Weird Dreamstates

Ever since I was a child, I’ve always had weird dreamstates. Never sure whether I’m having some weird out of body experience, something internally in my brain, or I’m simply just having a trippy as balls dream.

 

It never scared me, it was just always “weird”. This is actually really hard to explain, simply because I don’t know what it is. Or how accurately to describe it.

 

Until now anyway. Black Holes are one thing which really interest me.

I’ve recently came across an animated gif about black holes, and this actually describes it quite well with what I experience in my dreamstate.

 

 

 

Imagine at the focal point of the singularity is your “subject” of your dream.

Dog, Cat, Person, whatever.

 

Now, imagine your subject stays at that focal point, but you are being dragged out of the black hole and pulled in instantaneously back to where you started once you read the outer edges of the black hole. Imagine you’re sitting on the “horizon” ring of the gif, and your subject is at the focal point

 

Keep focussing on the singularity, and let your eyes go a bit trippy seeing the animation of the arrows going inwards.

 

You might find it easier staring constantly at the focal point, you will go a bit cross eyed, but that’s what the experience is like. A bit trippy

 

It’s like that. Basically you become extremely close to the object, are pulled out, then you get close again.

Black holes with Singularities

 

Pro-rata Debt Repayment Calculator

One of the problems a lot of people will experience in their life, is that they will experience financial difficulty.

If the difficulty gets to the point where they can’t manage it, they may get advised to use a “pro-rata” style method of payment towards their debts.

This method basically does a calculation based on how much you can afford. Then allocates a certain percentage of that payment, to each lender or debt that you owe money to.

Each lender receives a portion of the amount you can afford, proportionate to how much you owe them. This can work out saving you a lot of money if you’re in Financial trouble.

FOR EXAMPLE : If you are spending £300 per month on debts, but if you can only afford £100, then that would be saving you £200 per month in terms of finances. Rather than you constantly getting back into financial problems again and again.

The pro-rata style of payment helps you get your finances in order again, as it allows you to have a fixed payment plan in place when it comes to your lenders.

The pro-rata is generally considered the debt repayment method to use, because it treats all of your lenders fairly. Everyone receives the amount of money, proportional to how much you owe vs how much you can afford.



If you want to access the calculator, you can download it from this site using the following link below. This may prove useful and help some of you.

 

Pro-rata Debt Repayment Calculator

Cleaning hard skin on feet

One of the best things about being a male, is we think out of the box, and sometimes we’re just downright lazy so will use whatever is at hand.

I’ve worked in Warehousing for 10 years with steep toe caps and tough shoes. So over time I developed hard calluses on my feet from walking/wearing them

Found the solution that doesn’t involve Listerine

The Man file! 🙂

 

If you’re ever looking for a good file to remove hard skin (or even superglue on fingers), keep a good Metal File handy. I had plenty of metal files lying around that I never use, so kept one aside just for random shit in the house.

The set I own is this one from Machine Mart

The actual file is the 5th one from the left.

 

Then just simply scrape away gently, within a few minutes your fingers/feet will be soft to the touch again

 

Ta da!

Audi A3 TDI Power Loss

Noticed this a couple of times now, whilst I’ve been driving it’s felt like the car has temporarily hit limp mode whilst I’ve been driving. My Audi A3 has been developing a power loss.

I’m not worried about engine timing, VCDS shows the torsion value around 0.5′ advanced, and the timing belt was only changed about 1000 miles ago. So the problems aren’t related to engine timing

What I suspect the problems are, is either due to clogged injectors, or possibly a clogged up fuel filter. I’ve done a quick scan of the car and there’s only Electrical faults in the loom. Nothing related to Engine Misfire, either that or it hasn’t logged a hard fault with the engine yet

I’m going to run some diagnostics with VCDS and follow it up.

It tends to happen around 3300rpm when I get to around 3rd or 4th gear. It’s not limp mode, just feels like it’s temporarily struggling and then goes again. It doesn’t stop the car, it continues pulling hard. Just feels like it’s a sudden loss in fuel delivery

I suspect the car hasn’t had it’s fuel filter replaced, but I’m going to run through some injector cleaner in the tank to see if it cleans it up. If not I’ll replace the filter as a precaution. The VCDS tests will help pinpoint any issues with the injectors on the car

 

More to come…

 

UPDATE : 

So, did a power run. Didn’t see to have any issues on the 1st run, but the second run was obvious. The engine felt really laboured to pull hard and became iffy a few times. The first run the engine was cold, the 2nd run the engine was operating temp

The VCDS logs don’t show any obvious problems with the Mass Air Flow Sensor or the Fuel Injectors during the runs. At least going by injection quantity. I’ll be looking at the figures further to see if there’s an Electrical problem with an injector somewhere. Although that would cause a misfire I would imagine.

I’m also thinking along the lines of a possible boost leak in system somewhere, potentially opening up when warm

I’ve uploaded the two data loggings I did to a website (TuneZilla Log Viewer), the only thing I can see is that when I run out of power the engine appears to want negative timing. Not sure what this means yet, but it appears to coincide with every time I lose the power. So possibly is hitting a temporary limp mode.

Fuel cleaner didn’t seem to do much. I’ll check the filter as a precaution as these cars can have Tandem Pump issues too.

 

SOLUTION : 

To be added when identified

Magento Admin login broken

One of the perks (read… problems), of being someone who looks after their own Website, is from time to time you break it, and have to figure out the problem you caused in order to work around it. Or simply not do it again the next time.

Here’s the quick problem I encountered today, I haven’t found a solution yet, as I only just received it when typing this

I noticed that bots are scraping my Website from somewhere that is generating SQL Injection links, they’re coming up as 404 errors in my statistics, which is bloody annoying to say the least. The good side is the attacks are failing, bad side is my stats look horrible, and it’s annoying.

The queries are being run on my Blog and my Store.

I wanted to disable the Magento search because at this moment in time I have no use for it since my site is only small scale. Probably never will, should make it harder

Now…. the problem.

In order to disable Magento Search, the recommended approach is to change the relevant XML file under your store folder

The module you need to change is

/storefolder/app/etc/modules/Mage_All.xml

Inside this there is some content (below), you’re meant to change the word true to false, and this then disables it.

<Mage_CatalogSearch>
<active>true</active>
<codePool>core</codePool>
<depends>
<Mage_Catalog/>
</depends>
</Mage_CatalogSearch>

 

After you’ve done the change in code, you’re meant to flush the Magento Cache to disable the search option. After I did this however I received an error where I couldn’t even access the admin panel of the site.

Now. The problem I’ve found is that this breaks the site (I’m guessing a dependancy).

Luckily as I had only just done the change, I reverted it back which fixed it instantly. Now to find out the best way to resolve this. I’m going to be installing a backup copy of my Website in my site development offline. This will then allow me to play with Magento and break it to find out how it works, and also how to modify the site templates, so that the site looks like how I want it to

 

Just a future note to anyone who breaks their site and forgets what they’ve done to fix it

Meat and Vegetable Hotpot with Dumplings

Meat and vegetable hotpot in a casserole dish

HOTPOT AND DUMPLINGS RECIPE

Haven’t had this for a while, when I lived at home, my mother always used to make this every now and then. I loved it. You get nice soggy dumplings with a crispy top. The dish is filled up with plenty of meat and vegetable mixture for you to enjoy.

It’s a big recipe and easily feeds 4-6 people. Or 1 person for 4-6 meals if you live alone. I haven’t tried using Frozen mix veg, I’ve always used tinned. Should taste the same though

The Hotpot tastes nicer the next day because the Beef Stock thickens up. You can reheat it from cold (about 5 mins in the Microwave with a cover). I can’t remember if you can eat it from frozen too but I’m sure I’ve tried before. If you do this let me know if it works.

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 tins of mixed vegetables (49p each – £0.98)
  • 4-5 large potatoes (£1)
  • 2 onions (£1)
  • 1 tin of corned beef (£1.49)
  • 1 tin of stewed steak (£2)
  • 3 Oxo Cubes (£2)
  • 1 box of Atora BEEF Suet (haven’t tried with veg suet) + 400g of S.R Flour (£2)

Prices of items approximately in brackets.

