CATEGORY: Software

How to remove wrapping tags in PHP Storm

How often do you code something and need to delete a wrapping link or div? I was using PHPStorm and had grabbed some code from another file that had links in the

  • tags which weren’t needed in the new file. I didn’t want to manually remove each link and after a quick look around PHPStorm’s menus, discovered that PHPStorm has a really useful command to remove the wrapping element for you.

Select the element, then from the menu, choose Code > Unwrap/Remove… or use the keyboard shortcut, Command + Shift + Backspace and then choose the appropriate wrapping element to remove.

See it in action:

How to Fix ‘Converter Failed to Save File’ with Excel 2016

I recently upgraded to Office 2016 on my Windows 10 desktop and was getting the error “Converter failed to save file” when double clicking on the file along with an “There was a problem sending the command to the program error” every time. I finally had enough with the annoyance to troubleshoot it and figured out a solve.

If you have the same issue, here’s how to fix it:

  1. Open your Default Programs configuration from the Control Panel. On Windows 10, you can hit start, type Default Programs, and it’ll open the app.
  2. Scroll down the list until you get to the Excel formats (XLS):
    Default Programs
  3. If you see anything other than Excel as the default, you’ll need to change the default to Excel. For me, the issue was the Open XML Converter not being installed anymore after upgrading to 2016. To change the default, select the format, click the “Change Program” button and select Excel 2016 from the list of apps that pops up and click OK to set the association:
    App Select
  4. You’ll need to do this for each format in the list to correct it. The most common formats you’ll use are XLS, XLSX, & XLT.

Cheap Macbook Pro Docking Solution for about $30

I typically prefer developing on my desktop and large dual screen monitor setup as opposed to my Macbook. Recently, I’ve gotten into more PHP development and developing on the Mac is proving to be a more enjoyable experience only because Windows is still a second class citizen for most PHP libraries/tools. I still wanted a larger screen setup, so I considered buying a docking station to hook up to a larger monitor but I soon learned they feature the ‘Mac Penalty’ in that they cost more than they should just because it’s for Apple products.

I already have two large monitors and figured my Macbook could serve as third screen. Then I did some thinking and realized I could use one of the monitors for both computers. Assuming you have two HDMI screens already hooked up to your desktop, this would save you $150+ and still allow you to be more productive.

  1. Get a copy of Synergy (http://symless.com/) for $10. It’s open source and can be built if you have the time, but a one time fee of $10 saves me the hassle of doing so. With this, you can share your desktop keyboard across all your computers with the one license and it’s cross platform so Linux support is included too.
  2. Purchase an auto HDMI switcher. I purchased the PORTTA PET0301S 3×1 Port HDMI Switch/Switcher for about $9.
  3. Be sure to get 2 HDMI cables if you don’t already have them on hand. I don’t like the Amazon Basic brand for these as I’ve had problems with the Mac and those cables hooking up to larger screens.
  4. Install Synergy on the desktop as a server. Install on the Macbook as a client and it should autoconnect.
  5. Plug the HDMI cable from the computer into the HDMI switcher, and plug the spare into the Macbook pro. Plug the “Out” end into the monitor.

When you plug your HDMI cable into the Macbook, the HDMI switcher will automatically switch to it and project the Macbook. Synergy will auto-connect as long as it’s running on both and you can share the mouse and keyboard between both and work seamlessly.

If you have an iPad and want to turn that into an additional screen, grab a copy of Duet Display on your desktop/Macbook and install on your iPad for $15.99, and viola, instant portable second screen!

How to fix “hacked by Moroccanwolf” WordPress site

A client of mine had their wordpress hacked and when you would load the site, it would simply display a message that said “hacked by Moroccanwolf”. I did some digging and luckily it wasn’t a major hack and they didn’t mess with the posts or other settings as a lot of the hacks do.

Quick Fix

  1. To fix it, you’ll need to connect to your database using an editor of some sort, such as PHPmyadmin.
  2. Once logged in, expand your database on the left.
  3. Click on ‘wp_options’.
  4. On the top right, click the ‘Browse’ tab.
  5. Look for ‘widget_text’ in the option_name field. (For my client, it was at row 90). You should see something similar to this:

Delete the entire tag and this  should restore your website. Now remember to change your logins and update wordpress.

How I Figured it Out

Most of the hacks I’ve seen are done through injecting javascript into the database somewhere which either force a redirect or something along those lines. Here’s the steps I followed to find it:

  1. To fix it, you’ll need to connect to your database using an editor of some sort, such as PHPmyadmin.
  2. Once logged in, click on your database on the left. Ensure you’re on the database and not a table.
  3. Click Export.
  4. Leave it to quick and click go.
  5. You should now see a textbox with a mess of SQL commands.
  6. Copy and paste into your favorite editor,
  7. Search for <script> and you should find something that doesn’t belong.  In this instance, that was the only thing I found of note.
  8. You’ll want to scan the rest of the database for things that don’t belong. Additionally, you’ll want to replace all the wordpress files and confirm no .htaccess files were created that give hackers write access.

