burning process as the .iso file is burned to the blank disc. The disc will be ejected when the process is completed.

[/os/os-x] permanent link

Tue, Nov 15, 2011 10:40 pm

AV Security 2012v121.exe Rogue Antivirus Program

I removed rogue antivirus software associated with AV Security 2012v121.exe from a user's system. The AV Security 2012 "security" software was declaring other programs on the system as infected and preventing other programs from running.

[More Info ]

[/security/malware] permanent link

Tue, Nov 15, 2011 9:07 am

Paypal Cookie Problem

A user reported that she could not access PayPal. She received the error message below:

Bad Request

Your browser sent a request that this server could not understand. Size of a request header field exceeds server limit.

Cookie: Apache=10.190.8.162.1308261499204052; ...

She was using Firefox 8.0. I had her try accessing the site with Internet Explorer. She was able to access the site via Internet Explorer, so I then deleted all of the cookies stored for paypal.com by Firefox.

The following procedure will allow you to delete all of the cookies for a particular site, such as PayPal, in Firefox.

  1. Click on Tools.
  2. Click on Options.
  3. Select Privacy.
  4. Click on "remove individual cookies"
  5. Cick on "paypal.com" or whatever site for which you wish to remove all cookies.
  6. Click on the Remove Cookies button
  7. Click on Close
  8. Click on OK

[/network/web/browser/firefox] permanent link

Sun, Nov 13, 2011 8:22 pm

file_upload Perl Script

The PHP code I had been using to upload files to a website would not allow me to upload files more than a few MB in size, likely due to the MAX_FILE_SIZE setting for HTTP_POST_VARS. I decided I would use a Perl script, instead, for uploading files to the site.

I used a Perl script Uploading Files Using CGI and Perl Article written by Matt Doyle as the basis for my script with just some minor modifications. I changed the maximum allowed size for uploaded files from 5 MB to 15 MB. I also eliminated the code pertaining to the uploader's email address, since I didn't need that information, and removed all references to photos in the code, since I wanted to use the script for uploading any type of file not just photos. I added some code to provide file size information on the uploaded file when the upload completes, which I got from How do I display filesizes in a nice way? at Stuart's Useful Perl Pages.

When a file is uploaded, the script will now show something like the following when the upload is completed.

File upload completed!

File uploaded: opera-10.11.gcc4-static-qt3.pkg.gz
File size: 14.43 MB (15136905 bytes)

The Perl script, file_upload.cgi is available here

References:

  1. Uploading Files Using CGI and Perl Article
    By: Matt Doyle
    Date: March 14, 2008
    SitePoint >> Web Design, Web Development, Freelancing, Tech News and more
  2. How do I display filesizes in a nice way?
    Stuart's Useful Perl Pages
  3. How to get the size of a file in Perl using file test operators.
    Perl Programming & Tutorials from About.com

[/languages/perl] permanent link

Sun, Nov 13, 2011 3:03 pm

Determining the Network Interface Card (NIC) in a Linux System with lspci

I found that a network interface card (NIC) in a system was not picking up an IP via DHCP. When I checked the IP configuration for the card, I saw it had an invalid MAC address of all zeros.
$ ifconfig eth0
eth0      Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 00:00:00:00:00:00  
          BROADCAST MULTICAST  MTU:1500  Metric:1
          RX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000 
          RX bytes:0 (0.0 B)  TX bytes:0 (0.0 B)
          Interrupt:19 Base address:0xdead

The system had an Ethernet controller built into the motherboard. In such cases you can determing what Ethernet controller is being used by opening the system case or you can use the lspci command.

$ lspci | grep Ethernet
00:04.0 Ethernet controller: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] 190 Ethernet Adapt
er

On Linux systems, the lspi command displays information about Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) buses in the system and devices connected to them.

In the above case I could see that the system needed a Linux driver for a SiS 190 Ethernet Adapter.

NAME
       lspci - list all PCI devices

SYNOPSIS
       lspci [options]

DESCRIPTION
       lspci  is  a  utility for displaying information about PCI buses in the
       system and devices connected to them.

       By default, it shows a brief list of devices. Use the options described
       below  to  request  either a more verbose output or output intended for
       parsing by other programs.

       If you are going to report bugs in  PCI  device  drivers  or  in  lspci
       itself,  please  include  output  of "lspci -vvx" or even better "lspci
       -vvxxx" (however, see below for possible caveats).

       Some parts of the output, especially in the highly verbose  modes,  are
       probably  intelligible only to experienced PCI hackers. For exact defi
       nitions of the fields, please consult either the PCI specifications  or
       the header.h and /usr/include/linux/pci.h include files.

       Access  to  some  parts of the PCI configuration space is restricted to
       root on many operating systems, so the features of lspci  available  to
       normal  users  are limited. However, lspci tries its best to display as
       much as available and mark all other information with  <access  denied>
       text.


OPTIONS
   Basic display modes
       -m     Dump  PCI  device data in a backward-compatible machine readable
              form.  See below for details.

       -mm    Dump PCI device data in a machine readable form for easy parsing
              by scripts.  See below for details.

       -t     Show  a tree-like diagram containing all buses, bridges, devices
              and connections between them.


   Display options
       -v     Be verbose and display detailed information about all devices.

       -vv    Be very verbose and display more details.  This  level  includes
              everything deemed useful.

       -vvv   Be  even  more  verbose  and  display  everything we are able to
              parse, even if it doesn't look interesting at all  (e.g.,  unde
              fined memory regions).

       -k     Show kernel drivers handling each device and also kernel modules
              capable of handling it.  Turned on by default when -v  is  given
              in  the  normal  mode of output.  (Currently works only on Linux
              with kernel 2.6 or newer.)

       -x     Show hexadecimal dump of the standard part of the  configuration
              space (the first 64 bytes or 128 bytes for CardBus bridges).

       -xxx   Show  hexadecimal  dump of the whole PCI configuration space. It
              is available only to root as several PCI devices crash when  you
              try to read some parts of the config space (this behavior proba
              bly doesn't violate the PCI standard, but  it's  at  least  very
              stupid).  However,  such  devices are rare, so you needn't worry
              much.

       -xxxx  Show hexadecimal dump of the extended (4096-byte) PCI configura
              tion space available on PCI-X 2.0 and PCI Express buses.

       -b     Bus-centric  view. Show all IRQ numbers and addresses as seen by
              the cards on the PCI bus instead of as seen by the kernel.

       -D     Always show PCI domain numbers.  By  default,  lspci  suppresses
              them on machines which have only domain 0.


   Options to control resolving ID's to names
       -n     Show  PCI  vendor and device codes as numbers instead of looking
              them up in the PCI ID list.

       -nn    Show PCI vendor and device codes as both numbers and names.

       -q     Use DNS to query the central PCI ID database if a device is  not
              found  in the local pci.ids file. If the DNS query succeeds, the
              result is cached in ~/.pciids-cache and it is recognized in sub
              sequent  runs  even if -q is not given any more. Please use this
              switch inside automated scripts only with caution to avoid over
              loading the database servers.

       -qq    Same as -q, but the local cache is reset.

       -Q     Query the central database even for entries which are recognized
              locally.  Use this if you suspect that the  displayed  entry  is
              wrong.


   Options for selection of devices
       -s [[[[<domain>]:]<bus>]:][<slot>][.[<func>]]
              Show  only devices in the specified domain (in case your machine
              has several host bridges, they can either  share  a  common  bus
              number  space  or  each  of them can address a PCI domain of its
              own; domains are numbered from 0 to ffff), bus (0 to  ff),  slot
              (0  to  1f) and function (0 to 7).  Each component of the device
              address can be omitted or set to "*", both meaning "any  value".
              All  numbers  are  hexadecimal.  E.g., "0:" means all devices on
              bus 0, "0" means all functions of device 0  on  any  bus,  "0.3"
              selects  third  function of device 0 on all buses and ".4" shows
              only the fourth function of each device.

       -d [<vendor>]:[<device>]
              Show only devices with specified vendor and device ID. Both ID's
              are  given  in  hexadecimal  and may be omitted or given as "*",
              both meaning "any value".


   Other options
       -i <file>
              Use    <file>    as    the    PCI    ID    list    instead    of
              /usr/share/misc/pci.ids.

       -p <file>
              Use  <file> as the map of PCI ID's handled by kernel modules. By
              default, lspci uses  /lib/modules/kernel_version/modules.pcimap.
              Applies only to Linux systems with recent enough module tools.

       -M     Invoke  bus  mapping  mode which performs a thorough scan of all
              PCI devices, including those behind misconfigured bridges,  etc.
              This option gives meaningful results only with a direct hardware
              access mode, which usually  requires  root  privileges.   Please
              note that the bus mapper only scans PCI domain 0.

       --version
              Shows lspci version. This option should be used stand-alone.


   PCI access options
       The  PCI  utilities  use  the  PCI  library to talk to PCI devices (see
       pcilib(7) for details). You can use the following options to  influence
       its behavior:

       -A <method>
              The  library  supports  a  variety  of methods to access the PCI
              hardware.  By default, it uses the first  access  method  avail
              able, but you can use this option to override this decision. See
              -A help for a list of available methods and their descriptions.

       -O <param>=<value>
              The behavior of the  library  is  controlled  by  several  named
              parameters.   This  option allows to set the value of any of the
              parameters. Use -O help for a list of known parameters and their
              default values.

       -H1    Use  direct hardware access via Intel configuration mechanism 1.
              (This is a shorthand for -A intel-conf1.)

       -H2    Use direct hardware access via Intel configuration mechanism  2.
              (This is a shorthand for -A intel-conf2.)

       -F <file>
              Instead of accessing real hardware, read the list of devices and
              values of their configuration registers from the given file pro
              duced  by  an  earlier run of lspci -x.  This is very useful for
              analysis of user-supplied bug reports, because you  can  display
              the  hardware configuration in any way you want without disturb
              ing the user with requests for more dumps.

       -G     Increase debug level of the library.


MACHINE READABLE OUTPUT
       If you intend to process the output of lspci automatically, please  use
       one of the machine-readable output formats (-m, -vm, -vmm) described in
       this section. All other formats are likely to change  between  versions
       of lspci.


       All  numbers  are always printed in hexadecimal. If you want to process
       numeric ID's instead of names, please add the -n switch.


   Simple format (-m)
       In the simple format, each device is described on a single line,  which
       is  formatted  as  parameters  suitable  for passing to a shell script,
       i.e., values separated by whitespaces, quoted and escaped if necessary.
       Some  of the arguments are positional: slot, class, vendor name, device
       name, subsystem vendor name and subsystem name (the last two are  empty
       if  the  device  has no subsystem); the remaining arguments are option-
       like:


       -rrev  Revision number.


       -pprogif
              Programming interface.


       The relative order of positional arguments and  options  is  undefined.
       New  options can be added in future versions, but they will always have
       a single argument not separated from the option by any spaces, so  they
       can be easily ignored if not recognized.


   Verbose format (-vmm)
       The  verbose  output is a sequence of records separated by blank lines.
       Each record describes a single device by a sequence of lines, each line
       containing  a single `tag: value' pair. The tag and the value are sepa
       rated by a single tab character.  Neither the  records  nor  the  lines
       within a record are in any particular order.  Tags are case-sensitive.


       The following tags are defined:


       Slot   The    name    of    the   slot   where   the   device   resides
              ([domain:]bus:device.function).  This tag is always the first in
              a record.


       Class  Name of the class.


       Vendor Name of the vendor.


       Device Name of the device.


       SVendor
              Name of the subsystem vendor (optional).


       SDevice
              Name of the subsystem (optional).


       PhySlot
              The  physical  slot  where  the  device resides (optional, Linux
              only).


       Rev    Revision number (optional).


       ProgIf Programming interface (optional).


       Driver Kernel driver currently handling  the  device  (optional,  Linux
              only).


       Module Kernel  module  reporting  that  it  is  capable of handling the
              device (optional, Linux only).


       New tags can be added in future versions, so you should silently ignore
       any tags you don't recognize.


   Backward-compatible verbose format (-vm)
       In  this mode, lspci tries to be perfectly compatible with its old ver
       sions.  It's almost the same as the regular  verbose  format,  but  the
       Device  tag is used for both the slot and the device name, so it occurs
       twice in a single record. Please avoid using this  format  in  any  new
       code.


