Copyright 2018 - Custom text here

The problem: an InDesign CS 5.5 character style including a strike-out, when used to strike certain out portions of a word, doesn’t always work. The solution is to clear the “ligatures” check box on the “basic character formats” tab of the character style.

When getting ready to publish I newest puzzle book, Cryptic Word Searches, I came across an odd glitch in InDesign CS 5.5. As part of publishing our answers, we use character styles to cross off letters within a word. For example,

Example as expected

We use this to show “hidden words” and other tricks which are part of the puzzle. In the example above, if you take the last three letters of “example”, plus “as” and the first letter of “expected”, you get “please” as the hidden word.

This works most of the time. However, in some cases it wasn’t working, for example:

suffix in greek

The word hidden here is “fixing”, however in InDesign it was appearing as:

suffix in greek

The “fi” in “suffix” was crossed out even though the character style was not applied to it. In other cases, the cross out did not apply when it should have.

The problem always seemed to include the letter “f”.

After confirming that the styles were being applied correctly, I did some experiments and noticed that if a space was added between two letters that weren’t acting correctly, the styles were then applied properly. The final resolution was to completely uncheck the “ligatures” box on the character style. This corrected the problem. It seems that InDesign was trying to bind the letters together and was having an issue with the strike-through. As it’s uncommon to strike out just part of a word, I can see why this is a fairly rare bug.

The InDesign character style dialog 

We used Arial as our font, it’s likely that other fonts would not have demonstrated the problem.

The standard password system used by Joomla! 2.5 and 3.1 uses what is known as MD5 hashing with salt. MD5 Hashing takes the user password, appends the salt value (a random number assigned when the password was set) and converts it into bytes using a method such that although the same password will always give the same hash value, you cannot reverse the process to get the original password.

For a hacker to discover the password, they would need to first steal a copy of the database and then go through a list of possible passwords and hash each and every one of them with the salt trying to find a match, a slow and cumbersome technique.

In general "salted MD5" is a fairly secure technique, however MD5 has received a certain amount of bad press as being “broken” and the US Government has stopped permitting its use internally because of security concerns. Joomla! does not offer the current "best" techniques, but does offer one, known as SHA-1 which while not considered perfect, is at least considered to be more secure.

The absolute best time to change the password hashing technique is immediately after creating the site before adding any users.

1. Make a backup of your web site including both the database and the files of the Joomla! website itself.

2. Log in to the administrative, e.g Stay logged in, do not leave this page.

3. Edit the following file on your server using a text editor (vi, notepad, etc.), not a word processor:




4. Search for a line of text starting with:

public static function getCryptedPassword

In the version of Joomla! I’m running (2.5.14) this is at line #323. In Joomla! 3.1 it’s around line #320.

5. The full text will look like:

public static function getCryptedPassword($plaintext, $salt = '', $encryption = 'md5-hex', $show_encrypt = false)

6. Replace the ‘md5-hex’ with ‘ssha’. Be sure that you maintain the quotation (apostrophes) exactly as shown. This selects “salted secure hash” using the SHA-1 hashing technique. You can also copy and paste the following line to replace the existing one.

public static function getCryptedPassword($plaintext, $salt = '', $encryption = 'ssha', $show_encrypt = false)

At this point the area around this line of code should look like:

             * @return  string  The encrypted password.
             * @since   11.1
            public static function getCryptedPassword($plaintext, $salt = '', $encryption = 'ssha', $show_encrypt = false)
                        // Get the salt to use.
                        $salt = JUserHelper::getSalt($encryption, $salt, $plaintext);
                        // Encrypt the password
                        switch ($encryption)


7. Save the file on your server.

8. Going back to your web browser, click the “Edit Profile” icon on the control panel. On the profile page type in the password you wish to have into the “password” and “confirm password” input fields and then click the “Save” link in the upper right corner. This will write the hash of your new password and salt to the database using the SHA hashing technique.

9. If there are other users for your system, they will be unable to log in with their existing passwords. Instead each of them will need to use the “forgot your password” link to reset their passwords – which is why it’s best to do this when the system has been freshly installed.

10. If step #8 fails – for example, you get a blank screen or an error screen when you attempt to change the password then most likely you have made a mistake (missing quotation or similar) when changing the “helper.php” file. You can either review this file again and try to fix the problem or restore the file from your backup.

Both Bing and Google provide webmaster tools to help you make your sites work better with their search engines. While Bing provides detailed reports showing what they see about your site and what you should do to improve the indexing of your site, Google mainly provides error messages for serious problems only. With a Joomla 2.5 or Joomla 3.1 site, there are a few caveats that need to be observed when working with the webmaster tools.

When submitting the PDF for my newest Sudoku book, Sudoku Atlantis, Create Space rejected the document with:

The images in the interior file extend to the edge(s) of the page. Full-bleed images should extend at least 0.125" beyond the book's trim line on the top, bottom and outer edges. Additionally, all text should be at least 0.25" away from the book's trim lines.

Recently with a Joomla 3.1 site I submitted the site map to Google Webmaster tools and received an "invalidate date was found" error.



Invalid date

An invalid date was found. Please fix the date or formatting before resubmitting.


Parent tag: url
Tag: lastmod
Value: 1901-12-13T20:45:52Z


Oct 28, 2013

Parent tag: url
Tag: lastmod
Value: 1901-12-13T20:45:52Z



(I've added the highlighting on the time stamps).