Zotero – exporting Unicode and LaTeX constructs to BibTex

Zotero is a great reference manager, especially if you’re using Firefox. Its BibTeX export is invaluable for LaTeX / LyX users. However, it has a couple of sticking points whose solutions are not well documented. These issues can be especially annoying for researchers working in exact sciences (math, physics, etc.)

Problem 1: Article info contains special Unicode characters (such as é). As BibTeX doesn’t support Unicode, LaTeX compilation fails.


  1. Zotero Preferences -> Export -> check Display character encoding option on export
  2. Whenever you export your database, pick a non-Unicode character encoding such as ISO-8859-1

Zotero will now convert the Unicode characters to their native LaTeX equivalents (for example, é will be converted into ‘{e}).

Note: You could also solve this on the LaTeX side by using Biblatex and biber. However, I wasn’t able to make them work under LyX.

Problem 2:Article info contains Latex constructs (e.g. $O_{3}$). Zotero escapes these and so they appear verbatim in the reference (e.g. $O_{3}$ instead of O₃)


  1. Locate your Zotero data directory and open translatorsBibTeX.js with your favorite text editor
  2. Change the following:
     var alwaysMap = {

    to the following:

     var alwaysMap = {
     ">":"{\textgreater}" //,
    // "~":"{\textasciitilde}",
    // "^":"{\textasciicircum}"
    // "\":"{\textbackslash}"
  3. Change the following: 
     value = value.replace(/[|<>~^\]/g, mapEscape).replace(/([#$%&_])/g, "\$1"); 

    to the following:

     value = value.replace(/[|<>]/g, mapEscape).replace(/([#%&])/g, "\$1");  
  4. Save the file.

Escaping of ~, ^, ,$,_ is now disabled, preserving your LaTeX constructs.

References and further reading





Adding syntax highlighting for new languages to Eclipse with the Colorer library

Say you have an HRC file containing the syntax and lexical structure of some programming language Eclipse does not support (for example D).

Using the EclipseColorer plugin, you can easily add support for it. For this tutorial I’ll be using Eclipse Classic 3.7.2 32-bit.

  1. Go to Help -> Install New Software and click Add..
  2. In the Name field write Colorer and in the Location field write http://colorer.sf.net/eclipsecolorer/
  3. Select the entry you’ve just added in the work with: combo box, wait for the component list to populate and click Select All
  4. Click Next and follow the instructions
  5. Once the plugin is installed, close Eclipse
  6. Copy your HRC file to [EclipseFolder]pluginsnet.sf.colorer_0.9.9colorerhrcautotypes
  7. Use your favorite text editor to open [EclipseFolder]pluginsnet.sf.colorer_0.9.9colorerhrcautoempty.hrc
  8. Add the appropriate prototype element. For example, if your HRC file is d.hrc, empty.hrc  will look like this: 
     <?xml version="1.0" encoding='Windows-1251'?>
     "-//Cail Lomecb//DTD Colorer HRC take5//EN"
     <hrc version="take5" xmlns="http://colorer.sf.net/2003/hrc"
     xsi:schemaLocation="http://colorer.sf.net/2003/hrc http://colorer.sf.net/2003/hrc.xsd"
     'auto' is a place for include
     to colorer your own HRCs
    <prototype name="d" group="main" description="D">
     <location link="types/d.hrc"/>
  9. Save the changes and close the text editor
  10. Open Eclipse and go to Window -> Preferences -> General -> Editors -> File Associations
  11. In the file types section, click Add.. and fill in the appropriate filetype (for example .d)
  12. Click OK and click your newly added entry in the list
  13. In the associated editors section, click Add.., select Colorer Editor and press OK

All done! Now you can open your new language files in Eclipse and enjoy syntax highlighting and parsing.

Adding new language support to FAR manager (plugin) and Midnight Commander (plugin) is similar.








ClipCycler – Cycle through past clipboard clips (and swap Hebrew / English mistypes)

Some of you may be familiar with the clipboard cycling feature of Visual Studio, which basically stores recent clipboard items and lets you cycle through them. Personally I like this feature a lot, so I’ve created ClipCycler (opensource) to introduce it to all windows applications.

Simply copy text items as you would normally, they are all kept within ClipCycler. You can browse them as well as cycle forward and backwards with configurable hotkeys (e.g. Win+V)

As a bonus (mostly for Israelis), you can swap English and Hebrew characters in cases where you typed in the wrong language by mistake.

You can get ClipCycler at SourceForge:


Using your mobile phone as a remote control for your PC / Laptop (via Bluetooth)

I was looking for a free utility to do this, and after some googling I bumped into JM2PC.

Following the instructions in its Readme.TXT file, you can have your mobile remote control up and running within minutes, so I definitely recommend it.

Another interesting freebie is MobileWitch, which at first glance seems similar, so you might want to check it out as well.

If you’re willing to pay (I’m not a great believer of paid software), Vectir might be what you’re after.

Easy workaround for the USB random connect / diconnect / reconnect issue

Symptom: your laptop makes the USB connect/disconnect sounds randomly, even when no USB devices are connected to your computer

Cause: Probably some loose innards connecting an internal USB device in the laptop

The issue has been discussed in several places, for example:

But I haven’t seen a solution posted, not even a workaround…

I’ve encountered this phenomena with a Dell Inspiron 1520, where the USB camera would do this constantly. It was easy to tell since the camera light / indicator flashed each time it did, but in other situations it might not be trivial to tell which device is the culprit

In any case,  you’d think disabling the defective device in the device manager would stop the annoyance – well, in my case, it didn’t

Fortunately, Nir Sofer comes to the rescue:

  1. Download USBDeview and run it
  2. Sort the list by the “last plug/unplug date” column (is this guy a genius or what) – the problematic device is immediately identified
  3. Right click on it and choose “disconnect selected devices”

You’re done. Until you get the hardware fixed (if ever), you are no longer plagued by that infernal sound. I’m not sure if the disabling persists reboots (haven’t rebooted yet), but if not, USBDeview has a command line interface – so you can place a simple shortcut in your startup to disable the device every time the system starts


Record streaming media with StreamRecorder.NET

As far as I know, the most robust, free solutions for recording streams of all types today are MPlayer and VLC. Both require some command line arguments which, for many users, would be difficult to use (and find!). In addition, they do not cater to many streaming needs. For that reason, I created StreamRecorder.NET – a free, open source windows GUI front end for several programs (most notably MPayer and VLC), that provides the following features:

  • Records, joins and post processes stream using the tools you choose – recommended defaults are supplied
  • Full Command Line Interface (CLI) allowing scheduling and automation
  • Keeps the recording process alive (restarting when necessary)
  • Time stamps file names to avoid overwrites
  • Logs recorder output to file
  • MP3 and Windows Media easy presets
  • Complete Tool tip coverage explaining all functionality

Enjoy !


If you have feature requests or bug reports, please use the appropriate mechanisms here:

(This has also been posted on the VideoHelp forums)