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Risharde's Blog

Get back your start menu in Windows 8

I've been using Windows 8.1 and absolutely dislike the returned start menu as it lacks a lot of features compared to the Windows 7 start menu.

The good news is that the guys over at Classic Shell has created software to return the taskbar to its rightful bottom of the screen.

You can get it free at

Good luck!

pyUSB on Raspberry Pi

sudo python install

This isn't too bad, but there are a couple quirks to be aware of. One limitation is that sending X10 codes breaks if you go too fast. I added a Wait subroutine (see the end of this page). The PLM seems to need a 500 millisecond pause between X10 commands. Lower delays didn't seem to work.

Also, the indexes are odd. I set up two arrays with the necessary values (see below).

The following also assumes that

house = the X10 house code as an integer, 0 = A, etc
device = the X10 device code as an integer

Put this in the declarations area of your form/module:

Public PLM_X10_House(16) as Byte
Public PLM_X10_Device(16) as Byte

Set the values for those areas somewhere convenient (like Form1.Load):

PLM_X10_House(1) = 96 ' House code A
PLM_X10_House(2) = 224 ' House code B
PLM_X10_House(3) = 32 ' House code C
PLM_X10_House(4) = 160 ' House code D
PLM_X10_House(5) = 16 ' House code E
PLM_X10_House(6) = 144 ' House code F
PLM_X10_House(7) = 80 ' House code G
PLM_X10_House(8) = 208 ' House code H
PLM_X10_House(9) = 112 ' House code I
PLM_X10_House(10) = 240 ' House code J
PLM_X10_House(11) = 48 ' House code K
PLM_X10_House(12) = 176 ' House code L
PLM_X10_House(13) = 0 ' House code M
PLM_X10_House(14) = 128 ' House code N
PLM_X10_House(15) = 64 ' House code O
PLM_X10_House(16) = 192 ' House code P

PLM_X10_Device(1) = 6
PLM_X10_Device(2) = 14
PLM_X10_Device(3) = 2
PLM_X10_Device(4) = 10
PLM_X10_Device(5) = 1
PLM_X10_Device(6) = 9
PLM_X10_Device(7) = 5
PLM_X10_Device(8) = 13
PLM_X10_Device(9) = 7
PLM_X10_Device(10) = 15
PLM_X10_Device(11) = 3
PLM_X10_Device(12) = 11
PLM_X10_Device(13) = 0
PLM_X10_Device(14) = 8
PLM_X10_Device(15) = 4
PLM_X10_Device(16) = 12
To send an X10 On command:

Dim data(3) as Byte

data(0) = 2 ' start first message: send X10 address only
data(1) = 99 ' 0x063 = Send X10
data(2) = PLM_X10_House(house + 1) + PLM_X10_Device(device) ' X10 address (house + device)
data(3) = 0 ' flag = this is the address
SerialPLM.Write(data, 0, 4)
data(0) = 2 ' start second message: send X10 house + command
data(1) = 99 ' 0x063 = Send X10
data(2) = PLM_X10_House(house + 1) + 2 ' X10 address (house + command)
data(3) = 128 ' flag = this is house + address
SerialPLM.Write(data, 0, 4)
To send an X10 Off command:

Dim data(3) as Byte

data(0) = 2 ' start first message: send X10 address only
data(1) = 99 ' 0x063 = Send X10
data(2) = PLM_X10_House(house + 1) + PLM_X10_Device(device) ' X10 address (house + device)
data(3) = 0 ' flag = this is the address
SerialPLM.Write(data, 0, 4)
data(0) = 2 ' start second message: send X10 house + command
data(1) = 99 ' 0x063 = Send X10
data(2) = PLM_X10_House(house + 1) + 3 ' X10 address (house + command)
data(3) = 128 ' flag = this is house + address
SerialPLM.Write(data, 0, 4)

import usb.core
import usb.util

# find our device
dev = usb.core.find(idVendor=0xfffe, idProduct=0x0001)

# was it found?
if dev is None:
raise ValueError('Device not found')

# set the active configuration. With no arguments, the first
# configuration will be the active one

# get an endpoint instance
cfg = dev.get_active_configuration()
intf = cfg[(0,0)]

ep = usb.util.find_descriptor(
# match the first OUT endpoint
custom_match = \
lambda e: \
usb.util.endpoint_direction(e.bEndpointAddress) == \

assert ep is not None

# write the data

PhotoSync To PC for Android and Windows

Get more information and demonstration video here:

Synchronize your android photos to your PC with a few clicks! Never lose your photos because you broke your android device or don't have access to it!
Just run our Windows application on your computer which you can download at

Run the Windows app to send your photos to your computer in your My Pictures folder! It's just that simple!

It also sends video files that are in your camera directory as well automatically!

It's so extremely simple, you'll never have to connect your android device/phone using the USB cable again and doing complicated actions to back up your photos!

Use it once and you'll see how easy it is!

Management in Trinidad and Tobago

Perhaps I have been "unlucky" but two organizations have greatly disappointed me during my working periods with them. They suffered the same disease which seems to be unfortunately plaguing some organizations and companies in Trinidad and Tobago. Indeed, it is a shame when managers and / or upper management use archaic methods such as cursing and embarrassment to get their way. I always believed that education removes ignorance but it seems that some human beings become more illiterate with education. It is quite ironic that those who behave this way are higher paid that their fellowmen. This is an injustice that I cannot come to terms with.

Please excuse me for not conforming to being "normal"

TSTT - Poor service December 2013

One of my friends told me that they were having problems with their internet. On investigating the issue, I went through the wireless router and the TSTT ADSL trying to figure out if any of the settings were off. After about 20 minutes of being puzzled by the issue, I decided to take the chance to call TSTT's Internet Helpdesk. The helpdesk itself was very helpful but told me that it was an issue on their side. So for 3 days of downtime which ended up being a TSTT problem, they should automatically fixed the issue instead of having customers call in just to solve the issue. It's just ridiculous!

