Learn Processing

Discovered this excellent site, Fun Programming with Processing programming tutorials. Only just started using it but it does seem to be well put together and easy to follow. So I shall be testing it out over the next few weeks to see if I can get my head around the use of Processing once and for all. Check out Fun Programming
Processing is a programming language, development environment, and online community. Since 2001, Processing has promoted software literacy within the visual arts and visual literacy within technology. Initially created to serve as a software sketchbook and to teach computer programming fundamentals within a visual context, Processing evolved into a development tool for professionals. Today, there are tens of thousands of students, artists, designers, researchers, and hobbyists who use Processing for learning, prototyping, and production.
My particular interest in Processing is as an artist and maker of autonomous drawing machines.

Here is an example of a Fun Programming tutorial


Malwarebytes - Your Free Trial has Expired - What to next...

Warning - Your Free Trial has Expired
If you see the above screen when you launch Malwarebytes or a Pop-Up appears with a similar message, here is what to do. The information came from a letter on the Malwarebytes Forum here.

The Free version of MBAM does not provide real-time protection -- it is only an on-demand, manual scanner: http://www.malwareby...warebytes_free/
If you used the free Trial of MBAM PRO, and it has expired, you will be notified with a tooltip balloon.
When the notification comes up stating that it is expired, click on the tooltip balloon message.
It should open up a window with the option to End trial, click on that option and this shouldn't occur again.

Also, if you have tried to reinstall the program without doing a clean reinstall, that can cause some minor issues.
In order to resolve them, you can follow the steps below for a clean reinstall using the mbam-clean tool -- be sure to reboot when it asks to do so!

Here are the instructions for the clean reinstall -- let us know if you need additional help after that,

  • If you are running MBAM PRO, please be sure you have your license ID and key available (sent via email at the time of online purchase, or in the box). (You can skip this step if you are only running the Free version.)
  • Download and run mbam-clean.exe from HERE.
  • It will ask to restart your computer; please allow it to do so - this is very important!
  • After the computer restarts, download the latest version of Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware from HERE, then temporarily disable your Anti-Virus and run the installer. (Ignore all 'Recommended' or 'Sponsored' software which are prominently displayed on the mirror sites -- they are ads and MBAM does not have any association with them.)
  • If you are using MBAM PRO, you will need to reactivate (register) the program using the license ID & key.
  • Launch the MBAM program and (if you are using MBAM PRO) set the Protection and Registration.
  • For EITHER version, then go to the UPDATE tab (if not done during installation) and check for updates.
  • Restart the computer again and verify that MBAM is in the system tray (if using the PRO version).
  • Now set up any file exclusions, as may be required in your Anti-Virus/Internet-Security/Firewall applications, and restart your Anti-Virus/Internet-Security applications. You may use the guides posted in the FAQs HERE, or ask and we'll explain how to do it.


Self-Publishing An E-Book? Here Are 4 Ways To Leave Amazon's 30% Tax Behind

Reblogged from Forbes

In the book-author world, there’s been no bigger shake-up to the establishment than the arrival of the Kindle self-publishing platform (and other self-publishing platforms on iBooks, Nook, and others).
With the arrival of turnkey self-publishing in the form of Amazon’s Kindle platform that enables an author to instantly start selling their books on the world’s biggest book marketplace, authors big and small have realized that they no longer need big publishing in order to get their works out into the world and start making money.
Of course, while most authors don’t make a whole lot of money, those that do usually have their own followings. Whether they are an established writer who has made a name through traditional publishing or someone who happens to have a following as a result of their profession or through some other claim to fame, an author can monetize pretty quickly by uploading and hitting publish.
But there’s a big downside to Kindle publishing in the form of a 30% fee that Amazon takes off the top. Sure, paying only 30% is a heck of a lot better than the traditional splits an author would get through big publishing, but 30% is still a heavy tax, particularly if the author is bringing much of his or her own sales by promoting to their own network.
So what can they do? Well, in today’s democratized publishing world, there are an increasing number of payment and delivery platforms that allow an author to sell their own books while side-stepping the Kindle tax, while also allowing them to truly own the customer (remember: Amazon always owns the customer, especially since authors never know who is buying their books).
Here are four ways to sell your e-book and avoid the Amazon tax:
Gumroad is a simple payment and digital delivery system that allows authors (and anyone with a digital product) to integrate e-book sales directly into their website. Designer Nathan Barry decided to side-step Amazon because he didn’t want to pay the Amazon tax (which would have been higher than 30% because his books start at $39) and integrated Gumroad. The result? Less than a year later he’s made nearly $200 thousand.  And Gumroad isn’t the only upload & sell tool around. Others such as Sellfy, DigitalDeliveryApp and e-Junkie have also proven hugely popular.
E-commerce website platforms
While most people think of Shopify and BigCommerce as ways to sell physical goods, an increasing number of entrepreneur-minded authors are increasingly using these platforms as a way to sell digital goods. Making it easier is the ability to use digital-delivery app plugins like FetchApp to enable instant delivery of e-books to the customer.
While WordPress doesn’t have its own built-in commerce functionality, a number of WordPress-centric plugins have been developed to enable the sale and delivery of digital goods. Perhaps the most well known is WooCommerce, which enables an author to set up a store, take payments and deliver their e-book in turnkey fashion.
When Squarespace launched Squarespace 6 last year, one of the first upgrades they made was enabling commerce, with easy turnkey transaction and digital delivery functionality built directly into the web publishing platform. According to Squarespace CEO Anthony Casalena, commerce functionality was their most requested feature of all time.
So…Should Every Author Skip Amazon?

