Live Schedule (2019)

Since the beginning of this year, I’ve started doing regular live streams on YouTube.

Here’s the current schedule:

3D Shenanigans

  • Fridays at 4pm EST (9pm UK / 10pm Europe)

It’s about workflow, scene building and various other 3D tips and tricks. I’musing DAZ Studio, Blender, Marvelous Designer, Photoshop and related apps to build something. Feel free to submit questions and suggestions, and join the chat to get involved.

Watch past episodes here.

Subnautica Saturday

  • Saturdays at 4pm EST (9pm UK / 10pm Europe)

This is hang time after a hard week’s worth of work. Let me be your tour guide on planet 4546B and watch the mesmerising story of SUBNAUTICA unfold. We’ll watch some stunning realtime graphics while talking about anything from workflows to graphics cards to tax returns.

Watch past episodes here.

Tune in on YouTube if you’re free 😎

How to change your user name on Mixer

Although we can use a Microsoft ID to login to Mixer.com, when we do so for the first time, the system assigns a random (rather funny) user name to us. It’s usually not what you want to be called in the chat.

Thankfully there’s an easy way to change this, and here’s how.

Click on that little icon at the top. It’s usually a little blue man icon (I’ve already changed mine). This opens up a menu, at the bottom of which you find an Account option. Click that.

Now you’ll be presented with a number of boxes, one of which will be the Change Username box. It’s not that obvious, but after entering your new name, you have to click on the white change username instruction – which turns out to be a button. It’s vital that you click it.

To make your changes take immediately, you’ll have to logout of Mixer, then log back in. As soon as you do, your new user name will appear in the chat.

How to reactivate Easy YouTube Video Downloader for Firefox

There’s a really useful Firefox plugin called the Easy YouTube Video Downloader by Dishita. Here’s the direct link on the Firefox Add-Ons Directory. Once installed, it allows you to download MP4 and MP3 versions of any video on YouTube. That’s super handy if one my streams is not recorded properly at my end. Let me tell you, it’s always good to have a local backup of things!

With the free version we can download MP3 files in 128Kbps and MP4 files in 720p. Higher resolutions are available with the Pro Version, for which you can make a voluntary donation. It’ll work immediately after you’ve made a payment, by clicking a link provided to you via email.

Trouble is, every once in a while (usually after a Firefox update), the Pro Version reverts back to the Free Version, and you’re stuck without all your paid for Pro Features. How do we get them back without paying again?

I’ve just found out – and I thought I’d remind us all how this works.

Continue reading How to reactivate Easy YouTube Video Downloader for Firefox

Where is Stream Deck profile data saved

I wanted to move my Stream Deck Profile Data over to another machine. I had previously setup several shortcuts and actions and wanted to sue the same setup on another system.

Turns out Elgato’s Stream Deck software saves such data in a similar location as OBS Studio does. Here’s the full path:

Windows

On Windows 10, you’ll find those files in the following location. For this example, imagine your user name is “you” and replace it with your correct one.

  • C:\Users\you\AppData\Roaming\Elgato\StreamDeck

macOS

On macOS, you’ll find those files in the following location:

  • ~/Library/Application Support/Elgato/StreamDeck

The Tilde Symbol means “your home folder”. If my user name was “you”, then the full path to the OBS Settings would be

  • /Users/you/Library/Application Support/Elgato/StreamDeck

Note that for either profile to work on another system, make sure all applications and their respective settings are also replicated. For example, if you’re switching OBS Studio scenes with your Stream Deck, both OBS Studio and the scenes/collections need to be configured the same was as before.

Windows does not recognise new CPU – SOLVED!

I acquired a new HP Z600 Workstation from eBay recently. I was thrilled to get a unit in such condition for such a good price. It was equipped with a single (and relatively slow) E5605 Xeon processor, but the motherboard supports two Xeons by default. So I bought a pair of faster hexacore X5675 Xeons and made my new Z600 even better.

Before I did so, I decided to install Windows 10 to see if the unit was working as expected – which thankfully it did. After Windows had updated itself several times, I decided to replace the CPUs and check if the BIOS was happy with the new processors. It was, showing them correctly before Windows booted.

However, after Windows had loaded, all I saw in the Device Manager was a single CPU, namely the slower E5605. What was going on? Why was Windows not recognising the new dual-CPU setup that I clearly had?

Turns out this can happen sometimes when a CPU is replaced with a very similar model. In essence, to Windows it looks the same, and the correct procedure for updating the hardware is not triggered. Thankfully there is a manual way to do this:

  • in Device Manager, head over to Processors
  • select each logical processor (the “old and incorrect” one in the list)
  • hit delete to remove each and every one
  • restart Windows

When Windows loads, it will see that it should have some processors installed, and will call the correct update procedure – usually resulting in the correct CPU detection. This is actually a tip from the Microsoft Support Website, but it does not specifically give these instructions for Windows 10.

Turns out that Windows 10 will also detect the new CPU(s) correctly when a major update is being installed. In my case, before I had a chance to delete the processors, Windows had updated from the 1607 to the 1803 build.

How Quality Options work in YouTube, Twitch and Mixer streams

When we watch a video online, we usually get an option to pick a quality/resolution at the bottom right of the player. It’s often represented by a little gear icon that lets us choose either “auto” or a specific format like 480p or 720p.

But when we watch a live stream, those options might vary or be completely absent.

In this article I’ll discuss why that is and how different services deal with Quality Options in Live Streams.

Continue reading How Quality Options work in YouTube, Twitch and Mixer streams

How to exchange data from PHP to JavaScript in WordPress

I was involved in writing a small plugin project last week, for which I found myself reading a database value from WordPress (in PHP) that I wanted to use in JavaScript. I don’t do much in JavaScript and it had occurred to me that I had no idea how I should exchange the data.

After some digging I found several posts on this subject, and I found the most straightforward one was by Toby Osbourn. He made me aware of the wp_localize_script() function and gives a brief example. Thanks, Toby!

The function is designed to over localised values for strings to anything that’s printed via JavaScript, but it can really be used for any data we may need. Here’s how I did it:

The PHP Part

This looks more complex than it is, so let’s break it down line by line. Our function is called via the last line here, hooking in to when WordPress calls the footer. The purpose of our function is to insert a bit of jQuery code on the front page, so we’ll begin by making sure that this doesn’t happen when we’re in the Admin Interface. If that’s the case, we’ll simply return without doing anything.

Next step is to initialise jQuery – that’s only necessary if we’re actually using jQuery, so feel free to leave that bit out if you’re so inclined. On this note, WordPress 5.1 only ships with jQuery 1.2.x (no longer supported).

Then it’s time to initialise our own script. In my plugin I have a separate file for that, which is why I’m reading its full path into a variable first ($elv_vanish). To get that full path, the plugins_url() function helps.

Now comes the interesting part: we’re creating an array with two values (random_value and elv_class) and populate them with data. Note the names of the variables in the array, we’ll be able to access exactly those values in JavaScript in a moment. To “transfer” the data, we’ll call wp_localize_script() with three parameters:

  • the name of our own script (elv_vanish in my case)
  • the PHP array we’ve created (elv_data)
  • and a variable we’d like to use in JavaScript ($elv_data to make it easy for my tired brain to remember)

That’s all we need to do in PHP. We’re using an array by the way to enable us to transfer more than a single value. You could use a single variable instead of an array, but an array makes it easy to add values as your project matures.

The JavaScript Part

In order to access our values, we now have an array to play with – namely $elv_data. JavaScript supports dot notation, so any of our PHP array values can be accessed using $elv_data.random_value and $elv_data.elv_class.

It’s super easy – and very exciting I must add 🙂

Further Reading

How to find your Followers on Twitch

Twitch is a little weird in that it doesn’t provide a menu accessible link to a list of your current followers (as of April 2019). After all, if you’ve had a nice conversation with somebody, and you’d like to see when they’re live next, you may want to follow a follower.

Thankfully though, there’s a quick URL hack that’ll show us just the same. Amend this:

where user is your user name. You may need to be logged in for this list to come up properly. For example, you can see who’s following me on Twitch like this:

Hope this helps!

How to connect from your Mac to your Windows 10 Computer

Networking sucks, particularly when Windows is involved. I’m not actually sure why, but I guess it has to do with the fact that deep down, manufacturers and software developer really don’t want us to connect arbitrary devices to suit our needs. It’s just a fact of technological survival I guess.

I’ve recently re-installed Windows on my desktop, and now my Mac cannot connect to Windows anymore. I had to set this up again from scratch. While I remember how to do it, here’s how it (once) worked for me:

Continue reading How to connect from your Mac to your Windows 10 Computer

How to use a PS4 Controller on your PS3

Even after so many years of use, I still love my Playstation 3. I can’t imagine a life without it. As such, I get nervous thinking about the fact that native PS3 Controllers are no longer in production. What happens when my ever so slightly worn out two controllers give up? How will I play my favourite platform games?

Thankfully, Sony made it possible since software version 4.6 to use the newer Playstation 4 controllers on our Playstation 3 systems. Those are available in great numbers and colours, and from what I hear, they even have the same batteries inside as the PS3 controllers did.

Here’s how to pair a PS4 controller on your PS3 console:

  • switch you the PS3 console using a regular PS3 controller (attached or wireless, doesn’t matter)
  • head over to Settings – Accessory Settings
  • select Manage Bluetooth Devices
  • choose Register New Device (the button at the bottom)
  • on your PS4 controller, press and hold the PS and Share buttons together for a couple of seconds, until the light starts to flash
  • select it from the list when your PS3 console finds the controller

And that’s it! Now you can use your PS4 controller with your PS3 console. How cool is that? Now you can use a brand new controller on your old console, or play that multiplayer game you’ve never had a second controller for.

What works and what doesn’t

There’s a small caveat to this setup though: some things don’t work quite as expected. Thankfully that’s not during gameplay, at least I haven’t noticed anything detrimental yet on native PS3 games. Nevertheless, here’s a quick list of idiosyncrasies I’ve spotted:

  • you can turn the PS3 console on using the PS button on the PS4 controller (great!)
  • during gameplay, you cannot use the PS button to bring up the context menu and either quit the game, or turn off the console (not so great)
  • once paired with the PS3 console, the PS4 controller will no longer be paired to your PS4 console
  • even though no longer paired, the PS4 controller still manages to switch on BOTH the PS3 and the PS4 (that’s terrible)

This setup does not work for native PS2 games, like those you’ve bought before they were remastered, such as the GTA series. That’s because in emulation mode, the PS3 restarts and the controller needs to be re-connected, ignoring generic Bluetooth devices (such as the PS4 controller).

Reassigning Controllers

Right after pairing your PS4 controller for the first time, it’ll be dedicated as the next available controller slot. Since you need a regular controller to set it up, it’s likely to be Controller #2. That may not work for some games.

To adjust this, head over to the Settings – Accessory Settings – Reassign Controllers. You can pick which controller number you’d like the current controller to be. Choose 1 for most games.

Hope this helps!