Migrating the blog

This is now the old instance of this blog; please update you bookmarks for the new one – https://blog.desigeek.com; all the content has been moved over there. You can read more details on the move here.

Screen shot of the new blog running on Hugo

I have this here for now, more as archive and a backup in case I need to come back.

Z-Wave visualiser?

At home I have a multitude of sensors and devices – ~80 or so which are a combination of water sensors,  motion sensors, door sensors, humidity, temperature, etc.

A good bunch of these are controlled and integrated with Smartthings, and some I can interact with other apps (e.g. Amazon Echo or Philips Hue etc.).

Most are Z-Wave based and some are WiFi. I wanted to know if there are any z-wave visualisers? Essentially software that uses a USB z-wave network device as a node and then can plot what the mesh looks like. Would be awesome to be able to debug the packet hops from the controller to the device.

Any suggestions?

WordPress 4.1 and Firefox 34.0.5 Bug

I am on the latest version of both WordPress and Firefox as of this writing – namely v4.1 and v34.0.5 respectively and running on a TechPreview of Windows 10 (Build 9879 to be precise).

My main browser is Firefox, and whilst I also have Chrome and of course IE – I use them only on occasions of in some cases when I have to use them for one reason or another.

When trying to login to WordPress from Firefox, I just cannot seem to login and get the dashboard. I know the user name and password is correct, and I don’t get any error – but keep getting the login screen again. Logging in again with IE is not a problem. I can’t recall when this started – if it was when WordPress was updated or FireFox – but both have recently, and it is very annoying to say the least!

I haven’t had the time (yet) to try and figure out what is wrong.


‘Old’ Surface (PixelSense) stuck on boot up

Samsung SUR40 which recently got stuck at boot up (see the photo below). Once the Kernel lib loaded, for some reason was getting stuck at:

StrongROM version 03.30 Build:_P

MS PixelSense not booting up
MS PixelSense not booting up

Powering it off or on, did not help. Neither did trying to get into the BIOS to try and change some things.

I did get this back up and running, and in the end the solution was quite simple – I had to physically take out the power cable (just powering it down was not enough); wait a few seconds and then plug the power cord in, and boot it back up.

Broken Nike FuelBand

The wife recently bought a Nike FuelBand which she was loving. However in about 4-5 weeks of regular usage, the strap on it broke and the links which hold it together fell apart. The device itself is working, but it cannot be worn now as it won’t lock making it quite useless.  😥

I was quite surprised as this is supposed to last more than this given both what it is meant to do and the cost of the device as well. Now this is an expensive paperweight.

Here are a few photos. This is what it looks like now, and cannot be locked, making it useless:


This is how it was when it broke and fell apart – we tried to rescue and pick up everything we could, but it seems there is a very small spring inside which is lost. This spring is crucial for the ‘lock’ and which acts as a rocker. Without this spring, this is useless.


This is I was trying to figure it out how to put it together and when I figured the small metal part (silver in colour) needs a spring which rocks it up and down. When one locks and unlocks this that spring is what is acting and allowing you to open and close this.




This is how the broken piece looks like after I put it together, everything looks OK, except it won’t lock.


I am not very happy with this situation right now – if this was a year after using the Nike FuelBand, perhaps I could still understand but 4 odd weeks of usage and this breaking is not acceptable.

I don’t have much hope in Nike, as where I am currently living, this is not sold and I am sure they would try and squeal out of trying to replace this or fix this.

Securing you DokuWiki

After my WHS died and I moved to a Synology DS413 and using that as a ‘home server’ and have been extremely happy with it! The only thing I miss is backing up the Windows machines automatically (as WHS did), but overall I think this is better, flexible and more powerful compared to WHS.

I needed to look for a new wiki software. I recently moved from ScrewTurn Wiki (which was great BTW, but then is a dead project now) to DokuWiki which is perfect for my needs. I run two wiki’s at home and has much of our day-to-day things we as a family need. There are some sections of the Wiki, which are sensitive and I don’t want anyone one the network getting to it. I wanted to authenticate the user and once they login only then get to that.

As it turns out, securing your DokuWiki is quite simple. If you are interested in a similar setup then here is what you need to do:

  1. Disable the registration option on Configuration settings. Some details on this can be found here.
  2. Update the ACL (more of that here), there is a user group called ‘ALL’; set the permision for this group to “None”.
  3. For the user group “User”, change the permisions to Edit.

Securing DocuWiki

This will ensure only logged in (and of course authenticated users) can read and edit and a anonymous user cannot see anything.

