Author Archives: Savas

Combine PDF files with a context menu option

I needed a way to quickly combine two or more PDF files without having to run a program or click mutiple times. This solution basically allows you to right click and automatically combine your PDF files then delete them once it’s finished combining.

First download a program called pdftk, once installed head over to where you actually installed it, copy two files; “pdftk.exe” and “libiconv2.dll” to a new folder (preferably where you will not accidently delete it).

Create a new text file and rename it to “PDF Combine.cmd”, edit the batch file and copy paste the below code:

@echo off
setlocal enabledelayedexpansion

for /f “tokens=2 delims==+-” %%i in (‘WMIC OS Get LocalDateTime /value ^| findstr “=”‘) do (
set _Date=%%i
set YY=!_Date:~2,2!
set MM=!_Date:~4,2!
set DD=!_Date:~6,2!
set HH=!_Date:~8,2!
set MIN=!_Date:~10,2!
set SS=!_Date:~12,2!
)
set today=20%YY%-%MM%-%DD%-%HH%%MIN%%SS%

FOR %%A IN (%*) DO (set command=!command! %%A)
D:\pdftk\pdftk.exe %command% cat output “%~dp1CombinedScan_%today%.pdf”

del %command%

The output file names for mine is “CombinedScan_DATE&TIME.pdf”. Make relavent changes preffered to you and save.

Now we want to set up the context menu for it so you can right click on files.

  1. Right click on your “PDF Combine.cmd” file, create a shortcut.
  2. Press your Windows key + R to bring up your run dialog. Type “shell:sendto”, which should open up your Windows SendTo folder. Move your shortcut you just created to this folder and feel free to rename your shortcut to whatever you prefer, I personally named it “Combine PDF’s”.

Now go ahead and test your automated method out. I recommend you use some spare PDF’s that are backups just in case you did something wrong. If you prefer to just skip downloading and copying the files, I’ve done that already and made a zip folder for you below.

Download pdftk.

Windows 10 startup folder location

The Windows startup folder is essentially a folder which you can place programs (or shortcuts to programs) or scripts that you want to run/open when your window starts. Hence the startup in the name.

To find out your Windows 10 startup folder. You have two options. Use your run command copy paste or type: shell:startup (right click on your start/window icon to bring up the menu).

This should bring you to the folder directly.

C:\Users\Username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

If you wish to find your startup folder for all users on the system, you’ll need to instead run shell:common startup, which would bring you to:

C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\StartUp

Using AutoHotkey to display an overlay when microphone hotkey is used.

This simple AutoHotkey script will basically show a muted microphone overlay above your application, such as a game you are playing whenever you hit your microphone muted hotkey.

 

Download here – https://github.com/savasfreeman/MuteMicOverlay

You may need to change the hotkeys, as I use different keys probably to you.

Also for anyone concerned about getting banned.

Firefox Developer Toolbar: Taking screenshots and uploading to Imgur in seconds

I used to use an add-on to take a screenshot and either save it to my desktop or upload it straight to imgur, what caused me to stop using it was I recently found out that this add-on decided that it would insert ads on pages! Now I’m not 100% certain it was causing my Firefox crashes, but lately I was experiencing them and that was the last thing on my mind, as it was just to take screenshots, not effect pages!

In an effort to replace this add-on I stumbled upon the Firefox developer toolbar, and how this exact process can be done with a simple command. One negative to this is I don’t think you can select a certain area that such add-ons can do.

How is it done?

First thing is you hit Shift+F2, which should bring up the developer console at the bottom of your page. FYI it stays on even as you switch tabs, so you can close the console again either by pressing the keys again or simply pressing the x on the right side.

Next you type screenshot (or you can type “s” and press tab). Then hit “-” and the options to either save it to your download folder or copy it to clipboard or upload it straight away to imgur.com (so you would type -i and press tab and enter and that’s it, a new tab with your screenshot is provided).

