15/12/2014

This computer is not running genuine Windows - My Solution - Updated

Have you had a warning that your Windows 7 operating system is not valid? (I think you can also get this message with W8) See screen grabs below. If so this may be a Windows update problem. If you follow the links it leas to a page offering you a genuine copy of Windows for a fee! Which looks like a Microsoft ransom scam to me. I know my Windows version is legit so what is going on. I think it is to do with the last Windows Update I installed. If you get this message I would suggest that you make sure you have the latest Windows Update installed. Reboot using a Rescue Disc (you know you should have one cuz they work, make one now) or from the Windows CD if you have one. Some PC's and Laptops have a rescue or recovery option on the hard disc which can be activated by pressing an Function key. Your original instructions should tell you which F key. There are other options but this one worked for me.

UPDATE - 15.12.14: My celebrations were premature. The pop-up returned. I am working on it and will post a further update when I have a solution.

UPDATE 2 - 17.12:14 If all else fails try the simple approach. This is the solution posted on the Microsoft website... and it worked, I think...

To activate by using a direct connection
Open Windows Activation by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, right-clicking Computer, clicking Properties, and then clicking Activate Windows now.‌ 
If Windows detects an Internet connection, click Activate Windows online now.  Administrator permission required If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation. 
NB if Windows detects that your copy of Windows is valid this may be as far as you need to go. If your activation time has expired it may be necessary to enter the product key as below.
Type your Windows 7 product key when prompted, click Next, and then follow the instructions.



First message screen...


2nd screen, seen if you click the Resolve option...


3rd screen shows "Buy Genuine Windows" tab when it opens, this is the "Troubleshoot" option...

If your Windows activation period has expired your computer functionality will be reduced and the desk top will become black with a permanent message shown in the bottom right-hand corner.




To make a system repair disc, click the "Start Button" and type System Repair in the search box, click "Create a System Repair Disc" option and follow the instructions. You will need a blank CD to hand.

09/12/2014

Terry Gilliam - Monty Python animations

It looks simple but I suspect it is much more difficult that TG makes it look. This is great advice from a creative genius. Worth a try, lets get snipping and clicking...

05/12/2014

Google Chrome - Restore Last Session

If you have come to Google Chrome from say Firefox you will find the difference in the user interface irritating to say the least particularly when it comes to restoring your last session after an unexpected or accidental shut down.

This worked for me: Open Chrome and Right click on a New Tab, the first option should be a clickable option to Restore, Click and your last session should be restored. I have had the Restore option appear greyed out. If this happens go to Settings> History and click the most recent activity, when this opens repeat previous advice. Hopefully your last session should open.

This was a bit of a suck and see effort on my part as the advice in the various forums I checked were very confusing. If you know a better way post a comment.

01/12/2014

Solid State Drive (SSD) - Optimising Drive Space

Re-bloged fron ZDNet

Solid-state drives are wicked fast. They can breathe new life into a PC whose performance is being dragged down by a slow conventional hard drive. They’re also expensive and (at least for now) limited in total capacity. So how do you get the performance benefits of an SSD upgrade without breaking the bank?

Read this article on the ZDNet website to discover how.

Windows 7 and SSDs: Cutting your system drive down to size



30/11/2014

iTalk Recorder App on iPone 4S - Deleting Files

iTalk
I use the excellent Griffin Technology iTalk app in my iPhone 4S and my iPad to record mainly interview and meetings. The only problem is the files can be large and soon eat up storage space. I use the related iTalk Sync app on my Windows PC to download recordings. The reason for this post is to clarify the process for deleting files from your phone.



I connect the phone to PC open iTalk on the phone and open iTalk Sync the software finds the phone, double click the name of the phone and accept the message that appears on the phone. You can drag and drop the files that appear in the desktop app into a folder to store them. The download process can be slow depending upon how many and how large the files are, so don't be in rush. The app will tell you the sync speed. I find occasionally that this does not move but the files do download. Have a look in the receiving folder to check progress. If there is none  close everything and start again.  To delete files, click the edit option on the phone and you will see a red stop sign against each file tap these and then the Delete option that appears. Repeat for all the files you want to delete. The next step isn't obvious, the app keeps a backup copy of the file so if you want to delete the files completely you need to delete the backup. After "deleting" the files in the list a message appears "Deleted Recordings (?)" tap this message and a list of the deleted recordings appears, at then click on the words "Clear All" in red bottom right of the screen, a pop up asks you to confirm "Clear All". You are returned to the Playback Screen. Exit the app by pressing the phone Home Button.

To Summarise:-
  1. Turn on your iPhone or iPod Touch.
  2. Open the iTalk app.
  3. Select the recording you wish to delete.
  4. Touch the "Edit" button at the top of your screen.
  5. Touch the red "Do Not Enter" button that appears next to the recording you want to delete. 
  6. Touch the "Delete" button that appears.
  7. Open the "Deleted Recordings" folder to view your deleted files. Touch "Clear All" to permanently remove those recordings.

18/11/2014

Synchronize Folders Between Computers and Drives with SyncToy 2.1

Re-blogged from How-To-Geek

I was about to write a blog post on syncing files and folders to other computers and drives when I came across this brilliantly written article by Brian Burgess on How-to-Geek. I hope Brian will forgive me for re-posting it here in full.

