Around a couple of weeks ago, I had a moment – the moment was a realisation that I was hooked on something, and just like any addict, I just couldn’t leave it alone. Now I’m not your typical person in regard to addiction – I can stop and start both alcohol and nicotine on a dime, as the Americans would say. Yup, very true – friends, colleagues and family all call me various names for my ability to go cold turkey and not turn into a raging monster (Then there’s the other side where I start up with no ill effects!).
Anyhow, despite my lack of traditional addiction, in the moment, I realised that Facebook was an unwelcome intruder in my mind, every five minutes whilst watching TV I’d be on the endless scroll quest to get yet more crap. I’m particular in the crap which flows in – for example, I don’t watch adverts on TV, and try to limit my news intake. Yet despite everything there was Facebook – even saying “Facebook” sounds like some kind of dirty word now.
I understand that some aspect, in a vague nebulous way, some long-ago nascent thought said “It’s a great way to keep up with Friends and Family”. It lied. You know the best way to keep with Friends and Family. See them. Call them. Be with them. Try it, you’ll appreciate the fresh yet old-fashioned way of doing things. Be in the moment. There is no spoon!
At first the revulsion was so bad, I turned off my devices and left them in another room. If I was going to go cold-turkey, I was going to do it full-bore. I managed to make that last most of a weekend, and then I had to re-join the connected-world (I work in I.T. and it’s kinda expected that you’re online 24*7). Even now, getting connected to the News and the world still gives me a mental twitch which I can’t shrug off. I’m conversant with the sardonic nature of recording these thoughts and posting them online – it’s like a great big dirty burger of filth, demolished with gusto, coming back with that sick sinking feeling of “What have I done!?”.
Can I escape Facebook completely? No. The insidious Facebook has managed to weave itself into minds and hearts like some kind of meme-virus. The insidious Facebook had managed to integrate into modern society, it’s truly the electronic equivalent of a symbiote. Instead of a community notice board for my area, there is a Facebook Group. Instead of a buy and sell board, there is a Facebook Buy & Sell Group. Instead of phoning up the local authority, they’re on Facebook, posting official notifications for the masses to digest. You get the picture – Facebook has a Face-Tentacle in everything everywhere.
Where am I left now? In Face-Limbo.
I was listening to the Jeremy Vine show on BBC Radio 2, the subject matter, centred around “the right to take offense” struck a chord with me. In the programme, the author Claire Fox described her experiences with young adults which inspired her to write the book, “I Find That Offensive“.
I agree 100% with everything she says in the book, and I fear for the future of the society which allows, and to a lesser extent encourages this behaviour among the young.
It’s a very interesting read, which I would strongly recommend to any thinking and reasoning adult – and if you have the opportunity to change the mind of a young person to be more open and less offended, then please enable that most vital skill set whenever, and wherever you can; survival of the race by decreasing future offended-wars is a noble quest. (I’m also of the opinion this ties in with a secular or atheist point of view, I strongly suspect the religious mind isn’t capable of this, not truly…)
This is where Blasphemy started, and we all know how fucking evil that shit is – people have been killing and torturing other people throughout the ages in the name of that fucker, and the worst thing, it still goes on today – however it now seems that the youth of today is intent on broadening this to other subjects as well… Claire Fox describes a talk regarding a footballer, convicted of rape, discussing whether or not he should resume his career, where any other points of view than further, and more extreme methods of punishment were shouted down, and effectively banned by the court of “I’m offended” – it’s a sad state of affairs when our young adults are so mentally closeted they can’t even hear the opinion of others.
It’s my personal opinion that they’ve simply had it too easy, they don’t know what real life is actually like, they’ve never struggled for crusts of bread, they’ve never been broken, never hit rock bottom and then fallen some more – IF you’ve been unfortunate (Or should I say fortunate?) enough to have been that broken, you know, you just fucking know that life isn’t that simple. The act of being broken – it makes you – when coming out the other side, you have a fresh appreciation of what actually matters, and you know, just being fucking offended simply doesn’t live in the same universe as real life.
