[Rx] Customizing Open Live Writer

olw_01Way back in the day, Microsoft gave out a very good offline blogging program called Windows Live Writer. It was an offline WYSIWYG blog editor that allowed you to write, save, and post all from the comfort of your local PC desktop and came bundled in an online package called Windows Essentials. The program stalled out on version Windows Live Writer 2012. Microsoft opened sourced the program as Open Live Writer at the end of 2015.

Like the older version, it’s possible to tweak the theme and to make it look more like your blog.

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[Rx] Trim CSS Fat Using Win7 Grunt

2016-01-26_113926Back in the day, you didn’t have to worry about “devices.” Now, we’re all modern. We have stylish CSS that makes HTML look hipster-good on any screen size you can imagine. To do all this you need css code, lots of code.

You  can punch the code-masters ticket and roll your own CSS or you can attach everything to a CSS framework (Bootstrap, Foundation, etc.).

These frameworks don’t know what you want, so they give you EVERYTHING. You have a screen the size of you large toenail? Not a problem, but the typical websites uses less than 80% of all the framework css code. 

The price you pay for a kitchen sink framework is speed. Luckily, if you have a need for speed, you can trim out the CSS fat using unCSS.

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[Rx] Creating a WordPress Undescores Starter Theme

2016-01-21_112522_crUnderscores is an online tool for creating a starter theme in WordPress.

It saves a lot of time because it inserts the name of the theme with an underscore in the variable names in a boilerplate theme. If you activate this theme, it’s just basic text and nothing else.

There’s still more to do to create a WP theme, but it certainly is better than rolling your own.

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[Rx] VM Virtualbox and AVIRA Antivirus Conflict

Merge02Virtualbox (current version 5.0.10)  is free software for  creating  virtual machines, VMs. These are other computer operating systems and programs running in a self-contained window on your operating system.

Avira 15.0.15 is a free antivirus software that I’ve used for years.

The long and short of this post is that there is a conflict with these versions causing error messages to pop up.

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[Rx] Local Web Development – Installing WordPress on UniServer

wp_02Uniform Server is an open source lightweight mobile WAMP server that I use as a local web development environment.  The version in this update is: 12.0.1_Zero XII. After UniServer, I installed the latest WordPress.

Here’s the problem. I go through and set something up, like the UniServer Dev Environment. It’s working beautifully. Then, a few months go by and there’s an update. Oh, goodie, I want the latest and greatest. What should be quick and easy ends up being a real pain. Well, it’s a pain because I didn’t document it the first time. Duh!

There were two tricky parts in setting this up. The first was a dependency on an x86 version of Visual C++ runtime on my x64 system and setting up the WP Config with those rip-your-hair-out  “Can’t Connect to Database Errors.”

Installing WordPress on UniServer


1a. Install Uniform Server Zero XII. Clicking on the executable asks for an install directory. For a normal install, you’re limited to the root (C:\). If you’re using my magic batch file, you can run it anywhere using start.bat. Otherwise, in the root directory launch with UniController.exe. Start Apache and MySQL by pushing the buttons.


Now, if you get an error message when you press the Apache button, you need to update the Visual Studio 2015 C++ Redistributable.



Here’s the crazy thing. I’m running on x64, but I had to install both x64 and x86 versions of the software. The downloads are on the same page.

1b. Turn off UniServer Nag for MySQL database password.

Go to home > us-config > us_config.ini

Change Nag_user=true to Nag_user=false

What this means is that the username for the SQL database is root and the password is blank or whatever you set it. In my case, it’s root (see 2b.).

1c. Change Default Port

My previous development environment was InstantWP. This used listening port: 4001
I think this had to do with security or something like that. Anyway, I decided to use this with UniServer too.

1. Turn off Apache in the Uniserver console.

2. Go to Apache > Edit Basic and Modules > Edit Basic Configuration

3. On Listen port change the default value (80) to 4001

4. Hit the Update Configuration button and you’re good to go.


PHP Extras.

In the UniServer Control Panel, PHP > Edit Basic and Modules > PHP Modules Enable/Disable, you might need to turn on some other modules for other CMS programs. These are some that I turn on:

  • php_curl
  • php_fileinfo
  • php_opensll



2a. Install WordPress.

1. Download the latest WordPress.

2. Inside the zip file, there is a directory called wordpress. Unzip this folder and put it into  UniserverZ > www


2b. Change the MySQL database password to root.

1. In the UniServer Panel, go to MySQL > Change MySQL Password

2. Enter root and press OK.


2c. Create wordpress database.

1.  In the UniServer Panel, press the Start MySQL button.

2. In the UniServer Panel, go to MySQL > Database create-delete

3. For the database name, enter wordpress and press Create Database

4. Press [ x ] to exit.


2d. Setup WP-Config.

1. Make sure both Apache and MySQL are running (green).

2. In the browser type:

3. Select Language and Continue.


4. Press Let’s go!


5. Enter Data.

Database Name: wordpress
User Name: root
Password: root
Database Host:


6. Press Submit

7. There should be a message that starts: “All right, sparky!”


8. Press Run the Install.

9. Enter in the Information.

Site Title: WordPress
Username: admin
Password: password (confirm weak password)
Email: admin@site.com


10. Press Install WordPress.

11. Login with admin and password.

That’s it! Now, the really neat thing is that the development environment  is now self-contained in the folder and you can do the WordPress updates without having to go through all this happy good stuff again. Add the Start.bat file, zip up the folders, and save it in a nice, safe place with a name that you might remember (UniServerZ_WP). Next time you want to play, unzip and it’s ready for some serious DevelopRx action.


[Rx] Jupyter Notebook–-Select Browser

2015-10-28_091835Jupyter Notebook is an interactive computational environment to run code, add rich text, compute mathematics, draw plots, and add rich media–all in the comfort of your browser.

I have a variation of Firefox, Palemoon, running as my default browser. When I run Jupyter Notebook, I wanted it to open in the Chrome browser.

It looked like a simple command line switch would do the job:

Jupyter Notebook -–browser=”chrome”

That doesn’t work. I tried it without quotes and single quotes. I’ve got a bald spot on the side of my head trying to figure this one out. There’s not much on the web.

Here’s how to do it:

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Installing GetSimple CMS


Sometime long ago in this galaxy, not one far, far away,  I installed a LocalHost version of GetSimple CMS on Windows 7 XAMPP. 

GetSimple is an alternative to big SQL database-driven content management systems like WordPress. According to the site, GetSimple is an XML-based, standalone, fully independent and lite Content Management System. Without a database program, some of the security and complexity problems theoretically should go away. Plus, for smaller, less content-driven sites, there’s no need for the overhead.

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