bells and whistles

I mean, for God’s sake, why? Why would I want a ding? What purpose is it serving apart from getting on my nerves? Ok, so a ding might be handy to let you know it’s time to type something. But you don’t need it, and might, just might, want an easy, elegant, solution to switching the damn thing off. Linux Mint has surpassed even Microsoft Windows in providing a pompous, pointless, unwanted, not-easily-switchoffable, ding.

The problem is neatly summarised on this forum post. Simple question, that you’d thing would have a simple answer. Well, the answer is simple, but not elegant. I found it on a website showing tips and tricks for post-mint customization. I didn’t follow the instructions exactly, as I didn’t want to change the sound. I wanted to remove it. Here’s what I did:

Press Alt+F2 to bring up “Run Application” window.
typed gksu nautilus /usr/share/sounds/LinuxMint/stereo into the box.
Rename the original file desktop-login.ogg to destop-login-youcanthurtmeagain.ogg

and that seemed to do the trick. I thought I might need to create a blank empty sound file containing NOTHING, but Mint didn’t appear to complain when it found nothing annoying to play before asking me to login. It doesn’t feel a very elegant solution, but it works.

WordPress comments in unlikely places

I’ve just been puzzling over a comment that appeared on my katsura blog. An email had indicated that a comment was waiting my approval. I read it, and approved it. Interesting, I thought. I shall reply to it. So, er, where the hell was it?

I searched and searched and couldn’t find. it. Perhaps it hadn’t appeared? Perhaps it was something to do with the usually wonderful akismet plugin? I dropped into the University of Google and started searching for articles about non-appearing wordpress comments. No shortage of them. But, none of them seemed right. Many talked about re-installing themes, and a frustrating number terminated inscrutably with “Topic Closed” with no tell-tale [SOLVED] in the title.

So I looked again at the comment. Where exactly was it? Hmmmm, indeed, what exactly was it commenting on? Now that I looked at it more closely, it wasn’t commenting on a post at all, it was commenting on a photo! What the hell was going on?

Eventually I found it. It was a comment to a photo, and the photo had its own attachment page (whatever that is). This is the photo, and it seems that my commenter had found themselves there directly, rather than on the corresponding post. My guess is that, because I use meaningful tags and filenames on my images, my visitor had googled for katsura pests, or something similar, and the photo had appeared at the top of the listing.

Right, I’d discovered what had probably happened, and the fact that it was possible to comment on attached photos, now I had to figure out what to do about it. I could leave the comment there, but it didn’t show up anywhere on the blog page. Not under Recent Comments anyway. So the best thing to do would be to move it. There’s bound to be a way to do that easily in WordPress.

Well, no there’s not. Not easily anyway. Not to worry, there’s bound to be a plug in. Or two. I tried two plugins, and neither of them moved the stubborn post. I could cut and paste it myself I suppose, but I didn’t want to do that.

Eventually I found some SQL in an article that’s around in a few places. I had a look at the SQL and started up phpmyAdmin which was altogether friendlier. The SQL looked daunting at first but it was basically just tweaking a couple of numbers and it all made sense. It’s quite good doing it in phpMyAdmin and watch the SQL it constructs to get the feedback that things are going ok. I nearly got caught out by forgetting to update the comment counts, and when you get to that bit, I found the Total Comment Count for the old post bit was irrelevant, as there was no ‘old post’ for it to have commented on.

Things looked better. Neat and Tidy. And I thought I’d round things off by installing a WordPress plugin that promised not to allow such things to happen again. But I got cold feet. WordPress warned me that it hadn’t been tested on my version (3.2.1), and that it was only compatible up to version 3.0.5. I know how to fix it now, and if it remains infrequent, then I’ll do it the SQL way.

Grub2 – multiple OS – menu display

I guess it’s progress. There was a time when I used to have machines configured so that, if on boot, I held the shift-key down, I got a menu for multiple boot choices on a dual-boot PC.

So let’s just spell that out.

On a dual boot PC, what I want to do is be able to access the grub menu on boot, if I feel like it. And if I don’t, I just want it to silently boot the default OS.

9 times out of 10 I want my PC to just boot up the default OS without questions. And if I want to interrupt the boot and get the grub menu, I want to be able to do that. It’s not much to ask.

That’s it. That’s all I want. Used to be able to do it. Now I can’t. I’ve just spent a couple of “surely I’m missing something really obvious” hours looking for the tweak, the variable, the switch to do this. And I don’t think you can. Can you?

I have had the hilarious pleasure of setting

GRUB_TIMEOUT=0

in /etc/default/grub. Certainly not one of my better ideas, but nice to know I’m not the only one. I needed a visit to unetbootin to create a bootable usb drive to fix things. Even that was a bit inelegant, involving as it did directly editing /boot/grub/grub.cfg on the root partition, then rebooting, then ‘doing it properly’ by editing /etc/default/grub and running update-grub.

So all I want is to have the machine quietly booting into Windows7 by default, and if I choose otherwise, allow me to interrupt the boot and get the grub menu. I use to do this in LILO, and I’m sure it used to be possible in GRUB. Now I’m not so sure.

I’ve even tried step 11 of the GRUB2 tweaks, and that did something. It hid the menu altogether. Not what I’m after. And I’m wary of hacking config files too much, secure in the knowledge that they have a habit of getting unhacked on upgrades.

So I’ll give up on this one.