Coffee Table : Pallet Wood

Sitting in my fav chair in the conservatory there was nowhere to put my early morning cup of coffee. Obviously a prompt for any maker to get making. It only needed to be small, and just the right height to sit a cup on. A rummage in the off cuts box revealed the perfect pieces of timber for a top and legs. The top would be round about 10 inches in diameter with 3 tapered legs about 18 inches high. There was a nice chunk roughly 12 inches square made up of three widths of chunky pallet wood glued together originally glued up for a stool top. The three legs were already tapered and just needed sanding. The legs were attached to the top using socket screws and glue. For decoration I painted with a pale grey chalk paint, 2 coats. I decided to decorate the top using an idea I had been thinking about for a while. Using a transfer process that takes a laser print and transfers the image using an acrylic polymer medium, white glue can also be used. I chose an image from one of my favourite childhood comics, a page from the popular Dan Dare graphic story described as “Pilot of the Future” in the The Eagle Comic. A sci-fi story line of  daring do with the Martian bad boy the Meekon! 


How To Make (And Clean!) A Homemade COVID-19 Mask #Masks4All - Reposted

Source: Edited - https://masks4all.co/how-to-make-a-homemade-mask/

The science is clear (and now widely accepted) that wearing homemade masks will slow the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.

Why? If you’re infected (and ~50% of those infected are asymptomatic) then having a cloth layer in front of your face captures up to 100% of droplets emitted from your mouth and nose.

My mask protects you and your mask protects me.

If you haven’t already, please read our thorough explanation of the science behind why we all need to wear masks in public.

1. Your mask protects other people, and other people’s masks protect you, but they are not a replacement for other critically important things like staying home, frequently washing your hands with soap and water, and maintaining your distance from other people (6 feet / 2 meters).

2. Please donate professional masks to hospitals (or sew them at home and then donate them using that link!). We are advocating for homemade masks.

What Homemade Mask Material Is Best?

Based on the data, we recommend using a combination of cotton material and a paper towel but any mask is much better than no mask. This DIY guide will show you many different ways to quickly make and clean a protective homemade mask.

Option 1: Bandana, Scarf, or Towel + 2 Elastic Bands + A Paper Towel (1 Minute)

We recommend adding a disposable paper towel between the mask layers each time that you wear it.

Important: How To Clean Any Homemade Mask

Option 2: T-Shirt, Scissors, And A Paper Towel (2 Minutes)

We recommend adding a disposable paper towel between the mask layers each time that you wear it.

Option 3: Sew A Professional Mask (10 Minutes)

We recommend adding a disposable paper towel between the mask layers each time that you wear it.

Should masks be mandatory in public to stop the spread of COVID-19? - Reposted

By Adam Miller

Source: http://newsletters.cbc.ca/q/1ILk6BCtJ0ZR4kWgM0mo4/wv

 A growing chorus of experts is calling for the widespread use of masks to slow the spread of COVID-19 and suggesting it may be a key factor in why some countries seemingly have their outbreaks under control while others are completely overwhelmed.

The World Health Organization does not officially recommend the general public use masks as a way to reduce spreading the virus, only saying that if they do decide to use masks, they should do so "safely and properly."

"We encourage countries that are considering the use of masks for the general population to study their effectiveness, so we can all learn from their experience," a spokesperson for WHO said in a statement to CBC News.

"Currently, there is insufficient evidence for or against the use of any type of mask among healthy people in public settings. As new information and evidence about masks and non-medical masks emerges, WHO will update existing guidance."

WHO does recommend medical masks, respirators and other personal protective equipment (PPE) in health care settings, but says only people who are sick or caring for a sick person at home should use them in the community.

"Masks alone cannot stop the pandemic. Countries must continue to find, test, isolate and treat every case and trace every contact," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said earlier this month.

"Mask or no mask, there are proven things all of us can do to protect ourselves and others: keep your distance, clean your hands, cough or sneeze into your elbow, and avoid touching your face."

WHO's recommendations on masks not 'logical'

But the specific language WHO uses has come under fire from experts who suggest that even non-medical masks could be beneficial in curbing the spread of the virus — or, at the very least, couldn't hurt.

Babak Javid, a professor at the Tsinghua University School of Medicine in Beijing and a consultant in infectious diseases at Cambridge University Hospitals in the U.K., thinks there's a double standard in WHO's messaging.

Yes, he says, "there's no direct evidence that masks can prevent transmission."

"But there's no direct evidence that hand-washing can prevent the transmission of COVID or lockdowns can prevent the transmission of COVID because none of those trials have ever been done in the context of COVID."

One infectious disease expert says WHO's recommendation on masks doesn't take into account the significant number of asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic carriers of the virus in the general population. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Javid said there is a "logical gap" in WHO's recommendation because it doesn't take into account the significant number of asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic carriers of the virus in the general population, also known as "silent spreaders."

Asymptomatic carriers are those who show no symptoms, while pre-symptomatic carriers are people who have not yet displayed symptoms — usually in the first few days of infection.

"What I think is indisputable is that the face-covering can reduce the amount of both droplets and virus that we can transmit," he said. 

Research on virus spread suggests masks could help

Emerging research has revealed more about how the virus spreads from person to person, suggesting it doesn't just transmit through coughing but also through simply talking.

A U.S. National Institutes of Health study published as a research letter in the New England Journal of Medicine this week provided visual evidence that "speech-generated droplets" can become suspended in the air and inhaled by other people, potentially exposing them to viruses like the one responsible for COVID-19.

That provides some preliminary evidence that the potentially deadly coronavirus, also known as SARS-CoV-2, could be transmitted between people just by speaking normally.

Emerging research has revealed more about how the virus spreads from person to person, suggesting it doesn't just transmit through coughing but also through simply talking. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

"There's plenty of research showing that even just when we talk and breathe, we release these very small respiratory droplets, smaller than we can see," said Dr. Linsey Marr, an expert in the transmission of viruses by aerosol at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia.

"Masks really could help make a difference because they will — if you are sick without knowing it — block those droplets from flying into the air and then staying in the air or contaminating surfaces."

A paper by researchers in China set to be published in July in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, found an infected individual without symptoms was apparently able to spread the virus to nine others at a restaurant in Guangzhou, China.

The direction the air-conditioning system was blowing may have helped transport the virus particles to other diners, who otherwise had no contact with one another, while those elsewhere in the restaurant who weren't near the airflow didn't get sick.

The study has limitations because the findings were not corroborated with experiments to simulate the airborne transmission. Still, the research is raising concern.

"That was pretty strong evidence for the potential that transmission is happening through these microscopic respiratory droplets that can stay floating in the air for a long enough time to kind of go back and forth over the tables," Marr said.

Should masks be mandatory in public? 

Last week, Transport Canada made it mandatory for all air passengers to wear non-medical masks or face coverings over their mouth and nose during travel.

Passengers on boats are "encouraged to wear non-medical masks or face coverings whenever possible," while train or bus riders are also "strongly encouraged" to do the same.

The Public Health Agency of Canada says non-medical masks are 'not a substitute for physical distancing and hand-washing,' but can protect those nearby 'even if you have no symptoms.' (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

But the Public Health Agency of Canada only recently changed course on its recommendations to Canadians on the effectiveness of non-medical masks, previously saying masks should only be worn by health care workers.

"Wearing a non-medical mask is an additional measure that you can take to protect others around you," Canada's Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said on April 6 — while warning that a non-medical mask doesn't necessarily protect the person wearing it.

"A non-medical mask can reduce the chance of your respiratory droplets coming into contact with others or landing on surfaces," Tam said. "The science is not certain, but we need to do everything that we can and it seems a sensible thing to do."

PHAC also says non-medical masks are "not a substitute for physical distancing and hand-washing," but can protect those nearby "even if you have no symptoms."

Last week, Transport Canada made it mandatory for all air passengers to wear non-medical masks or face coverings during travel and 'strongly encouraged' passengers on boats, trains and buses to do the same. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

But some experts say that given that significant role asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic carriers of the virus play in the spread of the virus, Canada should be mandating the use of non-medical masks in public, the way other countries have.

"Public health officials are saying there's no evidence that the mask is going to keep you from getting the disease, but I also think it's important to recognize that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence," said Dr. Joe Vipond, a Calgary emergency department physician.

"Even a small decrease in the risk of me getting the disease is still really important from a population level."

Evidence from other countries

Asian countries that have successfully dropped their curve of new COVID-19 cases, like South Korea, Taiwan and China, all have widespread mask usage, while the Czech Republic recently implemented mandatory mask measures and saw case fatality rates drop, Vipond wrote in a recent op-ed for Maclean's magazine.

There are numerous factors as to why a given country can become overwhelmed by the virus, including the onset of outbreaks, the accuracy of reporting, backlogs in testing, the age of the population and the effectiveness of containment measures.

But Javid said that while this is still just correlative evidence, it could be one reason why countries like Taiwan, which doesn't have total lockdown measures in place but does have widespread mask usage, has a much lower incidence of COVID-19 than other countries like Sweden, for example, where masks are less commonly used.

Jeremy Howard, a University of San Francisco researcher and the co-founder of Masks 4 All, said Japan is another example of a densely populated region with widespread public mask-wearing and low levels of COVID-19 despite not prioritizing physical distancing or testing compared with a place like New York.

"There's all this evidence, which strongly suggests, as part of the suite of tools we have available, wearing a mask appears to be astonishingly powerful, and the cost is nearly zero," he said.

"And when we compare the level of evidence we have to something like washing hands, it's vastly, vastly, vastly, vastly higher."

While masks are not a "magic bullet" in curbing the spread of the virus and more research still needs to be done on their effectiveness, Javid said they can be used in conjunction with other measures like physical distancing and widespread testing to slow the spread. 

"To get over the COVID problem we're going to need a multi-pronged approach. To me, what's attractive about masks is that they're cheap, they're probably effective and they allow economic activity," he said.

"We can't stay in lockdown forever, so to me, the downsides are so minimal compared to the potential upsides."


Embed fonts in Word or PowerPoint

Embed fonts in Word or PowerPoint

  1. Click the File tab and then click Options.
    (In Office 2007, click the Office Button in the upper left corner and then click the Options button.)
  2. In the left column, select the Save tab.
  3. At the bottom, under Preserve fidelity when sharing this presentation, select the Embed fonts in the file check box.
    Use File > Options to turn on font embedding for your file
    Leaving that check box blank (or selecting Embed all characters in Office 2007) increases the file size, but is best for allowing others to edit the document and keep the same font.
    Selecting Embed only the characters used in the presentation reduces the file size but limits editing of the file using the same font.
  4. Click OK.
Source https://support.office.com/en-gb/article/embed-fonts-in-word-or-powerpoint-cb3982aa-ea76-4323-b008-86670f222dbc


Dremel 3000 Shaft Lock Fix

As I mentioned in a previous post I had my Dremel 3000 for about 3 years but in that time it had probably only had about 30 minutes use if that. This time it was a problem with the Shaft Lock, the button you press to stop the shaft turning so that you can remove or unlock the Collet/Chuck attachment. When I pressed the blue button the lock would slip as soon as I applied any turning force to slacken the Chuck/Collet.

Dismantling the Dremel, no difficult if you have done it once before. See my previous post for a link to the teardown or click here to see a YouTube video showing how to dismantle the Dremel 3000 and replace the Shaft Locking Pin. Please note the video refers to removing the screws that hold the body together but it does not mention that they are "Torx "screws.

I ordered the replacement parts on eBay from here.


Print a list of files in a Folder

From an article in PC World Link

You can print a list of files by returning to the dark days of DOS. But don't worry; it's not as scary as it sounds.

In Windows (or File) Explorer, hold down the SHIFT key as you right-click the folder. Select Open command window here.

This opens the DOS-like command window. Type dir > printit.txt, then press ENTER.

Return to Windows Explorer, where you'll find a new file, printit.txt, in the folder. You can either double-click the file to load it into Notepad and print from there or simply right-click the file and select Print.

You can change the look of that printed list by adding additional instructions to the dir command. For instance:

dir /b > printit.txt will print only the file names.
dir /o:d > printit.txt will sort the files by date.
dir *.png /o:d /s > printit.txt will list only *png files, sorted by date, and will include those found in the current folder's subfolders.

To find more such options, use the command dir /?


Dremel 3000 Suddenly Stopped Working - Fix

I had my Dremel 3000 for about 3 years but in that time it had probably only had about 30 minutes use if that. You can imagine my surprise when having just started to remove rust from an escutcheon plate from my front door it stopped dead. No, a fuse had not blown, it doesn't have one. Neither had the fuse in the plug top blown. So what had caused this good as new Dremmel to depart this mortal coil?

A quick Google and perusal of a couple of video's suggested that assuming the brushes were in good order, they were, the fine copper wire from one or more of the Stator windings may have broken.

I followed the tear down in this video on Youtube:-


The broken wire can be seen at 2.36 minutes in.

Following the steps in the video I had no problem dismantling the Dremel or in rebuilding.

The broken wire was repaired by unwinding half a turn from the affected winding and after removing the broken wire from the termination clip, see the video, I inserted the wire and reinserted the termination clip. Be careful you do not snap the fine wire again.

Reassemble the Dremel without having any bits left over at the end, Make sure you do not lose the circular steel spring from the rotor shaft lock button in the process.

I am delighted to say the Dremel burst into life when switched on. Job done! For how long remains to be seen.


Cyanotype: step into the blue and see the world in a new light

I am about to start experimenting with one of the oldest of photographic processes, the Cyanotype. To get me started I have ordered a kit from Fotospeed. Watch this space for developments...

In the meantime here is an article that was published in the Daily Telegraph offering a view of the process and its current rise in popularity.

Link: Cyanotype: step into the blue and see the world in a new light
In this digital world, there is a beauty in ­getting back to basics. Which is why I’ve come to participate in a cyanotype workshop led by photographer Elisabeth Scheder-Bieschin in her studio at Ridley Road Market in Dalston, east London.
Cyanotype is the photographic printing process discovered by Sir John Herschel, a scientist, in 1842 as a means to reproduce diagrams. It creates a white silhouette against a blue/cyan background when an object is placed on a reactive surface and exposed to the UV light, in daylight – a blueprint. Herschel inspired his friend, Anna Atkins, a botanist, who made cyanotype images of the flora she collected, earning her place as a founding mother of photography.
Follow the link to read the full article...

An early attempt, of mine, at a Cyanotype using Printing Out Paper



Reblogged from - DIYPhotography.net

Filmstro is something of a unique service when it comes to music. With plugins for both Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro, you can pick your music and then use sliders to adjust the momentum, depth and power of that music throughout your clip. You can adjust any tune to match the mood of your scene as it changes from shot to shot.

But they have static versions of all their Royalty Free music, too, and they’ve just released them to the world for free for use on YouTube. Even if your video is monetised.

Filmstro’s regular mixed music is repeatable and can literally go on forever. So, you can tailor it to whatever length of video you need. The static music is limited to 90 seconds, but for many videos, that’s going to work just fine. You can still just loop the songs in the background if it’s going under a voiceover, for example.

There are some restrictions on the license, after all, it’s for non-commercial purposes. You can’t use it in wedding videos, paid ads, apps with in-app purchases, etc. But the license does allow for use in personal YouTube videos, even if they’re monetised.

A Filmstro music track can be used as part of a video soundtrack (synchronisation license) in perpetuity and worldwide in the below instances:
Personal Youtube (including monetised videos)
Personal Vimeo (excluding Video on Demand)
Personal Other video platforms (not-paid advertising)
Personal Social Media (not including paid ads)
Personal Website and showreel (excludes wedding videos)
Film Festivals (Submission and screening – excludes distribution)
Free Podcasts
Free Tutorials
Free Games
Free Apps (excludes apps with in-app purchases)
Crowdfunding videos

To browse Filmstro’s collection of music, download the 90-second sequences, and start playing around with the audio mixing for yourself, head on over to the Filmstro website.


Fix a Leaking Geberit Syphon Valve - UPDATED

Modern low flush toilets can be a real pain in the butt. Water trickling into the pan can be caused by the overflow or a leaking syphon valve. Overflow leaks are caused by the inlet water float valve not completely shutting off and overfilling the tank. External leaks can be caused by inadequate compression between the tank and pan. Syphon valve leaks cause the inside tank level to be lowered until the inlet valve opens sufficiently to balance the syphon valve leak. The amount of water lost can be judged from the inlet replacement flow.

Back in the year dot, the syphon valve used to be called the flapper valve which supported the tank head of water until the loo handle was turned. The flapper valve then lifted until the tank flushed and emptied, flapping back into place while the tank refilled. Simple, visible and easily repaired if the seal degrades.

The modern loo has a contraption designed to flummox the householder in that it is not obvious how it works. A modern syphon valve is encased in a plastic container, invisible without removing the fitting. The Gerebit container is held in position by two plastic clips which when pushed towards each other release the fitting which can be then lifted out. These are the protrusions seen bottom left in the photograph.

It's a five-minute job to investigate and change the seal, or a hundred quid if your a plumber called in.

1) If you have an external supply valve fitted then close to shut off the water supply. Alternatively, with a piece of string plus a weight, loop around the inlet float valve arm and dangle the weight outside the tank to hold the inlet valve closed, or jam closed with a piece of folded cardboard or .

2) Flush the loo.

3) Inside the tank near the base squeeze the two plastic clips inwards and pull the syphon housing upwards and out of the tank. See the picture above.

4) Check the seal for integrity, lime scale, blisters etc. See picture below.

Note: Modern seals may suffer a modern ailment which results in blistering on the surface. This will cause a leaking syphon valve and is the result of osmosis, that is a diffusion of water through the surface seal.

As an interim fix, as long as the seal is not penetrated right through, simply pop the blisters with a pin which will expel the water content and relieve the inbuilt blister pressure. Failing that replace the seal.

5) Reassemble all bits then check the loo flush.

Replacement seal is available via Amazon


Free Sound Effect Samples From BBC Sound Archive

Link to the original posting on Musicradar

Explore a weird and wonderful collection of noises from the broadcasting behemoth...

There can be few organisations that have used more sound effects than the BBC, so there’s bound to be great interest in the news that the corporation has now made more than 16,000 of its FX available for free download.

These are being released under the RemArc licence, which means that they can be used for “personal, educational or research purposes”.

The archive is easily searchable, and a quick browse confirms that there’s a wide variety of content, ranging from the atmospheric to the downright obscure. Each sample can be previewed and both its duration and filename are listed.

The service is currently in beta, but you can dive in and start downloading right now on the BBC Sound Effects website.

Don’t forget that MusicRadar also offers its own library of free samples in the form of SampleRadar, and that this content can be in commercial recordings royalty-free.

BBC Sound Effects

These 16,016 BBC Sound Effects are made available by the BBC in WAV format to download for use under the terms of the RemArc Licence. The Sound Effects are BBC copyright, but they may be used for personal, educational or research purposes, as detailed in the license.

Access dataset metadata by visiting our dedicated LOD site.

If you have any queries regarding usage, please contact jake.berger at bbc.co.uk

Resistor Value Calculator

Below is an interactive solution for establishing the value of resistors from their color coding and markings for the interactive version follow the link http://resistor.cherryjourney.pt/

This gizmo is from the book/blog From Practical Electronics For Makers (Part 1 of N) about practical electronics for beginners and the rest. Is an excellent starting point for those interested in the subject. It is published in a series of chapters starting with the above link. I expand on the book/blog in another post


Recover Space on C Dive SSD

Easy Way to Free up Space on your SSD Hard Drive

Check out Britec09 fix here...

* Computer hard drive getting full?
* Need to reclaim back some used space?
* PC really sluggish?
* Need to free up some used hard drive space?
* Low Disk Space?
* Free Up Hard-Drive Space?

Well you are in luck, I am going to show you how to claim back used hard drive space, computer hard drives run real slow when full to capacity, with SSD solid state drives being really small, your hard drive fills up real fast, running a with a full hard drive can put wear and tear on a hard drive and make your computer system slow.

We are going to use WinDirStat, it’s a free program that scans your hard drive and gives you a full report of the size of folders in that folder tree, and it’s a great way of detecting what folders are hogging your hard disk space.

I used Ninite to download the WinDirStat program


My hard drive was red "Low Disk Space" and full to 92% use space and after running WinDirStat and Disk Cleanup, I got that down to 38.5% used space. That’s a lot of reclaimed space that I need on my SSD.

Contact Amazon

If you are an Amazon user you will be only too aware that finding contact details for Amazon to complain or contact them for any other reason is not easy or obvious on the main web pages. To help you out here are the contact details I use. I have to say on the few occasions I have contacted them action has been quick, decisive and helpful.

You can reach us them by chat or phone from this link


Customer Service can be reached by phone and chat 7 days a week 06.00 to midnight, local UK time.

If you need to call us, we can be reached on Freephone (within the UK) 0800 279 7245. International customers can reach us on +44 207 084 7911.





Directing opportunities
Regional Young Directors’ Scheme (actually not just for young people)


Support for theatre/performance artists in the North West
HOME Manchester runs an annual festival of new northern work, and workshops/activities throughout the year.
Royal Exchange Manchester programmes contemporary work in the Studio
Sick Festival Manchester – work in progress opportunities
Flare Festival – Manchester – work in progress opportunities
Live Art Bistro – Leeds – work in progress opportunities and artist support
Form – Blackpool – work in progress opportunities and artist development
Dance ManchesterWord of Warning – work in progress opportunities and mentoring
New Writing North – open calls, writing development
Electric Sunshine Project – Blackpool – writing for theatre courses 

Arc Stockton – various open calls, work in progress, artist development
Royal Court – rolling script reading service (plays)
Mothers Ruin – queer artist development

Annual/periodic opportunities
Summerhall Edinburgh Fringe open call (contemporary theatre)
Vault Festival annual open call (contemporary & fringe theatre)
Bruntwood Prize (plays/theatre)
Verity Bargate Award (plays/theatre)
Jerwood Performing Arts Micro Bursary artists/producers/individuals
Word of Warning – Emergency work in progress event in Manchester, takes place in October
The Lowry – Manchester venue – artist development schemes
Artist International Development FundThe Yard – London – open calls for new work
British Council
Edinburgh Fringe Emerging Producers’ Programme 

Useful documents 


Leadership & Advice

Contemporary arts organisations in Blackpool

Grundy Art Gallery (visual art)
Abingdon Studios (visual art)
Form Blackpool (performance & theatre)
LeftCoast (mixed arts)
Grand Theatre (dance: has a contemporary dance programme and NPO status for it, besides a traditional theatre programme)
Fylde Coast Youth Dance (young people)
Supercollidor (visual art)
Art B and B (visual art)
Bootleg Social (music)
UNIT (visual art)

Poetry and spoken word in Blackpool
Pub Poets

Lancashire Dead Good Poets

More arts organisations in Blackpool

Altruism (creative social network)
Winter Gardens Film Festival

Aunty SocialAlt Blackpool (culltural magazine)
Blackpool LibrariesElectric Sunshine Project (community theatre)
Blackpool University (university of creative arts)
Phil Winston’s Theatreworks (dance & musical theatre, commercial training)
Musica Lirica OperaBlott Studios (visual art)Blackpool SpeakeasyCVS (support to community, voluntary and faith organisations)Blackpool Museum (coming soon)Rock Hard Music Studios
Skool of Street (dance)
Tramshed (theatre company, satellite of Chickenshed)
ICAN – independent network
Heritage Blackpool
Blackpool Civic Trust (heritage and civic activities)
Funny Girls (burlesque cabaret showbar)


Windsor Ambassador Supremus Tenor Banjo in The Whirle range (registration number 450220) - Renovation Project

Following a prompt from an old mate, I decided to dig out my rather tired and neglected Tenor Banjo and renovate it. I found this reference to the actual model, much to my surprise.

I am in the process of renovating a Windsor Ambassador Supremus Tenor Banjo one of the Whirle range with the registration number 450220. This number appears to refer to the model rather than the individual instrument. The banjo was given to me by my Jazz crazy friend, fellow Guinness drinker, founder and leader of the Wyre Levee Jazz Men, the late, lamented, Dr. Andy Gardner. I hate to admit it but at the time it was just a banjo to me. I had not really taken much notice of its pedigree, hitherto.

When I gave up playing in the band the banjo found itself consigned to a shelf at the back of the garage, since when it has moved house twice. I feel really guilty for not knowing more about it as an instrument, and for having so badly neglected it.

However, prompted by the Facebook post from a friend, to a link of  Blind James Campbell and the Nashville Street Band performing "John Henry" I was prompted to dig it out and get stuck into renovating it. I have ordered a new calfskin head and a new set of strings, so watch this space.

Here are a few photographs of the parts of the banjo in their present state.

The photographs speak for themselves, the split head, the missing head tensioning hooks (3) as well as the manufactures badge and the patented Pyxe tailpiece. The original nickel plating is quite badly corroded and the woodwork shows a few knocks and bangs. But all in all, it is perfectly repairable and I hope to have it sympathetically restored fairly quickly subject to finding a few missing bits.

For those who may be interested there is a brief history of the banjo in the BBC project "A History of the World - In 100 Objects" web page. One of the objects being a Winsor Tenor Banjo. Follow this link to find out more.

The Tenor Banjo is used extensively in both Irish traditional music and Traditional Jazz. It has a shorter scale than the G Banjo, and 4 strings tuned CGDA, but it is common for Irish musicians to retune down to GDAE using thicker strings. Used in jazz and popular music earlier this century, the tenor banjo has 4 strings and is usually tuned CGDA.

Tenor banjo should not be confused with plectrum style which was used much like the tenor but has a longer neck (22 frets) and a different tuning. Jazz players like the extra frets because they can use the same chord shapes and patterns in different positions. The Plectrum Banjo or 4-String G banjo has the same tuning and neck length as a 5-string G banjo but omits the 5th string. The lack of a 5th string peg facilitates quick thumb movement up and down the neck and as the neck is longer than on the tenor banjo a lot more chord inversions are available to the jazz player.


Large Format Photography - School of Arts Loughborough University

I found the Photography Blog of Ben Dolman & Alan Duncan who are from the School of the Arts at Loughborough University when looking for information about Wet Plate photography. The Blog is a great resource for almost all things photography but particularly analogue and alternative photography.

I was attracted at first by their Build a 10x8 Large Format camera articles but soon discovered lots of other goodies. I suggest you follow the link http://cdtp-photography.blogspot.co.uk/ and discover a well constructed and written Blog that is cram packed full of info and ideas for yourself. Happy reading...


Enlarge Photos Better than Photoshop - Free Software

Re-posted from PetaPixel

Upscaling a photograph always means trading resolution for size. And while Photoshop’s “preserve details” scaling does a pretty good job, there’s a freeware program called “A Sharper Scaling” that can do it even better.

The program—which is available for Windows users only, sorry Apple folks—was developed by Steffen Gerlach, and on his website he compares it to Bicubic Interpolation (BI), BI and sharpening, and Photoshop Preserve Details with noise reduction set to zero.

Even in the small comparison images there, the difference is obvious. Here’s just one of the samples he uses. From left to right, it shows 150% scaling using bicubic interpolation, BI + sharpen, Photoshop Preserve Details, and finally, A Sharper Scaling:


Click image to enlarge

The difference is a bit more obvious when upscaling a graphic, shown here at 200% in the same order as above:


Click image to enlarge

If you’re a Windows user, there’s really no reason not to give this simple program a shot. When you open it up, you’ll be greeted by a very simple interface that will let you use your own image or try out one of three sample images provided for you so you can see just how much better the program is than traditional algorithms.

After that it’s as easy as uploading a photo, selecting the scale size or upscale percentage, and letting the program do its thing.

To learn more or download the freeware for yourself (it’s compatible with Windows 7 and up) head over to the Sharper Scaling website  or by clicking here for download

I have tried it and it seems to work very well.


How to rebuild the Picasa database

It is sad that Google have, in their wisdom, withdrawn support for Picasa. Picasa is/was a simple but effective image database and editing software.

While in the middle of a job of sorting out a selection of images from my vast back catalogue of images, Picas crashed with a database corruption error. The simple answer to the problem would have been to uninstall and reinstall Picasa. Unfortunately, the software is no longer available. or at least so it would appear from a quick search on line.

I searched for a solution and came up with the following web page on Photos Resources - How to rebuild the Picasa database.

A number of options are offered but Method A requires reinstalling the programme which wasn't an option so I followed Method B. I have to report Method B worked for me. For the record,  I was using Windows 10.

In case the page disappears I reproduce it here, with thanks to the original author.

The alternate, safer way (Method B)
Safer because you can go back to your previous database if you don't like the results.
It is not necessary to reinstall Picasa or tell it which folders to watch if they were already defined.
Most Face Names will be restored due to keeping the database Contacts.xml file.
Requires some familiarity with Windows operations and knowledge of "Windows Explorer" including ability to select, copy, paste, and delete files.
See Limitations on Rebuilding (above) for limitations to any method of rebuilding the Picasa Database. 
Database Rebuild Procedure:
1) Close Picasa.
2) Navigate to the Google application data folder on your computer. There are numerous ways to get there; here are 3 methods:
Press the "Windows button" on your keyboard (sometimes labeled "Start") plus the R key - to open the Run screen.
Click the round "Start" button (lower left corner of your desktop) (to find the search box).
Open Windows Explorer and paste the appropriate path below into the path field; press Enter.
    Paste the appropriate path below (depending on your operating system) into the Run screen or into the Start search box:
Windows XP:     %userprofile%\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\
Windows Vista / Windows 7 / Windows 8 / Windows 10:  %LocalAppData%\Google\
3) In the Google folder, you'll see two folders that have "Picasa" in the folder name: "Picasa2" and "Picasa2Albums.
(Note that these folders have Picasa2 in their folder name even though the program is Picasa3)
You will now copy those two folders, so that you have a backup. Here's how to copy the two folders:
Right-click on the Picasa2 folder and select Copy, then right-click again into an empty space in the Google folder and select Paste.
Copying could take a long time (for example, 30 minutes or more) if you have a large collection of pictures. The copied folder will be named "Picasa2 - Copy"
Repeat the copy and paste process with the Picasa2Albums folder. The copied folder will be named "Picasa2Albums - Copy"
These two "- Copy" folders are your backup copy of the Picasa database.
4) In this step, you will be doing some deletions of database files.
In the Google folder, double-click on the "Picasa2" folder to open it, then double-click the "db3" folder to view the database files.
Read carefully: You will now delete all the database files in the db3 folder except these three files:
5) Start Picasa... and wait... it will probably take an hour or more to scan your pictures and about 2 hours per 10,000 pictures to rescan the face tags.
    (it will rescan the faces, but Picasa will see that you tagged them already and assign the correct name automatically).
         Note: 1.  You May get a couple of CBlock errors when Picasa starts, Just answer OK to each.
                  2.  If Picasa fails to start follow Picasa Fails to Start Using Alternate Method B directions below.

6) Evaluate the results long enough to be sure you are happy with the newly rebuilt database.
If the rebuilt database is not satisfactory, and you want to roll back to what you had before the rebuild, follow Roll Back to Previous Database directions below.
If the rebuilt database is satisfactory, you may want to delete the backup copy of the previous database, see Remove Previous Database directions below.
End of Procedure

Roll Back to Previous Database after trying Alternate Method B: If you don't like the results after the rebuild you can roll back to your old database by following these steps:

1) Close Picasa.
2) Navigate to the Google folder as in Step 2 of Method B above.
One way to do that: Open the "Run" window by pushing the "Windows button" (sometimes labeled "Start") + R
    Paste the appropriate path below:
Windows XP: %userprofile%\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\
Windows Vista / Windows 7 / Windows 8: %LocalAppData%\Google\
3) There are four folders named Picasa2, Picasa2Albums, Picasa2 - Copy, and Picasa2Albums - Copy.
     The 2 "- Copy" folders are the Backup of the "Old" database that was saved before the rebuild.
     The Picasa2 and Picasa2Albums folders are "New" database that was generated by the rebuild procedure.
If the two "- Copy" folders are not there, it is not possible to roll back to the Old Database.
If you want to Keep a copy of the "New" database in case you want to try it again, rename the Picasa2 folder to Picasa2_new, and the Picasa2Albums folder to Picasa2Albums_new.
If you are sure you don't want to keep the "New" database you just generated, delete the 2 folders Picasa2, and Picasa2Albums.
Right-click on the "Picasa2 - Copy" folder and rename it to "Picasa2"
Right-click on the "Picasa2Albums - Copy" folder and rename it to "Picasa2Albums"
4) Start Picasa. It should start up immediately in the condition it was before the rebuild. There may be minor scanning if photos were added or changed.
End of Procedure

Remove Previous Database after using the Alternate Method B:If you like the results after the rebuild you can remove the unneeded previous database by following these steps:

1) Open the "Run" window by pushing the "Windows button" (sometimes labeled "Start") + R
    Paste the appropriate path below:
Windows XP: %userprofile%\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\
Windows Vista / Windows 7 / Windows 8: %LocalAppData%\Google\
2) There are four folders with "Picasa" in the folder name: Picasa2 , Picasa2Albums, Picasa2 - Copy, and Picasa2Albums - Copy.
Delete the two folders "Picasa2 - Copy" and "Picasa2Albums - Copy".
If the two "- Copy" folders are not there, the previous database was already removed.
End of Procedure

Picasa Fails to Start Using Alternate Method B:In Alternate Method B Step 5, Picasa could fail to Start if there is a critical error in a remaining Database file,
or if there are errors in the Watched folders list.
If Picasa fails to start or finds no photos, do the following:
1) Close Picasa.
2) Navigate to the Google folder on your computer. There are numerous ways to get there; here are 3 methods:
Press the "Windows button" on your keyboard (sometimes labeled "Start") plus the R key - to open the Run screen.
Click the round "Start" button (lower left corner of your desktop) (to find the search box).
Open Windows Explorer and paste the appropriate path below into the path field; press Enter.
    Paste the appropriate path below (depending on your operating system) into the Run screen or into the Start search box:
Windows XP:     %userprofile%\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\
Windows Vista / Windows 7 / Windows 8:  %LocalAppData%\Google\
3) In the Google folder, you have previously copied the folders named: "Picasa2" and "Picasa2Albums, so you should already have the two - Copy folders for backup.
4) In the Google folder, double-click on the "Picasa2" folder to open it, then right-click the "db3" folder and delete it.

5) Start Picasa. You will see a welcome page asking you if you want to scan everything or only My Pictures. Select Only My Pictures. You will see another page asking you about Photo Viewer. Select 'Don't Use Picasa Photo Viewer, you can enable it later if you want it.

6) Picasa will now start scanning for photos and folders ... it will probably take an hour to scan your pictures and about 2 hours per 10.000 pictures to rescan the face tags...

 7) If you want to decide which folders Picasa should scan, then after Picasa starts scanning, go to the top menu Tools -> Folder Manager. In the Folder and drive tree on the left set all drives and folders except any you have photos in to "Remove from Picasa", and click OK. Then go back in to the Tools -> Folder Manager, and set any folders you want to see in Picasa to "Scan Always".. and click the OK button to continue scanning including any newly selected folders.
End of Procedure 


The 5 best free alternatives to Windows DVD Maker

As Windows DVD Maker software is no longer available FREE with Windows 10 I needed to find alternative software for authoring DVD's.

