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 post by Mike Parr and my subsequent comment, 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, 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 a Facebook post from a friend, 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

Source link


Microsoft Word Problem with Unexpected Page Breaks

I have been having an irritating formatting problem in Microsoft Word 365, but I think you can get the same problem in all versions of Word. The problem was after a sub-heading the following text would start on a new page. After much fiddling with Style settings and trying various fixes unsuccessfully, I eventually came across the fix that I have reproduced in full below on the Microsoft support website. 

It is counter intuitive, typical Microsoft, as you will see it involves removing the "Keep with next" option from the Normal Style, Paragraph format Menu.

Source: https://support.microsoft.com/en-gb/kb/233493

Check for unexpected page breaks following "Normal" style text

If a series of Heading styles is used in a document (an outline, for example) followed by text that is formatted with the Normal style, an unexpected page break may occur following the Normal text. This problem occurs only in normal view and does not occur in outline view. Use one of the following methods to remove individual occurrences of an unwanted page break.

Method 1: Apply the "Keep with Next" option to Normal text

Word 2000, Word 2002, and Word 2003

  1. Select the Normal text.
  2. On the Format menu, click Paragraph.
  3. Click the Line and Page Breaks tab, and then click to select Keep with next.
  4. Click OK.

Word 2007, Word 2010, and Word 2013

  1. Select the Normal text.
  2. On the Page Layout tab, click the Paragraph dialog box launcher in the Paragraph group.
  3. Click the Line and Page Breaks tab, and then click to select Keep with next.
  4. Click OK.

Method 2: Clear the "Keep with next" option from the heading

Word 2000, Word 2002, and Word 2003

  1. Select the Heading text that precedes the Normal text.
  2. On the Format menu, click Paragraph.
  3. Click the Line and Page Breaks tab, and then click to clear the Keep with next check box.
  4. Click OK.

Word 2007, Word 2010, and Word 2013

  1. Select the Heading text that precedes the Normal text.
  2. On the Page Layout tab, click the Paragraph dialog box launcher in the Paragraph group.
  3. Click the Line and Page Breaks tab, and then click to clear the Keep with next check box.
  4. Click OK.

Method 3: Permanently change the occurrence of unwanted page breaks

Word 2000, Word 2002, and Word 2003

  1. On the Format menu, click Style.
  2. In the List list box, click All styles.
  3. In the Styles list, click Heading 1.
  4. Click Modify.
  5. Click Format, and then click Paragraph.
  6. Click the Line and Page Breaks tab.
  7. Click to clear the Keep with next check box, and then click OK.
  8. To make the change permanent for the current document and all new documents based on the active template, click to select Add to template. Otherwise, the changes that you make will only affect the current document.
  9. Click OK, and then click Close.

Word 2007, Word 2010, and Word 2013

  1. On the Home tab, go to the Styles group, and then click the Styles dialog box launcher to open the list of styles.
  2. In the Styles list, click Heading 1.
  3. Click Modify.
  4. Click Format, and then click Paragraph.
  5. Click the Line and Page Breaks tab.
  6. Click to clear the Keep with next check box, and then click OK.
  7. To make the change permanent for the current document and all new documents based on the active template, click to select New document based on this template. Otherwise, the changes that you make will only affect the current document.
  8. Click OK, and then click Close.


Use Microsoft Word as a Barcode Generator

Re-posted from Online Tech Tips

A very comprehensive article about how to generate barcodes in Microsoft Word. The article also contains a considerable amount of info about barcodes in general and a free barcode generator.  

Link: http://www.online-tech-tips.com/computer-tips/free-barcode-generator/

Did you know that you can use Microsoft Word to create your own barcodes? Creating your own barcodes is actually kind of cool and pretty easy to do. Once you have a barcode, you can stick it onto anything you want and then scan them using a physical barcode scanner or with your smartphone by downloading an app.
There are several different types of barcodes and I’ll try to show you how to create as many of them as possible for free. In order to create certain types of barcodes, you need specialized commercial software, so I won’t mention those. The most common 1D barcodes are Code 39, Code 128, UPC-A, UPC-E, EAN-8, EAN-13, etc. 2D barcodes include DataMatrix, PDF 417 and QR codes.



Dual Monitors in Windows 7 - Quick Fix

I disconnected one of my monitors, don't ask why, when I reconnected it the display was not active. Could I remember how to get both monitors working? Anyway a quick google reminded me that all you have to do is press the Win and P keys to show the appropriate dialogue box. Select the "Extended" option and Bingo, two monitors working again.

For more information follow the link to the Microsoft Support page.


Remove White Text Background in a Blogger Post

Re-blogged from Tech News

I have had the problem of text on a white background with a number of my blog posts particularly when cutting an pasting text from Word or other locations, which is a pain, as my background is black. Here is a solution...
Remove White text Background in Blogger Post

Sometimes when you compose a post and copy some material from other web sites or even from Office Word the white background is copied along with the text as background. Due to this the background of post appears white. So how to get rid of this annoying white background in blogger posts. But before i tell you the solution  to avoid such problems in future you can compose your text in Notebook and then copy it rather than using Office.Ok now to remove white background of already posted text follow these steps.

1.Go to edit your post
2.There you will find two options on upper left corner Compose and HTML
3.Click HTML
4. Now press control F and search for <span style="background-color: white;">
5.Delete style="background-color: white;"
6. So it turns to be <span>only and save

7. Also find style="background-color: white;
8. Delete the yellow highlighted portion that is background-color: white;
9. Now Save
10. Although it is a little bit time consuming as you will find a number of above mentioned two statements depending upon the length of your POST. However it is effective
what if you have a lot of background-color: white;  statements in HTML
What you can do as a shortcut is to cut all the HTML code paste it in the word e.g MS word 2007.Now click the replace button on the right hand corner

A find and replace window will pop out
In Find what copy and paste background-color: white; 
and leave the Replace with blank and click replace all.This action will remove all the background-color: white;  statements from your HTML code.Now copy all the HTML code from MS word and paste it back in your blogger post in HTML.Now check your post in compose. Click update check your post now.all the white background must have disappeared.


Windows 7 Fails to Start - Error Code: 0xc000000e

Screen Clip

I came home from a weekend away to discover that my PC had rebooted and the screen showed the above message, presumably after a Windows Update.  The options were to Escape or Continue.

I tried to Escape and ended back here. I inserted my Rescue Disc, which had worked on a similar occasion. The boot screen appeared but when I hit return I ended up back here. I tried the Windows 7 Disc with the same results.  I Googled the problem, most of the advice led me down the same road, with no resolution of the problem. I tried turning off and back on using the button of the front panel, sill no luck.

In desperation I turned off the computer using the On/Off switch on the power supply unit on the back of the computer. I left it for a bout 3 minutes and then turned it back on. Magic it Re-Booted and started normally.

Now't so weird as computers...


Rapid Resizer Useful On-line Tools for Creating Stencils and Resizing Drawings

Learn How to Print Patterns Exactly to Any Size

Make printable alphabet, letter, and number stencils. Great for painting, quilting, wood working, stained glass patterns, and other arts & crafts. Or make a stencil from a picture.

Automatically trace photos and pictures into a stencil, pattern, line drawing, or sketch. Great for painting, wood working, stained glass, or other craft designs.




How to Rotate a Video using VLC Media Player

This is a short tutorial on how to rotate and save a video using VLC Media Player Ver 2.1.2).
Check out this YouTube link

The full instructions can be found here: http://www.wintips.org/rotate-video-using-vlc-media-player-version-2-1-2/

VLC Version 2.1.2 official download links:

Source: http://www.wintips.org/