One week without my laptop

Joyce's website on my iPad
Joyce's website on my iPad

The iPad is by no means a laptop but could I go through one week without using my laptop? This is the question I wanted to answer for myself. There are many function which I need my laptop. For example, the iPad does not allow me to use SSH, therefore I cannot use it to program in my dev environment.

Just how much do I use the laptop to do real work? I decided to find out last week. When I received my iPad, I put away my laptop for 1 week. I’m posting this blog entry using my laptop and its has the been the first time that I wanted to use the laptop.

The weather is a little bit cold but I wanted to go and sit at Les Enfantes Terribes and do some work. My Macbook Air had completely drained its battery so starting up took quite a bit longer than usual, but it feels good to be back on my laptop.

So what did I learn this week? My $1800 laptop could almost be replaced by a $500 device. The only reason I’m using it today is to do some programming. For people who already have a primary computer at home, this is a great device to take with you instead of a laptop.

Interviewed for an article

Smile for the interview. Oh this is a phone interview?

I was interviewed for Media Business magazine with Jack to talk about eWeek Labs project.

I should be rich and famous now right? Should I hire an agent? Get a publicist? The interview lasted about 30 minutes, the journalist, Sean was a really nice guy. A very comfortable interview.

Windows, what not to do in user experience

Dell Inspiron Zino HD

I just got a brand new Dell Inspiron Zino computer. I’m not a Windows user, but as a web developer, I need to have access to Internet Explorer. I was under the mistaken assumption that I could run VMWare fusion on my 24-inch 4GB RAM iMac, but I can brew a pot of coffee before the VM starts up.

So I plopped down $600 and bought a Dell. No idea what’s in the box, I don’t really care. As long as it runs IE 8 and I can run VNC ( or Windows Remote Desktop ) I can hide the box in a corner and forget about it.

Setting this thing up out of the box is a pain. I don’t want Symantic Virus protection, but I have no choice. I have to register for an account anyway just to get past the stupid window. Roxio also required an update. Then the fun begins.

Find the remote desktop setting

Ha, good luck. I couldn’t find it anywhere… There is a reason for that but at this point I had no idea why. So I typed in Remote Desktop in the little search box and voila there is a link to change the setting. I noticed that the setting is already set for “Allow remote access”.

Drop the firewall

I know better than to keep the firewall running as I set this up. Since I have no idea what port it requires, its all-shields-are-down mode. I try the system tray to get to the Symantic protection, but it doesn’t open. Finally I find it in the Programs menu and disabled it.

Install the Mac RDC client

No problems there.

First attempt

I logged into the Airport Extreme and checked the dhcp table to find the new machine’s assigned IP. Then I ping it just to be sure. I could have gotten IP off the Windows cmd by ipconfig /all but this was easier. RDC for the Mac tells me that it was unable to connect. After a while, I decided to call my friend Chris, who is a windows tech consultant.

Look around, double check, reboot

We tried everything, looked in the events log, which was about the worst designed event viewer. Too many options, sections, the log is not clear at all. The UI for Windows 7 is completely different from XP. Chris was lost too. Finally I got on the Task Manager and found that the remote desktop service was not running. I tried everything to get it started, but it tells me I don’t have permission.


Of course Google would know the answer. After some searching I was able to determine that Remote Desktop was disabled for Windows 7 Home Edition. You have to pay more to have Remote Desktop NOT disabled. How lame, no wonder I couldn’t easily find the setting. However if they were going to disable Remote Desktop, they should not leave it around for me to find it. More Microstupidity.

Install Windows 7 Professional

Luckily I have a copy of Professional. I should be able to install this right?

First attempt at installation

After figuring out how to boot from the DVD ( hit F12 until the boot menu shows up, then select “boot from DVD”). After it booted from the DVD, you still need to hit “any key” to assure the DVD installer that you want to continue booting from the DVD. Yes treat me like an idiot.

I get a choice to upgrade or install. Of course I’ll upgrade. Why would I want the nipple twisting of configuring the system again? It then tells me that I cannot upgrade if I booted from the DVD. Please reboot into windows, then run the installation again.

Second attempt at installation

Download installation update? Sure, wait around for it to copy file and startup? Sure. Oh wait, sorry, you cannot upgrade this way, please quit and use Windows Upgrade Advisor.

Third attempt at installation using Windows Anytime Upgrade

Sure you can upgrade. Pay Bill Gates $90. You already own a copy of Windows 7 Professional? Fuck you, pay $90.

Fourth attempt, blow it all away

Boot from the DVD again, this time I’ll leave the upgrade alone and install from scratch. I noticed that there are 3 partitions, Dell’s recovery and some strange OEM partition. Don’t care, I’ll install in the OS partition. Wait around for a bit for the install. Write this blog.

Nipple twisting

Go through the configuration bit again, oh wait, I can’t get on the internet? It doesn’t see my wireless card. Fine, maybe Dell uses the latest and greatest 802.11 b/g/n card. Can’t blame Microsoft right? It’s a good thing that my Zino sits nicely above the Airport Extreme. They are nearly the same size. Let me pull off the Cat 5 cable from my PS3 and hook it up.


Goddammit! Ok, its gotta be on the Windows DVDs that came with the computer right? WRONG!

Download the network card drivers from Dell

Go to Dell’s site, put in the service Tag. At least Dell is not Microsoft. They make this part easy. Three driver files, 170MB. Wow… all that for ethernet drivers? I remember when drivers were less than 100K.

Install drivers

Armed with drivers on my USB memory stick, I attack the machine again. This time I was able to successfully get the ethernet up and connect to the internet. This took about 2 hours 20 minutes.

I love my Mac (iMac, Macbook Air, iPod, iPhone, iPad).

Hacking admin on wordpress

If you have a wordpress site which you have access to the files and you want to log in as admin without having the admin password AND you don’t want to change MD5 password for admin in the DB, you can very easily force your way in:

In wp-includes/user.php find this function:

function wp_signon( $credentials = '', $secure_cookie = '' ) {
if ( empty($credentials) ) {
if ( ! empty($_POST['log']) )
$credentials['user_login'] = $_POST['log'];
if ( ! empty($_POST['pwd']) )
$credentials['user_password'] = $_POST['pwd'];
if ( ! empty($_POST['rememberme']) )
$credentials['remember'] = $_POST['rememberme'];
if ( !empty($credentials['remember']) )
$credentials['remember'] = true;
$credentials['remember'] = false;
// TODO do we deprecate the wp_authentication action?
array(&$credentials['user_login'],&$credentials['user_password']) );
if ( '' === $secure_cookie )
$secure_cookie = is_ssl() ? true : false;
global $auth_secure_cookie; // XXX ugly hack to pass this to wp_authenticate_cookie
$auth_secure_cookie = $secure_cookie;
add_filter('authenticate', 'wp_authenticate_cookie', 30, 3);
$user = wp_authenticate($credentials['user_login'], $credentials['user_password']);
if ( is_wp_error($user) ) {
if ( $user->get_error_codes() == array('empty_username', 'empty_password') ) {
$user = new WP_Error('', '');
return $user;
wp_set_auth_cookie($user->ID, $credentials['remember'], $secure_cookie); do_action('wp_login', $credentials['user_login']); return $user;

comment out $user = wp_authenticate() and replace with

$user = get_userdata(1);

then log in with any password, go to the Dashboard and back out the changes in user.php