Author Archives: berkeley_21

Dust extraction

Home-made water filter –

Acrylic tube –

Sheet plastic –

More plastic –

A bit of theory on wet vacuums –

Anti-foam –


September 21, 2016


Continuity tester

Fix wiper

Vernier gauge for drill press

Battery pack for car




Revenge on neighbours –

Upstairs neighbour at work –!




PEAR MIME-mail with non-ASCII characters in recipient field

Creating headers using the Mail_mime::headers() function when there are non-ASCII characters in the To field (the From and Subject fields don’t suffer from this problem) and then trying to send the message results in a “Validation failed for: <recipient>” error.

Overcome this by encoding the recipient field separately using the Mail_mime::encodeHeader() function before passing it to Mail_mime::headers().

Useful links

Some tabs I’m hoarding right now. Can’t close anything until I make a note of them somewhere. It’s a manic affliction. – the .htpasswd generator I used to get back into this site – the hasher that I used to get back into this site – adding directions to embedded Google maps – might be useful for road trips round customers – loading Google maps asynchronously is harder than I expected – I really need to get my head round spatial functions in MySQL, then we can go on awesome road trips – Quickstart guide to embedding Google maps and adding markers – Not sure whether or not I need a low to high impedance matching transformer, but it sounds cool – Something I’m going to write about later in the company blog,7334347,10506368,6354231 – A comparison of Tascams, I’m going to need one soon – A Zoom H2N for 12000 – A Zoom H42 for 15900 – A Tascam DR-40 for 15810 – An Acer Liquid E700 for 9880 – Used this for converting audio files, works very well

A DIY shotgun microphone that sounds very good indeed

A Google Image search for Monument Valley at sunset, just because.

More links from my work computer – a post I need to follow up on – an article the above post links to – a useful checklist for chromakey filming

Some videos I need to watch. – something that might help to justify my stance – a common-sense take on JIRA in Agile – an extremeley useful online file converter – some Atlassian advice on organising Agile processes – consumer rights bureau in Estonia, might need their help – Atlassian customer stories – Tempo customer stories – the innocent art of making a script look like a browser – one of the better free icon collections, thank you Masha! – I need this every time I want to save a crontab in JOE… ctrl+ k>x – something I need to respond to – DAD, or Disciplined Agile Delivery. I much prefer the undisciplined approach – something else I need to respond to – quick and easy QR code generation – another very good QR code generator

Atlassian’s video case studies – free (sort of) fonts

Audio stuff

I very often need background music for videos. At work I’m provided with a collection of royalty-free tracks which are great for short videos, intros and outros, but they’re of specific lengths and it isn’t always easy to edit them to make them longer or shorter to suit the project.

Sometimes I just need some quiet, unobtrusive background sound to disguise a bad recording or to set an ambience for the scene. Something that can be faded in and out and stretched to any length.

I can’t make music myself (I’ve tried) but I had a feeling there should be ambient music generators out there somewhere. It transpires that, there are loads of them. Here are some that I’ve found fun or useful: – an astonishingly tuneful Flash-based generator that lets you record its output. I hope to use it together with some of the other generators to create a more upbeat composition. – by the same author as the above generator, this is also Flash-based (both have iPhone app alternatives) and creates a slightly eerie ambience. – spooky ambience for horror films. – free music from YouTube for adding to videos – things to consider when using music in YouTube videos – a collection of links to royalty-free music sites, haven’t used any of them though – free loops, possibly liked to from the above site – Creative Commons audio samples and mixes, could also be useful – for downloading videos from YouTube, in case you need to – something I need to try out – a de-esser for Audacity that I’m trying out right now


Sound effects – loads of free sound effects, some pretty good


Video technique

Brilliant compilation of techniques.


Chroma key – I didn’t realise that Sony Movie Studio (Vegas) chromakey was so versatile – this colour replacement technique makes it pretty fantastic.

Subtitling –  create subtitles for videos in Google drive.

