The Simple Press Forum plug-inis one of the most popular and sophisticated solutions to add a complete forum to your WordPress blog. I also use it in my Mark Knopfler Guitar Style Blog.You can automatically link a blog post with a forum discussion thread. Unfortunately it is only possible to establish this link between a new blog post and a new (empty) forum topic (which will be created automatically).

In my forum users started a discussion about one of the blog posts, and I now wanted to link the blog post with this forum topic. This is not possible within the Simple Press Forum. In this post I will describe how to achieve this.

Step for Step

1. Change in the WordPress backend to the editing mode ( posts –> Edit) and edit the post you want to link with the forum topic. This can be done at the bottom of the page, just check the box and update the blog post. There should be a link now in your post to a new (empty) forum topic of the same name, and a link back to the blog post in this forum topic.

2.Next you need to edit your database. Most providers give you the option to do so via phpmyadmin. If not, a Google search for e.g. “mysql database editing” should help.

Locate the key wp_sftopics (the prefix wp_  is a default which you might have changed when you installed your blog). Display all entries of this key, you will see a table in which each row corresponds to a forum topic. The lowest (last) row will probably correspond to the new forum topic which was linked to your blog post in step 1). There is a column called  blog_post_id, where most topics will display “0” (=not linked). The new topic will display the ID of the linked blog post here. Locate the existing forum topic you want to be linked with the blog post, and enter this ID here. In your forum topic there should appear a link to this blog post now.

Note the ID of this (the existing) forum topic, you will need it again in step 4).

3. Delete the complete last row (which is the new, empty forum topic). Don’t delete it in the Simple Press Forum, as this will also delete the link from your blog post.

4. What is left to do is to update the link from your blog post to the forum topic (it still points to the empty topic you just deleted in step 3). Open the key wp_postmeta and display all its entries. Probably there will be a long list, you are looking for the latest entry which will probably on the last page of entries.

You will see the values  meta_id , post_id (this is the ID of the blog post you want to link with the forum topic), metakey (here  “forumlink” should be displayed) and meta_value. Under meta_value I had “2@30”, with 30 being the ID of the forum topic that is currently linked to (still the empty topic). In my case I wanted to link to forum topic 25 instead (the ID you noted at the end of step 2) , so I had to change “2@30” into “2@25” (I don’t know what the 2 stands for). The link from your blog post should point to the desired forum topic now.

5.When the link to the new forum topic was created in step 1), a new, empty first forum post was automatically added to this thread. If e.g. your sidebar displays a list of the most recent forum posts, this empty post will appear here, which is why we want to delete it in the database now. You will find this empty post under the key wp_sfposts, probably the last in the list. Simple delete the complete row.

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Yesterday we wanted to watch a Bluray in our home cinema, but what happened? The beamer lid of our Sanyo PLV-Z4 opened as usual, but the lamp did not start but remained dark. After a few seconds the lid closed again and two LEDs started to flash, according to the user’s manual saying “Lamp defective” or “Lamp has reached maximum life time”. Of course we did not have a spare lamp – at a price of about 250,- € this is not something you’d normally have on stock.

I started to google where to get a new lamp, or what else might cause this problem, and in fact I found something in a forum: There is a bi-metal switch inside the beamer which shuts off the device when it gets too hot. Normally this switch turns on the beamer after cooling down, but often it does not for some reason. All you have to do is to push this switch, somethiong that has apparently already worked for many users with similar problems.

Image 1: Unscrew these three screws on the back side ...

Image 2: ... and these three on the bottom side of the Sanyo PLV-Z4

Unfortunately you need to open the beamer to reach this switch. There are three screws on the back side and three on the bottom (see images 1 and 2). The bi-metal switch is located at the rear left side (see images 3 and 4). When I pushed it, I heard a soft “click” sound. Close the beamer again – the short screw belongs to the rear, right 😉 – switch it on, and … voilá: running again, great picture, no hint of any problem 🙂 By the way, the newer PLV-Z5 seems to have the same switch and the same problem.

