Remove Descent Lock on DJI Phantom 3 Standard Controller

If you’ve recently bought a DJI Phantom 3 Standard quadcopter you may have found the left stick has what is known as a “Descent Lock”.  Simply put, if you move the stick to the bottom it’ll click and hold the stick in place.

The benefit of this? If you are descending the aircraft it means you don’t have to hold the stick down. The negative of this? If you use a different controller mode it becomes awkward and to me generally feels awkward when you start the aircraft.

Good news – it’s very easy to remove!  It’ll take you less than five minutes and doesn’t require breaking any warranty seals, it’s easily added back in too.  Here is how we do it.

You’ll need a precision phillips head screwdriver, start at the back of the controller and remove the screws from the unmarked holes.

Once the screws are out the rear of the controller can be removed. Do not pull it too hard as the battery is here and wires run between the two parts for the camera angle adjuster. There is also a section of the rear casing fits under the antenna you need to wobble out.

The photo above will show you the wires running between the two parts.  On this photo, compare the mechanisms for the two sticks, you’ll see the left stick has a metal bracket in place that isn’t on the right stick.

Whilst watching at the back of the controller, move the left stick down and you’ll see how the metal bracket holds it in place.

To remove the descent lock, simply remove this metal bracket.  One screw is black and the other is unfinished, once both screws are removed I’d put them into a small bag with the bracket should you ever wish to refit one day.  An alternative would be to remove the bracket and put the screws in alone so they don’t get lost.

Refitting the case is as removal, start by sliding the section under the antenna in first.

New Bike – Boardman Hybrid Team

First post of 2017! I thought this would be a great opportunity to share with you my new two wheeled purchase, a Boardman Hybrid Team.

I’ll straight up confess that 2016 was a terrible year for cycling for me, I could come up with a number of different excuses but really it’s just next to no effort on my part and I really need to do better this year.

I am aiming to do at least one cycle a week and at least 100 miles per month which should see me cover at least 1,200 miles over the year. This is lower than the 1,500 I done in 2014 and 1,800 I done in 2015 but a lot more than the 300 I done in 2016!

I’m implementing a number of changes to increase motivation, more use of Strava is part of this and as such I’ve added a Strava link to the top of my blog. Do you cycle? Follow me, I’ll follow you back and we can encourage each other. This post is also the first in my new “Fitness” category which I’ll aim to keep updated with photos and rides worth sharing.

So I picked up this two weeks ago from our local Halfords store. I opted for store assembly and it’s been great. I’ve only done 48.3 miles on it to date but I will be increasing that for sure.

The bike is classed as a Hybrid by I consider it more a flat bar road bike. It’s on a par with my Planet X RT-58 road bike weight wise at 10.7kg, not heavy at all. It as a Shimano Tiagra groupset with 34/50 at the front (Same as my PX RT-58 and Cube Peloton Pro) and an 11-32T cassette at the back, my PX and Cube both had 11-28T at the back so I’m looking forward to seeing how this performs on the sharp climbs… I’m not quite fit enough as yet.

Something new for me, disc brakes. Well… not new altogether as my MTB had them but these ones rather than being cabled like the MTB are hydraulic and when it comes to stopping quickly I’m finding a huge increase vs the 105 calipers on the RT-58. Please excuse the dork disk – I still need to remove this.

The bike has a Mavic wheelset which is reasonable, the wheels were perfectly true when I received the bike and it came fitted with 32c tyres which I’ve found helpful on some bumpier roads.

So in my short of 50 miles so far I’ve enjoyed the cycles I’ve done on the bike. I did pull off the reflectors, bell and pedals opting for Shimano M520 instead. The bike has mounts for mudguards reducing the requirement for P-Clips and a pannier rack at the back which is good to know.

Want to hear more? Follow the blog or comment below – I’ll post an update when the bike hits some key miles.

How to stop wireless printer going offline every reboot!

Earlier this year I purchased a Samsung M2835DW wireless laser printer for my home office, it’s been great however I’ve recently stumbled across a minor annoyance that seems to plague a number of wireless printers used with Microsoft Windows.

samsung_m2835dw_thumb800

The problem would be that each time I want to print something it would fail stating the printer was offline.  The printer however wasn’t offline, it was connected to my router and via a web browser I could view the printer web interface just fine.  To fix it, I would remove the printer and re-add it, it would then show online and work fine UNTIL I restart the machine and the situation repeated itself. Continue reading How to stop wireless printer going offline every reboot!