FILES
       /usr/share/misc/pci.ids
              A list of all known PCI ID's (vendors, devices, classes and sub
              classes). Maintained at http://pciids.sourceforge.net/, use  the
              update-pciids utility to download the most recent version.

       /usr/share/misc/pci.ids.gz
              If  lspci is compiled with support for compression, this file is
              tried before pci.ids.

       ~/.pciids-cache
              All ID's found in the DNS query mode are cached in this file.


BUGS
       Sometimes, lspci is not able to decode the configuration registers com
       pletely.  This usually happens when not enough documentation was avail
       able to the authors.  In such cases, it at least prints the  mark to
       signal that there is potentially something more to say. If you know the
       details, patches will be of course welcome.

       Access to the extended configuration space is currently supported  only
       by the linux_sysfs back-end.


SEE ALSO
       setpci(8), update-pciids(8), pcilib(7)


AUTHOR
       The PCI Utilities are maintained by Martin Mares <mj@ucw.cz>.



pciutils-3.1.7                  31 January 2010                       lspci(8)

[/os/unix/commands] permanent link

Sun, Nov 13, 2011 11:10 am

Mounting a USB Drive on a Linux System from the Command Line

If you need to manually mount a USB external drive, such as a flash drive, from the command line, i.e., a shell prompt, log into the root account for the system then issue the dmesg command feeding its results to grep and then use tail to get just the last line containing the word "SCSI", since if you just plugged the device into the system, that last line likely contains the relevant entry.
$ su - root
Password:
# dmesg | grep -i 'SCSI device' | tail --lines=1
SCSI device sdb: 7813120 512-byte hdwr sectors (4000 MB)

Since I know the flash drive I plugged into the system in this case is a 4 GB drive, I know that sdb is indeed the relevant drive designator.

Alternatively you could look for the information in /var/log/messages .

[root@example ~]# grep SCSI /var/log/messages | tail --lines=1
Nov 13 09:55:55 example kernel: SCSI device sdb: 7813120 512-byte hdwr secto
rs (4000 MB)

You can then use the information you obtained for the drive designator, in this case sdb to mount the drive. Note you might see other "sd" designators, such as sda, sdc, sdd, etc., or "hd" designators, such as hda, hdb, hdc, etc.

Use the mount command to mount the drive to an exising mount point, such as one beneath /mnt or /media. Unless a directory already exists that you wish to use, you could create a directory which you will use to access the contents of the USB drive. Let's suppose you want to use myusb for that directory; you then need to create the directory.

# mkdir /media/myusb

Presuming the file system on the flash drive is vfat, I could use the command below to mount the device at the mount point /media/myusb. You need to spcify the file system type with the -t option. Note: I use sdb1 rather than just the designator sdb, since I want to mount the first and, in this case, only partition, on the flash drive. The VFAT file system is a commonly used one for flash and other USB drives. It is a Microsoft created file system that allows the use of file names longer than an 8 character file name with a 3 character extension.

[root@example ~]# mount -t vfat /dev/sdb1 /media/myusb

I can then issue the mount command again without any parameters to verify the drive is mounted.

[root@example ~]# mount | grep sdb
/dev/sdb1 on /media/myusb type vfat (rw)

The rw on the output shows me that the drive is mounted in read/write mode rather than read only (ro) mode, so I could write to the drive as well as read from it.

You should then be able to access the drive using /media/myusb, or whatever you used for the path designator.

[root@frostdragon ~]# ls /media/myusb
aoss.txt  definitions

When you are finished with the drive, you should unmount it using the umount command prior to removing it from the system. You can also remove the directory you created for mounting it using the rmdir command, unless you will use that same directory for mounting it or other drives in the future.

[root@example ~]# umount /media/myusb
[root@example ~]# rmdir /media/myusb

References:

  1. VFAT
    Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  2. How to Mount USB flash drive from Command Line
    Date: December 1, 2007
    Linux Commando

[/os/unix/linux] permanent link

Sun, Nov 13, 2011 10:46 am

lsusb

To see a list of all USB devices connected to a Linux computer, use the lsusb command.
# lsusb
Bus 005 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
Bus 002 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
Bus 004 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
Bus 001 Device 002: ID 0781:5530 SanDisk Corp.
Bus 001 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
Bus 003 Device 001: ID 0000:0000

Note: if you type lsusb and get a "command not found" message, the command may not be in your path. It may be in /sbin, so try specifying the path /sbin/lsusb.

To see more details on the USB devices attached to the system, use lsusb -v. If you don't specify a particular device you are interested in, you will get quite a bit of information. To restrict the information to a particular device, e.g., the SanDisk flash drive in the list above, you can specify a device and bus number, e.g., bus 001 and device number 002 in the above case, using the -s option.

# lsusb -v -s 1:2

Bus 001 Device 002: ID 0781:5530 SanDisk Corp.
Device Descriptor:
  bLength                18
  bDescriptorType         1
  bcdUSB               2.00
  bDeviceClass            0 (Defined at Interface level)
  bDeviceSubClass         0
  bDeviceProtocol         0
  bMaxPacketSize0        64
  idVendor           0x0781 SanDisk Corp.
  idProduct          0x5530
  bcdDevice            1.00
  iManufacturer           1
  iProduct                2
  iSerial                 3
  bNumConfigurations      1
  Configuration Descriptor:
    bLength                 9
    bDescriptorType         2
    wTotalLength           32
    bNumInterfaces          1
    bConfigurationValue     1
    iConfiguration          0
    bmAttributes         0x80
    MaxPower              200mA
    Interface Descriptor:
      bLength                 9
      bDescriptorType         4
      bInterfaceNumber        0
      bAlternateSetting       0
      bNumEndpoints           2
      bInterfaceClass         8 Mass Storage
      bInterfaceSubClass      6 SCSI
      bInterfaceProtocol     80 Bulk (Zip)
      iInterface              0
      Endpoint Descriptor:
        bLength                 7
        bDescriptorType         5
        bEndpointAddress     0x81  EP 1 IN
        bmAttributes            2
          Transfer Type            Bulk
          Synch Type               None
          Usage Type               Data
        wMaxPacketSize     0x0200  1x 512 bytes
        bInterval               0
      Endpoint Descriptor:
        bLength                 7
        bDescriptorType         5
        bEndpointAddress     0x02  EP 2 OUT
        bmAttributes            2
          Transfer Type            Bulk
          Synch Type               None
          Usage Type               Data
        wMaxPacketSize     0x0200  1x 512 bytes
        bInterval               1
can't get device qualifier: Connection timed out
can't get debug descriptor: Connection timed out

If you move the USB device to another USB port on the system, you will see the bus number and device number combination change.

# lsusb
Bus 005 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
Bus 002 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
Bus 004 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
Bus 001 Device 007: ID 0781:5530 SanDisk Corp.
Bus 001 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
Bus 003 Device 001: ID 0000:0000

The full list of options for the command is shown below.

# lsusb -h
lsusb: invalid option -- h
Usage: lsusb [options]...
List USB devices
  -v, --verbose
      Increase verbosity (show descriptors)
  -s [[bus]:][devnum]
      Show only devices with specified device and/or
      bus numbers (in decimal)
  -d vendor:[product]
      Show only devices with the specified vendor and
      product ID numbers (in hexadecimal)
  -D device
      Selects which device lsusb will examine
  -t
      Dump the physical USB device hierarchy as a tree
  -V, --version
      Show version of program

References:

  1. Linux / Unix Command: lsusb
    Linux Operating System and Linux Distributions

[/os/unix/commands] permanent link

Sun, Nov 13, 2011 10:45 am

PC Tools Alternate Opeating System Scanner (AOSS) version 2.0.5

PC Tools free Alternate Operating System Scanner allows you to boot a Microsoft Windows system with an alternate operating system on a CD. You can then scan the system for viruses from the CD, though I've found the utilitity of its anti-virus scanner to be very limited.

When I tried the virus scanning feature on a Dell Dimension 4550 PC that had Windows XP Home installed on the hard drive, the scanner didn't seem to be very effective, completing the scan in only 8 seconds and checking only 738 files out of the hundreds of thousands of files that existed on the Windows partition of the hard drive I scanned.

Total malware files:0
Total files:738
Scan time:8 seconds

The CD comes with a file manager that will allow you to access directories and files on your Microsoft Windows partitions on the hard drive. It also has "Disk Detonator", which will allow you to destroy partitions on the hard drive, if you wish.

You can get a shell prompt by choosing "System Shell" from the main menu, which will give you an ash shell provided via BusyBox, but the AOSS CD is lacking in standard Linux command line utilities. There is no scp nor ftp for transferring files over the network to another system. There is no links nor lynx one might use to access a web server to download or upload files. Wget and curl are also missing as are the standard network utilities such as ifconfig and netstat.

When I checked the contents of /proc/version, I saw that AOSS uses Ubuntu GNU/Linux for the operating system.

Linux version 2.6.39.4 (www-data@steve-aoss-ubuntu) (gcc version 4.4.1 (Ubuntu 4
.4.1-4ubuntu9) ) #1 SMP PREEMPT Mon Oct 31 11:26:05 EST 2011

References:

  1. Bootable Antivirus and AntiSpyware Software AOSS | PC Tools
    Free AntiVirus & AntiSpyware Software | PC Tools
  2. PC Tools Alternative Operating System AOS Freware Virus Scanner
    Date: May 27, 2010
    Free Antivirus Help Blog | Your source for the latest antivirus news and antivirus reviews

[/security/antivirus/pctools] permanent link

Sat, Nov 12, 2011 1:49 pm

Avira AntiVir Rescue System 3.7.16

The antivirus vendor Avira offers a free rescue CD which allows you to boot a system that runs Microsoft Windows from a Linux rescue CD that contains Avira's antivirus software. The Avira AntiVir Rescue System can be used in cases where a system is so badly infected it won't boot into Microsoft Windows properly or when the system runs abysmally slowly due to malware present on the system.

The Avira AntiVir Rescue System v3.7.16 uses ISOLINUX to boot from the CD. It appears to be based on Debian GNU/Linux judging by the contents of /etc/proc/version.

root@RescueSystem:/# cat /proc/version
Linux version 2.6.35.1 (cgossenberger@lx-i386-gc236) (gcc version 4.1.2 20061115
 (prerelease) (Debian 4.1.1-21)) #1 SMP Thu Aug 12 13:33:53 CEST 2010

At the AntiVir Rescue System download page, you can download an iso file from which you can burn a CD, if you already have CD burning software that can write ISO files to CDs, or you can download an exe file from the Avira download page and use it to create a bootable rescue CD containing the Avira antivirus software.

When I scanned a system with an Avira AntiVir Rescue System CD today, which I had previously scanned with 5 other rescue CDs and 3 antivirus/antispyware programs within Microsoft Windows, the Avira antivirus software still found 2 remaining infected files.

Avira / Linux Version 1.9.152.0

Statistics:
Directories...........: 15710
Archives..............: 3143
Files...............: 312237
Infected...........: 2
Renamed...........: 2
Warnings............: 3
Suspicious..........: 0
Infection.............: 2

Avira puts a .vir extension on infected files it renames. So if an infected file was named badfile.avi, when it is renamed it will be badfile.avi.vir.

When the scan completed, I saved the results of the scan in rescue-system_scan.log, which I was able to transfer to another system with scp.

You can get a shell prompt by hitting Ctrl-Alt-F2 or selecting "Miscellaneous" from the GUI interface and then selecting "Command line". You can return to the GUI interface by hitting Alt-F7.

I hit Ctrl-Alt-F2 to get a shell prompt and used scp to transfer the log file to another system.

[/security/antivirus/avira] permanent link

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 10:35 pm

AVG GNU/Linux Rescue CD

The AVG Rescue GNU/Linux (ARL) CD can be used to boot a Microsoft Windows system outside of Windows and scan it for malware. The software is free from AVG, a company that produces antivirus software for Microsoft Windows systems.

[ More Info ]

[/security/antivirus/avg/rescue-cd] permanent link

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 2:04 pm

Creating a tar file from a list of files

If you wish to create a tar file using a text file which contains the list of files to be archived, you can do so using the xargs command.
$ cat filenames.txt | xargs tar -cvf allfiles.tar

If the list of file names contains spaces in file names or in the directory paths, you should put double quotes at the beginning and end of each line before you run the tar command, which you can do with the sed command.

