Category Archives: HowTo

How to Connect a Nintendo Wii to a Samsung LED Flat Panel TV

We have a Samsung flat panel TV which hangs from the wall like a picture frame so it’s pretty difficult to read the back of the TV especially when trying to change connections. We don’t always have the Wii connected to this TV so I move the Wii and have to reconnect it using a 5 plug component cable. I seem to always forget the order of the plugs therefore I can’t easily reconnect it without visual access to the back of the TV. Google returned several bogus hits for this question so I snapped a picture with my cell phone (which was immediately uploaded to Picasa via G+, very cool) so here it is:

Picture of Wii component plugs on a Samsung LED Flat Panel TV

From left to right the plugs are red and white audio and red, blue, and green video. I’m sure there’s a great reason why the far right plug is green and not yellow but there you go.

Here’s a Google search to get you started $g(green vs yellow video plug).

Now, I only have to remember I wrote a blog post to recall the order of the connections.

A SQLObject case insensitive LIKE query

SQLObject is:

…a popular Object Relational Manager for providing an object interface to your database, with tables as classes, rows as instances, and columns as attributes.

SQLObject includes a Python-object-based query language that makes SQL more abstract, and provides substantial database independence for applications.


I’ve been reading through the SQLObject documentation and it’s not always clear when it comes to executing a LIKE query and a bit of Googling turned up a number of related questions therefore I thought I’d contribute this tiny bit of knowledge to the Intertubes. In my case I want to perform a case insensitive LIKE query and here’s one means of performing this sort of query via SQLObject:, func.lower('')))

That equates to this SQL:

SELECT MyTable.field1 FROM MyTable WHERE (lower(MyTable.url) LIKE (lower('')))

In the above example “func.lower” is SQLObject’s syntax for indicating the SQL server’s lowercase function should be used.

Ubuntu in VirtualBox on OSX

UbuntuI’ve been wanting a VM to mirror a production front end machine I’ve been working so I can more closely replicate the production setup as well as test configuration options and different software versions. I’ve installed Ubuntu 10.10 on VirtualBox (v4.04 r70112) and wanted to mention a few items for those who might run into similar issues.

Package Updates

The first item is updating ~300 packages immediately after the install which included numerous security updates etc. Trying to perform the update from the Update Manager window resulted in the error “Important security updates requires installation of untrusted packages” and wouldn’t proceed. Turns out the answer is to use System | Applications | Synaptic Package Manager and not the Update Manager which is what appeared by default.
Synaptic Package Manager

Screen Resolution

After installing the default screen resolution on the VM was 800×600 which is just too small considering I have 1920×1200 pixels to work with. For this issue, Google yielded this fix which is to install build-essentials using the Synaptic Package Manager mentioned previously and restart the machine. Next, install the VM Guest Additions:
VM Additions
Then in the VM select Places | Home Folder, click on and click Open Autorun Prompt.
Ubuntu Home Folder
At that point, the monitor was recognized correctly and screen resolution changes were enabled.
Ubuntu Monitor Preferences

My New Project DIY Bosch Dishwasher Repair Model SHX46A05UC

We’ve recently had a problem with our Bosch dishwasher so this is looking for some advice for a DIY repair.

When we starting our dishwasher the other day there was an electrical smoke smell that seemed to be coming from the top right hand corner of the door on where the control panel buttons are located. The power button light no longer turns on and the machine is dead at this point.

Google led me to the need to check the wire nut for the power cord and make sure there wasn’t some sort of short (haven’t done this yet). My next thought is perhaps the control board for the machine which I understand is located in the door near the control panel buttons. Searching on the Bosch website I can see there is a recall for a different model (mine’s not covered) for a problem that sounds exactly like what I’ve experience that related to a faulty control board thus my guess as what the issue is.

I checked locally and the repair is $216 + $109 for the control board if that’s the problem so I want to do a bit of digging myself as that’s an amount I don’t want to part with right now.

The model is SHX46A05UC /30 and the serial number starts FD8604.

Do you have any advice?

[Update: March 13, 2011] After a bit of Googling I found the cause of the problem. When we purchased this dishwasher, much to my surprise it didn’t come with a power cord. The manual specified the proper gauge and after a trip to the hardware store it was up and running. However, the cause of the failure was a wire nut:

burned out wire nut

On another note, one of the places my searching found was where it looked like they had a pretty helpful forum. I created an account, agreeing to the forum Terms & Rules:

Although we offer free repair help, this site is not free to operate! We are supported by your parts purchases. If we help you figure out what’s wrong with your appliance, then help make sure that we’re still gonna be here the next time you need us by purchasing your appliance parts through the parts links that we post. A small percentage of your purchase goes to supporting this website without costing you one penny more for the parts you order.

