Category Archives: Reviews

Avoiding weird characters on Twitch Exports

Twitch allows for very convenient exports of past broadcasts and highlights to your connected YouTube channel: In the Video Producer, click on the little three-dot icon next to a video, the select Export. Moments later the video, including its title and description should be on YouTube. It’s rad!

Sadly though, doing this will introduce rather strange characters caused by Twitch’s use of Markdown. Links for example are converted into Markdown, and extraneous hashes and such things are littered around the description as a result. The same goes for apostrophes and other special characters, they’re all destroyed with ampersands and semicolons. YouTube at its end sees this as plain text and leaves things as they are – much to my dismay.

The good news is, I’ve found a way to avoid this issue:

Instead of using this export dialogue, choose to Edit your video instead. This will bring up a different context dialogue, letting you change the thumbnail, description and title. As you would expect, you can edit the description without Markdown conversion, so no schlnoz characters will show up. That’s nice!

Now select the Export option from there, and your video will show up on YouTube WITHOUT those characters. Catastrophe averted 🙂

Flaky with a Capitol F: My Elgato HD 60 Pro review

I wanted a top quality capture solution for my PS3 and PS4 consoles, something that would last a few years and that I could use for high-quality HDMI capture of other devices too. I’ve had a cheap USB solution before and as you can imagine, the quality just wasn’t great. I finally bit the bullet and purchased an ELGATO HD60 Pro. This is a PCI-e card with a dedicated video encoder, HDMI in and out, and from what the sales brochure tells you, it’s the proverbial Dog’s Bollocks. I’ve had it for several months now and can give you some impressions.

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MAHDI M9 Plus – MP3 player Review

It’s hard to believe, but there’s a regular no-frills non-WiFI MP3 player available in this day and age! Can you believe it? When I read about this I wanted to take a closer look at the MAHDI M9 Plus MP3 player gadget. Here are my thoughts on this thing.

It’s very small and lightweight, about the size of an iPod Nano, which has been discontinued since 2017. If you’ve been looking for a replacement for yours, or always wanted one, then this device might be a good fit for you.

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How to open bookmarks in new tabs in Firefox

I don’t often use Bookmarks in Firefox, but when I do, I’m used to those opening in new tabs rather than get rid of what I’m currently browsing. Perhaps that worked in the nineties, but I wanted a different default behaviour.

Turns out we can make that happen! Let me show you how to do it.

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Jelly Comb Foldable Bluetooth Keyboard Review

If you’re like me and do a lot of writing on the move, you’ve probably often wished for a super compact travel keyboard that can go anywhere with you. While I’ve tried many, they’re often just toys and not real keyboards. Using those is often less efficient than just using an on-creep keyboard. 

Then I discovered this Jelly Comb Travel Keyboard. It folds in half in the centre, it’s super small when folded, has a rugged leather feel to the outside and it’s extremely light. When folded out, it reveals a full-sized QUERTY keyboard with all the additional function keys of its desktop counterpart. Let me tell you more about my experiences.

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Yemo YM-11 USB-C Hub Adapter Dock Review

I bough this little device for my wife’s Acer Chromebook. It’s her work laptop, and she uses it with an external monitor. The Chromebook only has one USB 3 port and she frequently needs more than that, for anything from memory card readers to other external devices.

She has to connect and disconnect about three cables to the Chromebook every day. This is tiresome and those laptop ports only last so long before they fail when used too often. I was interested in a tidy solution to the whole mess of cables and found this neat Yemo USB-C Hub, Model YM-11.

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Bammax BMBM01 Security Smart Camera Review

My friend Jason bought this camera for his apartment, to keep an eye on his dog Benny when he’s at work in the office. It was so impressive I had to have one myself: it’s the Bammax BMBM01 Smart Camera. This thing is way more than a security camera. It’s a two-way walkie talkie, great as a baby or pet monitor for real time interaction, or to see what’s in your kitchen cupboard. Here are my impressions.

