Aboot this blog

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:



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!

The Briticiser

Looking for my world famous US to GB English spelling converter?





  Overcoming Disabilities     Reviews     VBA     Windows     Equipment     Hardware     Browsers     Acrobat     Utilities     Bookmarks     Bits and Bobs     News     Education     Flatpress         Excel     Odds and Sods     Family     Word     Tutorials     Plausible Lies     PHP     3D Stuff     Software  

Find me on Facebook

facebook-icon-28x28.pngVisit my Briticiser Facebook Page to keep up with things here - lots of reviews of stuff I’ve really used and also all kinds of helpful computer tips with a heavy bias towards SAVING YOU TIME.

Add a new FlatPress Blog in Open Live Writer

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry160121-165110

imageOpen Live Writer is the new open source version of Microsoft’s wonderful blogging tool Windows Live Writer, and users of the latter will feel VERY at home with the new open source version (as it’s pretty much the same thing!).

In my previous post I gave you my first impression of it - there was a slight hiccup when I tried to set it up with my first blog account, but here is how to add another blog account once you’re up and running. [Read More…]

Live Writer is now Open Source

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry160120-174435

imageWindows Live Writer is/was a great blogging tool but Microsoft haven’t really supported it for some time now, so thanks to them for allowing it to become open source so it can be developed by the large community of users who love it to bits.

This is my first post using Open Live Writer on FlatPress and it was relatively easy to set up, but not so straightforward as it could have been… so here’s what FlatPress users may* need to know in order to get it working. [Read More…]

How to repair/replace target paths in multiple desktop shortcuts

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry151215-142555

Shortcuts Search And Replace just saved me loads of time when I moved a whole folder structure from one computer to another, leaving me with hundreds of shortcuts all pointing to the wrong place.

It was simple to use (the program is self-contained so there’s no installation required) and I found and replaced a matching pattern in the Target Paths of about 350 shortcuts in less than a minute - fantastic, and well worth my small donation which went winging it’s way back to the author once I’d tried it out.

In addition to replacing a matching pattern in the target path this program will also check for dead links - it found 8 “potential troubles” with my shortcuts and flagged them with a helpful yellow warning triangle in the search results preview (a useful break in the process) so I could skip them during the replace operation.

Just one tip: for quickest results run this program directly on the machine where your shortcuts are stored - it will still work across a network, but it works a lot slower that way.

During my search on how to do this I saw lot’s of people struggling to write complex scripts of their own to achieve the same thing, but look no further as this little tool gets my full seal of approval:



Shortcuts Search And Replace Interface

How to add folder comments in Windows 7

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry151103-120033

Adding a description to a folder so you can easily see what that folder contains is one of the greatest features that Microsoft have left out. It was possible using Windows XP by using a 3rd party program called HobComment and there’s a bit more information about this in my earlier post on this subject here:

How to restore file tooltip popups in Windows 7

Sadly this doesn’t seem to work under Windows 7 but it can be used WITH Windows 7 - meaning that any comments created by HobComment can be viewed on ANY Windows 7 machine (they show up in the native Windows Explorer “Comments” field, if you choose to display that) - which is actually an improvement on XP as the only way to see those comments previously was by having HobComment installed on your machine: other network users couldn’t see them.

I have the option of either using an XP machine on my network, or Windows Virtual PC on my Win7 laptop (running virtual XP) and I have HobComment running there.

This is read from a Desktop.ini file which HobComment creates in the folder. I’ve tried just copying one of these to a new folder and editing it with a new folder description but that doesn’t work - I need to go into an XP machine running HobComment and confirm it there so it can do whatever magic it does to make it appear.

The text in the Desktop.ini file is simply 2 lines like this:


I’m sure someone out there must be able to glue all of this together somehow and make something similar to HobComment for Windows 7. Whoever you are “good luck, we’re all counting on you”!

How to migrate Windows user profile settings to another account

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry150607-000408

User Profile Wizard 3.9 by ForensiT is a simple to use tool to migrate your Windows user profile from one account to another. I used it on a computer with multiple accounts which I decided I just wanted one account left, but wanted to use all of the settings (desktop, programs list, etc.) from one of the other accounts. This program did the job - easily.

For more information and to download this great little program (the Personal Edition of User Profile Wizard is free to download) click below:


Avoid SPAM with my text to image conversion plugin for FlatPress

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry150530-064419

As one who knows just how easy it is to scrape web pages for email addresses it never ceases to amaze me how many people are unaware what they’re letting themselves in for by putting their email address on a web page.

