All posts by spidey

Darken Grey Hair and Remove Wrinkles With Photoshop

When you have taken enough of portraits, you are bound to get a request to darken someone’s grey hair or to remove someone’s wrinkles. Here are two quick ways to do both of that Photoshop magic.

To darken grey hair, just use the Burn Tool and set the Range to Midtones and the exposure to 20%. Choose appropriate brush size and gently and carefully paint over the grey hair till you get the desired shade. Use Control-J to get a new layer to work on.

To remove wrinkles, use the Healing Brush tool. Choose appropriate brush size and not too much hardness (say 5-10%). Alternate-click on a clear adjacent part to use for covering the wrinkle. Use Control-J to get a new layer to work on.

How To Convert Case In Excel

Recently I was given a list of participants in a seminar and I was required to print out a certificate of attendance for each of them. The problem was the names were all in Uppercase. That would make the printout on the certificates look bad. I had to change them all to Propercase before merging with the Certificate template in Word for an automatic printout of the certificates. Luckily there is a simple formula to do that in Excel where I had copied the list of names.

Consider that the names are in column A. Now we are going to convert the UPPERCASE names in column A to Propercase in Column B.

In cell B2, type =PROPER(A2), then press Enter. This formula  converts  the name in cell A2 from  uppercase to proper case. To  convert  the text to lowercase, type =LOWER(A2) instead. Use =UPPER(A2) in cases where you need to  convert  text to  uppercase, replacing A2 with the appropriate cell reference.

How To Adjust The Display Size of a WordPress Video

First, a suggestion: it may be better to just embed a video link to your video file hosted at a 3rd party site like YouTube as the video file will consume precious storage space on your website.

Nevertheless, there’s a case to be made for uploading a video file as an attachment to your article if it makes the article more compelling when the video is played in-situ.

Uploading and inserting the video into your article is straightforward enough. But there’s no dimension editing capability in the media library. To adjust the display size of the video, turn on the TXT or Source Code in the block and edit the dimensions within the code. It is not so straightforward but easy enough.

How To Increase Upload File Size Limit For WordPress

You know the awful feeling, when you are putting the final touches to your great article of the day, but the awesome image and/or video file just cannot upload due to the ridiculously low maximum file limit set in your media library.

The limit (something like 2MB) may be a default setting, which you can change yourself, or it could be a system limit set by your webhosting provider, in which case you need the webhosting provider to change for you.

If you Google for a solution, you will learn that there is no built-in ability to change within WordPress itself (why?). Invariably, the method calls for inserting some code into the .htaccess file or function.php file or php.ini file. If any of those does not work, then you need to contact your webhosting provider to do it for you.

If you intend to add code in any of the files mentioned above, you generally have to FTP download the file and edit it and then FTP upload it back. But here is a neat way to modify your php.ini file without the neccessity for FTP nor writing any code.

Go to your domain cPanel and look for MultiPHP INI Editor, in the Software section. Select your website from the dropdown menu and all the various parameters are there, including the Upload_Max_Filesize. By default, the  maximum upload size in WordPress  ranges from 2MB to 150MB depending on the settings of your web hosting provider is giving by default. I recommend you to put at 64MB. Here’s a peculiarity I discovered. My webhosting provider generously set for me 200MB but my WordPress websites all default to 2MB with that setting. I had to step it down to 64MB and it works. You may experience the same thing.

How To Replace A Car Remote Battery

This is one of those simple problems in Life that should also be just as simple to solve….if only one knows how to open up the remote. If you send it to a Car Remote Vendor, it’ll cost you probably RM15-RM30 (USD3.50 – USD7.00). Here’s how to DIY for merely the cost of a replacement Li Ion battery that costs only RM1.90 (USD 0.45).

This is a typical car remote. Picture shows the remote from a Ford Fiesta.

 

 

 

There is a notch on either side of the remote.

 

 

 

 

Insert a screwdriver tip in the notch and gently pry open the remote.

 

 

 

 

You may need to gently pry/jiggle on both sides (both notches) to get the remote open. When the remote is open, you should be able to see the battery. Great! Use the screwdriver to gently ease the battery out.

Caution! Observe the polarity when you replace the battery.

WordPress and Softaculous Issues

Are you frustrated by these issues with WordPress and Softaculous?

The issues:
1. Plugin and Appearance have disappeared from the dashboard menu of your WordPress installation.
2. This particular WordPress installation is missing from the list of installations in Softaculous.

The problem is complex but the fix is simple; just follow the steps below.

Step 1
Get back the WordPress installation in the Softaculous list using the Import function in Softaculous WordPress dashboard.
Login to your cPanel and then in cPanel click the Softaculous link.

