(P)C:\ ADVENTure

You are in a small room, with shelving spanning two walls. A third wall is covered with simple shapes in a number of colours. They look like sprites from “Space Invaders”. By the entrance is a desk strewn with miscellaneous computer equipment: monitors, keyboards, laptops, optical disks. There is a large fake-leather chair by the desk.

There is food here: cheese on toast
There is a glass of milk here

My gradually-failing PC finally reached the point where it was more often not working than working, so I thought I’d better do something about it. I tried a motherboard replacement with no success. “Perhaps it’s the power supply?” I mused in guild chat, in between reboots and crashes.

So last night, having checked to see whether the PC was still unstable (yes — pretty much unusable) I untangled the spaghettiball of cables inside the case and swapped in the power supply from my currently-unused media centre PC1  It wasn’t a straightforward process, but thankfully I could at least remember where I’d stashed the spare cables2 and, after a bit of cursing re: graphics cards that require 2 PCI-e power connectors and which are long enough to overhang the SATA cables, I got everything plugged in.

*Click* *whirrr*

Ok. I can log in. That’s an improvement. Let’s jump ingame and stress test it. A quick frostlord run…done. Great. So what next — maybe I should *bweeeeee*

*Black screen*


Oshit. *sniff*

Is that… burning? BURNING!

*frantic unplugging*


You are in the small room with the shelving and the space invaders. A defeated and haggard-looking Ano is slumped by a wall. His knees are tucked under his chin, tangled hair covering his face. He looks at you blankly, then goes back to staring into space. Muttered curses are just audible.

There is a part-dismembered PC here
There is a screwdriver here
There is a tumbler containing oily amber liquid here
There is an open window to the east
There is a door to the west

Time for plan C. With a quick USE SCREWDRIVER I removed the remaining components from the media PC, discarding the TV tuners and redundant parts. After a certain amount of poking and prodding, more cable-restringing, a couple of skinned knuckles, some mid-level swearing, three instances of turning the case upside down to retrieve a dropped screw and several ow-my-neck-I-really-should-have-moved-the-case-from-under-the-desk breaks, I was ready.



*beep* *beepity-beep* *beepity*

Oh yeah. Many BIOS settings to change.



*beep* *bweee* <<auto-reboot>>

Oh you little basssss…*beep*

<windows logo>



<drive activity light goes nuts>

<time passes>

…and it’s working! Huzzah! Or at least I think it is. There was a certain amount of housekeeping to do, and I still can’t get the proper AHCI drivers to install because the dumbasses at AMD seemingly want to use the Catalyst installer for all driver installs, which would be fine except all it does (no matter what I download) is reinstall my graphics drivers. Which is irritating. But it does appear to… work. I think. Hopefully I’ll find out later tonight, when I get back from the zoo.3

You are in the small room with the shelving and the space invaders. In the corner, there are two piles of computer components. From a bedroom nearby comes the sound of someone operating a chainsaw. Or possibly someone drowning a pig. Whilst operating a chainsaw at the same time.

There is an empty tumbler here, smelling faintly of peat
There is a small pile of 6-32 screws here
There are some earplugs here

It’s dark. A hollow voice says “plugh”. 

  1. Happily, I discovered it was a nice 500W modular effort from OCZ rather than some no-name rubbish. Clearly I had been at least a little awake when preparing that machine… []
  2. the worst part about modular PSUs: remembering where you put the cables you didn’t need at build time []
  3. I’ve been invited to a party in London Zoo. I’ll find out tonight if I’m there only because the furry creatures will be asleep and they want someone to pet []

Battle.net comments

A quickie1.

I like the revised Battle.net, and I do enjoy reading the various blogs, updates, patch notes that they post there. I very much don’t like reading the comments on the various blogs, updates and patch notes. I’m sure there are some excellent comments in there somewhere, filled with wit, insight and the sort of personality that makes you want to pay for a server transfer on the offchance you might meet up with the author on a floating rock in Nagrand. The problem is, these notional perfect comments are completely buried by the “Why duz Bliz hate <class>” idiots and their drooling, badly-written face-mashed-on-a-keyboard drivel.

