Goodbye Awesome Tables :(

It was all going so well… Having found Awesome Tables in 2016, the creation of tables , charts and graphs suddenly became simple and straight-forward, and made me look cool in front of my colleagues :)

Then I started checking the view stats, in November last we hit 926 views! Guess what happens when you (routinely) hit 1000 views, regardless of the number of different tables, and any within the same domain? Awesome Tables slaps a £5000 per annum fee on your usage!

My educational not-for-profit organisation was not going to stump up for that, no way, no how. I needed a solution, and alternative. I knew that Awesome used javascript and Google Visualizations / Charts on its back end (not forgetting the html and css), I therefore decided to apply myself to the somewhat steep learning curve of google charts/visualizations. Continue reading

AppInventor – Create Dynamic First List for Listpicker

Following on from my recent post on Dynamic Lists for Listpickers, I ventured a bit further.

Well I now have a rough version (and it is ugly!) that creates a dynamic list for the first list in a nested listpicker. This assumes a list of names or words in the master list, and that these are sorted alphabetically. The issue with creating such a thing is that, say for names, there are 26 letters that names could start with, but that the distribution of names is very uneven. In my sample list 3 letters took over 30% of the entire list. My aim was to present nested lists that could all be viewed without scrolling (between 10 and 12 items), but because of the above this is just not possible all the time. I only have the blocks here that create the first list for the listpicker, the A-D,E-H,etc. as the blocks probably need some optimisation before writing the whole thing out. But here goes: Continue reading

AppInventor – Post Data to Google Sheet

Thought I would write this one up on here, can’t take any credit for it, as original idea posted on youtube (credits below), but if I have it here it is easier to grab and use when I need it.

I have previously worked up a solution using a Google Form to submit data to a google sheet from an AppInventor app, but this method uses a standalone google apps script to do the same, but without the baggage of the google form. We will need to:

  • Have a google account (we want to use)
  • Create a spreadsheet, and set this out with the columns we need
  • Create a google apps script
  • Create an App Inventor app with the correct blocks

Continue reading

ffmpeg encode for Powerpoint Viewer 2010

You setup a powerpoint presentation on your normal work machine, the encodes you did in mp4 worked just fine in the presentation. Save out to a stick and take it to the machine (an all in one touch screen 65″ with powerpoint viewer only) and all you see is a black screen where your video should be.

Scoured the interweb and tried three different encoding solutions, all of which resulted in a black screen.

I then upgraded the powerpoint viewer on the display machine from 2007 to 2010 (or the latest one I could find on the Microsoft pages). Bingo, the video started working.

Here is the encode I used which worked best, allowing proper full screen video, no black bars, etc.


Simple (quick and dirty) Multi-Part Archive using 7z and CLI

Sometimes simple is better. File Roller wouldn’t create a multipart no matter what i tried so I turned to cli for a solution, and found it with 7z.

In this case I need to archive a 1.2GB iso file to a four part archive, with a volume size of 300mb. I didn’t delve into all the intricacies of what 7z can do, just the basics.

This produced four files:


7z: calls the program
a: creates an archive
-t7z: selects 7z as the archive type (there are others)
-v300M: tells 7z to create 300mb archive parts
output and input files should be obvious. You could replace the input file with a directory!

will give more detail on options