How to generate a deployment key for Bitbucket

  1. SSH into your server
  2. Run “ssh-keygen -t rsa” to generate a public and private key pair
  3. It will ask you where you to save the files.  I recommend “/root/.ssh/bitbucket”
  4. It will ask you to choose a passphrase. Since we’re just using this for deployments, you can leave the passphrase blank. If a hacker manages to steal these files, they probably have access to the code on your server anyway (which is all that this key will give them access to).
  5. Run “cat /root/.ssh/”. It will spit out your newly generated public key. Copy it to your clipboard.
  6. On, go into your repo settings, click “Deployment keys” on the left and paste in your new key
  7. Run “nano /root/.hgrc”
  8. Add this to the file:
    ssh = ssh -i /root/.ssh/bitbucket
    users = www-data
  9. cd into your project directory
  10. “hg clone ssh:// .” (The trailing dot clones into the current directory if you’ve already created it — make sure it’s empty or this won’t work)
  11. It should clone succesfully now. You can “hg pull && hg up –clean” whenever you like without any passwords. This might not be the most robust way to deploy, but it’s quick and easy.

Substitute “root” for your username if you SSH in as someone else.





Meteor, Blade + Windows 8


Meteor is a hot new Node-based web development framework.

Blade is a templating language based on Jade, which is a bit similar to Haml.

Windows 8 is an operating system that no one but me likes.


I’m assuming you’re already up and running with Node.

Meteor isn’t officially supported on Windows yet, so you have to install it a bit differently than suggested on their docs. Fortunately, someone has created an .msi installer for us. Run it.

If you haven’t done so,

npm install -g blade

. If “npm” isn’t a registered command, check your Start Screen for “Node.js Command Prompt” and use that instead of that standard


. It should have all the paths set up correctly for you.

Now find your




folders. Mine are located at



C:\Program Files (x86)\Meteor\packages


Inside the


folder there should be another folder called “meteor”. Copy and paste this in-place to make a duplicate, then rename your copy to “blade”. We want to rename it before we move it because there is a folder in the meteor packages called “meteor” already. Now cut-and-paste your new folder into Meteor/packages.

Now go into


and copy all the files inside there into your newly created



Now edit


and change this line:

blade = require('../../packages/blade/node_modules/blade');

To point to the proper node module, e.g.,

blade = require('C:/Users/Mark/AppData/Roaming/npm/node_modules/blade');

That’s it.

Adding blade to your Meteor project



into your project folder and

meteor add blade


Usage is explained on the official Blade wiki.

(Sorry for the terrible formatting, those are supposed to be inline code blocks… I hate WordPress)

Microphone Boost

This post is a bit a different than my usual posts.

I was on Skype, about to start a gaming session with my friend, when he notified me that my mic was really quiet compared to when he talked to his other friends. I checked my settings, everything was maxed out in both Skype and Windows Sound settings.

He told me about this “microphone boost” option that he used before, but I didn’t seem to have it. I thought maybe my driver was out of date?

I tried updating my driver via Windows Devices to no avail, so I tried looking for one from my hardware vendor. Problem is, I couldn’t remember who made my hardware, and I didn’t feel like popping open my computer.

I’ve used a program to give me my device information in the past, but I also couldn’t remember what it was called. I found a new one called HWiNFO which seems to do a pretty good job though. It looks like this:

From here I could see my motherboard was an Asus Sabertooth 55i. Googling “asus sabertooth 55i drivers” lead me to the driver I needed. Get the audio driver.

Unless of course, you have a dedicated sound card. Then grab the driver for that instead! I had one before, but I didn’t feel the need to plug it in for my new rig.

After installing the driver (and a mandatory reboot), I found this ugly guy on my desktop:

Doesn’t have a lot of settings (that I can see), but the volume slider wasn’t maxed out yet.

So I upped that, and then went back into my sound settings and discovered I had a new option!

Upping the Microphone Boost to just 10 dB give me a huge boost in volume output. Huzzah!

Hopefully someone else with the same problem will find this post useful.

Thread-Safe Observable Priority Queue for WPF

Building on my last post, I realized that you couldn’t push elements onto the queue from a worker thread, making it pretty much useless. However, if we dispatch the pushes back to the UI thread, it should work, right?