$ sed -i 's/^/"/' filenames.txt
$ sed -i 's/$/"/' filenames.txt

[/os/unix/commands] permanent link

Sun, Oct 16, 2011 10:42 pm

Backing Up a MySQL Database

The mysqldump command can be used to backup a MySQL database. The mysqldump command will write its output, which consists of SQL statements that can be used to recreate the database, to standard output by default; you can use > filename to redirect its output to a file. The format of the command to backup one or more databases is mysqldump --databases db1 db2 db3 > outputfile.sql where db1, db2, etc. are the names of the databases you wish to back up and outputfile.sql is the name of the output file to which the dababase will be dumped.. The --databases option causes all names on the command line to be treated as database names. Without this option, mysqldump treats the first name as a database name and those following as table names.
# mysqldump -p --databases partsdb > partsdb-20111016.sql
Enter password:

In the above example, the -p option causes mysql to prompt for the mysql account password with the username assumed to be the same as the login name for the account from which you are running the command. If you wish to specify the username, use --user=user_name or -u user_name.

If you want to back up all databases you can use the command mysqldump --all-databases > dump.sql to back up all databases to which the account has access on the system to a file named dump.sql in this case.

A dump file can be used in several ways:

An example script to dump mysql databases to a gzip file which will be transferred to another server via SSH for safekeeping can be found at How to have a rock solid Linux backup without pro budget. Placing your dump file on another system ensures you don't lose your data should the system on which your databases reside suffer a hard drive crash or some other catastrophe.

References:

  1. 6.4.1. Dumping Data in SQL Format with mysqldump
    MySQL :: Developer Zone
  2. 6.4. Using mysqldump for Backups
    MySQL :: Developer Zone
  3. How to have a rock solid Linux backup without pro budget
    documentation planet

[/software/database/mysql] permanent link

Tue, Oct 04, 2011 5:12 pm

Determining Image Info Under Mac OS X

If you need to determine information about an image file from the command line on a Mac OS X system, you can use the file command.

If you wanted information about all of the .jpg and .png files in a directory, you could use the command file *.png *.jpg

$ file *.png *.jpg
upgrade-windows-grayed.png:         PNG image, 256 x 256, 8-bit/color RGBA, non-interlaced
Vista_Install_Type_Product_Key.jpg: JPEG image data, JFIF standard 1.01

For some image files, the file command will show the image dimensions. The command will reveal the actual image type, even if a file has been given the wrong extension as shown below.

$ cp Vista_Install_Type_Product_Key.jpg test.png
$ file test.png
test.png: JPEG image data, JFIF standard 1.01

Another useful utility for determining the dimensions of an image file is sips. You can use the -g pixelHeight and -g pixelWidth options to obtain the dimensions of an image.

$ sips -g pixelHeight -g pixelWidth example.jpg 
/Users/jsmith/Documents/example.jpg
  pixelHeight: 600
  pixelWidth: 800

References:

  1. Get the dimensions of most images from the command line UNIX
    Date: December 1, 2003
    Mac OS X Hints

[/os/os-x] permanent link

Sat, Oct 01, 2011 8:20 pm

JavaScript and Cascading (CSS) Style Sheets

Cascading Style Sheets are the dominant style sheet language used now for enhancing the formatting and layout of HTML web pages, but there was also a shortlived alternative known as JavaScript Style Sheets (JSS) or (JSSS).

CSS provides adds additional capabilities for controlling the appearance of web pages and provides a mechanism for separating webpage content from web page design to allow a uniform look for webpages throughout a site.

[ More Info ]

[/network/web/html/css] permanent link

Sun, Sep 25, 2011 9:25 pm

List Installed Programs

I needed to produce a list of programs installed on a Microsoft Windows system to send to someone else so she could check it for no longer needed programs and tell me which ones are no longer needed, so I could remove them to free disk space. Bill James has a VBScript script, InstalledPrograms.vbs, which can be run from a command line, which prompts for the name of the system to check via a popup window, as shown below:

InstalledPrograms name or IP prompt

After that prompt, you are asked whether you wish to view the results produced by the program as shown below.

InstalledPrograms save results prompt

The list of installed programs is stored in a file that has the name of the system on which it is run followed by an underline, then the date in mmddyyyy (month-date-year) format, then another underscore followed by the time in military time, i.e. 24-hour clock time, another underscore and then "Software.txt". E.g. CRYSTAL_09252011_175147_Software.txt for a file produced when the program was run on a system named Crystal on September 25, 2011 at 5:51:47 PM. The file is stored in the directory in which the script is run.

If you click on "yes" to view the results, the file produced by the program will be opened in the default .txt file viewer, which, on Microsoft Windows systems, will likely be Notepad.

An example output file can be seen here. The list is similar to the list of installed programs that you would see by checking with "Add or Remove Programs" under the Control Panel. It is obtained by querying the registry key HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\.

Download InstalledPrograms

References:

  1. VBScript Tools by Bill James
    BillsWay.com
  2. VBScript
    Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[/languages/vbs] permanent link

Wed, Sep 21, 2011 10:40 pm

F-Secure 3.11 Rescue CD Scan of Compaq SR1900NX Windows XP PC

If I need to scan someone's Microsoft Windows system for malware, I usually make a backup of the system outside of Windows, e.g., by booting the system with a Norton Ghost 2003 boot CD and backing up the system to an external USB drive. I then usually perform an initial scan of the system using a rescue CD, such as the F-Secure Rescue CD 3.11. Using a rescue CD can be especially helpful if a system won't boot into Windows or runs abysmally slow because of a malware infection.

In this instance I used the F-Secure Rescue CD 3.11 on a Compaq Presario SR1900NX system running WIndows XP to perform an initial malware scan of the system.

[ More Info ]

[/security/antivirus/f-secure] permanent link

Mon, Sep 19, 2011 7:41 am

International Talk Like a Pirate Day

Ahoy, matey, don't forget today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Who was the most successful pirate that ever lived? Not Edward Teach, aka Blackbeard, nor Captain Kidd nor Calico Jack, nor perhaps any other male pirate. That honor could arguably be given to Ching Shih, also known as Cheng I Sao, a female pirate. Whereas Blackbeard was decapitated after losing a battle with anti-pirate forces led by Robert Maynard and Captain Kidd and Calico Jack, who gave us the emblematic Jolly Roger pirate flag, were hanged, Ching Shih died in comfort of natural causes after a very successful career as a pirate.

In her heyday as a pirate, Ching Shih's Red Flag fleet numbered more than 1,500 ships and she controlled upwards of 80,000 sailors. She was able to repel numerous attack by the Chinese navy as well as the many Portuguese and British bounty hunters brought in to help capture her. Finally, in 1810, the Chinese government tried a different tactic and offerred her amnesty if she would give up the life of a pirate. She accepted and opened a gambling house. She died of natural causes in 1844 at the age of 69, a successful businesswoman and grandmother.

References:

  1. Ching Shih
    Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  2. Most successful pirate was beautiful and tough
    Date: August 27, 2007
    Features Articles from CNN
  3. Blackbeard
    Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  4. Robert Maynard
    Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  5. William Kidd
    Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  6. Calico Jack
    Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  7. Jolly Roger
    Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[/news] permanent link

Sun, Sep 18, 2011 6:15 pm

Extracting the Contents of a .bz2 File

To extract the contents of a .bz2 file on a Linux or Unix system, such as Solaris, you can use the bunzip2 command.

bunzip2 file.bz2

The .bz2 file will be deleted when its contents are extracted. If you wish to keep the original .bz2 file, you can use the -k or --keep options.


     -k --keep
          Keep (don't delete) input files during  compression  or
          decompression.

References:

  1. File Extension .BZ2 Details
    FilExt
  2. Extract a bz2 or bzip2 file
    By: qmchenry
    Date: July 11, 2006
    Tech-Recipes
  3. Running Linux
    By: Matt Welsh
    Third Edition, Chapter 7, Archive and Compression Utilities, pages 184-187

[/os/unix/programs/utilities] permanent link

Mon, Sep 12, 2011 9:25 pm

VM Preventing Disc From Ejecting

On a MacBook Pro laptop with the OS X operating system, I inserted a blank CD in the drive. When I opened Disk Utility, which is in the Applications/Utilities folder, it reported "This disc drive is busy. Please choose another one." The Eject option in Disk Utility was grayed out. I tried ejecting it with the drutil utility from a shell prompt, which you can get by using the Finder and selecting Terminal in the Applications/Utilities folder, but that didn't work, either.
$ drutil eject

I was able to eject the CD by hitting the eject button at the top right side of the keyboard (it is the one with an upward pointing triangle with a horizontal line beneath it) on the MacBook Pro laptop. But when I inserted that CD or another CD, I had the same issue. I finally realized I had a Windows XP VMWare Virtual Machine (VM) running, which had control of the CD-ROM drive. I no longer had the issue after I shut down the VM. I was able to use the drutil eject command to eject the disc then and the eject function within Disk Utility then worked as well.

References:

  1. Another route to eject stubborn stuck CDs
    Date: June 1, 2004
    Mac OS X Hints

[/os/os-x] permanent link

Sun, Sep 11, 2011 11:16 pm

Album Thumbnail Generator

I needed to generate thumbnail images for some photos my wife took that I placed on the website, so I could send a webpage link to someone else so she could view the pages rather than me sending all of the images to her by email. I also needed a program to not only create the thumbnail images, but to create a webpage indexing all of the thumbnails and providing links from the thumbnails to the full-size images.

I was in a hurry and didn't want to spend a lot of time setting up software to do that nor spend a lot of time doing it manually. I thought I had installed an easy-to-use program on the system several years ago to do just that for a friend who wanted to post pictures of storm damage to his house, but I couldn't remember the name of the program nor how to access it. After looking on the system for his photos, I saw that I had used a Perl program, Album by David Ljung Madison. He also offers a number of other free scripts at his MarginalHacks website. There's an example of the output from his photo album generator script at DavePics.

Once I realized where the album Perl script was placed on my system, I was able to generate the thumbnails and associated HTML pages by just running the script while my working directory was the one in which the photos were located. E.g. /path_to_script/album. An index.html page was generated by the script containing all of the thumbnails, which are placed in a tn directory beneath the one containing the images. Clicking on a thumbnail then brought up a webpage containing the full-size image and navigation links to the additional images.

I thought I should make a note to my self here, so that if I forget the name of the program again, I have this blog entry to remind me of its name and how to use it to generate image thumbnails and webpages for the images.

[/languages/perl] permanent link

Sun, Sep 11, 2011 10:00 pm

Xubuntu

I sometimes use a Ubuntu Linux live CD for troubleshooting issues with Microsoft Windows systems, since a live CD allows me to boot the system from a CD without loading the Microsoft Windows operating system on the hard drive. Or when I'm working at a site without my own laptop, a live CD allows me to boot a system at the site without fear that a system may be potentially infected with malware that might perform keystroke logging or might otherwise be monitored by someone remotely unbeknownst to the system's owner.

I created a Ubuntu 11.04 Desktop edition live CD for booting a system so that I could check on files on the system which had Microsoft Windows XP Home edition on the hard drive. The system's owner reported she was having problems with the system and I wanted to start with a quick look at some of the files on the system and make a backup of her "My Documents" folder. I needed to open Firefox on the system to check on some information online, but whenever I opened a second tab in Firefox to Amazon.com, Firefox would crash. It also crashed with only one tab open when I used Ctrl-Alt-F2 to obtain a shell prompt with an error message indicating that there was a problem with inadequate memory.

The system had a 3.2 GHz processor, but only 512 MB of memory and the system requirements for Ubuntu Desktop Edition 11.04 (Natty Narwhal) listed on the Ubuntu site were as follows:

Since the system just met the minimum memory requirement for Ubuntu 11.04, I decided to try Xubuntu (pronounced "zoo-BOON-too"), instead. Xubuntu is a derivative of Ubuntu, which uses the Xfce desktop environment, which requires less memory than the Unity desktop used by Ubuntu.

Xubuntu is a community developed, Ubuntu-based Linux operating system that is well-suited for both laptops and desktops. It contains all the applications you need - a web browser, document and spreadsheet editing software, instant messaging and much more.

Minimum system requirements

You need 256 MB RAM to run the Live CD or 256 MB RAM to install. The Alternate Install CD only requires you to have 64 MB RAM at install time.