I do see the CSS selector so you could in fact inspect the elements and type out the exact div that you want to take a screenshot of, however not as easy as simply dragging to your preferred area, but may be useful if you find yourself taking regular screenshots of a certain page.

Copy paste option: “screenshot --imgur” and that should do it all for you. Later on, if you open the console again, just hit the up arrow key and press enter, thus you don’t need to repeat.

The downside to this is the screenshot, once uploaded to imgur seems to link you to the raw/direct image, skipping the page that gives you the delete URL, this may be bad if in the event the screenshot is wrong or contains information that you wish to not make public. I think once this gets adjusted and also adding maybe a selection area, then this would be perfect to replace any addons that do this.

To read more about the Firefox developer console, look here https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Tools/GCLI

What else is useful?

Ever closed a tab by accident? Well use Ctrl+Shift+T to recover it.

 

Software Review: MyPhoneExplorer

Let me introduce you to MyPhoneExplorer, a piece of software that allows you to smoothly transfer files between your computer or laptop and Android device(s). Perfect for someone looking for a more user friendly, less time consuming and powerful way to sync, backup and move files to and from your phone.

The software allows you to connect via WiFi, Bluetooth or your USB connection. There’s even extra features like screen mirroring (being able to see your phone on your computer, useful for projecting things to your screen). A powerful contacts management, backing up your SMS messages.

How does it work?

Once you install MyPhoneExplorer on your phone then the client software on your computer, the application asks you to set a PIN, this will later be used to match and allow your computer to gain access to your phone, so not anybody can use this with your phone, even when on the same network, a nice security feature.

You can go through your phone directories just as if you were going through your folders on your computer. Transfer files to or from your computer, delete things you don’t need on your phone, rename, etc.

You can set up synchronization jobs so a certain folder such as your pictures folder can be copied to your computer straight away, with one click once you connect.

Is it free?

In 2015, the developer decided to remove ads, it’s 2017 now as I write this and there is still no ads. The application is free, the only thing the developer has done is ask for a donation if you want to as you close the program on your computer – completely understandable and respectful, I think people should donate too so his hardwork is paid off and actually one of the reasons why I write this review, because he’s done a good job and does it for free.

Link to MyPhoneExplorer on Google Play.

Link to the website to download the software or more.

How to fast switch between resolutions using a batch file.

Here’s a quick way to switch between Windows desktop resolutions using a batch file and an executable file. I needed to do this in order to have a better overview in the game Age of Empires HD (on Steam). Let me visually show you what I mean. Have a look at the screenshots below, you can clearly see a more broader view as you up the resolution.

For some reason the viewing distance is different to the one in the original game.. A few years ago I tested to see if there is a difference in resolution compared to the old Age of Empires and there is so they have in fact made your viewing distance closer. As someone who’s played Age of Empires for a long time this was a problem for me. Now in the original you could change your resolution so simply enabling DSR Factor via your graphics control panel and changing the resolution in-game could resolve this issue for me, in this version the ability is not there (I assume poor development). Anyway, you will first need to enable DSR Factor, I currently prefer x1.75 as shown below.

Then you’ll need to download the file below. Tweak the resolution settings for what you prefer and run the game. If you have the option you can play around with the smoothing, essentially it’s anti-aliasing between the pixels so it doesn’t look pixelated due to the difference of your monitors resolution capability and what’s being scaled.

Now I was under the impression that a batch file can’t actually do this (on its own), I still think this is the case, but with simple help from a file you can still achieve it. The benefits of this way is you can change your preferred resolutions and simply run the batch file with as less clicking as possible, while an executable would require a bit of extra clicks.

At the time I could not find the source code for QRes (and I downloaded it from a separate site) so I did a virus scan on it – here’s the result. Secondly I used Sandboxie and launched the file in a sandboxed environment and looked at what – if any – files were executed along with it.. It left zero trace and the file size also indicates to me it’s pretty simple.

Now here comes the actual batch file.

