Restarting a MySQL Server from the Command Line

While it doesn’t come up frequently, every once in a while you’ll need to restart a MySQL server from the command line. On my current webserver we’re running a VPS with WHM. What this means is that accessing the MySQL daemon is not as simple as using “mysqld” from the shell. So here’s how to get it to work, based on information found at this blog post, and my own experience:

#/etc/init.d/mysql start

#/etc/init.d/mysql stop

#/etc/init.d/mysql restart

That will start, stop, and restart, respectively, the MySQL server on our WHM server.

Stripping Everything but Numbers in PHP using RegEx

Here’s a useful little regular expression that will strip everything but numbers from a string in PHP.


This uses PHP’s preg_replace function to replace everything but numbers with nothing. I used it to strip the dashes from ZIP+4 codes and also reformat phone numbers without forcing the user to enter it in my preferred format (if possible, it’s always better to clean up user input yourself than yell at the user for not entering it your way).

I gleaned this solution from “Chris” on StackOverflow so all credit goes to him. I recommend using RegExr when building your expression. I’ve covered this in more detail previously.

Styling HTML Ordered Lists with CSS

Nicely styled OL on KeepAndCastle.Com
Nicely styled OL on KeepAndCastle.Com

As with the previous post, it’s the simple, small things that build your site’s “feel.” As with the HR in the previous post, ordered lists often end up being quite boring despite the range of numbering options. However, again, CSS3 offers us the ability to style these lists in a wide range of ways giving us full control over the lists’ feel.

Here I found Red Team Design‘s article “CSS3 Ordered List Styles” excellent and helpful. While I didn’t use any of the animations they built (they seemed a bit over the top to me, except for the small movement on the rectangle-shaped elements) I did find these examples a great starting point for creating my own styles.

The only issue I ran into that I have yet been able to solve is restarting the numbering on a multi-page list since their examples used CSS3’s counter-reset and counter-increment properties which I don’t fully understand yet.

Styling Horizontal Rules (HRs) in HTML

Beautiful CSS-Styled HTML HR with Code
Beautiful CSS-Styled HTML HR with Code

While the large things (colors, images, content, etc.) contribute to the “look” of your site, it’s the small things that make your site “feel” the way you want. When you’re looking at enhancing the “feel” of your site it’s often good to default styles applied by the users’ browser as much as possible. One place this can be done is with the HR element. Most websites use the horizontal rule in one way another as a way to easily divide content on the site. However, while it’s easy to change the color by setting the CSS “border-color” property, this leaves the same square, blocky look as the default HR. However, with widespread adoption of modern CSS properties, we can now use the “background-image” property to effectively modify the appearance of HRs, while allowing for excellent backwards-compatibility. To that end, I’ve discovered the “Simple Styles for <hr>’s” document at to be very handy. These styles are beautiful, simple, and useful.

Formula to Convert Fractions to Decimals in Excel

I’ve been working to get a product information file into a format that would allow me to import it into my database and one of the issues I’ve encountered is that this file contains three columns for dimensions: height, width, length. These three contain fractional values in the format “6 1/16” which Excel doesn’t translate well. So, I put together this formula to deal with that column:

=IF(LEN(TRIM(A2)) >0,IF(TRIM(A2)-INT(TRIM(A2)) > 0,INT(LEFT(A2,FIND(” “,A2)))+(INT(MID(A2,FIND(” “,A2),FIND(“/”,A2)-FIND(” “,A2)))/INT(MID(A2,FIND(“/”,A2)+1,LEN(TRIM(A2))-FIND(“/”,A2)+1))),TRIM(A2)),””)

You’ll note that the value I’m looking for is in column A, row 2 and that if the value of A2 is blank I’m letting the result be blank. If you’d prefer the result to be 0 if there is no value in the fractions column, you can change the “” to 0.