Here are a couple of quotes of mine, and I sincerely hope they offend someone somewhere…
“Offended? – Good. Makes you feel alive. Everyone has the right to be offended, cause offence and be told to fuck off, quite equally. Anyone who thinks anything else is clearly fucking insane.”
“Anyone who is offended merely by words not the context / intent of the words is truly stupid.
Stupidity is the only universal crime.
Darwin for the win.”
Whilst I’ve not always backed Jeremy Corbyn, I’ve come to respect his views and see through the media campaign to smear his character. Many of the published claims about Jeremy have been proven false, and are very distorted from actual reality – for example he has never explicitly stated that he will not defend the country, or that he supports the IRA; in fact, just the opposite. Just because he wants to understand the other side of the equation, doesn’t imply consent or support for that side.
He has integrity, more so than is demonstrated by the majority of his competitors, or by most people. His views also aren’t distorted by the blight on Humanity – religion, yes it’s widely known he is atheist; electing a leader who doesn’t talk to invisible friends is a good thing.
Anyhow, enough of the man, and more about the policies of the party:
Nationalisation: The UK has been totally ripped off by the sell off of public assets and services to the private sector, which to add insult to injury, is often compounded by the fact that said services, now in private hands and delivering profits to private shareholders, are subsidised by the tax payer… let me get this straight – a for profit private company buys services / assets from the government / the tax payer, the services often go downhill, and then we pay yet more for a worse service? Time to draw a line, and bring them back to public ownership – That is what Labour will do if brought back in. #votelabour2017
Defence: Labour will keep Trident, and will take the appropriate precautions to ensure defence of the realm. They’re not however tying to break life as we know it, such as the Conservatives trying to break Internet encryption, and turn our Internet access into that of China!
Tax: Fair tax policies, including a pledge to bring VAT down again – something which never should have gone up!
Education: Do away with tuition fees – Education for the masses, tax payer funded, is a must – otherwise how else are we going to make the most of our young people? Saddling them with what almost amounts to mortgage payments off the bat just isn’t right!
Costed budget: The Labour budget has been fully costed, and made public. Conservative budget – just a vague policy somewhere in the grey.
Immigration: A sensible policy of controlled immigration – not a set of wildly out of whack figures which simply aren’t achievable or economically viable.
Police: Unlike the person leading the Conservative Party, who has somehow been forgiven for the gross errors which have seen 20,000 police and 35,000 military cuts; Labour will immediately try to correct the monumental error by immediately bringing back 10,000 police officers. Who can say if one of the 20,000 police cut by May wouldn’t have been in the right place at the right time to stop at least one of the recent terrorist attacks?
Not insulting: Not once has Jeremy or the Labour Party come up with ‘Magic Money Tree’ or other such unfounded insults to their competition – just the opposite, they’ve simply stuck by their fully costed and publicly available budget & manifesto.
With my previous article on How to remove the metadata title from MKV files I discussed methods for using a simple batch file to process a folder, removing metadata from individual files, plus an option to do this recursively; this got me thinking how great it would be to add that to the right-click menu for Windows folders.
As it turns out, it’s really easy, and using the example of recursively processing all MKV files in a folder structure, this is how…
Save the following to a file called MKVCleanup.bat, place this in your Windows folder (Usually c:\windows). You can download a copy by right-clicking here, and selecting “Save As”.
for /r %%i in (*.mkv) do (
echo processing "%%i"
"C:\Program Files\MKVToolNix\mkvpropedit.exe" "%%i" -d title
The next step, actually adding the right-click command is a registry addition; save the following text into a file on your desktop called MKVCleanup.reg, then right-click on it, selecting “Merge”. You can download a copy by right-clicking here, and selecting “Save As”, you’ll still need to right click on it, selecting merge. This makes an entry in HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\shell – it just includes a title, and one command which points to the batch file.
It takes advantage that the environment automatically starts in parent of the folder indicated by your right click, and passes the target folder as a command line parameter.
