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This blog is a cross between a scrapbook and a diary. I hope you find something here of interest. If you’d like to keep up with things as I see them then you can subscribe to my news feed by clicking the icon below:

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Please note that any reviews/recommendations are based solely on my own experience and does not constitute a guarantee that you will have the same experience. Please do your own research before parting with any money - the risk is all yours!

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Cropping & converting MP4 Files to other video formats

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry170715-125101

I recently had a small success which made me go “yeh!” and I happened to find this neat intro to a 1960 western serial featuring my name which kind of summed up how I was feeling at the time :D

Download video: MP4 format | Ogg format | WebM format

The problem was that I could only download the full episode in MP4 format so I needed to crop the video just to get the intro into a much smaller file.

Not being one for downloading over-hyped and bloated software I remembered I had a very good little MP4 Joiner (to stitch mp4 files together) on my computer so went looking to see if they had a splitter too - and so they did:

http://www.mp4joiner.org/en/

The joiner and the splitter are now bundled together in one installation file called Mp4Tools, but they work great and are simplicity itself to work out how to use them.

Just one word of warning - while the latest file you can download at the above link installs and works just fine I did have a problem opening the splitter application when I tried to install it on my old Windows XP computer, so I installed the older version 3.0 of the software on that machine, and that worked without a hitch.

In case you have any trouble running the latest version of the sofware you can find the older versions here. Just choose the version 3.0 EXE file and you should be ok:

https://www.videohelp.com/software/MP4Joiner/old-versions

Now that I have the intro of my video nicely cropped I can either make and animated GIF of it or share it on the web, as I’ve done here, but I needed to convert it to a couple of extra formats in order to ensure that the video played in as many browsers as possible.

The formats I needed were .webm and .ogv (OGG format), and instructions for embedding the videos after first uploading the files to your web space can be found here:

http://camendesign.com/code/video_for_everybody

However, you don’t need to really understand how to do this as you can save much time by using the handy code generator which they’ve provided here:

http://v4e.thewikies.com/

In order to covert my MP4 file into these 2 formats I used the following online converter which was quick and very easy to use:

http://video.online-convert.com/

The above website has converters for all sorts of different types of file (e.g. Office documents too), so it’s well worth bookmarking.

Drawing version comparison made easy

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry170711-120251

Back in the olden days (when the internet was in short trousers) I used to create animated GIFs for my web pages using a great little program called Microsoft GIF Animator.

It’s somehow gratifying to learn that this great and tiny application is still available and runs flawlessly on my 64 Bit Windows 7 computer and I recently used it to compare old and new versions of a drawing, to easily see what’s been changed…

Using an animated GIF to compare drawing versions

Of course, this technique can be used for may other purposes - and it’s really just a variation on how astronomers use a blink comparator to detect movement of celestial bodies through the relatively fixed background of stars.

Microsoft GIF Animator is a single standalone file - no installation required - which is very easy to use. The hard work is getting your comparison files to be the same size and have the features all line up, but this is quite easy to do when working with drawings.

You can download the file here and also see some basic instructions, but the program comes with a built-in help file which which tell you all you need to know to get started.

Also here is a web page with an easy to follow tutorial:

http://gwanderson.server101.com/Computer101/gifAnimate.htm

Animated GIFs aren’t difficult to do, and you don’t need to use some “magic” online generator to make them because this old Microsoft program will let you create some very complex animations, once you get to know it.

3D - It’s hot out there today

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry170704-151546

A hot 'n' sunny day in Tbilisi

TOO HOT! Looking better for the weekend…

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3D - Midsummer Evening in Tbilisi

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry170630-014059

Midsummer evening in Tbilisi

Nice late evening clouds in TbilisiMidsummer evening clouds in TbilisiLate evening midsummer clouds in Tbilisi

A Squadron of Swallows

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry170628-220417

I’m not sure whether a collective noun for swallows exists, but a “squadron” seems appropriate.

You’d probably appreciate that more if you lived at “squadron-height” and have them whistling past your head every two minutes when you stand on the balcony.