Infographics – could be useful

 Youtube – Optimal bitrates for video and audio – API player controls – API examples – Download your entire YouTube channel for archiving

HTML Email – Decode mime headers.




Car stuff – roof rack

Tools – sliding mitre saw, Hammer, 14k roubles


Five Rules for Content Marketers in 2016

How I made a hashtag trend on Twitter in 3 hours

On Finding the Right Candidate for Your Customer Case Study

You Built it…But No One Came, Now What? 8 Smart Ways to Increase Feature Usage

White papers versus case studies

10 YouTube tricks you need to know


JavaScript – quick way to get JavaScript key code – JavaScript typewriter effect

CSS – frosted glass effect in CSS using filters – fast load tiny background images, blow them up and blur them while waiting for the real images to load – list of easing behaviours–net-16048 – selectors cheatsheet


Camera lenses

Screencasting and webinaring

Building stuff

Maths and geometry and stuff

Completely random – google map styling – ready made google map styles – overview of DSLR cameras for video – HDMI output recorder – Another HDMI output recorder

Don’t ask me what I meant

If you’re not a native speaker of my language and you didn’t understand me, that’s your fault. Seriously. Don’t look at me like I have horns growing out of my head and don’t ask me if I meant to say what I said in a different way – just accept that I said what I said, I said it the way I said it and not the way you think I should have said it.

Don’t force website localisation

Just because I’m in Russia doesn’t mean I really want to read your website in Russian. Especially not if it’s in some kind of unfathomable machine-translated approximation of Russian.

I might not understand the language of the country I’m located in. I might be passing through, or I might be a hapless expat who’s managed to survive for decades without learning much more than the bare minimum required to order a beer.

Conversely, I might be natively or otherwise fluent in the local language, but not in the particular ‘dialect’ of free-online-translatorese that you chose when localising your website.

Please, PLEASE stop forcing localised versions of your web content onto your visitors. The assumption that everyone visiting your site from a Russian IP address (or with a browser that says it will accept Russian) is capable of understanding Russian or your crappy pseudo-translated Russlish is about as valid as asserting that everyone in the Sahara desert must be able to absorb moisture from the atmosphere.

It wouldn’t be so bad if you gave the option to switch languages. But when you make it comepletely impossible to escape the lunacy, then it becomes frustrating.

I would have expected better of MIT, for example In my browser, this site is full of beautiful nonsense such as “что ремиксит сообщество” that just might make sense if you can detranslate it and work out what the original was. This makes the content understandable to a pretty select audience.

You see, that’s the only way to understand many of these sites. On the surface they kind of seem to make sense… but not completely. As a native English speaker and Russian translator with plenty of experience I can, at a pinch, make my way around these sites by detranslating back to the original text to get a rough idea of what will happen when I click a particular link or button.

Hewlett Packard – also guilty. Their massive support website is awesome and it does pretend to give me the option to switch languages, but unfortunately in my experience that didn’t work.

Forcing a ‘translation’ of your site based on the Accept-Language header is antisocial at best.

If you’re using Chrome, you could get around this embuggerance by using this browser extension to modify headers (thanks Lorna Jane). Oddly I find it easier than messing with browser settings.


Head x-ray returns 404 brain not found

Morning visit to the doctor (not the one that gave me the telepathic diagnosis)  gave me a clean bill of health and a closed sick note. Get back to work young man! But since the ENT chap said you should get your head x-rayed, go and do that anyway (although they won’t find anything, I think your sinuses are fine).

Afternoon visit to the x-ray machine gave me a stunning view of not much brain and very much sinus fluid. Back to the ENT tomorrow.


Sinus infections really suck

For about the last five months, I’ve gradually been getting more and more tired.

It probably started with my first ever jet lag, in October 2013. It seemed to be taking ages to go away, but that was understandable owing to the fact that external circumstances had conspired to thwart all my attempts at getting a proper night’s sleep.