…and posted a near copy of what I wrote above. Someone from the site replied directing me to a link to purchase a control board for $180.10. Well prior to my web searching my wife had priced the board at a local place and found the cost as quoted above which is why we were looking online. At that point, not wanting to look like some sort of troll I carefully posted a replied asking for verification that the part was $72.10 more than what we’d been quoted and got a rude reply telling me they were saving me from spending over $300 by DIY’ing it implying that I just didn’t get it! After posting a brief follow-up comment the next day my account and the thread had been deleted. So much for “…help you figure out what’s wrong with your appliance” and instead just pushing to sell expensive parts. Interestingly while all this was going on and still thinking the issue was perhaps the control board I’d made a request to who came back with $73.91 for the same part, over $100 cheaper.

After a new wire nut and resetting the dishwasher total cost of repair: $0.17. Though I’m considering a different gauge cord altogether.

[Update: May 18, 2014] Same problem occurred again and the wire nuts replaced above have melted through once again. <sigh>

Bosch wire nut problem

Installing Google’s python client API and running samples on 2.4.6

At work I’m using Python 2.4.6 and wanted to play around with some of the Google API’s like Buzz and Moderator. Things didn’t quite work out-of-the-box so I thought I’d document my steps here for future reference and in the event anyone else might find it useful.

First, I read over the Python Google API page and found that in order to grab the code I’d first need to install Mercurial.

SteveT:cc strefethen$ sudo port install mercurial
--->  Computing dependencies for mercurial
--->  Dependencies to be installed: curl-ca-bundle python26 db46 gdbm sqlite3
--->  Fetching curl-ca-bundle
--->  Attempting to fetch curl-7.21.2.tar.bz2 from
--->  Attempting to fetch certdata-1.70.txt from
--->  Verifying checksum(s) for curl-ca-bundle
--->  Extracting curl-ca-bundle
--->  Applying patches to curl-ca-bundle
--->  Configuring curl-ca-bundle
--->  Building curl-ca-bundle
--->  Staging curl-ca-bundle into destroot
--->  Installing curl-ca-bundle @7.21.2_4
--->  Activating curl-ca-bundle @7.21.2_4
--->  Cleaning curl-ca-bundle
--->  Fetching db46
--->  Attempting to fetch patch. from
--->  Attempting to fetch patch. from
--->  Attempting to fetch patch. from
--->  Attempting to fetch patch. from
--->  Attempting to fetch db-4.6.21.tar.gz from
--->  Verifying checksum(s) for db46
--->  Extracting db46
--->  Applying patches to db46
--->  Configuring db46
--->  Building db46
--->  Staging db46 into destroot
--->  Installing db46 @4.6.21_6
--->  Activating db46 @4.6.21_6
--->  Cleaning db46
--->  Fetching gdbm
--->  Attempting to fetch gdbm-1.8.3.tar.gz from
--->  Verifying checksum(s) for gdbm
--->  Extracting gdbm
--->  Configuring gdbm
--->  Building gdbm
--->  Staging gdbm into destroot
--->  Installing gdbm @1.8.3_3
--->  Activating gdbm @1.8.3_3
--->  Cleaning gdbm
--->  Fetching sqlite3
--->  Attempting to fetch sqlite-autoconf-3070400.tar.gz from
--->  Attempting to fetch sqlite-autoconf-3070400.tar.gz from
--->  Verifying checksum(s) for sqlite3
--->  Extracting sqlite3
--->  Applying patches to sqlite3
--->  Configuring sqlite3
--->  Building sqlite3
--->  Staging sqlite3 into destroot
--->  Installing sqlite3 @3.7.4_0
--->  Activating sqlite3 @3.7.4_0
--->  Cleaning sqlite3
--->  Fetching python26
--->  Attempting to fetch Python-2.6.6.tar.bz2 from
--->  Verifying checksum(s) for python26
--->  Extracting python26
--->  Applying patches to python26
--->  Configuring python26
--->  Building python26
--->  Staging python26 into destroot
--->  Installing python26 @2.6.6_1
--->  Activating python26 @2.6.6_1
To fully complete your installation and make python 2.6 the default,  please run:
 	sudo port install python_select
 	sudo python_select python26
--->  Cleaning python26
--->  Fetching mercurial
--->  Attempting to fetch mercurial-1.7.3.tar.gz from
--->  Attempting to fetch mercurial-1.7.3.tar.gz from
--->  Verifying checksum(s) for mercurial
--->  Extracting mercurial
--->  Configuring mercurial
--->  Building mercurial
--->  Staging mercurial into destroot
--->  Installing mercurial @1.7.3_0
--->  Activating mercurial @1.7.3_0
--->  Cleaning mercurial

