Today is a double celebration; my web development company Nine Three Limited celebrated it’s 9th year of business on May 1st 2018 and my shiny new personal website is finally live!  My personal site fell into disuse over the last few years as my life took a big downward turn and I didn’t feel like sharing those dark days with the world but I have been fighting hard to overcome the challenges and the latest part of that journey involves me looking for a new job and I figure nobody would want to hire a web dev whose personal website was so outdated! 😅

The new site is fully responsive with a customised Bootstrap 4 layout.  I wrote a new WordPress plugin which uses the Node-Vibrant library to pick colors from the background images so I could have a dynamic theme engine which is something I’ve wanted to do for ages.  I’m very pleased with the result.  The theme selection is stored for one hour and then a new random one is picked.  You can also use the button in the bottom right to pick one sooner than that.  Another big change is that I have reworked the curriculum vitae page to separate my past “jobs” from my past “projects” as I found this was confusing recruiters.  I’ve covered a lot of work projects over the last 15 years but most of them have gone offline so now the new site is complete I can start going back over the projects and uploading screenshots for them. If you click on a project then it will expand so you can read more about it.  The data for each is fetched from the backend via Ajax so the initial page loads quickly and only spends time downloading the data for the projects you are interested in.

I still have to setup the old personal projects page for things like the Stargate Simulator and the Blade Runner Game Installer but those will come with time. Nothing has been lost, I just need to port them over to the new site format.  If you need any of the old projects before I have had time to put them live then drop a comment on this post and I’ll do what I can to help you out.

I am back.

For the last month my YouTube videos have had the same 3-4 Udemy adverts showing up at the start of every video and in the middle of many.  It’s driving me crazy!  After weeks of seeing that Udemy guys smug face I just scream.  After a bit of digging around I finally found what I was looking for, a way to get rid of the adverts.  Pause the advert video and look to the bottom left hand corner where it says:

“Ad 0:28 (i) [link to their site]”

If you click the (i) you get the “Why am I seeing this ad?” popup.  At the bottom of that is a link titled “Stop seeing this ad”.  Clicking that gives you a second popup asking why you want to stop seeing it.  I picked “Repetitive” and then “Send”.  Boom.  Just have to do that with each advert you don’t want to see.

There is another way to hide video adverts based on their category.  Check the page “Ads you see on videos” and click the “Ad Settings” link in the bottom paragraph.  On this page you can turn off advert customisations so you just get random stuff that’s not based on your searches and you can deselect specific categories i.e. no longer want to see videos about “Computers & Electronics”.  I chose the first method I described because I don’t mind most tech related adverts.  It’s just the horrible Udemy guy over and over again led me to hate their platform!

It turns out that Teamspeak has a “feature” which means that as default it will auto-mute a channel if there are 100 or more clients connected.  This can cause problems and if you do not want this to happen then the option to disable this is easy to change but it is hidden away:

  • Right click the server node at the top of the channel tree
  • Select “Edit Virtual Server”
  • On the new popup, select the Misc tab
  • Near the bottom is an option labelled “Min clients in channel before silence” which is set to 100 as default
  • Change it to a larger value that suits your needs and click OK
  • The change should take effect immediately with no need to restart the server

I use Skype for work calls on a weekly basis.  Recently it nagged me into upgrading to the latest Windows 10 version that has been “rebuilt from the ground up”.  Straight away after installing and running it I realised they meant they had demolished it and let a cowboy builder do the reconstruction.  What a pile of shit!  Took 3 attempts to get it to load past the loading screen.  When it finally did connect I saw what a mess they made of a simple thing like the contacts list.  Instead of having a list of my actual contacts I now have a list of everybody that’s ever tried to contact me on Skype ordered by last activity.  So all those Chinese ladies that want to be my friend, all the Nigerian princes that need a load etc.  You have to click a contact button to get a popup and then another button on there to see who is online from my actual contacts list.  I can handle the extra clicks to do basic tasks but the two three big killers are (1) the interface looks horrible, both color variations of it (2) it keeps getting stuck on the loading screen and (3) it keeps being entirely unresponsive so I can see the contacts and messages but clicking on them does nothing.  They visually respond to the mouse event but don’t trigger the actual action.