Step 2
In Softaculous, go to WordPress installations. Confirm your particular WordPress installation is not in the list.

Step 3
I assume you know where your paricular WordPress is installed on the server. If you don’t know, use the cPanel File Manager of a FTP client to determine where the WordPress is installed.

Step 4
In the Softaculous WordPress dashboard, click import and select your home directory and folder where your WordPress resides. Click import.

Step 5
Now your WordPress installation appears again in your list of WordPress installations. Select your installation and click clone to clone your WordPress installation to another folder.

Step 6
Go to your WordPress dashboard and you should see Plugin and Appearance have reappeared on the Menu. If not, use the cloned installation to troubleshoot.

Chkdsk /r

One day you will sense that something does not seem to be going right with your notebook.
It could be any one of the following symptoms:

1. A sudden strange sound from your audio.
2. Your mouse becomes very unresponsive and may even freeze.
3. You cannot even shutdown and CTRL-ALT-DEL is not responsive.

All the above could indicate a progressively failing disk drive, starting with a bad sector.

Take urgent steps as follow:

1. Hold down the power switch to force shutdown.
2. Wait a while, then reboot.
3. Hopefully you are able to reboot into a working desktop. Scroll through the apps, go to Windows System, Command Prompt, right-click to Run as Administrator.
4. At the Command Prompt, type chkdsk /r
5. May have to shutdown, for the computer to execute on restart.
6. If the computer at some point, seems to hang or freeze at say 19% or something like that, give it time to complete. It may take a very very long time ( hours or overnight) but it should eventually overcome the bad sector that caused the problem.

Now the notebook will behave well, but quickly go change the hard disk and save the data while you can.

Grand Strategy

Elsewhere someone asked me about corporate strategy. Here is my reply:

Maybe with age, I’ve become more cynical but it’s a fact that “the victor writes the history”. True, “sound” strategies have a better chance of success but history is also littered by lots of failures simply because of bad timing and/or the x-factor called “luck”. For example when Alibaba was launched, if suddenly there’s a world war, the world will never know of its “success”. That’s an extreme, but I’m sure you know of some factual “hard luck” stories of some really deserving guys who failed because of some inexplicable misfortune; not because of any flaw in their strategies.

Having said that, I first heard the “Be first, if not be better, otherwise be different” credo at a conference some 30 years ago maybe, presented by the CEO or Marketing Director of the local soft drinks plant here. At that time it sounded so profound to me that I adopted it as my credo too. It certainly sums up neatly what marketing is all about and may still be a good guide. But look where is the local soft drinks plant today?

What may be today’s strategic trend will be tomorrow’s no-no. For example, “conglomerates” was a hot strategic move in the 50-60’s but was discredited in the 70’s. But conglomerates are still thriving in Malaysia even now. So are the conglomerates in Malaysia considered a good strategic corporate structure?  The answer is “timing”. Good yesterday, bad today… may be good tomorrow. Eg. Companies like Apple outsource their manufacturing to dedicated EMS (electronic manufacturing services) companies. But then one day the EMS finds itself at the mercy of its big customers. So it creates its own brand, engages in marketing its own products too and in time the cycle begins again.

“Timing” and the x-factor “Luck”. If the Force is not with you, no amount of smart strategies can help you. Maybe it’s a Karma thing after all.

Adding a drop-down list to a cell in Excel

Let’s say you have created a spreadsheet template that requires input from different users, eg. a sales pipeline for your sales team. In one cell, the input has to be in a very specific manner, eg. months, spelt correctly. Now if left to the different users, there may be typo errors and moreover it doesn’t make sense to have to type an input that’s restricted to some specific list.The answer is to create a drop-down list in that cell for the user to select. That way the spelling will be consistently accurate and not so tedious to type in manually.

dropdown list 1Step 1:
Create the list in the Excel sheet. In the example, I have created the list of rainbow colours, from A1 to A7, viz. red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet.

 

 

 

Step 2:
Select the cell where you want the drop-down list as the input.
I’ve selected cell C1 in the example.

 

data validation 1Step 3:
With Cell C1 still selected, go to the Data menu above, click Data Validation, and again Data Validation from the drop-down menu.

 
 

Step 4:
In the box that opens up, choose Settings, Validation criteria, List.

 

data validation 2Step 5:
In the Source selection, click and a new box opens up for Data Validation.

 

dropdown list 2Step 6:
Highlight (select) the list from A1 to A7, enter. Close the Data Validation box, and click OK in the Settings box.
That’s it. Now there’s a little arrow in the cell C1 for your drop-down list of rainbow colours.