No. Amazon and other e-book publishing platforms have worldwide scale and hundreds of millions of built-in customers. Those without an audience – and many with an audience – just can’t beat what the Amazon marketing engine can do for their sales.
But, if you have your own legion of true fans you can access with a decent mailing list and large social media following, nowadays there are ways to avoid that heavy Amazon tax and know the names (and emails) of the people actually buying your book.

 Michael Wolf



Ripping CD's to MP3 Format

Had a bit of a Drrrr moment today. It is a long time since I ripped any CD's and I could not remember what software I last used fo this task. A quick Google reminded my that you can Rip a CD to MP3 with Windows Media Player. I had already tried WMP but the files came off as .wma format.  The article I found in PC Advisor magazine  reminded me that you need to change the settings in the "Rip Settings" drop-down menu to Format> MP3. Simple when you know how.


How to reset the toner cartridges for Brother printer

The original video was for a Brother HL-2270DW printer, I have tried it with an HL-2250DN printer and it works as well.

To reset the toner sensor:-

- Open the front cover and leave open while completing the following steps.
- Turn the printer off.
- Hold the ‘go’ button while turning the printer on. All lights should be on.
- Release the ‘go’ button (or “start’ button).
- Press the ‘go’ button (or “start’ button) 2 times.
- Pause. All panel lights should be on.
- Press the ‘go’ button (or “start’ button) 5 times.
The toner light should be off. (error may be flashing)
The paper light should be on or flashing.
- Close cover. The ready light should be the only light on.

Further information here and here


How do I tell if my Windows 7 Home Premium is 32 or 64 bit?

Hold down the Windows key and press Pause|Break. It will tell you
Click Start, right click Computer
Click Properties
Look under System > System type:
There you will see if you have 32 or 64 bit Windows operating system installed.


Computer Clean-up using UVK

If you think your computer is free from viruses, malware, adware etc you may be living in a fools paradise. I pride myself on running a clean computer. After a few strange browser crashes today I decided to follow the advice in the attached video. To say I was surprised at what this clean-up revealed would be an understatement. Britec 09 is a well trusted source of info, check out your system NOW, you maybe surprised what you find...

The video demonstrates how to use a free program called UVK.

This free program is available as a portable version which can be used from a USB drive even if your computer is infected with malware virus, trojans, worms and real nasty bootkit. Britec09  will show you how to remove these using UVK.


How to Avoid Paying Ryanair Travel Insurance

 Have you ever booked a Ryanair flight and been stuffed by what appears to be their compulsory travel insurance? There are a number of postings on the Internet offering solutions to this problem but they all seem to be out of date as Ryanair has changed their page layout. Here is the solution I discovered.

Ryanair has constructed its ticket sales architecture in such a way as to make it difficult for occasional users to avoid buying overpriced insurance. Well here is how to avoid it... When you get to the Travel Insurance section: Click on the "Country of Residence" box and look for the strange country called "Don't Insure Me" between Denmark and Finland and select this option!  See the photograph below.

There are so many reasons why you would not want to fly Ryanair, this is just one of many.

Ryanair Travel Insurance Scam look for country "Don't Insure Me" and select
Click image to enlarge


iPhone 4s Weak Wifi Reception Fix

The wifi signal on my iPhone 4S had been getting worse and worse. At first I thought this was just the distance from my router, but at the same location in the house the reception on my iPad was still 4 bars and on my phone 2 or 1. A web search revealed that deterioration in WiFi reception was a known issue with the iPhone 4S. A couple of articles and forum posts suggested that this was due to an internal screw loosening off.