Here’s (what I believe to be) a thread-safe observable priority queue with notifications for use in WPF.

class PriorityQueue<TValue, TPriority> : IEnumerable<TValue>, INotifyCollectionChanged
    where TValue : INotifyPropertyChanged
    where TPriority : IComparable
    private SortedDictionary<TPriority, Queue<TValue>> dict;
    private int count;
    private Dispatcher dispatcher;

    public int Count { get { return count; } }
    public bool Empty { get { return Count == 0; } }

    public PriorityQueue(Dispatcher dispatcher = null)
        this.dispatcher = dispatcher ?? Dispatcher.CurrentDispatcher;
        this.count = 0;
        this.dict = new SortedDictionary<TPriority, Queue<TValue>>(new ReverseComparer());

    private class ReverseComparer : IComparer<TPriority>
        public int Compare(TPriority x, TPriority y) { return y.CompareTo(x); }

    public virtual void Push(TValue val, TPriority pri = default(TPriority))
        if (dispatcher.CheckAccess())
            if (!dict.ContainsKey(pri)) dict[pri] = new Queue<TValue>();
            OnCollectionChanged(new NotifyCollectionChangedEventArgs(NotifyCollectionChangedAction.Add, val));
            dispatcher.Invoke(new Action<TValue, TPriority>(Push), DispatcherPriority.Send, val, pri);

    public virtual TValue Peek()
        return dict.First().Value.Peek();

    public virtual TValue Pop()
        if (dispatcher.CheckAccess())
            var pair = dict.First();
            var queue = pair.Value;
            var val = queue.Dequeue();
            if (queue.Count == 0) dict.Remove(pair.Key);
            OnCollectionChanged(new NotifyCollectionChangedEventArgs(NotifyCollectionChangedAction.Remove, val));
            return val;
            return (TValue)dispatcher.Invoke(new Func<TValue>(Pop), DispatcherPriority.Send);

    public event NotifyCollectionChangedEventHandler CollectionChanged;

    public virtual void OnCollectionChanged(NotifyCollectionChangedEventArgs e)
        if (CollectionChanged != null)
            CollectionChanged(this, e);

    public IEnumerator<TValue> GetEnumerator()
        foreach (var queue in dict.Values)
            foreach (var value in queue)
                yield return value;

    IEnumerator IEnumerable.GetEnumerator()
        return GetEnumerator();

Read this blog post to find out how this works.

Django Send HTML Emails

You can use this little function to load emails from a template and send them in both HTML and plaintext formats.

from django.core.mail import EmailMultiAlternatives
from django.template import loader, Context
from django.conf import settings

def send_multipart_email(subject, template, data_dict, recipient_list, from_email=settings.DEFAULT_FROM_EMAIL):
    if type(recipient_list) != list: recipient_list = [recipient_list]
    tt = loader.get_template(template+'.txt')
    c = Context(data_dict)
    e = EmailMultiAlternatives(subject, tt.render(c), from_email, recipient_list)
        ht = loader.get_template(template+'.html')
        e.attach_alternative(ht.render(c), 'text/html')

Django, Flatpages, Markdown, and Syntax Highlighting

For what should have been an easy task, this turned out to be extraordinarily difficult.

I assume you have Django already installed. If not, the tutorials on aren’t too terrible, provided you’re not on a shared server (that’s another story!). I’m using Flatpages, but you can use whatever you want to follow along with this tutorial.

1. Install Markdown and Pygments for Python if you haven’t already. If you’re on Ubuntu, you can `sudo apt-get install python-markdown` or `easy_install Markdown` and `sudo apt-get install python-pygments`.

2. Go into your Django app and `mkdir templatetags`. This should be at the same level as ``, `` and ``. Then `cd` into that directory, and `touch` (so that it becomes a module) and then add another file called something like `` (don’t name it “” — that’ll bite you later). Paste this code in there:

from django import template
from django.template.defaultfilters import stringfilter

from django.conf import settings

register = template.Library()

def markdown(value, arg=''):
    Filter to create HTML out of Markdown, using custom extensions.

    The diffrence between this filter and the django-internal markdown
    filter (located in ``django/contrib/markup/templatetags/``)
    is that this filter enables extensions to be load.


        {{ object.text|markdown }}
        {{ object.text|markdown:"save" }}
        {{ object.text|markdown:"codehilite" }}
        {{ object.text|markdown:"save,codehilite" }}

    This code is taken from

        import markdown
    except ImportError:
        if settings.DEBUG:
            raise (template.TemplateSyntaxError,
                   "Error in {% markdown %} filter: "
                   + "The markdown library isn't installed.")
        else :
            from django.utils.html import escape, linebreaks
            return linebreaks(escape(value))
        if len(extensions) > 0 and extensions[0] == "safe" :
            extensions = extensions[1:]
            safe_mode = True
        else :
            safe_mode = False
        return markdown.markdown(value, extensions, safe_mode=safe_mode)

Yes, I’m leaving the link in there; I didn’t write that code.