Anyway, I gave it a week and now I’m done.  Downgrading is super easy.  Head to the Skype download page here.  Click the down arrow on the blue button labelled “Download Skype for Windows” and choose “Get Classic Skype”.  Download and run the installer.  It will replace the latest Windows 10 version and boom, you’re back in business.  I’ll keep an eye on reviews for new Skype versions but there will have to be some huge improvements before I upgrade it again.

I recently upgraded my browser to FireFox Quantum and found most of my addons no longer worked as the devs haven’t updated them yet.  One thing I forgot I missed until I needed it was the Restore Closed Tab toolbar button I had with the Session Manager addon. The way this worked was that when I accidentally closed a tab I could press the toolbar button and the tab would re-open along with it’s back/forwards history.  Turns out there is a built in FireFox way to do this.  Just press CTRL-Shift-T and the tab will open again.

My sister was having problems using ManyCam with Windows 7.  She could enter her login details to connect and setup her subscription but when she closed the program all the details were lost.  This caused her an additional problem where she could not use the same details again next time as it threw a subscription error at her.  She runs Windows 7 using an admin account so the solution was pretty simple:

  1. Right click the ManyCam desktop icon
  2. Choose the “Compatibility” tab
  3. At the bottom tick “Run this program as an administrator”
  4. Click OK
  5. The next time you run ManyCam it will now correctly save your settings file at the end when you close the program
  6. Note that if you are not running as an administrator then you may have to provide their login details when you use the shortcut

I think this ManyCam problem is because the program is trying to save the config file in its main program directory which it can’t do when run as a standard user.  Running as an admin means it can save the file.  This is not the ideal solution as it means granting admin access to the ManyCam program but at least it will get you going until they provide a proper fix.

I have a HTC Vive and lately when browsing various sites including engadget & Tom’s Hardware I notice SteamVR keeps opening.  Turns out some dickhead advertisers are trying to force VR ads on me.  The problem is I work with lots of Firefox tabs open across 3 screens and when you try to close SteamVR it also wants to close Firefox.  The solution is pretty simple, just disable VR in Firefox:

  1. Type about:config in the address bar
  2. Type VR into the search box at the top of the config page
  3. Double click both “dom.vr.enabled” and “dom.vr.openvr.enabled” so the right side value column says “false”

Done.  It’s a bit of a pain if you do any browser based VR work but you can always re-enable it while working and turn it off again afterwards.

Working on a hardware problem and I had to find the ohms (Ω) for the various Noctua Fan Resistors.  Found everything I needed but didn’t see a single source for them all so thought it might help others if I compiled it all into one place:

  • Classic Black LNA 50Ω (source)
  • Classic Blue ULNA 81Ω (source)
  • NA-RC6 81.4Ω (source)
  • NA-RC7 50Ω (source)
  • NA-RC8 150Ω (source is an email reply to me from Noctua: “the NA-RC8 is a 150 Ohms ressistor”)
  • NA-RC9 100Ω (source)
  • NA-RC10 51Ω (source)
  • NA-RC11 98Ω (source)
  • NA-RC12 147.5Ω (source)

It took me ages but I finally managed to pull out all the old content from the blog and wiki systems. Now I just have to go through the 200+ pages and 400+ comments, giving them the once over before making each one live.

So all the big complicated jobs have been done, now it’s just a case of a few big repetitive boring jobs so another 2-3 weeks. Then I can spend some time polishing the site theme off.

Every soldier knows that war is more than arms and armour. Every warrior carries an image of impending victory in his heart. When the image shatters to be replaced by defeat, he is beaten. But sometimes a warrior receives assistance from an unexpected source, an inrush of light blasting away his fear and despair, releasing new inner strength. A war is much more than arms and armour. Half of every conflict is the will to win.

— Jedi Knight Arca Jeth, Tales of the Jedi