As my iPhone 4S is coming up for changing and is out of warranty I thought I would have a go at fixing the problem following the suggestions in these various articles.

WARNING:- opening your iPhone will invalidate your warranty so think carefully before you start fiddling.

Fixing the problem involves removing the back and tightening the relevant screw. A simple job one would think. Nothing about an Apple product is ever simple. The back is held in place by 2 pentalobe tamper resistant screws. The chance of have the appropriate screw driver in your kit is remote. They look like a Tork screw but they are quite different. I purchased a kit from Maplins at a cost of £6.99 but you can buy iPhone 4S tool kits on the Internet from a variety of source including Amazon. Warning do not attempt this job without the correct tools.

The first link I found gives a step by step photo sequence for removing the back and getting access tpo the screw in question but unfortunately the most important shot of the screw is misleading, there is no screw! So I have added the image below which clearly shows to screw that needs to be tightened. 

IMPORTANT: it is very easy to damage the pentalobe screw slots so be VERY careful when removing and replacing any screw. Make sure the tip of the screw driver is full engaged in the slot. It is also easy to strip threads so do not over-tighten.

Instructions for removing the back of the phone link.

This photo on the left shows the screw you need to tighten. In my phone the metal shield that this screw holds in place was silver not black as here.

It is a good idea to check the tightness of all the screws you can see. In my phone they were all slightly loose.


NOTE: If you experience wifi problems after having a screen replaced you may find that this screw could be missing completely or more likely the small metal contact that is underneath the screw is missing, see the photo below.

If you want to swap your pentalobe screws for Phillips screws or if you have a problem removing or replacing the pentalobe screws see this article in IFIXITLink

Article updated 2.2.14


Digital Camera Colour Management - Which Colour Space?

An area of colour management which seems to cause particular confusion (is there only one?) relate to camera setup. Mainly the questions of, what is the colour gamut of RAW and what colour space should my camera be set to?

The net is awash with information most of which is mind blowing so I am copying here a couple of paragraphs from a website which goes by the name of TheLightroomLab.com. These words made sense to me and as I could not put it better myself I repost them here with due recognition of the origin.

Digital camera raw files do not have a fixed color space because these file’s do not yet contain pixels. Raw files are a record of the unprocessed “sensel” data which exceeds all gamut limits. Flexibility of color, and of color space, is one of the greatest advantages to digital camera raw files. Serious photographers often shoot in raw so that they can pick the appropriate color space for each processed copy of their original capture using post-processing software. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom makes this process completely painless since color space is one of the parameters that we can control, and automate, inside of the Export dialog.

My advice is to keep life simple. I suggest that photographer’s of any level shoot Jpeg images using the sRGB color space. Using sRGB in camera will give you files that can be printed directly off the memory card. If you need more control over color, if a wider gamut will help with your work, then bring home Raw files and learn to use post-processing software like Lightroom or Photoshop 
To summarise: I have my camera, a Sony RX100 II, set to shoot jpeg and RAW and the colour space is set to sRGB. Yes a compact, I have given up lugging DSLR's around!

Link to full article here.

Free Up Disk Space on a Solid State Drive (SSD) in Windows 7

Like many folk these days my main PC main drive (Drive C:) is a Solid State Drive (SSD).  Due to the cost of these devices it is tempting to fit a much smaller capacity than a typical mechanical hard drive (HDD),  mine SSD is only 120GB. This small size means you have to be very careful about conserving disc space. For example I locate most of my non critical software on a second mechanical hard drive (Drive D:). Drive C: is reserved for the operating system and the likes of Adobe Photoshop. This means that rather sooner than later you will face the "not enough free space" problem no matter how careful you are. Which is the problem I just ran into. I have been quite strict about running the standard Windows 7 Disk Cleanup utility. I have also been careful to delete or relocating any unwanted software.

When searching for a solution I came across a very good blog post: 7 Ways to Free Up Disk Space on an SSD in Windows 7.  The post suggested followin these steps:-
  1. Disable hibernation 
  2. Decrease the size of the page file
  3. Turn off System Restore
  4. Perform a Disk Cleanup regularly
  5. Use a third party disk cleaning tool regularly
  6. Uninstall programs you do not use
  7. Disable File Content Indexing
I followed most of the instructions and managed to release 12 GB of space, that's 10%.
I missed out steps 3 - Turn Off System Restore and 5 - Use Third Party Cleaning Tool. But I will look into these options later.The two steps that seemed to make the biggest difference where steps 2 and 7.

Follow this link to the original blog post.


The Perfect Yorkshire Pudding Recipe

I know cooking is not normally the subject of my blog posts but I think I may have cracked the Yorkshire Pudding bogey that has been blighting my culinary efforts for years! So I need to record the recipe for future reference.

