Buying your perfect Torch/Flashlight

  1. Flashlight LED (look for the best LED out there that a flashlight uses and filter flashlights using that specific LED)
  2. Power source (I recommend 18650 batteries)
    1. Does it come with a battery?
    2. Can you charge your battery without taking it out or does it come with a charger?
  3. Features useful to you (Water resistant, Impact proof, Other features such as clips, carry bags, or holders, depending on your needs.)

To get you started on understanding flashlights, LED’s and lumens. Here’s some videos.

https://budgetlightforum.com/node/77565

18650 Flashlight Reviews | BudgetLightForum.com
https://budgetlightforum.com/forum/flashlights/18650/reviews

How to create a bootable USB drive with Rufus (2021)

I previously wrote a guide to download Windows 10 directly from Microsoft and also check the hashes to confirm they are original/legit copies of Windows. With Rufus you are able to do pretty much the same step, but quicker so I’ve always been thinking of writing it up. Having issues with legacy and UEFI systems not reading the bootable USB drive, I thought I can combine the two.

There are other guides out there so I think I do not need to go into deep detail, you can always go check them out if you get stuck (links down below), however I simply wanted to point out the key things that may cause issues.

Once you start Rufus rather than selecting an ISO file (windows you’ve already got downloaded) instead use the drop down menu and click “DOWNLOAD” then literally click the “DOWNLOAD” button again so it pops up the menu to download your preferred version. Do this with the latest version of Rufus or make sure to update Rufus using the cog settings at the very bottom of the program.

After that I prefer to download via the link and save the ISO for another time. I then repeat usual process of selecting an ISO and the important parts here are now loading up the Partition scheme as “MBR” pressing ALT+E to ensure the target system is BIOS or UEFI.

I have seen people select the file system as NTFS in older videos, but if you do that with the latest windows with file sizes larger than 4gb you will have issues, because I can confirm that in Windows 10 21H1 you will have files larger than 4 GB’s within the installation so stick to NTFS.

Other guides

https://rufus.ie/en/
https://www.windowscentral.com/how-create-windows-10-usb-bootable-media-uefi-support

Backing up your music CD’s

Started noticing scratches on some of my music CD’s and thus the question formed as to how I can backup these CD’s up in case of eventual complete failure. Yes I still have CD’s, but weirdly I don’t have a CD player anymore, just an external drive I use now and again.

Method #1 – Windows Media Player

Simply open Windows Media Player, press Alt to get the standard menu to appear and go to Tools > Options. This should bring up the Options window with various tabs of settings to go through. Look for “Rip Music”. Select your preferences, location of where the output files go and you’re done. Press Apply & OK.

After that you should see the option appear just above the track lists.

It might be greyed out due to not selecting any tracks, so after selecting the tracks you want to rip, press “Rip CD” and you’re all done.

Method #2 – Copy the Audio Disk for a 1:1, like for like copy

This method is just after one thing, exact copy of the disk. Using software such as CloneCD or ImgBurn to clone the disk and store that as a backup or clone the disk and store that as a backup, pure and simple. I have yet to fully explore and learn exact details and whether these software are indeed exact copies, however my disks still are fine so I have a bit more time, in the mean time I use the first method above and prefer to hide away the disk.

There are probably more methods I am not thinking of, if I come across any or find better software that I am satisfied with I’ll update this post. Good luck.

Browser Extension: Tab-Snap (Chromium)

Tab-Snap – Chrome Web Store
https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/tab-snap/ajjloplcjllkammemhenacfjcccockde

This browser extension quite simply generates a list of all of your open tabs in your current window with nicely formatted lines for you to copy paste to note somewhere, email or share.

Screenshot of first clicking the extension shortcut on the browser, then viewing site list.

All of this is in text format so you can just adjust or create the list manually and as you go. Another benefit of this is you could copy paste this to any messaging application and not worry about compatibility.

Also included in the copy paste is the timestamp at the top, useful to know when the list was created.

You may be wondering, ok so I copied the list, it’s large so it’s going to be a pain to reopen, well the restore function is there too. Paste exactly what you copied and the extension will automatically open every page in the list.

My thoughts

You may find this browser extension useful if you much prefer getting a simple, raw list and saving it to say your email or notes. No need to sync or require the extension. It does exactly what is needed without making it dependant.

However some people may prefer to use their mouse and hit a button rather than selecting all (CTRL+A and then CTRL+C) to copy/paste the list. Plus having that text in your list is a bit annoying. I’d ditch that, include that out of the frame and include a button, of course thus having both ways still available.

Finally I would improve the look and add a local save option so one could save the lists in named folders similar to bookmarking. Being able to open them up quickly and edit the list would literally mean I would no longer need other tab saving extensions. You could then make another extended extension of this with sync support, for those who prefer it. I personally would replace my tab bookmarking extensions I have for this.

Extracting audio from a video file (mpg/mpeg)

So you have a video file, such as an mpg/mpeg file. You would like to extract the audio from it without making any changes. Video containers usually hold the video and audio file separately so lossless conversion is possible.

