Learning PostNuke

PostNuke by Kevin Hatch
I’ve begun reading PostNuke Content Management by Kevin Hatch

(Buy at Amazon.co.uk / Publisher’s website)

Having struggled to learn any Content Management System (CMS) from online tutorials and half-written documentation I was pleased to read that Kevin Hatch also regards much of the available documentation confusing. (He’s not the only one, Jeffrey Veen vents his spleen in this article on his blog.)

I’m hopeful. The book is very readable, and includes a number of real-life practical examples of how to set up PostNuke sites — something that is sorely missing from the online manuals. My hope is that this book will help me get my head around the theory behind how CMSs work, and that it will aid me to get to grips with not only PostNuke, but Drupal and even WordPress, from which this blog is powered. I’ll let you know how I get on.

Shower day tomorrow

Just on my way to bed now. It’s been a long day, but a good one. I was out on my bike again for the first time for a couple of months. It was good to be out cycling again.

Like I said, I’m on my way to bed. Just had a glance at my calendar in Outlook to see what I’m up to tomorrow. It appears I’m having a shower, so that will be nice … Oh, hang on. No. It says “Shrove Tuesday”, not “Shower Tuesday”. Sorry about that.

Spam watch

I don’t know about you, but I seem to be getting more and more spam these days. So I decided to monitor it for a week, and because I thought of that last Friday I began collecting spam on Saturday at midnight. I say ‘collecting’, I simply mean that I didn’t delete any after that. I use Microsoft Outlook 2003, which has a very good spam filter that traps around 99% of all my spam.

Over the course of a week, from Saturday 29 January, 00:00 to Friday 4 February, 23:59 I received a grand total of 855 spam emails. And in the words of Dave Gorman, let’s see what that does to the graph:

Spam graph
A graph of the number of spam emails that I received over seven days

That’s an average of 122.1428571 spam emails per day, which, as my friend James Frost rightly pointed out, is 38.879278941664008329950576272238 times pi. If I wasn’t using a spam filter imagine the amount of work I would have to do to delete all that evil spam. It really makes me sad, and angry, that people send out so much junk mail. It is quite upsetting.

Giving right of way to good drivers

Yesterday was a busy day. I had a couple of meetings and a service in the morning, and then the afternoon was spent getting ready for a team meeting and meal in the evening. At least, that was my plan.

I booted up my PC when I returned home, to check my email. A small icon appeared in the notification area, to the left of the clock, to inform me that there were system updates available. Curious as to what was on offer I clicked the icon and selected the advanced option: it was for my ATI Radeon 9800 graphics card.

Cool, I thought, and instructed my PC to download and install it. I thought nothing more of it. It downloaded, installed and requested a reboot. I agreed and headed out to Tesco for some shopping.

When I returned this 2.8 GHz PC was running slower than my 50MHz Dell 486 DX2. At least the graphics card was. It would take an age to update the screen. I’d drag a simple Explorer window across the screen and it looked as though it was doing everything in slow motion.

I tried to do a drivers rollback. That didn’t work. I didn’t have time to do a full Windows XP reinstall. I didn’t have time to restore a couple of Norton Ghost images of a system I knew worked. I decided instead to try something I’d been told worked wonders, but hadn’t tried yet, that involved a clever piece of software called Driver Cleaner.

I suspected that the problem was to do with conflicting drivers, I also suspected that the latest driver would handle XP SP2 better than the original driver, which was installed. And so the only way to make sure there were no traces of the old driver on the system was to completely uninstall it, disconnect my network cable (to ensure that XP didn’t attempt to install the drivers from the internet), boot to Safe Mode and run the miracle app Driver Cleaner, which carefully deletes all the appropriate files from my system and backup CAB files.

And it worked!

After the cleaning, I rebooted into Windows XP and installed the latest Radeon 9800 driver. My heart was in my mouth at this point. “This had better work,” I was muttering to myself. XP rebooted and looked to be taking longer than usual to refresh the opening screens. “Oh, no! It hasn’t worked,” I grumbled. “I can tell already.” Unusually, I was delighted to be proved wrong. All was now well in the land of my graphics card.

… but it hadn’t solved the problem of a clicking and popping sound whenever I listen to WinAmp or Windows Media Player and type while listening to it. For a while I’ve assumed that it is to do with a driver conflict, but which drivers I wasn’t sure. I’d just ruled out the Radeon driver as that was new, shiny and ready to rock, so was looking around for another culprit.

I’ve often wondered if it was the keyboard driver. I have a Microsoft Internet Keyboard Pro, which is now discontinued. The last driver that I have that supports that keyboard is Intellitype Pro 5.0. I’d tried the drivers in the Intellitype Pro 5.2 set of drivers but it doesn’t feature the Internet Pro keyboard, so I’d rolled back to 5.0, except that in Device Manager it was informing me that 5.1.x was installed, and that I had a generic PS/2 keyboard! I’ve never installed a 5.1! So I took a deep breath, uninstalled 5.1 and rebooted.

Guess what! It seems to have solved the problem. Device Manager now says that I have a Microsoft PS/2 Keyboard (Intellitype Pro) with Driver Version:

I wonder if my games will work now, and not keep crashing. A good couple day’s work, methinks.