Friday, November 8, 2013

Configure phpBB forum subscription by administrator via phpMyAdmin

As a lot of phpBB administrators found out that phpBB does not provide tools for administrators to set forum subscription for users. The intention of the phpBB is definitely a good one. However, in practice, as some of the administrators will agree that some administrator control can help grow the community.

The ethic behind the phpBB design apparently is based on the idea of no-spam. Forum user should have the ultimate say on what topic or forum he or she would like to subscribe, which most of us with common senses would have agreed. However, with my observation of the behavior of today's web surfers, there are quite few of them are lived in a very fast pest live and would not pay much attention to a lot of messages like: The user agreement, The user guide, or any community rules.

Rules and laws of a community all work around human behaviors. The design of computer software and social media should also work around human behavior. As long as the citizen and the forum user have the ultimate control, the system did not violate their right. In the case of the phpBB, the user does have some kind of ultimate control by routing forum notices to their junk mail box even though that really isn't an appropriate solution.

With regarding to the previous discussion, personally, I believe phpBB could made the following changes:
  1. Allow users to remove themselves from the forum and delete their email information from the system.
  2. An option for user to explicitly disable the forum to send email to them.
  3. Give administrator the right to set forum subscription settings.
  4. Allow administrators to force one forum subscription.
The item 4 above isn't as intrusion as it is sound since users are allowed to remove themselves from the system in case administrators abuse the privilege of serving their users.

Having the discussion out of the way, here is a way to set forum subscriptions to users by forum administrator by adding entries into the database table. The table that controls the forum subscription is forum_watch. By adding entries to that table, you force the user to subscribe to a forum.

The user_id is stored in the user table and the forum_id is stored in the forum table.

Object library not registered error - MS ACCESS 97, VBScript, Windows 7 - WSH, Vista

Just to report a problem that I run into and hopefully this post can help someone that run into a similar problem.

The problem: Receive 'object library not registered' error when try to check referenced code in ACCESS 97 that references MS VBScript engine.

Suspected scope of the problem: This problem could also appear in code that was developed for other version of ACCESS on Windows Vista, XP or older operation system.
The sequel: I got some ACCESS 97 code that uses the regular expression object (RegExp) that was made available by Microsoft through the installation of Microsoft's VBScript engine (The latest version is the Windows Scripting Host version 5.7 and can be download from Windows Script 5.7 for Windows Server 2003). Recently, when I try to check the 'reference' (open a code module and -tools -reference) in ACCESS 97, I received the 'object library not registered' error and was not able to see the referenced object for the database.

Kernel of the problem: A reference to the 'VBScript Global' type library in Windows 7. Basically, in my old XP machine, I have to install the VBScript Engine so that the 'VBScript Global' COM (Component Object Model) object exist. But I did not do that on my Windows 7 machine.

The solution: After googling the web and found the Wikipedia article: Windows Script Host, it is clear that there is no VBScript Engine for Windows 7 to download. It should come with the Windows 7 machine. At that point, I was thinking maybe the RegExp is contained in other COM that I should reference. But I was failed to find one. In the end, I simply test the code: CreateObject("VBScript.RegExp") and it worked without me adding any reference in ACCESS.

The annoyance: Since the database is hosted on a network drive, I will have to add and remove the reference based on which machine I am using.

Monday, August 26, 2013

MS ACCESS Navigation Pane Add Item Greyed Out 2002,2007 and 2010?

This is a bug resolved by guest posted at:

The solution apply to my situation, where I upgraded my secured (user level security) database from MS ACCESS 97 to ACCESS XP (2002) and opened with MS ACCESS 2007.

I couldn't tell you that this always happen. Because I believe I was able to open MS ACCESS XP database in MS ACCESS 2007 and see the Navigation Pane worked the way it suppose to and this is why I was at lost when this happen to me.

Through my (Google) search, it seems it affect MS ACCESS 2003, 2010 too.

Here is a copy of the solution posted at
You'll need to right click the Navigation Pain bar- select Category - select
Table and Related Views - click Ok when a message appear and wait until it

Now, right click on the Navigation Pane bar again, select Navigation Options.
Now you should see the left listbox "Categories" filled with one category.
Click add under categories to add one sample name it "test" and now on the
right listbox "Groups for "test" appears and the button at the botton "Add
Group" is enabled.

The so called bug only confuse users if there are nothing in the listboxes
and disabling the buttons is really uncalled for. Something MS Access Team
need to fix.


The solution isn't very neat in that the created 'Table and Related Views' Category can never be deleted. But other than that, things seem to work just fine.

From time to time we all benefited from other people's finding and we should credit them whenever we can.

== Added on Aug. 29, 2013 ======
A problem is discovered on Aug. 29, 2013.
If the .mdb file is in MS ACCESS 2000 format and the category is setup in MS ACCESS 2007, login with MS ACCESS 2010 will remove that (could be all) category. However, if the category was created in MS ACCESS 2010, category will stay if login with older version of the ACCESS.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Cooperation of Android phone(Fone) and tablet(Pad)

Since my first post of the idea in my article "Android mothership tablet for Android phone" back in June 21, 2010, there have been products like ASUS' PadFone/FonePad. However, that isn't exactly what I have in mind in terms of the integration.

