Creating Screen Capture Animated GIFs for Mac OSX

I regularly create short, animated GIFs of my computer screen to illustrate tutorial blog posts that I write. An animated GIF can be such a simple yet effective tool for web based tutorials but they can be a complete pain to create.

Creating Screen Capture Animated GIFs

I’ve recently come across a new and FREE piece of software that has made the process so incredibly easy. Whereas I have historically had to record a video of my screen actions (with a video screen capture tool) and then use another piece of software to convert the video to GIF, usually with an horrific loss in quality, I can now complete the action in one go.

LICEcap is so easy to use and creates impressive quality output, quickly. You simply open the application, which reveals a transparent window frame that you can move and resize. You then press the record button on the bottom right of the window frame and perform your action. Press stop when you’ve finished and your GIF is ready to go.

NB – My mac is set to open GIFs in preview by default but in order to view the animation in its full glory you will need to open in a web browser such as Safari.

Here is an example of a short GIF I created using LICEcap to demonstrate how to create a pivot table using Microsoft Excel for Mac OSX.

Animated GIF from screen capture

I am very happy with the quality of this GIF and the ease of production was impressive.

Image Compression

As I’ve created quite a large GIF I have chosen to compress it using an equally simple program called ImageOptim. Download and run this program and then drag and drop your GIF (or indeed any image file) to immediately compress without any apparent loss in quality. I achieved a 10% reduction in size with Pivot Table tutorial but it ImageOptim claim that reductions up to 50% are achievable.

Here it is in action.


I also run Windows 10 on my Mac so that I can run a decent version of excel. Happily LICEcap also has an excellent windows version.

ImageOptim doesn’t so you might find this in depth review of cross platform image compressors to be useful.

Ripping Off I Done This Journalling with Day One

One of my New Years resolutions was to start journalling. The daily practice of writing is widely considered to improve one’s psychological well being but my main reason for starting a diary relates to my absolutely appalling memory which would have less power to rob me of exciting experiences if I had a journal to glance over.

I didn’t intend spending hours with a quill and leather bound notepad, penning a diary of great literary worth. In fact my initial resolution said I was to spend 5 mins jotting notes with the latest app du jour – IDoneThis.

I Done This is a great idea, it started as an email based work productivity tool – teams would be emailed at the end of each day with the question “What did you do today?” It can be a great management tool so you can unobtrusively keep in touch with progress but it also encourages a shift in focus towards a more Get Things Done attitude.

IDoneThis iPhone app for getting things doneI Done This have translated the concept to a free iPhone app which allows you to achieve similar benefits on a personal level. I’ve been using it since the beginning of the year and it has invaded my life in a very positive way. I’m ticking tasks off and starting the day thinking what do I want to achieve today – what do I want to add to the “I Done This” list?

The downside with I Done This is its lack of visual appeal and portability of data. It’s a beautifully simple app that does the job required of it but I have a weakness for apps that offer at least as much style as substance, and this one just doesn’t excite me. The biggest draw back for me though is the lack of a dropbox sync feature, or other means to extract the data I’ve entered. I don’t like the idea of investing days, months or years into a single app that I become effectively locked into.

It may be that I’m doing the app a disservice, it does sync to the IDoneThis website and although I haven’t explored this, its quite possible that I could export my data from here. Its not intuitive enough though, so primed by multiple blog reviews singing the praises of Day One, I went off to investigate.

It’s not a fair comparison, but in contrast, Day One is a beautiful app that flows seamlessly across all your mac gadgetry. It is by far and away the most adept journal app available for mac.

Day One journalling app for getting things doneBecause of it’s tagging functionality, Day One can handle all of your logging requirements so it doesn’t have to function as a one dimensional personal diary. The Day One blog features multiple uses for the journal such as travel journal, ideas journal, reading log, research journal etc.

I’ve set up an “IDT” tag as a direct rip from IDoneThis and capture daily bullet points of achievements worthy of mention. It’s a low demand way to start journalling with no pressure to write anything too worthy. It does encourage you get things done though. I don’t want to open the app at 8pm and struggle to populate even the first bullet point.

Now that I’ve been doing this for nearly 2 months I’ve developed the journalling habit and my list of tags are spiralling.

