103 miles later

After the Hot Hundred:

After the Hot Hundred

Pots de Crème au Chocolat

flickr photo shared by ted_major under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license
Which is to say, chocolate pudding. This is based on a recipe from Craig Claiborne’s New York Times Cookbook. We’ve made both of his pots de crème recipes, and frankly he was phoning it in on both of them—it’s obvious that neither of these recipes was tested. The cooking time was way off (15 minutes? try 45), and this particular recipe needed twice the chocolate it called for (though to be fair, how many recipes would really suffer from a doubling of the chocolate?).

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 8 oz sweet chocolate (I used Ghirardelli’s milk chocolate chips)
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325F. Heat the cream in a double boiler. When it is just scalded, stir in the chocolate chips until melted and blended. Beat the egg yolks in a separate bowl. When the chocolate mixture is melted and smoothly blended, slowly add to the egg yolks a bit at a time, stirring well so the eggs don’t scramble. pour into 6 ramekins and cover each with foil. Bake in a water bath for 45 minutes or until set. Chill and serve with whipped cream.

shn>mp3 from the command line

flickr photo shared by sickmouthy under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC ) license

YACLP—Yet Another Command-Line Post: this time, it’s how to convert Shorten files (an obsolete lossless audio codec) to mp3 for portable listening. Most of the time, I use SoundConverter to transcode from lossless formats to mp3 for portable listening. For some reason, however, SoundConverter can’t find Shorten, even though I have it installed. I suppose if I knew where it was looking, I could put in a symlink to where it really is. Or I can just dig up something that works from the command line. Thanks to this handy thread by shantiq from UbuntuForums, here’s one command that will convert a whole directory full of shn files. Just cd to the directory holding your shn files and do the following:
for f in *.shn; do ffmpeg -i "$f" -ab 320k "${f%.shn}.mp3"; done
If you really want to do it shipshape and Bristol-fashion, you could use shntool to convert to flac and tag the files with appropriate metadata and then use SoundConverter to go to mp3, preserving the tags from flac:
shntool conv -o flac *.shn
For tagging, renaming, and adding track numbers, I’m a big fan of Ex Falso, and for an audio player, I like DeadBeef for its simplicity.

OpenShot won’t export audio? We can fix that.

creative commons licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by geek_love13
Disclaimer: once again, command-line geekery follows. Disregard at your convenience.
I love OpenShot video editor for Linux (despite the occasional bugginess inherent in all things Linux) and desperately look forward to the release of the Windows port for my office PC.

In the meantime, I occasionally use OpenShot on my personal laptop to edit videos for class. This week, when I tried to export a video, a new one popped up: exporting video removes audio. After a little searching, I found that the problem is a bug in Ubuntu rather than OpenShot, and thanks to this post on Ubuntuforums, there’s an easy command-line fix. Open a terminal window (ctrl-alt-t) and enter the following commands:

  • sudo add-apt-repository ppa:sunab/kdenlive-release
  • sudo apt-get update
  • sudo apt-get install libmlt6
  • sudo apt-get install libmlt++3

Re-start OpenShot, and Bob’s yer uncle.

Splitting a flac file by cue sheet

creative commons licensed ( BY-NC ) flickr photo shared by jantos
Command line geekery follows. Ignore as you see fit.
Got a large flac file and a cue sheet rather than individual files? Here’s a handy command line trick to automagically split it into individual tracks:
~$ cuebreakpoints "filename.cue" | shntool split -o flac "filename.flac"
More details (including necessary packages) from On Ubuntu.

Carrot salad


I picked up some carrots at the farmer’s market this morning and came up with this salad to have with dinner tonight. Sorry, but no measurements because I eyeballed everything. Precise amounts don’t seem too critical here, anyway.


  • carrots, chopped
  • onions, chopped
  • fresh parsley, chopped
  • craisins


  • juice of 1 lime
  • dollop of mustard (maybe a teaspoon, maybe less?)
  • olive oil

Combine salad ingredients in a bowl. Whisk together dressing ingredients and toss with salad.

This is why you don’t buy cheap-ass tools.

bent chain whip
That $8 chain whip may work for removing a cassette from a freehub, but it’s woefully inadequate for loosening a fixed cog after months of mashing up hills. Bent out of shape without budging the cog. Even the rotafix method barely got it loose.

Coming soon: a DIY chain whip with some serious leverage:

DIY chain whip

Off to a rocky start

creative commons licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Wystan

This semester I thought I’d try something new and run my courses entirely within the official CMS. Over the past few years I’ve gotten a serious case of user account fatigue and dread the thought of signing up for yet another userid and password combination to be floating out there in the cloud more or less forever. I’ve used WordPress for class in the past, but these days I’m hesitant to make my students do something I wouldn’t, so rather than make them get a new WordPress account, I thought I’d use the “blog” tool in Blackboard.