The only catch in this is that you need to manually maintain the users (e.g. add new users); my userbase is very small at home, so this is not a challenge at all.

WordPress 3.6 and IE10

I don’t know what WordPress thinks of IE 10 (running on Win 8), but when I upgraded to WordPress v3.6, and I login to the Dashboard, it does not like IE running in compatibility mode and shows me the following. It would think I am still running IE 6! Also whilst I don’t get this with the compatibility mode switched off, everything does not work correctly and one has to use either Firefox or Chrome.

Wordpress 3.6 and IE10

What is a Vodafone thinking with Site Timing?

This has to fall in the weird category. Vodafone’s Corporate Online site, where I need to login to see my company provided mobile bill has timings from 07:30 to 22:30 GMT – WHY??? Don’t they get it, this is online and the site can be up and running 24×7! This is not some technical support I am talking about where they have actual humans monitoring and answering – this is access to the billing system.

When you are in another country and timezone (like I am right now), does Vodafone have any idea on how irritating this can be?

Vodafone Site Timings
Vodafone Site Timings

Interesting WordPress Plugins

After upgrading to the latest WordPress (v3.0.4), I also decided to have a look at the various plugins I am running. As part of that I stumbled across Ultimate Collection of WordPress pluginswhich are very interesting. If you run WordPress (and if you don’t, why not :)), I would highly recommend to check them out. I already was running some of these and not heard of others which are great.

Here are some of my favourite ones (in no particular order) and those with keen eyes would notice a few of these already.

  •  AddToAny: Share/Bookmark/Email Button – Help people share, bookmark, and email your posts & pages using any service, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google Buzz, Digg, etc.
  • Akismet – this is for comment spam control and is used by millions! Excellent!
  • WP FollowMe – allows you to add a twitter Follow me badge on your wordpress blog.
  • Google Analyticator – name says it all I think.
  • Google XML Sitemaps – same as above.
  • Lightbox 2 – Used to overlay images on the current page.
  • My Page Order – allows you to set the order of pages through a drag and drop interface.
  • Really Simple CAPTCHA – CAPTCHA module intended to be called from other plugins; really works too!
  • Search Everything – Adds search functionality and includes search highlight, search pages, excerpts, attachments, drafts, comments, tags and custom fields (metadata). It can also exclude specific pages and posts. It does not search password-protected content.
  • Shockingly Big IE6 Warning – doesn’t the name say it all?
  • Simple Tags – Excellent plugins, to manage your tags. Includes, suggested Tags, Mass edit tags, Autocompletion, Tag Cloud Widgets, Related Posts, Related Tags, etc
  • StatPress Reloaded – real time stats for the blog
  • SyntaxHighlighter Evolved – code to your site without having to modify the code at all; you cannot use the Visual editor with this.
  • TinyMCE Advanced – Enables advanced features and plugins for the visual editor
  • Twitter for WordPress – displays your last few tweets
  • WP-Cumulus – Flash based Tag Cloud for WordPress
  • WP-DBManager – Excellent plugin, that manages your WordPress including optimize database, repair database, backup database, restore database, etc. I use to exclusively for the automatic scheduling of backing up and optimizing of the database.
  • WP-SmugMug – I use SmugMug for my photos online; this plugin integrates the SmugMug galleries into the blog.

I would highly recommend the above and suggest you play with them. 

These plugins I have only recently installed and they seem interesting, but I have not used them enough to have the confidence to highly recommend them – yet.

  • WordPress Backup (by BTE) – Backup the upload directory (images), current theme directory, and plugins directory to a zip file. I have only recently installed this plugin, and not used it enough to say how useful it is at this point.
  • Automatic WordPress Backup – Automatically upload backups of important parts of your blog to Amazon S3. I am a huge S3 fan, and this seems very promising. Hopefully I can come back in a few days and weeks and blog about it.

Finally, when using plugins I would recommend the following:

  • Search and install from these via the “Plugins” menu which you see when log into your WordPress dashboard. Don’t download the code manually and then try and upload it to your site. That is a more painful process.
  • Try and have a test blog running – seperately from your main blog where you can test different permutations and configurations. In case something goes wrong, you won’t have your main blog go down. Of course needless to say, you should keep both your test and main blog on the same version.
  • It is not a good idea to install all of the plugin’s all at the same time as you never never which plugin can cause conflict with another. Well, you can install all the plugins at the same time, just activate them one at a time and test that your blog is still running as expected after you have activated each plugin.
  • Before you upgrade the version of WordPress – irrespective of how big or small the upgrade is always backup your database and files first. This would allow you to revert back to a “clean slate” in case something goes wrong.