A week or two ago I was reading some blog post that strongly endorsed Feedburner. It may well have been this post by Scott Mitchell, but then maybe it wasn’t. None of my aggregators (BlogBridge on Windows, Akregator on Linux) seem to have a history feature, so I dunno.
Anyhow I decided to run with the idea so now the link on the right is to a Feedburner feed for cysquatch.net. We’ll see how it goes.
Yesterday my flatmate decided to install BitTorrent. Not to be outdone, I thought I’d have a go as well, even though the Mule has been working fine for me.
I went to download the BitTorrent Linux client, but the flashing banner advertisement was so damn annoying (not to mention passé) that I had to leave the site immediately. I started looking for another client and soon found Enhanced ctorrent, a CLI client written in C++. RPMs are available, but not for the latest release, so I cooked my own. Help yourself. FC6 only.
During the last 15 months of my tenure at Sensory Networks, I had a Wordpress blog that was only available on the internal network. Wordpress (i.e. Apache httpd and MySQL) ran on my Fedora Core 4 workstation; this was fine at the time but meant problems when I decided to leave. The blog contained over 200 posts, some of which actually contained information useful to other people in the company. These posts needed to be imported into Sensory’s Confluence Wiki.
I spent some quality time with Google trying to find a tool to do this. I found Ryan Lee’s Blogger API Client (BAC) plugin for Wordpress, and Confluence’s Blogging RPC Plugin. The nice sysadmins at Sensory installed the Confluence plugin, and I managed to get the BAC plugin working with my Wordpress installation.
Unfortunately the BAC plugin had a few limitations:
- I still needed to write code to convert from HTML to Confluence markup.
- The BAC plugin works by posting to another blog when you hit the “Publish” button in Wordpress. I wanted more of a batch conversion tool.
- The Blogger API is quite limited, for example it does not provide a way to attach a file to a post.
I decided to write my own script. I borrowed the regular expressions in this PHP script to do the markup conversion, and used Python’s xml rpc library to talk to Wordpress via it’s metaWeblogApi and talk to Confluence via its Remote API.
I also extended the markup conversion capabilities from the original PHP script. Tables and lists are supported, although list nesting will be lost. Images attached to the Wordpress post are fetched with w get and then attached to the Confluence post. The image handling is a little dodgy but worked well enough for my purposes.
The script can be downloaded here. I’m not planning to make it work any better since I no longer have any use for it, but if you want to use it and have problems with it, let me know. I don’t mind improving the script if it will help somebody out.
Postscript: Further Googling has revealed that that there is a Perl module HTML::WikiConverter that can convert from HTML to quite a few different Wiki markups.
I use free software every day at home and at work, but I’ve never been really big on converting non-technical people to use it. For my purposes it’s clearly superior, but I’m not sure that’s true for my family and friends. Possibly the only exception is Firefox. I do a bit of Windows tech support for friends, and without fail I install the latest Firefox release and issue stern instructions that for security reasons, it’s the only browser they should be using.
This has had mixed results- my little brother is still a dedicated IE user. However it looks like I might get him to start using Lyx, the world’s only What You See Is What You Mean document processor. This year he is doing a thesis for his B.E. in Civil Engineering, and I suggested that he use Lyx rather the ubiquitous Microsoft Word. Once I showed him a printed version of my B.E. thesis he was really keen, as it looks very shmick- more like a journal article than an undergraduate essay.
I find that for a given level of graphic design ability (i.e. none), Latex documents look much better.
The other big selling point of Lyx (and Latex) is stability. In my experience, Word is great for relatively short, simple documents. A 100 page document with many images, footnotes, sections and other features can go pear-shaped. This has happened to my brother, so a solution that doesn’t suffer from this was appealing to him. And, of course, Lyx runs on Windows. I don’t think he’s interested in a Ubuntu install any time soon.
I’m interested to see what his experience will be like, how easy Lyx is to use, and how well it met his needs. Stay tuned for updates on this riveting usability study.
So I finally finished installing FC6 on my dual-Athlon box (hostname kj) at home. This was more work than it sounds like as I did a test install on an old Celeron 500 I have lying around (thanks mum!) to make sure that none of my mission-critical *cough* apps were broken on FC6. Amazingly, the Fedora graphical installer requires 256MB of RAM- with less than this you can only run the text mode installer! Getting round this hurdle required some hasty PC133 reorganization from the other relics cluttering up my room.
Since I have Wordpress installed on kj, I had to figure out how to install Wordpress and phpMyAdmin again. It turns out that the whole export MySQL database -> import database -> upgrade Wordpress process is pretty easy.
I also tested to make sure that my Canon LiDE 60 scanner and EDIROL UA-25 USB audio interface worked OK. Not that I expected problems. Although I had to do some hairy config file editing when I originally set up the LiDE 60 with Fedora Core 4, this time everything worked out of the box.
The only significant problem I had was getting my monitor recognized. It’s a Dell P991 and has happily been doing 1280 x 1024 at 85Hz for years. I tried using
system-config-display, but the modifications it made to
/etc/X11/xorg.conf would only give a refresh rate of 60Hz at that resolution. Copying the
Monitor section from my old FC4
xorg.conf fixed it.
If you are installing FC6 I strongly recommend having a look at Mauriat Miranda’s guide, it makes things much easier.
It would probably have been quicker to just do an upgrade rather than a full install, but I have never really believed in the whole upgrade thing. Too risky. Much better to get a new drive and install on that. Then, if it turns out the Fedora folks have done something heinous like omitting my fave console font from the release, it’s easy to stage a strategic retreat.
Unfortunately, my joy will be shortlived. Fedora 7 is due for release on the 24th May.
Today I tried to think of a new password- and it was way too hard. A quick google turned up a few suggestions for automatic password generators; this page at debianhelp lists a few. I chose pwgen and installed it on Fedora Core 6 with a simple:
# sudo yum -y install pwgen
Highly recommended. Now I just have to learn how to use KWallet to store all my passwords securely.
Metal fans love merch. Go to any metal show and most (like 90%) of the crowd are wearing black t-shirts dripping with metal band logos. This works out great for the bands too, since when they tour they can sell a tour shirt at $40 a pop to half the crowd and make lots more cash. Krusty said it best in Krusty Gets Kancelled:
Krusty: I don’t know how to thank you kids.
Bart: That’s all right, Krusty.
Lisa: We’re getting fifty percent of the T-shirt sales.
Krusty: The T-shirt sales! That’s the sweetest plum!
So it’s hard to know what a band is thinking when they run out of shirts to sell at a show. This happened to me a couple of times last year, at both Kreator and Testament. At Kreator’s Gaelic Club show, I missed out on a tour shirt but still managed to get one with the cover art for Pleasure To Kill. At Testament’s Manning bar show, by the time we turned up during the first support act, there was no more Testament merch left for sale whatsoever. I didn’t see anyone wearing a tour shirt either, so the band must not have turned up with very many.
Luckily I got something even better than merch at Testament: a pick straight from the fingers of the legendary Alex Skolnick himself. Sweet!
So this is the first post on cysquatch.net. At my last job, I had a blog for over a year that was just available internally. It was great fun to write and really useful, but reached a limited audience. Since I’ve recently jumped ship, it’s time to start a proper blog where I can inflict my thoughts on the ‘net at large.
Of course it’s best to focus a blog on a particular area, but I doubt that will happen. Frequent topics will include software development, music and nifty new commands I have discoverd in vim.