I never do it myself but I was recently asked to do so by the owner of a new website I’m developing so I went looking for a way to help make those email addresses invisible to the kind of software programs I’ve used in the past, and found a simple text to image conversion script which displays an email address as an image, like this:

If you right click on the image above and inspect the image source address you’ll see that the email address itself is encoded so this will defeat most of the malicious robotic visitors to your site… though I’d still recommend that you NEVER put an email address on a web page, even like this, if you want to be 100% certain that your email address can’t be stolen and used in ways which could make your life a lot more difficult than it already might be.

As I develop most of my sites using FlatPress I wrote a neat little plugin to convert an email address to an image. This is how it works. [Read More…]

Computer bugs… everywhere!

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry150526-102839

Just like these:


I added a comment there with my own plan to get rid of the little buggers (see copy below in case it never made it past the moderator) [Read More…]

Excel 2010 Solutions to the Clipboard Cannot Be Emptied Problem

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry150514-124113

In Excel 2010 you may run into an annoying problem trying to copy things to the clipboard:


The solution which worked for me was to open the Windows Snipping tool:

Start > All Programs > Accessories > Snipping Tool

then click the “Options” button and uncheck “Always copy snips to the clipboard”, then close the Snipping Tool again.

Credit for this tip goes to user dawsopd at the MrExcel.com forum - you can also find a few other suggestions there if this doesn’t work for you:


Here are some other things you can try - I must admit that I still got the message occasionally after trying the fix I mentioned above, but the first solution on the following page (simply press the Esc key to deselect any cells which were already selected when you try to copy another cell) seemed to also work for me.

Fix for Cannont Empty the Clipboard in Office (yeah, I know it’s spelt wrong… but that’s how it is)

The save failed due to out of memory or disk space

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry150507-125645

For anyone who has a problem trying to save a Word 97-2003 Document (this may apply to other Office file types too) in Office 2010, specifically where you receive a message saying “The save failed due to out of memory or disk space” then there is an easy fix for this. [Read More…]

Pain is inevitable, but suffering is by choice

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry150410-110421

“Pain is inevitable, but suffering is by choice” said Debra Early, commenting after some 50 years of film and television history went up in smoke when fire ripped across the 7,000-acre Big Sky Movie Ranch north of Simi Valley, California, in 2003.

Stuff of dreams goes up in smoke at movie ranch

Only ashen timbers, charred metal and thousands of memories remain of old sets scattered around the hillsides that have been home to countless productions, from “Gunsmoke” to “Fear Factor.” Also lost was the original set used as Walnut Grove in the “Little House on the Prairie”.

How to run Acrobat 7 Professional on Windows 7 64 bit computers

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry150404-154122

If, like me, you’re less than impressed with the latest versions of Acrobat Professional (I have Acrobat XI 64 bit installed) and wish you could go back to good old 32 bit Acrobat 7 with it’s dockable toolbars, batch processes which run really quickly, and overall familiarity with a product which you use on a daily basis, then here is some good news… for some of you.

image As Acrobat 7 is no longer supported by Adobe they’ve decided to give it away (activation key and all) for FREE to qualifying users and, while you can’t install this directly in Windows 7 64 bit you can install it from within Windows XP Mode running in Windows Virtual PC on a 64 bit version of Windows 7.

While you still suffer from a few problems caused by Adobe not fully supporting 64 bit in so far as you can’t easily see thumbnail previews of you PDFs in Windows Explorer or (inexcusable) the PDF document PROPERTIES in Windows Explorer, there are ways around these problems. [Read More…]

How to add the file name and page number to multiple PDF files in Acrobat X Professional

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry150404-150500

*Updated September 2015*

Batch processing of PDF files was a powerful feature of previous versions of Acrobat Professional. Since the release of Acrobat X Adobe have renamed batch processing as “Actions”. While these are just as easy to set up and retain much - if not all - of the functionality of the previous versions there is one major problem with Actions - they are incredibly SLOW TO RUN, in comparison with the good old batch processes.