Total Cost approx £10.50 – £1.75 per portion. The oxo cubes are priced for a box of 20/40 so actually this is cheaper. I’m just assuming someone is buying all from scratch

Preparation

  • Slice up potatoes and dice veg
  • Add all to a 4.5 Litre casserole dish or tin
  • Bottom of dish add layer of sliced potatoes
  • On top of this, add 1 diced onion
  • Then 1 tin of mixed veg
  • Then 1 tin of stewed steak
  • Add a new layer of sliced potatoes
  • Add another diced onion
  • Add another tin of mixed veg
  • Add the tin of corned beef
  • Cover in sliced potatoes
  • Boil up 1 litre of water, add 3-4 oxo cubes and pour over mixture
  • The water should be just under the top layer of sliced potatoes

Cooking:

  • Place the casserole dish in the oven (Temp 180’c – Fan oven) with the lid on
  • After 60 mins, remove the lid, cook for 30 more mins
  • Whilst cooking mix up dumplings – make them about the size of golf balls. The dumpling mixture shouldn’t be “tacky”, it should have the resemblance of a cold/wet playdough that doesn’t stick to anything. If it’s like this, just dry it up with some flour, if it’s crumbly, add a bit of water at a time
  • After 30 mins, remove the casserole dish, add the dumplings
  • Cook for 30 mins more then enjoy

 

Optional Extra:

  • Add Tomato Sauce to wind people up
Home made Hotpot filled with Goodness

Hotpot topping

Home made Hotpot on a plate

Hotpot served up

Home made hotpot with Tomato Sauce

Tomato Sauce annoys a lot of people

 

If you would like to try out this recipe, I’ve attached a PDF version – Hotpot Recipe PDF

 

Samsung Galaxy S7 dead battery rebooting

For the last month or so I’ve had an issue with my Android Phone.

My old faithful Samsung Galaxy S7 was at the point where it had become unusable

Everytime I tried to switch on the phone it would boot loop. Normally stuck at the Samsung loading screen, or it would reboot during this point. At the times when I could get the phone to work it had become frustrating. I would randomly use the phone, and suddenly it would just freeze and then reboot itself trying to recover.

The only thing I noticed in a pattern was that the phone would get hotter and hotter, even when nothing was running and that eventually the reboots would get worse the hotter the phone got

The phone sometimes wouldn’t even charge, I would just got a battery cable plugged in icon, but no charging indicator. Eventually I had gotten sick of it, I managed to load up the phone temporarily and decided to backup all of my data from the phone should the worst come to the worst.

I carried out a wipe of the cache partition on the phone. Tried booting again, this fixed the issue temporarily and it would start again. I was then with no option, but a factory restore. I checked the error logs on the phone, and saw a lot of warnings (when I could get in), as sometimes I couldn’t get into this bit either. There was a lot of warnings about battery voltage, battery temp, and about 15 other pages of warnings. So thought it may have been the battery. I had decided to go through with the restore, as it would involve taking the phone apart which I was reluctant to do unless it was worst case scenario.

I carried out the restore AND….. it would crash during booting. Pretty much nothing else I could try. The phone got left aside. I rechecked the phone again about a week later when it was loading, and had a think. The only other thing I could think of was possibly the battery was faulty and would need replacement

I thought to myself, whatever. The phone is broke anyway, may aswell try it. As the phone itself is about 4 years old now. I ordered the replacement battery from eBay, took about 10 days to arrive. I think this is more down to shipping batteries via post as Royal Mail generally ban them now

I went through the process of removing the rear glass from the phone after shutting it down. A relatively simplistic process, albeit nerve-wracking. The potential for cracking tempered glass makes me uneasy on a £200 phone, but it was either try fixing it or live with a broken phone

Luckily I had a spare S7 phone with a cracked rear glass, so I thought I may aswell test it on this first. After using a heat gun, and my iSesamo pry tool. I eventually got into the phone and removed the rear glass on the S7 with broken glass.