I have been searching for an effective alternative to the now defunct Microsoft "Live Mesh" for syncing files and folders to a variety of storage locations. This Microsoft utility is the best option I have found so far. Unfortunately it does not work in real-time, it has to be scheduled and the most frequent option is daily. However it gives another layer of protection.

If you have a few different computers and drives, it can be annoying making sure the same data is each one you need. Today we take a look at making folder and data synchronization easier with the Microsoft SyncToy 2.1 utility.
You might have a flash drive that you use to carry files and documents from the workplace to your home office and vice versa. Sometimes though, you might forget to copy the files you need over to the drive. With Microsoft’s SyncToy it allows you to easily make sure the data between drives and folders is synchronized everyday. There are a lot of reasons you might want to synchronize folders. For example, maybe you want to sync your My Pictures folder with the one at work, or sync your music at home with music on another computer. This is a free tool from Microsoft that was once part of the XP Power Toys but has continued to grow and improve.

When you install SyncToy it also installs Microsoft Sync Framework 2.0 Core Components, which is their sync platform that enables offline access to apps, services and devices.
1sync
On our Windows 7 (32-bit) system there wasn’t an option to create a shortcut for the desktop or Quick Launch Bar, but you’ll see it in the Start Menu and create a shortcut from there if you want.
2sync
When first launching SyncToy, there is an option to participate in the Customer Experience Improvement Program. This is up to the user and participation is not necessary to use it.
3sync
Using SyncToy
When you begin using SyncToy, you’ll need to create a new folder pair to sync your data. You can choose a pair of folders on the same machine, external drives, or over a network.
4sync
Browse to the location of each of the folders you want to keep synced. In this example we’re syncing the contents of my home office folder and work files folder to an external flash drive.
5sync
In the next step choose the actions you want to take place between the two folders. Synchronize is checked by default and should be fine for most users. According to the SyncToy help file, these are the differences between each action:
  • Synchronize: Updates files both ways…keeping changes like renames, deletions and edits to either folder contents the same between the two.
  • Echo: New and updated files are copied left to right. Renames and deletes on the left are repeated on the right.
  • Contribute: New and updated files are copied left to right. Renames on the left are repeated on the right. No deletions.
6sync
Now type in a name for the synced folders and click Finish.
7sync 
A sync job has been successfully created. You’re shown the details of the job including options which you can change if you want. The job hasn’t been run yet so you can preview it or if everything looks correct click on the Run button.
8sync
If you preview the job first it shows the files being synced and from there you might want to exclude certain ones.
11sync
If everything goes right you’ll get a screen telling you the sync was successful.
12sync
Here is an example of a non-successful synchronization where you can go in and see what errors had occurred.
9errors 
Also notice from the main GUI you can rename a folder pair, create a new pair, or delete a pair.
10sync
Schedule SyncToy Tasks
While setting up the folder pairs and syncing them up manually is a great start, what you really want to do is schedule this to run automatically. Here we’ll take a look at how to schedule it to run automatically in Vista or Windows 7. We need to use Windows Task Scheduler, so click on the Start Menu and type task scheduler into the search box.
13task
When Task Scheduler opens click on Create Basic Task under the Action pane.
14task
Next type in a name and description of the task.
15tasl
Select how often you want the Synchronization to occur. This is entirely up to you…but to be sure it’s done and files in both folders are ready when you need them, go for Daily.
16task
Choose the date and time for it to start and keep 1 entered if you want it to occur everyday.
17tas
Next make sure Start a program is selected.
18task
Finally browse to the location of SyncToy.exe where in this example it’s in C:\Program Files\SyncToy2.1\SyncToy.exe Then in the Add arguments field enter in –R by which by itself will run all folder pairs you have set up to be synced.
19task
You will be given an overview of how the task will run and if everything looks correct click finish.
20finish
There are a couple of ways you can verify the synchronization task was successful. You can go into Task Scheduler and under Task Status see the last time it was executed and if it was successful.
21task
Or you can just look in the lower left corner of the SyncToy GUI and see when it was last run.
22task
Conclusion
You can create basically any amount of folder pairs you need to be synchronized. It will allows you to synchronize 2 folders across a network, on the same PC, or to USB flash or external drives. It works on XP, Vista and Windows 7 where there is a separate version for 32 & 64-bit versions. If you’re looking for a free and effective way to synchronize data between two folders on different devices, SyncToy 2.1 will get the job done.
Thanks again to How-To-Geek for a great article...

20/10/2014

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

27/09/2014

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,

daledoc1
-------------------------------------------------
  • 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.


10/09/2014

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
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.
WordPress
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

 

02/06/2014

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.

03/04/2014

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

22/03/2014

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
there.
 
OR
 
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.
 

20/02/2014

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.


19/02/2014

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

08/01/2014

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

18/10/2013

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.

13/10/2013

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.

Ingredients:-
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


28/09/2013

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.

Materials

  • 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.


17/07/2013

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:-

http://get.videolan.org/vlc/2.0.7/win32/vlc-2.0.7-win32.zip




20/05/2013

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.

11/03/2013

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.

10/03/2013

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.

Tips:

  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.

28/02/2013

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.