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get_defined_vars() PHP function

Once in a while, I need to get the complete list of all the variables available in a PHP piece of code.

This is done with the get_defined_vars() PHP function. It's very simple, it returns an array of name / value pairs. You can then print that value using print_r() or var_dump().

That's it!

Updating your Drupal website from FCKeditor to CKEditor

As FCKeditor becomes old and the new CKEditor is started to get there, I'm updating more and more websites to make use of the newer version of CKEditor. This requires a few steps to make sure you don't lose the previous functionality.

Permissions

The update does not transfer the FCKeditor permissions to the CKEditor. This is because by the time you install the new CKEditor, the FCKeditor should already be uninstalled. In other words, those permissions are gone already. Plus, the scheme is slightly different in the new editor.

Roles

The list of roles who are assigned one ...

MS-Access hangs when setting a recordset

Today I experienced a hard lock-up with MS-Access as I was in a form typing a new query.

The new query data is checked first, if valid, then the query is processed and ends in a SELECT SQL order which I save in the Form with a simple OpenRecordset call as in:

sql = "SELECT stuff FROM thing WHERE foo LIKE 'begin*'"
Set CUSTOMER_LIST.Form.Recordset = CurrentDb.OpenRecordset(sql)

That used to work just fine in older versions of MS-Access, but we now use MS-Access 2007.

The hanging happens on the 2nd line, when the Set occurs. Note that it generally happens the second

Restore Firefox warnings when viewing non-secure data on a secure page

One thing that I quickly do on my browsers is turn off warnings about non-secure data when browsing secure pages (with HTTPS .)

It's rarely a problem and with all those features you like to have (Facebook, Twitter, AddThis, ShareThis, Google Plus, and othe fun widgets...) it's hard to avoid. Actually, many times the problem lies in one of these scripts and thus you cannot just fix your website. Without that 3rd party script owner fixing their code, it just won't work at all.

Now, once in a while I work on a customer website and they really want to have a 100% clean slate. Thus,

Skip Postgrey test with a Postfix restriction map

By default, when postfix is installed with postgrey, all the emails that are not blocked by some other means are all passed to postgrey.

What if you have a customer who doesn't want to wait forever to get his/her emails?

Well... you need to bypass postgrey (and good luck to him/her in regard to heavy spamming...)

The setup requires two additional entries as defined here:

# in main.cf
smtpd_restriction_classes = permissive
permissive = permit

Here we define a new class called "permissive" (which is case sensitive!) and that we will use in the restriction access file.

How to configure alternative soft-links under Ubuntu/Debian

Ubuntu (and Debian) come with many "alternatives".

The system offers many editors, browsers, compilers, shells, etc. Just have a look at the large selection under /etc/alternatives.

ls /etc/alternatives

Under Unix, one can create soft links to soft links to soft links to an actual file. The alternatives work in that way. The soft links defined in the /etc/alternatives folder are pointers that one can change to make his/her system more likeable.

To change one of these alternatives, Ubuntu offers the update-alternatives script. For example, if you don't like Nano, change your

Upgrade from Ubuntu 9.10 to 10.04

Today I did an upgrade of a server from 9.10 to 10.04. We were on a server version before upgrading to 9.10 but we could not directly upgrade to 10.04 (working upgrade paths are very specific; see a list here: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/UpgradeNotes )

The most surprising part was the python script at the end.

  /usr/bin/python /tmp/unique-folder/lucid --mode=server --frontend=DistUpgradeViewText

The command line itself is not specifically strange. However, the behavior at the end of the script is a bit strange, mainly because I hadn't see it before. Last time the upgrade was

Attack by Bots

Since the ZmEu attack, I've been watching my logs a little closer. I also found a page that I could not read (but Google could and was kind enough to provide a cached version.) That page listed many bots that are not nice bots. So? I decided to block some of them, especially those that use very bad URLs or load many pages too quickly.

The result is that I'm getting more and IP addresses in my firewall. Although they get removed in a schedule that I will not state here, I can tell you that each time I block tenth when not hundredth of useless hits (worst than that at times those could be

Windows 2000 SP4, new logon policy forced to Roaming by default.

Not too long ago, I accepted the update from Microsoft to go to MS-Windows 2000 SP4. Neat. Except that when I rebooted (I think the 2nd time, but not totally sure, my wife used the computer in between, it seems...) it could not load my profile anymore.

MS-Access Report not printing

Reports, Print and Load() Event

I wrote many forms and in general everything works just fine.

In this case, I wanted to enter the data with a function so I could properly format several of the fields (especially the billing and shipping addresses.) That was done on the Load() event. That function working great when looking at the report from within MS-Access (on screen report). However, when directly sending the report to the printer, it was not working well at all.

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