MS Word - Table Continued on Next Page

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry170628-173632

I frequently find myself in the situation where a table needs to break onto the next page but there’s no in-built method (that I can find) to display a message informing the reader that the table they’re looking at has some more rows, and that they’d better scroll down a bit to see them, so this is how to add a “Table continued on next page” message in Microsoft Word (or any other Word processor).

Microsoft Word - how to add a "Table continued on next page" caption to a table break

[Read More…]

This is how to draw a curve in Adobe Acrobat

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry170627-023056

For everyone out there who’s been searching for the answer to The Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and how to draw a curve in Adobe Acrobat, then this is for you.

Of course, Acrobat is not a vector drawing program so there is no actual curve tool included in all the versions I’ve encountered, so how did I do this?

Needs curves!  Nice curves!

Yes, there IS a bit of trickery involved but the above curves were drawn very quickly, and using the normal drawing tools which you’ll find in Acrobat Professional/X. [Read More…]

No more war no more war no more war

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry170620-013718

This is the original version of the song which helped make a star out of Sade:

Timmy Thomas - Why Can’t We Live Together

Where are all the protest songs now.. and I mean protests about the real stuff going down in this world, and the real causes?

Hint: it’s not Donald Trump, muslims, or “equality”. It is however agenda-driven and media-led… whether those sock puppets who masquerade as journalists know it or not.

Eleven years ago

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry170618-132536

Duke Gildenberg was on television…

Duke Gildenberg on British TV 10th June 2006 at 18:37 GMT

So, why was Mr Gildenberg on TV? Where does he fit in to world history?

image When Joe Kittinger made his world-record jump from 102,800 feet on Aug. 16, 1960, as part of Project Excelsior, launch couldn’t even take place until one man gave thumbs up. “Our forecasts were provided by one of the best meteorologists in the Air Force…: Bernard ‘Duke’ Gildenberg,” Kittinger wrote in “Come Up and Get Me” (UNM Press/2010, with Craig Ryan). “If Duke said go, you went, or you’d wonder why you hadn’t.”

http://www.spacesafetymagazine.com/aerospace-engineering/red-bull-stratos/balloon-go-no-go-gildenbergs-call-part-1/

Bernard David Gildenberg or “Duke,” as he was known in New Mexico and at NASA, was born in Hazelton, Pa., in 1925. He was brought up in Brooklyn, N.Y., and had lived in La Luz and Tularosa for the last 60 years of his life. He was a graduate of New York University and was in the Air Force during World War II, stationed in the Aleutian Islands in Alaska.

Mr Gildenberg died on the 2nd April, 2013, of natural causes.

Food Mixer and Back Door - June 2006

3D - Here come the pirates!

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry170617-212815

image

How to make a Facebook Cover VIDEO

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry170616-010936

For the lucky few (guinea pigs) Facebook have enabled a feature which allows users to upload a video to be used instead of a regular (static) cover photo.

This feature is still very much in its infancy but it was worthy of a little bit of experimentation, so this is how I created a short video animation for the Darlington FC Supporters Group Facebook page. [Read More…]

The earth moved for me last night…

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry170608-064346

…and a few other people in the office said they also felt the little earthquake which hit Georgia last night.

Not much to report - it caused a few things we had hanging up on the wall to rock to and fro for a while afterwards - but if you weren’t looking at them you’d probably miss them. My Darlo bottle opener makes for a great earthquake detector!

https://www.emsc-csem.org/Earthquake/earthquake.php?id=596947

A Spring Storm in Tbilisi

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry170519-174209

It just got very very dark outside my office, with a fair bit of lightning.

I took about 150 photos and this was the best I could do!

A Spring Storm in Tbilisi

How to create an alphabetical list in Excel

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry170331-151659

There didn’t seem to be a way to create a custom list in Excel which would allow you to put letters of the alphabet down one column (unless you typed one in by hand for however many letters you want to go down to) so here’s a formula I dreamt up to do just that.

=SUBSTITUTE(ADDRESS(ROW(),COLUMN()+ROW()-COLUMN(),4),ROW(),”")

This will work in any column and will keep incrementing the lettering well past “Z” (which is a limitation of some other formulae I found to do the same job).