The general principle is copied from here. But like so many recipes there is always a snag, the way that recipe is worded could lead to the wrong amount of flour being used. But as I have a scientists mind the way the ingredients in recipe from the link were proportioned made sense to me. I have rewritten the recipe to make it clearer, hopefully avoiding any possible pitfalls.

This sufficient to make about 12 puddings using a standard size muffin tray .
  • Crack 4 fresh eggs of any size (I used large) into a measuring jug, note the volume and tip into your mixing bowl.
  • Measure the same volume of skimmed milk and add to mixing bowl. If you use semi-skimmed or whole milk dilute half and half with water. Whisk the eggs and milk together (I did not bother).
  • Weigh as many grams of plain flour as you had volume (ml) of eggs ie 150 ml eggs = 150 grams flour. Add to the egg and milk using a sieve (don't worry if you don't have a sieve).
  • Whisk by hand or with an electric whisk until just single cream consistency with no lumps, don't over do it.
  • Add a half a level teaspoon of salt and optionally, a shake of pepper.
Allow to stand for at least 30 min. Before use add 2 tablespoons (30ml) water and stir in thoroughly.

You can use a 12 portion non-stick muffin tray or a roasting tray about 12x8 inches, 10x10 inches.

Add a teaspoon (5ml) of of Rape oil (this is what I used because it has a high smoke point), light olive oil, sunflower oil or beef dripping to each well or 30 ml oil to roasting tin. Place in oven at 230C, (220C fan oven) until oil/fat is smoking takes about 15 min.

Remove hot tray from oven (CAREFUL). I hold tray over the gas hob to keep oil sizzling hot while I add the batter. Fill each compartment about two thirds to three quarters full.

Immediately return to oven for 25 min. When time is up turn off oven and leave in for another 5 min. Keep warm until served.

Using this method the Yorkshires I produced were voted my best effort ever. I thought so as well!

Prep time = 15min, Resting time = 30 min, Cooking time = 25 min, Total = 1 hr 10 min


Broken Earphone Jack Removal from iPad or iPhone

My iPad slipped off the bed the other day and landed on the earphone jack (Apple Earphones) snapping it off flush with the iPad case. The problem was now how to get the broken jack out of the socket? This is my fix.

There was the vestige of the centre core protruding but not enough to catch hold of. I discovered that the plastic remaining in the socket could be levered out with the tip of a craft knife, you could use a pin. This is the top plastic ring insulating ring of the jack. For my fix to work you have to remove this bit of plastic. You maybe able to shake it out or hook it out with the bent tip of a pin.


  • Pin
  • Satay stick or similar piece of soft wood to fit in jack socket.
  • Super Glue
For the next step I used a "Satay Stick", these are square ended wooden skewer/kebab sticks made from a softish bamboo used for Chicken Satay and the like. They are just the right size to fit in the socket hole. Removed the plastic ring to expose the central conductor for the jack, gently press and rotate the Satay stick to make a hole in the centre. Put the tiniest amount of Super Glue into the hole in the stick, dont let it get down the sides of the stick. If it does trim off and have another go. Carfull reinsert the stick into the hole and press for about 10 sec. give another 30 sec to make sure fully stuck and then pull stick straight out. With a bit of luck the result should look like the photo below.


VLC media player

VLC is a free and open source cross-platform multimedia player and framework that plays most multimedia files as well as DVD, Audio CD, VCD, and various streaming protocols. 

When installing VLC media player it is important to make sure you only download from the main website. Unfortunately VLC media player has become a popular piece of software to bundle with a range of malware and potential malware as I discovered to my cost recently. I managed to corrupt the copy of VLC that I was using and when I tried to reinstall from the original download file I managed to install Spot.do a browser hijacker hiding as a helpful toolbar. There were also other nasties that loaded at the same time. I don't remember where that original download came from but it reinforced the cautionary warning to be careful where you download freeware from even something as popular as VLC media player.Incidentally I managed to clear up the problem using Malwarebytes.

Hence the reason for this post to guide you to the original source download. which can be found here:-



Canon Powershot G12 Lens Error Fix

I took my Canon Powershot G12 out of my bag, I turned the camera on the lens partially extended but would not focus, zoom or retract when turned off. On the screen it displayed Lens Error.I had not dropped or banged the camera and it had been working immediately prior to putting in the bag.

I just found a fix. Hold down the shutter release, then turn the camera on. The lens retracted and Bingo now works normally. This fix may work for other camera in the G range.

