Archive for the 'Computing' Category

Getting a TP-Link wifi router to work with Orange Broadband

Some time back my broadband wifi router packed up, and I had to buy another.  I bought a TP-Link ADSL2 and wireless modem, model TD-W8960N.  Since my PC is always next to my router, I connected using the wire, and never worried about wireless.  I entered the connection details for Orange broadband, and it all worked fine.

But earlier this week the heat-wave arrived.  When I tried to use my PC downstairs, it could not connect to the internet.  It connected to the router by wifi alright.  I could tell, because I could enter in my browser, and get the login page for the router, and login using the default admin/admin user and password.  The router connected to the internet fine as well, as I could tell because I could connect to Google fine so long as I was plugged in.  But the two would not work together.

I could tell that I was getting out onto the web OK — I could ping sites by IP address, such as Yahoo at  But any attempt to use a domain name failed. 

Orange supply DNS servers automatically.  This was working — I could see the server addresses appearing in the router login page.  But it didn’t help.

In desperation I used the details on the TP-Link contact page and wrote to them.  To my astonishment I got useful, helpful emails back.

This evening I got this one:

If you are using windows 7, please go to Start> Control panel> Network and Internet> Network and sharing center> Change adapter settings (Left Side Menu)> Right click Wireless network connection> Properties>double click Internet Protocol Version 4(TCP/IPv4)> please make sure “Obtain an IP address automatically” ” Obtain an DNS server address automatically ” have been selected. And then, please click OK, click again.

If you have done this already, but you still cannot successfully connected to the wireless network, please Start> Control panel> Network and Internet> Network and sharing center> Change adapter settings (Left Side Menu)> Right click Wireless network connection> Properties>double click Internet Protocol Version 4(TCP/IPv4)> this time, please selected “Obtain an IP address automatically” and “Use the following IP address”, the primary DNS server address, please type, the secondary DNS server address, please leave it blank. And then, please click OK, click again.

And … when I went into the properties, I found that “Obtain a DNS server address automatically” was unselected, and some IP address was in there.  Why it was there I know not.  But once I selected that, everything worked.

I don’t write many technical posts, but since I couldn’t find the answer online, I thought that I had better post something myself.

WordPress problems with IE

I notice that my blog is not displaying correctly in Internet Explorer.  Since I haven’t changed anything, I am somewhat perplexed.  My apologies for the problem while I try to work out what is happening.

UPDATE: A post earlier today had some corrupt HTML tags in it.  Probably caused by pasting into the WYSIWYG editor.  I removed the HTML, fixed what would not remove manually, and everything worked.  Weird tho.

Coptic in unicode when you don’t know the alphabet

I’ve been trying to enter corrections to the Coptic section of my book.  Unfortunately all I got from the translator was *paper* corrections.  I don’t know the Coptic alphabet.  Worse still, I’m working with Bohairic, using the Alphabetum unicode font, rather than the commoner Sahidic unicode fonts.  What am I to do?

Luckily we live in the age of the web.  Here’s what I have done.

Firstly, look at the Wikipedia Coptic alphabet page.  This has a really useful table, which shows and names all the letters with images.  But it also has two columns which actually use a unicode font.  Naturally these appear as squares, invalid characters. 

So what I did then was copy and paste the whole table into a Word document.  The unicode characters remained invalid, mostly — hey, my default font is Times New Roman and it doesn’t contain these.

Then I selected the two columns in Word and changed the font to Alphabetum.  And … magically I got a whole load of Coptic unicode characters, all labelled, displayed at 18pt:


 Now what I can do is use these characters, and just copy and paste them, one by one.  Yes, I still don’t know the alphabet.  But I can compare the letter types against the images, against the word document.  For small amounts of Coptic, it works.

It would work for Sahidic as well, of course — just use a different font than Alphabetum.

But … the translator talks about “supralinear strokes” whatever these may be.  The Wikipedia article is silent on these.

I have found a page on Coptic unicode input that does discuss these things.  You can enter any unicode character using charmap.  So:

Here are the choices made for the punctuation and diacritics used in modern printing of Coptic texts:


  • normal English punctuation (comma, period, question mark, semicolon, colon, hyphen) uses the regular Unicode codepoints for punctuation
  • dicolon: standard colon U+003A
  • middle dot: U+00B7
  • en dash: U+2013
  • em dash: U+2014
  • slanted double hyphen: U+2E17
    Combining diacritics (codepoints applied after that of the character they modify):

  • combining overstroke: U+0305
  • combining character-joining overstroke (from middle of one character to middle of the next): U+035E
  • combining dot under a letter: U+0323
  • combining dot over a letter: U+0307
  • combining overstroke and dot below: U+0305,U+0323
  • combining acute accent: U+0301
  • combining grave accent: U+0300
  • combining circumflex accent (caret shaped): U+0302
  • combining circumflex (curved shape) or inverted breve above: U+0311
  • combining circumflex as wide inverted breve above joining two letters: U+0361
  • combining diaeresis: U+0308

It is easier to enter Coptic Unicode characters if one has a customized keyboard, but it is also possible to enter any four-digit hexadecimal codepoint that you know using particular utilities in Mac OS X or Windows. … In Word for Windows, you can type a four-digit code (or a five-digit code) directly into your document and then type ALT-x, which converts the code to the character.

And there we are.

The same page also gives a Coptic unicode keyboard for Windows XP, but that’s for people who know what they are doing.

From my diary

Now that I have lots of PDF files of articles, it seems like a good idea to do regular backups.  So I mirror all the key directories onto an external drive.

Last night I did the same — and the external disk started clicking.  And clicking.  Yes, it’s the “click of death” — a hard disk on its way out.

I hastily ordered two more external hard disks off the web! 

It’s been suggested to me that I should get a NAS box with a couple of drives mirroring each other and run it in the loft, backing up wirelessly.

Tertullian in Norwegian

Ten years ago I was still scanning material for the Tertullian Project.  One thing that I started to do was acquire foreign-language translations.  In a way this was a mistake; it was quite hard to scan and proof these, and really those who speak that language group will be far better at it.  So after a while I stopped.  But I had by then acquired a fair collection of Tertullian translations. 

These have languished in a  pile of books ever since.  Nor are they of value.  When I took a whole load of books to sell in Oxford, the dealer wouldn’t even look at the Italian translations.  These I ended up giving to Oxfam there, in the faint hope that they might find a reader.

One translation that I bought, in January 2001, was Tertullian: Udvalgte Skriften (=Selected Works).  This was a small collection of works by Tertullian in Norwegian translation, published in 1887.  It’s about small paperback size, and some 260 pages long.  Unfortunately when it arrived I found that it was in the ‘gothic’ font (or ‘Fraktur’) favoured in Germany up to WW2 and then deep-sixed by an edict from Hitler himself (or so I am told).  That meant that I couldn’t even OCR it.  OCR for Fraktur was developed eventually, in collaboration with Abbyy, the owners of Finereader, but then stitched up so that no-one could have access to it.

I found the book again a couple of weeks ago, when I pulled all my academic books out of the cupboard and piled them on the side.  I felt morally obliged to create a digital copy, and today I’ve done so.  It’s just a PDF full of page images, but at least it exists.  So … if you speak Norwegian, and can read text in Fraktur, enjoy!

The PDF is now online at, here.

Would anyone like the book itself?  It’s unbound, and coming apart a bit, but everything is there.  It cost me around 110 Norwegian Kronor.  It’s yours for $10 by Paypal, plus whatever postage costs to wherever you are.  If not, I think I know a Norwegian scholar who would probably give it a home.

The book is volume 15 in a series.  The volumes were listed inside the back cover.  I can’t even read the letters but these seem to be the texts.

1.  Two of Cyprian’s works.
2. A Tertullian work – maybe the Apologeticum?
3. A work by Augustine.
4. Clemens Romanus, 1st letter.
5. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechical lectures
6. Cyprian, another two works (one about Donatus)
7. Justin Martyr, Apology.
8. Augustine again.
9. Augustine, Enchiridion.
10. Selected works of Chrysostom.
11. Ignatius and Polycarp, letters and martyrium.
12. Minucius Felix, Octavius.
13. Augustine.  Something about Donatism.
14. Athenagoras, Tatian, Letter to Diognetus.
15. Tertullian, Selected Works.

I see the word “subscriptionen” so I suspect there were more.  But who would know?

Is there a norseman in the house?

Google funding for discovery of ancient texts online — and some unforeseen difficulties

Stephan Huller has drawn my attention to a press release from the university of Southampton:

A University of Southampton researcher is part of a team which has just secured funding from Google to make the classics and other ancient texts easy to discover and access online.

Leif Isaksen at the University’s School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) is working together with Dr Elton Barker at The Open University and Dr Eric Kansa of the University of California-Berkeley on the Google Ancient Places (GAP): Discovering historic geographical entities in the Google Books corpus project, which is one of 12 projects worldwide to receive funding as part of a new Digital Humanities Research Programme funded by Google.

The GAP researchers will enable scholars and enthusiasts worldwide to search the Google Books corpus to find books related to a geographic location and within a particular time period. The results can then be visualised on GoogleMaps or in GoogleEarth.  The project will run until September next year.

The PR people don’t seem to have really understood what is involved here.  This isn’t about placing ancient texts online, as far as I can see.  Rather it is about indexing volumes in Google books, so that they can be searched for using region and date.   The information will be accessible using a webservice.

There is one obvious difficulty with all this, tho.  Most books on Google books are not accessible in the United Kingdom!  This is because European publishers lobbied and threatened Google if it made material prior to 1923 available, for fear that some of it might still be copyright somewhere in the EU, and that that copyright might belong to one of them, and that maybe, just maybe, they might lose some money. 

Google listened this contemptible nonsense, scratched its head at the idea that people wanted to prevent access, and said, “Fine.  Do without!” They chopped access to Google books material after 1880 or something like that.  The euro-nuts lose, the US gains.

So … most of the results returned by this new webservice will be of no service to anyone.

Laying out facing Greek and English – and being laid out by it

The Eusebius book consists of a Word document containing all the Greek for the Quaestiones ad Stephanum, and another one containing all the English translation of that.  Then there are further pairs of files; text, translation for Latin; text and translation for Syriac, and so on.  Word has no way to get the multiple languages appearing on alternate pages.

For the last three hours I have been experimenting with the trial version of the professional desktop publishing and layout tool, Adobe InDesign.  Others may have been tempted, but put off by the terrifying complexity of this tool.  So I thought I’d say that you can get this working from a state of complete ignorance in about three hours, and not very difficult hours.  Here’s what I did, to get a PDF with alternate Greek and English text.

First, download the trial of InDesign from the Adobe website (you can find that alright using Google, I’m sure).  You will need to register for an “account” – just use one of your email accounts and some junk password, but remember it because you will need it later when you start up the trial.  It takes a fair old while to download, but that doesn’t matter.

While you’re waiting, start using the free video tutorials on the Adobe site.   I’m no great fan of videos, but these were short and easy to watch. I found it useful to rig up external speakers to my laptop, because I had an air-con unit going in the same room.  Do maximise the screen while watching!

Now I only watched the following videos:

  • Getting started – what is Indesign CS5?  (2:33 mins)
  • GS-01: Understanding the application window. (6 mins)
  • GS-02: New documents (7:35 mins)
  • GS-03: Adding page numbers (3:50 mins)

and then I stopped, because I was getting frustrated.  The first three are all fine, and usefully it mentions how to set up the book as 7×9″.  But then you realise that you are looking at excerpts from the site; and that there are loads more tutorials for each bit.  When you look at the fourth one, you feel you have missed something.  However all these are worth looking at, and they are free.

By now InDesign has downloaded.  Fire it up, and do some of the things you saw in the video.  Remember you can pause the video while you try something out!

This tells you how to set up the double-page spread.  But it won’t tell you how to add text from Word, nor how to interleave Greek and English.

What I did then was to register at for the rest of the tutorials for InDesign.  I recommend you do likewise.  They charge $25 a month, and keep right on charging unless you cancel.  But the Indesign trial expires after a month, so just buy a month’s worth, and remember to cancel before the end of the  month.

This gives you the rest of the tutorials.  I watched:

  • Inserting, deleting and moving pages (pretty obvious)  (7:23)
  • Changing page numbering with sections — you do need this, to fiddle with the page numbers for Roman numerals for the intro (5:58)
  • Creating and applying master pages — mainly because you’ll do the alternation of Greek and English by customing a master page (5:20)
  • Importing text — this is the critical one.  You will never manage to guess how you import a word document unless you watch this.  The answer is that you do Ctrl-D to choose a .doc file, then click ‘Open’, and then do shift+click to click on an empty frame.  This says “paste in the text and create more pages on the end until you run out of text”.  Just doing click will leave you with a little red icon at the bottom. (7:49)
  • Threading text frames.  You need this one as well, to understand how to manage the Greek-English.  Because you will be using threading. (4:01)

None of this will tell you exactly what to do for our case, but you need all this stuff.  And… it’s really not that long.  What I did was get some diet coke (full of caffeine) and some chocolate, and watch them all.

The final bit is described here, in the first reply by Peter Spier.  In my case I have one column on the left hand page, for the Greek, and one on the right, for English.  Here’s what you do.

