Custom Ordering Shopp (wordpress plugin) products in just one category

Problem: I’ve developed a site using the Shopp ecommerce WordPress Plugin and product ordering is set to ‘Price – Low to High’ at the Client’s request. Splendid. But now – for one category only – he want’s the Products to be give a custom order. In the Shopp presentation settings, ‘Product Order’ is set site-wide.

Solution: I created a custom template for the category in question, then in that template loaded the specific category with the ‘order’ option set to ‘custom’. Here are some steps.

1) Create the category specific template in the ‘Shopp’ theme templates directory in your WordPress theme. In my case the file was called category-truss.php as ‘truss’ is the slug of the category, and it’s a copy of my main category.php template file.

2) At the top of category-truss.php add the API function shopp(‘storefront.category’) like so:

<?php shopp('storefront','category','slug=truss&load=true&order=custom'); ?>
// load=true is needed to stop the functioning spitting out the category directly.
// slug is whatever your category's slug is. See the docs for more 'order' options.

3) In the Shopp Admin area, edit the category you want to custom order, then use the ‘Arrange Products’ button/link. Then drag the products into the order you want and test.

It might be that there’s an easier or better way to do this, if so please let me know in the comments!

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Noisy gritty squeaky Golf Mk3 steering wheel

Problem: My steering wheel sounded like it had sand in it, scraping on every turn. Nasty business.

Solution: Behind the steering wheel there are one or two sprung metal contacts that ‘slide’ over a metal contact ring on the steering wheel itself, presumably to connect the horn and airbag electrics. After 17 years it seems that lots of dirt and crap have built up on the contacts. Continue reading “Noisy gritty squeaky Golf Mk3 steering wheel”

Using the Vgate VS450 with a Mk3 Golf VR6

Vehicle: 1996 Golf Mk3 VR6 Highline.

Problem-ish: 

I bought a Vgate VS450 to check out some error codes on my VR6. It’s an OBD2 interface scanner, but as there are several other interfaces/protocils it can read, and mine is a ooooold car, it took a few attempts to get it to read anything worthwhile. Here are some screenies to guide you thorough.

Solution-ish: 

Step 1: Plug the unit into your OBD port. On my Golf Mk3 (’96) the port is under a plastic cover to the left of the ash-tray. To remove the cover, first take out the ashtray (there’s a little sprung lever under the tray that allows it to be removed completely), then slide the plastic cover to the right. In my case the OBD port was crusted up with 18 years of dust so a quick wipe over with Switch Cleaner sorted that out. Continue reading “Using the Vgate VS450 with a Mk3 Golf VR6”

Exclude a WordPress Post Category across the whole site… but not custom queries.

Problem: On my latest project there’s a WordPress post category that only ever displays in a sidebar. I never want it to display in a ‘main’ loop posts on an archive page (whether it be the blog home, date archives, author archive etc etc. Until now I’ve been using ‘query_posts()’ and doing something like this in the main templates like home.php and index.php:

<?php $catObj = get_category_by_slug('my-cat-slug');
query_posts( 'cat=-'.$catObj->term_id );
if ( have_posts() ) :
	while ( have_posts() ) : the_post(); ?>
		<!-- Show stuff init! -->
	<?php endwhile;
endif;?>

This works… but I have to do it everywhere the loop is used, and when you dig into WordPress Templates that’s a lot of places.

Solution: There’s always a way to do something globaly in WordPress using Filters, Actions, or Classes in your theme’s functions.php file (or a plugin even). In this case we can use the ‘pre_get_posts’ action in functions.php to exclude the category for all main queries: Continue reading “Exclude a WordPress Post Category across the whole site… but not custom queries.”

Bower update failed with ‘ERR! error rolling back’

2018 update: Bower might not be the right thing to be using nowadays. Here’s a note from the Bower website: “…psst! While Bower is maintained, we recommend using Yarn and Webpack or Parcel for front-end projects read how to migrate!”