QRes.exe /X 1920 /Y 1080

Yup, that’s it. So in the folder there is the ‘QRes.exe’ file, then there’s ‘RC 1920×1080.bat’ and ‘RC 2560×1440.bat’ files which I run to switch between the resolutions. All these files must be in the same folder for it to work and by the size of the QRes.exe file it looks to just simply run based on the resolution that’s provided in the batch.

Download Resolution Changer version 1.0 here.

 

My PC System Specifications for 2017

As of writing, this is my current PC system specs:

Type Item Price (Purchased)
CPU Intel Core i5-6500 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor £196.49 @ Scan.co.uk
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-H170N-WIFI Mini ITX LGA1151 Motherboard £109.99 @ Amazon UK
Memory Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 Memory £89.99 @ Scan.co.uk
Storage Sandisk SSD PLUS 240GB 2.5″ Solid State Drive £39.99 @ Amazon UK
Storage Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5″ 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive £62.99 @ Scan.co.uk (Today Deal Only)
Video Card EVGA GeForce GTX 960 2GB SuperSC ACX 2.0+ Video Card £167.95 @ Scan.co.uk
PSU
Case Fractal Design Core 500 Mini ITX Desktop Case £43.99 @ Scan.co.uk(Today Deal Only)
Operating System Microsoft Windows 10 Pro
Mouse SteelSeries Rival 100 Wired Optical Mouse £29.99 @ Amazon UK
Headphones Kingston HyperX Cloud II 7.1 Channel Headset £68.05 @ Scan.co.uk
Monitor LG 32LF580V http://www.lg.com/uk/tvs/lg-32LF580V
Total £809.43

You can check out my full list at PCPartPicker – https://uk.pcpartpicker.com/list/Vk9h2R

My PC System Specifications 2016

As of writing, this is my current PC system specifications:

CPU: Intel Core i7 950 @ 3.07 GHz
Motherboard: Asus P6X58D-E
Memory: 6GB Corsair
Storage: SanDisk SSD PLUS 240 GB Sata III 2.5 inch Internal SSD (£39.99 – Amazon.co.uk)
Graphics Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 460
PSU: Corsair HX850W
Case: LIANLI PC-8FI
Operating System: Windows 10
Monitor: LG 32LF580V
Internet: 80Mbits (Plusnet)

OLD (2015)

CPU: Intel Core i7 950 @ 3.07 GHz
Motherboard: Asus P6X58D-E
Memory: 6GB Corsair
Storage: OCZ 120GB Vertex 3 2.5 SSD (£169.34 – Scan.co.uk)
Graphics Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 460
PSU: Corsair HX850W
Case: LIANLI PC-8FI
Operating System: Windows 10
Monitor(s): 24″ Samsung SyncMaster 2493HM
Internet: 17Mbits (Plusnet)

My holiday trip to Sal, Cape Verde

I’ve not posted on here for a while now, I guess it’s been due to not having enough time and energy to do so, but I thought I’d write about my recent trip to Cape Verde and the experiences that I think might come in handy.

20160929_180215It begins as always with arranging your flight, your accommodation, then packing your bag and definitely a rucksack too if your luggage limits permits. Oh and I would recommend a Drawstring backpack or anything similar for the beach. Depending on the climate you’re travelling of course you’ll need the essentials, in my case sun-cream, sandals or flip-flops, sunglasses and a hat both depending on your style I guess and as usual I left all my packing to the last moments thus was in a bit of a rush.

I attempted to buy a hat that I liked, I don’t know where I put all my previous hats but I couldn’t find any hanging around. I ended up borrowing one that looked like something a crocodile hunter would wear, not really suitable for an island relaxation feel, but it would do, at least for keeping the sun out of my eyes when laying on a sunbed.

I would recommend having decent sunglasses that you’re happy with, I wouldn’t rush it so it’s worth spending a little extra and getting one that will last before your holiday is near. Something you’ll be happy with in all kind of sunny days. Being in a rush I opted for borrowing one as i couldn’t choose one I liked then I ended up forgetting to pack it into my rucksack! Anyway, I went with flip-flops and I would say it is something that is worth spending nor more than £10-£15 or £20 max.