TSTT bMobile's Add+ Vantage - Mostly Rubbish

You know, the thing that gets me, is when a company advertises an expensive service but makes the consumer think that they are getting real value for money. Therefore, I am about to speak to the masses of you about TSTT/bMobile's Add+ Vantage promotion which as far as I can see, is just a big waste of time gimmick (mostly rubbish).

Point #1: So previous to this Add+ Vantage promotion was the 1..2..3..4 promotion which I must say which did in fact save you money in one sense. The 1 2 3 4 promotion allowed you to make a call for more than 3 minutes if I'm not mistaken and give you up to 100 minutes free for that specific call (which is fine I suppose, kind of like spending about 3 dollars for a 100 minute call)

Point #2: So I think they've gotten rid of this and no started splitting plans up such that you choice between voice and data communications. In other words, they have plans for data + sms and separate plans for voice minute bundle. Furthermore, the voice bundles basically charge you $1 per minute (which I do not see as a cost advantage to the consumer - so that's rubbish to me).

Point #3: Who on earth these days want a limited data plan? Answer: Simple, anyone who can't get an unlimited plan. And there's where this company basically advantages the situation with the consumer. You pay $29 dollars a week for 300 MB of data. This is like giving me one slice of pepperoni from a pizza. It tastes really good but can't do much to keep you up and practically worthless. But yet, some foolish person working for this company dictates the pace at which technology has become. So my rhetorical question for them is.... What is the point of the cloud if data is THAT LIMITED. It makes no sense. Sure, people will buy the plan but the truth is that you all can do much better. It's a real shame. I don't mind if a company which gives its best gets money from the consumer but I'm not seeing that here. So as far as I am concern, to power a small island with data is not to much ask and thus these plans and limits are utter rubbish. That data calculator is as bogus as the people who came up with these data plans.

Point #4: Their so called "unlimited" plans have unreasonably low limits in this day and age. One cannot compare Verizon to our small TSTT/bMobile. It is ridiculous to think they cannot provide more for less considering they have much less overhead cost than an international company. Utter rubbish from TSTT/bMobile as usual. When will this end?

bMobile / Blink / bzone Hotspots - Pure waste of time - Extremely frustrating!!!

So for the past 3 days, I've been trying to get access to the free bzone hotspots. But as is mostly the case, TSTT has once more proved its incompetence. Everytime I try to register as a bmobile user to get unto the hotspot, the SMS code is never sent to my phone which means - NO INTERNET ACCESS. This has been extremely frustrating to say the least, I don't know what to do anymore.

bMobile Outlets - FRUSTRATING!!!

You know, as if all my rants have not been enough. Every time I check a bmobile outlet for a handset promotion, it ends up with my blood pressure so high, I end up having to try to sooth myself with mental therapy that one day, they will actually become a company worth something! If you haven't had the chance, head down to a bmobile outlet and test your luck out on getting those blu hansets that $500. They are either out of stock or the outlet does not have the promotion. I mean, what in God's name is going on with TSTT/Blink/Bmobile?!? Absolutely frustrated. Digicel is no better as far as I am concerned because they have similar ridiculous prices for internet. Is it too much to ask for a third mobile company that gives the proper service? For God's sake man!

Royal Castle at the Airport

It is extremely pathetic when a fast food chain that encourages people to eat local does not provide local pepper. In fact Royal Castle at the airport rather sells the pepper as it is neatly shown in a glass case. So guess what Royal Castle.... youd be surprise how much sales you are not going to get from me anymore. Kfc it is then. I rather wait in line to get pepper than to not waot to get no pepper. Shame on Royal Castle!

Transfer credit from one phone to another on bmobile

Recently I needed to transfer credit from my phone to another persons phone. After quick research I found that all you have to do is type *131*phonenumberyouwantmoneytogoto*dollaramount#

you will then be asked to confirm and the person will recieve the credit

good luck

this has only been tested on bmobile

God ... why?

God Jesus... why would you let my father suffer and die like that?

What you need to know about Funerals in Trinidad and Tobago

From my unwanted experience of my father's passing, I thought it would be the proper thing to give everyone an idea of the amount of work done during the days before the actual funeral. I have to tell you that I totally underestimated how much work needed to be done.

Basically, when one of your loved one dies, the first thing you have to get is the death certification which is generally done at the Registrar of the medical complex (if the person passed away at one). I am suspecting that if the person passes away at home, a DMO (District Medical Officer) would have to be contacted to do this on your behalf.

After you have done the registering of the death, 2 doctors must sign off on the document. This has to then be taken to the Governmental Births and Death building so that a digital death certificate can be produced. We were told to have at least 3 of these certificates which cost $25 TT each however, you will most likely need more so I would recommend about 6 since you'd also need to submit to work for their records plus to the country and courts where applicable. The first 3 are to be issued to the police, funeral home and priest performing the funeral.

Now the actual planning of the funeral is really something else so you better just use a funeral home. In south, there is Guides Funeral Home which offered us a really competitive package and they were larger than Belgroves. Both are on Coffee Street so you can go to do a comparison. Of course, this is the time you have to really have your mind strong because you're going to see coffins and so forth - which really brings on emotions. Of course, when you see the bill as well, you'll also realize that funerals are not cheap and that preparing is really a sobering thought.

Funeral Homes normally never have enough space as in our experience. Also, printing programmes might not be enough so planning is very important.

Those are all the things I can think off at this point in time, not sure how helpful it will be to others.