3. Go into `` and add your app to the `INSTALLED_APPS`. You actually have to `import` your own app too; this baffled me for about an hour. My app is called `tech_eval` so my `INSTALLED_APPS` looks like this:

import tech_eval # you can put this line at the top of if you want


4. Like I said, I’m using Flatpages, so my template looks like this (I saved it to djangoproject/app/templates/flatpages/default.html).

{% load tags %}
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.1//EN" "">
<html xmlns="" xml:lang="en">
    <title>{{ flatpage.title }}</title>
    <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="/tech_eval/media/css/code_style.css" />
    <h1>{{ flatpage.title }}</h1>
    {{ flatpage.content|markdown:"codehilite"|safe}}

Notice how we filter the content with markdown, make sure the codehilite extension is used, and flag it as `safe` afterwords (otherwise Django will automatically character-encode everything).

5. Hopefully this is already working for you at this point, but you probably want to add some color to your code. You can generate the appropriate css file with this:

pygmentize -f html -S default -a .codehilite >> code_style.css

Some different styles you can use (at least on my system) are:

['manni', 'colorful', 'murphy', 'autumn', 'bw', 'pastie', 'native', 'perldoc', 'borland', 'trac', 'default', 'fruity', 'emacs', 'friendly']

(stolen from here).

Or just copy and paste this CSS file if you’re lazy:

.codehilite .c { color: #408080; font-style: italic } /* Comment */
.codehilite .err { border: 1px solid #FF0000 } /* Error */
.codehilite .k { color: #008000; font-weight: bold } /* Keyword */
.codehilite .o { color: #666666 } /* Operator */
.codehilite .cm { color: #408080; font-style: italic } /* Comment.Multiline */
.codehilite .cp { color: #BC7A00 } /* Comment.Preproc */
.codehilite .c1 { color: #408080; font-style: italic } /* Comment.Single */
.codehilite .cs { color: #408080; font-style: italic } /* Comment.Special */
.codehilite .gd { color: #A00000 } /* Generic.Deleted */
.codehilite .ge { font-style: italic } /* Generic.Emph */
.codehilite .gr { color: #FF0000 } /* Generic.Error */
.codehilite .gh { color: #000080; font-weight: bold } /* Generic.Heading */
.codehilite .gi { color: #00A000 } /* Generic.Inserted */
.codehilite .go { color: #808080 } /* Generic.Output */
.codehilite .gp { color: #000080; font-weight: bold } /* Generic.Prompt */
.codehilite .gs { font-weight: bold } /* Generic.Strong */
.codehilite .gu { color: #800080; font-weight: bold } /* Generic.Subheading */
.codehilite .gt { color: #0040D0 } /* Generic.Traceback */
.codehilite .kc { color: #008000; font-weight: bold } /* Keyword.Constant */
.codehilite .kd { color: #008000; font-weight: bold } /* Keyword.Declaration */
.codehilite .kp { color: #008000 } /* Keyword.Pseudo */
.codehilite .kr { color: #008000; font-weight: bold } /* Keyword.Reserved */
.codehilite .kt { color: #B00040 } /* Keyword.Type */
.codehilite .m { color: #666666 } /* Literal.Number */
.codehilite .s { color: #BA2121 } /* Literal.String */
.codehilite .na { color: #7D9029 } /* Name.Attribute */
.codehilite .nb { color: #008000 } /* Name.Builtin */
.codehilite .nc { color: #0000FF; font-weight: bold } /* Name.Class */
.codehilite .no { color: #880000 } /* Name.Constant */
.codehilite .nd { color: #AA22FF } /* Name.Decorator */
.codehilite .ni { color: #999999; font-weight: bold } /* Name.Entity */
.codehilite .ne { color: #D2413A; font-weight: bold } /* Name.Exception */
.codehilite .nf { color: #0000FF } /* Name.Function */
.codehilite .nl { color: #A0A000 } /* Name.Label */
.codehilite .nn { color: #0000FF; font-weight: bold } /* Name.Namespace */
.codehilite .nt { color: #008000; font-weight: bold } /* Name.Tag */
.codehilite .nv { color: #19177C } /* Name.Variable */
.codehilite .ow { color: #AA22FF; font-weight: bold } /* Operator.Word */
.codehilite .w { color: #bbbbbb } /* Text.Whitespace */
.codehilite .mf { color: #666666 } /* Literal.Number.Float */
.codehilite .mh { color: #666666 } /* Literal.Number.Hex */
.codehilite .mi { color: #666666 } /* Literal.Number.Integer */
.codehilite .mo { color: #666666 } /* Literal.Number.Oct */
.codehilite .sb { color: #BA2121 } /* Literal.String.Backtick */
.codehilite .sc { color: #BA2121 } /* Literal.String.Char */
.codehilite .sd { color: #BA2121; font-style: italic } /* Literal.String.Doc */
.codehilite .s2 { color: #BA2121 } /* Literal.String.Double */
.codehilite .se { color: #BB6622; font-weight: bold } /* Literal.String.Escape */
.codehilite .sh { color: #BA2121 } /* Literal.String.Heredoc */
.codehilite .si { color: #BB6688; font-weight: bold } /* Literal.String.Interpol */
.codehilite .sx { color: #008000 } /* Literal.String.Other */
.codehilite .sr { color: #BB6688 } /* Literal.String.Regex */
.codehilite .s1 { color: #BA2121 } /* Literal.String.Single */
.codehilite .ss { color: #19177C } /* Literal.String.Symbol */
.codehilite .bp { color: #008000 } /* Name.Builtin.Pseudo */
.codehilite .vc { color: #19177C } /* Name.Variable.Class */
.codehilite .vg { color: #19177C } /* Name.Variable.Global */
.codehilite .vi { color: #19177C } /* Name.Variable.Instance */
.codehilite .il { color: #666666 } /* Literal.Number.Integer.Long */
.codehilitetable { border: 1px solid #666; width: 100%; background-color: #666; }
.codehilitetable .linenos { background-color: #666; padding: 0 5px; width: 20px; }
.codehilitetable .code { padding: 0 15px; background-color: #fff; }

