Morgan’s Replacement Links Widget 0.2

I’ve just put up 0.2 of the Links Widget. This is just a quick off-the-cuff version for WP 2.1. It needs work, but it’s a step in the right direction. Note that I’m starting to change all the file names (since I’m adding more options to the widgets than just drop-down select lists) so deactivate the old plugin.

With this widget, I want to support multiple instances of it and be able to specify via a drop-down list in the Widget control panel as to which category you want displayed within that instance of the widget. That way you can drag different link categories around on your sidebars easily…

Please give it a shot and see how it works for you.

Download here:

WinXP MCE Credential Manager…

Continuing the tale of BartPE…

So, I’ve been using WinXP Pro for quite some time. The wife’s new computer and the new laptop both came with WinXP MCE 2005 edition loaded on them, however. Seemed pretty nice… the laptop looks beautiful when I go to play a DVD and browse through pics/videos/etc. Really happy with that.

But what is this crap with having to type my username and password to access a network share every time? Sure, it’s not an issue if I’m accessing a share on my XP Pro box, but if I’m accessing a Samba share on my fileserver, or the print server, I have to type the password every time? Because somehow being able to save a password is considered a professional feature and not a consumer feature?

Yeah, right.

I did some googling around. Apparently it’s because the password saving is tied into the credential manager, which is tied into joining a domain. Now, I don’t bother with a domain– a regular workgroup is just fine as far as I’m concerned. But further googling lead to some even more interesting notes: not only did previous versions of MCE allow you to do this, but the support was still built into MCE, just disabled. All you have to do is enable a registry key and you’re set.

The one problem? XP won’t let you change that registry key. Now, you can go about this the long way… or dig out that BartPE disk and do things quickly.

  1. Shut system down and boot from BartPE
  2. Open a command prompt (Go > Run > cmd)
  3. copy system32\config\system c:\system
  4. Open the Registry editor (Go > Run > regedit)
  5. Click on ‘HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE’.
  6. File > Load Hive…
  7. Browse and select C:\SYSTEM
  8. Specify key name ‘BANANA’ and click OK
  9. Expand: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > BANANA > WPA > MedCtrUpg
  10. On the right-hand side, double-click IsLegacyMCE value
  11. Change selected value to 1 and click Ok. (THAT IS NOT AN L!)
  12. Click on BANANA subkey (under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE).
  13. File > Unload Hive. Confirm.
  14. Close the Registry Editor and go back to the Command Prompt.
  15. copy c:\system system32\config\system (say yes to overwrite it)
  16. Reboot from your main hard drive and you’re done.

I’m not sure what Microsoft was thinking, but I hope this level of brain-deadness doesn’t continue into Vista (though I’ll not be surprised if it does).

BartPE saves the day…

A while back we got a laptop, which has since become my primary station. It was a cheap Gateway MX6958 that we got with some money that my in-laws gave us as a wedding present.

Imagine my confusion when after getting it home and setting it up that I found that on the 120gb hard drive, there was an empty 60gb partition. The first partition, mind you, not the second. Foolishly, I decided to just format it and skip mucking with things… all was good until I shut the computer down and it did not want to boot… since the boot loader was on the 2nd partition.

Cue a large d’oh sound.

I did some research and ultimately said “screw this”, popped in the rescue cd and reinstalled. I was hoping that the XP cd would give me some options, but the rescue CD is exactly that… no ifs ands or buts. It did let me save the existing files and only overwrote the Windows installation, which was nice, but that’s the only choice I got.

So, then afterwards, I cleaned things up and moved the files over to the primary partition. Looking around, I found that there was a command to resize a parition but you could not do it on the primary parition while Windows was running.

Insert BartPE. BartPE is a Windows version of Linux LiveCDs. It’s meant as a rescue disk that you build yourself (I’m assuming to avoid legal issues with redistributing Microsoft’s files) and burn to a CD. Took me a bit to get my ISO right– after a coaster or two I dug out my one CD-RW– as the MX has an internal SATA drive and the XP CD I was using to build the PE disk didn’t have the SATA driver (I ran into an issue building it from the Gateway rescue disk and just grabbed my other XP cd to save time). But once I got that up and running, I was able to boot from BartPE and resize the partition easily.

I recommend BartPE to any sysadmin who might end up tinkering with their Windows box at some point. You never know when a rescue disk will come in handy, and it’s a lot easier to deal with than trying to work with the Recovery Console on the XP cd… assuming your XP CD even has that.

Logitech Mouse + WoW

We went out yesterday and picked up a few goodies… a prepaid cellphone, a headset with a microphone (since folks in my WoW guild have been using Ventrilo / Teamspeak on occasion), and a new mouse. I picked up a cordless Logitech with an interesting twist: it has a tilt scroll wheel.

