NWN Making new modules

I decided I wanted to author a module. So I found the obvious resources and links and started the tutorial, the Invasion of Fern. [Aurora Toolset Tutorial] I, of course, found some stuff to be missing. This page is my my how to code a module page. This article contains broken Bioware links and now broken Vault links. Continue reading “NWN Making new modules”

British Higher Education

Decline & Fall

In Feb 2007, a manifesto/biography entitled Decline and Fall of the British University appeared on the internet but its host site disappeared pretty quickly. The Google cache has also expired now.

It was signed by Mark Tarver, who argues that the expansion of student numbers and the increased and payment of tuition fees has led to a reduction in educational quality as ‘hard’ subjects can’t attract the students to warrant the teaching and the funders collude to ensure increasing pass rates, for in the governments case, political gain, and in the student/parent’s case economic gain. It was also blogged by Scatman Dan, on his blog under the same title.

Tarver’s article is back online, probably has been for a while. 17th July 2009

LAMP & Ubuntu

This should be easier, but I think made harder because I corrupted my Firefox applications helper list, and then chose the wrong way out

My problem, the browser tries to download index.phtml, in retrospect because, I believe that the module wasn’t properly installed into apache. Using Ubuntu 9.04

The Right Way

This page, Apache MySQL PHP at https://help.ubuntu.com/ is the bible.

apt-get install  apache2 php5 php5-mysql libapache2-mod-php5 php5-mysql mysql-server

I am running in a virtual box so I needed to create a /etc/apache2/conf.d/fqdn. There wasn’t one on my system, it needs the line

ServerName localhost

I suspect that fixed it, and that my errors were caused by not initially correctly installing libapache2-mod-php5. I have proved that my install works by using Opera. Now to remove the .phtml line from the firefox browser and make the vm a server.

Centos 4.7

I built a Sun Virtual Box VM based on Centos 4.7. June 2009

1st Impressions

Its a long time since I used Red Hat. If you don’t want to cut CD’s use one of the single file .iso images. I used the DVD version.

When I tried to install it on my XP SP/3, the install process failed and rolled back. This trouble ticket, #3701 details how to fix the windows registry which was damaged at v2.2.0.

The Centos install process installs an SMP and uniprocessor version into GRUB and grub is configured to start the SMP version as default. This thread, entitled CentOS 4.7 guest won’t start, suggests that one should configure PAE/NX=on for the SMP image, which is not the default at V2.2.4. So I have set it and it works for me.

The above three items I posted to my Sun blog on 2nd July ’09

The screen resizing doesn’t work well out of the box but there’s a sticky thread called “Howto: Install Linux Guest Additions + Xorg config” in the Virtual Box Linux Guests forum.

There’s a sudo error. The default admin user is not authorised to use sudo. (See this at the Red Hat knowledge base.) One needs to unhash a line in the sudoers file and add the admin user to the sudoers group using visudo & usermod.

Locate needs updatedb run, but apropos works and I can’t find catman, even using apropos.

Shared Folders

Works as expected, define the share name in the GUI, install

# mount -t vboxsf sharename ${mountpoint}
# ls ${mountpoint}

then add the line to /etc/fstab and test using mount -a

# echo sharenamet ${mountpoint}t vboxsf >>/etc/fstab
# mount -a

Python 2.4

Looks like we need a parallel i.e. source code install and use the PATH statement to allow bzr and planet if necessary to utilise it. Certainly, bzr will not install against python 2.3. A shed load of the distro is written in 2.3. An upgrade would seem to be difficult and dangerous.

Snipsnap, RSS & XML feeds

This page was originally entitled “Snipsnap Blog & XML Feeds”. It documented one of the crucial failings in snipsnap; it’s limited rss feed size, of 10 and the blog article naming which means that it considered nearly all the articles to be titled “1”. In 2009, I experimented with using Google reader as a feed aggregator, good choice eh? The final part of this article documented my experiments and gave hints on how to follow me using the google reader feed. This is now no longer available.

