Xpadder

I need to use a proper game controller for PC games, because I get RSI from using a mouse and keyboard.

Unfortunately, a lot of PC games don’t support controllers very well. Some have no support, others have very limited or broken support (for example, one of the analog sticks won’t be recognised). This happens even in games where controllers are a better choice (Beyond Good and Evil and Fahrenheit have broken support) and/or the game is a console port (or also available on consoles, e.g. Bioshock 2 has no controller support(!)).

For these games, I use special keyboard/mouse emulation software – programs that accept input from a controller and translate it into mouse movements and key presses.

I’ve used a free one called ControlMK for years, but it has it’s limits:

  • It doesn’t work with every game (not sure why)
  • It’s a bit tricky to configure – hard to figure out which button maps to which button number.

The end result is the eternal problem of PC gaming: the time wasted configuring the game before you can play it properly. Tweaking graphic card settings and fiddling with control mappings was actually somewhat fun  when I was a kid (and beneficial; it taught me a lot about computers). Now I have very little time to game, and I’d really like to spend some of it actually gaming.

So, of course, I asked a question about it on the Gaming StackExchange.

As one answer recommended, I ended up buying one called Xpadder.

It’s interface allows you to use an image of the controller (make your own or use one of the many images on the Xpadder site), with each button in the correct place, which really saves a lot of time – like this. So far, it also works in games which only partially worked with ControlMK. It seems to have an active community and lots of extra features too.

There is a functional (but older) free version if you want to try it or can’t afford the $10 (or so, depends on country/currency, I think) to buy it.

Saved me a lot of time, I recommend it.

Use Winmerge with AnkhSVN

That’s not a suggestion.

If you use AnkhSVN but haven’t already set up AnkhSVN to use Winmerge for merging and comparing, do it immediately (it’s much better than the default tool, and it’s free):

  1. Install Winmerge
  2. Open up Visual Studio and choose Tools > Options.
  3. Expand Source Control (if you can’t see it, make sure you have “show all settings” ticked)
  4. Choose Subversion User Tools
  5. For External Diff Tool and External Merge Tool, choose Winmerge.

Now you can diff and merge files (and whole folders – handy when production and source control get out of sync!) easily:

Hint: hold ALT and use the arrow keys. Up and down move you between changes, left and right copies the change from one document to the other. This allows you to find and merge the changes you need in seconds.

Fix the WordPress post editor with Greasemonkey

way too small

The WordPress post editor is way too small. Look:

That’s like, 10 lines of text. Anything but a very short post, and you have to scroll.

Scrolling won’t kill you of course, but unless you’re browsing on your phone, you probably have lots of vertical space to spare, so why not use it?

One way to increase it is the setting in your WordPress dashboard :

Settings > Writing > Size of the post box

You can also just drag the bottom right corner of the post editor!

So it turns out WordPress has this covered. (So if you came here looking for how to change that height, you’re done – if you want to learn how to make any change to a website, setting or none, read on!)

But what if there was no such setting? Is there a way to change things like this on websites you visit?

enter the monkey

Greasemonkey is made for stuff like this: customising web pages to suit your needs. It’s a firefox extension that allows you to store little snippets of javascript that run on certain pages (or whole sites).

You could change the fonts and backgrounds, or make your wordpress post editor bigger or pretty much any change you can imagine. Some people have even made scripts to play tedious facebook games for them (pro tip: if you’d rather have the computer play it for you, it’s not a “game”).

There’s a whole bunch of neat scripts other people have made on userscripts.org.

Go get it now and I’ll show you how I fixed the post editor.

fixing the post editor

After you’ve installed Greasemonkey and restarted Firefox, you should see a little monkey on the bottom right of the browser:

Right-click on it and choose New user script. Give it a meaningful name, and under includes, put

http://whateveryoublognameis.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php*

(the asterisk makes this script work with any URL starting with http://whateveryoublognameis.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php)

You’ll have to choose a text editor the first time you run it (I recommend notepad2, you’ll get nice syntax highlighting, but any plain text editor, like windows Notepad, will do)

Your text editor will appear with a nice header. Put the following line under it:

document.getElementById('content').rows = 30;

Like this:

Change the 30 if you want the post editor to be even larger (WordPress’s default is 20).

Hit save, and your done. Next time you edit a post in wordpress, it should look more like this:

Ahhhhhhhhh. Much more room.

Enjoy!

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