The last time that happened on a G9 it cost £250 to repair via insurance.


How to Copy a List of Files from a Windows Folder Into an Excel List

Maintaining an Excel spreadsheet of computer files can help you keep track of important business documents or images. Unfortunately, Microsoft Excel doesn't include a one-step method for importing a file list from Windows Explorer, but Windows 7 offers an easy workaround. Using the Command Prompt, you can tell Windows to output a text document containing a directory list. This text document can then be imported into Excel and modified just like any other spreadsheet.
Link back to original post...

Step 1

Press "Win-E" to open Windows Explorer and locate the folder for which you need a file list.

Step 2

Hold the "Shift" key, right-click the folder and select "Open Command Window Here." This only works with folders, not libraries. Libraries point to a specific folder, so select the folder located under the library icon. If the library points to a drive, right-click the drive letter from the folder tree.

Step 3

Type "dir /b > dirlist.txt" without quotes and press "Enter." This creates a list containing file names only. To include file sizes and dates, type "dir > dirlist.txt" instead. To also include files in sub-directories, type "dir /b /s > dirlist.txt" to create a list of files with the full directory structure name, such as "C:\folder\subdirectory\file.txt."

Step 4

Open Microsoft Excel and press "Ctrl-O" to bring up the Open dialog window.

Step 5

Navigate into the folder containing the files [note: this is the folder you right clicked on]. Click the file type drop-down menu and select "Text Files (*.prn,*.txt,*.cvs)." Double-click "dirlist.txt" to open it.

Step 6

Click "Finish" in the Text Import Wizard window to use the default options and import the directory list into Excel.

The dirlist.txt file created by his method could also be opened into Word or any text editor.


Remove Moire Pattern from Scanned Image

Photographs scanned from books, magazines and newspapers or photographs from TV screen or projected images often results in an unsightly interference pattern called moire. This is how to remove the effect in Photoshop.
  1. Go to Filter > Noise > Median.
  2. Use a radius between 1-3. Typically the higher the quality of the source, the lower the radius can be. Use your own judgement, but you will probably find that 3 works well for newspapers, 2 for magazines, and 1 for books.
  3. Go to Image > Image Size  and resample to the desired image size and resolution using the bicubic resampling option.
  4. Make sure you are zoomed to 100% magnification.
  5. Go to Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask.
  6. Exact settings will depend on the image resolution, but these settings are a good starting point: Amount 50-100%, Radius 1-3 pixels, Threshold 1-5. Use your eye as the final judge.


  1. If you still see a pattern after applying the Median filter, try a slight gaussian blur before resampling. Apply just enough blur to reduce the pattern.
  2. If you notice halos or glows in the image after using Unsharp Mask, go to Edit > Fade. Use settings: 50% Opacity, Mode Luminosity.


Word 2010 Spell Check Language Not Correct

I just realised that my spell checker keeps offering American spelling as a correction ie favor instead of favour. The document language was set to English (UK) so why the problem? Apparently you have to set the Proofing language, mine was set to English (US) for some strange reason. 
So here is how you change it...
In Word 2010 select the following options from the Ribbon:
  1. Review tab > Language group > Language button > Set Proofing Language
  2. In the Language dialog, select the language you want to use for spell checking.
In Word 2007, Review tab > Proofing group > Set Language will accomplish the same thing.

Word 2010 Insert Endnote at end of a Section

The menu layout in Word 2010 is so frustrating at times. I wanted to insert Endnotes before my References, so I made a Section Break [Next Page] but the end notes came at the end of the 2nd section, ie after my Reference Section. After much searching I discovered the answer here.

This is the post which provided the answer, I hope you can follow it...
 ... make your changes directly in the Footnote and Endnote dialog, which you can open with the dialog launcher in the bottom right corner of the Footnotes group on the References tab? Select Endnotes, select "End of section," select the desired number format, select Continuous (assuming you're putting them all at the end), and make sure "Whole document" is selected under "Apply to."

Screen Clip - Footnote Endnote Menu
Finding the answer was a problem because Word 2012 does this differently to previous versions of word and many of the answers that come up are for the older versions.


Picasa not Downloading Video or RAW Files from my Camera

I have been using Picasa for ages now and it is one of my favourite bits of software. I recently started to use it to upload images from my Canon G9 and G12. I have just realised it is not uploading video files nor is it showing RAW files, which it used to do. 