As you can see after a fairly lengthy install I was ready to grab the API sources:

SteveT:work strefethen$ hg clone google-api-python-client
requesting all changes
adding changesets
adding manifests
adding file changes
added 153 changesets with 468 changes to 204 files
updating to branch default
172 files updated, 0 files merged, 0 files removed, 0 files unresolved</pre>
<p>Next, was to setup the Google API python client</p>
<pre class="brush: bash;">SteveT:work strefethen$ cd google-api-python-client/
SteveT:google-api-python-client strefethen$ sudo python install
Installing the following packages:
'apiclient', 'apiclient.ext', 'uritemplate'
Loaded setuptools
running install
Checking .pth file support in /Users/strefethen/Library/Python2.4/site-packages/
/opt/local/bin/python -E -c pass
TEST PASSED: /Users/strefethen/Library/Python2.4/site-packages/ appears to support .pth files
running bdist_egg
running egg_info
creating google_api_python_client.egg-info
writing google_api_python_client.egg-info/PKG-INFO
writing top-level names to google_api_python_client.egg-info/top_level.txt
writing dependency_links to google_api_python_client.egg-info/dependency_links.txt
writing manifest file 'google_api_python_client.egg-info/SOURCES.txt'
reading manifest file 'google_api_python_client.egg-info/SOURCES.txt'
writing manifest file 'google_api_python_client.egg-info/SOURCES.txt'
installing library code to build/bdist.macosx-10.6-i386/egg
running install_lib
running build_py
creating build
creating build/lib
creating build/lib/apiclient
copying apiclient/ -&gt; build/lib/apiclient
copying apiclient/ -&gt; build/lib/apiclient
copying apiclient/ -&gt; build/lib/apiclient
copying apiclient/ -&gt; build/lib/apiclient
copying apiclient/ -&gt; build/lib/apiclient
copying apiclient/ -&gt; build/lib/apiclient
copying apiclient/ -&gt; build/lib/apiclient
creating build/lib/apiclient/ext
copying apiclient/ext/ -&gt; build/lib/apiclient/ext
copying apiclient/ext/ -&gt; build/lib/apiclient/ext
copying apiclient/ext/ -&gt; build/lib/apiclient/ext
copying apiclient/ext/ -&gt; build/lib/apiclient/ext
creating build/lib/uritemplate
copying uritemplate/ -&gt; build/lib/uritemplate
creating build/lib/apiclient/contrib
creating build/lib/apiclient/contrib/buzz
copying apiclient/contrib/buzz/future.json -&gt; build/lib/apiclient/contrib/buzz
creating build/lib/apiclient/contrib/latitude
copying apiclient/contrib/latitude/future.json -&gt; build/lib/apiclient/contrib/latitude
creating build/lib/apiclient/contrib/moderator
copying apiclient/contrib/moderator/future.json -&gt; build/lib/apiclient/contrib/moderator
creating build/bdist.macosx-10.6-i386
creating build/bdist.macosx-10.6-i386/egg
creating build/bdist.macosx-10.6-i386/egg/apiclient
copying build/lib/apiclient/ -&gt; build/bdist.macosx-10.6-i386/egg/apiclient
copying build/lib/apiclient/ -&gt; build/bdist.macosx-10.6-i386/egg/apiclient
creating build/bdist.macosx-10.6-i386/egg/apiclient/contrib
creating build/bdist.macosx-10.6-i386/egg/apiclient/contrib/buzz
copying build/lib/apiclient/contrib/buzz/future.json -&gt; build/bdist.macosx-10.6-i386/egg/apiclient/contrib/buzz
creating build/bdist.macosx-10.6-i386/egg/apiclient/contrib/latitude
copying build/lib/apiclient/contrib/latitude/future.json -&gt; build/bdist.macosx-10.6-i386/egg/apiclient/contrib/latitude