To install Xubuntu with the standard installer (Ubiquity), you need 4.4 GB of free space on your hard disk. The Alternate Install CD only requires you to have 2 GB of free space on your hard disk.

Once installed, Xubuntu can run with starting from 256 (or even just 192) MB RAM, but it is strongly recommended to have at least 512 MB RAM.

I downloaded Xubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal). I burned it to a CD and rebooted the system with it. I found that I didn't have any problems when I opened multiple tabs in Firefox under Xubuntu.

References:

  1. Homepage | Ubuntu
  2. Ubuntu
    Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  3. Xubuntu Home Page | Xubuntu
  4. Xubuntu
    Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  5. DistroWatch.com: Xubuntu
    DistroWatch.com: Put the fun back into computing. Use Linux, BSD.
  6. Unity (user interface)
    Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[/os/unix/linux/xubuntu] permanent link

Sat, Sep 10, 2011 4:19 pm

Submitting a form with POST using cURL

I needed to submit a form on a webpage using cURL. The form submission was using POST rather than GET. You can tell which method is being used by examining the source code for a page containing a form. If POST is being used, you will see it listed as the form method in the form tag as shown in the example below. A form that uses GET, instead, would have "get" as the form method.

<form method=post action=https://example.com/cgi-bin/SortDetail.pl>

You can use the -d or --data option with cURL to use POST for a form submission.


-d/--data <data>
              (HTTP) Sends the specified data in a POST request  to  the  HTTP
              server,  in  the  same  way  that a browser does when a user has
              filled in an HTML form and presses the submit button. This  will
              cause curl to pass the data to the server using the content-type
              application/x-www-form-urlencoded.  Compare to -F/--form.

              -d/--data is the same  as  --data-ascii.  To  post  data  purely
              binary, you should instead use the --data-binary option. To URL-
              encode the value of a form field you may use --data-urlencode.

              If any of these options is used more than once on the same  com-
              mand  line,  the  data  pieces specified will be merged together
              with a separating  &-symbol.  Thus,  using  '-d  name=daniel  -d
              skill=lousy'  would  generate  a  post  chunk  that  looks  like
              'name=daniel&skill=lousy'.

              If you start the data with the letter @, the rest  should  be  a
              file  name  to read the data from, or - if you want curl to read
              the data from stdin.  The contents of the file must  already  be
              URL-encoded.  Multiple files can also be specified. Posting data
              from a file named 'foobar' would thus be done with --data  @foo-
              bar.

To submit the form using cURL, I used the following:

$ curl -u jsmith:SomePassword -d "Num=&Table=All&FY=&IP=&Project=&Service=&portNo=&result=request&display_number=Find+Requests" -o all.html https://example.com/cgi-bin/SortDetail.pl

In this case the website was password protected, so I had to use the -u option to submit a userid and password in the form -u userid:password. If you omit the :password and just use -u userid, then cURL will prompt you for the password. So, if you want to store the cURL command in a script, such as a Bash script, but don't want to store the password in the script, you can simply omit the :password.

The -d option provides the parameters required by the form and the values for those parameters, which were as follows in this case:

ParameterValue
Num 
TableAll
FY 
IP 
Project 
Service 
portNo 
resultrequest
display_numberFind+Requests

The format for submitting values for parameters is parameter=value. Parameters are separated by an ampersand, &.

URLs can only be sent over the Internet using the ASCII character-set. Special non ASCII characters, which include the space character must be represented with a % followed by two hexadecimal digits. The space character can be represented by + or by %20. So, though the value for "display_number" is "Find Requests", it needs to be sent as Find+Requests or Find%20 requests. You can see a list of other characters that should be encoded at URL Encoding.

In this case, I didn't need to specify values for many parameters in the form, because I wanted the query to cover all potential values for those parameters. So I can just use parameter= and then follow that with an & to specify I am submitting the next parameter in the list.

References:

  1. cURL - Tutorial
    cURL and libcurl
  2. curl Examples
    Linux Journal | Linux Tips
  3. POST (HTTP)
    Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  4. The POST Method
    James Marshall's Home Page
  5. How to submit a form using PHP
    HTML Form Guide - All about web forms!
  6. HTML URL Encoding
    W3Schools Online Web Tutorials
  7. URL Encoding
    Bloo's Home Page

[/network/web/tools/curl] permanent link

Fri, Sep 09, 2011 10:36 pm

Read It Later Firefox Addon

If you would like to be able to save webpages you come across for later reading, if you are using Firefox, you can use the Read It Later Add-on for Firefox.

[ More Info ]

[/network/web/browser/firefox/addons] permanent link

Fri, Sep 09, 2011 10:26 pm

HttpFox Firefox Addon

If you need to observe the data flowing between a website and your browser when you visit a website, if you are using Firefox, you can use the HttpFox Add-on for Firefox.

[ More Info ]

[/network/web/browser/firefox/addons] permanent link

Thu, Sep 08, 2011 9:33 pm

Bash Calculator

If you need to do quick calculations on a system that provides the Bash shell, such as Linux or Mac OS X, you can perform calculations by using the echo command and then using $[ and ] to enclose the arithmetic calculation, i.e., echo $[calculation to be performed]. You can use the standard arithmetic operators of + for addition, - for subtraction, * for multiplication, / for division, and ** for exponentiation.
$ echo $[1+1]
2
$ echo $[9*90]
810
$ echo $[81/9]
9
$ echo $[2**3]
8

The standard precedence for operators applies, i.e., multiplication and division have precedence over addition and subtraction, so are performed first, i.e., the calcuations are not simply done on a left to right basis.

$ echo $[2+3*4]
14
$ echo $[6-4/2]
4

This Bash calculator functionality even handles negative numbers appropriately.

$ echo $[-4*5]
-20
$ echo $[-4*-5]
20

References:

  1. When you need a quick & simple calculator in Bash...
    TinyApps.Org, small is beautiful
  2. Bash (Unix shell)
    Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[/os/unix/bash] permanent link

Thu, Sep 08, 2011 9:25 pm

Retrieving Password Protected Webpages Using HTTPS With Curl

Mac OS X systems come with the curl command line tool which provides the capability to retrieve web pages from a shell prompt. To use the tool, using Finder on the system, you can go to Applications, Utilities and double-click on Terminal to obtain a shell prompt.

Curl is also available for a variety of other operating systems, including DOS, Linux, and Windows. Versions for other operating systems can be obtained from cURL - Download. If you will be retrieving encrypted webpages using the HTTPs protocol, be sure to get the binary version that includes Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) support.

A program with similar functionality is Wget, but that isn't included by default with the current versions of the Mac OS X operating system.

On Mac OS X systems, curl is available in /usr/bin and help on the options for curl can be found using man curl, curl -h , curl --help, and curl --manual. An online manual can be viewed at cURL - Manual.

To retrieve a webpage that requires a userid and password for access with curl using the HTTPS protocol, you can use a command similar to the one below where userid and password represent the userid and password required to access that particular webpage.

curl -u userid:password https://example.com/somepage.html

If you don't want to include the password on the command line, you can just specify the userid after the -u; curl will then prompt you for the password.

$ curl -u jsmith https://example.com/somepage.html
Enter host password for user 'jsmith':

If you wish to save the output in a file rather than have it go to stdout, i.e., rather than have it appear on the screen, you can use the -o/--output filename option where filename is the name you wish to use for the output file. Curl will provide information on the number of bytes downloaded and the time that it took to download a webpage.

$ curl -u jsmith:somepassword -o somepage.html https://example.com/somepage.html
  % Total    % Received % Xferd  Average Speed   Time    Time     Time  Current
                                 Dload  Upload   Total   Spent    Left  Speed
100 22924    0 22924    0     0  16308      0 --:--:--  0:00:01 --:--:-- 26379

References:

  1. cURL and libcurl

[/network/web/tools/curl] permanent link

Mon, Aug 15, 2011 9:03 pm

Services That Run Under Safe Mode with Networking

A list of services that run in Safe Mode with Networking under Windows XP.

[/os/windows/xp] permanent link

Sun, Jul 31, 2011 11:27 pm

Nubert Required to be Run Under Administrator Account

I installed NuBert version 2011.07.06.2 from Nucor Building Systems from an administrator account on a user's PC running Windows 7 Professional and entered the product key for the software. I was able to start the software from the domain administrator or local administrator account, but not the user's account, not even when I temporarily put the user's account in the domain users group. Putting the product code in when prompted to do so when the software was run under the user's account did not lead to the software running. It would simply terminate after the code was entered and the next time it was run I would be prompted for the code again.

In the registry, I found the following key associated with the software:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Nucor

When I right-clicked on the subkeys and checked their permissions, I saw that user accounts had read permissions for them.

I used Microsoft's free Process Monitor utiltity to check the file access and registry access of the NBS.NuBert.Bootstrapper.Loader.exe process when it was run from the domain administrator account and from the user's account. I noticed that when it was run from the administrator's account, it was accessing the directory C:\Users\Administrator\AppData\Local\Nucor_Building_Systems. I copied that directory to C:\Users\useracct\AppData\Local\Nucor_Building_Systems where useracct was the user's account name.

For the administrator account the following files were in the directory:

DefaultPerisssions
NuBertTreelistLayout PermissionMetadata

There was also a directory with a name that began with NBS.BERT.HostEnvironment._Url_ followed by a very long string of digits and letters. There was a directory named 2011.7.7.1 within it and a file named user.config within that directory.

For the users account, the following files were the only ones initially in the Nucor_Building_Systems directory:

DefaultPerisssions
PermissionMetadata

I copied the directory and all of the files from the Nucor_Building_Systems folder under the administrators account into the same one under the user's account, replacing the files already there.

I logged off the administrator's account and tested again from the user's account. Again, I was prompted for the product key, however.

I then logged into the administrator's account again. I right-clicked on the NuBert shortcut on the desktop, chose Properties then clicked on the Advanced button under the Shortcut tab. Run as administrator was grayed out, so I could not select it.

So, from the administrator account, I created a new shortcut on the desktop that pointed to "C:\Program Files (x86)\NBS\BERT\NBS.NuBert.Bootstrapper.Loader.exe" . I right-clicked on the NuBert shortcut on the desktop, chose Properties then clicked on the Advanced button under the Shortcut tab. I then checked Run as administrator and clicked on OK.

Run as administrator checked

I then clicked on the Security tab, clicked on the Edit button and added Domain Users, since the user logs into a domain account. I then clicked on OK to close the Properties window for the shortcut. I then copied the shortcut from the domain administrator's desktop to the user's desktop at C:\Users\useracct\Desktop, where useracct is the username for the user's account.

Then when the user clicked on the shortcut, he would be prompted for a user name and password. I had him put in pcname\administrator, where pcname was the name of his computer, as the user name to use the local administrator account for his PC and the password for that account. I also created a .cmd file with just the following command in it and put a shortcut to it on his desktop as well:

runas /user:administrator "C:\Program Files (x86)\NBS\BERT\NBS.NuBert.Bootstrapper.Loader.exe

That would allow him to just put in the password for the local administrator account to save him a small amount of typing, if he preferred using it to the other shortcut.

Of course, running the software under the local administrator account is a poor solution, due to the security implications, but the only one I could get to work. Why do some software developers seemingly assume that their software will be run from an account with administrator privileges or that a system won't even employ the very minimum of security measures?

[/os/windows/software/misc] permanent link

Sun, Jul 31, 2011 7:02 pm

Removal of SMF Links Directory Lite Package

I deleted the SMF Links Directory Lite 1.0 mod from a Simple Machines Forum (SMF) forum. When I went through the uninstall process, there were two failures for the ./Sources/ManagePermissions.php file.

For the first failure, the uninstall process was looking for the following:


	$groupLevels['global']['standard'] = array_merge($groupLevels['global']['restrict'], array(
		'links_manage',
		'links_view',
		'links_add',
		'edit_links',
		'delete_links',
		'links_auto_approve',
		'links_comment',
		'links_view_comments',

It would replace that code with the following:

$groupLevels['global']['standard'] = array_merge($groupLevels['global']['restrict'], array(

Since intervening code had been placed after the first line, I manually removed the lines that would have been removed. The code that was there was as follows:


$groupLevels['global']['standard'] = array_merge($groupLevels['global']['restrict'], array(
                'reason_edit',

                'links_manage',
                'links_view',
                'links_add',
                'edit_links',
                'delete_links',
                'links_auto_approve',
                'links_comment',
                'links_view_comments',

For the next test that failed, the uninstall process was looking for the following code:


$context['non_guest_permissions'] = array(
		'links_manage',
		'links_auto_approve',
		'edit_links',
		'delete_links',

It was to be replaced with the following:

$context['non_guest_permissions'] = array(

What was actully there was the following:


$context['non_guest_permissions'] = array(
                // SMFPacks Shoutbox -->
                'shoutbox_post',
                'shoutbox_edit',
                'shoutbox_delete',
                'shoutbox_prune',
                'shoutbox_ban',
                // <-- SMFPacks Shoutbox
                'reason_edit',

                'links_manage',
                'links_auto_approve',
                'edit_links',
                'delete_links',

                'httpBL_free_pass',
                'delete_replies',
                'karma_edit',

I removed the "links" lines manually.