I think sun-cream is an iceberg conversation in which you begin thinking any one would do then you think about what factor is good or enough rather and which one you should get as you may be thinking about a spray verses cream.. I think cream is supposed to be better however I’m no expert. Personally I found the brand Piz Buin to be the best I’ve yet to use. Obviously in the highest factor in my destination (30 for that specific product).

20161001_104527_hdrThe next essentials is for your stay in a hotel or similar to that. Don’t be one of those who go around asking for power adapters, the hotel may have given them out or charges for them. Unless you’ve paid a lot for your stay and it’s expected they provide you one (five star hotels).. If not then your only option would be to pay at the nearest place that sells one.. This is because if you end up getting one at the holiday destination I bet they’ll charge you double, just because they can. Get one in advance from amazon or something on a decent price. If you have a long cable for your phone charger bring that just in case the socket is far from the bed.. If you have a powerbank or two things to charge then I would say bring another adapter so one for charging your phone and one for the powerbank or camera if you end up needing it. Although a two socket in one adapter may be better for saving space. 20161001_171327_hdr

You’ll want to exchange currency before you arrive because they will give you poor exchange rates and there’s nothing you can do unless you find an ATM that your bank can offer if your bank even gives you a good rate. The airports will also be poor in this regard so you would be better off getting it done at the best place you can find near where you live in advance.

Two factors to consider when exchanging currency. One the exchange rate volatility and what direction it looks to be going. The demand for it is why there is rate differences.. Local currency is going to be in high demand in the local destination so they know you have no choice but to exchange with a poor rate. For example if you know the pound is high/strong currently then order some online to be delivered to you before you leave. The amount depends on your expenditure. If you plan to have dinner every night, get a rough idea how much dinner is going to cost and multiply that by your nights.

Check if your hotel provides towels for the beach to borrow, could save you luggage space. If you booked a four star or above then its expected that your hotel should provide shampoos and soaps, but if you prefer to use your own or have small backup then you could get one of the mini container of your choice, I saw some at the airport shops.. Same goes for the dental kit, it’s all whether you’re comfortable with using the ones provided if needing the luggage room.

Have a small bag handy to hold your towel and things for the beach or pool, or if your rucksack is suitable too, then perfect.

Bring your best camera! If you don’t have one then why not go with a GoPro or one of the alternatives that also provide waterproof containers. It’s either that or buying a professional camera like a Canon EOS 1300D. You’re either choosing to get stuck in with a GoPro or you’re looking for spectacular pictures, the usual digital camera is stuck between I think a blur of both. I’d say choose one of the above, at least you’ll get a perfect shot with your proffered style.

Nowadays airports do not allow liquids larger than 100ml in hand luggage, so don’t waste money buying expensive water or other liquids only to empty it before the security point. Drink or bring a small one for the airport journey and buy one after the security point although if you have a connecting flight be aware you’ll end up having to empty it again however if you bought something you intend to use or open once you arrive then the airport provides the specially sealed bags that can pass through security. Another option is putting it in your luggage that will be checked in.

One thing I did was to take a few of those plastic bags you’re given just before the security zone. The ones used to seal 100ml liquids you may have. Why not, I mean they take your plastic I think it’s fair! Later on I found them to be useful to holding money and other things like earphones in my drawstring backpack when at the pool or beach. Going into it with wet hands makes your paper money all soggy or potentially broken electronics. Up to you though if you think that’s too much as there’s always drying your hands with the towel! However there’s also other uses for them bags too. Like when it comes to packing again and making sure your liquid containers don’t spil within your bag.. All about being a step ahead and one of the reasons I thought this is worth sharing.

20161003_170320_hdr

At one point I wanted to write about some useful suggestions and tips you can take and use on other journeys and on the other hand write about my trip, Sale Cape Verde hence the title.