The solution seems to be quite a simple one. I discovered that in Tools> Options> File Type, I did not have the boxes for RAW or Videos checked. Interestingly when you tick the Video box another box appears with the option to select .mov (Quicktime) files as well. I ticked all the relevant boxes and suddenly Picasa is searching all my watched folders for the missing file types, and when I connected my camera it found and downloaded the video files.
Picasa >Tools> Options Screen Snip


Slow Boot - Optimize Windows 7 for Faster Start-up

No matter how fast or shiny computers might be when they're new, they all seem to get slower over time. My Samsung NC10 netbook running Windows 7 was taking forever to start up so time for a sort out. As a yardstick they reckon if your computer is taking more than 45 secs to boot up there is something seriously wrong, mine was taking nearly 2 minutes. 

A quick Google throws up a bunch of useless information most of which is a disguise for selling you some 3rd party software solution. So I started with the Microsoft suggestions "Optimise Windows 7 for Better Performance".

First suggestion is to try the Performance Troubleshooter, which can automatically find and fix problems.
  •  Open the Performance troubleshooter by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then clicking Control Panel. In the search box, type troubleshooter, and then click Troubleshooting. Under System and Security, click Check for performance issues.
I discovered that about 10 programmes were opening at start-up. None was essential, Microsoft hides the essential programmes from view, so I chose the global option to close all. I rebooted as requested and amazingly the NC10 booted in 30 seconds which I call a result.

There are other things you can do, if you are not certain about the security status of your computer you may wish to double check you have no nasties lurking about on you HD. Make sure your ant-virus software is up-to-date and run a full scan. If you don't already have it, upload anti-malware software such as Malwarebytes, get the free version here. If you not up to speed with security software I suggest you have a look at this video by Britec09 on YouTube, this guy knows what he is talking about and there are no catches.


Send to OneNote Printer Option Missing

With Microsoft OneNote installed in Windows 7 there is Print to OneNote option in the Printer List. Occasionally this can go missing. Here is a solution. 

Repair the Microsoft Office program installation

  1. Close all Office programmes.
  2. Click Start, and then click Run.
  3. Copy and then paste (or type) the following command in the Open box, and then press ENTER:
  4. In the Currently installed programs list, click the installed version of the 2007 Office program, and then click Change.
  5. Click Repair, and then click Continue
  6. Restart computer.


Firefox - Right Click Menu Flickers

I am using Firefox 17.0.1. My second monitor an AOC 1950W was replaced after developing a fault. Immediately I discovered a problem when using Firefox. Right clicking on a web-page resulted in the Right Click Menu flickering and disappearing making it difficult if not impossible to select a menu item. There was no problem on the main display. Using Chrome on this display there was no problem.

I checked settings were correct and that drivers were up-to-date to no avail. A Google search for "firefox right click menu flickers" produced the following suggestion:-
Try to disable hardware acceleration.
  • Tools > Options > Advanced > General > Browsing: "Use hardware acceleration when available" .
If disabling hardware acceleration works then check if there is an update available for your graphics display driver.
Untick box and restart Firefox, this solved the problem.


Ripping (Backing Up) DVD's and CD's

Due to the minefield of legislation covering the copying of propriety media such as DVD's and CD's one has to tread carefully when offering advice in this area. But given the damage that grand and not so grand kids can wreak on DVD's and the like "Backing Up" is no bad idea. I work on the misguided principle that providing such copies are for my own use and I have no intention of passing them on or off for gain or otherwise I feel my actions are justified or at least defensible. There are also occasions that I wish to send copies of my own work to various places and people as part of my art practice and studies so a "How To" reminder is in order. For those of a nervous disposition you ay want to read about the The Digital Millennium Copyright Act - DMCA!  This information is available via the website Doom9.net the guy who runs this very succinct site about all things "Ripping" obviously knows his subject and conveniently brings all the info together in one place, so that's the place to go for more info.

As I "Back Up" DVD's and CD's so infrequently I can never remember what I did last time I did it so I decided on a Blog Post to remind me.

I have tried DVD Decrypter and DVD Shrink, they both seem to do the ripping just fine. If you have problems with encryption or copyright protection then DVD Decrypter is probably the best choice. You can find Guides on how to use this software on Doom9.

The Death of Microsoft Live Mesh

Re Blogged from ghacks.net
Anyone here still using Windows Live Mesh? The service allowed you to synchronize data between multiple PCs years before Microsoft made the switch to SkyDrive as its main synchronization and data hosting service. Microsoft today announced that Windows Live Mesh will be discontinued on February 13, 2013 as a consequence of that shift towards SkyDrive. Part of what made Windows Live Mesh great on Windows and Mac OS X has already been worked into SkyDrive, Microsoft calls that the DNA of Mesh that has been brought over.


