Saturday, May 16, 2015

Computer FixIts

A friend sent me a document to address for the mission.

OK, I've cleaned it up some more, but the authors are incredibly incompetent when it comes to word processors. It is so easy to do it all automatically if you know how and I'm more than willing to show how.

They have spent a hideous amount of time that I have now removed on tappity-tappity brute force "formatting": centering, date formatting, sequencing, you name it. Tappity, tappity, tappity.

I'll guarantee that if we find ourselves doing a particular thing over and over again, we need to STOP, because someone has already figured out how to automate that. In particular, text formatting is down to a science: centering vertically or horizontally, merging cells, formatting dates into whatever you want (Weekday, month, day, year) are available at the click of a button for a host of formats, including Jewish (Tevet).

So please tell your colleagues: If they find themselves doing something repetitively in a spreadsheet or Word document (or, really, anywhere else) we can assure them that there is an easier way.

Just email me. Although I'll probably post the answer here and email them back with the URL. They don't have to pay for it but it increases my SEO visibility.

People in general, and organizations in particular, need to make the investment to teach people how to use these tools that have been given them.

Hideous amounts of time are unnecessarily being wasted.

I came to a brick wall at the rubric: I've fixed the rest, but they had PASTED THE RUBRIC AS AN IMAGE!!! So there is absolutely no way to edit it.

Ask them for a source for from where they got it. It is probably in an Excel spreadsheet format with which we can do something. But we can't edit an image, at least not with a huge amount of more time.

Otherwise it means rebuilding it from scratch, too late tonight to do that.


I learned this forty decades ago, if you don't know what you're doing, ask (and if necessary pay) an expert. That goes for plumbers, chimney sweeps, gardeners, fixit guys, lawyers,

and computer people.

Do NOT try to do it yourself.

That way everybody wins.




Saturday, May 9, 2015

Water woes

Thank you to the City for good faith response. There have been periodic issues with water bills. A team came and examined my system and found nothing to explain a doubling, but also offered a lot of information:

1. Most cases involve leaks. People complain (as I did) but then never report the result. (So I am doing so).

2. They agree that major leaks don't go away, but valves can get sediment and toilet floats get dirty, that can cause intermittent loss. In my case they did find one toilet stopper weeping slightly.

3. They offer a brochure and dye tablets to do the tests, but you can also use food dye, put some in the tank, wait 5-10 minutes, if the color appears in the bowl then you have a leak.

4. The meters are mechanical and the dials are driven by flow. The readers are electronic but they just read the mechanical value.

5. As Marco points out, they want to know if you have a problem. Call them at 845-5600 if you have an issue.


So the spike is a mystery, but it is what it is.

So the only answer is pay attention. My usage projects normal gain with five days left to the billing cycle.

You can check your own usage and project your bill by using this calculator. You can download it (a spreadsheet) here. Do so and check it out daily. 
All the necessarily politically correct caveats apply, use at your own risk, I've done the best I could, hey I'm just trying to help. If you don't like it don't use it. And it may be wrong:
  1. Enter the data from your last bill in the first set of pale yellow shaded cells
  2. Read your meter and enter the date, time, and meter reading in the second set of pale yellow shaded cells
  3. Enter Y or N in the pale yellow shaded cell under Residential (Y/N)
  4. Enter the expected date of your next bill in the next pale yellow shaded cell under Date
  5. The results are printed in blue.
  6. Pay attention if the number in the bottom right corner is too big! :-)

Thursday, May 7, 2015



I've been having problems with Permalinks in a WordPress site. I found many others having the same problem, but no solutions identified. I'd been working on this for weeks, learning all kinds of wonderful stuff about apache2's mod_rewrite, regular expressions and so forth. All appropriately logged, saved, and posted below.

But then I got caught up in a bunch of events and left it for a week.

When I came back to the problem I noticed that my published site was processing permalinks correctly, while my localhost version was not.

OK! Now I can compare and find the problem.

First I did a side by side comparison of httpd.conf. No difference.

