Building a barn door for a closet

As part of a major kitchen remodel project, we moved the old laundry room up to a 2nd floor closet. With the washer and dryer occupying about a third of the old closet space, we needed an elegant solution to cover the rest of the old closet door space.

We settled on a rustic barn door option. We already had a little experience with distressing new boards to make them look old (from the remodeled kitchen ceiling), so we decided to use that same method on the door.

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Fixing an Error in the Notepad++ Plugin Manager

Notepad++ is a powerful text editor; so much more than a Windows Notepad replacement, and (for me at least) often better for 'real' word processing than Microsoft Word, when coupled with language tools (like Markdown) and plugins.

One of the powerful features in Notepad++ is the Plugin Manager, which provides an easy check-box menu system to install a wide array of plugins that enhance the program. This way, you don't have to mess around with finding and downloading add-ons - it's easy to get them right from the application.

Suddenly can't connect via Putty to OpenSSH server

From my Windows 7 machine, I've consistently been able to connect via SSH (using Putty) to two different Linux servers. A few weeks ago, one of them stopped responding to connection attempts. Putty would just sit there with a black screen and eventually time out. Troubleshooting attempts:

  • It wasn't a local outgoing firewall (or Windows 7) problem, because I could still connect to other OpenSSH servers
  • It wasn't a problem with the OpenSSH server itself, because I could SSH to one server, and then SSH from there to the 'problem' server. 

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Slow Bitlocker Encryption?

I recently had a need to turn on Bitlocker encryption (in Windows 8.1) for a 1.8 TB external hard drive. After three workdays (more than 24 hours), the drive was claiming it was only 5.2% completed with the encryption step. I searched all over and didn't find an answer, but a colleague recommended plugging the usb drive into a USB 3.0 compliant port, vs. a USB 2.0 port. I had that option available on my machine, and as I'm writing this (about three hours later), the drive is about 67% encrypted. It's working! 

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Installing Autohotkey on Windows 8.1

When I tried to install Autohotkey 1.1.20.1 recently on a Windows 8.1 64bit machine, the installer failed. It 'ran' ok, but on the installer splash screen, none of the buttons or links would 'do' anything. I tried the "Express Installation" and "Custom Installation" buttons and the "Read license" and "Extract to..." links. I tried running the installer as an Administrator.

Sending Spam via PHP script

I recently had a complaint of 'abuse' , with my mail server sending out spam.  First, one of my users complained that email was bouncing back, then Linode notified me that I'd been flagged for abuse.  I also found that Spamcop had blacklisted my server.  In the Abuse report from Linode, this line stood out:  X-PHP-Originating-Script: 33:.page93.php(241) : eval()'d code I didn't catch on right away, but that's a warning that a php file (.page93.php) is sending out the email.

Enabling .NET 4 applications in IIS 6

I struggled with this long enough, and ended up guessing the right answer; maybe this will save someone else the trouble. On a Windows Server 2003 box, IIS 6, trying to get it to server .aspx pages from a virtual folder.  I could get .html files to serve just fine, but trying to hit an .aspx file kept returning a 404 Not Found Error.  I had to Open the 'Web Service Extensions' folder in IIS Manager, then 'Add a new Web service extension...' to add the .NET 4 application handling.  I used the following:

  • Extension Name: - "ASP.NET 4.0"

Install SQL Server drivers on PHP 5.5

It took me a long time to find this solution (which worked perfectly), so I'm going to do my part to focus the rest of the Internet that direction.  These instructions worked perfectly to get SQL Server conectivity going for PHP 5.5 (x86), on WIndows 7 x64, running Apache (XAMPP).  http://robsphp.blogspot.com/2012/09/how-to-install-microsofts-sql-serve…

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Real CSS Tables

I've been learning to love CSS over the last few years, but have always struggled when it comes to displaying content in a tablular format.  Whenever I've run into the need for it, I've run straight back to the HTML <table> element, and then just felt bad about it later. Today, I accidentally ran into a post on StackOverflow that might finally turn me away from tables forever.

Pandora via Linux command line with Pianobar

So, I really like this...I noticed, since I had to recently rebuild my Linux desktop (failed HDD) that the 'new' Adobe Air release doesn't work with Pandora One desktop client any more.  I saw a reference that said you might be able to get an old version and make it work, but after a minimal attempt, I couldn't get it working.  However, today I found Pianobar, which connects to and plays Pandora radio via the Linux command line.

Not-so-simple Paypal form

I dug around the Intertubes and found this link where there's a great example of a semi-complex html form, with javascript support, that sets up a multiple-control payment form.  Unfortunately, the formatting on that page is horrible, making the javascript useless.  Here is my modified version of it, formatted a little better for posterity sake: