Using Symbolic Link’s to connect to a shared Blu-Ray/DVD drive within your network

If you have a Blu-Ray drive on a device within your network and you’d like to be able to play your disks on say your other PC or laptop, you don’t necessarily need to go out and buy another Blu-Ray drive.

The very first thing that needs to be done is to share your Blu-Ray/DVD drive across your network. This step will obviously be different depending on your operating system.

On Windows 10 for example (on the device that has the drive), go to ‘This PC’, right click on the drive and go to “Give access to” then to “Advanced sharing…” Hit “Advanced Sharing…” button, tick the box “Share this folder”, give it a name. This essentially shares your drive to the network, without this the other devices won’t have access.

The next step is to map the drive or you can skip this and just go right to creating the Symbolic Link.

If you did map the drive, you might get a permission issue and instead of fiddling around with permissions I added a password to the Windows account (of the system with the drive) and used those credentials to gain access. If you already use a password, great, but if you don’t prefer to use one, you’ll need to configure the permissions to allow this.

Here’s the Symbolic Link I used. You will need to execute this in the Command Prompt (elevated or it will not allow you to create it):

mklink /D "C:\Blu-ray Drive" "\\NETWORKNAME\d"

To explain a little, the first quotes is the location to where I want to create the link, the second quote is where the link will point to. You can type “mlink” within the console to get a list and more understanding of Symbolic Links. The idea is that your media player believes it’s simply playing from a folder in C drive.

Read more about Symbolic Links here from Microsoft.

Another way that seemed to work was to use the VCL Media Player to play directly from the mapped drive. Run using \E:/ (Change the drive letter to yours).

You can use that to run it from VLC Media Player.

Pro’s and Con’s?

Pro’s and con’s are pretty basic so far, however the pro is you don’t need to splash out on a blu-ray drive just to watch something else-where, the con is that you’ll have to run the device in which the blu-ray is on even if you’re not using it. A restart or disruption to the network and you’re disconnected, of course.

How to download the latest Windows 10 (any version) directly from Microsoft

It’s always best to make sure you’re downloading a legit and untampered version of your operating system you want to use. Here’s a simple three step guide to download a copy of Windows 10 directly from the Microsoft website.

(For a tried and tested method, I used Microsoft Edge web browser, but other browsers also can do the same, as long as yours has a way to simulate a phone).

Step 1) Go to: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10

Step 2) Press F12 and go to “Emulation”. Choose browser profile as “Windows Phone”

Step 3) Page should reload and you’ll want to select Windows 10, your preferred language, preferred architecture (32 or 64 bit) and start your download.

Now, you could just load that onto a USB and be on your way (using rufus to create a bootable USB drive), but maybe you want to actually verify what you’ve downloaded? Here’s how:

Download IgorWare Hasher, which basically verifies the files SHA-1, MD5 and CRC32 hashes. Using that you compare it to a known list of verified ISO’s.

You can do that by using heidoc.net/php/myvsdump.php which basically dumps all the hash codes, similar to how MSDN Subscriber Downloads area used to do, but now gets it from my.visualstudio.com – unless you have access, in which case, just go there.

Oh and for your information, “English International” is the British English, supposedly.

Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds: Red zones are shit. This is how I would change the red zones.

The red zones are clearly flawed in this game. They need to change. On one hand I completely agree the red zones should just be removed. It just seems bad. On the other hand, if it’s there to add a bit of a twist (for example playing the game for the first time and suddenly experiencing a bombardment, or being caught out to it) then it needs fixing.

The first thing for me is in terms of the world we are in, who is doing the bombing and why? We don’t seem to know and so it just breaks down the suspension of disbelief that there’s a round circle on the map, it’s red and in that zone, you get bombed randomly. Give it a story for one.

Games are all about storytelling and you (as in the developer of the game) never bothered to tell the viewer (the gamers/players) the story behind it. I can’t even be bothered to go dig a quote where someone from Bluehole tries to explain why it needs to stay. What I heard just did not sound right. Oh and calling players bad for dying to it is just plain stupid.

How would I change it while accepting to keep it in-game? Well, instead of a circle, change it to more like a line and have the bombs explode in a certain direction. Soon the mini-map, the red zone would look more like a thick line across the map in random directions. Ensure that it never spawns in the same exact area twice in a row.

Alternatively, if it’s going to be more like mortar fire, have the minimap reflect that and be a bit more random shaped. Have the bombardment come at an angle also. Again it all depends on the story behind this and how to then design it.

Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds: Why I think the Miramar map is viewed as bad and what I think is needed to fix it.

It’s widely known that a lot of players dislike the Miramar, desert map on the Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds game. I wasn’t going to write this post on stating an obvious fact and leaving it at that or I would have posted something a lot sooner so my objective in this is to actually provide some meaty suggestions to fix the map, but before I do, I think maybe it’s worth mentioning when I say “fix”, it might not actually be broken in the eyes of the developers in which case maybe you consider that a bigger problem to contend with.

I read an article written (I’ll link down below if I manage to find it again) which went into what the game developers want from this map or even from this game and how they designed the map based on their vision of how they want their game to be played. Supposedly it’s all about being sneaky and very cautiously going for the win. A scavanger, almost.

