Tag Archives: IT tips

Importing documents and structure from Scrivener to MaxQDA


Here’s my triumph of the day: getting Scrivener to export about 400 separate documents into a single file that you can then import into MaxQDA with a code that will then separate them out again into individual documents in MaxQDA.  If you’re wondering why, it’s because the bulk of my data and a lot of memos and notes were entered in Scrivener, but I want to export it into MaxQDA to analyse it. Time taken? About 10 minutes to figure it out, 10 seconds to execute it.

To do such an import in MaxQDA, you need to prefix every title or separate section with #TEXT, so that the resulting document has #TEXTYourTitleHere before each section. When you import that document, MaxQDA creates a separate document at every point where it reads #TEXT, adding a title of its own if you haven’t specified one.

Here’s how I did it:

  1. In the Scrivener compile dialog, select the folder(s) that contain(s) the documents and subdocuments (if any) you want to send to MaxQDA.
  2. Use the “Custom” compile format, so that you can tweak the output
  3. In the compile dialog, select the formatting box, and make sure that the “title” box is checked against the level where the documents are that you want to see as separate documents in MaxQDA. When you click on the different levels, the corresponding documents in the binder are highlighted, so you can see exactly which level you need.  ( I found that the titles of the subdocuments I wanted to include (level 2+) weren’t included in the compile by default, so I had to manually check the box) scrivener-formatting
  4. Click on the “Section Layout” button underneath the levels
  5. In the dialog box that appears (Title Prefix and Suffix) Add the word #TEXT – ensuring that you don’t put a space after the word #TEXT prefix
  6. Now run the compile
  7. You will now have one big file that contains all your Scrivener subdocuments, with #TEXT appended to each title.
  8. Now import the compile file into  MaxQDA using the “Import structured document (Preprocessor)” option. importMax
  9. Sit back and watch all your Scrivener document structure replicate itself in MaxQDA.

IT tip: how to stop Guardian links from displaying 404 in Facebook posts



I can’t remember when this started, but for a while now, if you paste a link into Facebook from the Guardian, you get the 404 page above as a thumbnail. If you click on the link, it does go to the page you wanted to link to, but who in their right mind would want to click on a 404 error?

To force the Guardian links to behave, all you have to do is to add a trailing slash (/) on to the URL. So if your link looks like this:


add a / on to the end so it looks like this:


Do it before you copy and paste the link rather than adding it when you write the post, because most of the time, Facebook will already grab the 404 page and grab it before you’ve had a chance to edit. So add the slash in the address bar, then copy it, then paste it.

Do that, and that nasty 404 page will magically turn into this (for the URL above)


By the way, it’s a great article, so do click on the link and read it, as well as taking the tip.

Missing wordpress posts? Can’t update old pages? Try this


Yesterday I had the first and only WordPress crisis ever since I installed it several years ago. When I tried to update an old  post, the post would just revert to it’s previous state, losing the text that I’d added. I tried all kinds of things with plugins and cache etc., none of which solved it. Then last night, my front page said ‘You’re looking for something that isn’t there’, and displayed no data. This morning, I clicked on a link to a post, and it was ‘not found’.

I then decided to follow one of the hundreds of bits of advice I’d seen yesterday while searching for an answer. It seemed the most drastic, so I didn’t take it then, but today I effectively had no site any more, so I thought I might as well. I wish I could remember whose advice it was to thank them, but I can’t, but whoever you are, thank you.

The trick is this – obviously, it’s only relevant if you have a site hosted on a server that uses CPanel, but that covers a lot of people:

1. Log in to the place where your site is hosted, and go to your CPanel

2. Select SQL databases

3. Go to the bit that says ‘Repair database’ (I missed out the ‘check database’ step, though I guess I could have done that)

4. Select the database(s) that relate to your WP installation (they’ll have WP in the name probably)

5. Click ‘repair’

I did this, it took 2 seconds, and everything’s now back to normal. I don’t really want to know why, i”m just glad it worked.


Peachnote for all your classical ‘name-that-tune’ problems


Here was today’s musical problem – what’s the tune that Deanna Durbin singing in this film? I need the score immediately for a recording.