Snipsnap Blog & XML Feeds

The snipsnap blog is displayed in HTML using the {weblog} macro. The weblog is also exposed using RSS and the default is to constrain these objects to 10 items.

I have looked at creating a page with more weblog items but I suspect that constraints within the snipsnap code will prohibit the xml feed from being larger than 10 items. I do not have the code skills to change this.

I did however create a feed in google reader so the complete feed is available via that feed. I could have used a number of feed aggregator/forwarders, such as a private planet or feedburner. I created the feed in November 2009 so previous articles will have to be mined. I could help with a delicious tag cloud for the blogs.

Snipsnap’s own tools aren’t good. There’s no automatic tagging, the tagging interface is slow and cumbersome and the index titles of the blog article are the dates and order serial, so that even if tagged the tag list is unusable.

Using Google Reader as a feed aggregator

This is all now useless. Perhaps I’ll delete it one day.

The first URL is a google reader URL, and the second is the XML file and will be rendered by your browser

To construct a google feed address, prepend the feed address with the following string,

To interpret the address above, %2F is the html visible code for /, %3A is : %3D is = and %3F is ?

LLTD on Linux

It seems this is possible, and would be useful for work where all the laptops are Vista machines.


There’s not that much on the web, and I’d have thought there was an Ubuntu package, but I can’t find it.

I ran the make and got this error,

../src/state.c: In function 'state_process_packet':
../src/state.c:177: error: 'UINT_MAX' undeclared (first use in this function)
../src/state.c:177: error: (Each undeclared identifier is reported only once
../src/state.c:177: error: for each function it appears in.)
make: *** [state.o] Error 1

There is one thread on the ‘net, at howtoforge forums, but the advice is incomplete. I returned to the howto forge page and studied the comments. They advice linking the bourne and bash shells and addding an include line in state.c. It now compiles but does not behave as I expect, or as documented in Microsofts guide.

I created a short URL for the howto tutorial because I took the script from there. http://is.gd/5rhUK

I have used the package manager to download and install samba and its documentation. The Ubuntu page documenting Samba is here…, and with both LLTD and with smbd & nmbd running, the Vista boxes can browse the shared area. (Do I need LLTD? It seems not, I restarted the lltd daemon and it failed to open some resource. I need to document it. )


This was copied across in June 2013. It probably died of relevance as Vista was replaced. It’s one of the things I looked into when trying to use a Vista laptop at work between 2009 and 2011.

If you have something to add, please do so.

Perils of Branwen (Downloads)

This is the downloads page. This page was last updated, prior to being copied over to wiki.daveley.info on 11 Nov 2009, I was sent the Russian Translation late in 2010, and posted it to davelevy.info in June 2012. I placed the Russian Translation on this page in June 2013, when I copied the page to this site. This version 3 i.e. snipsnap page was created on 30th December 2007 when I retired content relating to previous versions and also to any development plans. Continue reading “Perils of Branwen (Downloads)”


I have and shall be was visiting Brussels on a regular basis. This page was copied accross from the v3 wiki in the early summer of 2013. I had stopped visiting Brussels for business in 2009, but on 4th August 2013, Starwood Hotels spammed me with notice of new and old hotels. I decided to revise the page. I have changed the tense in this paragraph, I put some linkrolls in for hotels and restaurants and links to the photos. Most of the what I say here is now getting dated.


More of my pictures are here….

About Hotels

Hotels in Brussels during the working week are expensive. I have at the moment a very long list of hotels on my del.icio.us tag list and on my google map. I am looking for an acceptably priced hotel near Rond Point Schuman, or on Metro Line 1 with internet access. The *** Hotels I have tried do not have either internet, nor mini bars, and while I am not desperate for booze during the night, it is nice to have some water.

My Brussels Map

This is the Google Map, I have focussed it on the Rond Point Schuman, in the European Quarter.

