Blog Archives

Upgraded to WordPress 2.5

After some reluctance to work on my blog again, I gave into the nag at the top of my admin screen and went ahead and upgraded to WordPress 2.5. I am happy to say I had no problems at all, and most of my plugins worked fine, I only had a problem activating one that had to do with comments, but its nothing important and I just left it disabled. Otherwise, my upgrade experience was good. I like the new admin interface and the new feature set. Go WordPress!!

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Black logon screen for Server 2003

This is the first time I’ve run across this issue, but what was happening is I’d see a black screen both through RDP and from the actual server console.  You could see a little bit of the windows logon box, but it was cut off where the username and password fields would be.  If you can fumble your way through the logon screen you’d be able to logon but everything was still black, the only color you’d see would be in the desktop icons.  This makes it virtually impossible to do anything on the server.  This situation does not cause a work stoppage, as all the background services ran fine, you just can’t logon and do anything. 

So I started searching around and ultimately ran across a MS KB article 906510.  I’ll paste in the information below, but the KB said it was an issue with the color scheme, and the registry values were all set to “0”.  At least that is whats listed as the cause of the black screen symptom, but it does not offer an explanation of what would cause the numbers to get set to “0” in the first place. 

To resolve this I had to do the following:  (NOTE: the drive mapping step was only needed for my solution as the server was not on the domain and not using internal DNS, so I could not authenticate on the domain).

1. Map a drive from another network machine to this server using local admin credentials.
2. Open regedit and connect remote registry to the server in question. (this will not work unless you map the drive first – see above note)
3. Use an export from a working server of the registry key noted in the MS KB and import that into the remote server.
4. Attempt logon through RDP or at the console, the color issue should be resolved. 

I wish I knew what caused this issue, but I can’t find much as to the actual cause.  I heard talk that maybe it was a disk space issue, but my server had 10GB of free space, so that wasn’t it.  Hope this information helps someone in the future.

My favorite registry hack

Do you know how annoying it is to try to quickly open a file in Windows that should be all text and naturally you want to open it with a text editor right?  Instead of being an easy process sometimes you have to go through a few steps to pick the program you want to open the file in.  Well here is a quick registry hack that will let you import all the settings necessary to add a context menu (right click menu) item called “open with notepad” when you right click on a file.  I personally like notepad better than wordpad (out of the build-in options in Windows), however, you could substitute your own text editor of choice here and save yourself a lot of trouble.  Just copy the code below into a new notepad document and save the file (to your desktop for example) with a .reg extension.  Then double-click on the resulting .reg file and click “ok” to add the registry information to your computer (NOTE: this only works on Windows operating systems). 

Now when you right click on a file, notice you have a new option in the context menu to open with notepad.  You can customize this as I mentioned to use your own text editor, just replace the name of the menu item and the executable name of your text editor in the code below.  Naturally you need to make sure the .exe is in a set user path so Windows knows where to get it. 

———————— (Copy below this line)————————————

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT*shellOpen with Notepad]
@=""

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT*shellOpen with Notepadcommand]
@="notepad.exe %1"

————————-(copy above this line)—————————-——-

Enjoy!

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CTRL+ALT+DEL in remote desktop

I should have known this, but fortunately I’ve never needed to know it.  But recently someone asked me how to do this, and the answer I found is simple.  If you’re using Terminal Services/Remote desktop, the equivalent of CTRL-ALT-DEL for the Microsoft RDP client is CTRL-ALT-END.

Problems with Category Access

I’ve been running 0.8.2 of the category-access plugin by David Coppit for a few weeks now and its been working fine on the web interface of WordPress.  I’ve been busy lately and haven’t had a chance to post anything to my blog in a while, so I hadn’t used any of my windows apps to post to WordPress.  Upon trying I found that I got some error messages relating to XML parsing. 

w.bloggar and blogdesk would generate this error:

“Unable to parse the XML response.  Parser Reason: Only one top level element is allowed in an XML document.”

BlogJet would generate this error:

Invalid payload received from xml-rpc server.  Please check your host and page settings for this account.  Server said: “,br/> <b>Fatal Error<b>: Call to a member function on a non-object in <b>/home/myaccountname/public_html/mybloglocation/wp-content/plugins/category-access.php</b> on line <b>373</b><br/>…”

Disabling the category-access plugin corrected the issue and I was then able to blog with my windows apps.  I sent the information to David via e-mail and also made a post on the wordpress forums to help anyone else that might be using category-access.  Its a great plugin and does exactly what I want, with only a few minor things lacking.  For now I’ve left the plugin disabled, but plan to re-enable if David comes up with a fix. 