Image 3: The switch is located here

Image 4: Push me in

One important note: I cannot take any responsibility for trying this, in other words please send in your beamer for an expensive repair 😉 And note that there is normally a reason why the switch shut down the beamer: maybe the filter needs to be cleaned or the room temperature was too high. Such problems must be solved first! (In our case the air filter seems to have been the cause).

Well, we finally could watch our movie … the lamp is still running … I hope for quite some time 🙂

PS: Our lamp counts  1500 operating hours, life time is specified at about  2000 hours.

If this article was helpful and saved you from spending unnecessary money, you might consider a donation:

In case you have indeed to replace the lamp, here s a direct link to Amazon (US and UK):

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Since Christmas I own a new camcorder. After filming my youtube videos with a Sony DV camcorder for a long time, and lately with a digital (photo ) cam – the Panasonic Lumix FX 37 , I more and more felt the wish for a ‘modern’ look – that’s 16:9 format in high definition (HD). The Lumix supports HD (720p) but its sound quality is really poor.

These days it is so easy to find a huge amount of information about all the different camcorders of all the different manufacturers but it is just this enormous amount of information that makes it difficult to find exactly the information that is relevant for you. I soon had to realize that each camcorder has its specific advantages but possibly disadvantages regarding other aspects, or it lacks an important feature. Besides I found to each opinion the opposite one somewhere else.

To cut it short: after some research I decided to buy the Panasonic SD 10 which was available for about 350,- € from some online stores, while it cost 448,- € at Saturn, one of Germany’s biggest local technical warehouses.

Panasonic SD 10

Panasonic-HDC-SD10The SD 10 is extremely small and light-weighted. The shiny black plastic cover makes it look slightly cheap. The SD 10 records in the AVCHD format (.mts) with a data rate of about 17 MBit/s on an SD card. A 4 GB card allows up to 25 minutes of video. Like all camcorders without tape, hard disk, or DVD it is absolutely silent. The SD 10 features a very good optical image stabilizer, sophisticated and intuitive menu operation via touch screen, and superb audio quality (even with manual rec level adjusting). The optical zoom is 16x and enough for most situations.

The first test recording revealed that the camera hardly allows wide angle (42 mm at 35 mm frame). The small TFT display shows detailled picture, but even here the picture seems to be a bit pale. This is similar when you watch your video on the computer minitor, colours are a bit dull, almost as if there was a pink-grey tranparency on the monitor. If you try to compensate this with the white balance or the colour presets, the picture becomes more yellowish or blueish, but remains somewhat dull. Low light is also problematic for the camera, the video becomes more and more grey.

This matches the results from the (very good) page of the Videoaktiv magazine. Their tests show that the Panasonic’s picture is less sharp than those of some competitors, due to a too small 1/6 ” picture sensor that delivers only 1,47M effective video pixels (a full HD picture requires about 2 megapixels). This was the out for the SD 10 for me and I returned it.

Some more details about the SD 10:

– The display does not show the menu when you flip it around to monitor yourself while being filmed. It is thus not possible to operate the camera from this position.

– The battery charger acts as the power supply, too. You cannot charge the battery while filming.

– The picture quality could be improved with the edge sharpening function and with improving colour intensity (see picture below).

– A fully charged battery lasts about one hour.

Sony HDR CX 105 / 106

hdr-cx105esAfter studying the sample pictures of many different cameras, I came to this conclusion: the more expensive (about 600,- €) Panasonic SD 200 features very good picture quality, but even less wide angle. The Sony CX 505 or 520 seem superb but are much more expensive (about 1000,- €), while the Sony CX 105 offers good picture quality (aparte from extreme low light, see sample pictures here), and it does not cost much more than the SD 10. The reason I did not consider it at first was that it records to an internal flash memory or to memory stick instead of SD card. In fact reading a memory stick with any standard card reader is as simple as reading an SD card, so I went for the Sony CX 105

When searching for the lowest offer I noticed that the same camera is available as CX 106. The only difference: the CX 106 allows a bit more digital zoom, and is only available in silver (the CX 105 also in black or red). The CX 106 is said to be destined for the specialist shop, the 105 for all other outlets. A local photo shop advertised it for 359,- € – I got the last one on stock.

