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From a developer to a photographer

Ever had a blog and then did not write anything for five years? Here is how it happened in my case. Kids got bigger, got into volleyball, and one day I found myself trying to take pictures of fast moving subjects in badly lit gyms with no flash allowed. Phone cameras are not designed for that, and even a decent digital camera can not handle that situation with a kit lens (I had Canon Rebel T3i at the time.) After some research I got a Canon 70d with 85mm f/1.8 lens and that worked quite well for a while, but…

How to open ODS file in Numbers app on a Mac

To actually open an ODS file with all the formulas you need to install Open Office or Libre Office or some other program that understands ODS format, but if you just need to quickly get the data and the basic structure of an old file: Right-click (or two-finger-click/tap) the ODS file and select Open With -> Other Select TextEdit app Select all of the content Paste it into a new Numbers spreadsheet If you had formulas in some cells, they will now have (correct) results of those calculations, and in my case that was all I really needed.

Tunnelblick error (status 244) ocurred

This morning I got this message when attempting to connect to my VPN on OSX Mountain Lion: An error (status 244) ocurred while trying to check the security of the … configuration. Please quit and relaunch Tunnelblick. If the problem persists, please reinstall Tunnelblick. It turned out that Verizon Wireless VZAccess tool I installed last night changed permissions of my /Applications folder so it is writable by any user. Tunnelblick makes sure that the folder(s) it is in do not have such lax permissions, so it would not connect until I did this: sudo chmod o-w /Applications Probably you would…

Sphinx Search 0.7 for MediaWiki Released

After over a year of on-and-off tweaks and updates, I have finally released version 0.7 of SphinxSearch Extension for MediaWiki. There are several new options, support for latest version of sphinx, initial support for MW search API, and the extension now follows the usual MW conventions for localizations, autoload, etc.

Download PECL Extensions for Windows

The last version of PHP that came with compiled PECL extensions for Windows was 5.2.6. Some time after that, the usual place to get those was taken offline, and downloads page only says that for newer versions of PHP, 5.2.6 versions of PECL extensions still work. No link… I felt I was lucky to keep a copy of those extensions around, until I moved to FastCGI and needed non-thread-safe versions. After some searching, I finally discovered that you can download both thread-safe and non-thread-safe versions of PECL dlls from UPDATE: Windows binaries are available again at:

SphinxSearch Extension for MediaWiki

While helping maintain the New World Encyclopedia, I tried to install the LuceneSearch extension to replace the default MySQL-full-text-based search used by MediaWiki. Since our server did not come with any pre-requisites necessary for compiling and running Java applications, I spent quite some time on it, and still did not get it to work. All of sudden (hint, hint,) a message came to the mediawiki developers list about a new search extension that uses Sphinx search engine. Installing Sphinx was a breeze! The extension was an initial “request-for-comments” version, so I started working with the author to spruce it up.…

A List Apart

This is a classic, of course, but I decided to post something about each site I link to. This is probably the first article I read on ALA site: The Trouble With EM ’n EN (and Other Shady Characters) And for the reference, some of the character codes from the article: – (– en dash is used to indicate a range of just about anything, etc.) — (— em dash is used to indicate a sudden break in thought, etc.) ‘ (‘ opening single quote) ’ (’ closing single quote or an apostrophe) “ (“ opening double quote) ” (”…