I tried binding the tilt wheel to strafing in WoW, but it didn’t seem to work. Reading around, I see that I can bind the wheel to a key in the SetPoint software and then bind that key inside of WoW, but is there any way to accomplish this directly? Anyone else play around with WoW with a tilt wheel mouse, and if so, how do you like it?

I’m still futzing around with the config, rather curious to see how I can set it up.

State of the Hacker…

WordPress 2.1 changed how the links were stored in the database so the drop-down links widget will not work with WP 2.1. I’ll be rolling a new version soon. Things have been pretty busy for me lately (see my LiveJournal for more information) but I’ll try to get this going as soon as possible. I’m really digging WP 2.1, so I’m looking to get all my widgets updated for it.

I’m also going to be branching out into developing some pure WP plugins, rather than just sticking to widgets. I’m going to take some of the writer’s tools I’ve developed for Evolution Writers and make them into WP plugins (like the WIP manager, the progress meters, etc.). They’ll support WP-MU as well, and I’ll be installing them over on my MU install at Authors Abode.

I’ve also been developing a LUA add-on for World of Warcraft called UFActionBars (Unit Frame Action Bars) which is basically a replacement for the defunct Group Buttons mod that died– along with a slew of so very many others– with the launch of 2.0.

I’m also working on StormChat again. Now that the server move has been completed I’ve moved the CVS repository over and started work on cleaning up the code (again). I’ve written a quick, off-the-cuff FAL to get it to work with WordPress for the wife and will be expanding it to work nicely with WP-MU so I can install it on Authors Abode as well.

I still haven’t had a chance to dig up documentation on how to localize widgets/plugins in WordPress. If any readers happen to have a bookmark they can toss me, that’d be much appreciated. Thanks!

FYI…

A month or two ago, I moved this site off of my original colocated server to a dedicated virtual private server hosted over at RackForce. I’ve got nothing to complain about with their service– far from it, in fact– but apparently the majority of the emails coming from the RackForce server were being marked by Google Mail as spam.

Not sure why, and since I de-spammed a slew of them, Google Mail is now delivering them appropriately. However this does mean that I missed a lot of comments people left on the widgets. If you were wondering why I suddenly dropped out of touch, it was mainly because I was too busy to stop and think that there was something suspicious about the lack of emails about comments on the site.

I’ve gone through and commented on a bunch of them and will try to do some further testing as I have time on how to deal with the sizing on the drop-down widgets. Apparently Firefox auto-expands to fit the size of the content and IE does not, from what people are reporting. For some widgets, people like the Firefox behavior and some people like the IE behavior.

My gut tells me that CSS can handle this were code is not the best way to approach it. However, I can (fairly easily) add in an option to truncate the text after a user-specified limit which will allow people to simulate the IE behavior in Firefox. The reverse, on the other hand, I don’t think can be done via code… but should be able to be done via styling.

I’ll post more after I run some tests over the next week or two. Between work, writing, and World of Warcraft, I’ve been rather busy lately…

Hmmm.

I saw an interesting comment from Andy Skelton over here:

“Hey there! Nice work on this plugin/widget code. However, it won’t work on future versions of WordPress because you’ve queried a table that will no longer be available. Links are tricky business these days… :-)

Interesting. The widget I just wrote also queries the database table directly. The API doesn’t allow for much manipulation of the links, as it has anchor tags hard-coded in (not viable for use in a drop down list).

I’m wondering if there is a reference online for how newer versions will change in regards to this? I’m assuming he’s referring to WP 2.1.

It would also be nice if the API allowed for a way to use the data like I am, without needing to re-implement the functions to format them appropriately. get_archives() was designed intelligently for this type of use. Unfortunately get_links() and list_cats() are not.

New widget…

Made a new widget: Drop-down Links Widget

I figured given the popularity of the Drop-down Archives Widget, that a drop-down version of the links list was probably in order. I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of different feeds that I watch (via a Gregarius installation).

I’ve added the sanity check of silently failing if the AWP is not activated to this from the beginning.

Widget Updates…

I’ve rolled new versions of the widgets with a minor bugfix. If you activate a widget without having the AutoMattic Widgets Plugin (AWP) turned on, you’ll either get a blank page on your site or you’ll get an error (most likely “Fatal error: Call to undefined function register_sidebar_widget()“).

The new versions will silently bypass the widget registration process if the AWP is not activated. It’s not exactly the way I wanted to do it, as I would have preferred to deactivate the widget automatically if the AWP wasn’t activated. The problem is, given how plugins are loaded, my widgets are often loaded before AWP, so they would never be active.

New versions: