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IP Rating codes for LED strips

IP Rating codes for LED strips
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Having been tinkering with LED strips for quite some years now, I do occasionally get the question: “What do the IP ratings mean?”.

There is a short answer for that question: It indicates its protection level against water and dust.

Obviously this doesn’t say much, and things are a little more advanced that that.
So in this article I’ll go briefly into the details on what kind of IP ratings you can run into and what they mean.
This way you can consider in what kind of environment you’d like to use your LED strip and find a matching IP code.

How to use Email Templates in Apple Mail (macOS)

How to use Email Templates in Apple Mail (macOS)
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In certain scenarios, it can be a timesaver, and avoid mistakes, to have one or more templates for common emails.
Unfortunately, Apple Mail, that comes with macOS, doesn’t have a template mechanism … or does it?

With a simple trick we can use “templates” in Apple Mail under macOS and in this article I’ll show you how …

MovieScanner2 – Get an overview of Video File Details

MovieScanner2 – Get an overview of Video File Details
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MovieScanner2, the successor of MovieScanner, is a small utility which analyzes your video file and stored the detected streams in a database.
The detected streams include all embedded video streams, audio streams, subtitle streams, and most common external subtitle files.

For each file details are being collected with ffProbe (from the ffMPEG project), like for example resolution, 3D, HDR, codec types, audio channels and layout, audio and subtitle languages, etc.

MovieScanner2 is completely free, and available for Windows, Linux (GTK and QT5) and MacOS X.

Forum Account Activation issue has been resolved!

Forum Account Activation issue has been resolved!
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Unfortunately, the registration at our forum didn’t quite work as hoped.
A small bug made it that new users would not get an activation email – which makes it hard to complete registration of course.

I did manage to find what caused this issue; a minor bug in the forum software.
The issue should now be resolved, and the fix has been shared with the developers of the forum plugin.

For those that have tried to register before: Feel free to contact me, mentioning the email address you used to register.
I can then either activate your account, or remove the account so you can register with the same email address again.

Apologies for the inconvenience, and thanks to all that reported this issue.

MacOS X Image Resizer – Big Sur Update

MacOS X Image Resizer – Big Sur Update
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My little script to resize images straight from Finder, and optionally attach them right away to a new email, has been updated to fix some issues that surfaced with the release of Big Sur.

This version provides a fix for the “Image Events got an error: image “<imagename>” doesn’t understand the “save” messageerror message, and resolves the issue with Apple Mail freezing up when trying to attach images to a new email.

You can find the download, and ask questions, with the original article: MacOS X Image Resizer – Right click images to resize and/or email.

 

How to create a Self-Signed SSL Certificate

How to create a Self-Signed SSL Certificate
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Sometimes we need a Certificate so we can encrypt and decrypt network communication, for example for all kinds of network devices (eg. NAS, IoT devices, local web server, etc).

Unfortunately, for some of these applications, we cannot obtain a legit certificate from a CA (Certificate Authority), due to certain limitations.
In this article I’ll show you how to create such a free Self-Signed (self-created) certificate yourself, for Windows, macOS and Linux.

I’ll also briefly point out limitations and potential problems that come with a Self-Signed certificate or CERT.

Beat Saber – Custom Song Renamer

Beat Saber – Custom Song Renamer
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For those familiar with Beat Saber mods: Beat Saber is the most fun when you add your own songs.

Unfortunately, when you download some of these custom songs, for example from beatsaver.com or beatsaber.com, you’ll find that the filenames can be a bit messy. For example filenames like: “8e7e553099436af31564adf1977a5ec42a61cfff.zip” or “141 (Gangnam Style – greatyazer).zip”.

This is where this simple little tool can be helpful allowing you with a few clicks to rename these files to a filename in this format “Artist – Title (supported levels).zip”.

The application is free and available for macOS, Linux (64bit) and Windows (32bit).

How to Download YouTube videos

How to Download YouTube videos
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In this article, I’ll show how you can easily download a video from YouTube on Windows, macOS or Linux.
All you need is the Free VideoLAN VLC and your Web Browser.
So no need for any sketchy third party websites or commercial tools.

Caution: Keep an eye on the YouTube Terms of Service rules, as well as your local laws!
According to the YouTube Terms of Service policy, you will need to ask for permission from either YouTube and/or the respective Copyright holder(s).

How to Flush your local DNS (Mac, Windows, Linux)

How to Flush your local DNS (Mac, Windows, Linux)
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Flush DNS – Sometimes we do run into network issues, and sometimes this is caused by a corrupted DNS cache on your computer.

