Be my Support Group
People want to be understood. That's why support groups are
- The alcoholic wants to connect with somebody else who showed
up drunk at a wedding and embarrassed the bride.
- The compulsive overeater wants to know that he's not the
only one who has stopped at the Dunkin Donuts drive-thru on the way home to
eat a dozen before dinner.
- The out-of-control gambler wants to be in community with
other people who have lost their car going "all in" with pocket sevens.
We all have problems, and we all want to know that we're not
Wednesday evening I posted a comment on a friend's blog. Or rather, I tried
to post a comment.
True to my tendencies, it was really far too wordy to be
called a comment. I actually spent about half an hour wordsmithing a
But when I hit the submit button to post it, Wordpress gave
me a generic error page. Presumably something timed out while I was crafting
And when I hit the Back button, my comment was gone. :-(
My mind raced. What are my options here?
Maybe I should just re-type the whole thing? It was only
300 words or so.
Nah. The text I wrote was perfect. I probably won't be
able to remember it just the way it was.
And why should I have to? Firefox and Wordpress screwed
this up, not me!
Cautiously I hit the Forward button in my browser. Firefox
showed me this dialog:
Aha! I clicked OK. Wordpress coughed up the same hairball
I got before.
But now I know that Firefox still has my comment in memory
somewhere. All I have to do is figure out how to get it.
Two hours later I finally got my comment posted,
deliberately ignoring the fact that I could have retyped it ten times by then.
After several other attempts that brought me to dead ends,
here is the technique that succeeded:
- I installed winpcap
and a packet sniffer, which I configured to capture all packets on my network
- Then I went back to my still-open instance of Firefox and
hit Reload. I clicked the OK button in the dialog box above and Wordpress
- Then I went back to the packet sniffer and found the TCP
connection containing my posted comment.
- Ack! I had completely forgotten that the format would be application/x-www-form-urlencoded.
Luckily, I memorized all of the punctuation marks in the ASCII table back
when I was in middle school. %22 would be 34 in decimal, so that's a
quotation mark. After several search-and-replace operations, all the
escaped characters were fixed.
- During all this, I noticed and fixed a couple of typos I
had previously missed.
- Finally I went back to my friend's blog, pasted my comment
into the textbox and hit submit.
Let me know that I'm not alone. Tell me the story of
something geeky that you did.