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Topics - Ampa [ switch to compact view ]

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NOTE: I no longer have the SSD - I sold this device several years back

A while back I picked up an 128gb SSD off ebay for £5 - I knew that there may be something odd about it, or that it may not work at all but figured it was worth the punt.

It was recovered from a Lenovo Ideapad U300s Ultrabook and has a non-standard connector.

In order to use it in my desktop I would need to convert the connector to standard SATA - is there any hope of doing this? What would I need?

The SSD itself is just a small PCB wrapped in tape.
It has stickers with various serial / model numbers...
11534497 - 436

There is a flat ribbon cable, again wrapped in a sticky tape, with a tiny plastic connector at each end (I don't recognise it as any standard connector).
It has a label...
P/N: 1414-06GV000
Wanshih 2012/03/13

The ribbon cable contains 14 tiny copper wires, of which 4 have a red tinted colour.

The connector has 20 tiny pins.

Thanks for any pointers :)

DC Gamer Club / Groupees Retro Bundle
« on: April 05, 2013, 05:26 PM »
The latest Groupees bundle "Retro" is live for the next 5 days.

Contents will grow over time as more bundles purchased - at present for minimum of $3 you get…

Dead Pixels (Steam)
Smooth Operators: Call Center Chaos (Desura)
Forceline (Desura)
Sylia - Act 1
Anodyne (Steam + OST)
Love+ (Desura)
8-bit Commando (Desura)
Bleed (Desura)

Next game to be added = Tiny Plumbers

Hey DCers,

I'm looking for an information manager in which to record health information such as temperature, diet, weight, mood, symptoms etc.

I know such things exist for specific conditions (eg Depression) but I'd rather use something generic that allows me to define the fields I'm interested in, and to specify them as check boxes, combo drop downs, multiple choice lists, free text, numeric etc.

I know that I could roll my own in a database such as MySQL or Access but that feels like overkill, and would involve building everything from scratch.

After a month or two of recording I'd like to output and analyse in Excel / Matlab.

My Google-fu has deserted me and I've not found the ideal piece of software yet - any thoughts?
Should be Windows based, ideally for free (or donation).

Thanks for any suggestions.

For months I've experienced this issue and never found an answer: so time to ask the DC community!

When many games try to go fullscreen both of my dual screens go black and the system freezes.

I can't hit escape, alt+tab, win+tab, ctrl+alt+del, win+pause/break, win+d

The only way to get out of this situation is to hit the power or reset button and reboot.

A few examples…

Games that run just fine
All games in my Steam library
Batman Arkham Asylum
Civ V

Games that black screen
Flight Control HD
Gatling Gears
Master of Alchemy
Super Hexagon

I can see no connection between those games that work and those that don't.
One way to get around the issue is to run offending games in a window, and if they don't offer that option to run them in a sandbox (such as the Comodo Firewall sandbox or SandIE) which forces them into a window.

Gfx Driver: Catalyst 13.1
Gfx Card: Radeon HD5770
Screen Res: 1280x1024 both screens.
OS: Win7 x64

Does anyone have any thoughts about what is going on? The situation is driving me mad!


Hello DCers,

I am days away from going on tour with a theatre production that involves sound and video playback and have yet to find the ideal software with which to cue the show.

What I need…

  • PC software with low system requirements that will run on a basic laptop.
  • Is fast and stable.
  • Ideally freeware, or at least inexpensive.
  • Plays wav files.
  • Plays h264 video files.
  • Has a playlist of files.
  • Pauses after playing each track until a key is pressed to advance to the next item.

It is this final requirement that is the biggest stumbling block.

I have used xmPlay for this purpose in the past, but it only handles audio NOT video, so is no good this time around.

Any pointers? Thanks.

As of around 9pm GMT is redirecting me to

All browsers, all computers in the house.

This has buggered up my address bar search in Opera.

Has this happened to everyone in the UK?
Just those on TalkTalk?
Or just me!

I did a Google (other search engines are available) and it looks like code highlighting and completion of AHK in Notepad++ is a mess!

Various xml language files floating around, but nothing official.

A lexer plugin that hasn't worked since Notepad++ 5.7 (current version 6.1.2)

Please someone tell me that a neat solution exists?
 Or do I have to use a different app to write AHK scripts?

Living Room / Seeking: Customised playlist for video promo
« on: April 24, 2012, 04:28 PM »
My partner has filmed a video promo for her forthcoming theatre show.

She wants to insert a customised piece of footage personalised to each recipient such that the final presentation will play as...

General Intro >> Personalised Greeting >> Main Movie

She could of course render out 80 versions of the video, upload them individually and send urls to each recipient, but since 2 of the 3 chunks of video are fixed this seems very wasteful!