And that should pretty much be it. Let me know if I missed anything or this was too difficult to follow along.

Insert into MySQL datetime column from PHP

You can use this simple function to convert a unix timestamp (like the one obtained from time()) to MySQL datetime format:

function mysql_datetime($timestamp = null) {
    if(!isset($timestamp)) $timestamp = time();
    return date('Y-m-d H:i:s', $timestamp);

I’m using this instead of MySQL’s NOW() function because my MySQL server isn’t localized to my timezone, but my PHP is by usage of date_default_timezone_set.

Edit: And you can use this function to convert back the other way (you can do this directly in the SQL too, but just in case)

function datetime_to_unix($datetime) {
    list($date, $time) = explode(' ', $datetime);
    list($year, $month, $day) = explode('-', $date);
    list($hour, $minute, $second) = explode(':', $time);
    return mktime($hour, $minute, $second, $month, $day, $year);

Simple Rounded Corners with CSS

I know there are umpteen billion tutorials on rounded corners out there, but here’s an easy way that I like to do it. Requires only one image, and allows you to nudge your text as close to the corners are you like.

If you want a 3px radius corner, have a black background, and white foreground, you need to create a 6×6 (i.e. radius*2) image of a white circle on a black background. This method won’t support transparency unfortunately.


<div id="content">
    <div id="tl"></div><div id="tr"></div><div id="bl"></div><div id="br"></div>
    Your content here.

The CSS:

#content {
    background-color: #fff;

    background: #000 url(images/circle.gif);

#tr{top:0;right:0;background-position:3px 0}
#bl{bottom:0;left:0;background-position:0 3px}
#br{bottom:0;right:0;background-position:3px 3px}

Adjust all the “3px”s to match your radius, and modify the background attribute to meet your needs, and style content however you want. You probably want to put some padding on there. The important thing is that #content has position:relative so that the corners are aligned to the content box rather than the page.

I used this technique on my personal site,

Easy Current Page Tab

So, you have a bunch of links along the top of your page, and you want to highlight the current one when you click on it. Easy enough to do if you copy and paste the entire navbar onto every page and add some CSS to the current tab, but that’s just bad practice! You want to throw the navbar in a layout, and still have it work.

Well, here’s an easy solution! Just drop this in your layout:

<ul id="navbar">
$pages = array(
    'url1' => 'linktext1',
    'url2' => 'linktext2',
    'url3' => 'linktext3'
foreach($pages as $url => $name) {
    if($url == $currentPage) echo '<li class="current">'.$name.'</li>';
    else echo '<li><a href="'.$url.'">'.$name.'</a></li>';

And make sure you set $currentPage properly. You could use $_SERVER[‘REQUEST_URI’] if your URLs are in the same format (leading and trailing slashes if necessary).

Update: Made a little wrapper function out of this too.

function list_links($links) {
    global $currentPage;
    foreach($links as $name => $url) {
        $class = strtolower($name);
        $class = preg_replace('`[^a-z\s]`', '', $class);
        $class = preg_replace('`\s+`', '-', $class);
        $class = trim($class, '-');
        if(ltrim($url,'/') == $currentPage) echo '<li class="',$class,'"><a href="',$url,'" class="selected">',$name,'</a></li>';
        else echo '<li class="',$class,'"><a href="',$url,'">',$name,'</a></li>';

This one adds a class to each <li> too so you can style it in your CSS.