With its slightly higher weight and the coarse plastic cover, the Sony CX 106 looks a bit more expensive than the SD 10. The TFT display delivers a bright and colourful image. Sound quality is good as well. The optical 10x zoom is less than the SD 10, and the picture stabilizer is only digital. The CX 105 is also controlled with the touch screen and also records AVCHD format (.mts files) with a maximum 16Mbit/s quality. Unlike the SD 10 you can also switch to standard definition and MPEG-2.

Filming is easy. The automatic settings result in a brilliant picture quality – the most important parameters can also be controlled manually. All in all, I liked the menu of the SD 10 better and more logical. I will keep the Sony as it gives you the best quality for the money and is sufficient in most situations.

I also got a wide angle lens (Sony VLC 0630X), which aöllows me to use the camera more versatile.

Panasonic Sd 10 - Dull colours

Panasonic Sd 10 - Dull colours

Panasonic SD 10: colour intensity set to maximum

Panasonic SD 10: colour intensity set to maximum

and here the Sony CX 105 / 106

and here the Sony CX 105 / 106

More info at Amazon:

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LG's X110 Netbook

At our school – I am a teacher – several colleagues bought a netbook lately – a mini notebook, often with a 10″ display. This is very handy especially for teachers: it can do most things a full-size notebook can, but it is small enough to put it into your school bag. Last week I also bought one of these.

There are many competing netbooks available which have almost the same features: for about 400,- € you get an Intel Atom CPU, 1 GB RAM, 160 GB HDD and a 10″ TFT Dsiplay. This week Saturn – one of Germany’s biggest technical warehouse chains is offering the LG X110 for 379,- €. The shop assistant assured it has everything other netbooks have, so I took it home. Today, a week later, I have an ASUS Eee 1000H – in other words I returned the LG X110 (which was no problem with Saturn). Why? What were the problems?

The ASUS Eee 1000H - for me the better netbook

The LG X110 is feather-light , just 1,200 g, and it is really slim. Nice. I wasn’t sure about the colour: white with black outside (the version I had), or completely white. Otherwise I might have prefered black or dark grey.
The speakers had an awful sound quality – nothing but treble. Of course noone would expect a full-bodied bass from the tiny speakers, but this crisp adn thin sound was a bit strange. That this is not a must is proved by the Asus, which sounds much nicer.

My colleagues all have bluetooth – built-in or as a mini USB plug, but my LG X110 had no bluetooth at all (there are versions with it that have but these are more expensive). The manual is on a CD, no paper version – almost normal today – but since a netbook has no CD or DVD drive you cannot read it without having an external drive. Hmmm….

Amore severe aspect is the battery: some manufacturers use 6-cell batteries, but the LG X110 had only three, and for this reason runs about 2 hours maximum. The Asus Eeee 1000H has a 6-cell battery and runs almost 4 hours.

Then I read in a forum that the RAM is mounted directly on the mainboard – no extension slot available. This was enough for me – I returned it.

I paid 399,- for the ASUS Eee 1000H, in black, with bluetooth, 6-cell battery, and a nice bag.

It weighs 1,450 g so it is a bit heavier but the power adaptor is much smaller so all in all the weight to carry around might be equal. Another difference is rather a matter of taste: The touchpad on the X110 allows scrolling when you put your finger to the right border, while the Asus can be scrolled with two fingers together.

Summary: The LG X110 is light, but this is due to a smaller battery, no bluetooth, RAM not expansible, bad sound

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It was time again for a clean up of one of my two terrariums. Some plants didn’t look that fresh anymore and had to be replaced. As after this the terrarium looked much better, I took some pictures which you can see as a slide show here.

One things that is a particular concern of mine is to show that (a) a terrarium with many real plants looks great and (b) that the “organic” terrarium – without sterile decoration, poison against vermins, and insects from the feeding dish – actually works.