For the third test on the file, which succeeded, the uninstall process was looking for the following code:


	$permissionList = array(
		'membergroup' => array(		
			'links_manage' => array(false, 'links', 'links'),
			'links_view' => array(false, 'links', 'links'),
			'links_add' => array(false, 'links', 'links'),
			'edit_links' => array(false, 'links', 'links'),
			'delete_links' => array(false, 'links', 'links'),
			'links_auto_approve' => array(false, 'links', 'links'),
			'links_comment' => array(false, 'links', 'links'),
			'links_view_comments' => array(false, 'links', 'links'),

It would be replaced with the following:


	$permissionList = array(
		'membergroup' => array(

What was actually in the file was the following:


        $permissionList = array(
                'membergroup' => array(
                        'links_manage' => array(false, 'links', 'links'),
                        'links_view' => array(false, 'links', 'links'),
                        'links_add' => array(false, 'links', 'links'),
                        'edit_links' => array(false, 'links', 'links'),
                        'delete_links' => array(false, 'links', 'links'),
                        'links_auto_approve' => array(false, 'links', 'links'),
                        'links_comment' => array(false, 'links', 'links'),
                        'links_view_comments' => array(false, 'links', 'links'),

                        'view_contact' => array(false, 'general', 'view_basic_info'),

I clicked on Uninstall Now to uninstall the mod. After doing so, I checked the area of the code which was to have a successful removal of the mod's code. I saw the following:


        $permissionList = array(
                'membergroup' => array(
                        'view_contact' => array(false, 'general', 'view_basic_info'),
                        'smftrader_feedback' => array(false, 'smftrader', 'smftrader'),

After uninstalling the SMF Links Directory Lite mod, I installed the SMF Links package. I had to remove some tables manually from the forum database that had been placed there by the installation of SMF Links Directory Lite, remove the SMF Links package and reinstall it as explained at SMF Links Package for SMF Forum to get the new links package working.

[/network/web/forums/smf] permanent link

Sun, Jul 31, 2011 2:37 pm

Moving an SMF Forum From One Domain to Another

I needed to move a Simple Machines Forum forum from one domain to another. I've detailed the steps I took here.

[/network/web/forums/smf] permanent link

Sun, Jul 31, 2011 2:34 pm

Configuration Steps to Take After Installing SMF Forum

These are some steps I commonly take after installing a Simple Machines Forum (SMF) forum.
  1. Configure the forum for "search engine friendly URLs" by clicking on Admin, Features and Options, Configuration, and then checking the box next to "Search engine friendly URLs", which is supported on Apache and Lighthttpd webservers, and then clicking on Save to save the settings.

[/network/web/forums/smf] permanent link

Sat, Jul 23, 2011 9:23 pm

Show Warnings in MySQL

You can use the SHOW WARNINGS statement in MySQL to show the error, warning, and note messages that resulted from the last statement that generated messages in the current session. It shows nothing if the last statement used a table and generated no messages. (That is, a statement that uses a table but generates no messages clears the message list.) Statements that do not use tables and do not generate messages have no effect on the message list.

For example, if I issue the statement DROP TABLE IF EXISTS smf_testing statement as below, I see a notice that 0 rows were affected, but there was 1 warning. To see the warning, I can immediately afterwards issue the statement SHOW WARNINGS. I see that the warning was simply indicating that the table I asked be dropped, didn't actually exist.

mysql> DROP TABLE IF EXISTS smf_testing;
Query OK, 0 rows affected, 1 warning (0.00 sec)

mysql> SHOW WARNINGS;
+-------+------+-----------------------------+
| Level | Code | Message                     |
+-------+------+-----------------------------+
| Note  | 1051 | Unknown table 'smf_testing' |
+-------+------+-----------------------------+
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

mysql>

References:

  1. 12.4.5.41. SHOW WARNINGS Syntax
    MySQL :: Developer Zone

[/software/database/mysql] permanent link

Sun, Jul 17, 2011 8:41 pm

Making a Disk Image Under OS X

If you want to make a disk image for a disk drive with Mac OS X, you can do so using the Disk Utility application that comes with the operating system. From the Finder, go to Applications/Utilities. Double-click on Disk Utility to open the application. Then, from the left side of the window, select the disk drive for which you wish to create a disk image by clicking on it to select it.

Disk Utility - select drive

Click on New Image at the top of the window. Choose where you want to save the image. The default image format is "compressed" with no encryption. You can choose from the following options:

  1. compressed
  2. read-only
  3. read-write
  4. DVD/CD master

A .dmg file will be created for all but the DVD/CD master. A .cdr file will be created for a DVD/CD master. The CDR files are ISO images and, if moved to a PC, can be renamed and burned as .iso files.

References:

  1. (Mac OS X 10.4): Creating a disk image
    Apple

[/os/os-x] permanent link

Fri, Jul 15, 2011 9:31 pm

SMF Links Directory Mod Bug

After installing the package SMF Links Directory Lite version 1.0, which was last modified on July 4, 2011, by Nibogo on two Simple Machines Forum (SMF) forums for a family member, she reported that links entered using the mod were not working. When I checked what was happening, I found that when she entered URLs that contained upper-case letters, all of the upper-case letters would be converted to lower-case, whichh wouldn't pose a problem if the URLs pointed to a website on a Windows server, but would pose a problem if the webserver is a Unix, Linkx, or Apple OS X system, since the case of letters is important on those systems, i.e., A.html is not the same as a.html on those systems.

I informed the developer, but since he didn't indicate he would correct the problem in the package posted on the SMF website, I commented out the line in Sources/LinksAdd.php, which was performing the conversion to lower-case. The code is in the following section.


// Check all the data
$context['name'] = htmlspecialchars($_REQUEST['name'], ENT_QUOTES);
$context['url'] = htmlspecialchars($_REQUEST['url'], ENT_QUOTES);
$context['url'] = strtolower($context['url']);

The strtolower($context['url']) is the line that performs the conversion. I commented it out by putting // at the beginning of the line.

[/network/web/forums/smf] permanent link

Tue, Jul 12, 2011 10:35 pm

Checking SMART Hard Drive Status under OS X

If you wish to check the health of a hard drive in a system, there is a disk monitoring capability commonly present in hard drives today called S.M.A.R.T. ( Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology; sometimes written as SMART). Information provided by SMART can provide an indication whether a disk drive is experiencing problems and may be likely to fail in the near future.

With Mac OS X systems, you can check the S.M.A.R.T. status of a hard drive from the command line using the diskutil command.

$ diskutil info disk0 | grep SMART
   SMART Status:             Failing

If the system has just one hard drive, the drive is generally designated as disk0. You can use diskutil list to see the drive numbers for drives in the system.

$ diskutil list
/dev/disk0
   #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
   0:      GUID_partition_scheme                        *298.1 Gi   disk0
   1:                        EFI                         200.0 Mi   disk0s1
   2:                  Apple_HFS lledit                  297.8 Gi   disk0s2

In the above case, the command shows that disk0 is the only drive in the system.

You can also check the SMART status of a drive using the Disk Utility application, which can be found with the Finder under Applications/Utilities.

Disk Utility - SMART status shows failing

References:

  1. 10.3: Get hard disk SMART status from the command line UNIX
    Date: November 28, 2003
    Mac OS X Hints

[/os/os-x] permanent link

Sun, Jul 10, 2011 10:30 pm

Changing Smileys from Post form to Popup

To change smileys on a Simple Machines Forum (SMF) from "Post form" to "Popup", you can take the following steps:
  1. Click on Admin.
  2. Select Forum.
  3. Select Smileys and Message Icons.
  4. Select Edit Smileys.

You will then see a table of smileys with the smiley itself in the far-left column followed by columns titled "Code", "Filename", "Location", "Tooltip or description", and "Modify".

You can change the location from "Post form" to "Popup" by clicking on Modify and then changing the location. There are three options for location: Post form, Popup, and Hidden.

In the database there is a table, smf_smileys, if you used the default prefix of "smf" for tables created within the database. It has the following fields, i.e., columns:

id_smiley
code
filename
description
smiley_row
smiley_order
hidden

The hidden field is where information is stored about whether the value of location is post form, popup, or hidden. If the value is "Post form", then a 0 is stored in the field. If it is "Hidden" then a 1 is stored in the field. If it is "Popup", then a 2 is stored in the Hidden field for that particular' smiley's entry in the smiley table.

TextNumber
Post form0
Hidden1
Popup2

If you can directly access the tables in the database from a command prompt, e.g., by running mysql at a command prompt, or can issue Structured Query Language (SQL) statements through software such as phpMyAdmin, you can update the value for a range of smileys simultaneously. E.g. if I wanted to update those smileys with smiley_id between 768 and 778 to change the location from "post form" to "Popup", which is represented by a "2" in the Hidden field of the table, I could change the value using the SQL statement below, assuming the database itself is called "myforum":

UPDATE myforum.smf_smileys SET hidden = '2' WHERE smf_smileys.id_smiley BETWEEN 768 AND 778;

References:

  1. MySQL BETWEEN Clause
    TutorialsPoint.COM

[/network/web/forums/smf] permanent link

Sat, Jul 09, 2011 6:08 pm

Copying Table Structure

If you want to create a new table in an MySQL database that has the same structure, i.e., the same fields (columns) as an existing table, you can use the command below:

create table New_Table like Existing_Table;

New_Table = the name you wish to give to the new table
Existing_Table = the name of the existing table

Remember to use the same case of letters for the existing table name as were actually used for that table name. E.g., if the table name is "Existing_Table" use "Existing_Table" not "existing_table"

[/software/database/mysql] permanent link

Thu, Jul 07, 2011 10:34 pm

Tiny Portal Install Fail for Subs.php

When I attempted to install TinyPortal 1.104 (listed as 1.0 RC2 on SMF site, but shows 1.104 when installed) on an SMF 2.0 forum, the installation process indicated Test failed for ./Sources/Subs.php . When I checked the test that failed, I found it was looking for 'calendar' => array(. I found that text in the file, so I used a hexadecimal editor to examine the ./Sources/Subs.php file and compared it against the code for which the installation process was looking.

Inside the TinyPortal1_RC2.zip file is a package-info.xml file that indicates what file will be used for installing the mod on various versions of the SMF forum. For SMF 2.0 SMF\tinyportal200.mod provides the instructions for installing the mod. That file can be found by extracting the contents of the zip file or it can be found in Packages/temp/SMF2 after you click on Install Mod.

When I examined that file with the hexadecimal editor, Freeware Hex Editor XVI32, I found there were three tab characters (hexadecimal 09) occuring before 'calendar' => array(. But when I examined ./Sources/Subs.php with a hexadecimal editor, I found there was only one tab character present in that file. I inserted two additional tab characters and was then able to install TinyPortal without any of the installation tests failing.

References:

  1. Installing TinyPortal 1.0 RC2 on SMF 2.0
    MoonPoint Support

[/network/web/forums/smf] permanent link

Sat, Jul 02, 2011 12:29 pm

Error 80040154: Signing in to Windows Live Messenger failed

When trying to use Windows Live Messenger, A family member was getting the message "Error 80040154: Signing in to Windows Live Messenger failed because the service is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later." after I applied pending updates to Microsoft Windows. The recommended solution provided at Microsoft's Error 80040154: Signing in to Windows Live Messenger failed because the service is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later., which was the page that came up when I chose the help option, was to uninstall Windows Live Essentials. The system was running Windows 7, so I clicked on Start, Control Panel, Programs and Features, and looked for Windows Live Essentials, but it wasn't there.

