Monthly Archives: September 2007

WordPress 2.3 released

WordPress have just released version 2.3 and I have been playing with it on my personal blog.

I decided to try a test and do the equivalent of ‘non-techie’ install and ignore all their warnings about deactivating plugins and what not before upgrading in an attempt to see if anything broke. [Now, I had taken a FULL backup first – this was a test, remember!]

As it happened, everything upgraded just fine with all my plugins behaving themselves. Version 2.3 has quite a few changes both on the surface and under the hood. The main highlights for users being the integrations of tag management and theme widgitising, the addition of a ‘pending review’ publishing option, some text editing tweaks and some tidying up around URL and blogroll management. Full details of the changes can be found on their website.

It’s still early days, but so far I am very pleased with 2.3. What are some of your experiences?

Easily insert email addresses in MS outlook

When composing a message in Microsoft Outlook there is an easy way to insert an email address in the to, cc or bc bar.

Simply start writing a couple of letters of the email address or name of someone in your address book and then if it does not show up as a quick option just hold down Ctrl and press K and then all of the options of names with that letter (s) will show up and you just have to click on the email address you want!

Simple hey?

Connectivity problem with OLPC

The one laptop per child (OLPC) project should be gathering momentum in the coming months, and while it is without questions a noble cause – there is a rather big piece of the puzzle missing. The laptops have wifi which will enable the children using them to use the internet and telephony to connect with the outside world. This is great – but in practice how will that play out??

Before I go any further I want to say that I am a huge supporter of this project and even without the connectivity there is huge value in kids learning to use computers wherever they are in the world.

Lets stop and imagine for a minute that a school in the outer regions of Tanzania manages to get one laptop per child. How exactly do they then get the internet in the areas where there is no broadband?

When people have talked about this project the notion of satellite connectivity is suggested as though it is cheap.

 As a trained VSAT installer I can say this is definately not the case. For about 20 users a 1mb link is about right – and with a contention ratio of 10:1  this costs in the region of $700 per month. However if you want to use it for a whole school of 300 even a 2mb dedicated line will not be enough and that would end up costing about $20,000 per month.

Realistically schools in a majority of the worlds developing nations can not afford anywhere near the bandwidth required for the OLPC project – or even for basic needs. In order for the digital divide to be closed somewhat developing nations need to be investing in infrastructure – or potentially sell the nationalised inefficient telecoms companies so that outside companys can create competition to increase the level of service and bring the prices down.

Just to put the absurd nature of the digital divide into perspective – here in my office we have 50% more bandwidth then the entire country of Ghana….Something needs to be done!

“Record 1 contained too many data fields” error when mail merging

When trying to mail merge a CSV file into Word (that had been exported from Civicrm) I kept running into the error code ‘Record 1 contained too many data fields‘. All I was doing was importing the file and mapping the fields, then once I clicked ‘update labels’ it would tell me I had an error on record 1, when i clicked ok then it started going through every record (which was over 400) – so I had to close word using the task manager.

To get round this problem I opened the CSV file in Excel then saved it as an .xls file then went through the mail merge process without any problems, (except with my printer – but that is a different story that I would have ideally ended with me, a baseball bat and a Sharp printer in a million pieces).

Play DVD on SLED 10 (Suse Linux Enterprise Desktop)

For legal reasons Novell ships the SLED 10 with no DVD support so for my new laptop it was a disapointment. Well, Playing around with it I’ve now installed 3 programs that add DVD and Win32 support to SLED 10. You don’t need to install all 3, just one of these will do the job for you.

MPlayer –

* MPlayer is a bit messy to install on SLED but once all dependencies are sorted it works nicely, don’t forget to compile it with GUI enabled so you can skin it and call it direct with a GUI. Also you can install the Firefox plugin. Use the SVN version, it sorts most dependency problems.


* XINE comes ready installed but with no DVD or Win32 support. You will need to uninstall the previous version, download a new version from the Xine project site and install it. You can also install the xine plugin for Firefox.

* VLC Player – The easiest installation ever. Just add a new repository (installation source) in YaST (YaST2 -> Software -> Installation Sources), SLED 10 is based on Suse Linux 10.1 so make sure you add the repository for this version. After that use the YAST->Software->Software Management to install it and enjoy your DVDs.

Reset HP 2550 Laser Printer Imaging Drum

Over a week ago my boss had her printer (HP 2550Ln) suddenly stop working. I checked the warning light an it was the Imaging drum that needed replacing. I looked around and did some research and got to the approximate price of £ 90-something for a replacement. Well I looked at the last page printed on that printer and the quality was very good, actually it was as good as when the printer first arrived so I went to the HP website where I read about the Imaging Drum and how it works, interesting way of making money out of costumers.

The printer’s Imaging drum has a built in counter so after a X number of copies it stops working and needs to be replaced even if the quality is still great.

After looking around for a bit on the internet I found a site which gave me very simple instructions on how to reset a HP Imaging Drum for the models Laserjet 2550 2550L 2550Ln.

I did it and it worked, the printer is printing away with great quality. Please remember this is just a tip, do it at your own risk.

Click here for instructions on “Reseting HP 2550 Laser Printer Imaging Drum“.