You can read more about my terrariums and about my Balkan Green Lizards (Lacerta trilineata) that are very similar to the normal Green Lizard (Lacerta bilineata / viridis) here on my personal homepage. But now have fun with the pictures:

Created with flickr slideshow.

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A few days ago I bought two network adaptors manufactured by Netgear, model XETB1001 from the Powerline series. I payed 79,- € at “Promarkt” here in Germany. What are these:

The idea is to establish a network connection between two or more computers via the powerline of your house, instead of using long ethernet cables or wireless LAN. In other words, the adaptor is plugged into a main outlet socket, and a short ethernet cable from your computer is plugged into the adaptor. The distance to other computers in other rooms or on other floors is bridged with the powerline. It is a great idea, no long cables through your house, no electric fields from a WLAN, but does it really work?

My answer: I returned these the next day…

What was the problem? Generally the installation was foolproof, simply plugging in, that’s it. Unfortunately the adaptors (one in the basement, the other in the living room, one floor higher) didn’t find each other, they couldn’t establish a permanent connection. The setup guide said something about not using an extension lead (what do they think how many free outlet sockets people have near a COMPUTER ??!!), so I tried without, a bit better, sometimes working, then with an other socket, and finally I managed to establish a connection.

But after some time the connection was lost again, it reconnected again, but random connection loss was always a problem. The speed was also not what it was supposed to be (85 MBit, of course on the package it said “up to 85 MBit”…), I got a speed between 20 and 40 MBit what is more than my old WLAN (11 MBit) but far below the 100 Mbits you get with an ethernet cable.

And what about the reduced electric emission when not using WLAN anymore? Bummer, after googling a bit I found that a high-frequency signal is added to the normal powerline wave, and as the powerline cables are not shielded, your whole house turn into a huge antenna that emits this high-frequency radiation. Of course this emission is said to be below the threshold that is defined by law, but we all know how silly these values often are. In Switzerland for example a field study on internet via powerline resulted in somewhat epidemic cases of meningitis…

Alright, I will stick to WLAN in the future, at least this is stable and works.

Conclusion: a flop!

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(this is a translation of the article in my German blog)

A few days ago I replaced the 60GB hard-disk drive in my good old Toshiba notebook with a new 250 GB HD. The old one has been filled with data almost completely for some time now, and so I have been looking for obsolete files and deleting them or copying files to external USB disks all the time lately. But the free disk space was often filled up again when my son Tim wanted to install his newest computer game…

Well, a modern big HD does not cost much, but I really had no nerves to reinstall the complete system plus address books, prgrams, and everything. Unlike with the desktop PC, a notebook has only one internal HD drive, so leaving the system HD and just adding a second one is no option.

The solution was easy: the software tool Acronis True Image allows you to clone the old drive, and it even stretches all existing partitions to the new bigger drive if you want (well, I had only one). So all I had to do was buying the drive (250 GB, EIDE, about 80 €) plus an external USB drive case (15 €). I first installed the new drive into the USB case (took me 3 mins), then cloning the old drive to the new one (took about one hour, thanks to the comfortable wizard you only have to press ‘next’ a couple of times, leaving all default settings as they were). Next was removing the old drive which means removing only one screw, the drive was behind a special lid so you don’t even have to open the notebook itself. Old drive oput, pushing the new one in, no jumpers, no nothing, switching on again, and…

… it was running!! Windows booted flawlessly, no error messages, no new hardware found, nothing!! 🙂

Of course the old drive was installed into the USB case.

If I had knewn before how easy this is, I surely would have done so a long time ago. But now it’s time to think about how to fill the new drive, so many GB’s want to be filled 🙂

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I am still busy with my Mark Knopfler blog, and I wrote a lot about different stuff in my German blog lately (and most of these things are local matters and thus do not make too much sense for an English translation). I can’t tell how much stuff will appear here in the future, let’s see…

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In addition to my blog about the electric guitar and the Mark Knopfler guitar style, I started this second blog today. This one is intended for more personal things or other interests of mine. Watch out for things to come.

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