Category: Activity log


Permalink 09:44:51 am, by sarneil, 87 words, 17 views   English (CA)
Categories: Activity log; Mins. worked: 60

Firefox profile manager

FF Dev updated itself, created a new profile and somehow my copy of FF Prod ended up pointing at the dev profile. (i.e. all my bookmarks, plugins, history etc. "disappeared").

To tell FF which profile to use.
Close all instances of Firefox
Open the Terminal application.
In the Terminal application, enter the following:
/Applications/ -P
Press Return. The Firefox Profile Manager (Choose User Profile) window should open.
Choose the correct profile.
Click Start Firefox.


Permalink 12:13:06 pm, by Greg, 134 words, 52 views   English (CA)
Categories: Labs, Activity log, Documentation; Mins. worked: 2400

Lab rebuild

The lab is now running Ubuntu 16.04.

One new thing is that I had expected PXE booting to 'just work', but it's been a bit hit-and-miss. I have no clear understanding why, but I might be able to find out by comparing UEFI/BIOS settings on the machines to find out what the differences are between machines that CAN PXE boot and those that CAN'T.

The machines have two distinct motherboards (ASUS H81I-plus and ASUS H97I-plus), and there are slight differences between the models' UEFI/BIOS.

Machines that can PXE boot:
Saga (H81I+)
Salander (H97I+)
Smilla (H81I+)
Sherlock (H81I+)
Cadfael (H97I+)
Rumpole (H81I+)
Poirot (H81I+)
Morse (H97I+)
Marple (H97I+)

NOTE: F8 should boot the machines to a boot menu that contains UEFI network booting.


Permalink 10:11:04 am, by sarneil, 68 words, 32 views   English (CA)
Categories: Activity log; Mins. worked: 60

xpath for extracting text values (names) from children of node (persName)

In xpath/xquery builder in oxygen:
set xquery 3.0

declare default element namespace "";
let $names := for $n in //persName/string-join(descendant::*/text()," ") return $n
return string-join($names," ")

returns just the texts.

The equivalent in the xpath box above the editor
//persName/string-join(descendant::*/text()," ")

returns the strings, but also the system id etc for each that you then have to manually delete


Permalink 03:12:00 pm, by sarneil, 135 words, 39 views   English (CA)
Categories: Labs, Activity log; Mins. worked: 60

Ports in Lib A316 lab space

Ports are listed starting at the pillar with the red tape and moving around the room counter clockwise, separated by panel.

Pillar facing window (north)

D107 - patched in
D108 - patched in
D109 - patched in
D110 - patched in
D135 - patched in

Pillar (east side of pillar, west wall of lab)

Wall on right (west)

D75 - patched in


D130 - patched in

D115 - patched in
D116 - patched in

D111 - patched in
D112 - patched in

Back wall (south)

D213 - patched in
D214 - patched in

Left wall (east)


D73 - patched in
D74 - patched in

D188 - patched in
D189 - patched in


Permalink 04:13:07 pm, by sarneil, 187 words, 49 views   English (CA)
Categories: Activity log; Mins. worked: 60

RSS widget provided by systems

My previously posted XSLT and RSS block approach has the problem that there's nothing to force the GUI to update even though the RSS block is updating. DW put me on to CMcN who created an RSS feed block widget which addresses exactly our need (i.e. get title of each of N items from the RSS feed and make each a link using the link element for that item in the RSS).
Remaining problem is that the "see blog" generated at the bottom of the list by their widget uses the value of the link element for the overall feed. In the first place, our RSS feed generator assumed the call would be coming from other pages on our site, so generated a relative URL when invoked from the Cascade site; secondly, even if it generated the correct URL, that would be to the URL feed and not to the home page in our hcmc account for the blogs interface, so I manually edited the code generating the RSS to generate a hard-coded link to the home page for the blog. That should fix the problem.


Permalink 04:20:32 pm, by sarneil, 430 words, 39 views   English (CA)
Categories: Activity log; Mins. worked: 360

Rss reader and XSLT formatter of HCMC blog working in Cascade test page

Created a test page which displays titles of 10 most recent Announcements from the blog with a link on each to the posting in the blog.

Remaining issue is how to integrate the XSLT format block used for this with the format blocks used by default so that I can integrate my stuff with existing elements, rather than have to dedicate e.g. the entire related content section of the page to my stuff.

