Olivier Biot's blog

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Xkcd Episode 1110 for the Impatient

In case you really can't take the time to explore the hidden universe created by Xkcd in Episode #1110 (Click and Drag), you can find a down-scaled version of the original 165888 pixels wide by 65536 pixels tall artwork on this page, with direct links to the 225 images used in this fine issue.
Have fun!

Updating Drupal with FileZilla, WinMerge and 7-Zip on Windows in 10 steps

In a previous blog post I explained how to review and perform a Drupal update from the *NIX command-line.

Not always do you have access to the *NIX command-line, or you may feel more comfortable using off-the-shelf tools on your Windows computer for the job. Then this post is for you.

For me it takes about 10 minutes to process the 10 steps below. Writing up the post and providing screenshots took much longer.

Revisiting the lateral support for my 14 inch f/5 telescope

Time to resume working on my 14" f/5 telescope project.

The mirror cell parameters have been computed with PLOP. A standard 6 points cell it will be, with support points at 106.9mm. Here are a couple images of the cell - the discussion can be found on Cloudy Nights:

Spammers beware

Dear spammer, do not even bother spamming my blog. Your entries are filtered anyway, and links are "rel=nofollow" by default.
Any spammer will be reported to sites like www.stopforumspam.com.
Posted in reply to a recent surge of Turkish spammers, based on illegal paid blog spamming activity posted in r10 dot net. This activity has been reported to the owner of the forum.

Spread the word

You just wrote a blog post that you believe might be useful for others. Here's a simple way to lower the threshold for readers to bookmark and spread the word about your featured post: Share This. This neat Drupal module will display a "Share This" widget, where your audience can select their preferred soclai networking site where they want to share your words.

Configuring an SMTP server for sending mail with Drupal

Sending mails from Drupal is a feature we take for granted. Sometimes however you can't rely on the default SMTP settings available from your hosting provider. This week I was unable to send mails from my Drupal site, because the default sendmail installation was no longer functioning. Fortunately I quickly found a solution with the SMTP Authentication Support module.

Rearranging comments in Drupal

Moving comments around in Drupal is not (yet) straightforward. There is an experimental module that aims at providing this type of funcitonality, but the maintainers strongly discourage you in using it on live sites. If you're a daredevil, just go ahead and play with the comments table. You might ruin your comment structure though… unless you want to understand how Drupal manages comments. After reading this post you should be able to move comments without fear.

One URL to Rule them All, One URL to Find them, One URL to Bring them All and in the Web Bind them

If you read Tolkien's books you most likely will recognize the title of this blog post. It's about power. Absolute power. If you aim for high impact communication on the overloaded Internet, you better avoid being sandboxed by search engines because of duplicate links to essentially the same content. In addition, you don't want to confuse your audience in a spaghetti of URLs. Finally, duplication is hard to maintain anyway.

Fortunately there's a simple yet effective solution: the Global Redirect module.

Replacing node/123 links with more meaningful URLs

Ever wanted to know why Drupal exposes content via links like "node/123" instead of "content/some-more-meaningful-page-title-reference"? Or are you unhappy with URLs like "node/123"? Then read on.

The way Drupal manages content requests out-of-the-box is very lean and efficient, but it is not very meaningful for human beings, content recommendation engines or search engines. Fortunately there is an easy solution, requiring only 2 extra modules: Pathauto and Token.

EAGLE library for 2.45GHz planar inverted F antenna (PIFA)

In creating Mark II of a Bluetooth link with my telescope mount, I realized I would need a 2.45GHz antenna for better performance. So I went looking on the Internet for information on Bluetooth antennas. I collected 5 basic options: quarter-wave wire antenna, half-wave wire antenna, chip antenna, external 50Ω antenna, and planar (PCB) antenna:

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