Mar 21

In my line of work I end up trying to move a large amount of text from web pages into things like Word and Excel. Getting the Text from the Web Browser is easy…Putting the text with formatting into an Office app could be a lot of work trying to parse through all the HTML and send the equivalent formatting commands with the text. Fortunately, Word and Excel had the ability to paste from the clipboard HTML and render it with the correct formatting! …Only problem is that for some reason, no one added HTML support in the Win32::Clipboard gem?!? (At least not in the 1.8.x version of Ruby, which I use.) So I spent a few hours looking over the existing clipboard.rb file, found a VBA example of an HTML Copy, and came up with the following code: Continue reading »

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Mar 16

If you try to “compile” a Ruby script that has the Watir gem in it with OCRA, you will find that running the compiled .exe file on a computer without the Watir gem previously being installed may result in this error:

c:/ruby/lib/ruby/gems/1.8/gems/watir-1.6.2/lib/watir/ie.rb:113:in `initialize': unknown OLE server: `AutoItX3.Control' (WIN32OLERuntimeError)
    HRESULT error code:0x800401f3
      Invalid class string      from c:/ruby/lib/ruby/gems/1.8/gems/watir-1.6.2/lib/watir/ie.rb:113:in `new'
        from c:/ruby/lib/ruby/gems/1.8/gems/watir-1.6.2/lib/watir/ie.rb:113:in `autoit'
        from c:/ruby/lib/ruby/gems/1.8/gems/watir-1.6.2/lib/watir/ie-class.rb:425:in `autoit'
        from c:/ruby/lib/ruby/gems/1.8/gems/watir-1.6.2/lib/watir/ie-class.rb:422:in `set_window_state'
        from c:/ruby/lib/ruby/gems/1.8/gems/watir-1.6.2/lib/watir/ie-class.rb:398:in `maximize'

Huh? Why am I getting a WIN32OLE error? This all runs fine on my computer when I tested it! … Well, it seems that Watir uses its own version of a win32ole gem, and not the one that you already have installed. In fact, when you compile a Ruby script that has both win32ole and watir gems, you will need to comment out the “require ‘win32ole’” line in order for it to work. Anyway… as part of the win32ole gem install, it seems that it registers the AutoItX3.dll file into the registry. OCRA will, however, *NOT* copy this file over and register it for you, so you may see the error above.

So…the trick is add the AutoItX3.dll file to your OCRA compile, and to temporarily register the DLL before calling watir or win32ole commands. I simply copied the DLL from the win32ole gem directory to my Ruby script’s working directory, and then added it to my OCRA compile command:

C:\Server4\Dev\MyProg>ocra --console --icon c:/Server4/Dev/icons/exonets.ico myprog.rb AutoItX3.dll

OCRA will add the DLL to the EXE and when run will place it in the current temporary directory. After that you need to run the DLL register command to make it an OLE server, then when done, be sure to unregister it before your program completes.
Here a sample of code that I use to accomplish all this: Continue reading »

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Mar 09

My friendly oil change person taught me the trick to resetting my oil change light on my 2007 Saturn VUE:

  • 1. Turn the ignition on
  • 2. Press the gas pedal all the way down three times
  • 3. The Oil Change light and the Airbag light will alternately blink for about 15-20 seconds, then go out.
  • 4. Turn the car off.
  • When you turn the car back on, the Oil Change light will stop coming on.

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    Mar 07

    While doing a quick search for Ruby code that could catch and print out the Beacon packet that Tivo machines send out on the local network, I was shocked to not find anything….tons of stuff in Perl….but nothing Ruby! Unbelievable! So I went and figured out what the code would be in Ruby. Here’s what I got:

    require 'socket'
    require 'exo/xdump'
    trap("INT") do
       puts "---[Ctrl-C: Exiting]---\n\n"
    BasicSocket.do_not_reverse_lookup = true
    s =
    s.bind("", 2190)
    loop do
       flg =[s], nil, nil, 5)
       if flg
          text, sender = s.recvfrom_nonblock(1024)
          puts "[#{}] #{sender[3]} sent beacon packet:"
          puts "[#{}]\n#{text.hexdump}"

    Nothing too fancy. The beacon is sent out as a UDP packet to port 2190. The code looks for data on the socket, then retrieves the the data and prints it out in a hex dump format like so:

    [Sun Mar 07 20:37:53 -0800 2010] sent beacon packet:
    [Sun Mar 07 20:37:53 -0800 2010]
    000000: 7469 766f 636f 6e6e   6563 743d 310a 7377 |tivoconnect=1.sw|
    000010: 7665 7273 696f 6e3d   392e 332e 3262 2d30 |version=9.3.2b-0|
    000020: 312d 322d 3134 300a   6d65 7468 6f64 3d62 |1-2-140.method=b|
    000030: 726f 6164 6361 7374   0a69 6465 6e74 6974 |roadcast.identit|
    000040: 793d 3234 3030 3030   30Xx XxXx XxXx XxXx |y=2400000XXXXXXX|
    000050: Xx0a 6d61 6368 696e   653d XxXx XxXx XxXx |X.machine=XXXXXX|
    000060: 0a70 6c61 7466 6f72   6d3d 7463 642f 5365 |.platform=tcd/Se|
    000070: 7269 6573 320a 7365   7276 6963 6573 3d54 ||
    000080: 6956 6f4d 6564 6961   5365 7276 6572 3a38 |iVoMediaServer:8|
    000090: 302f 6874 7470 0000   0000 0000 0000 0000 |0/http.         |

    The identity and the machine values have been changed just to be safe :)

    A big issue that a lot of folks have with UDP sockets in Ruby is trying to get a non-blocking read working correctly. The use of the above seems to be the best answer that I’ve seen…but its still not perfect. Some folks have been trying out eventmachine (See the “Non-Blocking UDP” thread over on Ruby Forum), but for this simple test, the should work just fine.

    I covered the hexdump function in a previous post.

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    Mar 04

    Ever wanted to have a spell check function in your Ruby Program? As long as you have MS Word installed, you can use the Spellcheck function from your program. Here’s the code:

    require 'exo/iswindows'
    if not RUBY_PLATFORM.isWindows?
       puts "This program only runs under Windows!"
    require 'win32ole'
    def spellcheck(scstring)
       word ='Word.Application')
       doc = word.Documents.Add     ## Blank document
       word.Selection.Text = scstring
       ### return the corrected text
       if not scstring[/ /]      ## only one word with no spaces in the string
         # highlight the word first,
         word.Selection.MoveLeft( 'Unit'=>2,
                'Count'=> 1,
       ## multiple words end up already selected after the spell check
       # then retrieve.
       correct = word.Selection.Text
       return correct
    if __FILE__ == $0
       puts "Corrected => #{spellcheck(ARGV[0])}"

    The program opens a new document, pastes the text to check into the document, and then brings up the spellcheck dialog box with any words it can’t find in the dictionary and prompts you to correct the mistakes. Here’s an sample output:

    C:\Server6\Dev\Ruby>ruby spellcheck.rb "this is a test srting to seee how the slpell check is working"
    Corrected => This is a test string to see how the spell check is working
    C:\Server6\Dev\Ruby>ruby spellcheck.rb  antidisestablishmenttarianism
    Corrected => antidisestablishmentarianism

    For some reason, if you check multiple words, the dialog auto-closes after the last ‘fix’ …but if its just one word, it stays open until you click the close button. Conversely, multiple words stay selected in the Word doc after the dialog closes, but with only one word, it does not stay selected, and you have to select it back in order to read it off the page of the document.

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