For those who are either stuck with Acrobat X+ or who are perfectly happy with the new interface then this article explains how to set up an Action to add the file name and page number to a whole folder full of PDF files. If you’d like to learn how to set up a batch process in earlier versions of Acrobat Professional then click here for my earlier article on how to do that. [Read More…]

How to add tiny text to a PDF

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry141210-144058

Sometimes you may find that the minimum font size offered to you by Adobe Acrobat when adding a text box to a PDF document is still too big for your needs. Luckily it’s very easy to get around that problem. Here’s how to do it… [Read More…]

Dead pixel on your screen getting you down?

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry140913-073852

A dead pixel on your screen is something which most people live with until it’s time to get a new monitor or computer, but there are a few things you could try to fix a dead (or stuck) pixel. [Read More…]

Jackanory safety stories

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry140828-135258

I’ve just been bombarded with yet another load of safety “stuff” in a big PowerPoint presentation from BP which I got about a third of the way in and then pressed fast forward (sorry BP). I kind of go blind to walls of text and piles of statistics with their various acronyms that you have to try and figure out before you can even try and make sense of what you’re looking at.

I’ve come to the conclusion that the only people who understand all of that are the people who write it, and spend a lot of time preaching to people who just want to let out a great big yawn.

The problem is that this way of trying to get a message across to improve the safety culture in the workplace doesn’t work.

I was never a quick reader so I’ve never read many books. I used to like watching “Jackanory” on the BBC when I was younger - and this made me think that perhaps “story-telling” is a much better way to get people to work and play safe, and then I found this, which reaffirms this belief by saying that “narrative storytelling can be an effective way to impart useful safety and health information to employees without insulting them or putting them to sleep.”

Preaching or Teaching: The Use of Narrative in Safety Training

image I think it’d be great if there was a “Jackanory” series of safety stories. One of the illustrators on Jackanory was a man called Quentin Blake (actually “Sir Quentin Saxby Blake”) who also produced an illustrated guide to electrical safety, which I’ve been trying to get a copy of.

Zap! The Quentin Blake Guide to Electrical Safety (Eastern Electricity, 1998)

I think you can probably see that this idea has some merit, though I doubt it would ever become regular tea-time viewing for people when they come home from school work.

How to fix missing pdfmaker files error

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry140806-115206

image If you ever run into a problem trying to convert an MS Office document to PDF format - either by clicking on the PDF button in Word or Excel (for example) or by right clicking in Explorer and choosing “Convert to Adobe PDF”, and it does nothing except maybe suggest you run Acrobat in “repair mode” which, again, does nothing, then this is how you can EASILY fix it in a matter of seconds.

Cause: Adobe PDF has somehow been added to the “Disabled Items” list in the Microsoft Office application

Solution: Follow these simple instructions to remove Adobe PDF from the “Disabled Items” list: [Read More…]

Have they finally found the wreck of the Santa Maria?

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry140516-033207

image Barry Clifford, an American underwater archaeological explorer, may have found the wreck of the flag ship of Christopher Columbus’s fleet, the Santa Maria, which ran aground off the coast of Haiti over 500 years ago.

Sadly the wreck is already being looted while Clifford tries his hardest to gain support for excavating the wreck and preserving this great piece of history for all mankind.

Surely this is a classic case where RFID chips would be useful - if finds could be electronically tagged somehow as soon as they’re discovered?

Original photo: Dietrich Bartel

There’s a great illustrated article about this by Hanna Keyser at mental_floss:

Barry Clifford on Finding the Santa Maria—and Why the Story isn’t Over Yet

Excel tip - Converting Unix Timestamps

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry140512-154624

imageYou may find the formula below useful if you are importing dates into Excel from a list where the dates have been stored as a UNIX timestamp. Some of my web application PHP scripts store numbers this way, hence the need to remind myself here of how to convert them to readable dates: [Read More…]

Your browser is now updated - FINALLY!

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry140225-124154

Internet ExplorerI’m probably one of a dwindling number of people who have ran into the problem of how to install Internet Explorer 8 on Windows XP Service Pack 3. The problem here is that IE8 normally insists you install an update (KB932823) but, when you try to do this, it proceeds to tell you that you don’t need this update.

Snakes and ladders with no way to win… almost. [Read More…]

Alphabetical Order Tool lets you alphabetise text online

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry131225-230516

Sorting a list into alphabetical order, either in a table in Word or in a spreadsheet is relatively easy, but what if you simply want to sort a lot of lines in a block of text into alphabetical order?

Here’s a useful online tool which will do that for you. [Read More…]

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.