How to Open PNG Images in Picasa

Picasa doesn’t automatically include Portable Network Graphics (PNG) images by default. You can however view PNG images in your Picasa photo library and open them in Picasa for editing from the Picasa Photo Viewer application. You can also set PNG images to always open in Picasa Photo Viewer. It just needs a change to the <Preferences>.

How to Open PNG Images in Picasa
  1. Open Picasa.
  2. Click the Tools menu in Picasa and select Options.
  3. Click the File Types tab at the top of the Options window.
  4. Enable PNG image support by clicking the PNG check box and clicking “OK.”
  5. Click the Tools menu and select Configure Photo Viewer.
  6. Click the PNG check box in the Photo Viewer Configuration window to open all PNGs in the Picasa Photo Viewer by default, if desired, and click “OK.”
If Picasa does not update missing PNG files automatically, add PNG files to your Picasa library by clicking the File menu and selecting Add File to Picasa or Add Folder to Picasa. Picasa also automatically adds to your library PNG images in folders it’s already watching.

Adapted from a post on eHow.com


Microsoft Wireless Mouse 5000 Scroll Problem

I recently installed a new keyboard and mouse, a Microsoft Wireless 5000. The first thing I noticed was the scroll wheel on the mouse seemed to have a mind of its own. But most annoying was that the scroll wheel did not work at all with some programmes, namely Picasa, a programme I use quite frequently. After fiddling with the settings I still could not solve the problem. There were lots of posts on the net about this problem but no solutions. I eventually came across the suggestion of changing the mouse to a different type in the configuration. I chose "Standard Wireless Optical Mouse", see the screen grab below. hen go to the "Wheel Button" drop down menu and choose auto-scroll. The mouse and scroll button now works perfectly with Picasa.


Read It Later - Firefox Add-On to Save Web Page to Read Later

I use Firefox browser and invariably have loads of tabs open for pages I intend to read later or just that I just want to remember. The important ones I tag with Delicious but for the rest I usually end up closing them down and then inevitably as soon as I do that I need to look at one. Firefox has an Add-On called Read-It-Later also available as an iPhone and Android App as Pocket. With this Add-On you can save web pages to read later with just one click, the icon appears in the URL dialogue as yellow outline chevron.
When you have time, access your reading list from any computer or phone, even without an internet connection!

You can find the Add-On in the Firefox menu >Tools >Add-Ons (Ctrl-Shift-A)

I will report back when I find out if it helps with my problem.


iDevice Hell

I started with and iPod Touch then the iPhone arrived and now I have an iPad. Whilst I love the user interface of these products I hate iTunes. I never really got to grips with it when I had the iPod, now I have the other 2 pieces of kit I am totally confused. Why does it have to be so difficult to manage the devices and my PC and my Netbook. I have never been the same since I zapped everything from my iPod just when I thought I had it cracked, my confidence has been shattered.


Dell Monitor Power Button Failure

The power (on/off) button on my Dell 2407 WFP-HC monitor failed, fortunately in the ON position. Despite the monitor being about 8 years old it works perfectly well and I had no intentions of trashing it, so was it fixable? Lo and behold first Google search result was a YouTube video, in 4 parts, of how to repair the power button on a Dell 2407 WFP monitor by thinkofwhy.

I would advise watching all 4 videos before starting. Watch out where he mentions removing the stand and rear cover in part 4.  Removing the rear cover will make the removal of the circuit board that holds the switches much easier and its replacement. It is important to replace the button in the correct orientation, that is with the line vertical. Before I got to dismantling my monitor I discovered that if I used a blob of Blue Tack pressed on the button and turned the button to the correct orientation I could operate the button.

The problem is if your button fails in the OFF position you will not be able to watch these videos.  From the number of comments on the video's this is a common problem with this and other Dell monitors so even if yours is working ok check these instructions out before it is too late.

Part 1       
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4


Create a Photobook

The family album is almost a thing of the past. Now we share photographs by passing round the mobile phone or the camera or if you are a bit more tech savvy you may post the images on Facebook, an Internet image sharing site like Flickr, Photobucket, Shutterfly etc. Or you may even have your own photoblog or website. Other alternatives are Digital Photo Frames, CD's DVD's etc. My son-in-law uses his Playstation and shows his on the TV. Or more likely you have thousands of images on the Hard Drive of you r PC or Laptop which no one will ever get to see.

The only problem with digital storage of photographs is the media is prone to corruption or deterioration or obsolescence! How may sorts of storage media have there been in your lifetime. How many more will there be in our kids or grandkids time?

In my opinion there is nothing like looking through a photo album. I am luck enough to have albums created by my grandfather who was a photographer in the early 1900's and my by my mother who was an avid snapper. She had the forethought to go through all her albums and notate the photographs with names, dates and places, which was fantastically helpful when I started on some family history research.