My formula will only work if you start the sequence in the first row because it works by setting the column number as the current row number - so row 1 will be “A”, row 26 will be “Z”, row 5000 will be “GJH”, and so on.

If you need to start your list in any row other than row 1 then you’ll either need to adapt the formula somehow (good luck with that - but please let me know if you have any success) or simply create a list starting in row 1 on a new blank worksheet then the list and paste it as values (so you just get A, B, C, etc. instead of the formula) in the cell where you want your list to start. The keyboard shortcut I use to paste values is Alt-E,S,V., or you can do it the standard way - see the help section for your version of Excel for instructions if you get stuck.

The beauty of this is that the exact same fomula work in any cell and in any column.

image

Formulae for Roots & Powers in Excel

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry170304-003048

If you’ve ever wondered what the little “hat” symbol (^) is for, generally above the number 6 on your keyboard, then your further enlightenment is at hand.

It has a number of uses, for instance you can use ^p in the search & replace function in MS Word to find and replace paragraph markers - useful when you need to remove extraneous line breaks when you paste a block of text in which doesn’t format correctly.

However the ^ symbol in Excel is used to denote powers so, if you want to find the square or cube of a number, rather than use the more cumbersome POWER worksheet function you can just use n^2 or n^3 to find the square or cube of a number.

Here’s how to use that in a formula. [Read More…]

Oil does not come from dead trees (or dinosaurs)

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry170303-215520

You don’t believe me?

Well how do you explain the fact that Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, holds more oil & gas than all the known reserves of the Earth?

http://www.space.com … titan-oil-earth.html

There’s a lot to be said for the idea that the earth’s oil pockets are self-replenishing. It wouldn’t do a great deal for the price of oil if word got out that there are trillions of gallons of the stuff sloshing about way down deep in the Earth’s mantle, ready to slowly seep back up and fill the voids which we’ve so far managed to suck dry.

We’re NOT running out of oil folks!

Give anonymously

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry170201-175934

imageI put it to you that the main reason people give to charity is to boost their own ego. We all know their type “does a lot of good work for cherridy and don’t like to talk about it (but want everyone to know about it, otherwise… what’s the point?).

If you see someone who needs help, and you can help, do it! No need to make a song and dance about it, and it feels much better.

Fate

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry170131-133010

View from my new office…

View from my office

Hardly identical to one of my favourite Van Gogh paintings, but at least I’ve got some cypress trees in there.

Wheat Field With Cypresses, 1889 by Van Gogh

The fish were looking at me - Stanley Oliver

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry170128-203107

They had that look that said…

“We can see that you’re sat over there with nothing to do…

so how about giving us our food a little earlier tonight?”,

and do I did

Stanley Oliver 1828

The Collected Works of Stanley Oliver - The Partridge Press 1945

Do trees shiver? by Stanley Oliver

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry170128-200900

It seems odd that trees, if you observe them closely, only sporadically drop their leaves, and do so in unison with all the other trees around them… almost in symphony with one another - even when there is no wind at all.

Perhaps some highly expensive apparatus could detect, record, and analyse the precise barometric and climatic conditions in fine enough detail in order to determine any correlation with the trees dropping their leaves.

If not, then there is something else going on.

Stanley Oliver 1841

The Collected Works of Stanley Oliver - The Partridge Press 1945

Support our caregiving

If you found anything on this site of use, interesting, or even mildly amusing then please consider dropping a few pennies in the jar to help us to take care of our disabled son who contracted encephalitis in 2007 at the age of 6 and who is now confined to a wheelchair. He is getting bigger as his mother and I get older, imagine that, please. Every penny we collect goes towards his upkeep, and towards his future care requirements.

Thank you.

Support our caregiving

Support our caregiving

If you found anything on this site of use, interesting, or even mildly amusing then please consider dropping a few pennies in the jar to help us to take care of our disabled son who contracted encephalitis in 2007 at the age of 6 and who is now confined to a wheelchair. He is getting bigger as his mother and I get older, imagine that, please. Every penny we collect goes towards his upkeep, and towards his future care requirements.

Thank you.