Can anyone suggest a tool / website / clever hack that would bolt the 3 bits of video together when the recipient clicks a custom URL?

Yet another 'indie' bundle - some big names in this one...

Hothead Games - The Baconing (PC + MAC Steam only)
Beatnik Games - Plain Sight (PC Steam only)
Cold Beam Games - Beat Hazard (PC + MAC Steam + Download)
Playbrains - Madballs in Babo: Invasion (PC + MAC Steam only)
Cadenza - Sol Survivor (PC Steam + Download)

Pay $10 and you also get... Tripwire Interactive - The Killing Floor

Plus various other DLC, comics, graphic novels, music etc.

PLUS if a few more folks buy you'll be getting a 7th game - Scratches

Be Mine 2 from

I've been toying with Python for a few days now, and generally I'd say it is the sort of language that I am interested in learning, but there are certain issues that I'm struggling with...

1) I am running Win7 x64 - does that mean I should be running Python x64?
I assume that it means I have the option of running the 64bit version, but that I could opt for the 32bit if there were a good reason to do so.
I understand that a 64bit version will allow me to access more memory, but I don't think that will be an issue with the trivial programs that I am likely to write.

So are there any other advantages, and are there disadvantages of 64bit?

2) Initially I opted to use Python3 - since I am not tied to Python2 I figured "why not use the current / latest version". However it seems that most tutorials are tailored to Python2 and that certain libraries are not compatible with 3 (eg. PyGame)

Would I be advised to install Python2 for now and update in the future when everyone else does the same?!

3) Being a Windows user I am used to GUIs rather than CLIs. So far I've not found a package / library / egg manager with a graphical interface - does such a thing exist?

And on that subject - argh! Why is installing packages / libraries / eggs such a hassle! And why are there 3 names for these extensions?

4) I discovered that there are other distributions of Python available including ActivePython, which promised a nicer package installer - PyPm. So I installed AP and fired up PyPm where upon I discover that certain packages are only available to paying customers!

I can't see anything on the ActivePython site that explicitly says which packages are / are not available but it seems that 64bit addons are reserved for Business Edition customers only? Can anyone confirm this?

EDIT: OK I see it now - the PyPm homepage does discretely indicate that the 64bit builds are paid only.

DC Gamer Club / Humble Indie Bundle - Mojam!
« on: February 18, 2012, 06:24 AM »
Mojang (creators of Minecraft) are holding a game jam this weekend.

What ever they produce is up for grabs via The Humble Indie Bundle site for a donation of your choice, with all money going to charity!

Plus - two other studios have joined in... Wolffire (Overgrowth / Laguru) and Oxeye (Cobalt) - so that is 3 brand new games in 48 hours!

Plus - you can watch the whole process live (whether you donate or not) as it is all being streamed live :)

The latest Indie Royale bundle has gone live. Games this time are...

Zeno Clash [Metacritic 77%]

Hoard [Metacritic 65%]

Lume [Metacritic 68%]

Soulcaster 2 (+ Soulcaster 1)

DC Gamer Club / Indie Royale - the Difficult 2ncd Bundle
« on: November 10, 2011, 12:23 PM »
The 2nd Indie Royale bundle is live, and their servers are getting hammered!

The four (erm... actually 5) games on offer are:

NightSky by Nifflas (windows, desura, steam)
Fate of the World  (windows, mac, desura, steam)
Scoregasm (windows, mac, linux, desura, steam (windows only))
Ben There, Dan That! and Time Gentlemen, Please! by Size Five Games [formerly Zombie Cow Studios]

I bought the bundle despite already owning BTDT and TGP.

IndieGamer points out that Captain Forever is currently on sale...

For $9 you gain access to Captain Forever, the sequel Captain Successor, the quirky sister game Captain Imposter and the alpha version of the forthcoming Captain Jameson. You'll also receive all future updates and games in the series for free.


So what is Captain Forever? Well it is like Space Invaders meets Asteroids meets Elite all made out of Lego! You begin as a tiny vulnerable command module floating in space and must fight for your life, destroying the space pirates that are out to destroy you. If you manage to blow-up their command module the remaining parts of their ship can be harvested and snapped on to your own. Redesign your ship to be faster and stronger, then go out hunting for tougher foes with better kit to steal!

The game takes a fair bit of skill: you'll be using both hands (keyboard to pilot the ship, and mouse to grab components and attach them to your ship) and a good dose of strategy: knowing when to back off, setting two pirates fighting each other, shrinking down to a tiny ship to sneak inside the framework of a massive craft to take out its core.

While Captain Forever is free to play and is great fun for a couple of hours, but things really take off in the sequels...

Captain Successor adds a huge number of new components (sniper lazers, torpedos, homing missiles, sprint boosts, shields etc etc) which allow for many more ship designs.