I found a useful review on the Digital Citizen website. They list 5 options some of which can be used on a variety of platforms. I was interested in Windows software.

  1. DVD Styler
  2. WinX DVD Author
  3. DeVeDe
  4. DVD Flick
  5. Freemake Video Converter

Digital Citizen Conclusion

These are the best free alternatives we've found for Microsoft's Windows DVD Maker. While any of these five can do the job, our opinion is that the best are DVD Styler, WinX DVD Author and DeVeDe. These are the apps with the largest number of DVD customizing features, they support a wide range of video and audio input formats, can embed subtitles and let you design your own custom menus. Furthermore, they’re also honest software: they don’t try to install unwanted programs on your computer, nor do they ask you to pay money in order to utilize them fully.

I had previously used DVD Flick but found the menu authoring options rather poor as did DC but it worked well as a video to DVD converter.

To see full reviews and to DOWNLOAD the software go to Digital Citizen website. Its clean and appears free from adware traps etc but as always be cautious about anything you download.

I will report back on my experience.


I started by downloading DVD Styler. Warning you are offered FREE software during the download, make sure you tick the right boxes if you don't want it and who does...


I gave up on all these options and went back to using Picturestoexe a very versatile piece of software used by photographers for making slideshows or AV presentations. The software includes a powerful video editing and authoring module. I had forgotten however that DVD's are low resolution. Wasted a lot of time on that problem.

LINK https://www.digitalcitizen.life/best-free-alternatives-windows-dvd-maker

Large space before footnotes in MS Word

While formatting the template I used for my PhD Thesis I came across the problem of bizzar formatting of the footer when footnotes were inserted. The problem could occur for no apparent reason. However, I discovered this fix which works. I acknowledge the source - Jess Writes Words -  I reproduce the post in full...

Quick Fix: Large space before footnotes in MS Word

Posted on 25 September 2010

It’s frustrating having programs screw up on you when there’s a pressing deadline to meet. Today while editing my 40-page behemoth of a PW report (before adding all figures, tables and double-spacing and enlarging the fonts) I was unlucky enough to encounter this issue:

After the footnote divider line, but before the footnotes themselves, there would be a huge expanse of blank space. It was wreaking havoc on my formatting and turning all my tables into multiple-paged impossible-to-read clusters of cells.

Turns out this is caused by something called a footnote separator which you have to go to Draft mode (under the View tab in MS Word 07 and up) to edit it.

Go to the View tab, then choose Draft.

Go to the References tab and click Show Footnotes. (On Macs, go to View > Footnotes – thanks to commenter Gerard for spotting this)

In the drop-down list that appears in the Footnotes area, choose Footnote Separator.

Delete any extra spaces, carriage returns etc. It’s handy to have “show non-printing characters” switched on.

Repeat for the other one – I think it was Continuous Footnote Separator.

Go back to View and switch back to Print Layout.

It’s gone!



VLMC, Open Source Video Editing

Reblogged from CDM Create Digital Music

Open Source Video Editing from VLC Creators – QuickTime Pro Replacement?




Now, the VLC folks are readying a companion to their player called VLMC. It’s in a very early state, but it could be the editor you’re missing. And VLMC is part of an all-out onslaught to finally bring open video to the masses. VLC is based on FFMPEG, which is not the most developer-friendly video framework (though it is very capable and fast).


How to Embed a PDF file in to a Blogger Blog using Google Drive

One of our readers requested us to figure out how they can embed PDFs in their Blogger blog. There are many ways through which we can embed PDFs or other documents like Microsoft Word, Spreadsheets, PowerPoint Slides, and Excel Spreadsheets into our Blogger Blog. However, Google Docs is probably the most authentic and reliable way of embedding the PDF documents in a website. Therefore, today in this article, we will show you How to Embed PDFs or any other documents in Blogger Blog Posts.

First, go to https://drive.google.com and Sign in into your Gmail or Google account so that you have the admin privilege to the documents that would upload from your system hard drive. 
After signing in to your Google account, the next thing is to upload a PDF file from your system hard drive. On pressing the upload icon from the left side panel a drop down menu will pop out which would consist of two options i.e. File and Folder. Just select “File” and head to the next step.

How to fix Google Chrome Icon Missing From Taskbar (Windows 7 + 10)

 Short description:
1. Start Google chrome
2. Right click new page icon on taskbar, locate Google Chrome from the bottom, right click and choose Properties
3. Click Change icon, you will receive Windows missing file message, close it.
4. Click browse and locate your Google Chrome installation folder
C:\Program Files\Google\Chrome\Application (Windows 7 32bit)
C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application (Windows 7 64bit)
5. Choose Chrome.exe file and select the icon.

Install - Zotero Citation Manager


Use iPhone or iPad as a Laptop Remote Control

As I am going to be giving a few Powerpoint presentation in the near future. I thought I would explore the possibility of using my iPhone and or iPad as a Bluetooth remote control for my Windows 10 Laptop. Following the usual Google browse I eventually decided on  Unified Remote.

As is often the case with app's there is a FREE  and a paid for version. I tried the FREE version first and after adding the Slide Show Remote option  to the selection of Remotes, I found it worked extremely well.  There are a set of default Remote options and a selection of additional FREE ones to add and of course a range of PAID for Remotes as well.

You need to install the App on both Laptop or PC and your iPhone or iPad, which was painless in both cases. It will work with both WiFi and Bluetooth but I have only tested it with Bluetooth.

The most irritating bit was getting my iPad and my Laptop to talk to each other, but turned out I was not following the correct procedure!

Checkout the website here


Misquoting a Quote

Reposted from DILBERT by Scott Adams - The Famous Quote I Never Said

The strap line on the header for this blog uses the quotation:

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” 

it is attributed it to Scott Adams and is one of his Dilbert Principles.

