Friday 20 May 2016 at 1:51 pm
Just got a Wacom Intuos Pro tablet thingummy for Photoshop shenanigans, and was constantly annoyed by the Windows feature whereby you tap and hold to create a right-click, a little animated circle appears followed by the context-sensitive right-click menu. All fine and dandy unless you're doing precision Photoshop things, when it's too sensitive. Every time I tried to do anything, the spinny circle kept popping up, to my eternal annoyance.
Some Googling pointed to disabling a setting in Pen and Touch (Control Panel > Hardware & Sound > Tablet PC Settings > Other tab > Go to Pen and Touch). There you can disable the Press and Hold Right click feature.
In my case, however, the Wacom driver had hijacked these control panels and wouldn't let me access them. The solution was to stop the Wacom Professional Service (Start, type services.msc, find the entry for Wacom, right-click, stop the service), change the options as above, then restart the service.
I'm in a domain environment, so it remains to be seen how much of this sticks after logoff, but at least I can now muck about on Photoshop without constantly saying 'Grrrr'.
Thursday 12 May 2016 at 3:43 pm
When adding a network printer to a Windows PC (in our case Samsung X7600s by Group Policy), sometimes the printer doesn't appear, and when attempting a manual install you get Operation Failed with Error 0x00000057.
There are a lot of forum posts about this, many of which talk about mucking around with security permissions, copying folders from known good machines and that sort of shenanigans. None of this worked for me, so here's my solution. It's not actually a solution to the underlying problem, but it is a reasonable workround for the symptoms.
On the offending PC, go to Devices & Printers and go through the Add New Printer process to add a local printer. It doesn't matter about ports because you're going to delete it straight away. Use the 'Have Disk' option and point to the correct driver. If you're asked about driver versions, choose to Replace the Current Driver.
Once the install has finished, delete the printer entry you've just created, then try adding the network machine again. Boom.
Thursday 17 March 2016 at 2:44 pm
My friend and aerial photographer Mark (YouTube - TheMarkyShow) bought the latest DJI Phantom 4 quadcopter, and it's an amazing thing. He wanted to get the official DJI sun shade but wanted to get flying right from day one, so I made one out of card for him:
Cut out of mount board with a sharp scalpel, duct tape to strengthen the folds, and a couple of Velcro ties stapled on to hold it together. This one fits the iPhone 6+, will probably fit smaller phones, but you may have to vary the location of the cutout for cable connection. If I did it again I might make the side flaps a bit longer, but it seems to work pretty well.
*Disclaimer! I can't guarantee this will work for your controller/phone, it was a custom make for one specific. Template is not necessarily to scale, your mileage may vary. You don't have to go home but you can't stay here. Trousers may go down as well as up. Your home is at risk if you douse it in petrol and chuck a match in the kitchen window.
*EDIT: He's only gone and got himself an iPad Mini to run the 'copter, so it was out with the scalpel for another one. Almost exactly the same, just a bit bigger. Cardboard, duct tape, velcro.
Thursday 09 October 2014 at 6:40 pm
As lead singer in my band Hot Cold Ground I'm hopeless at learning lyrics, so I always have a music stand with a big book of printed lyrics (and sometimes chords, but this IS a blues band, so not often!), which is just another bit of gear to carry around and set up.
I'm a long-time ebook reader, starting off reading on old Palm Pilot and Clié devices, before moving to cheap Chinese Android tablets, and recenly ending up with a Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight. This last device is perfect, with an endless battery life and backlight for night-time use.
So with a second Nook purchased the next stage is to see if I can convert my lyrics document to use on the reader. It does support .pdf but doesn't quite have the functionality I needed, like a contents list and one page-per-song. Here's how I did it.
The ideal source format to convert is HTML, and I use the excellent and free Calibre to do the conversion (more on that later). To create the source I used Dreamweaver, but there are loads of free HTML editors available. I did try using Word's 'Save As HTML-Filtered' but it adds a truckload of extra crap.
The key here is to avoid most of the tags that normally get generated. I'm not going to go into detail on HTML coding, again there are plenty of tutorials out there. All you really need is the <h1> tag and the <br/> line break tag. Avoid the <p> paragraph tag - it just causes confusion. If you're typing in your content then use Shift+Enter for line breaks rather than Enter on its own. You'll probably need to manually edit your code to add the tags to titles. I haven't explained this very well so here's an example:
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" />
<title>Hot Cold Ground setlist Oct 14</title>
<h1>Song One Title</h1>
La la la verse 1 line 1<br />
La la la lyrics line 2<br /><br />
La la la verse 2 line 1<br />
La la la lyrics line 2<br/>
<h1>Song Two Title</h1>
The top bit (up to </head>) is auto-generated by Dreamweaver, then the important bit is enclosed between <body> and </body> tags. Song titles (which the ePub will treat as chapters) need to have <h1> and </h1> either side of them, and each line of the song has <br/> (a self-escaping line break) at the end. Add a second one if you want a gap between verses.