I had a look at the insides and at how everything was laid out. So felt confident about doing it on my current phone. About 15 nerve-wracking minutes later, I managed to remove the glass from my current phone without breaking it

I switched my battery from my current phone, to my old broken one and managed to get the phone to boot up. HOWEVER, the same problems occured on my “old” S7 which had broken rear glass. This was both annoying, but great news at the same time, because it confirmed my theory that the battery was faulty.

Whilst waiting for my battery to arrive. I decided to modify the rear glass of my Galaxy S7. I removed all the plastic backing from the glass bezel so it was see through, and cleaned it up. This look doesn’t appeal to some, but personally I love it.

About a week later my battery arrived. I refitted it, with a new replacement adhensive cover. Once fitted, powered up the phone, charged and tested.

Low and behold, it’s now working. Dead battery all along

Once I replaced the battery, the phone charged up, and has become completely usable again. I’ve been using the phone constantly for best part of 4 days now, it’s been hot when I’ve been gaming, but other than that nothing. It’s never rebooted once.

So, if you’ve ever come across your phone with the following symptoms

  • Phone Rebooting
  • Random Crashes
  • Phone Heating Up and rebooting as it gets hotter
  • Phone won’t charge, or doesn’t hold charge
  • Battery cable connected, but shows a grey icon with no “fill indicator”

Then you should consider buying an OEM Replacement Battery and repair your phone

 

Auto-Electronic test leads

I recently had to make up some Auto Electronic test leads for my multi-meter. I’m busy troubleshooting a car’s electronics for a family friend.

It’s a Ford Mondeo MK4, and is coming up with errors relating to the Front Wheel Speed Sensor.

The Front Wheel Speed sensor has already been replaced, but it’s still coming up with a fault. Which means most likely there’s a wire broken somewhere. This means I will need to test for both Power and Ground since it’s a 2-wire system

The problem is, I’ve had a look at the schematic for the ABS system, it looks like the wires run from the wheel to the engine bay connector for the ABS controller. In order to do the testing, I need a multi-meter with long leads or something like a Power Probe.

I don’t have one of these, so low-tech solution it was

I wasn’t particular stuck for ideas when making this. Basically just needed something that would allow me to probe one end of the wheel speed sensor wire into the ABS controller loom in the engine bay, whilst touching the other end to the sensor. This would allow me to check for power / ground

Ideally the cable needed to be around 10 feet long to get a good reach

I had an old Electric Cable lying around (8 Amps). It was about 4 Metres long. It will do

In order to make it, I chopped off the end of Multimeter jack connector as I had some spare, and joined the cable together with some solder/heatshrink and tape. The other end of the cable, I put through the eye of a sewing need as it was a fine point for probing and long enough to reach in. I then twisted the wires and soldered / heatshrink / taped it up

After this I hooked it up for my multimeter to run a continuity test, the maximum resistance was 0.002 Ohm in continuity (usually 0.5 Ohm is the maximum allowed), so this cable was perfectly fine for testing with

Something to consider adding to your own Auto Electrical or Vehicle tool kit for diagnosis. I now have a cable long enough to allow me to test from front to the rear of the car with mu multimeter

Fingers crossed it’s just a broken wire somewhere close to the main sensor, but it’s better to have this as it forms a useful kit for any vehicle I’m working on

My auto electronic test leads for my multi meter. Used for long distance continuity test

Auto electronic test leads home made

Home made Multimeter test leads to be used for auto electronic diagnosis

Length of my DIY Auto Electronic leads for my car testing kit

Jobs in North East England

Whilst I’m doing my own approach for Job Searches, I’ve been finding a lot of jobs listed with private companies that hire directly. I feel these Jobs in my area of North East England are unknown to people. As the sector suffers from unemployment like any other. I’d like to help others find these jobs. The North East region has always suffered. Time to make it a strong area again

I’ve created a page on my website for this very thing. You can use the following link to access it – or the menu at the top of the page and find jobs dedicated to our areas

http://andrewhope.co.uk/about/jobs-north-east-uk.html

 

I may eventually create a jobs board style page where I only plan on listing ACTUAL jobs, not fake ones. I have ideas on how to make Recruitment Businesses better, but I feel they’re never going to change, so I’d probably just implement it myself 

This primarily focuses on the North East UK jobs, showing listings for places like Consett, Newcastle, Sunderland, Peterlee, Hartlepool, Durham, etc. If you’re from this area, you know the places we live in. 