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
That’s it, no reboot required, as soon as you’re done, you’ll have a new & shiny right click option in Windows Explorer for folders called “MKVCleanup” – simples 🙂
Not all files are equal – in the case of regular files, for example .jpg and .mp4 files, you can simply right click in Windows, select Properties, and happily click away at the Details Tab, then “Remove Properties and Personal Information” – provided you have the right permissions, it’ll all work fine. MKV files will give you a permissions error, which is a lie, a dirty stinking filthy lie – don’t believe the lie.
Windows just doesn’t know how to deal with an MKV file title.
You need a 3rd party tool, and a small amount of knowledge.
Then you need to understand how to use the command line.
The basic command you need is: “C:\Program Files\MKVToolNix\mkvpropedit.exe” *mkv file name* -d title
When run, it will simply empty the metadata title from the file, no fuss, and it’ll only take a second.
Update: A number of people have asked me how to automate this to make it recursive, i.e. start at the top of a specified directory (Folder), and go through all sub-directories, processing all files.
This is how:
for /r %%i in (*.mkv) do (
echo processing "%%i"
"C:\Program Files\MKVToolNix\mkvpropedit.exe" "%%i" -d title
The For loop goes through every file in the folder structure (Given the *.mkv spec), and executes the mkvpropedit command on every file found in the list. Simples.
Feel free to nick the code above, and use it for your own purposes, but remember to change the relevant path names to those on your own system.
If you would like to know more about batch files, and how they (Plus the command line) work in Windows, please visit the excellent Wikibook: Windows Batch Scripting which should get you started, or go Google it 🙂
Batch scripting (Or otherwise known as Batch Files) enable simple yet powerful processing of almost anything in the DOS or Windows environments, however the batch-language is largely superseded by the more powerful Windows Powershell; but in my opinion it is still very much a valid and ultimately useful tool, for it’s ease of use and simplicity.
This article (Click here) shows you how to add this to the right click context menu in Windows – even easier!”
These are little tips I’ve picked up over time when using my iPhone, features that are, in some cases, just not publicised during the iOS upgrade & launch. It’s almost like they don’t want you to know 😉
Either way, it’s the little things which make iOS superior to Apple’s competitors, and we should all know about them!
For this one, your device needs to be powered on and unlocked.
Simply press your power button until the power slider appears, then press and hold the Home Button until the screen returns to normal.
This has the effect of dumping some of the cached memory and freeing up a chunk of working-memory for applications to use. If your device is performing poorly, this is a quick alternative to a complete reboot of your device, which can typically take a few minutes, and interrupt your work.
Save power by turning off AirDrop, whilst keeping Bluetooth on.
Bluetooth on an iPhone / iPad isn’t a bad thing, and you can keep it on permanently without using too much power – the only instance where this uses a ton of battery charge is when you leave on AirDrop. Simply turning off AirDrop will enable you to just leave Bluetooth on, without using all that precious power – this is useful, for example, for people who use their phone in and out of the car all day.
To turn off AirDrop, just swipe up from the bottom of the screen to reveal the control-centre, then tap until it’s off.
Did you know, if you’ve closed a web page in Safari on your iPad / iPhone, you can simply and easily re-open it?
Just hit the button for a new tab, and when the “+” symbol is displayed, press and hold it. This will reveal all of your recently closed tabs, from where you can simply open them back up!
If you’re anything like myself in this instance, the answer will be yes! The good news is that Apple have provided a couple of things to make this better. Firstly, you can turn off that annoying scrolling of the background, and secondly you can make all the text bold.
Simply hit Settings > General > Accessibility, scroll down a little, turn on Bold Text, then Reduce Motion. This will give you an easier to look at and read home screen.
Ad-blockers are essential when browsing the web these days, I never venture on to the web without one enabled, however they can cause severe problems with some sites.
Rather than diving into the settings, and turning off the ad-blockers, then reloading the page, … and turning them back on again later on, did you know you can simply and easily reload the page without the ad-blocker?
Easy to do – simply press and hold on the re-load symbol in the address / search bar at the top of safari, this will pop up a menu, which will allow you to either reload the page without ad-blockers, or request the desktop version of the site (As opposed to the mobile version, for example).