Some people have said streamers made this game and the most viewed streams are those who seem to drop in the most highly populated areas and fight it out with a lot of fast paced play, so with the above direction, it essentially works to remove this. Even if Bluehole Studio’s did not mind pissing over their streamers, my main point would be is the whole reason some of those streamers recieved such high viewers and became more popular was in essence the game’s success as it’s enjoying to watch and play like very kind of play.

Weirdly enough you’d think they would see the success of the first map and change their plans a little if that was their game plan to begin with, however judging from their previous statements and ignoring the community here and there, it seems like they ignored that and drove right through that settlement.

Anyway, putting all of that to the side. I think a lot of people don’t get down to the gritty details of how to “fix” it when actually discussing the solutions, making vague statements like “it’s not a good map”, “I don’t like it” and the “It’s not a competitive map” views which would have a slightly different perspective to keep to. As if making a simple opinion was enough.

This map is larger than the old map and there was supposedly a slight reduction in parachuting distance. This results in having a flight path that sometimes leaves very few options and you’re left with either dropping and scavanging for miles or dropping in high populated areas and scrambling for weapons, fighting in urban combat which ironically contradicts the statements made about wanting players to be stealthy and play conservative.

One of the main issues with the map is the lack of vehicles. If more vehicles were added, players would pick a place across the map, land as close as possible, pick up a vehicle and reach their destinations, resulting in spreading people about a lot more.

It seems like the very opposite is occurring on this map. They even have a lot of burnt out vehicles on the sides of the roads, piles of rubbish to fool you into dropping in the middle of long stretches of roads with no vehicles. Either you have to have eagle eye vision or you reduce your risk and pick up vehicles only in towns, which again is not an easy task. To top it off, the vehicles are very slow.

Add more vehicles, speed up some of them by a few kmph. This would begin to solve the lack of weapons people complain about, while you take your usual years to fix issues in the game.

One of the complaints in this game is the lack of cover in some final circles. I know they have looked and added more buildings, rocks and cover, but there’s more to be done. If you need help, ask your community it’s not hard. Ask for screenshots or game logs and go look at it. I’ve played a circle in which there is nothing but a field, very rarely is this the situation in the first map.

To solve this, add some cactus trees and cactus bushes that’s more like foliage that can be driven over. NOT more hills to make driving across the map impossible. It’s critical that paths for vehicles for fast rotations is viable and possible.

Reverse the amount those unnecessary ridges that was decided to be added or at least take them off dirt roads. It does not help, it actually seems to block the way to solving the issues on the map. Honestly felt like it was a trap or even worse, someone who doesn’t even play the game in charge of fixing a problem they have no ability to even comprehend. Probably the latter to brutally honest.

Before I end there, I felt that I would mention a final potential change along with the above that I think would fix the map. Adding more players and increasing the loot by around 25% more. Along with these changes I would implement game modes with only random portions of the map and the standard 100 players. But these ideas for another time.

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

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.

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

World of Warcraft Useful Macros (6.2.x.x)

Priests

Fast Fade (stop casting anything and cast Fade):

This is pretty simple; it will stop whatever you’re casting and cast Fade.

#showtooltip
/stopcasting
/cast Fade

Fast Silence:

Same as above, but you will stop whatever you’re currently casting and cast silence on your target.

#showtooltip
/stopcasting
/cast Silence

Holy Fire & Shadow Word: Pain combined to save space:

Using the same button, spam this should cast Holy Fire and finish at Shadow Word Pain and reset to Holy Fire, saving button space.

#showtooltip
/castsequence reset=20 Holy Fire, Shadow Word: Pain

Holy Word: Serenity & Circle of Healing combined to save space:

Mostly due to preference, this is same as above, but for Holy Word: Serenity & Circle of Healing

#showtooltip
/castsequence reset=20 Holy Word: Serenity,Circle of Healing

Purify if friendly target or yourself if nothing selected, if unfriendly target Dispel Magic, if shift, alt or ctrl held down Mass Dispel selected:

Title is self-explanatory, puts 3 spells in one button.

#showtooltip
/cast [nomod,help,exists] Purify; [harm,exists] Dispel Magic
/cast [nomod,@player] Purify
/cast [mod:shift] Mass Dispel
/cast [mod:alt] Mass Dispel
/cast [mod:ctrl] Mass Dispel

Flash Heal modifier, if Alt, Shift or Ctrl held down ‘Heal’ is selected:

This is a simple modifier, if you hold shift, alt or ctrl you can cast ‘Heal’, if nothing is held you can cast ‘Flash Heal’.

#showtooltip
/cast [nomodifier] Flash Heal
/cast [modifier:shift] Heal
/cast [modifier:alt] Heal
/cast [modifier:ctrl] Heal

Cast sequence for trinket (Judgment of the Naaru) & Shadowfiend combined to save space:

This basically targets your target and casts your offensive spells and goes back to your previous target, making it easier to continue to heal without having to any specific manual targeting.

 
 #showtooltip
 /assist
 /castsequence reset=60 Judgment of the Naaru, Shadowfiend
 /targetlasttarget

General Macros

Change specs:

This should just switch from your Primary to your Secondary Specialisation and vice versa.

/usetalents [spec:1] 2; [spec:2] 1