View Larger Map


  • Sofitel; list prices are not cheap, but located on the Place Jourdain in the European Quarter, near the Berlaymont and Rond Point Schuman.
  • Carrefour d’Europe, a Best Western near the Gare Centrale. On metro route 1 and the train to Zaventem. I have never stayed here since its always full and I book late.
  • Le Meridien, a Starwood Group hotel, again near the Gare Centrale. Nice but pricey, often full if one books late.

More Hotels

  • Comfort Art Hotel Siru, well written about in the Rough Guide, which is right about the decoration, but has no internet, let alone broadband. (I only stayed there one night because if this, I was on business and this was unacceptable.) The mini bar was empty and a dispensing machine on the 6th floor was recommended. This had no water. It is above the Saint Germain Brasserie, which is nice, with good service. This is a 3* Hotel. The bathroom was huge and had a bath. Breakfast is served in the Brasserie. It is located on Place Rogier, so near the Gare du Nord and on Metro 2. Some might consider this hotel in an unnecessarily exciting and colourful part of town.
  • I should try the Hilton Brussels, while I have a gold card, its interestingly located on the edge of the old town near to “Louise” and the “European Quarter”. Its pinned on the Map above.
  • I stayed in the “NH City Centre” once, good restaurant, smallish but adequate room, broadband internet, great views from the room I had, the location needs exploring, and it wasn’t so well located for the business I had.


  • Check out the Rough Guide


Things to do

  • You can visit the European Parliament building.
  • The pictures in the Musee des Belle Artes.
  • The awesome Grand Place
  • The Winterfest in St. Catherine’s.

NWN Henchmen

While playing the official campaign I got fed up with the henchman’s poor behaviour in combat and started to research what can be done. I started a thread at rpgdungeon.net which discusses improving henchpersons. I write a bit about henchmen in my NWN Playing a Paladin article, which was my first, but for the later games, it’s mainly here.  Also Wikipedia has a very comprehensive article on the henchmen. This page talks about the AI mods, Sharwyn, , Mischa Waymeet & Dorna Trapspringer and the last battle in the Official/Original Campaign. Continue reading “NWN Henchmen”

Tagging Engines

While http://delicious.com/ is a fantastic social bookmarking site, its not easy to implement inside a firewall, which needs to be done if the URL list to be tagged is an intranet resource.

Open Source alternatives

Here’s some alternatives,

which needs from

Installing Scuttle

  1. Download WAMP – this works pretty much out of the box, only problem is if IIS is already running in which case you need to either let Apache use another port, or turn it off. Use phpmyadmin to create a new database and a user with rights to use the new database. Its best to sue the same name as the O/S user, document the password.
  2. Download Scuttle – this is a zip file and I had problems with Windows Vista as it has problems dealing with the file hierarchy names. You can download your favourite evaluation version of a tool, or I downloaded cygwin which since I used it to run the .sql file, I found useful and there is no problem with license and uncompress | tar -x works fine.
  3. Download Cygwin – Not exactly mandatory, but I prefer it, every windows systems should have one.
B$ export PATH=${WAMPHOME}/bin/mysql/mysql${VERSION}/bin:${PATH}
B$ cd ${WAMPHOME}/www/${scuttlehome}
B$ mysql -P$DBPASSWD < tables.sql

Configure PHP as a database client. Copy all the scuttle files to an appropriate location with the web server’s public file system. ${ROOT}/scuttle is good, but I don’t use it. Copy config.inc.php.example to config.inc.php, and amend the user, password and database values to the ones you have used and set. Add the line


to this file, otherwise you get a bunch of forward compatibility warnings.

That’s enough I’ll write up my usability tests another day, I expect to repeat some of these notes on the project’s sourceforge pages. but didn’t!

Dell Dimension 5150c

This was originally entitled “Our New XP Box”. I changed the title when I copied the snip across to WordPress in July 2013.

The snip is called our new box. It isn’t so new anymore, but is about the Dell Dimension 5150c.

As of 30th Dec 2008, the User Manual is available as a .pdf. You might need to be logged into the site to read/get this.