If the answer to either of the two questions is yes, I have some good news for you!
When you’ve accidentally flicked the switch on your phone to put it into silent mode, and it’s just lying there, vibrating, but you can’t feel it… You can turn the camera’s flash on for the alert! This is also useful in especially noisy environments, and you’ll see it alert, giving you another chance to notice your phone is demanding attention.
To access this feature, select Settings > General > Accessibility > Scroll down to the Hearing section, turn on LED Flash for Alerts.
In the same section as mentioned, you’ll also notice Phone Noise Cancellation – this is absolutely fantastic – this feature, almost magically reduces the background noise, making those all important calls much easier to hear.
One of the most used physical features of the iPhone and iPad is the home button, which also doubles as the fingerprint scanner in later versions of the devices. This button has been known to fail with excessive use, this problem has been made worse recently as it’s used to wake-up, and unlock you phone in the later instances of iOS. There is a new setting you can enable to reduce the usage of the button.
For example, where you wake your phone with the home button, then want to unlock via a fingerprint, you have to press the button a second time – enabling this function will allow you to simply rest your finger / thumb there and unlock without actually pressing the button a second time. You can save even more button presses on this one, if you wake your phone with the power button instead.
To enable the function select Settings > General > Accessibility > scroll down to Home Button, and select this. Inside the Home Button select Rest Finger to Open.
This function also allows you to use the device almost silently, for example if your partner is sleeping next to you, and you’re catching up on Facebook in bed 😉
This is concerning an extremely troubling phishing attack vector for the Firefox browser (Also impacts Chrome), which could leave you wide open to handing over login details to virtually any site, yes even those sites with the little green padlock (Which is supposed to be a sign of security).
The attack works by taking advantage of the unicode feature to display a false web address in tbe address bar, complete with working SSL certification. I won’t go in to further detail here, however you can read about it from the Wordfence Blog Entry, complete with an in-depth explanation.
The fix, for Firefox, is to set the variable network.IDN_show_punycode in Firefox about:config to True – setting this will reveal the real web address, instead of the phishing version for any domain.
The moral of this is not to hide the address bar and other bits of the browser which are slightly technical – this is a problem with technology which is wider than this specific example – programmers hide things, supposedly to make the experience more user-friendly – well, the world isn’t user friendly, and users should damn-well learn to deal with it!
Have a GMail / Google Mail account? Yes – Good. No – Go get one.
You register for gmail, and have a gmail address, for example email@example.com, but did you know that you can actually have as many as you like?
Now you say, “Why would I want more than one address?”. Well, say you don’t like spam, and you register for a website, one which gets hacked, or plain plays dirty and gives that address out – you can then easily filter anything to that address to the bin. The problem is that it’s hard to do when you only have one address, hence the need for multiple addresses. Previously this was one of the bonuses available to domain name owners, or geeks with a million e-mail accounts, but now this can be yours for a few extra key presses with any GMail account.
Simply add dots in your e-mail address, or a + symbol, followed by numbers or letters before the @gmail.com part of the address.
So if your address was firstname.lastname@example.org, you could automatically just use:
email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
You’d get all of the mails, the same as if you’d just used firstname.lastname@example.org – get it?
When you register for websites, just use email@example.com, then if they spam you, you can simply autofilter anything to that address into the bin. Simples.
As a side-note – this will also enhance security as often hacked account details are circulated, now as this almost always done via an automated process, a unique e-mail address for a site is by definition going to make the job of the “hacker” more difficult when using an automated process.
Further along the security lines, often phishing e-mails, for example claiming to be from your bank, are spammed at random e-mail accounts. Say you’d used your firstname.lastname@example.org address with your bank, it’d be quiet hard to tell if it was legit – but (Not 100% foolproof, but goes a long way!), if you’d used email@example.com, it’d go a long way to telling you if the mail was genuine or not.
Remember though, in general – if you get what you think may be a dodgy e-mail from a financial institution, CALL them on their publicly known numbers and verify it – BEFORE you click on links!