My problem is that if an article has comments, I’m seemingly powerless to stop myself reading them. Which then leaves me angry and depressed.

Here’s my solution:

// ==UserScript==
// @name Battle.Net Comment Hide
// @namespace http://www.mysteriousbuttons.com/
// @include http://*.battle.net/wow/en/blog/*
// ==/UserScript==

var commentsSection = document.getElementById('page-comments');
if (commentsSection) {

This works with Greasemonkey in Firefox (and presumably would work natively in Chrome) and neatly erases the entire comments section on battle.net blog pages before I have a chance to read them. Lovely.

See also http://www.mysteriousbuttons.com/2010/05/tech-tip-wowhead-everywhere/

  1. No, not that. Tsk. []

Tech tip: Wowhead *everywhere*!

UPDATED: Now with instructions for Chrome

As I’ve been away for the past couple of weeks, I’ve nothing much new to talk about inside the World of Warcraft. No PuGs, no eccentric players, no discovery of new and exciting places. I’ve made no further progress on my raiding objective (do to some) or any of the things I can do to change that (although I’ll be looking into that later this week).

Given that the only screenshot I have left in my emergency-brainlock-find-a-topic-to-post bank is of a bunch of people in Single Abstract Noun guildchat talking about hippos, which I’m not sure I should post, I’m going to post a guide to something you’ve probably already *found* a guide for. But hey — I’m behind the curve in the game, there’s no reason not to carry that on elsewhere, right? So, without further ado:

How to have Wowhead tooltips in Google Reader (or everywhere!)
First up, you need to be using Firefox. Or at least, for this tip to work as written you need to use Firefox. It may well be possible to do the same thing in Chrome [EDIT: It is possible to do the same thing in Chrome, see below], or in Safari, but I haven’t tested so YMMV.

Anyway. Step one is to install Greasemonkey. Greasemonkey is an addon which “allows you to customise the way web pages display using small pieces of javascript”, which is something of an understatement. There are literally thousands of useful scripts in the repository Userscripts.org that you can check out,  but the one we’re interested in is called Wowhead Google Reader. Click the install button.

With both Greasemonkey and Wowhead Google Reader installed, and after the requisite Firefox restarts, you should find that Wowhead links in posts you’re reading in Google Reader do the same tooltip magic that self-hosted blogs are able to do by adding the wowhead script to their site. Ace!

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! Yes, with a little tweak, you can have Wowhead tips on WordPress.com and Blogspot.com sites too. Shiny!

How? Easy. In Firefox, go to Tools > Greasemonkey > Manage User Scripts. You’ll see a dialog box. Click the “add” button by the Included Pages box and type in the WordPress and Blogspot URLs as shown below, and you should also see live Wowhead tooltips on those blogs too. In theory, you could do this for any site, although I’m not sure what would happen if you enabled it on a site which already had the Wowhead script running natively.

Wowhead tooltips for Blogspot.com and WordPress.com
Wowhead tooltips for Blogspot.com and WordPress.com

EDIT: Instructions for Chrome
To have the basic “tooltips in Reader” experience, you just need to visit the Wowhead Google Reader page on Userscripts and click install, then follow the prompts. The script will install as a Chrome Extension and you’re done. Unfortunately there doesn’t appear to be an easy interface to set which sites the script applied to, but you can edit the script yourself.

Go to the userscript page as before, but this time right-click>Save as the Install button to save a copy of the script to your desktop. Open it in a handy text editor (Notepad, Gedit, whatever). It’s a short script, and you just need to add two lines to the header so that what was

// @description    This script adds wowhead power to google reader
// @include        https://www.google.com/reader/view/*
// @include 	   http://www.google.com/reader/view/*
// @version        0.3
[more stuff]


// @description    This script adds wowhead power to google reader
// @include        https://www.google.com/reader/view/*
// @include 	   http://www.google.com/reader/view/*
// @include	   http://*.wordpress.com/*
// @include	   http://*.blogspot.com/*
// @version        0.3
[more stuff]

Save the altered file (which has a .js extension). Then drag and drop the extension file into a new blank tab in Chrome, and you’ll get the regular extension install message — say yes, and you’re done!