 

Windows Server 2008/2012 Blue Screen after Login – No Desktop

One of my teammates was working on a Windows server and needed to access IIS to complete a Sitecore upgrade on the machine. After logging in, he was reporting that he only saw a blue screen with no user interface. I logged in under the administrator account and ran into the same thing. Here’s how I was able to reset:

  1. CTRL + ALT + END
  2. Start Task Manager
  3. Click processes tab and find all instances of “explorer.exe”
  4. Right click each process and selected “End process tree”
  5. Once all instances are gone, select the Applications tab
  6. Click new task button
  7. Type “explorer.exe” without the quotation marks
  8. Click OK.

If it’s a user account and you can login to the administrator account and see the UI, you can load remote desktop as admin.

  1. Start -> Run
  2. Type “mstsc /v:servername /console /admin” in order to access the server.
  3. In “Windows Taks Manager”, go to the Users tab and proceed to do a right click over the account that you want to “Log Off”, select log off.

This should free the locked session used by that account and bring the UI back.

 

Steam is having trouble connecting to the Steam servers.

If you use Steam and  suddenly find yourself unable to connect receiving the error “Steam is having trouble connecting to the Steam servers.”, check and see if you have Peerblock installed and running. I wasted a lot of time trying to figure out why the connections wouldn’t go through and finally went through apps running in the background one by one, until I closed Peerblock and discovered Steam suddenly started working. If you would like to continue to use Steam while Peerblock is open, follow these instructions for a workaround:

1. Start PeerBlock
2. Click List Manager
3. Click Add
4. Put something in the description like steam-allow
5. click add url and paste this: “http://list.iblocklist.com/?list=steam” (no quotes)
6. Choose type: allow
7. Click Ok then close the List Manager.

This will download a list that adds exceptions for Steam and should let you connect with no issues.

Visual Studio 2013 package did not load correctly

Visual Studio Error MessageToday I loaded up Visual Studio to continue work on a project and created by a random bunch of errors. All were complaints that various packages could not be loaded. The one I captured was:

The ‘JavascriptWebExtensionsPackage’ did not load correctly.’ The problem may have been caused by a configuration change or by the installation of another extension.

I had just installed SyncFusion’s Essential Studio which apparently screwed something up. I tried doing a repair on Visual Studio which unfortunately did not work.

I was able to fix it by following these steps:

  1. Close Visual Studio Open the *Users*\AppData\Local\Microsoft\VisualStudio\12.0\ folder
  2. Rename the ComponentModelCache folder
  3. Restart Visual Studio.

Visual Studio should now rebuild the cache and no longer display the error messages.

ASP.NET MVC Model Generator

In making the switch to ASP.NET MVC, I’ve moved away from using my old Data Access Layer that I’ve used for years and have opted to use Dapper as my ORM of choice in the quest for optimal performance. My DAL was actually pretty optimized for WinForms and WebForms (using straight SQL Queries and SQL parameters) but mapping it to models wasn’t something I had in mind when I created it. I’m finding Dapper takes some getting used too but it is still pretty fast. The downside is that writing the code for Models to wire it up is proving to be a little tedious.

To that effect, I wrote a little application that has helped me generate the models from a database dynamically. It’s in it’s infancy stages and something I cobbled together in less than 8 hours but it works. I’ll add more features too as time goes on if there’s enough interest or to satisfy my own needs. In the meantime, I’m open sourcing the project as it may help others and I’d love to see it become something grander if others are willing to contribute to it. There’s also some useful bits of code that others may find useful to reference like dynamically reading fields from a database, pluralization/singularization of words, amongst others.

You can find the repository on Github: https://github.com/gregvarghese/MVCModelGenerator

SourceTree Crashes on Load

sourcetree errorI’ve recently started using Git for development and while I am getting used to the command line tools on Windows, I have been using Atlassian’s free tool, SourceTree to help manage my code. Recently I’ve run into an issue where SourceTree crashes on start up.”Oh dear. We’re sorry, but SourceTree just crashed. How terribly embarrassing.”

I submitted an issue (https://jira.atlassian.com/browse/SRCTREEWIN-3011) and received a response that didn’t solve the issue. I submitted a follow up but never heard back so I did some further digging and found that SourceTree was crashing because it corrupted a repo and was still trying to load it back up on start up. The application does not exit gracefully or even give you the option to start in a safe mode which loads nothing.

To prevent it from opening the repo on start up:

Open %localappdata%/Atlassian/SourceTree/opentabs.xml in notepad or another editor.
Delete the problem repo.

Viola! No more SourceTree crashes on start up.

ESET AntiTheft Causes Dell Machines to Lose Permissions on C:

Eset Logo

I just spent the past two days complaining about Windows 8 to everyone I know because of how awful the experience is. I installed Windows updates, rebooted, and the system stops working.

It turns out it wasn’t Windows causing the problem but ESET AntiTheft on Dell laptops. It turns out there’s a permission bug specific to Dell machines when ESET creates it’s ghost account and instead of giving it restricted access, the system essentially copies the permissions and then changes everything on the C: drive to a state where the permissions are no longer accessible.

Unfortunately, the only known fix at this point is to contact ESET support. I called their support line in North America and the tech knew about the issue right away. You’ll have to reboot into safe mode, and then get them to remote in to install a utility that runs a script that resets the permissions.

Contact Info here: http://www.eset.com/us/about/contact/

The tech assured me they are working with Dell to get this issue resolved so until they do, make sure you don’t activate ESET’s AntiTheft on the Dell machine.