Depending on your video container format, the method would be different, but for mpg/mpeg you can simply download ffmpeg (BtbN/FFmpeg-Builds) and extract it to your C drive (or your preferred location), name the folder ffmpeg and start Command Prompt (see below)

Type “cmd” after pressing the Windows start menu.

Once you launch Command Prompt, you will need to head to the folder that you created and extracted the downloaded files. Type “cd C:\ffmpeg”. For convenience, move your video file to the same folder and execute the command below.

ffmpeg -i "1.mpeg" -vn -acodec copy "1.wav

What you’re telling ffmpeg to do is look for the file “1.mpeg” within the folder (rename this to your file name), then extract the audio, creating the file “1.wav” (or you could change it to “1.mp3”). Once done you should see the newly created file in the same folder.

All done!

For more advanced people, if you know what you’re doing you can do this without moving any files around.

Links

https://streamshark.io/blog/understanding-codecs-and-formats/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_video_container_formats

Reviving a lead–acid battery

Like me, you may have a Lead-acid battery that’s lost its charge. You don’t have to throw it away, there is still hope!

In my case the battery was left in storage, without charge for some periods of time. My assumption was that it had also lost some of its water. In some cases you can revive it by charging it up at a slightly higher voltage, but if it is lacking sulfuric acid or water (De-ionised), charging it dry may just do further damage.

Buy some De-ionised water at your local tescos or such, buying online sometimes prices are inflated but they’re usally £2 for 2.5L (don’t pay more), then buy a decent charger (SKYRC iMAX B6 V2 60W 6A DC 2.5mm/XT60 Dual Input Battery Balance Charger Discharger – best price I could find, while confirming being genuine).

I recommend the charger above, because it’s going to be the same price as a decent car battery charger, but that can do a lot more. You’ll need to arrange a 14v 3-5a power supply.

Watch some of the videos below which begin by opening the battery ports, reloading the water and then using an advanced charger, charging it up.

revive lead acid battery – YouTube
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=revive+lead+acid+battery

How to Revive a dead 12V Sealed Lead Acid Battery – YouTube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8l59knYW8rg

how to check amp on car battery – YouTube
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=how+to+check+amp+on+car+battery

How to Use a Multimeter for Beginners – How to Measure Voltage, Resistance, Continuity and Amps – YouTube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdUK6RPdIrA

How to Test a Car Battery With a Multimeter ( Voltage + Cold Cranking Amps) – YouTube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eqw1CF1nOt8

Basic to Advanced Battery Information from Battery University
https://batteryuniversity.com/

Sulphuric Acid 1N From APC Pure | Volumetric Solutions | APC Pure
https://apcpure.com/product/Sulphuric_Acid_Solution_0_5M_1_0N?track=1

12V 15 Amp Lead Acid LED Digital Battery and Alternator Tester | eBay
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/12V-15-Amp-Lead-Acid-LED-Digital-Battery-and-Alternator-Tester/272769972578?hash=item3f825b7962:g:Pg4AAOSw2HNZcM2-

Battery Hydrometer Car Motorbike Van Tester Lead Acid Electrolyte Level Density 5055058174895 | eBay
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Battery-Hydrometer-Car-Motorbike-Van-Tester-Lead-Acid-Electrolyte-Level-Density/233443536420?epid=20019928330&hash=item365a51ae24:g:RaAAAOSwH4ha~AKf

1x Laser Tools Battery Tester Work Mechanic | eBay
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1x-Laser-Tools-Battery-Tester-Work-Mechanic/123823931926?hash=item1cd47b4216:g:nnkAAOSwGeBdHa49

Android; Long press volume buttons to change tracks.

It’s very odd that Android does not have this simple feature installed on its OS. Nevertheless we can still do it ourselves until they come around by using a simple application someone (Cilenco) has kindly developed.

The Link

If you know what you’re doing then here’s the link.

If you’re not sure, continue reading. It’s not hard, but it’s not as simple as install and go. You’ll first need to do a few things.

Step 1

Download the application installer here. Once you install it will ask you to run a command line on adb (Android Debug Bridge). Before you can successfully execute the command, you’ll need to enable developer and debugging modes on your device. Your device needs to be connected to your USB for this entire process. You can transfer over the application installer this way anyway.

Step 2

On your computer, download Android Studio here. You can either download the whole package or simply download the platform-tools to use adb. You’ll only need adb, but I had trouble finding it so I downloaded the entire thing and via the configuration went to SDK Manager > SDK Tools installed the package.

Android Studio SKD Manager, SK Tools.

Step 3

If you managed to install platform-tools one way or another. Press start and type “cmd”, which should auto search for Command Prompt. Run it.

You will need to navigate to the folder, so type “cd <location of platform-tools folder>”. If like me you installed on a different drive, you will need to type “d:” or whatever drive letter your folder is at. Then the cd part above.

