WordPress Strangeness

I accidentally deleted my blog. My web hosting company is Bluehost and they use a system called SimpleScripts to facilitate installing things like WordPress and MediaWiki, etc. You can view all of your script installations in one place. Well, my list showed three WordPress installs. This is correct. I have a couple of test blogs that I use to experiment with layout, etc. My main blog was listed like this:


I had several other scripts installed, a couple photo galleries, a wiki, a web site builder, etc. I wanted to delete everything except my three WordPress blogs. I clicked away and I clicked on the one that looked like this:


Well, it turns out that was my main WordPress installation. There is no undelete button. I immediately logged into cPanel and downloaded the last backup of the MySQL database for my blog. Fortunately, when you delete a blog using SimpleScripts it doesn’t delete all of your files. I used Bluehost’s backup and restore utility to restore the databse and I used SimpleScripts to install a new WordPress blog and I edited the wp-config file to match the correct database settings. It didn’t work.

I then downloaded WordPress from WordPress.org and uploaded it via FTP. I created a new wp-config file, uploaded that and voilà! All of my posts were restored, but the website showed up as a blank page. I then installed a new theme and it worked. For some reason the Twenty Eleven theme was broken. Maybe when you delete a blog using SimpleScripts it breaks certain themes.

WordPress keeps all your images in a folder called wp-content. I restored this folder and switched back to my old theme. So far everything seems to be working okay.

VTK – Visualization Toolkit

I like to fool around with Blender, the 3D modeling and animation software. For the most part, in Blender you have to create your own content by sculpting and painting things from scratch. But what if you have a bunch of scientific data that you want to visualize? Evidently you can use VTK and other computer programs that are built upon it. I haven’t used VTK myself but it seems to be widely used in the scientific community.

The Visualization Toolkit (VTK) is an open source graphics toolkit. It is a platform independent graphics engine with parallel rendering support. VTK has an active development community that includes laboratories, institutions and universities from around the world. VTK has several large collaborations between Kitware and national organizations such as Sandia National Labs, Los Alamos, and Livermore National Labs, who are using VTK as the foundation for their large data visualization research efforts. – Wikipedia.org

Hire your enemies

Eric S. Raymond is a Free Software advocate and has done much to promote and organize Free Software efforts so it was most surprising when he got a letter from Microsoft offering him a job. ESR’s response was crass but humorous. I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time.

I’d thank you for your offer of employment at Microsoft, except that it indicates that either you or your research team (or both) couldn’t get a clue if it were continued

Note: The penguin which is called Tux is the mascot of the Linux operating system. Linux is the centerpiece of the Free Software movement.

Safari 4 Bug in Snow Leopard

There appears to be a bug in Safari 4 running on Snow Leopard (MacOS X 10.6.1). Safari does not handle the <pre> tag correctly

The line below should look like this (the letters a-z all lower case):


But instead it looks like this:


For some reason various letters don’t show up. If you don’t see a problem then take a look at this screenshot:

Edit: I learned that the problem was that I had multiple versions of the Courier font installed on my computer. I used the Mac application, Font Book to remove the duplicate font and the problem went away.

LuxRender: Open-Source, Unbiased Renderer


LuxRender is a new, open-source, free software rendering system for physically correct, unbiased image synthesis. Rendering with LuxRender means simulating the flow of light according to physical equations. This produces realistic, photographic-quality images. – LuxRender.net

As I understand it, an unbiased renderer is one which attempts to simulate the physical properties of light. Biased renderers allow you to create images which would not be possible in the real world. For instance light in a biased renderer travels directly from light sources to objects in their path. Once the light strikes an object it stops there. Any surfaces in the shadows would be perfectly black. In unbiased* renderers the light travels from light sources to the objects in the scene and then continues to bounce around until then energy drops to an insignificant level.

* July 4, 2009, When I originally posted this I wrote biased which is incorrect. Unbiased = close to real world physical light simulation. Biased = fake, less realistic

Internationalized Domain Names

Until recently domain names (ie:google.com, whitehouse.gov) could only contain ASCII letters, numbers and the hyphen (-). In 1998 The National University of Singapore began researching the possibility of Internationalized Domain Names (IDN) which would allow non-ASCII characters. IDN’s are still being tested, but several domain names have been created using the scripts of various languages. The following domain names are the equivalent of “example.test” in the script of its language.

Chinese, simplified
Chinese, traditional