Captain Imposter adds a whole new look and an interesting cloning mechanic, whereby you steal ship designs from your opponents.

Captain Jameson is building a whole universe with dockable space-stations, asteroid fields, more new ship components and breathable atmospheres!

NOTE: I have no affiliation with Farbs who writes the games, indeed I only discover the joys of the Captain series yesterday, but wanted to spread the word!

Enjoy :)

A friend of mine runs the charity Women4Resources, which had a website at

The domain was registered for her by her web-designer, in his name. He turned out to be a nasty piece of work, trying to extort money from the charity, so he was dumped by the charity, but they failed to get the domain signed over.

Renewal date arrived, but they were unable to renew since the domain was in his (the unscrupulous designer's name).

The registrar is who said that after 75 days in limbo the domain would be released back on to the open market, and the charity could purchase it again.

My friend made a note in her calendar, and after the allotted time tried to buy the domain, only to find that someone else ( had already bought it!

For now the charity has a mirror site located at but the .org tld is listed on all their literature...

So, what should she do?

VWNames have no right to the name and no desire to own it - other than to make a fast buck selling it back to the rightful owners!

How did they get in there first?

Does a charity have any legal claim over a domain if it shares their registered name?



General Software Discussion / Excel - pattern matching in cells
« on: March 16, 2011, 06:19 PM »
Can't believe that there isn't a really simple way of doing this, but then I've been surprised by Excel before…

I have a invoice numbers which all have the format three letters followed by three digits (eg. WHS005).
If the data doesn't match this pattern it should be rejected.

I've Googled, read the help files and failed spectacularly.

Anyone got the answer?

Thanks, Ampa

Living Room / My Canon IP5000 inkjet is dead :( What now?
« on: November 22, 2010, 04:57 PM »
After a beautiful relationship spanning 5 years, with no warning, my Canon IP5000 has given up the ghost.

I turned on the power today and was greeted with an ominous pattern of flashing LEDs. After searching out the service manual I discovered that "5 Orange flashes" means "Error with printhead".

So I removed the printhead, reinstalled it, re-removed it, cleaned it, re-reinstalled it, re-re-removed it, stripped it down and re-cleaned it, re-re-reinstalled it - and still no joy.

Now I've spent several hours looking for someone selling Canon spares who will sell me a replacement, but the part is discontinued, and nobody has any stock left.

Why do I mourn the passing of this particular printer so much? Well, it is a good quality product, which has functioned faultlessly throughout its life, but more than that, it was the last printer that Canon made which used chip-free ink cartridges.

So, what now?

I am pretty much broke so can't afford to splash out, and am loathed to replace it with a cheap inferior product, especially any machine that will lock me into using chipped cartridges.

Can anyone suggest a good retailer / manufacturer / product that is worthy of investigation?

I am looking to replace my existing PC with something a bit newer and more powerful.

I have my eye on a Intel Core 2 Quad from for £499 (inc VAT)

Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad Q8400
Memory: 4GB CCL Choice 800MHz DDR2
Motherboard: Asus P5KPL-AM SE 775
Hard Drive: 1TB Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000.C
Graphics Card: XFX ATI Radeon HD5670 1GB
Optical Drive: LG GH22NS50 22x DVDRW
Case: Xigmatek Asgard ATX Mid Tower Case
PSU: 460W CoolerMaster eXtreme Power Plus Power Supply

If I select the same components with the intention of building the system myself I would save something like £80... which I could use to upgrade some of the components...

Graphics Card: XFX ATI Radeon HD 5770 1GB <- 2 steps up the ATI range
Motherboard: ASRock G41M-S Socket 775 <- Max RAM 8GB vs 4GB with original system
Hard disk: 1TB Western Digital Caviar Green <- 64MB cache vs 8MB with original system
TOTAL: £502 (inc VAT)

My question: Any reason why I shouldn't build the upgraded version of the system as indicated above?

Edit: Fixed link - thanks Deozaan

Site/Forum Features / Friendly 404
« on: April 24, 2010, 08:39 AM »
I mistyped the forum URL on a friend's PC as and got a rather plain and unhelpful 404 page not found.

I know it is a small thing, but couldn't we have a nicer error page, which lists the major areas of the site, tries to redirect (after a few seconds) to the most likely destination if it can easily be guessed (eg. forum -> forums!).

Living Room / External harddisk broken?
« on: January 26, 2010, 10:46 AM »
Yesterday I found my old IDE hard drive which I plugged into a USB enclosure - it worked fine, 200GB verified as OK, so I started copying files to the drive as a backup.

Then a separate activity caused my PC to lockup, and I had to hit the power switch to restart.

Now the external HD is not recognised by WinXP, Ubuntu, or any of the HD recovery apps on Hiren's Boot CD.