Category access 0.8.2 beta

I got an e-mail from David Coppit who created the Category Access plugin for WordPress. I’m happy to report he has or is in the process of updating his plugin for WordPress 2.3. I got a copy of the beta from him and it works great! So keep an eye out on the WordPress Codex site and David’s site if you use or may want to use this plugin. Make sure if you are running WP 2.3 that you get the latest version once he releases it.

A good stats plugin for WordPress

I finally found a basic plugin for WordPress to give me clear and simple stats for my blog. Its called StatPress and it works very well. This gives a lot of good information in a tab on the dashboard. Its easy to install, works with WP 2.3 and there is no configuration necessary, just install and go.

Coming up!

There are a few things I’m working on that I will hopefully be able to release on both my blog and family website soon. Here is a brief list of things I’m trying to get setup…

1. Method for web visitors to send me messages or info, perhaps post back information to my site, maybe a public category where friends and family can post messages.

2. Podcasts – We have a lot of fun doing podcasts. I hope to get the girls and Liz and I back into a somewhat regular podcast series. It would be audio only at first, probably short (under 5 minutes) and of course make you laugh.

3. Way down the road, I’d love to start doing video podcasts. This is going to take a little more thought and planning, and we don’t have the video equipment to take on this job yet.

4. Add pictures to posts – it would be nice if when I posted an update on the site if I could attach a picture to the post for a visual aid of what I’m talking about. So from now on, I’m going to try to post individual pics of the kids or relevant pictures of what relates to my post so that its not just a bunch of boring text… 🙂

5. Custom theme – at some point down the road, its inevitable that I need to try to create a custom theme for WordPress. I have up to now used freely available themes I found online and modified them for my own use. This has worked out fine so far, but its time I start looking into option to code my own theme. This would open up all kind of opportunity as to how I want the site to look, and it would be a lot of fun designing graphics and CSS for the site.

Web Template Goof

I learned an important lesson recently regarding WordPress plugins! READ THE DOCUMENTATION! I was installing the Alex King plugin “WordPress Mobile Edition” and even though I’ve installed this before and use it on more than one site, I completely neglected to copy over the mobile theme folder to the proper location in WP-CONTENTTHEMES. This caused my site to revert to the default WP theme each time I would hit my site from a mobile web browser. I couldn’t figure this out for a while, and finally after removing and re-installing and researching in forums, I found the answer. I had missed that stop of copying the theme folder. Once I did that, things were good and now my themes work great.

My WordPress wish list

I’ve tried many blog platforms, and am please to say that my favorite by far is WordPress. I really like the WP platform and the abundance of plugins to extend functionality. However there are a few things that can currently only be done with plugins that I would love to see become fully integrated into the core WP platform. Here is my list.

1. Better multimedia support. What if I want to podcast or post streamable mp3 files? Currently I have to use plugins such as this.player or podpress to enable this functionality. I think this should become fully integrated into the core of the WP platform

2. Lightbox – I think WP should integrate lightbox as well. This kinda goes along with the better multimedia support I spoke of above. It would be nice to have better integrated options for posts with images.

3. Gallery integration – I use a plugin for integration with gallery 2, which is great. But it would be awesome if WP could integrate support for various gallery platforms into their code. Having an options page for your gallery integration would be a huge time saver and supporting multiple gallery systems would be ideal.

4. Better uploads management. I think WP could have much better file level security and download tracking built in. It would be great to be able to have a built in downloads tracker, upload management and general file management. Perhaps some security settings, being able to restrict download of some files based on security permissions per user or something.

5. Better customization support. Sometimes its a little hard to place something on my WP site in exactly the spot where I want it. You usually have to have pretty good knowledge of CSS and PHP to be able to get it just right. Its hard for a novice user to make these kinds of changes. It would be great to have enhanced theme management to let you use an editor of some type to place custom content such as images, text, links, etc in exactly the spot you want, not just in the sidebar.

Thats about all I can think of for now, but if you (the reader) have any other ideas, I’d love to see what else people are coming up with in regards to WP suggestions. Feel free to leave your comments.