I took a connecting flight to Lisbon, waited two hours then on to Sal, which I will do the same in reverse for my return to London, Heathrow.

20160930_013931I landed at Amílcar Cabral International Airport, the island – Sal – has a population of 35,000 (2010) and there’s three things I stored on my phone that required no internet connection to access. Converted the webpages to pdf I stored the flight confirmations the hotel confirmation and finally from the UK government website for Cape Verde, containing all info like phone numbers, and other useful info for a Brit to know when travelling. Worth reading in advance too as you may need some vaccinations before hand, like a week or so in advance. This deserves its own paragraph even as its worth going to your doctor to see if you need any shots! Specially going far out as Africa..

20161008_100600_hdrIt’s worth reading about the local situations before you head out too, definitely from an objective prospective as you’re looking for a heads up not to be scared off or be made to be paranoid. Lucky I had an ex collogue working out there which helped me with some excursions to go to, speaking to the locals without asking direct questions but generally flowing into the conversations. It seems some locals don’t see the potential to get involved with the tourism, they are rather distracted with petty crime and drugs.. I personally think you could say that about any society..

 

One thing I found myself thinking about is whether it was worth me spending money on a tour around the island on a Segway or Hummer! I think renting a jeep or an off-road vehicle for a few days might have been more of an adventure. if you don’t have the guts or want to bother to do that then a Hummer really makes off road enjoyable and yo20161003_170026_hdru get someone that knows what they’re doing.. For example our driver was caring enough to think about some baby turtles that were being stored by a local fisherman in a fridge that was not even working.. Not sure if the fisherman was being helpful or had some other plans.. It ended up with some great pictures of rescued baby turtles and an experience id probably never would have. Not even when you go out one night for a chance to see adult female turtles laying eggs for example.

Anytime you go near the big ocean’s it’s worth going out to sea, fishing in a small boat with the beautiful waters beneath you while the nourishing sun gleams.. It’s like food comes from nothing but water and it’s spectacular seeing endless ocean it puts a little perspective of the universe’s size in some sense.

My first time fishing experience was not going too well, I had not caught a single one while the crew members on board, a lady specifically with the highest had managed four or was it five.. I was beginning to get a little down about it as I had the imaginations that I would be somewhat decent at fishing, maybe it was not her first time but that was not my thoughts at the time nor was I willing to even turn around to see her methods as it felt time was against me. I was also on the other side of the boat and started to think it was the sun that was allowing the bait to be more visible and enticing for those on her side. I almost got desperate to begin nudging-ly to swap places!

It was not that they were not biting, the fish seemed to be taking all my bait however to sense the fish on the hook and then to know when to pull and how to correctly reel it in was taking a few losses. The guide I guess may have been giving me the sympathetic script of the fish not really biting today as they normally would do and that they were nibbling a lot as the small ones tend to do..

So I took a break, sat down, had a drink and a basic ham sandwich. Watched the others and noticed I could try and hold the rod differently while observing the others. Kind of believed what the guide said and stood up slightly determined as before, however no hope! Again it felt grim as I missed one and twice the hook came back up empty.. I held the rod and left the line as if it was dead to me, pretty much giving up, but then I felt something and sprang into action, eventually I caught one and it seemed like I executed all that was briefly explained to me correctly for it all to converse to one entity and there was no failures that I could admit which caused the last ones. Now I thought I was just getting started with morale back to full and an understanding to repeat what I just did and in some sense felt I could actually do this pretty much on my own, one day in my own boat out at sea alone even!20161005_110438_hdr

I went over to hook on new bait and go for my second but then there seemed to be some commotion on the small vessel, however I did not even care, it did not even seem to bother me as my focus was registering what had just happened to me until a green sparkling fish reflects from the sun within the water. The guide and driver begin to scramble looking for a capable hook and line to catch what was a dolphin fish.

20161005_111621_hdr

I took some pictures and then realise I’d be repeating the shots so I begin to record. Again at the end the fisherman guide wants a copy! I felt like a professional at that point.