The very day I arrived home from the states, my two-year-old (it was his birthday) got sick with a very high temperature. He’d just recently started kindergarten, and if I remember correctly, this was his first kindergarten respiratory virus. With lots of snot.

This went on for at least a week; he would wake up every the night crying with a fever. Then it got better and he went back to kindergarten. Then he got sick again, and so it went on.

Winter set in, and he started sleeping in our bed. Our apartment was like a refrigerator. We all huddled together to keep warm. My acrobatic two-year-old ensured that we didn’t sleep. Soon I could hardly get to sleep at all, laying awake until well after midnight. Then I would find myself waking up again very early in the morning and unable to get back to sleep.

By the middle of winter, It seemed perfectly natural to me that I was constantly exhausted and there was no reason to suspect that anything other than sleep deprivation was the culprit. Sometimes I would come home from taking junior to kindergarten and collapse into bed. I would just lay there, unable to get back to sleep and unwilling to get up again.

I did, however, notice that on rare occasions I might actually sleep for nine or ten hours straight, and when this happened I still felt like I hadn’t slept. Doubts began to creep into my mind.

In early December I gave up smoking, aided by the desperate hope that it might help me to get better quality sleep. I had smoked a pack a day for ten years and all previous attempts at quitting had failed.

This attempt was a roaring success, because I got so sick from withdrawal symptoms that I didn’t even want to smoke. I spent a couple of days on the toilet and then several weeks clearing my throat of catarrh. I certainly felt no better; in fact I felt much worse than before. I put that down to quitting smoking and moved on.

Then, last week, I got the mother of all colds with a crazy temperature. After the most evil of the symptoms passed, I was left with crippling fatigue. One evening I picked junior up from kindergarten and did a few other things. An hour after I got home I was lying on the couch, feeling like I had been cast into cement.

I began to suspect glandular fever, my old nemesis that once knocked me flat for six weeks and left me with constant tiredness for months to follow.

As a New Year bonus, the company I work for had arranged very generous employee medical insurance. So I booked an appointment at the nearest clinic and started wondering how I was going to explain my implausible symptoms. I even began to wonder if the whole thing was all in my head.

I needn’t have worried. I began explaining to the doctor that right now something was up with my throat, and that was about as far as I got.

“You get tired very quickly,” she interrupted, looking straight into her computer monitor, and then proceeded to list just about every other complaint I’d had in the past few months. All I could do was nod my head – I was awestruck.

How did she know? Had she overheard me mumbling in the corridor? Had I volunteered any of this information to the dispatcher when I booked the appointment? Was she psychic? I have no idea, but she listed almost all my symptoms before she even looked at me. She even found a completely unrelated stomach problem while she was at it.

And so, the current theory is that I’ve had a sinus infection for almost six months. And it seems to fit.

Some trawling of the interwebs suggests that fatigue might be a much more typical symptom of sinusitis than the pain or discharge I would have expected. A lot of people have it and don’t know about it.

My symptoms (fatigue, inability to concentrate, itchy eyes, confusion, poor memory etc. etc.) were impossible for me to distinguish from jet lag or just plain old lack of sleep, and so it went unnoticed. I had no idea I was sick and getting sicker; I thought I was just tired.

Assuming the theory is right, there’s still some way to go. The symptoms of sinus infections take a while to let go, but at least now I have some light at the end of the tunnel. Tomorrow I get an x-ray to check for inflammation.

I’m going to treat myself to a weekend out of town when this is all over. Fresh air and a couple of days of sleep.

Chrome, please restore scrollbar arrows

Seriously Google, I can’t take much more of it.

I like to work on my netbook, which has a teensy little screen. It’s now impossible to get fine control over scrolling on a small element that has lots of overflow without using the arrow keys, and that’s only possible when there’s whitespace (e.g. no links) inside the element that you can first click on with the mouse.

Try it, it’s infuriating. Especially in the Styles panel of the developer tools console. FireFox and Opera haven’t looked so promising for years.