Sheryl Canter

Archive for December 2008

Integrate FlashChat in Drupal 5 or Drupal 6

FlashChat is a mature, full-featured chat program that is free without source code, $5 with. It can be integrated nicely with Drupal, but it’s not easy to figure out how. Here’s how.

The current version of FlashChat (5.0.10) contains a configuration file for Drupal integration (drupalCMS.php) that doesn’t work. So for starters, download the Drupal 5 & 6 Integration Kit.

That solves many problems, but not quite all.

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phpFreeChat in Drupal

If you’re running Drupal on a Web site and want to integrate chat software, check out the phpFreeChat module, which integrates the standalone phpFreeChat program into Drupal 5.x. I’m the current maintainer of this module, and just uploaded v1.3.

There’s a copy of the phpFreeChat module on my own Web site because I shared it from there while I figured out CVS, and don’t want to break the link. There’s also a phpFreeChat-compatible theme on my site that I haven’t uploaded to Drupal yet.

phpFreeChat is a great program (I added an “away” feature in the Drupal version), but has a limitation that may be a problem for some people: it conflicts with jquery if it’s on the same page. For most people this isn’t an issue, but if it is for you, you can use FlashChat – another feature-rich chat. I figured out how to integrate this with Drupal 5.x, and will post the configuration file and instructions shortly.

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Another Installation Already in Progress (But it’s Not)

I keep encountering an annoying error message as I try to set up my new 64-bit Vista laptop. Often when I try to install a program, I’m told that another installation is already in progress and I must complete that one first. But no other installation is in progress, and simply rebooting doesn’t help.

I googled this problem, and found some complicated advice about failed installations and the Windows Installer Cleanup Utility. But I find that this error occurs when a program installs just fine in every respect except that it leaves the Windows Installer Service running.

There’s a easy way to fix this.

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Brother Printer? Can’t Install Software on 64-Bit Vista?

Here the solution to an annoying problem that took me some time to track down. I’m posting the problem and the solution to help any other fellow sufferers there may be out there.

I have a brand new ThinkPad running 64-bit Vista. But when I tried to install Microsoft Office 2007, no joy – it would copy the files from DVD then stall until I cancelled it. Same thing happened with Office updates. When I tried to install the Java Development Kit (JDK), I got an error message saying that another install process was running and that had to complete first.

After much pain, I finally tracked this down to the Brother XP spl Service (BrSplService – brsvc01a.exe), installed with the software for my Brother MFC 420CN. I still have no idea what this does, but I did find a patch for the problem on the Brother site. Problem solved.

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Change Outlook Recurring Appointments without Losing Your History

In the old days, before everyone had a personal computer, paper appointment books provided a permanent record of what we did when. Sometimes that’s useful – sometimes you need to refer back. Today, I use Outlook on the PC and Pocket PC to keep track of my appointments. And when things are electronic, there is the potential for problems.

I have a recurring weekly appointment in Outlook, and I wanted to change the time of the appointment. That should be easy, right? You’d think you could change all the times going forward? But noooooo. Outlook warns you that if you make a change, all exceptions will be lost. But actually, it’s worse than that. It changes the time of every appointment – including appointments that occurred in the past. Happily I found a workaround.

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