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Drifting away

Today I had a nice chat with someone named Hana using the Drift chat window on the website. They wanted to know more about how to use the Telnet connect to a VLC media player.

The good news is that I was able to find the information they needed. I did have to git clone the VLC source code and search through the Lua modules for the command they needed so it took about 30 minutes to find the answer.

The bad news is that the email address they gave me isn’t working so they can’t receive the invoice for my time or the answer to their question. Hopefully they were able to find the answer on their own.

If anyone else needs help finding an answer about a piece of software, network, or programming challenge, feel free to ask! I am happy to help with what I know and can even help find the answers I don’t know.

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RED – how to match lines that don’t contain a character

Time for another Regular Expression of the Day! Let’s say you are looking for all of the lines that don’t have a special character (like an ‘_’ underscore). Here is it:


Start of line, followed by characters that are NOT underscore, followed by End of line

It’s a little confusing that the start of line indicator is a carrot so if you think of it instead as the NOT the end of line indicator it helps

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Using grep on Windows to recursively find a C++ class definition in a header

There are so many grep examples out there but if you want to use grep on Windows to find something recursively in just one file type it can get a bit tricky.  Here is the quick 2 step process:

  1. get grep. you can find it here

  2. add path to grep into your PATH by opening the Windows start menu and typing “env” then selecting Edit environment variables
    Windows Environment Variables
  3. open a command prompt by opening the Windows start menu and typing “cmd” then press Enter
  4. enter a grep command.  for example, to find a class definition in all .h files it might be:
    grep -r --include=*.h "class WhereIsThatClass" *
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How to maintain aspect ratio for QPixmap as a QWidget instead of QLabel

There are so many times that I have wanted an easy way to show a QPixmap on a form while maintaining the aspect-ratio of the image that I finally sat down and made one.  The single header file can be downloaded here: Extract the .h file and add it to any Qt project. It provides all of the necessary features to show an image when and where you want it using the SpworksWidgetImage class.


// Don't forget to #include "spworkswidgetimage.h"

// SETUP //

SpworksWidgetImage* scaledImage = new SpworksWidgetImage();


// fill the widget to 75% of the widget's size

// place the image in the bottom right corner of the widget
scaledImage->SpworksWidgetImage_SetAlignment(Qt::AlignRight | Qt::AlignBottom);

// paint the background of the entire widget white before painting the pixmap

// place a hidden border around the widget to keep the image off the edge

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Possibly the best Linux find command examples

If you have been looking for a file on Mac OS X or Linux or Unix, you want to use the “find” command. The problem with the find command is that the usage information at the command line is just terrible. The solution is to bookmark this awesome website:

Here are some of my favorites:

Find a file by name in any directory starting with the root path

find / -name passwd

Find a file by name (case-insensitive) starting at the current directory and then run the command md5sum on each file that matches.

find -iname "MyCProgram.c" -exec md5sum {} \;

Find files starting in your home directory that are larger than 100 megatbytes.

find ~ -size +100M

And last, but not least, create an alias for a find command that will remove all files named “a.out” starting from the current directory

alias rmao="find . -iname a.out -exec rm {} \;"

Happy Hunting!

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How to make Mac OS X and MySQL happy with Qt

Using shared libraries on Mac OS X is one of the things that is actually a lot harder than on Windows.  For example, you cannot just put the shared library for MySQL into your path or into the working directory. You have to change the plugin file itself to make it look in the correct location. You find the current value using the command “otool” and change the value using the command “install_name_tool”. Here is an example:

cd Qt/5.4/clang_64/plugins/sqldrivers/

otool -L libqsqlmysql.dylib 

libqsqlmysql.dylib (compatibility version 0.0.0, current version 0.0.0)
/opt/local/lib/mysql55/mysql/libmysqlclient.18.dylib (compatibility version 18.0.0, current version 18.0.0)

install_name_tool -change /opt/local/lib/mysql55/mysql/libmysqlclient.18.dylib /usr/local/mysql/lib/libmysqlclient.20.dylib ./libqsqlmysql.dylib 

otool -L libqsqlmysql.dylib 

libqsqlmysql.dylib (compatibility version 0.0.0, current version 0.0.0)
/usr/local/mysql/lib/libmysqlclient.20.dylib (compatibility version 18.0.0, current version 18.0.0)
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Organized C code – Part 1 – The Headers

This is a step-by-step guide to writing code in C and keeping it organized as you go.  It will help you write code that can be reused on multiple projects and hardware platforms.  I will explain some of the finer details along the way so, technically, you don’t even need to know how to program in C to use this guide.