Tech tip: For WordPress/Google Reader users

EDIT: One drawback to this method is that it’s based on individual posts, not posts-per-feed. So if someone’s blog twitches and reposts all of their content to their RSS feed as new… well, that’s what you’ll see.

Two things were bugging me.

  1. I really like the “recently updated blogs” widget thingy that blogger users have access to. It’s very cool. I wanted it for Mysterious Buttons, which is self-hosted using WordPress.
  2. Maintaining a blogroll is a pain. I’m still adding 2-3 new wowblogs/week to my reading list 7-8 new wowblogs/week to my reading list (thank you FollowFriday) and exporting/editing/importing the OMPL file from Google Reader into WordPress is a pain.

So I did some looking. And some fiddling. And played a bit with WP Social Blogroll before giving up. And did some more fiddling. And found a solution I think I like.

I now have two folders of WoW-related links in Reader – a “main” set which is shared, and second set which contains the feed from MB, my armoury feed and any sites I’m still unsure of (sites I’ve just discovered, basically). Any sites I add to the main set are automatically included in the blogroll, and updates to those sites appear in the “Blogroll updates” box.

Here’s what I did.

WARNING: for this to work, you have to make your WoWblogs folder(s) “public” in Google Reader. You’ll want to play with the privacy settings and potentially edit your user details in the account page, lest you inadvertently expose yourself (oo-er).

In Reader, go to Settings > Reader Settings > Folders and Tags. Choose the folder of links you want to include and change it’s sharing setting to “public”. Four options are then available.

To start with, choose “add a blogroll to your site”. Delete the text in the “title” box (as you’ll add a title to the container box on your site) and change the colour scheme to “none”. This should mean that, when we add the list to WordPress, it picks up styling from your theme. Then select the HTML snippet in the box and copy it.

Go to the Appearance>Widgets section in your WordPress dashboard, and drag a new “Text” widget to an appropriate place on your sidebar. Give it an appropriate name (“Rollblog”?) and paste the HTML you copied into the box. Hit save.

If you also want to add the “recently updated” feed, then read on. If you’re done, skip ahead two paragraphs.

To get the “recently updated items” feed, head back to Reader, to Settings > Reader Settings > Folders and Tags, and this time choose “add a clip to your site”. Once again, remove the text in the title box and choose “none” as your colour scheme. You’ll also want to make sure the “show item sources” box is ticked. You might want to untick the “show item notes” box, depending on how you use Reader. Again, copy the HTML snippet from the box and return to WordPress.

In WordPress, as with the blogroll item, add a new Text widget to your sidebar, give it a title and paste in your HTML. Save. Almost done!

If you view your site now you should hopefully see these new items which (hopefully!) will have picked up styling from your site’s theme. I found it necessary, however, to tweak just a couple of things in the CSS so things worked how I wanted them to. To fix these, you need to edit your theme’s CSS file. For the theme I’m currently using, I could do this in a single file, accessible from Appearance > Editor in the WordPress Dashboard, but depending on permissions YMMV.

I added the text below to the CSS file:

/* Google Reader specific styles */
#readerpublishermodule0 .s a { font-weight:normal;}
#readerpublishermodule0 .s { font-size: 9px; margin-bottom: 15px; }
#readerpublishermodule1 .f { margin-left: 10px; margin-top: 25px; }
#readerpublishermodule0 .f { margin-left: 10px; margin-top: 25px; }

A quick explaination

The snippet from Google reader you pasted in generates divblocks with IDs of “readerpublishermoduleX”, where X is a number starting at 0 and corresponds to the number of snippets from Reader on the page. On Mysterious Buttons, there are two, hence the styles for 0 and 1. These divs also have an overarching class, but I chose to work with the ID values to allow me to adjust them individually if necessary.

Individual elements have one-letter classes applied:

  • “i” is the item title & link (I didn’t need to style this)
  • “s” is the source, complete with link
  • “f” is the footer (the “view all” link)

My styles are specific to the current theme I’m using: for the “recently updated” section (module0) I removed the boldface from the source link, reduced the typesize of the source line and added some clear space below to separate the entries. For both sections, I indented the “View all” link so it aligned with the other elements and added some clear space above it.