It’s a usability and user interface nightmare. Navigation is opaque. There’s no way to see all the class’s posts in a chronological feed (y’know, like a blog?);  each student’s posts are in a separate silo (within a silo!); students can’t figure out how to post, or how to see anyone else’s blog; you can’t copy/paste text into a text box in Bb(?!?); there’s no way to see when a blog has new entries (except by remembering how many total entries there were the last time I looked); Blackboard helpfully tells me that there are 10 new posts but unhelpfully won’t link to them . . . ugh.

Life without Google long-term follow up

creative commons licensed ( BY-NC-ND ) flickr photo shared by jalb
It’s been over two years now, and for the most part my google-free online existence has largely been uneventful. Occasionally youtube tells me that a video is “mature” and requires me to login to prove I’m over 18. So I can live without seeing that particular upload of the Baby Ruth scene in Caddyshack.

Recently (in the past month or so), however, the spam in my inbox has exploded. Bluehost claims to do some spam filtering, but it seems largely ineffective. Lately when I open my email, any where from 50% to 80% of the messages are spam. Thunderbird does a good job of filtering spam when I’m on my laptop, but checking email during the day on my phone or on webmail gives me no apparent filtering at all.

In the long run, I suppose I need to find a new email provider that does a better job of spam filtering. Not sure what I’ll do in the meantime. (And in the time it’s taken to write this post, 3 more spam messages have hit my inbox.)

Converting WordPress Multisite to a single site

creative commons licensed ( BY-NC-SA ) flickr photo shared by Packfill
A few years ago, in a fit of ambition and desire to host all the things, I set up my school blog as a wordpress multisite with four separate blogs, three of which had separate subdomains: one for my face to face classes, one each for my online classes, and one for Pedagogy First! (oh yeah, and there’s this personal blog too).

Now, it’s too much. I don’t want to update five blogs. Hell, I’m not even really keeping up with one. Additionally, for some inscrutable algorithmic reason, Google responds to searches by my students for my blog with links to my online class blogs, which have lain dormant for years, rather than to my main school blog.

Enough. One school blog and one personal blog are enough. So how do you go back? (First obviously, you back up, and then you go back. You’ve been warned.)

This wpmudev blog post walked me through it, but I’ll post instructions here as well for  future reference.

I used file manager in cPanel to edit my wp-config.php file (first I copied it to wp-config.old in case I screwed up). I then deleted the following lines:

define( 'MULTISITE', true );
define( 'SUBDOMAIN_INSTALL', false );
$base = '/wordpress/';
define( 'DOMAIN_CURRENT_SITE', 'localhost' );
define( 'PATH_CURRENT_SITE', '/wordpress/' );
define( 'SITE_ID_CURRENT_SITE', 1 );
define( 'BLOG_ID_CURRENT_SITE', 1 );

The wpmudev post called for editing my .htacess file to match the following, but mine was substantially the same, so I left it alone:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /wordpress/
RewriteRule ^index.php$ - [L]

# uploaded files
RewriteRule ^([_0-9a-zA-Z-]+/)?files/(.+) wp-includes/ms-files.php?file=$2 [L]

# add a trailing slash to /wp-admin
RewriteRule ^([_0-9a-zA-Z-]+/)?wp-admin$ $1wp-admin/ [R=301,L]

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} -f [OR]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} -d
RewriteRule ^ - [L]
RewriteRule ^([_0-9a-zA-Z-]+/)?(wp-(content|admin|includes).*) $2 [L]
RewriteRule ^([_0-9a-zA-Z-]+/)?(.*.php)$ $2 [L]
RewriteRule . index.php [L]

Next, I edited my wp-config file and dropped the following tables from my database. I’m pretty sure there’s room for disaster in all of the above steps. Backup.


At this point, the other blogs were gone, and I had a single blog. (And by gone, I mean GONE–this doesn’t merge all the subdomains–it just deletes everything but the main blog.)

One thing left to fix: redirecting the subdomains. I had to create a wildcard subdomain, so when someone goes to [subdomain].learningbusiness.net, it still showed the subdomain in the address bar. In cPanel, I went to the subdomain panel and added an explicit subdomain for each of my former subdomains and then I went to the redirect page in cPanel and added a redirect to my main URL so that if someone types the old subdomain, it redirects to the main domain and keeps the URL consistent. PedagogyFirst posts, on the other hand, I redirected to the EdTech category here on my personal blog where I imported all of my old posts. I’m sure I’ve broken a few links on other people’s posts (sorry!), but my posts are still there to be found with a little digging.