Depending on how you've put the lines in (I did it by copy & paste from Publisher, which initially didn't work - I had to paste into Notepad first then copy again) you may end up with those silly paragraph <p> tags. You can leave them in if you want but it will indent first lines and waste space, so best to strip them out.
Still with me? Good. Now save that document and get Calibre installed. I'm not going to go through how to use the program, you can pick that up for yourself. But basically, you import the .htm file you've just made into Calibre, then run its conversion routine to convert it to ePub. The key part here is the Structure Detection, the first box dictates what Calibre will look for to make chapters, and it'll be your <h1> tags. You can use the wizard here, but basically it needs to say //h:h1. In the Table Of Contents section check the first box to force use of auto-generated Table Of Contents. Apart from adding a picture if you want, you're good to go. Stick the resulting converted file onto your eReader and that's it. It works nicely for me, with most songs on a single page (text size dependent, of course), and when you swipe or press each song starts on a fresh page.
Next is attaching the Nook to my mic stand. I've bodged something but it's not a permanent solution, so will probably end up buying a proper tablet holder.
Friday 30 May 2014 at 12:49 pm
Regular listeners will know I like using Cat5 cable (of which I have an inexhaustible supply of scrap lengths), so having successfully used it for audio, I thought I'd look at video too.
It's for a work project - we have a number of digital signage screens running on the excellent Xibo open-source system. 4 of our screens run off one client PC using a splitter/transmitter system from Mauve, left behind from the original installation, but these rely on a single Cat5 run between transmitter and receiver. Other client displays use an old re-purposed laptop running Windows 7 ThinPC (a cut-down version of W7), which can be hidden in a suspended ceiling above the displays.
For the new installation we have no suspended ceiling, and no way of running Cat5 back to the transmitter, so it needs another old laptop, but there's nowhere to hide it. There's a network point near the screen, connected back to a switch cabinet. So, I thought, if I can put the laptop in the cabinet, and run VGA over the ethernet cable, then job's a good'un.
So I did a bit of Googling and found this on Instructables. Could it possibly work? Well, the answer is YES!
Got an old VGA male-male cable and cut it in half, then had to use a multimeter to work out which pins are connected to which wires. (Caution - cheap thin VGA cables are somehow different, and combine some of the connections, so make sure it's a nice thick one). The diagram on Instructables is viewed from the rear so is back to front, so watch that, too. On mine the wires were as follows and connected to the Cat5 thus:
||Blue/White (with Pin8)
||Blue/White (with Pin5)
||Brown (not used)
Spliced together (sorry, I sealed before photographing) with plenty of heatshrink it looks like this:
Make 2 of these!
Then I tested using another bodge job - a 20m extension cable with a pair of cat5 cables and boxes we use for emergency networking.
And bugger me, it only works! 1024x768 is what we'll be using, but it did 1280x1024 fine too. There's a little bit of ghosting, but for text on a screen, it's perfect.
I'll update when it's actually in situ and working across what will be Cat6, in fact.
Thursday 27 February 2014 at 6:54 pm
This is not my original idea, but one I stumbled upon on the internet. Someone posted a hack (this one) so I thought I'd have a go myself.
I don't have any pictures of the DVD teardown, but it was a Dell laptop unit. I just used a small screwdriver to remove all the screws. When you get to the lens unit there were 2 lenses - the one you see with the drawer open, plus another buried amongst a series of prisms. I'd imagine they're all broadly similar, but your results may vary. Anyway it was the second hidden lens I used (although more on the other one later).
I found a plastic cup thingy (no idea what it was, you could try a strip of plastic or a screw cover), and drilled a hole to mount the lens. It's not glued in, just an interference fit. Might add a dot of superglue just to secure it. Once I'd tested it by taping it in place, I needed a better solution for mounting to the phone. Experiments with paperclips were fiddly and scratched the phone's case, so I went simple with elastic bands. You can see the results in the pictures below. The lens needs to be about 2-3mm from the object being photographed, and you'll need a steady hand to minutely adjust the height.
The other lens I taped to the front camera of my Surface, and initially thought it wasn't working, but the magnification is huge and the object needs to be really close. Takes a steady hand and the focus is tricky to get right. Possibly a bit fiddly for casual use!
Wednesday 06 November 2013 at 08:50 am
I found I wanted to mount my smartphone to a tripod base to try some time-lapse photography (as you do). There are some nice ones out there to buy, but I needed it there & then. So I found an old plastic thing - I don't even know where it came from, but I could have used anything similar, like a bottle cap for example. Obviously it needs to be deep enough to give some support. I cut 2 slots in the sides.
I had previously taken apart an old broken camera and kept the tripod mount doohickey, so I cut a square hole and glued it in. I guess you could use a nut of the correct thread size & pitch (sorry, don't know what that is).
So now my phone sits nicely in either aspect on top of its tripod. If I need more security I just add an elastic band!