At How to uninstall Windows Live Essentials, there was a suggestion to try removing the program by running wlarp.exe from %programfiles%\Windows Live\Installer, but, though that directory existed, that file was not in it.

So I downloaded Windows Live Essentials 2011 from Windows Live Essentials 2011 - Download free Microsoft programs. The file that was downloaded was wlsetup-web.exe. When I reinstalled the software using that file, the problem no longer existed.

[/network/chat/live_messenger] permanent link

Fri, Jun 24, 2011 9:45 pm

Editing Settings.php to take SMF forum out of maintenance mode

When I logged into a Simple Machines Forum (SMF) forum, I saw the message below:

Maintenance Mode

Okay faithful users...we're attempting to restore an older backup of the database...news will be posted once we're back!

I needed to take it out of maintenance mode, but at Settings.php file, I saw the following:

$maintenance



Sets whether the Forum is in maintenance mode or not.
Value    Description
0    Maintainance mode off. The Forum can be used normally.
1    Maintainance mode on. Only administrators can use the Forum as usual. Other users get a 'this Forum is in maintenance mode' message. The database may still be accessed for user authentication (so as to tell if the Member is an administrator.)
2    Maintainance mode on, full force. Freezes the forum. No one can access it, not even administrators. This setting will leave the database untouched (as far as the SMF Forum is concerned) but cannot be set from the administration center. This setting is used by SMF's upgrade tool to ensure an undisturbed upgrade.

I looked at the Settings.php file in the dorum directory for SMF and saw the following:

########## Maintenance ##########
# Note: If $maintenance is set to 2, the forum will be unusable!  Change it to 
0 to fix it.
$maintenance = 2;               # Set to 1 to enable Maintenance Mode, 2 to 
make the forum untouchable. (you'll have to make it 0 again manually!)

When I changed the value for maintenance from 2 to 0, I was able to access the forum again.

[/network/web/forums/smf] permanent link

Tue, Jun 21, 2011 11:32 pm

Installing TinyPortal 1.0 RC2 on SMF 2.0

When I attempted to install TinyPortal 1.0 RC2 on an SMF 2.0 Gold forum, the installation process showed one of the six installation tests for ./Sources/Subs.php failing. The one that failed was the following:

Code: (Find)

'calendar' => array(

Code: (Add Before)

'tpadmin' => array(
'title' => 'TinyPortal',
'href' => $scripturl . '?action=tpadmin',
'show' => TPcheckAdminAreas(),
'sub_buttons' => array(
),
),
'calendar' => array(

When I edited ./Sources/Subs.php, I saw the searched for code was in the file. When I used a hexadecimal editor to examine the file, I saw the following in Sources/Subs.php:


)  ,  LF TAB '  c  a  l  e  n  d  a  r  '     =  >     a  r  r  a  y  (  LF LF TAB TAB TAB TAB  '
29 2C 0A 09  27 63 61 6C 65 6E 64 61 72 27 20 3D 3E 20 61 72 72 61 79	28 0A 0A 09  09  09  09   27

Note: hex 09 represents the "tab" character

I looked at the package-info.xml file that was inside the zip file for installing TinyPortal, I found that the installation process uses the SMF2/tinyportal200.mod file to determine what files to change during the installation. Note: when you start the installation process with the SMF Package Manager, when you get to the point where the installation process tells you whether installation tests have failed or succeeded, you can find the extracted files from the zip file you are installing in Packages/temp. The temp directory and its files will be deleted after the installion is completed.

That file instructs the installation process to look for the following:

00000FB0   3C 73 65 61  72 63 68 20  66 6F 72 3E  0D 0A 09 09  <search for>....
00000FC0   09 27 63 61  6C 65 6E 64  61 72 27 20  3D 3E 20 61  .'calendar' => a
00000FD0   72 72 61 79  28 0D 0A 3C  2F 73 65 61  72 63 68 20  rray(..</search

I.e., the installation process looks for a CR, LF, then 3 tab characters then 'calendar' => array(. After the "(", the installation process looks for a carriage return (CR), represented by hex 0D, character followed by a new line, aka line feed (LF) character represented by hexadecimal 0A - see ASCII Table and Description. represented by hexadecimal 0A.

The system on which I was installing TinyPortal was a Linux system. Linux, Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows systems use different conventions for marking the end of a line - see OS X Line Endings for a discussion of the differences.

So the TinyPortal developers appear to be expecting the software to be installed on a Windows system or did their development on a Windows system. Thus the presence of the CRL LF in the SMF2/tinyportal200.mod . But, the code actually present in the Subs.php file was what one normally finds for line endings on a Linux system, i.e., a LF character, though actually two LF characters, one after the other in this case.

Looking at previously installed packages on the system, I saw that one, Tagging System for Topics 2.4.2 had modified Subs.php. I could see by going to the webpage for the module on the SMF site and clicking on the Parse button with 2.0 selected for Manual Install Instructions for SMF that code near the 'calendar' => array line had been modified.

Find: [Select]
'calendar' => array(

Replace With: [Select]

			'tags' => array(				                                
                                'title' => $txt['smftags_menu'],
                                'href' => $scripturl . '?action=tags',
                                'show' => true,
                                'sub_buttons' => array(	
                                ),
                        ),
       	'calendar' => array(

I thought I might uninstall it to see whether TinyPortal would install without error, but when I tried uninstalling it, I saw errors for other files for the uninstall tests. I saw errors for the following files:

./Sources/ManagePermissions.php
./Sources/Display.php
./Sources/Admin.php

The installation of other packages must have modified code the uninstall process for Tagging System For Topics was expecting to find. So I didn't uninstall it.

Instead, I dealt with the problem by editing Subs.php with the Freeware Hex Editor XVI32. I transferred the file to a Windows system and edited it there adding the extra tabs and making the file match what the installation process expected using XVI32, then transferred the file back to the Linux system. When I then retried the install, I didn't see any error messages.

References:

  1. TinyPortal
    SMF Customization - Simple Marchines
  2. TinyPortal Support - Developer's site
  3. ASCII Table and Description
  4. OS X Line Endings
    Date: March 2, 2010
    MoonPoint Support

[/network/web/forums/smf] permanent link

Sun, Jun 19, 2011 1:59 pm

Installing Enhanced About Page 0.01 on an SMF 2.0 Forum

When I attempted to install version 0.01 of the Enhanced About Page package on a Simple Machines Forum (SMF) with SMF 2.0 Gold installed, I had to first configure the SMF Package Manager to emulate SMF 2.0 RC5, since that is the last version for which the installation file, package-info.xml, expects. When you select Browse Packages, you will find an Advanced link at the bottom of the page. If you click on that link you can put SMF 2.0 RC5 in the Emulate Version field. Click on Apply to use the new value. After the package is installed, you can click on the Revert link underneath Emulate Version to set the version back to the actual installed version of SMF. Click on Apply again.

But I also encountered another problem while installing the Enhanced About Page module. The install process couldn't find the code it was looking for in the index.php file for the forum.

Code: (Find)

'who' => array('Who.php', 'Who'),

Code: (Replace)

'who' => array('Who.php', 'Who'),
'about' => array('EnhancedAboutPage.php','EnhancedAboutPage'),

The install process was indicating it couldn't find the code it was looking for, 'who' => array('Who.php', 'Who'),. If it found that code, it would add the following on a line beneath it:

'about' => array('EnhancedAboutPage.php','EnhancedAboutPage'),

When I looked at the code in index.php, I found 'who' => array('Who.php', 'Who'), in the file. I had to examine index.php and install2.xml with a hexadecimal editor to discern the cause of the problem, which was due to two tab characters appearing at the end of the relevant line in the index.php file that the installation procedure for Enhanced About Page was not expecting.

Within a zip file for a package, there is an package-info.xml file that tells the SMF install process what versions of SMF are supported by the package and which install files to use for particular versions of the forum software. In this case package-info.xml had a line indicating that install2.xml is to be used for installing Enhanced About Page on an SMF 2.0 forum.

When I examined the code in install2.xml, I found it was instructing SMF's install process to look for the line above, but telling the process that immediately after the ), at the end of the 'who' => array('Who.php', 'Who'), it should find a linefeed character, i.e., the hexadecimal character 0A (see Ascii Table for a table that shows the hexadecimal codes associated with ASCII characters). But when I examined index.php with a hexadecimal editor, I found that there were two tab characters (hex 09) after the ), at the end of the line. The tab characters were followed by a linefeed (LF) character, i.e., a hexadecimal 0A character.

index.php

(  '  W  h  o  .  p  h  p  '  ,     '  W  h  o  '  )  ,  tab tab LF
28 27 57 68 6F 2E 70 68 70 27 2C 20 27 57 68 6F 27 29 2c 09  09  0A

In the index.php file, I deleted everything after the ), at the end of the line, so that the line terminated immediately after those characters. When I retried the installation for the Enhanced About Page, it then completed successfully with no errors reported for any file.

[/network/web/forums/smf] permanent link

Fri, Jun 17, 2011 4:22 pm

Switching from 1 line for entries to 2 lines in Quicken 2011

If you prefer a 2-line display for entries in your checking and savings accounts in Quicken 2011 rather than the default 1-line display, you can switch for each account by viewing that account in Quicken and then clicking on the Account Actions dropdown menu and selecting Two-line Display, which appears beneath Register Views and Preferences. You can also use Ctrl-2 as a shortcut to toggle between the one-line and two-line displays. If you are in 1-line display mode, Ctrl-2 will switch you to 2-line display mode for entries and if you are in 2-line display mode, Ctrl-2 will switch you to 1-line display mode for entries in your accounts.

References:

  1. register: how to change from 1 line view to 2 line view
    Date: June 2, 2011
    BeanSmart.com - accounting ideas exchange

[/os/windows/software/financial] permanent link

Sun, May 08, 2011 10:38 pm

VIP Services Status

If you check the VIP services status on a Juniper NetScreen firewall, such as the NetScreen-5XP, through the web management interface, which you can do by selecting Network > Interface > Edit > VIP/VIP Services, you will see a column labelled "Status" to the right of the "Server IP" column that displays an "OK" or "Down" status for each service. The status is obtained by pinging the server IP address.

[/security/firewalls/netscreen] permanent link

Sun, May 01, 2011 9:20 pm

Off-Topic BBC Tag Installation

I attempted to again install the Off-Topic BBC Tag mod by (Ha)2. I had previously used an update to the mod provided by JD82, as described at Off-Topic BBC Tag 1.1.2 Installation of SMF 2.0 RC5 to eliminate error messages for the installation associated with the core files, but I was still getting an error message related to its installation for the Bean and Grassland Curve Variation themes on the system. Note: see Re: Off-Topic BBC Tag posting by JD82 on April 19, 2010 03:01:32 PM in regards to the update needed for the mod.

The relevant files are as follows:

ThemeFile
Bean./Themes/Bean/css/index.css
Grassland Curve Variation./Themes/greengrass1/css/index.css

It would show one test for each file being successful, but the other one failing. It would find the following code:

/* The "Quote:" and "Code:" header parts... */ .codeheader, .quoteheader { color: #666; font-size: x-small; font-weight: bold; padding: 0 0.3em; }

It wanted to make an "Add After" modification of adding the following:

/* The "Off-topic:" header part... */ .off-topicheader { color: #696969; text-decoration: none; font-style: normal; font-weight: bold; font-size: xx-small; line-height: 1.1em; }

For the other "Add After" modification it wanted to make, it was looking for the following:

/* A quote, perhaps from another post. */ blockquote.bbc_standard_quote, blockquote.bbc_alternate_quote { font-size: x-small; color: #000; line-height: 1.4em; background: url(../images/theme/quote.png) 0.1em 0.1em no-repeat; border-top: 2px solid #99A; border-bottom: 2px solid #99A; padding: 1.1em 1.4em; margin: 0.1em 0 0.3em 0; overflow: auto; }

It wanted to then add the following:

/* Silly users may go off-topic */ .off-topic { color: #444444; background-color: #dadde2; border: 1px dotted #696969; margin: 2px; padding: 2px; font-size: x-small; line-height: 1.2em; }

When I compared the code in the index.css files with what was being sought, I found that the only difference was in the border-top and border-bottom solid color values. The installation process was expecting to find #99A, but other values were actually present for the two themes. I edited the index.css file for each theme to replace the solid color values with the ones that were expected. I then went to the Browse Packages page again and clicked on the Install link for the package. This time, I didn't see any error messages for the themes and installed the package checking the option to install for the two themes as well. After I had installed the package, I put the color values back to what they had been for the themes.