I recently came across a blog post by Scott Adams in which he reports how his quote has been appropriated and misquoted, being corrupted to read:

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Design is knowing which ones to keep.”

The blog article reads - You’ll see lots of versions of that quote floating around the Internet too (see a few in the image above), but many of the newer ones have been altered from “art” to “design.”

My problem with the altered quote (aside from creating a misleading history) is that design is largely rules-based. Art is not, or at least not so much. When I hire a designer, I want someone who has the training and experience to know what will work for a particular commercial purpose. They should be thinking about how the message is delivered, how the human brain processes ideas, what part of the design has the button you want users to press, and so on.

That is pretty much the direct opposite of art. So putting design in that quote is an attempt to (elevate?) design to art, as if art is somehow more important.

Personally, I think good design that affects millions of people is more important than art than hangs in one room. But I’m not trying to pick a winner. All I’m saying is that the famous quote about design, mistakenly attributed to me, doesn’t make sense.

He suggests:

"Just remember that 98% of everything you read on the Internet is bullshit. The other 2% is accurate by accident."

You can misquote me on that - Scott Adam

I am pleased to note that I managed to use the quotation correctly...

I chose the quote because it encapsulates my ethos about art precisely and I agree with Scott the misquote means something quite different...

WARNING when I last tried to access Scot Adams website I received a Malware alert


What is a Blog For - Remembering?

What do you do when you have an over active, creative mind? I have always been a very practical sort of a person and an autodidact to boot. Despite my advancing years, my mind is constantly churning over ideas about anything and everything. I have been into taking things apart from a very early age, it took a bit longer to start putting them back together again and making new stuff from scratch or junk or even new stuff. I am stimulated by all sorts of triggers, newspaper articles, stuff in my inbox, Pinterest, Instructables, pod-casts of all kinds. These sources are a cornucopia of ideas and a springboard for my rather over-fertile mind. No, that does not mean it is a compost heap or has dirty thoughts, well only occasionally. Although, mentioning compost heaps, does remind me of a great paper about the neuroscience of memory, where the compost heap is used as a metaphor for how memory works. See what I mean about one thing leading to another. Anyway, what is all this babble leading to?

Digi-Blog was started so that I had somewhere to park useful information, and some of the mad ideas I come across or think up. The Blog has proved to be a great way of keeping track of all this sort of stuff, so I can find it again. See we are back to memory, its a bit of a preoccupation with me. If you have a brows through the other posts you will find stuff about fixing, doing ,making and vaguely interesting, maybe sometime in the future. Get to the point - I have decided to start posting a lot more stuff about the the things that I find interesting, en passant but, which immediately disappear from my memory (sorry, I mentioned it again).

Current areas of interest are ceramics, particularly Raku. This morning my attention has been grabbed by casting clay in plaster moulds, slip moulding. I have looked up lots of info, I just need to store it somewhere until I need it. What better place than Digi-Blog. Of course In the process of browsing stuff about ceramics, other stuff attracts ones attention. I spotted an interesting piece about repairing ceramics. Rather than try for an invisible repair this technique emphasises the repair, a very Wabi Sabi thing to do. I have a quite valuable piece of ceramic that I treated myself to after I sold some artwork, unfortunately the window blind caught it on a windy day and it ended up in pieces. I have been going to repair it, and haven't, maybe this is the way to go.

So you can see my mind flips from one thing to another, very difficult to keep track of the interesting stuff. The Blog is one way to keep track of my volatile mind.


Samsung Smart TV does not play USB Video - Fix

I have a Samsung Smart TV Model UE22D5003 which I discovered to my disappointment would not play video from a USB Flash drive, only music and photos.

I am most grateful to a thread on AVForums for the fix:-
There is an easy solution to fix this problem: 
-With the TV in STAND-BY Mode press the following keys in sequence in the remote: Info, Menu, Mute and Power on the TV. 
- The TV shows the service menu, find the menu OPTION, press Enter> Factory Reset, scroll down to MODEL press Enter then Right or Left buttons to see the various model numbers until you get to UD5800. Press POWER button. See images below
And voilĂ ! Yo can play videos
Turn TV on, change Source to USB and you should now have a Video option

I am delighted to say it worked for me at the second try. I think you need to press the buttons fairly quickly for it to work.

Here are some shots of the set-up screen that opens when you follow the above instructions.

This is the first screen to appear
PRESS OK for Option

Scroll down till you get to Model 

Use L and R buttons to search for UD5800
Press POWER button


How to find Windows Product Key using Command Prompt

My Problem

Minor problem with upgrading to Windows 10 from Windows 8.1 on a new laptop. For reasons which I shall not bore you with the Microsoft account login details were thrown away. So at the moment the laptop is an expensive brick. As there is no data on the machine the plan is to reinstall Windows 10. The problem is; what is the product key for the Windows 8.1 OS, so that a free install can be made? I have successfully used the following Comand Prompt string to recover the key. Will a reinstall of Windows 10 solve the access problem?

The following article is courtesy of  The Windows Club.

How to find Windows Product Key using Command Prompt 

When you enter, register and activate your copy of Windows, using a Retail key, the information is stored in the Windows Registry. Users of OEM computers may have noticed that, since a couple of years, the manufacturers have stopped pasting their COA or Certificate of Authenticity sticker, which displayed the Windows product key to the machine anymore. Now this key is embedded in the BIOS/UEFI.

Find Windows Product Key

It is to be noted that a Retail product license is tied to the person whereas the OEM product key is tied to the machine, as per Microsoft Windows Desktop licensing terms. In this post, we will see how to find Windows Product Key using Command Prompt or PowerShell, from BIOS or Registry. It works for Retail & OEM licenses too.

Recover Windows product key using Command Prompt


From the WinX Menu in Windows 10 / 8.1, open an elevated command prompt window, type the following command and hit Enter*:

wmic path softwarelicensingservice get OA3xOriginalProductKey

Your Windows product key will be displayed.

*NOTE: the "O" in OA3 is capital letter O and not a zero 0

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