Varying Vagrant Vagrants, theme development and Dropbox

When my university decided to discontinue the support for personal webpages (i.e. literally pull the plug from the server hosting them), I was left with a dilemma. I had a pretty static HTML page that was hosted there and a rather standard (and largely abandoned) WordPress installation. Because I liked the structure of my HTML page, I decided to create a theme based on it and restart using my WordPress blog. What you read now, is the result of this conversion. Depending on when you read this post, there may still be some rough patches. In this post, I will show how you can develop a theme for WordPress using Varying Vagrant Vagrants and synchornise it using Dropbox.


About me

I am reader in computational linguistics (that’s usually referred to as associate professor in many countries) at University of Wolverhampton, UK, and the deputy head of the Research Group in Computational Linguistics. I am currently the Local Course Coordinator (Wolverhampton) for an Erasmus Mundus programme on Technology for Translation and Interpretation. In the past, I was deputy coordinator of the EC FP7-funded FIRST project (concerned with text simplification for people with autism) and coordinator of the EXPERT project (concerned with training young researchers to promote the research, development and use of translation technologies). I was also the Local Course Coordinator (Wolverhampton) for the Erasmus Mundus International Masters in Natural Language Processing and Human Language Technology (EM NLP&HLT) and I previously managed two European projects (QALL-ME and MESSAGE) and was involved in many others. I have received my BSc in computer science at Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania and my PhD from University of Wolverhampton with a thesis entitled Comparative evaluation of modular automatic summarisation systems using CAST.

Word embeddings for aggression identification

The First Shared task on Aggression Identification was organised in conjunction with the First Workshop on Trolling, Aggression and Cyberbullying. The idea of the shared task was fairly simple. Classify a text in one of the following three categories: Overtly Aggressive (OAG), Covertly Aggressive (CAG) and Non-aggressive (NAG). This means that the task is essentially a standard text categorisation task and an approach based on bag-of-words is a good baseline to start with (neither me, nor the task organisers provided a baseline based on bag-of-words, so I don’t know what is the accuracy of the method).


How to add definition lists to WordPress

The other day I wanted to format the text in a post using a definition list-like structure. Basically I wanted something like this:

May 2018Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Praesent ac quam venenatis, finibus nunc ac, congue nisi. Aliquam erat volutpat. Ut auctor neque a sodales fermentum.

June 2018Proin nisl mauris, tempus vitae venenatis vel, maximus vel leo. Etiam aliquam semper orci eu bibendum.


What happens if you set the position of an invisible div

The other day I wanted to allow users of the metadiscourse annotator to quickly locate in text the marker they tag. This is particularly important if the text contains many markers. When the user presses a button I wanted the following effect:


Ajax calls stopped working in my Symfony 2.8 application

Update: One day after I wrote this post, version 2.8.36 was released to fix this problem. It seem that other versions of Symfony were also affected. If you are interested in this problem, read on. If you are affected by it, you should upgrade, not use the fix from here.

Last night I implemented a few improvements in the Metadiscourse annotator which I am developing in my spare time. (I rewrote several functions that cut the running time of two actions from minutes to seconds … but that’s for a different post, maybe …). I tested the new code on my development computer and everything seemed perfect, so I deployed the new version. Just before sending an email to the people who use this program, I noticed that a particular functionality that relied on AJAX requests no longer worked. This was completely unrelated to the changes I made. Initially, I thought it is because I restricted the HTTP method to GET, whilst the request was done using POST. I fixed that, but it was still not working. After spending a bit of time, I realised that none of the AJAX requests worked anymore. This was at 1am, how else 🙂


Dependencies not installable in SensioLabsInsight

I analyse my Symfony applications using SensioLabsInsight. The reports I receive are not always useful, but many point to various problems that should be considered. SensioLabInsight integrates with GitHub so you can get an analysis with each commit without doing anything. That’s definitely a nice feature. One of the errors I had from the beginning was a critical error “Dependencies not installable”. The problem is caused by a “Connection refused” error that had not much to do with my code. (more…)

Problems running NetBeans in Fedora

I am not quite sure when the problem began, but at some point I noticed that the tabs do not look good when I run Netbeans in Fedora. and they look like in this screenshot.


Burning an iso image onto a USB in Linux? Easy task …

… well, sadly it turns out that it’s not that easy.

I recently bought an SSD in an attempt to revive a bit my old desktop which obviously suffers because of slow disk access. At the same time I also wanted to switch away from Ubuntu. I am not going to rant here why move away from Ubuntu after using it so many years, but one of the reasons can be seen below. I downloaded the ISO image of the latest Fedora and I wanted to burn it onto a USB stick, so I can install it from there. Being in Linux, I thought this will be an easy task especially because there is the dd command available. (more…)

Composer ‘out of memory’ error

I deal with several projects that are written in PHP using the Symfony framework. One of the regular tasks I have to do is to deploy the applications on the production servers. For more than one year I have been successfully using capifony, which after the initial tweaking worked without a problem till last night. The problem was not because of capifony, but it was caused by composer: (more…)