Archiving the Pictures

Some years ago, I bought a Freecom DVD writer and decided to back up the pictures to DVD. XP did not originally support DVD writing and I have no idea if that’s changed so I needed to use Roxio Creator to do this.

Making Videos

In the Spring 2008, I decided to try and make some talking heads videos. My endeavours are documented on below Spring 2008


I am not sure where this comes from, but I have been trying to use it to make videos with a USB webcam. Basicaly I can’t get the sound to work. Google helped me find this FAQ.

I can now hear the sound on a Video. The key is to use the volume control to turn up the Recording volume.

Dell Forums

The mucked around with the forums again in Dec 2008. I am not sure the links below work any longer.

They now have an XP Support Centre & self help forum. They also have an all my posts page.

Dell Forums and Safe Mode

I also had reason to create  Windows Boot Menu page on this site. I was doing some housekeeping on my Dell Dimension 5150c and discovered that yet again the Dell Support site had been improved. There used to be tech support articles about the various systems they sold and are in use, but I finally found a reference on to how to bring the system up in Safe Mode, which I have documented. It implies that this is no longer different for each model and that Dell have standardised on F8. Anyway that’s what works on my machine. Interestingly hard to find I tried both Google and Exalead, but eventually found it using Google, of course.

External Disk

I installed an external disk to hold the pictures, music and maybe videos, i.e. the home directories.

Using the Fax

On 14th Sept 2009, I tried to send a Fax to Spain. This was after the new hub/router line was set up. The fax failed several times; I had tried to enter the hotel into the windows address book with a phone compatible fax number i.e. +34… I solved the problem by entering the destination as a one-off and specifying the destination country using a pull down menu. The fax console reported the destination number as 00 34 …., not +34. I used hyperterminal to test the line. This is a nuisance. It seems I need to store the fax numbers as UK specific, although I don’t use the phone much as a fax transmission device.

Action: The computer modem external wiring needs tidying up when the old btconnect line is terminated. i.e. It is currently using the old data line.

Desktop Icons

XP does not have “My Documents”, “My Computer” or “My Network Places” on the desktop. They can be placed their using

        Desktop -> Properties -> Customize Desktop

Security Center (sic) on XP aka the state of my box!

Written shortly after purchase, dated 7th Feb

It seems that XP can only have one security centre solution. The system comes with McAfee and I need Norton. Sadly I didn’t understand this and have had to restart the rebuild.

I have therefore had to trash certain pieces of work. With help I have managed to resolve my W98 systems network problems. (This was caused by one of the auto exec programs blocking the port on the W98 system). The W98 system is now acting as the print server. This came back OK.

I misread the screen configuration parameters and the drivers work out of the box. I have a lovely 19″ flat screen, which seems to be working fine.

Paintshop Pro is now owned by Corel and I have a trial licence. I wonder if my one & one subscription still entitles me to a PSP right-to-use. I need to track this down. Otherwise I need to discover the best way to obtain a right-to-use, otherwise maybe I should bite the bullet and buy Photoshop.

I expect I shall put OpenOffice on the box first, since some of the .doc files I have are too old for MS`Works’ word processor to read. (I shall be installing MS Office Educational Edition, in order to ensure that the MS file types have default methods that invoke the Microsoft programs.)

I need to go back to http://art.gnome.org in order to download some more wall papers.

I have also lost some of the file transfers from the laptop and old W98 system.

Other snips here

See also Help & Support, &  I now have an Audio snip, which deals with installing a Microphone, and the CTMBHA.DLL driver issues as well. Xmas 2006


At about the same time that I bought the Dell I also bought an Alienware Aurora, which worked fine for two and half years and then developed a frustrating problem


Snipsnap Problems

This was copied across from the snipsnap bliki on 26th July. It’s all a bit redundant now, but it might be useful for others. This was a pagfe that documented my work in building the configuration and in some places represented a work in progress. In some cases, the resolution is not documented and in others I failed to resolve it. I eventually gave up on snipsnap. Hope this page helps someone! Continue reading “Snipsnap Problems”