The drive does power up and spins without making any aweful noises, but when the OS tries to access it, merely cycles endlessly through a 4 or 5 second loop of whirs and clicks.

I've tried a 2nd USB enclosure but get the same results.

Is it really dead? It feels to me that the MBR is corrupt and I just need to find a way to reformat and all will be well?

Any ideas how to achieve this?

I recently saw a link to an application (or online app) that could auto generate a flow diagram from a series of natural language statements.

I didn't follow the lead at the time but now have a use for it (if it works at all well!) and can't re-find the darned thing.

The original article was almost certainly posted on one of my regular procrastination blogs such as Lifehacker, BoingBoing or Neatorama.

Anyone else see such a thing, and could point me in the right direction?

Thanks :)

Adventures of Baby Cody / Baby Cody with Ampa... and time to move on.
« on: September 30, 2009, 03:54 PM »
Yikes! How time flies when you are avoiding your chores!

Baby Cody arrived with me (Ampa) in Hemel Hempstead almost a month ago. We spent a day or two at home, me arguing with a horrible client, while BC recovered from the journey from Yorkshire. Apparently it was a long flight and very difficult flying, since the cardboard box was very constrictive.

No sooner had he adjusted to his new environment than he was off again - whisked away, down the M4 to visit my extremely lovely girlfriend in South Wales. Here we stayed for a week of surprises to celebrate my 33rd birthday.

We went to see Tim Minchin, had a couple of nice meals out on the town, and experienced No Fit State Circus.

No Fit State Circus - Hoop.jpgNo Fit State Circus - Tightrope.jpg

Later in the week we all went for a nice walk along the beach at St Donats, where I failed to find any dinosaur footprints, but Baby Cody did find some excellent nesting sites.

Baby Cody on the Cliffs.JPGAdmiring the View.JPGBC and Ampa.JPGA potential nest site.JPG

We even found time for a quick flying lesson.

Flying Lesson.JPG

Towards the end of our stay we went fruit picking. BC thought the Pyracantha's berries were the tastiest, and heartily recommended that they go with the apples into the crumble.


Back home in Hemel Cody has been assisting me with the manufacturing process for the next batch of Monkey Dash. Admittedly the majority of the help has been in the form of verbal encouragement, and impractical suggestions!

Finally we went to Paradise Wildlife Park, where I took a day course in airbrush painting with reigning World Bodyart Champion Alex Hansen while Cody made friends with the meercats.


I have thoroughly enjoyed the time Cody's spent with me, but can tell that he is getting itchy feet (wings?) and is ready to move on... so who shall he visit next?

Have been learning a lot from the 30 more days of screencasts and had a thought or two...

1. the +sall keyword is actually quite long! (5 whole extra characters) Maybe there is a shorter alternative?
++ came to mind as it is short, simply uses the same key twice, and has nice incremental associations. But the + key is slightly off the beaten track for those of us whose touch typing is a little erratic. Tab is handily placed but probably breaks alsorts of GUI traditions, so is probably not the solution.

2. user defined keywords also tend to be long (so that they are memorable) so perhaps they could auto-complete?
I hit the + key and then start by typing "m" and FARR scans the list of keywords, finds "+music" so suggests it. I can then hit tab or enter to accept it - what ever the usual method of acceptance is with such things!


The numeric keypad certainly works in the calculators now, but has stopped working to launch apps altogether!

Can anyone confirm this?

Living Room / Looking for flash game...
« on: August 15, 2009, 11:35 AM »
About 7 or 8 years ago I remember playing a flash game, developed by a French team, that I would love to rediscover if it still exists...

Here is what I recall:

  • The name may have started with a B, and it had a Y (or "ai" sound) in it.
  • It was available in various European languages
  • The game was set on an island, and was divided into episodes.
  • Each episode was online for a couple of weeks, and once the story was complete, it looped back to episode 1.
  • There island had many locations, most of which had a game or activity attached to them.
  • Although it was a single player experience, some activities had a leader board, or required a certain total number of points to be scored by all players, before progress could be made.
  • In the cinema you could watch short animations, also by the same Flash team.
  • On the beach you could enter a kite flying contest.
  • The was a market, and someone shouting "Fish! Come and buy my fish!"
  • You started in you own house, where you had a record player - and could collect records and play them here.
  • There was a cooking game in the kitchen - combining ingredients.
  • You could fish off the pier.
  • There was a tiny elephant?!?! A pig who was the butcher and loads of seagulls everywhere.
  • There was an old fisherman and a mysterious mayor who might have been called Patchouli

The same team started work on another game - something to do with totem poles or Aztecs or Tiki heads.

They also had a longer animation where a guy with a skull for a head and another with his hair permanently on fire shared an apartment, which was stormed by special forces!

Does anyone have a clue what I'm on about?!?

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