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Shoosh, Jetpack!

I wrote a new plugin based on code by Matt Medeiro that I’ve mentioned in a previous article. This is a super quick solution to get rid of any and all Jetpack Nags at the top of your Admin Interface.

I was working on a site that didn’t have a Child Theme, so it wasn’t easy for me to add that one-liner anywhere. The easiest way was indeed to wrap this up in its own little plugin, so now it’s as simple as

  • downloading the repo from GitHub
  • uploading the ZIP to the website in question
  • and activating the plugin

That’s it! There are no settings or admin interfaces to deal with. Once activated, those Jetpack messages simply disappear.

Enjoy. Because Less is More 🙂

Phicool iPhone Storage USB Stick Review

My friend Sven told me about these types of devices that can interchange data with your mobile device and essentially extend storage. He teaches music and has a large sheet music library that does not comfortably fit into his iPad Mini. These things used to be so expensive. I wanted to try one for my own needs and found this Phicool model and thought an additional 128GB would come in handy. I’m glad I tried it.

The device is size of a wide memory stick, about the size of a mini BIC lighter. There’s a small slider in the middle of the device: press and slide up to reveal the Apple Lightning port, or a full-sized USB port at the other end. The latter can flip up to reveal a micro USB port. Slide it in the middle and both ports are protected on the inside of the stick. Exchanging data is very easy, I’ll talk more about it below.

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Lanniu HS910 Neck Speaker Review

I saw Techmoan review several of these neck speakers a while ago. Up until then I had never heard of this type of listening device, but as he explained what they were all about, I was intrigued to try one out. I like the idea of listening to music without having earbuds in my ears, while not annoying those around me too much. Usually such devices easily cost over $100 and more. This LANNIU HS910 seemed to tick all the boxes without breaking the bank at under $50.

The sound quality of the speakers is OK, and the volume is remarkable when worn around your neck. While you can hear things perfectly, a person next to or across the room from you can barely hear what you’re listening to. There’s also the natural experience of speaking while not wearing anything in your ears. These neck speakers are practical when you want to hear the world around you plus music, but still want to participate in conversations. You can still be aware of traffic – unlike with some headphones. What a concept! 

The device is a combination of a bluetooth speaker/microphone unit, but it also has its own internal 8GB of memory for MP3 storage. Hence it is not strictly necessary to use it with a mobile device and can be used standalone. To use it that way, connect it with the included Micro USB cable to a computer (Windows or Mac) and drag over some MP3 files. They start playing automatically and immediately when the unit is turned on. Internal memory mode is the default when the unit is switched on, and when no other files are present, a variety of genuinely ghastly music is played for a few beats. I recommend adding an MP3 file with silence to stop this from happening.

To enable bluetooth mode, the unit needs to be paired first. Thankfully that’s very easy: pick HS910 from the list of devices on your favourite bluetooth host and you’re connected. Oddly enough, it is necessary to switch to bluetooth mode explicitly on the device by holding down the little key with two arrows, otherwise you’ll stay on internal MP3 mode. I wish it was the other way round.

Several controls on the device let you change the volume (long-press on the plus/minus icon to do this), summon Siri, answer/reject calls and switch music playback modes. During phone calls, I can hear the other party fine and they can hear me, but the quality isn’t as good as using wired headphones (it sounds like limited frequencies, or in other words, a telephone from the 1960ies). The software could do with an update or a re-think: when I made a call and ended it, the device immediately started playing my MP3 file although it was still connected to my phone via bluetooth. It’s sometimes difficult to convince the HS910 to stop playing MP3s and play Spotify instead. Perhaps I haven’t worked out how to do it, or perhaps it’s a little unintuitive.

On the whole I like the idea of this device. It sounds good, it’s a new idea of listening to music, it’s lightweight and doesn’t move when I’m wearing it. I am however a little disappointed with how the internal MP3 function gets in the way of the bluetooth control I have from my phone. I wish they had made it a little easier.