So what are the options? I decided two years ago to start putting photobooks together. I started by collecting together photographs of my 5 grandchildren. I used them to create a photobook for parents and grandparents as a present at Christmas. I am delighted to say that they went down a treat, everyone was delighted. Particularly the grandchildren who constantly refer back to them with great pleasure.

I use Blurb, you have two choices for creating your books an on-line publisher or a downloadable publisher, Both are easy to use and can be configured to be either simple to professional quality with various options in between. The site contains loads of help, videos, tutorials etc.  You can stop and start making your book, it is saved automatically and can be alterer right up until you place your order. If you do find a mistake or want to change something you can re-edit at any time.The finished books are excellent quality paper and feel and look like a professionally made book. Check out the website  and have a go.

Picasa v3.9 Update Available

Picasa, my favourite freebie photo editing software just had a major facelift. Picasa version 3.9 is now available to download or as an upgrade. I surprised to find a whole host of new goodies plus a few irritations, mainly changes to layout.

First the good stuff, there is increased connectivity with the net. A big green button for sharing on Google+, 24 new effects for twiddling your images and side by side editing, updated raw support. Also support for WebP is a new image format that provides lossless and lossy compression for images on the web.

On the irritating side they have moved some of the buttons off the toolbar at the bottom of the page, Movie and Collage in particular. Movie is changed its name to Video and is accessed through the Create drop-down menu. Or you can reinstate the Video (Movie) and the Collage buttons by going to Tools> Configure buttons> and use the Add option to place these buttons back where they belong. But why do they do these things in the first place?  More information from the Picasa website.

If you have never tried Picasa you should, it is more than just a photo editor, it will organise your images, catalogue them, sort out duplicates, prepare images for the web, create movies, slideshows, CD's and much much more. It will never take over from Photoshop but for some jobs it is a whole lot quicker and easier, removing red eye for example.

Download Picasa from here.


Word 2022 Endnote Numbering Problem

If you are a skinflint like me and refuse to upgrade to the latest version of Windows Office you may find this workaround for a notorious Word 2002 bug helpful.

If you add Footnotes or Endnotes to a document and then delete one or more you will probably find the numbering goes bananas. I have tried every fix on the internet to sort it but only one works for me. 

Make your Endnote changes and save the document. use Ctrl+A to select the whole document, then Ctrl+C to copy. Open a NEW document (the page layout is not important) Ctrl+V to paste the document. You should note that the Endnote numbering is now correct. Ctrl+A to select this modified document. Go back to the original document which should still show that it is Selected, if not Ctrl+A again and then Ctrl+C to past in the modified document. Check that your modification has worked, if so Save. Best of luck!


Print Google Calendar

Always useful at this time of the year, here is the link to my 2009 posting  - How to Print Off Google Calendar for the coming year - link  Tells you how to print off a month to a page for how ever many months you need, 12 in my case.


Klipsch S4i Headphone Problem

I purchased a set of Klipsch S4i head/earphones from Amazon December 2010 for use with my iPod Touch. Not cheap at nearly £90, but amazing performance compared with the crap Apple earphones that came with the iPod. Apart from losing the ear plugs on a regular basis I had no problem with the phones, I eventually replaced these with some cheapo ones from another set of earphones, have not lost one since. All went well until about 3 weeks ago when the volume started having a mind of it's own going up and down without any intervention from me. Also the On/Off button stopped working. Inspection showed a crack in the rubber at the neck of the jackplug, see the photograph.
In my opinion there is a design fault in the moulding of the plug at this point. As you can see there is a indentation in the moulding which goes all the way through to the inner wire. Flexing the cable here impinges directly on the wire almost acting like a guillotine. I am sure that many users wrap the wire around the iPod when not in use. This does put a particular strain on the wire at this vulnerable point. I believe the problem could be solved by eliminating this notch from the moulding at this point thus spreading any bending effect over a larger radius and avoiding the pinching of the wire that the current design imposes.

When I checked my Amazon invoice I had purchased the phones on 7 Dec 2010. I sent off an email to Klipsch via the Amazon website. on 5th Dec 2011.  No immediate response, sent a reminder on 8th Dec and received a reply by return from the offices in Ireland saying a reply had been sent but had obviously not reached me. They asked me to send the phones back. Which I did by registered post on 9th Dec. A replacement set of phones turned up on 22nd Dec. So thanks to Amazon and Klipsch.

I have modified my replacement phones by pushing a short length of heat shrink sleeving over the jackplug to protect this weak spot.