E.g., for the Grassland Curve Variation theme, the relevant section of code was as follows:

/* A quote, perhaps from another post. */
blockquote.bbc_standard_quote, blockquote.bbc_alternate_quote
{
        font-size: x-small;
        color: #000;
        line-height: 1.4em;
        background: url(../images/theme/quote.png) 0.1em 0.1em no-repeat;
        border-top: 2px solid #267F00;
        border-bottom: 2px solid #267F00;
        padding: 1.1em 1.4em;
        margin: 0.1em 0 0.3em 0;
        overflow: auto;
}
ThemeFileActual ColorExpected Color
Bean./Themes/Bean/css/index.css#000#99A
Grassland Curve Variation./Themes/greengrass1/css/index.css#267F00#99A

Note: When you start the installation process and get to the point where you see the error messages for particular files, you can find the changes that will be made by checking package-info.xml. Look in the install for= sections for the relevant entry related to the version of SMF you are using. In this case the file referenced was off-topic_2_0_curve.xml. Then look for search position= sections to see what code the installation process is searching for in various files.

[/network/web/forums/smf] permanent link

Sun, May 01, 2011 6:29 pm

Emulating a Prior SMF Version

Sometimes, when you are trying to install a Simple Machines Forum (SMF) forum package, the installation fails because the installation process is looking for a specific version or versions of SMF. A zip file you download for a mod has a package-info.xml file within it. That file may specify that the installation is valid for specific versions of SMF. For instance a package-info.xml file might have the following lines within it:

<install for="2.0 Beta 4, 2.0 RC1, 2.0 RC1-1, 2.0 RC1.2">
   <modification>off-topic_2.0.xml</modification>
....
<install for="1.1 - 1.1.99">
   <modification>off-topic_1.1.x.xml</modification>

So, if the version of SMF on the system is 1.1 to 1.1.99, then the installation process will use the off-topic_1.1.x.xml file contained within the zip file. If the version of SMF is one of the 2.x versions listed, then the installation process will use off-topic_2.0.xml. But if you have SMF 2.0 RC5, it doesn't know how to install the mod. In this case, you could emulate 2.0 RC1.2 and, hopefully, still install the mod.

To emulate a prior version of SMF, click on the Advanced link you will see at the bottom of the page displayed when you go to Browse Packages. You will see an emulate version field. Put in a version number that the package is expecting, e.g., if the version of SMF on the systems is SMF 2.0 RC5, I may still be able to install a package that was written to work with versions up to 2.0 RC1.2 by putting SMF 2.0 RC1.2 in that field and clicking on Apply. After the installation completes, go back and click on the Revert link under Advanced on the Browse Packages page or put in the actual version and then click on Apply. When you do so, you may no longer see an Uninstall option next to the package name; to uninstall the package, you would have to emulate the prior version again.

If a mod, aka package, is looking for an earlier version of SMF than what you have on the system, then you also don't see an Install option listed next to the package, if you haven't yet installed the package. All you see are the List Files and Delete options next to the package name.

[/network/web/forums/smf] permanent link

Sun, May 01, 2011 1:45 pm

Reply Button in All Posts

When trying to install the Reply Button in All Posts, also named "Reply Button In Every Post" by its author, mod I encountered an error when I tried to install the mod on a Simple Machines Forum (SMF) 2.0 RC5 forum. The installation process couldn't find code it was looking for in ./Themes/default/Display.template.php. The installation process was looking for two pieces of code, one it found and the other it could not find.

It found the following:

// Can they reply? Have they turned on quick reply?

It would perform an "Add Before" for the following code:

// Simple Reply Button if ($context['can_reply'] && !empty($options['display_quick_reply'])) echo ' <li><a href="#quickreply">', $respond_button, '</a></li>'; else echo ' <li><a href="', $scripturl . '?action=post;topic=' . $context['current_topic'] . '.' . $context['start'] . ';num_replies=' . $context['num_replies'], '">', $respond_button, '</a></li>';

But that was just a comment that would be added, so would have no bearing on the reply button actually appearing on every post on the forum. To actually get the reply button to appear on every forum posting, so that someone wouldn't have to do a lot of scrolling to reply to a long thread, the installation process needed to find the following code:


      $reply_button = create_button('quote.gif', 'reply_quote', 'quote', 'align="middle"');

That wasn't actually in the file. I looked in the file and couldn't find anything even close to the searched for code.

There is a Support Topic page for the mod and at Topic: Reply Button In Every Post, I fond a posting by gbsothere on September 27, 2010 02:41:33 PM stating that one only need look for "// Can they reply? Have they turned on quick reply?" and then add the following before it:

// How about replying at any point?
if ($context['can_reply'] && !empty($options['display_quick_reply']))
echo '
<li class="reply_button"><a href="', $scripturl, '?action=post;reply=', $message['id'], ';topic=', $context['current_topic'], '.', $context['start'], ';num_replies=', $context['num_replies'], '" onclick="doReply(', $message['id'], ');">', $txt['reply'], '</a></li>';

I did so and then a reply button appeared on all posts. I proceeded with the install process on the forum, despite the error message then, just so the mod would show up in the list of installed mods.

[/network/web/forums/smf] permanent link

Fri, Apr 22, 2011 2:11 pm

Changing your keychain password

If your Mac OS X keychain password does not match your login password, you will be prompted for the keychain password when an application needs access to the keychain and your keychain is locked.

You can change your keychain password at any time by the following procedure.

  1. Using the Finder, go to the Applications folder and then look for the Keychain Access utility within the Utilities folder beneath the Applications folder.
  2. Double-click on Keychain Access to start the utility.
  3. Click on login under Keychains to select that keychain.
  4. Click on Edit and choose Change Password for Keychain "login"... .
  5. If the keychain is not already unlocked, you will be prompted to supply the current keychain password. Enter it.
  6. You will be prompted to "Enter a new password for the keychain "login." You will need to enter the current password again and the new password you wish to use. You must also type the new password a second time to verify it.

    Mac OS X - enter
keychain password

    There is a bar that shows the strength of the password you have entered. I.e., how likely the password is to be resistant to someone guessing it. If you click on Password Strength, you can have the system suggest a password for you. Make sure you pick a password that is not weak, i.e., easily guessed. You should strive for a minimum of "good", if not "excellent".

    Mac OS X - excellent
keychain password

  7. Click OK.

Note: this procedure applies to Mac OS X 10.5 and possibly other versions of Mac OS X.

References:

  1. Mac OS X 10.4 Help: Changing your keychain password
    Apple - Support
  2. Mac OS X 10.5 Help: Changing your keychain password
    Apple - Support

[/os/os-x] permanent link

Wed, Mar 30, 2011 11:59 pm

System Defender Infection

A user reported that annoying messages kept popping up on his sysetm every few minutes from System Defender stating his system was infected. When I checked his system, I found the rogue anti-spyware/anti-virus software named System Defender on the system. I was able to remove it with Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware, which has a free version of the software that can be used to remove spyware and viruses. The commercial version will run continually while the free version can be used to manually scan a system.

[More Info]

[/security/malware] permanent link

Wed, Mar 30, 2011 7:37 pm

Determining File Location for an Alias

Aliases on a Mac OS X system are similar to shortcuts on a Microsoft Windows system. Just as with Windows, you will see a small arrow at the lower left side of an icon when it represents a shortcut/alias. Unlike Microsoft Windows, however OS X will keep track of the location of the original file associated with the alias, so that, if you move the file, the alias still points to the file's current location.

If you need to see the location of a file to which an alias points, right-click on the alias and choose Get Info. You will see the location for the file it points to after Original.

Alias for Parallels PVM file

If the original file has been deleted, when you click on the alias, you will see a message indicating the alias could not be opened, because the original item cannot be found. E.g., in the case of a missing Parallels .pvm file, I saw the following:

OS X Alias Not Found

You have the option to select Fix Alias, which will allow you to search for the original file, but if it has been deleted and can't be recovered from the trash, you won't be able to find it.

References:

  1. How to Use Mac Aliases
    Dummies.com

[/os/os-x] permanent link

Sun, Mar 27, 2011 7:16 pm

Off-Topic BBC Tag 1.1.2 Installation of SMF 2.0 RC5

I tried to install the Off-Topic BBC Tag 1.1.2 by (Ha)2 on a Simple Machines Forum (SMF) version 2.0 RC5 forum. The installation process reported errors for its testing, however.

TypeActionDescription
Execute Modification./Themes/default/languages/Modifications.english.phpTest successful
Execute Modification./Themes/default/languages/Modifications.swedish.phpSkipping file
Execute Modification./Sources/Subs.phpTest failed
Execute Modification./Sources/Subs-Editor.phpTest failed
Execute Modification./Themes/default/style.cssFile not found
Extract tree./Themes/default/images 

At Re: Off-Topic BBC Tag, I found a poster, JD82, had posted an update to the mod for 2.0 RC3. When I used the mod, when I clicked on Install Mod, I no longer saw any of the errors that I had seen above. However, I did see errors under Install in Other Themes for other themes that were available on the forum.

TypeActionDescription
Execute Modification./Themes/default/languages/Modifications.english.phpTest successful
Execute Modification./Themes/default/languages/Modifications.swedish.phpSkipping file
Execute Modification./Themes/default/languages/Modifications.italian-utf8.phpSkipping file
Execute Modification./Sources/Subs.phpTest successful
Execute Modification./Sources/Subs-Editor.phpTest successful
Execute Modification./Themes/default/css/index.cssTest successful
Extract tree./Themes/default/images 

For each theme, I saw two "Test failed" entries for the file ./Themes/core/css/index.css.

Examing package-info.xml within Off-topic_BBC_Tag_RC3.tar.gz, I saw the following:


        <install for="2.0 RC3 - 2.99.99.99">
                <modification>off-topic_2_0_curve.xml</modification>
                <require-dir name="images" destination="$themedir" />
        <readme type="file" parsebbc="true">readme.txt</readme>
        </install>

That showed me that for SMF 2.0 RC3 or later 2.x versions, the installation process would use off-topic_2_0_curve.xml.

Checking the code it was looking for by examing the off-topic_2_0_curve.xml file within the Off-topic_BBC_Tag_RC3.tar.gz, I saw the following:


 <file name="$themedir/css/index.css">
                <operation>
                        <search position="before"><![CDATA[/* The "Quote:" and "Code:" header parts... */
.codeheader, .quoteheader
{
        color: #666;
        font-size: x-small;
        font-weight: bold;
        padding: 0 0.3em;
}]]></search>
                        <add><![CDATA[/* The "Off-topic:" header part... */
.off-topicheader
{
        color: #696969;
        text-decoration: none;
        font-style: normal;
        font-weight: bold;
        font-size: xx-small;
        line-height: 1.1em;
}]]></add>
                </operation>
                <operation>
                        <search position="before"><![CDATA[/* A quote, perhaps from another post. */
blockquote.bbc_standard_quote, blockquote.bbc_alternate_quote
{
        font-size: x-small;
        color: #000;
        line-height: 1.4em;
        background: url(../images/theme/quote.png) 0.1em 0.1em no-repeat;
        border-top: 2px solid #99A;
        border-bottom: 2px solid #99A;
        padding: 1.1em 1.4em;
        margin: 0.1em 0 0.3em 0;
        overflow: auto;
}]]></search>
                        <add><![CDATA[/* Silly users may go off-topic */
.off-topic
{
        color: #444444;
        background-color: #dadde2;
        border: 1px dotted #696969;
        margin: 2px;
        padding: 2px;

[/network/web/forums/smf] permanent link

Sun, Mar 27, 2011 5:08 pm

Validating HTML and CSS

If you wish to validate the HTML code on a webpage you can use the W3C Markup Validation Service. If you wish to validate a Cascading Style Sheet for a page, you can use the W3C CSS Validation Service.

[/network/web/html] permanent link

Fri, Mar 25, 2011 3:11 pm

Obfuscating Email Addresses

If you need to post an email address on a webpage, you should be aware that there are automated programs used by spammers to search webpages throughout the web looking for email addresses that they can use. There are a variety of techniques one can use to obfuscate an email address placed on a webpage. If you don't use one of them, it is highly likely that the amount of spam sent to the email address you post will dramatically increase, if it isn't already on spam distribution lists.