Anker SoundBuds Sport Bluetooth Wireless Headphones Review

At the start of this week I ordered a set of these headphones from Amazon for the rather low price of £16.  Link to the product page here if you like what you read.

What are they? Basically they are in-ear headphones, earphones, earbuds or whatever other name you may like to use. There are loads of options available at this price point, I selected Anker based on previous positive experiences with their aftermarket batteries.

20161102_134152 20161102_134200 Continue reading Anker SoundBuds Sport Bluetooth Wireless Headphones Review

Start Page Numbers at a Specific Page in Word 2013

Picture the scenario, you’ve written your next report in Microsoft Word and the cover page, terms of reference and contents are showing page numbers on them… you may have been able to remove the page numbers on those pages but now the first page of the report is showing “Page 4”.  How do we fix that?

In this guide we’ll take a Word document and have two un-numbered pages at the start, the third page in the document we’ll have as “Page 1” and so on.  We’ll also have our table of contents showing the correct page numbers.

I’ve also created a video demonstrating this, which is shown below.

Okay, let’s start with our document. I have one now and my desired output is to have the first three pages of the document with no page numbers and the fourth page of the document to start with Page 1.

If I add page numbers the simple way, the page I want to start at Page 1 will show Page 4 as it’s the fourth page on the document.

Below are the step by step instructions to avoid this;

  1. If there are page numbers on the document already, remove them.
  2. Go to the page we want to consider as Page 1 (In my example, this is the forth page in the document) and move the cursor to the very start of the page, this may be at the start of the heading or the start of the first word on the page.
  3. From the Page Layout tab, select Breaks followed by Next Page.
  4. From the Insert tab, select Page Number followed the the style of page number you’d like to use in your document.  You may notice that at this time the page numbers are showing how they normally would and not how we’d like them to – don’t panic… continue.
  5. You’ll notice after inserting page numbers that you are now on the Design tab, the Link to Previous option will be highlighted – select this to highlight it.
  6. Ensuring you are still on the page you wish to consider as your first page, go back to the Insert tab again and select Page Numbers followed by Format Page Numbers.
  7. At the bottom of the dialog box, change the Page Numbering option to “Start at” and insert the number 1 and select OK.
  8. You’ll now notice that the page you wish to show as Page 1 shows this and the others look good too however the pages prior (First page in document) still show their old page numbers.  To fix this, simply select one of the previous pages and delete the page number – you’ll notice that the page numbers have been removed from the first pages but remain on the pages we wish.
  9. If you have a table of contents on the document – this should now be updated.

How to Mail Merge with Mozilla Thunderbird

If you use Mozilla Thunderbird I’m sure you’ll appreciate that it is an outstanding email client with the additional bonus that it is free and a strong competitor to Microsoft Outlook.  This makes it a great alternative for personal use or in a business setting where budget is tight.

Despite being a great tool the support offered for Thunderbird isn’t as readily available as Outlook and therefore it can be difficult in utilizing some of the applications less intuitive features, for example sending email messages to multiple recipients by way of Mail Merge rather than sending individual messages or a single message to multiple recipients.

An example of where we may wish to use this (If you know what you want to use it for, skip this paragraph) may be a cycling club.  We have a table with all of our members details and would like to send a personalised message to each member advising them that their annual membership fee will be due in a few months time.  Using this guide we’ll walk through how we do this with Mozilla Thunderbird.

I’ve also created a video guide on how to perform this task on YouTube, shown below.

We’ll start by making some assumptions that I’ve listed below.

  1. You have Mozilla Thunderbird installed and the email account you wish to send the messages from configured as the primary account.
  2. You have a spreadsheet containing the data that you wish to use for your mail merge. This should contain any data you want to include in your merge, Eg. First Name and also the email address of each recipient.

From this point forward I’ll split the guide into three sections that we’ll complete in sequence. If you wish to refer to the video the sections are covered the same and timestamps have been added for reference.

Install the Mail Merge Addon to Mozilla Thunderbird (03:33)

As part of the standard application, Thunderbird provides no functionality to send emails via merge. There is however an addon available that provides this functionality. Let’s install this addon now;

  1. Launch Thunderbird.
  2. From the Thunderbird Menu select Addons.
  3. Scroll down to Featured Addons and select Mail Merge.
    If you don’t see Mail Merge this way, search using the search box.
  4. Press the Install button.
  5. Once installed, close and relaunch Thunderbird.
  6. Addon has been installed.

Create a dataset for use with Email Message (04:56)

At this stage we’re going to create a dataset to use for our merge. This can be done in any spreadsheet application such as Excel or Calc (LibreOffice).

mergerecipients

I’ve shown above an example of how this may look, let’s walk though how we do this.  You may wish to copy and paste or source data another way.

