Archive for the ‘ Tips & Tricks’ Category

Fix for Ubuntu 13.10 64 bit crashing caused by Nvidia drivers.

About a year ago I switched from Linux Mint to Ubuntu because I had gone to work for Zend and Zend did not support Mint.

I had been running Ubuntu 12.04  32 bit on a Thinkpad T61 and kept that version because Ubuntu 13.10 comes with Apache 2.4 which was not supported in Zend Server until version 6.3  (Feb 2014)

Having left Zend I though I would upgrade my Linux boxes to 13.10 and installed Ubuntu 13.10 64 bit on my Thinkpad 13.10.

Everything went as expected with the install but actually using Ubuntu 13.10 on my T61 was frustrating.

Ubuntu 13.10 64 bit began crashing a lot !

Click on the Unity Icon – CRASH (well, a bit more than 1/2 the time).

Open lots of Windows in Firefox, CRASH.

After a bit of searching I discovered that there seems to be a universal issue with the default (one source) drivers on Debian based distros and Nvidia graphics sets.

It turns out that Nvidia makes proprietary Linux drivers for their graphics sets as well.

Note: The hard core open source folks will tell you not to use closed source drivers and not to installed from unverified PPA sources.

In my case the steps below not only seems to ave stopped the crashing and increased my graphics performance.

Your mileage may vary.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:xorg-edgers/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install nvidia-current nvidia-settings
sudo apt-get remove --purge xserver-xorg-video-nouveau

A Useful Firefox Plugin for Web Developers – Firesizer

I tend to develop for a 960 grid system but have recently started working on an HTML5 application that I want the user to be able to resize to utilize whatever screen resolution that their display has.

To do this, I need to preview the application’s display at various resolutions.

The Firefox Resizer Plug-In is very helpful for this purpose.

It’s lets you choose what size to make the Firefox browser window.

To install it, select Tools -> Add-ons and search for Firesizer.

After you install it you still won’t see it by default.

You need to make the Add-on bar visible. View -> Tool Bars -> Add-On Bar

You should see it as in this image.

You can then right-click on the display size that is displayed.

And choose the one you want to view your page at.

The Difference between HTML DIV and HTML SPAN

Using builder tools like FrontPage or ASP.NET WebForms has permitted web developers the “luxury” of avoiding learning the details of some parts of the standard web application stack (like HTML).

Like many types of syntax, HTML has it’s nuances and one that is often missed by folks learning HTML is the difference between the <DIV> tag and the <SPAN> tag.

Probably the reason that folks find this confusing is the haphazard use of these tags in the markup that they review.

In fact the differences are pretty simple and are clearly defined in the HTML specification.

The DIV and SPAN elements, in conjunction with the id and class attributes, offer a generic mechanism for adding structure to documents. These elements define content to be inline (SPAN) or block-level (DIV) but impose no other presentational idioms on the content. Thus, authors may use these elements in conjunction with style sheets, the lang attribute, etc., to tailor HTML to their own needs and tastes.

Pretty simple when you think about it.

<DIV> renders it’s contents as a block and <SPAN> renders it’s content “in-line”.

I’ve found remembering this useful as I concentrate on avoiding tables for any layout tasks.

Map an FTP Share to Windows Explorer

I frequently use Windows Livewriter to blog but there is one thing I HATE about it.

No matter what I do I can’t seem to get it to stop creating post specific directories for my uploaded images.

Maybe there is a way, but I haven’t been able to find anyone who know it.

Firing up my FTP client event time I need to put an image or two is a pain so I usually map a drive to the images directory on my blog server.

Then I can just drag & drop images to a drive icon on my desktop.

I recently showed his to someone who said “I didn’t know you coul do that”, so I thought I’d post the steps in case anyone else might find it useful.

Start by opening a Windows Explorer window.

Coose the drive letter that you want to designate your FTP site to and select the “Connect to a Web Site…..” Option

The rest of the steps are self explanitory.