  • Edit the master page, and create a text frame on the left hand page, and another on the right hand page.  Make sure these are not threaded together by using the View|Extras|Show text threads. 
  • By default you will have a single page, page 1.  Add two more pages.  Pages 2-3 will be a double page spread in the page viewer.
  • Change page 1 to not use the master page by clicking on the black triangle on the top.
  • Now click on page 2, and it will display, empty, in the editor.
  • Do your Ctrl-D,choose your file of Greek, and do shift+click on page 2.  You will find that it creates a whole slew of pages, all with the Greek in the left hand page only.
  • Go to page 3, and do the Ctrl-D, open the English, and do shift+click on page 3.  That will fill up all the right-hand side pages, and if need be create more.

There you have it!  You can now do File|Export to PDF for print, and get a PDF with the two interleaved.

One minor problem.  The text and translation don’t line up!  Over a few pages, they get out of step.

The answer?  You get to fix that manually by adding extra spacing, line breaks, etc!  That’s show-business.  That’s why InDesign is used for laying out text.  But at this point at least you can generate something for proof-checking the whole document!

If only InDesign was not so terrifyingly expensive! 

Working on QuickAccents and other things

A few years ago I wrote a little tool called QuickAccents.  What it did was add the correct accents to a Greek word as you typed it, using the accentuation in the New Testament.  Hardly anyone ever bought a copy, and it languished until I finally withdrew it a year back.

Over the weekend I had an email from one of the few, asking me if it would run on Windows 7.  The answer was that it would not.  But in response to pleas, I located the source and tried to port it to the current version of Visual Studio.

I wasn’t very hopeful, but the port more or less worked.  Well, Microsoft to Microsoft… it ought to!  But certainly earlier versions did not.  So I have the new version.  This I will package up, and the gentleman will be able to run it.

In those days I tended to list the date in the files.  I notice, ruefully, that I wrote QuickAccents in 2002.  It didn’t seem so long ago… And where did the time go?

I’ve been feeling really incredibly tired over the last couple of days, with lots of headaches and toothache in the upper jaw.  I started to feel better last night, and suddenly realised that it must have been a virus!  The virus gets into the sinuses, and thus the other symptoms.  I mention this only in case others are afflicted, and have not realised what is happening.

Last night I started to look at the preface to Hansen’s edition of the Church History of Socrates Scholasticus.  We’re so accustomed to having this in English that it was a shock to learn that no German translation had ever been made!  Interestingly there is evidence that a complete Syriac version exists.

If the virus will let up, I will digest down the manuscript tradition and place it online.

Someone who knows about Coptic writes…

I had an email from Christian Askeland, who tried (and failed) to comment on the Coptic posts, but kindly emailed me anyway.  Spam is such a nuisance; you get rubbish you don’t want, and lose stuff you do.  But the email was so useful that I post it here.

1) Your editor is technically incorrect to label Keft as “Sahidic”.  Most people would agree with your editor against me on this.  The reality, however, is that Sahidic was written in three different scripts:  Biblical majuscule, Alexandrian majuscule and Sloping pointed majuscule.  The last was generally used in non-literary documents.  Because most of our Bohairic manuscripts date from the 11th-19th centuries, most of them appear in a script developed from the Alexandrian majuscule, and this is considered a Bohairic script.  The fact is that early Nitrian Bohairic manuscripts appear in biblical majuscules.  Even earlier papyrus manuscripts such as the early Bohairic of John and the Minor Prophets use an informal version of the Biblical majuscule.

Having said all this, feel free to use a font which represents your manuscript’s time and style.  If I were to restart my project, I might use Alphabetum to distinguish my Medieval Bohairic texts.

The major issue is this: how anal are you with your transcription?  Keft is a superior font, having been designed by the IACS for about 10,000 Euro under the auspices of Stephen Emmel.   Primarily, Keft excels in being able to handle combining superlinear strokes in Sahidic.  Perhaps, this is not an issue in Bohairic.

2)  The diagonal lines over Bohairic characters are “djinkim.”  The are functionally the same as the dots, although the dots were used in earlier manuscripts.  In the late fourteenth century, a more expansive system of these dots developed, allowing a rough kind of dating based on these superlinear marks.  There is no translational significance to these marks.  Some marked vowels, some were reading aids.

Are you using this keyboard?  It is free, and is designed for Microsoft Word.

More on the Alphabetum font

An email this morning from Juan-Jose Marcos, the developer of the Alphabetum font.  It seems that he keeps the font under development, for the email announces an upgrade.  Unicode 5.2 includes a couple more obscure Coptic characters, and since I registered the font, he’s sending me the upgrade.

He also points me to an improved Charmap utility, named Babelmap.  It’s freeware.  I haven’t tried it, but Charmap is quite underpowered.