[More Info]

[/network/email/spam] permanent link

Thu, Mar 24, 2011 9:02 pm

Adding a Logo

If you wish to add a logo or other image at the top of Simple Machines Forum (SMF) 2.0 sites, you can do so easily by taking the following steps.
  1. Place the image on the server hosting your forum.
  2. Log into the forum using an administrator account.
  3. Under Admin, select Features and Options.
  4. Select Current Theme from the Configuration drop-down menu you will see when you click on Configuration.
  5. In the Logo image URL field, put the location of the graphics file you placed on the server. E.g., if the image was in a directory named "graphics" that was one level up from the forum directory itself, you could use something similar to ../graphics/logo.png. Or you can use a URL, e.g., http://example.com/graphics/logo.png.
  6. Click on the Save button.

The image should then appear in the upper left-hand corner of forum pages. Clicking on it from somewhere within the forum should return a visitor to the forum's home page.

[/network/web/forums/smf] permanent link

Tue, Mar 22, 2011 10:47 pm

Dealing with an err-disabled port

I experienced a problem with a Cisco switch periodically putting one port in an err-disabled state. After checking the port, I found that I needed to configure the speed and duplex settings to specific values rather than letting them be autonegotiated.

[ More Info ]

[/hardware/network/switch/cisco] permanent link

Sun, Mar 06, 2011 9:35 pm

The Rules

Because TinyPortal was already installed on an SMF 2.0 RC5 forum, when I installed The Rules package, I had to manually edit ./Sources/Subs.php after the installation, since TinyPortal had already modified the section of code in that file that the installation process for The Rules package was looking for, the installation process coldn't find the exact code for which it was looking. I had to manually add the code that would have been inserted by the install process after the following code in Subs.php.

 'help' => array(
                                'title' => $txt['help'],
                                'href' => $scripturl . '?action=help',
                                'show' => true,
                                'sub_buttons' => array(
                                        'tphelp' => array(
                                                'title' => 'TinyPortal',
                                                'href' => $scripturl . '?action=tpmod;sa=help',
                                                'show' => true,
                                        ),
                                ),
                        ),

By going to the webpage for The Rules and choosing "Manual Install Instructions for SMF", selecting the version of SMF installed on the system and clicking on Parse, I was able to see the code the installation process looks for and what it would add after that code, if it could find it.

When the package is installed, the rules can be configured by clicking on Admin, Features and Options, and then clicking on Configuration and selecting Modification Settings and The Rules within it.

Menu option for configuring the rules

[/network/web/forums/smf] permanent link

Installing Ultimate Profile 0.9.1 on an SMF 2.0RC5 Forum

I encountered a problem when attempting to install Ultimate Profile 0.9.1 on an Simple Machines Forum (SMF) 2.0 RC5 forum. I received the error message "The package you are trying to download or install is either corrupt or not compatible with this version of SMF." I was able to resolve the problem by configuring SMF to emulate version 2.0 RC4.

[ More Info ]

[/network/web/forums/smf] permanent link

Sat, Mar 05, 2011 10:18 pm

Upgrading SMF From 1.1.x to 2.0

If you wish to upgrade a Simple Machines Forum (SMF) version 1.1.x forum to a 2.0 forum you can follow the instructions here.

[/network/web/forums/smf] permanent link

Sat, Mar 05, 2011 10:16 pm

Backing Up a Simple Machines Forum (SMF) database

If you wish to back up the database for a Simple Machines Forum 1.1.x or 2.0 forum, you can use the forum's built-in backup capability to download a file to your system containing the neccessary SQL instructiosn that would allow you to rebuild the tables in the database associated with the forum and restore the data in the database if needed.

[More Info]

[/network/web/forums/smf] permanent link

Wed, Feb 16, 2011 10:44 pm

Adjusting Space Between Bullets and Text for PowerPoint 2008 for MAC

If there is no space between the bullet character and the text that goes with the bullets, you can insert space between the bullets and the text by takng the following steps when using Microsoft Powerpoint® 2008 for Mac:
  1. Select all of the bulleted text on the slide.
  2. Choose Format
  3. Choose Paragraph
  4. For the vaule of Special, choose Hanging and then put a value in the By field, e.g. 0.38.

    PowerPoint 2008 for MAC - adjusting bullet to text spacing

  5. Click on OK.

[/os/os-x/software/office] permanent link

Sun, Feb 13, 2011 10:34 pm

Using suexec to run PHP under a different account

I wanted to run PHP for some virtual hosts on a webserver using the user's account for her websites that were handled in Apache's httpd.conf via virtual hosts. To do so, I used use suEXEC, but it took me quite awhile to get it to work..

[ More Info ]

[/languages/php] permanent link

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 9:12 pm

Whoami - How to determine the account under which PHP is running

If you need to determine the account under which PHP is running on a web server, you can use the code below:
<?php
  passthru("whoami");
?>

On a web server running Apache as the web server software, you can expect this to be the same as the account under which Apache is running, so you may see apache as the result. Or, if the system is using virtual hosts and suexec, e.g., with an SuexecUserGroup directive in Apache's httpd.conf file for the virtual host, then you may see the userid associated with the website listed.

If you wish to see the user ID, group ID, and groups for the account under which PHP is running, you can use the following code:

<?php
system("id -a");
?>

If PHP and Apache are running under the apache userid, you might see output similar to the following:

uid=48(apache) gid=48(apache) groups=48(apache)

Reference:

  1. How to find out what user PHP is running as
    Date: December 13, 2007
    PHP, MySQL and Affiliate Marketing Technology | davidmorison.com

[/languages/php] permanent link

Tue, Jan 18, 2011 9:17 pm

Installing SMF 2.0

You can download the 2.0 version of the Simple Machines Forum (SMF) software from http://download.simplemachines.org/. After you've placed the software on your server and extracted the files to an appropriate directory (you can use tar -zxvf smf_2-0-rc4_install.tar.gz on a Linux system, if you downloaded the .tar.gz 2.0 RC4 file), you can commence the installation process.

Next, point your browser to the name of the domain and the directory where the forum software was extracted and put install.php at the end of the URL, e.g. http://www.example.com/forum/install.php.

  1. At the first step of the installation process a welcome screen appears. You should see "We've completed some initial tests on your server and everything appears to be in order. Simply click the "Continue" button below to get started." Click on the Continue button.

  2. The next step is the Writable Check. You will be informed of which files should be writable. The installation script will attempt to make the changes for you.

    Some files need to be writable for SMF to work properly. This step allows you to let the installer make them writable for you. However, in some cases it won't work - in that case, please make the following files 777 (writable, 755 on some hosts):

        * attachments
        * avatars
        * cache
        * Packages
        * Packages/installed.list
        * Smileys
        * Themes
        * agreement.txt
        * Settings.php
        * Settings_bak.php

    You will be prompted for the FTP userid and password. This installer can connect via FTP to fix the files that need to be writable and are not. If this doesn't work for you, you will have to go in manually and make the files writable. Please note that this doesn't support SSL right now.

    The Install Path should be the relative path in relation to the FTP login directory, e.g. public_html/forum if you created a forum directory directly under your public HTML directory.

    Click on the Connect button.

  3. You will next be prompted for the userid and password to connect to the database where your SMF tables will be created. E.g., this could be your MySQL userid and password, which might or might not be the same as your FTP userid and password. You will also need to provide the database name for your account and any table prefix you wish to use for the forum. Keep in mind that if you wish to have multiple forums supported by the database, you need to have a unique table prefix for each one. Once you've completed the fields, click on Continue .

  4. At the Forum Settings screen, provide the name you wish to use for the forum. The other default values may already be fine. Change them, if not. Click on Continue.

  5. Next you should see the Populated Database screen and something like the following:

    Your settings have now been saved and the database has been populated with all the data required to get your forum up and running. Summary of population:

    • Created 63 tables.
    • Inserted 779 rows.

    Click on Continue

  6. You will next be asked to create an administrator account for the forum. You need to provide a username, password, and email address for the account. You will need to provide the password that grants access to your database as well (you need that before even installing SMF). Click on Continue when you've completed the fields on this page.

  7. At the last step, you should see Congratulations, the installation process is complete! Make sure you check the box next to Click here to delete this install.php file now. You don't want someone reinstalling your forum software. Just checking the box will delete the file.

You can then access your forum, e.g. http://example.com/forum, if your domain name was example.com and you installed it in a directory named forum underneat your public HTML directory.

[/network/web/forums/smf] permanent link

Sun, Jan 16, 2011 6:53 pm

SMF Packages Not Installing

On two Simple Machines Forum (SMF) forums, whenever I tried to install a package, I would see a message that the package installed successfully, but whenever I checked Installed Packages, I would see "No mods currently installed".

I would click on Browse Packages, then click on Apply Mod.

In some cases, if there was no forum/Packages/temp directory, I would see the message below:

An Error Has Occured!

You cannot download or install new packages because the Packages directory or one of the files in it are not writable!

If I created the temp directory and gave it permissions of 777 with mkdir temp; chmod 777 temp, I would be able to click on Apply Mod and see the Installation Readme page where I could click on Install Now. I would then see a message that I would be redirected to the application's configuration page, if it had one, but I would instead just be redirected to the forum's main page or, if the package didn't have a configuration page, I would see the message below:

Extracting Package

The package was installed successfully. You should now be able to use whatever functionality it adds or changes; or not be able to use functionality it removes.

But when I would check Installed Packages afterwards, the package would never be there.

When I checked the Forum Error Log which is under the Admin link for the forum, I would see lots of entries similar to the following:

fopen(/home/jdoe/example/forum/Sources/ManagePermissions.php) [function.fopen]: failed to open stream: Permission denied
File: /home/amy/www/moondreaming/forum/Sources/Subs-Package.php
Line: 1918

Some entries might have fclose, copy, or gzwrite instead of fopen. E.g.,

2: gzwrite(): supplied argument is not a valid stream resource
File: /home/jdoe/example/forum/Sources/Subs-Package.php
Line: 2098

Under Download Packages for FTP Information Required, I saw "To download packages, the Packages directory and files in it need to be writable - and they are not currently. The package manager can use your FTP information to fix this." I put in the FTP username, password, and forum information. I replaced "/forum" with the full path to the forum in the Local path to SMF field, e.g., "/home/jdoe/example/forum". The message went away when I tested the settings.

I was then able to select a package from beneath Browse Packages, choose Apply Mod, then Install Now and then see the package appear when I checked Installed Packages.

[/network/web/forums/smf] permanent link

Sun, Jan 16, 2011 5:07 pm

Adding httpBL to Block Forum Spammers

There is a Simple Machines Forum (SMF) module, MOD httpBL, that can help you combat forum spammers. This mod uses the http:BL API from Project Honey Pot to stop spammers from accesing your forum. The mod is completely compatible with M-DVD's MOD Stop Spammer. You can have both mods installed or only one of them to stop the spammers in your forum, but I would recommend you use both.

The developer of the httpBL module describes the differences between the two modules as follows:

As recommended on the httpBL mod webpage, you should read the well-written tutorial prior to installing the module.

There are some steps you need to take prior to using the module as is explained in the tutorial.

Once you've taken the above steps, you can install the httpBL module the way you normally would install an SMF module. E.g., you could take the following steps to install it after you download the httpBL module.

  1. Log into your SMF forum with an administrator account.
  2. Click on Admin.
  3. Click on Packages.
  4. Click on Download Packages.
  5. Under Upload a Package, click on the Browse button to browse to where you've downloaded the module then click on the Upload button once you've selected the zip file you downloaded.
  6. To the right of the module name, which is httpBL, you will see an Apply Mod link; click on it.
  7. You will then see the installation readme file. Click on the Install Now button at the bottom of the page. Provide the password for the administrator account, if prompted. You should then be taken to a forum webpage where you can configure http:BL. If you need to reconfigure it later, you should see the option Mod httpBL listed under Members when you click on Admin.

Note: if you aren't using the default theme, you may need to edit index.template.php manually as explained in the tutorial.

[/network/web/forums/smf] permanent link

Sat, Jan 15, 2011 9:22 pm

Upgrading SMF from Version 1.1.11 to 1.11.12

I was able to upgrade two Simple Machines Forum (SMF) forums from version 1.1.11 to version 1.1.12 without problem, but encountered a problem with a third forum.

[ More Info ]

[/network/web/forums/smf] permanent link

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