Problem: I just tried to update Bower with:

$ npm update -g bower

Which resulted in failure, and Bower wasn’t able to roll back so the install was fudged. Here’s some output of the errors:

$ npm ERR! error rolling back Error: EACCES, unlink '/usr/local/lib/node_modules/bower/.editorconfig'
$ npm ERR! error rolling back  bower@1.2.8 { [Error: EACCES, unlink '/usr/local/lib/node_modules/bower/.editorconfig']
$ npm ERR! error rolling back   errno: 3,

Solution: Firstly I stopped being a dork and remembered I’d need to add ‘sudo’ (the ‘Error: EACCES’ gives it away)… Continue reading “Bower update failed with ‘ERR! error rolling back’”

Golf MK3 Boot / Tailgate ‘grip molding’ fixing missing

Vehicle: 1996 Golf Mk3 VR6 Highline.

Problem: One of the 4 machine screws attaching the trim surrounding the hatchback / tailgate / boot lid lock mechanism was missing. This resulted in rattling, which is an irritation, but more seriously the trim bent every time the boot was opened. The original fixings are Torx headed with an integral washer.

Solution: The original fixing’s part number is N90626201 but it’s no longer available. Taking measurements from an existing fixing shows that the size is M5 x 14mm (standard 0.8 mm pitch), and fixings of this size are available all over the place. Be careful with the length, this fixing screws into a closed-head Rivet Nut welded into the panel. Continue reading “Golf MK3 Boot / Tailgate ‘grip molding’ fixing missing”

Super quick and dirty BBS Alloy Centre Cap overhaul

Problem: My old BBS alloys need a serious refurb, and the worst looking parts were the centre caps. I can’t afford a proper returb!

Solution: The centre caps are plastic, with a thin alloy stamped, painted and lacquered inset. Firstly I removed the plastic cap from the main alloy centrepiece. Continue reading “Super quick and dirty BBS Alloy Centre Cap overhaul”

Replacing the Blue Coolant Temperature Sensor in the Golf VR6 Mk3

Problem: My VR6 was having trouble starting and idling when cold. Many forums suggest this is due to a faulty “Blue” temperature sensor.

Solution – Testing the Sensor: To test the sensor while it’s fitted to the car, remove the latched plastic connector from the sensor and measure the resistance (Ω) between the 2 pins.
If the sensor is working correctly it should measure about:

  • 5500Ω at 0°c
  • 2500Ω at 20°c
  • 1250Ω at 40°c
  • 600Ω at 60°c
  • 325Ω at 80°c

I’m my case, the resistance was infinite, I.e. open circuit. So needed replacing.

Solution – Replacing the Sensor: The parts you will need are:

  • 1 x 2-pin Blue Sensor (VW: 025 906 041 A, GSF: 929vg014)
  • 1 x O-ring / Seal (know the part number? Please tell us in comments below)
  • Metal or plastic retaining clip (know the part number? Please tell us in comments below)

Continue reading “Replacing the Blue Coolant Temperature Sensor in the Golf VR6 Mk3”

Edit crontab with NANO on centos (crontab -e)

Problem: I don’t know where my root users crontab file is, and this doesn’t usually matter because using the command ‘crontab -e’ opens it for editing anyway… but it opens in VI and I am too stupid / lazy / in a rush to use VI.

[Edit – mid 2018: Earlier this year I went through about 3 weeks of IDE/Editor hell and taught myself Vim. It’s… wonderful]

Solution: The -e switch makes the file open in whatever the default editor for the environment is. To override this, pass the EDITOR environment var to the command when it’s run:

sudo env EDITOR=nano crontab -e

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Can’t activate Spotify Premium account on VodaFone 4G Red contract.

2017 Update: This tips is very old now, and the information is almost certainly out of date.

Problem: Just bought a new VodaFone contract that includes Spotify Premium (or Sky Sports something or other), and we website / in-store / 191 support don’t seem to know how I should actually activate it.

Solution: Send a text with the word ‘Entertainment’ to 97613. You’ll get a reply from VodaFone with a link and instructions. This worked at time of posting, 5s’s are new, 4G-ready contracts are new. Expect this to change.