Next you’ll want to test the connection to your device. Type:

adb devices

If you see a device in the list then you’re good to go with executing the final command.

adb shell pm grant com.cilenco.skiptrack android.permission.SET_VOLUME_KEY_LONG_PRESS_LISTENER

Start the application on your phone and you’re done. Follow any necessary permission steps on the app.

If you did not see your device in the list, you’ll need to track back and make sure you’ve enabled developer mode, USB debugging mode and your computer sees your phone. Install USB/device drivers if necessary.

Links

https://forum.xda-developers.com/android/apps-games/app-skip-track-volume-keys-t3914337/

https://developer.android.com/studio#downloads

https://github.com/Cilenco/skipTrackLongPressVolume/releases

https://www.howtogeek.com/125769/how-to-install-and-use-abd-the-android-debug-bridge-utility/

Cut Optimizers

If you have ever worked on anything that requires more than the basic amount of cut management, and you want to ensure you do not waste material while also saving on costs then you might want to use cut optimizers.

Essentially they do the math for you. You insert the lengths or sheets available in stock and also input the required pieces you need. You add the minor details like the size of your saw (so it also calculates the loss between the cuts) and then it provides you with the most optimal lengths/dimensions of sheets to purchase. Instead of buying 2 sheets, you may be able to fit it in 1, for example.

After looking around I found a few apps/programs that does this and of course I’ll share them here, but let me first state that this post is a work in progress as I am still not fully satisfied with regards to what I have found and used.

This is mostly due to my lack of experience (basically not enough tries yet) and a bit of knowledge in the area (what is the correct way of doing these things). So you’ll have to bare with me or feel free to correct me.

Cutter – Cutting Optimizer

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.embarcadero.OptimizaCorte&hl=en

In no specific order, the first one is this. I really like this one in terms of the UI, it’s newbie friendly, but it seems like there’s only one configuration and the results were quite simplistic and noticed unnecessary waste, no different to the calculations I did off the top of my head. I even decided I could do better in terms of wastage and less cuts and I actually did. Weird.

CutList Optimizer

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.cutlistoptimizer&hl=en

Looks a lot more sophisticated than the above application, however this is a little more ideal for sheets rather than timber lengths. There’s a great visual result, but it’s not good for timber lengths. Still can use it on lengths though. Takes a little to process the result for you.

Another issue I find is that I would simply like to know how many pieces I need to buy, how many cuts and where I would need to cut after. Really long winded way so far.

Sheet Cutting

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.raskroy2

This one looks a lot more basic compared to the other two. It seems focused only on sheets. It assumes you have one sheet and want to produce your pieces from that one sheet.

The visual results are good, you can go full screen and rotate, but can’t seem to zoom in.

This is ideal if your project is based on one panel/sheet and you want save as much off the board/sheet/panel as possible. In my opinion this is simply just a helping had, rather than heavy calculations that you normally can’t do right away.

Cut Master

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.valanarllc.cutmaster

This one seems to be the most clear and all round tool. Sheets and also linear materials. Some of the others once you close the app you have to save/export it or it disappears. This one you can even create projects.

Clear with each tab, pieces, stock and results. If I had to recommend based on UI, it would be this.

Summary

They’re all so slightly different and have their benefits that I can’t decide which one is best, but if I had to choose right now, it would be Cut Master. There are more apps out there that do this job, I’ll be continuing to try them all. I’ve yet to decide which one actually does the best optimizations. My only thought here is it sucks that businesses don’t simply stock the longest size, you order to your specifications and you either pick up or they send out what you need, no wastage.

Creating a Symbolic Link (Windows 10) for Uplay screenshots

If like me you sometimes reformat your computer now and again and as a result end up forgetting to backup your in-game screenshots you’ve taken over time because they’re spread out all over the place, or maybe you just simply like to have all your screenshots together, then this solution should help out.

As of writing there is no option in your Uplay settings to change the directory of where your screenshots are saved. Odd really, but whatever. You can solve this by creating a Symbolic Link and thus pointing the default directory of where Uplay saves those screenshots to your drive or directory of choice.

Simply run Command Prompt (Run as administrator) and type the below command on the line and press enter

mklink /D “C:\Users[USERNAME]\Pictures\Uplay” “D:\Uplay”

Change [USERNAME] to your Windows User account name.

If you’re not sure how to run Command Prompt, simply press the Windows key on your keyboard or press the Windows icon on your task bar which should open your start menu. Type “cmd”, which should automatically search for it. Right click and “Run as administrator”.

You can even create a batch file to avoid all the above, obviously you’ll need to edit the user account name same as above. This is handy for also quickly running batch files that you’ve set up, ready to bring you back to your normal state after a reformat.

Create a text file, renaming the file from .txt to .bat – so you could name it to uplayscreenshotslocationchange.bat add to the file.

mklink /D “C:\Users[USERNAME]\Pictures\Uplay” “D:\Uplay”

Again, making sure to change [USERNAME] to your Windows User account name.