This first part will just go through some templates that every set of C header files will start with.  These header files are used to pre-define the C code you will be writing in a future part of this guide.  That is it for the introductions, now on to your first step writing organized C code!

Step 1

Create a directory for your files with two subdirectories: include and src.  For example, my directory structure looks like this:

directory structure


The include directory will store all of your header (.h) files and the src directory will store all of your source (.c) files.  These are the files that the C compiler will use to generate machine code (binary language) for your computer.  The C compiler has a “preprocessor” that will look through the code and make changes before attempting to generate machine code.  The C preprocessor is your friend and I will refer to it often.

Step 2

If you need a program to write files, I suggest Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code available here.

Create a text file for the public header that ends with .h to indicate it is a header file.  Save this file in your include directory. For example, the path to my file is:



Paste the following code into your file.  This is the code needed for every header file.  Each time you use this code, replace “ORGANIZED_H” with something that matches your file name.  The only requirement is that you make it unique.  The same name cannot be defined by any other code within a project that uses this header file and I will explain why below.

#ifdef __cplusplus
extern "C" {
// public header code goes here
#ifdef __cplusplus
#endif // ORGANIZED_H
// empty line

Here are details on this template line by line:

  1. #ifndef is a command used by the C preprocessor that means “If not defined”.  It is used here to check for the name that uniquely identifies this header file so that the entire file can be skipped if it has already been included in the project.  There are other ways to do this, but this method is the only one that is supported by ALL C compilers.
  2. #define is a command used by the C preprocessor that means “Define this value”.  It is used here to define the name you have chosen, which means the next time this header file is included somewhere in the project, the name will already be defined.
  3. #ifdef is a command used by the C preprocessor that means “If defined”.  It is used here to check if the compiler is actually a C++ compiler.  A C++ compiler can do everything a C compiler can do (and more), but it likes to keep things separate.  That is why we will add some code only if this is a C++ compiler.
  4. extern is a keyword that tells the compiler the following code should be made available throughout the program and not just to this file.  It is used here because a C++ compiler was detected at line 3 and we want all of our header code to be made available to C and C++ alike.  The { open brace starts a group of code (code block) that will be made accessible because of the extern keyword.
  5. #endif is a command used by the C preprocessor that means “End if”.  It is used here to end the #ifdef statement from line 3.  Every #if statement requires a matching #endif
  6. // is a single line comment.  Almost all C compilers support this.  If you want to be extra careful that your code will be portable (supported by ALL C compilers), you should write all comments like this instead:
    /* public header code goes here */
  7. #ifdef is here again to ensure we only write the code below it if this is a C++ compiler
  8. } is a closed brace that ends the extern group started at line 4
  9. #endif ends the #ifdef at line 7
  10. #endif ends the #ifndef at line 1.  The single line comment // to the side of the #endif makes it easy to find the #if statement that is being ended here.  This is because there could be hundreds of lines of code between the #if and #endif so it is not easy to read without the extra comment.
  11. This line should be empty.  This webpage won’t let me show it, but this should be an empty line.  If the last line in your file is not empty, the preprocessor could accidentally put code right next to it without any indication that it should have been separate.  If any of your .h or .c files do not have an empty line at the end, go add them now.

Step 3

Create a text file for the private header that ends with .h to indicate it is a header file.  Save this file in your include directory.  For example, the path to my file is:


Paste the header template code into your file and change the #define name and the comment to indicate this is your private header.  For example, I have changed lines 1,2,6,and 10:

#ifdef __cplusplus
extern "C" {
// private header code goes here
#ifdef __cplusplus
// empty line

That is it for Part 1.  You can download the sample code here.

In the next part we will start to fill-in the public header file.

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Google Gmail access via POP3 gives ERR [SYS/TEMP]

Have you ever received this error from

-ERR [SYS/TEMP] Temporary system problem. Please try again later.

I did.  It turns out that if you try to use SSL on port 995 and login using the USER and PASS commands, you will receive this error if you either: 1. tried to base64 encode your user/password data or 2. you did not setup an “App password” and use it instead of your normal password.

You can setup an “App password” here

That’s it for now.  Good luck!