Read the rest of this entry »

Setting up Live Writer to Blog on

I’ve added 150 new bloggers to the ASP.NET community since yesterday morning and many folks have asked me how to set up Windows LiverWriter to work with their new blog.

First, go to the “Get Live” site and click on the “Get it Free’ button.

When you see this dialog – click RUN.

Then, click run AGAIN !

Then Accept this 🙂

Choose the “Live” features that you want to install INCLUDING Writer !

Installation start automatically after you click “Add to Installation”

Choose “I already have a weblog set up” and click NEXT

Select “Another weblog service” and click NEXT.

Enter your weblog URL (the one I mailed to you) and your username and password.

Then click NEXT

Set the weblog type to “Community Server”

Set the remote posting URL to

Click yes to test if you like – sometimes this fails, but it’s no big deal.

Seta name for Liver Writer to use for your blog.

This is especially useful if you keep multiple blogs.

Write a test blog and click on “Publish”

POOF ! You are now ready to share your genius with the whole ASP.NET Community !!


Fixing Word 2007 Crash on Exit & Broken Mouse Support!

I love Office 2007, but recently I’ve had big problems with Word.

1.) I can’t select text…..

It seems this is a common problem with a number of add-ins. In this case it was the Word plug-in for Snag-It 8 from TechSmith – when I uninstalled it, mouse support came back. Note that this is not JUST a Snag-It problem. A bit of searching on the web reveals that MANY plug ins can cause this problem.

2.) The more irritating but was that Word always crashes on exit. I tried disabling and removing all the add-ins, deleting all the auto loaded templates, even uninstalling and re-installing Office 2007 with no success. Just about the time I was about to commit to waste my day rebuilding my day – I found the answer in a newsgroup archive.


  • 1. Start Regedit.
  • 2. Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Word\Data
  • 3. Right mouse click on the “Data” folder and delete it.
  • 4. Close Regedit.

POOF – Word 2007 is back to it’s awesome self !!

Blog your code !

Now that we’re adding new bloggers to I’ve gotten several requests for how to post source code.

The answer is simple: CopySourceAsHTML

Recording How-Do-I Videos

I’ve had SO MANY inquiries as to how I reocrd the How-Do-I videos I thought I’d type up a little guide.

First, I use Camtasia Studio 4 from TechSmith. I do my recordings on Windows XP, but I’ve tested a beta release of Camtasia for Vista and it appears to work fjust fine.


Get a GOOD USB Headset. I use the Plantronics Audio 510 USB. This really makes a different with sound quality.

My audio format is MPEG Layer-3 (TechSmith LAME), 44100Hz, mono, 15KB/s

When recording – I set my screen properties to 1024×768 and I do video capture as native .camrec format, I use the standard TechSmith Screen Capture Codec and record at 5 frames per second.

When I produce my video I use custom production settings to create the .wmv file.

I producs with the Profile “Camtasia Studio Full Motion Video and Audio High (CBR)

The setting look like this –

Audio encoding mode: CBR
Video encoding mode: CBR

Audience: 291.05 Kbps
Audio codec: Windows Media Audio 9
Audio format:  32 kbps, 44 kHz, mono CBR
Video codec: Windows Media Video 9

When saving I select “Largest Video Size” with is 1024×768 becuase that’s the size of the desktop when I record.

That’s It !

Change the View Source Editor in Internet Explorer

It’s great that NotePad is there on any machine that you step up to, but doing as many demos as I do I often want to do a “View Source” to show folks what’s going on in the code.

I also like to be able to change the editor depending on what I’m working on. If I’m working with types I want to “view source” in TopStyle, if it’s HTML then maybe NVU or HTML-Kit, JavaScript….  I’m still trying out JavaScript editors.

But, it’s a pain in the neck to have to hack the registry for each time I want to make that change.

Here is a cool utility that I found to make it easy.

Get it HERE : View Source Editor, the easy way to change the editor in Internet Explorer