Website Migration and Reviews

Just a quick update. Stability issues with my Website should now be resolved.

My previous host I was with for 2-3 years (tech-hosts.co.uk / curohosting.com) was good. However my most recent experience I’ve had about 10 instances of non stop outages, and eventually it just got worse.

Initially it started with some file-corruption. I spotted this by chance as I was working on my Website and every page had bullet points on. Then a couple of days later, nothing worked. Reason was a failed drive, then after that it was over heating servers. Pretty much every day when the server was rebooted, I had a new problem. Getting to the point where I decided to go elsewhere, because I’m sorry to say I’m no longer receiving the service I expected.

This was a hard decision for me, because whenever I migrate Web Hosting, it’s always been a hassle for me to reupload and reconfigure files again. So I try not to migrate unless needed. I’m not going to bash them, Jamie as an owner is good. I would say personally the problems started after the merger. When it was looked after by Jamie the tech-support was always resolved and the servers were spot on. To me however, it just wasn’t worth the hassle I was getting for the money I was paying.

So – I looked for a new host. I went through a couple of hosts. Trying to find the right one.

Fasthosts.co.uk – I opted for these first, because I came across an eCommerce based Website that was hosted by them, and it was blisteringly fast (which is always good), they’re also my Domain Registrar, so it would have made it easy when it came to hosting records. However, I opted away from these after speaking to their Live Chat. I made an enquiry about hosting my Website on their shared hosting (mentioning it contained a blog/ecommerce platform). I was responded that I would need one of their dedicated packages. When I enquired about the platforms, regardless in their size, I received the same answer. OK, scratch those then (Just as a note my Blog/Magento are really low users), hence why I asked about size. The fact I was given the same response meant I just wasn’t going to waste my time

Just as a note, if you’re from reading this from Fasthosts.co.uk – if you offer platforms like WordPress/Magento as part of your “1-click apps” on all of your packages on shared hosting. Then expect people to use them. What’s the point in offering them if people have to pay for dedicated hosting? – Stupid no?

Tsohosts.co.uk – I was going to go with these. I’ve actually been with them before. The last time I was with them however, I left because they had their own custom cPanel. They’ve now replaced it with the genuine version. The reason I decided not to go with them however this time was because their site migration process is an absolute pain in the arse.

I couldn’t find any option which allowed me to update my DNS/Nameserver records. The only ones I found related to site migration host–>host and for me to update my domain records with fasthosts. Sorry I don’t want to transfer ownership of my account. Maybe I misunderstood this, but I was already frustrated enough dealing with my site outages, I just got sick of the pain when it came to dealing with migrating my Website too. I just want a simple cPanel interface where I could upload a backup and restore it, or amend my name server details. When I try to login to cPanel for these it kept trying to provision the domain. So I got irritated and said sod it. This host has good reviews however and from my previous experience with them, I would recommend them, however their introduction method needs to be as painfree as possible. For me personally it wasn’t. Most people leave their existing hosts because of price, or service.

Stablewebs.com – This is my NEW host. Came across a post on WebHostingTalk and just clicked on the signature and read the website. I spent a lot of time talking to the support (who was actually the owner) prior to purchasing it. Chris understood my needs relating to the service, and understood that after I gave him my domain name, I just needed to update my records so told me the option to use when purchasing.

I’ve now fully migrated my Website after uploading a backup, Chris restored it for me. He offered to migrate it for me, but I’m comfortable with cPanel navigation and site had downtime anyway. Took about 2 hours to get everything over again. Everything back in place with the full backup (Emails / Databases). I was expecting to have to reconfigure WordPress again, but it looks like restoring using the Backups does this for you too. I’m happy with the servers, their equipment is modern. Caters for my needs, and sites load even quicker than before. I’m unable to comment on the host since they’re new to me but long-term if it stays like this current service I’ll be happy. If my site grows to the point where I need more powerful servers, the option is there to grow as needed.

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