Yearly Archives: 2018

Plans for 2019 (and a Happy New Year)

I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and in 2019 I want to make it a reality: Regular Live Streams!

My idea is to do two types of streams:

Creative live streams, much like what I’ve been doing as fully proudced videos on a regular schedule. I’m thinking perhaps FRIDAYS at 10AM EST (that’s 4PM in the UK, 5PM in Europe and 2AM in Sydney) – let me know what you think. These will cover creative softwares like DAZ Studio, Photoshop, Marvelous Designer, Blender, Carrara, along those lines. Those solitary computer tasks, with the benefit of live interaction through chat.

The other type of stream is video gaming. Those are happening in addition, no regular schedule, and they’re more about hanging out and having a chat. It’s a great place to ask questions and get answers from me. At the same time, we’ll have a look at a video game and think about how it was built by the developers (as well as seeing how to play it).

I’m elaborating more about this idea on my other channel in Plans for Live Streaming.

See you soon 🙂

PS: Have a wonderful 2019 everybody!!!

Creating a Podcast Feed with WordPress and PowerPress – Part 2

In this episode I’ll show you how to configure our Podcast Category with the relevant settings that are necessary for the feed to have meaningful content. I’ll talk about every single tab, including the Feed Description, specific Apple iTunes and Google Settings, how to add artwork and how to preview the feed.

How to split a ZIP file into multiple parts on macOS and Linux

ZIP files can get quite large, depending on the amount of data we’re ZIPping up there. Having one huge file may not always be desirable, for example when making hard copies onto disk or tape media, or when upload limitations force the use of smaller files.

Thankfully, the clever little ZIP utility has a handy function that can split our archive into smaller chunks for later re-assembly. Here’s how it works:

This will create an archive of all files and subfolders in myfiles, creating a new file every 200MiB (about 10% more than 200MB). We can use K, G and T respectively (for KiB, GiB and TiB, all of which are 10% more than kilobyte, gigabyte and terabyte).

To clarify, the s switch will specify the size of each file, while the -r switch tells ZIP to do this operation recursively.

As a result, we’ll see a list of files like this:

To extract any or all of our files again, we can use the UNZIP utility. All we need to do now is to treat archive.zip as our main file and let UNZIP handle the rest. It will understand that all z** files are part of the multivolume archive. For example:

will list all files contained in our archive, not matter which files they’re physically contained in.

Should any of the volume files be missing or damaged, none of the archive can be read as far as I know. Make sure you leave them all in place and don’t try to open them by itself.

How to remove files from ZIP Archives in macOS and Linux

When ZIP up directories, particularly on macOS, some files may find their way into our ZIP archives that were never meant to be there. I’m thinking of those pesky .DS_Store and __MACOSX files, maybe even .htaccess files. For *nix based systems, * really means “everything”.

The ZIP command line tool let us remove such unwanted files from an existing archive. Here’s how:

The -d switch tells ZIP to hunt for and delete the unwanted files. Files whose names contain spaces can be defined in “regular quotes”, and the * asterisk can be used as usual.

For example, to remove all DS_Store files and __MACOSX files, we can use this:

To verify that such idiosyncrasies have indeed been removed from a ZIP archive before we release it into the wide, we can check with the UNZIP utility:

This will simply list the contents of your-archive.zip without actually extracting it.

How to add files to an existing ZIP Archive on macOS and Linux

Sometimes it’s easy to delete a ZIP file and create a new one – say you’ve forgotten to include a file. Just drag it into the folder to be ZIPped up and start again.

However, the clever little ZIP command line tool has a built-in ability to simply add a file to an existing archive without us having to do any manual grunt work. That can come in handy when we no longer have access to existing unZIPped content.

Here’s how it works:

We can even add entire directories this way too, like so:

This will recursively add all files (indulging hidden and annoying ones) to our file.

Note that ZIP accomplishes this by temporarily extracting all files before creating a new archive for is (while deleting our original file). So in essence, the tools is doing what we’d do manually, just more conveniently and in the background without bothering us.

How to use the GoPro Microphone Adapter for HERO 5/6/7 Black

Audio is one of the most aspects of the videos I record with my GoPro. I wanted to get this because I record videos when I’m riding my bike and tell stories while I do. You can check them out on my other YouTube channel, and on the Super Survivor Podcast.

Before buying this adapter, I recorded a separate audio feed on my iPhone, which was additional faff I could do without. When I received a spontaneous 30% discount for accessories on the GoPro website, I bought this adapter – and was pleasantly surprised. I too had read the many bad reviews this gadget got, and I thought I’d give you my two cents on the matter.

What people dislike about the adapter

In essence, what people are commonly bemoaning is the fact that this thing is so big and bulky, and that it’s so expensive (about $50, which is a tad hefty indeed). I do agree with both of these complaints, but let me tell you that the size isn’t actually a game changer – at least not in the way that I’m using it.

From what I understand, this external box is so big because the GoPro HERO 5 and above no longer have an A/D converter built in, a component that converts the analogue audio from a microphone to digital data so it can be recorded. The HERO 4 and before had this integrated, so a simple 3.5mm to USB adapter could record audio.

One of the drawbacks of using the built-in system though was that the GoPro HERO 4 could not be powered externally while a microphone was plugged in. So with this adapter, I guess the company made the decision to not only separate the components out, but also add a functionality to use an external mic AND let the GoPro be charged/powered at the same time. That’s fantastic news for longer recording sessions that would exceed one full internal battery charge.

What I like about the adapter

While many dislike this approach, I actually welcome it. For interviews with separate mics this is great news. Due to the fact that the GoPro is a very power hungry puppy, longer recording sessions do need frequent battery changes – or the ability to be powered externally. This adaptor makes that happen.

The adapter is built very rugged and sturdy, it has a rubberised design with no gaps or openings. If it wasn’t for the actual sockets, it almost feels waterproof.

It has one USB-C output that attaches to the GoPro HERO 5/6/7 either way around, so the gadget will point flat up or down with its angled connector (see my video for details). That way, I find a cable does not interfere with the lens, which is important.

How to use this thing

There is no manual that comes in the box. This means some explanations are in order as to how this thing actually works. Here’s what I’ve found out after a few weeks of use and several tests.

As soon as you attach it, a new menu becomes available in the GoPro, namely under Preferences – Audio Input. You get there by swiping down from the top of the screen, select Preferences, then scroll all the way down until you reach the I/O section. Select Audio Input (which usually reads N/A) and find 5 new settings that tell the GoPro how to use the attached microphone.

Note that this menu does not unlock with inferior non-GoPro adapters, as suggested in some of the reviews.

The settings let you choose to connect the following microphones:

  • Standard Mic (regular 3.5mm non-powered mic)
  • Standard Mic+ (same as above, but boosts audio by 20dB)
  • Powered Mic (for active mics in need of Plug-In Power)
  • Powered Mic+ (same as before, but boosts audio by 20dB)
  • Line In (for audio equipment that does not need microphone pre-amplification)

The GoPro will remember your last setting, so it’s enough to simply attach the adapter again and your last choice to be active immediately. That’s a nice touch too. My ZAFFIRO Lapel Mic works great with the Standard mic setting.

You need a regular TRS input, NOT a TRRS input

One super important thing that I’ve not read about anywhere else: you MUST use a 3.5mm TRS input for this thing to work. TRRS connectors WILL NOT WORK. It would have been nice to know about this, I nearly returned mine after testing several mics and didn’t make the connection.

So a TRS connector is one for regular stereo headphones (as in one Tip, one Ring and one… I don’t know ground or whatever S stands for). Whereas a TRRS connector is the one found on most smartphone headsets, one Tip, two Rings and one bit at the bottom. If you have a TRRS connector you’d like to use with this GoPro adapter, you need to use a converter for the sound to be picked up. This is especially important when connecting audio equipment.

Audio Quality

From what I can tell, the audio quality sounds great with this thing – apart from the fact that by design, audio appears to be recorded 4 frames late by the GoPro (I’ve worked in television for over 20 years… I can’t help but notice such things). I wish GoPro would add an audio shift feature to the firmware of their cameras, or – dare I suggest it – care about audio sync more than increasing frame rates every year.

If you care about the audio you record with your GoPro and want to use external equipment to do so, this adapter is a must – unless you’re happy to record a separate feed. Speaking of which, if you do need a separate audio file in addition to what’s embedded in the video file, in the GoPro’s ProTune settings you can enable RAW audio. This will record an uncompressed WAV file alongside your video file.

I haven’t regretted the purchase, I don’t mind about the size – all I care about is that it works. I recommend this product for audio enthusiasts.

Buy the GoPro Adapter

Here are some links to get hold of this gadget on Amazon. I get a small commission if you buy via these links (if Amazon feels like it… which is not very often):

How to make turn URLs into clickable links in the_content()

The P2 theme has a nice feature built-in: the ability to turn URLs into clickable links on the fly. It does this by using a WordPress built-in function called make_clickable().

Here’s how we can use this function to make this feature available to any theme.

The above code, once inserted into your child theme’s functions.php file, will take the_content(), pass it to the make_clickable() function, and then return it before it’s printed on the screen.

The advantage of using it this way is that no content in the database is modified, and it’s easy to remove this feature when it’s not needed anymore. Feel free to add conditions depending on categories or other factors (you could check if the string “http” is present in the_content(), or only do this with .com endings, etc).

Learn more about this function here: https://codex.wordpress.org/Function_Reference/make_clickable

Creating a Podcast Feed with WordPress and PowerPress – Part 1

In this episode I’ll show you how to add podcasting capabilities to your WordPress website, using the Blubrry PowerPress plugin. I’ll explain the concepts and inner workings of a Podcast Feed, how it can be read by podcast directors and readers alike, and talk you through the installation of the plugin.

For this example, I will setup Category Podcasting on my website https://supersurvivor.tv, which will allow me to host more than one Podcast Feed from the site.

How to enable the Author Bio Box in TwentyThirteen

The TwentyThirteen theme has a built-in option to display an Author Bio Box underneath each post. It’s nicely formatted and can be implemented very easily – if only their authors would mention that this feature even exists, let alone how to activate it.

To understand how it works, we need to take a peek at the content.php file in the theme. Around line 70 we see three conditions that need to be met for the box to show up:

  • is_single() – the post needs to be a single post, not a page
  • get_author_meta(‘description’) – in your WordPress Profile, some text needs to be present in the description box
  • is_multi_author() – more than one author must be present on this WordPress installation

This means that on regular multi-user WordPress sites, TwentyThirteen will display the Bio Box automatically underneath regular posts. To make this happen on sidle-user sites, it is enough to create a second dummy user – on some installations at least. In my tests this doesn’t work reliably though (don’t ask me why – I’m just the messenger).

To make this work regardless of which mood WordPress appears to be in, we can also tweak this line and remove the third (multi-user check) condition like this:

Now we’ll see the Author Bio Box for single users as well!

Note however that there’s one more bit of inappropriateness that we may want to remove, namely a link to “all posts by this author”. That line just ruins everything for me. Not to worry, we can take care of this in a file called author-bio.php.

Towards the end at around line 30 we’ll see that this line and link is printed with a printf() statement. Comment it out and that link is gone.

Demo Theme

For a fully working demo with many other bells and whistles, check out two of my tweaked child themes on GitHub. They both have the above implementation:

Thanks to the suggestions in this forum post

How to bring up the Emoji Keyboard on macOS

We all love Emojis, and it’s so super easy to insert them from an iOS keyboard. I do this frequently in messages. It stands to reason that it should be just as simple to do this on laptops and desktop Macs too – but how? Isn’t there some kind of shortcut we can use?

Well yes there is – I just keep forgetting which one it is ? so here it is:

CTRL + CMD (OPTION) + SPACE

This handy combination brings up an Emoji Picker. Find the icon you like, click on it, and the dialogue automatically closes again after it inserts your Emoji.