In this article a quick and easy overview on how to flush the DNS cache on your computer for several operating systems:

  • Windows (Windows 95 up to Windows 10)
  • macOS (10.6 Snow Leopard up to 11.0 Big Sur)
  • Linux (several methods)

Windows 10 – Testing applications safely in Windows sandbox

Windows 10 – Testing applications safely in Windows sandbox
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Sometimes you just want to try a new application without messing up your Windows setup, or maybe you found an application online, and you’re not quite sure how sketchy the application is (with all the malware, viruses etc. these days).

In this article, I’ll show you how to use the sandbox functionality found in Windows 10, to safely test applications in a shielded (sandbox) environment.

Note: This only seems to be available for Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise, as of version 1903, (it first became available in the Insider build 18305).

ConnectMeNow v3.0.7 released

ConnectMeNow v3.0.7 released
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A new version (3.0.7) of ConnectMeNow, a tool designed to make mounting network shares easier under MacOS, has been released today.

In this new version, you will find features like:

  • Improved Wake On LAN (improvements specifically for certain NAS devices)
  • Mount on appear – which mounts a share once a server becomes available in the network (optional)
  • Mount on Network change – when changing network, ConnectMeNow will try to find your server automatically
  • Improved support for NFS and SSH

This version includes all change and updates found in the beta versions (3.0.6 build 146).

You can find the new version in the original “ConnectMeNow v3 – Mount Network Shares Quick and Easy on a Mac”  article.

Trim, Crop and Rotate Video with Handbrake

Trim, Crop and Rotate Video with Handbrake
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These days where everybody is recording video with their smartphone, we occasionally run into the issue that the video needs to be rotated, and sometimes trimmed or cropped as well.

This all sounds pretty complicated, but with Handbrake (free – available for Windows, Linux and macOS), this is not all that hard to accomplish.

In this article: how to Trim, Crop and/or Rotate your videos.

Getting started with the ESP8266 as an Arduino replacement

Getting started with the ESP8266 as an Arduino replacement
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In this article, I’ll show you how I did get started with an ESP8266, as a replacement for an Arduino, and they are dirt cheap!

The ESP8266, appears to have been sold as a shield for an Arduino, to provide WiFi functionality to an Arduino. Pretty cool!
But what is even cooler: For most applications you do not even need an Arduino, as the ESP8266 can run as a standalone microcontroller with WiFi on board, and is even more capable than most Arduinos.

This may sound odd, but after my first experiences with the ESP8266;
I’m beginning to wonder how often I’ll be using my Arduino Uno in the future. The little ESP8266 is so cool, faster, more powerful, and has more memory, at a ridiculous price of about $5. And all this in a smaller package with WiFi included!

VR Tips and tricks

VR Tips and tricks
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After having had an Oculus Rift, and now an Oculus Quest, I’ve collected a few tips and tricks for playing in VR, which I’d like to share with others.
These are the tips and tricks I use for myself, but also when introducing folks to VR, so hopefully these tricks are useful for you as well …

Note : Even though this article is mostly based on the Oculus Quest, most of these tips and tricks will also apply to VR headsets from other brands.

Note : To show friends and family all about VR, I have dragged my HMDs (VR headsets) all over the place, even to different continents.
Especially the Oculus Quest is very suitable for carrying it around, since the Quest is just so easy to get started. Just put the Quest on your face, switch it on, and you’re good to go.
(unlike some other HMDs where you need to setup base-stations first, which takes a bit of time and aggravation)

Screenshots in SteamVR with your VR Controller (Oculus Quest)

Screenshots in SteamVR with your VR Controller (Oculus Quest)
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One thing that has disappointed me, in VR in general, is how poorly applications and games seem to handle taking screenshots.
The user either has to jump through several hoops to get a mediocre screenshot, or the user has to blindly figure out where the heck his or her keyboard it, in order to press the screenshot button. Quite a poor user experience if you ask me.

The annoyance became even worse when I got Half-Life: Alyx (highly recommend it for VR players!) where I wanted to share screenshots of funny things I found or did in the game.

In this article, geared towards to Oculus Quest, I’ll show you how I managed to get SteamVR (!) managed to bind taking a screenshot, to long pressing the Joystick in the Left Controller of my Oculus Quest – anywhere in the game (or anywhere in SteamVR for that matter).

Note: This is a tweak/setting for SteamVR!
– it will very likely work with other SteamVR compatible HMD’s as well (eg. Valve Index, Oculus Rift, HTV Vive, etc, etc).
– but it will not work for  Oculus Quest native VR games – only for games and applications running in SteamVR.
– this is originally intended for use with the Oculus Quest since the standard method conflicts with assigned button functions.

This trick makes use of the excellent VR companion for SteamVR users: OpenVR-AdvancedSettings, a must have for all SteamVR users.

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