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

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/

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.

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.

Creating Symbolic Links

I’ve been meaning to create a post about symbolic links and how to set them up, the benefits of them, pros and cons, however I’ve not had the time and I might just come back to this post one day, however it’s been a while and I think it’s worth just starting and leaving it where it is.

I sometimes reformat my Windows drive or as you do, upgrade to say another drive. Backing up your files is one thing, but have you ever thought, what about just using scripts to run once you re-install everything to point to the files so it’s almost plug and play?

So for example, in this situation we have the Steam userdata folder that resides in the Program Files within the C drive. Setting up a symbolic link to then automatically have that folder divert to a location on say a Steam dedicated drive, would mean no need to ever do large copies, but to just run the script after a reformat and you’re good to go. Especially handy when you forget to make a back up and reformat your Windows anyway!

This also comes in handy when the times your drive fails, however that doesn’t mean the drive you’re creating the link to doesn’t fail, make sure you have a plan for that.

Anyway, here’s the way to do it:

Step 1, run command prompt)

Start Command Prompt. Press start, type “command prompt”, right click on it and run as the administrator.

Step 2, copy paste your symbolic link)

You can just type “mklink” to get a list of details on what each parameter does. In this case we’re going to link one folder to another.

mklink /J “C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\userdata” “D:\Steamuserdata”

And that’s it, we’re done.

I did a quick Google search to find more details on it, Microsoft have a page on symbolic links, you can find that here.

Uplay likes to save your screenshots to C:\Users\xxxxx\Pictures\Uplay another idea would be to divert those to your preferred location.