So then I looked at the WordPress permalink settings:
Settings → Permalinks

The disfunctional site had them set to Post name:

The functional had it set to Custom:

So I added the /index.php/ and now it works.

PATHINFO permalinks look very much like mod_rewrite permalinks but for one exception: they have /index.php inserted before them.

Otherwise, they are the same as the "pretty" mod_rewrite permalinks, and are similarly flexible. Anything that mod_rewritepermalinks can do, PATHINFO permalinks can do, with the help of that /index.php part.

To activate PATHINFO permalinks, start your permalink structure with index.php/.

So it appears that we must use PATHINFO Permalinks, not mod_rewrite Permalinks

But why?

More to learn. At least now it is working. Hope this helps others.

============= Previous Post =============

Apache 2.4.10... module rewrite is not responding.

I'm sure it's something simple, but weeks of work have been evaded in finding it.

This is a monster. I have checked all of the following thoroughly:

• The firewall is not the problem. Turning it on or off has no effect.

• .htaccess is not the problem as it reflects what everyone says it should and one is generated by WordPress.

• WordPress is not the problem as mod_rewrite does not respond outside of WordPress.

• PHP is not the problem. PHP scripts all run successfully.

I've worked through all the options of the fundamental Apache2 documentation for mod_rewrite:

     I've set
          LogLevel alert rewrite:trace4
               I find no errors in
                    or anywhere else.

RewriteBase Directive

     I've set this correctly in each affected .htaccess file

Require Directive
     This is generated by WordPress and by analysis is correct.

RewriteEngine Directive
     Both .htaccess files contain
             RewriteEngine On

RewriteRule Directive
The RewriteRule directive is the real rewriting workhorse.
Yeh, ok, except it isn't working. But the rules for /nptbeyond/ are written by WP, those for /test/ are as posted, so who am I to question them. Let's look for another cause.

So everything is totally in order, no shortcuts. But it doesn't work.

httpd.conf might be the problem, but it is very simple. Other than include statements and all the outcommented statements the only parts I've changed read:

# forbid access to the entire filesystem by default

    Options None
    AllowOverride None
Require all denied

# New section

DocumentRoot /srv/www/htdocs

Options Indexes FollowSymLinks Multiviews
AllowOverride All
Require all granted

# use .htaccess files for overriding,
AccessFileName .htaccess
# and never show them ;
# The tilde ~ indicates that the text inside the quotes is a PCRE
# The cap ^ indicates to include all precedent paths
# The backslash \ renders the literal value of the period . otherwise
# it would be looking for any single charater before:

    Require all denied

So all seems right.

But it is not.

Friday, May 1, 2015


Yes, I'm a tattletale. I am not going to be nice.

I'll call 911 in a heartbeat and I'll exercise my Second Amendment rights.


I'll help fill up the NPD database with information about the trouble spots (weird people hitting on me, people trying my back door in broad daylight, people trying my front door after midnight). 

But I'll also be able to handle the eight to ten minutes required to work through the 911 maze and have the police deploy before they actually appear on my doorstep (national average is eight minutes). 

Have you ever actually called 911? It takes at least three minutes just to get to the right person able to listen ("Fire, Police, or Medical? Stay on the line. Beep".)

Don't waste their time, but the next time you see anything even faintly legitimately suspicious call them. They will be appreciative of the information and YOU will get an education as to how long it takes to get a response. 

Not their fault. Just the way it is.

Which they did in both instances in about ten minutes, no complaints. And in both cases they caught the perpetrators. Both well known down-and-outers, druggies, whatever. Sort of like Gray with an eighteen count rap sheet.

NPD never told me what the final outcome was, I don't really care as long as the perps don't come back.

But if the perps had gotten through the door in that time it would have been too late.

For them.

So, do not depend on others for your safety. BE PREPARED.

Gosh, someone famous said that once upon a time...


Be Prepared in Mind by having disciplined yourself to be obedient to every order, and also by having thought out beforehand any accident or situation that might occur, so that you know the right thing to do at the right moment, and are willing to do it.

Be Prepared in Body by making yourself strong and active and able to do the right thing at the right moment, and do it.

Read the whole thing.