creating build/bdist.macosx-10.6-i386/egg/apiclient/contrib/moderator
copying build/lib/apiclient/contrib/moderator/future.json -&gt; build/bdist.macosx-10.6-i386/egg/apiclient/contrib/moderator
copying build/lib/apiclient/ -&gt; build/bdist.macosx-10.6-i386/egg/apiclient
copying build/lib/apiclient/ -&gt; build/bdist.macosx-10.6-i386/egg/apiclient
creating build/bdist.macosx-10.6-i386/egg/apiclient/ext
copying build/lib/apiclient/ext/ -&gt; build/bdist.macosx-10.6-i386/egg/apiclient/ext
copying build/lib/apiclient/ext/ -&gt; build/bdist.macosx-10.6-i386/egg/apiclient/ext
copying build/lib/apiclient/ext/ -&gt; build/bdist.macosx-10.6-i386/egg/apiclient/ext
copying build/lib/apiclient/ext/ -&gt; build/bdist.macosx-10.6-i386/egg/apiclient/ext
copying build/lib/apiclient/ -&gt; build/bdist.macosx-10.6-i386/egg/apiclient
copying build/lib/apiclient/ -&gt; build/bdist.macosx-10.6-i386/egg/apiclient
copying build/lib/apiclient/ -&gt; build/bdist.macosx-10.6-i386/egg/apiclient
creating build/bdist.macosx-10.6-i386/egg/uritemplate
copying build/lib/uritemplate/ -&gt; build/bdist.macosx-10.6-i386/egg/uritemplate
byte-compiling build/bdist.macosx-10.6-i386/egg/apiclient/ to __init__.pyc
byte-compiling build/bdist.macosx-10.6-i386/egg/apiclient/ to anyjson.pyc
byte-compiling build/bdist.macosx-10.6-i386/egg/apiclient/ to discovery.pyc
byte-compiling build/bdist.macosx-10.6-i386/egg/apiclient/ to errors.pyc
byte-compiling build/bdist.macosx-10.6-i386/egg/apiclient/ext/ to __init__.pyc
byte-compiling build/bdist.macosx-10.6-i386/egg/apiclient/ext/ to appengine.pyc
byte-compiling build/bdist.macosx-10.6-i386/egg/apiclient/ext/ to authtools.pyc
byte-compiling build/bdist.macosx-10.6-i386/egg/apiclient/ext/ to django_orm.pyc
byte-compiling build/bdist.macosx-10.6-i386/egg/apiclient/ to http.pyc
byte-compiling build/bdist.macosx-10.6-i386/egg/apiclient/ to model.pyc
byte-compiling build/bdist.macosx-10.6-i386/egg/apiclient/ to oauth.pyc
byte-compiling build/bdist.macosx-10.6-i386/egg/uritemplate/ to __init__.pyc
creating build/bdist.macosx-10.6-i386/egg/EGG-INFO
copying google_api_python_client.egg-info/PKG-INFO -&gt; build/bdist.macosx-10.6-i386/egg/EGG-INFO
copying google_api_python_client.egg-info/SOURCES.txt -&gt; build/bdist.macosx-10.6-i386/egg/EGG-INFO
copying google_api_python_client.egg-info/dependency_links.txt -&gt; build/bdist.macosx-10.6-i386/egg/EGG-INFO
copying google_api_python_client.egg-info/top_level.txt -&gt; build/bdist.macosx-10.6-i386/egg/EGG-INFO
zip_safe flag not set; analyzing archive contents...
apiclient.discovery: module references __file__
creating dist
creating 'dist/google_api_python_client-0.1-py2.4.egg' and adding 'build/bdist.macosx-10.6-i386/egg' to it
removing 'build/bdist.macosx-10.6-i386/egg' (and everything under it)
Processing google_api_python_client-0.1-py2.4.egg
creating /Users/strefethen/Library/Python2.4/site-packages/google_api_python_client-0.1-py2.4.egg
Extracting google_api_python_client-0.1-py2.4.egg to /Users/strefethen/Library/Python2.4/site-packages
Adding google-api-python-client 0.1 to easy-install.pth file
Installed /Users/strefethen/Library/Python2.4/site-packages/google_api_python_client-0.1-py2.4.egg
Processing dependencies for google-api-python-client==0.1
Finished processing dependencies for google-api-python-client==0.1
Setup complete!