I know it’s Strauss, but which of his hundred’s of waltzes? Where do you start? Well, I started at Musipedia, and typed the opening theme in, but had no luck, so I tried Peachnote instead. I entered the first five notes, and nothing came up. So I tried doing what the tune does exactly – which is to repeat those same five notes. In a matter of seconds, Peachnote had found it, and taken me directly to the violin part in the IMSLP library where it had found the melody. Answer? Zigeunerbaron. To see the search results, click here.

And the reason I blog is…

…because at times like this when I’ve forgotten my own good advice, I can search my own site for the answer. I’d forgotten what the name of the site was (Peachnote) that I needed, but I remembered  that a friend  had posted a query on one of my posts about finding tunes, and that I’d put a link to the site I wanted  on the comment thread. A bit of searching on my own blog found that post, and the link.  Using google to search sites is one of my favourite and most useful tips – type your search term followed by site:example.com (where ‘example.com’ is the name of the site you want to search – without the www etc.)




How to sync voice memos from your iPhone


The Voice Memos app on the iPhone is one of its most useful features, but for maybe a year, it’s proved impossible to get voice recordings from my iPhone and onto my Mac so that I can do something with them.  I’m not the only one – the web is crammed with forums documenting the same problem, with all kinds of baroque fixes and suggestions, most of which I’ve tried without success, or with only temporary success until the next OS or iTunes update. That  such a basic and important feature of the iPhone/iTunes has been left to rot by Apple is appalling.

The quick and reliable (and free) fix for me has been iExplorer (formerly iPhone Explorer). It turns your phone into a drive so you can view the contents and drag and drop stuff from it to your computer.  If like me you’ve got hours of crucial interview data on a phone, iExplorer’s a life saver. Here’s how:

1. Download and install iExplorer

2. Plug in your phone

3. An icon representing your phone will appear in the iExplorer window

4. Click on this to collapse the folders inside the phone

5. Keep going till you get to Media>Recordings>Sync

6. There are all your voice memos, filenames in yyyy/mm/dd format

7. Either drag and drop the files you want, or copy and paste them across to whereever you want them


Update on 7th August 2012 : Suddenly today, iTunes decided to download 35 voice memos going back months (I’d already downloaded them with iExplorer).   In the post above I never said how to sync voice memos using iTunes because it didn’t work consistently. If you want to know, just in case it’s working again now, this is how:

  • in your iPhone sync preferences in iTunes, make sure that ‘include voice memos’ is ticked under ‘Music’
  • when you next plug your phone into our computer, the voice memos should be downloaded to a playlist called ‘Voice Memos’ in your library

I still prefer the iExplorer method myself, because it gives me greater control over what I’m doing, and at least I know it’s done it.


IT tips: how to stop Chrome opening your pdfs


I love Chrome, but I hate the way it takes over your pdfs and opens them in the browser. I also hate the way this isn’t straightforwardly configurable on the preferences page. However, it’s easy, and this is how you do it:

Type this in the address bar.


You’ll get a list of plugins used in Chrome. Scroll down to ‘Chrome PDF viewer’ and click ‘disable’.



IT tips #25: Use a notebook for the big stuff in life


Use  conventional tools if they’re better suited to the job at hand. Notebooks (real notebooks, not the electronic kind) are cheap, robust, durable, don’t need electricity, don’t require any special skills, offer  fast random access, and boot up immediately.  They are less distracting in a hundred ways than a computer, and much quicker to use. They’re light and portable, and can be tilted, folded, bent, torn, listened to, stroked and smelled.

A notebook hides nothing away in files, folders and applications. If it’s in there, you’ll find it. Handwritten notes bear the indelible marks of the day when you made them – the colour, weight and angle of the pen, the speed of your writing, minute irregularities of line and shape. A coffee or red wine stain may remind  you  where you were when you made it. These things are erased or never inscribed by a computer.

Many brilliant people I have met from fields as diverse as management, retail, choreography, design, writing, academia and  computer programming use notebooks for  the big stuff – planning, thinking, sketching, dealing with people. By contrast, I’ve watched hours of working life go by where technology has provided the appearance of serious activity but achieved nothing.

My personal favourites, for design and paper quality, are the B5 notebooks from Muji that come in packs of 5 for £4. What’s yours?