1) Create RSS listener to create XML
Started with
Selected New/Default/Block, check "Feed", click Submit
Specified parent folder (e.g. Assets/Blocks)
Entered system name and display name (e.g. "BlogRSS")
Entered URL of RSS feed (e.g.
Clicked Submit button

2) Create Content block to hold RSS reader block
Copy Assets/Blocks/Template/related-content to Assets/Blocks/Template/related-content-RSS
Edit Assets/Blocks/Template/related-content-RSS set Column block content to RSS Listener block created in step 1
Click submit

3) Create XSL to process XML
Started with instructions at
Selected New/Default/Format, check XSLT, click Submit
Did not select an asset type
Entered XSLT in edit box:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
xmlns:xsl="" exclude-result-prefixes="xs" version="2.0"
<xsl:template match="/">
<h4>Blog Posts</h4>
<p>See <a href="">all blog posts</a>.</p>
<xsl:for-each select="//item">
<xsl:if test="position() <= 10">
<xsl:variable name="hyperlink"><xsl:value-of select="./link"/></xsl:variable>
<li><class="external" a href="{$hyperlink}"><xsl:value-of select="title"/></a></li>
Specified parent folder (e.g. Assets/Blocks)
Clicked Submit button

4) Assemble elements
My test is to put the formatted RSS into the right column
Selected Page (e.g. RSSTEST)
Selected Edit/Outputs
In 02-Related-Content, set Block to Content block containing RSS feed created in step 2
In 02-Related_Content, set Format to XSL block created in step 3
Click Submit


Permalink 11:47:52 am, by sarneil, 183 words, 92 views   English (CA)
Categories: Activity log; Mins. worked: 120

usual frustratrions with group permissions and FTP clients

We wanted a group consisting of user A and user B, both of which are members of a group that has read/write privileges so either of those users and upload, delete, download files from a given directory.
Having got the acviccap account with subfolders set up on I did some testing (with help of Martin and BS of CCAP/ACVI) specifically on group permissions.
BS used Cyberduck and I got a copy and confirmed results. I tried Filezilla and my copy of Transmit and they also had a similar problem:
If client is set to not impose permissions on server, we expected the files and folders on the server to get the group settings read/write. The FTP client default behaviour did result in directories have acceptable settings, but files don't have group write; it's possible to set the upload configurations in the FTP client to force acceptable settings (namely 775 for folders and 664 for files), but it's one more thing and affects all uploads executed by the client (i.e. scope is not limited to a given connection).


Permalink 01:10:23 pm, by Greg, 328 words, 846 views   English (CA)
Categories: Activity log, Announcements; Mins. worked: 240

Dell monitor RMA

My Dell U2412Mb monitor has been acting up for a while now: dark corner and flickering. The problem was temporarily resolved by power-cycling but the issue always came back, usually after going in to power-saving mode. The other day, though, I decided to RMA it.

As I understand it, we have 'pro' support, which is supposed to make this kind of process simple and quick. However, it was stereotypically bad in reality:
- Lots of different people pass you from one office to another, making you wait on-hold for at least a few minutes each.
- You finally speak with someone that will help (which may or may not be 'Basic Warranty Support' - it's very difficult to be certain, but it *definitely* wasn't Pro Support) and you go through a diagnostic exercise, followed by a proof-of-purchase test (send proof-of-purchase by email - and wait for 15 minutes for the email to arrive in the inbox of tech support). In the end, you've spent half a day sorting things out.

Next step; I will receive an empty box in 1 or 2 days, and I will place my failing monitor in the box and send it off. It should take 7 to 10 days to get to a Dell depot. At this point, I don't know what kind of turn-around I'm looking at, but I have to imagine that it will be at least a few days - maybe 10. I suspect that I will be without my monitor for at least 3 weeks.

I had heard that the process is relatively painless (because Pro-Support FTW!), ending in another monitor being shipped immediately (that is, before I sent my failing monitor). As it turns out, the process was excruciating - in the last two days I have spent about 4hrs to get to this point. And I still have to ship/receive/set-up/tear-down before I'm done.

A conservative estimate of the cost of me handling this is roughly $300. The monitor cost $297 before tax.


Permalink 11:51:51 am, by sarneil, 154 words, 89 views   English (CA)
Categories: Activity log; Mins. worked: 60

Virtual Machine USB and extension

Trying to get a USB 3 device to mount in the Windows VM. Required:
1) connect USB drive and when Mac OS mounts it, eject it
2) update to newer version of VirtualBox software
3) when you start VM app you'll be asked to download and update extensions, do that
4) when you start windows in VM, in the device menu choose install, get the CD as a device, open it and run the windows.exe file)
5) shut down the Windows in the VM
6) in VM app click on Settings button, go to Ports tab, go to USB tab, make sure USB3 is enabled, ideally click on add device button and add device to USB device filters list.
8) restart windows, if USB device doesn't appear in list of devices in FileBrowser,
- check that Mac OS hasn't grabbed the USB device, if it has eject it in the Mac OS
- choose Devices/USB and pick the USB device


Permalink 09:53:53 am, by mholmes, 27 words, 151 views   English (CA)
Categories: Labs, R & D, Activity log, Activity log; Mins. worked: 15

Updates to all lab machines

JT had trouble with freezing on a machine yesterday, and doing updates seemed to fix it, so I booted them all up and did all the updates.

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This blog is the location for all work involving software and hardware maintenance, updates, installs, etc., both routine and urgent, in the server room, the labs and the R&D rooms.


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