Finally, attempt to run the Buzz sample which caused the following error

SteveT:buzz strefethen$ python
Go to the following link in your browser:
^CTraceback (most recent call last):
  File "", line 40, in ?
    run(flow, 'buzz.dat')
  File "/Users/strefethen/Library/Python2.4/site-packages/google_api_python_client-0.1-py2.4.egg/apiclient/ext/", line 121, in run
  File "/opt/local/lib/python2.4/", line 217, in handle_request
    request, client_address = self.get_request()
  File "/opt/local/lib/python2.4/", line 373, in get_request
    return self.socket.accept()
  File "/opt/local/lib/python2.4/", line 161, in accept
    sock, addr = self._sock.accept():

I hadn’t reviewed the code (yeah, not necessarily the brightest idea but hey, it’s Google right?). The above error occurred because I had an application running on port 8080 and didn’t realize the demo was going to require that. After shutting down Hudson I was able to authenticate and move forward.

SteveT:buzz strefethen$ python
Go to the following link in your browser:
You have successfully authenticated.

However, I ran into another problem which is where the significance of python 2.4 comes in. Attempting to run the example I got the following error:

SteveT:buzz strefethen$ python
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "", line 75, in ?
  File "", line 37, in main
    activitylist = activities.list(
  File "/Users/strefethen/Library/Python2.4/site-packages/google_api_python_client-0.1-py2.4.egg/apiclient/", line 243, in method
    new_base_url = url_result.scheme + '://' + url_result.netloc
AttributeError: 'tuple' object has no attribute 'scheme'

After a few minutes of tangling with Google I found this page which gave me a clue. Specifically, it was dag’s post from 2008/12/9 relating to urlparse and a difference between python 2.4 and 2.5. I opened the above file and searched for ‘scheme’ in order to change the reference to something that would work in 2.4. I had to repeat this for ‘netloc’ and ‘path’ with url_result[0], [1], [2] respectively. After saving the file the sample worked as expected.

Granted I’ve probably included a lot more information with respect to the console output above but there are are few things I’m interested in keeping so this is a great place to do just that.

Now, time to go off and have some fun with these Google API’s.

I’m particularly interested in the Moderator API and I’m curious if anyone has written apps to completely replace the Google Moderator UI with a custom design?

Querying email addresses in a Google Spreadsheet

I’ve been playing around with Google Spreadsheets and was attempting to query for an email address stored within a column. It’s pretty straight forward, or at least so I thought, but kept running into the error:

Parse error: Invalid token encountered

And stumbled around for awhile trying to URL encode various parts of the query string which looks something like this:{email}

The documentation states query operators need to be encoded so I tried applying that to parts of my query with no luck. Eventually, I threw some quotes around the email address and voila, it worked!{email}%3d""

I eventually found this thread validating my findings and indicating my original query might have worked as recently as last December.

Switch back to Yahoo Mail classic

Since I still get tons of email and comments on this post, and recently received yet another email about it I decided to post this hint about switching back to Yahoo Mail Classic:

  • Browse to Yahoo Mail and use the Options drop down on the right side of the browser window:

    My Yahoo Mail Classic

Of course this is only current as of the time of this posting but it works for now. Sadly, I’m no longer using Yahoo these days.


Setting the version number for a CCNET build

I’m working on a custom EDI solution and generally build CCNet from the command line. Recently, I wanted to up date the build of CCNet and wanted to be sure the version number was set correctly. Since I’ve had to look this up a few times, as I never seem to recall the steps I thought I’d post them here.

This assumes you have a complete SVN tree of CCNET on your machine.

  1. Start a CMD prompt
  2. CD to the directory where CCNET is located
  3. Edit and change the following line setting the “value” attribute to the desired version # (ex: 1.4.4):

    <property name="CCNetLabel" value="1.4.4" overwrite="false" />

  4. Build from the command line using the createAssemblyInfo target:

    b.bat createAssemblyInfo

  5. From the command line using the all target:

    b.bat compile

This will build ccnet with the specified version number.

CruiseControl.NET VS.NET Starter Kit for plugin development

At the Silicon Valley Code Camp 2009 I gave a talk called Extending CruiseControl.NET through the use of plugins. I discussed the necessary steps and illustrated with an example ISourceControl provider using the LinqToTwitter OS project on Codeplex. The provider polls a configurable Twitter account looking for Tweets that that start with “CI:” allowing the Tweeter to trigger a build of the project simply be tweeting something like: “CI:Start the build”.

It’s a simple example but illustrates how easy it is to create CC.NET plugins an extend the platform to uses beyond classic Continuous Integration.

Here is a link to the Starter Kit. Btw, you will need to update the ThoughtWorks assembly references to match your build of CCNET.

More multi-column CSS layout

Since this
seems to have been pretty popular I thought I’d build on it a bit and
provide a few more examples. In my previous post I created an HTML page that had
the stylesheet information embedded in a STYLE tag within the page header which
is actually a bad idea but it helped keep the example really simple.  In these
examples I’ve broken out the stylesheet information into individual .css files
and will illustrate a few different layouts using the exact same HTML used in my
previous example (sans the STYLE tag of course).

I’ve created both left
and right
column layouts using the exact same HTML that I used from my original example. 
The difference with these pages is that I’ve hidden the column that I don’t want
on the page while the DIV for the column remains in the HTML and the CSS
dictates that it’s not displayed nor does it consume space.  Additionally, I’ve
made the left/right column fixed width which is probably more consistent with a
typical website layout.

[Update: Feb 14, 2007] If you’re reading this on this site is based on the CSS three column layout discussed above.