My idea is more in the rim of software than hardware. However, the hardware integration can enhance the software implementation.

Now, here are some ideas for the software integration given that you got an Android phone and an Android Tablet with needed communications either through the WIFI or the USB :
1.  Use the phone as the keyboard for the tablet.
2.  Use the phone as the camera for the tablet.
3.  Use the phone as the game control for the tablet.
4.  Use the phone as the GPS for the tablet.
5.  Share the storage between the phone and the tablet - you don't need an app on both device at the same time.
6.  The display may support each other - like X-Window in the *nix world - this allows running apps on the tablet while display it on the phone or vice versa.

While I am writing, I just realize that what I really mean is providing a system level support that allows Android systems to support and share with each other the software and hardware resources.

As I mentioned earlier, using system buses may allow some sharing to be more intimate and efficient.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Cloud Security - a thought

Allow user to control encryption.

How to handle application security? Data/Code have to be un-encrypted before application can processing them. Can we build un-encryption into CPU? - which may not work since that also imply access encrypted data in CPU - way to much resources is needed. The other is to run on client - not as efficient but securer. Would client CPU powerful enough for most daily tasks? - When there are more data, the more user would like to do and the more powerful the client computer will need to be. Can server be build so that there are hardware security for each virtual server and let the user control the hardware security until the user release it.

CMS - a perspective

CMS, the content management system, may have all kinds of various names. But it is mean to organize the information.

After years of effort try to organize information, I came to a system that I think I would like to have at this point. I have to say this in a reserved way since people grow and there might be better way that I haven't envision yet.

There is no new idea here. I think all the features I am going to mention have exist in one system or the other and people may already have and using it. My intention is simply to point out my thoughts and it may benefit readers that haven't have their idea system yet.

I am envision a wiki like system with necessary securities and I think this idea can extended to file system of today's computer.

Personally, I think a lot of people are like me that kept document in computers, some at home and some at work. Personally I also have web spaces that I kept my notes.

For documents that I kept in computers, I organize them info folders and in each folder I would have a _ReadMe.txt file that describes things related to document in the current folder. In order to manage documents, I also use links if a document need to present in multiple folders based on the organizing logic.

On the web, I use a Wiki to keep my notes so that I can access from anywhere. This is important to me since I may come up with ideas at the work while it is not appropriate for the work by is totally OK for personal pursuit. Of cause, it can go the other way too. Therefore, it benefits not just the work but also personal life - Credit to my former boss, Steve Brown. He never prevent me from pursuing career outside my work place and he did mentioned that it benefits both.

One important feature of the Wiki is that it allows user to create linked page easily. It is, therefore, very easy to create a tree/graph like data structure. For example, I start the Wiki with ME as the beginning. I then create links to pages based on my roles - As a member of the family, as an employee of a company, as a citizen of a city, as a citizen of a state...etc. Each page can then link to other topics related to topic of the page. For example, under the citizen of a city, you can have link and note to, say, city government, legislature, TV stations, news papers ... etc.

Thinking the Wiki and my folder-organization in the computer, it occurs to me that the system I wanted is that of the Wiki with storage/upload - a lot of Wiki system do allow you to upload files - it just that I never enable the feature.

Thinking back, I remember there was a period of time, Windows is allowing user to create a html file in each folder and the html file will be opened by default when user navigated to that folder. As you can see this is almost idea to what I wanted if I spend enough time to build those html files - I am not sure if Windows still have this capability build in.

The other concept exhibits in this Wiki-storage system is that I really don't care where the upload file are stored - as long as I can access them via links.

So does the idea of folder obsolete? I think not. But I like to mention the idea of virtual or logical folder as existed in Hyland's OnBase product. The logical folder is created based on user's organization logic and not the physical location of the file in the file system. This made the logic folder a very good fit to the Wiki-storage system. As OnBase did, the content of the folder can be dynamically updated, based on criteria you set, as files are added to the organization system. For example, if you have a Wiki page that shows your personal music collection, it will be nice that when you add a file, it automatically show that new file. So, for Wiki-storage, this is a feature to be added.

As to the computer OS, the logical folder should be what most people wanted since most user really don't know or care where and how files are stored.


Monday, February 4, 2013

A concept on GUI for Make Utility

This is a short note on my soul search for the Linux/Windows program make utility. For user, it will be easier to use a GUI to specify the relation on how target should be build. The data can be stored in a database table: (I know it can be refined)

The Makefile can be constructed out of those info in the database.

The GUI will allows user to use dropdown list for the Target which could be derived from source file list of a project and will allows user to use file browser to browse to the In/Lib directories.

When output Makefile, the program can generate Macros based on summarized info on In/Lib. Target, InTyp, and Command fields.

The In/Lib field could include version info. These info can be used by the program to interact with version control system.

I would like this program to be implemented in a platform independent languages (e.g. Java, Perl ... etc.)  that provide GUI, database access, and shell access.