  1. Create a spreadsheet with columns for each data you may wish to use in the merge, if you have extra data that won’t be in the email this isn’t a problem.
  2. Ensure each column has a heading as shown in my example, don’t use spaces in the column headings. Remember what the column headings are, these are important when we come to write the message.
  3. Populate data into the sheet.  In my example above you can see my merge would send an email to two recipients.
  4. Save the file, not as Excel but as a CSV (Comma Separated Values). This can be done by changing the file type when saving – demonstrated with Excel in the video.
  5. Dataset is ready for the merge.

Prepare and send email message using addon and dataset (08:00)

With the first two steps complete, we will now draft an email message in Thunderbird and have it send to the recipients defined in our dataset.

  1. Within Thunderbird select the Write option and compose an email like you’d do as normal, or open a draft if you have one prepared.
  2. Within the “To:” field enter the column heading from the dataset that contained the recipients email addresses between two sets of curly brackets, for example {{EmailAddress}} is what I’d do for my example shown above.
  3. Enter a subject for the message, if you have a column that contained data you wish to add to the subject this can be done by adding the column heading between curly brackets as shown above, an example in my video is car registration.
  4. Compose your email message as normal, where you would like to display a field of data from your dataset simply add the column name between curly brackets – example may be starting the email “Hi {{FirstName}}“.  These can be used multiple times in the email message if required.
  5. With the message ready, instead of pressing the Send button we go to the File menu and select Mail Merge.
  6. At this step we’ll prepare and select our sending options, including the selection of the data set file that contains our recipient data.  Select the values below as appropriate;
    Source: This should be CSV.
    Deliver Mode: You can select either Send Now, Send Later and pick a time for the messages to send or Save As Draft.  It may be wise to do Safe As Draft as a test run and check the messages are displaying in your drafts as you expect.
    Format: HTML unless you have a requirement to send in Plain Text.
    Attachments: You can attach a file if you wish, a restriction of doing this via Outlook.
    File: Browse and select your CSV file.  No other options below CSV need to be selected, the defaults are good.
  7. With the sending options prepared we can proceed and press OK. If you selected “Send Now” as your Deliver Mode the email messages will send.  If you select “Save As Draft” you can navigate to your Drafts folder and will see the email messages.

At time of writing my YouTube video has had almost 12,000 views and I’ve received a number of great feedback comments from viewers. Thank you for taking the time to view this!

Control your PS4 with your TV Remote

One of the great things about the PlayStation 4 isn’t that it’s a great gaming console (Which it is!) but that it’s also an outstanding media player, in a number of areas including but not limited to Blu-Ray, DVD, Netflix, Etc.

This was also the case with the PS3 however Sony offered a Blu Ray Remote Control as an accessory which made the experience all the better, sadly they haven’t done the same with the PS4 but I have good news for you – Sony have gone one better and made the option extra redundant but don’t really advertise it. Let’s take a look at how we set this up! Continue reading Control your PS4 with your TV Remote

Hisense H55M3300 4K HDR LCD TV Review

Update 21st August 2017 – I’ve almost had this TV for a full year and will soon be writing a follow up review.

Earlier on this week I started looking for a new TV for our bedroom, unfortunately despite the LG 24″ one we have being LED and 1080p it only has a single HDMI connection on the rear which is a pain in the neck when switching from the PVR to the Amazon Fire Stick.

I started looking at another TV and Hisense caught my eye – after doing a lot of research on Hisense TV’s I became interested and decided that rather than getting a Hisense for the bedroom I’ll relegate our current TV in the living room (49″ LG 1080p LCD) to the bedroom and buy the 2016 Hisense 55″ for the living room… and I’m glad I did!

Continue reading Hisense H55M3300 4K HDR LCD TV Review

The Perfect Controller for Amazon Fire TV Stick

I’d previously written a blog post covering how to install emulators and ROM’s onto the incredibly versatile Amazon Fire TV Stick. If you missed it, click here.

So once you have the emulators and ROM’s on there – you have the outstanding task of finding a compatible game controller that you can use to re-live your experiences. The primary recommendation is the Amazon Fire TV Game Controller which is compatible with sideloaded emulators, however this wasn’t available for purchase at the time and it’s £40 – though had it been available I’d have bought it.

I assumed that given the Fire TV Stick runs on Android that any Android Compatible controller would work but this appears not to be the case. Continue reading The Perfect Controller for Amazon Fire TV Stick