Mega Soundboard

It is hard to understand why PowerPoint never implemented this, but if you ever had to play a sound or music during a presentation, you had to peg the start of the audio to a particular slide, and once the audio starts there’s no easy way to stop.

Completely cumbersome if, say, the first time you teach some children to sing along a set of slides. You can’t skip forward to show a slide without activating the music; you can’t go back to the first slide without restarting the music; you can’t stop the music if you realise the kids need a bit more time to follow.

Mega Soundboard is the easiest and best answer to this problem. Its taken a long time for me to find this; none of the other soundboards, or hotkey solutions, or full featured media players (e.g. VLC, fubar2000) does this as simply and as elegantly as Tom4nt’s Mega Soundboard: you setup your selection of audio files, assign each a hotkey (which are global), and you just press the hotkey to play the desired audio without the program needing to be in focus (i.e. you need PowerPoint to be in focus to control the slides).

A start/stop global hotkey can be assigned as well to stop the audio at will.

Voila! Its open source to boot as well!

Upgrade to PHP 7.4 broke Moodle 3.3

Well, I thought, let’s go the other way then: upgrade Moodle first and then backtrack to PHP.

But Moodle 3.3 can’t go straight to 3.9 (which is the LTS I’m hoping to get it to) – 3.3 can only go as far as 3.5 – and Moodle and PHP documentation doesn’t say whether 3.5 will work with the existing PHP 7.0; time to take a gamble …

… and it paid off. Following these steps Moodle was upgraded to 3.5 and it worked with PHP 7.0

Then the upgrade to PHP 7.4 went smoothly.

Upgrade Debian 8 (Wheezy) to 9 (Stretch)

Upgrade of my Debian 8 server was long overdue; however, went headlong into it and ran into problems the first time round (i.e. MariaDB wouldn’t start properly. So I restored the server back to 8 (thanks Vultr for snapshots!) and tried again. This is what worked the second time round:

  1. Shutdown MySQL/MariaDB before attempting to upgrade Debian (a step I noticed after the failed first attempt; Section “Upgrading to MariaDB 10.1 from MySQL 5.5” of MariaDB’s documentation “Moving from MySQL to MariaDB in Debian 9”).
  2. Follow Steps 2 to 5 of phoenixNap’s guide– it had the easiest sources.list edits for switching to Debian 9 repositories.

As the primary function of this server is to serve PHP applications, it was also an opportune to upgrade the PHP version as WordPress will soon require at least version 7.2.

  1. Follow Steps 1 to 3 of Computing for Geeks guide – this will upgrade PHP to version 7.4
  2. Follow Section “Activating New PHP Version in Apache” in JiyuuLife’s guide for the quickest way for Apache to use the new 7.4 instead of the previous version (7.0 for Debian 8).

Led down the garden path

I want to Airplay a YouTube video to an Apple TV. According to this official support document from Google/YouTube:

As a reminder, if you’re casting from a mobile device, make sure to download the YouTube app. Casting from youtube.com in a mobile web browser is not currently supported.

https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/7640706?hl=en

So, downloaded the YouTube app, can’t find an Airplay icon anywhere. Some users claim its now subsumed under the Cast icon – no luck there for me either.

Turns out, playing the YouTube video directly from Safari shows up the Airplay icon.

*Sigh.

motorola razr

I must say, the form factor of the new Motorola Razr has me tempted to go back to Android. I love the pocketable design and with retro cool to boot! I do hope it was the ThinkPad team that Lenovo deployed to consult on the hinge design.

But its not even in the realm of possibility with that $1500 price tag …