I just wish I’d started this earlier.

WordPress and the White Screen of Death

I can’t help dabbling with the design of my wordpress site, a new plugin or a design tweak here and there. I have a few wins, usually with incremental improvements in my blog layout but it still feels like I’m walking a tightrope.

We are all just one save away from the white screen of death which wipes out your wordpress site and all access to your wp-admin control. There is no miraculous undo button and hitting the back button on your browser my make you feel momentarily relieved but it will all be for nought. Your wordpress site is kaput!

This happened to me again today and left me sick to the pit of my stomach.
whatapalaver visits
I’d been experiencing a rather unexpected flurry of visitors as my iPad controlled Raspberry Pi had been featured on Lifehacker. I thought I should take the opportunity to spruce up my site a little and add a new social share feature in the hope that I could ride the popularity wave a bit longer.

I added on box to my thesis 2 theme, pressed save and wham! Everything gone. I’d just managed to turn my website into a white screen of nothingness on the busiest weekend of its public life.

It’s not the first time I’ve managed to do this and no doubt it will not be the last. I’ve decided to jot down some tips for the next time:

What triggered the catastrophic failure of your wordpress site?

For me this time it was adding a new box to the wordpress theme thesis 2 but on previous occasions it has related to the installation of a new thesis skin or a new wordpress plugin. Sometimes it is not quite so obvious but likely suspects will be an incompatibility with one or more plugins

Disable the most likely culprit of the White Screen of Death

What did you decide was the most likely culprit?

I knew it was the thesis box so needed to disable it, if you suspect a plugin you need to disable that and so on.

As we can’t access our wp-admin page anymore we are going to have to access our files via ftp. I use Filezilla to access my webpages. If you haven’t set this up yet I suggest you find a tutorial for setting up ftp access and find all the relevant login details from your webhost – you will need to do this.

The easiest way to disable a feature of wordpress is to rename the folder in which it resides. The effect is instantaneous, so you can see immediately if its worked and you can change it right back if it hasn’t.

To disable the thesis boxes, I navigated to the wp-content/thesis/boxes area of my blog, and renamed the boxes folder to boxes_old

I then went to test my site with a refresh and miraculously it appeared again. Having confirmed it was the thesis boxes I proceeded to delete the one I had just installed, then changed the name of the folder back to boxes. I refreshed the site and was back to normal.

If you need to disable plugins after the wordpress white screen of death you can follow a similar method and go to wp-content/plugins via your ftp client. For a very quick way to tell whether the problem lies with your plugins you can change the name of the entire folder to plugins_old and refresh your site. If the site reappears you know that one of the plugins is at fault and you begin the process of whittling them down. I think (but haven’t tested this) that changing the name of the individual plugin folder will deactivate it so you can deactivate them and reactivate one by one to catch the culprit.

If you still have problems and are using the thesis theme, you should head over to the DIYThemes forum where they are extremely helpful – Good Luck.

Remote Controlling the Raspberry Pi from an iPad or iPhone

I recently published a popular post detailing a way to successfully connect your Raspberry Pi to your iPad. When I first set this up my main goal was to use the iPad as a useful display option and make use of the built in keyboard. This would make me more popular at home as I wouldn’t need to steal the keyboard from the main PC or force the kids to watch me programming on the wide screen telly.

The earlier tutorial demonstrates how to set up and SSH and VNC connection between your Raspberry Pi and your iPad when both are on the same local network – i.e. you are stuck at home. When I discovered the joy of the Raspberry on my iPad, I wanted to take it with me so I could access during my lunch break at work. This requires a little more faff as I need to tell my router to allow access to the Raspberry Pi from an external network.

I’ve recently changed my network configuration and had to go through the process of setting this all up again, so I’ve taken the opportunity to publish another stage 2 tutorial explaining the process for setting up the network to allow remote control of a Raspberry Pi while away from home.

Starting completely from scratch you must initially set up the system to connect via SSH and VNC while at home using the local network

First Stage – Set the Connection between iPad and Raspberry Pi from the Home Network

The first tutorial on How to Control the Raspberry Pi from an iPad took you through all the stages from:

  • Downloading the relevant apps Fing (free), WebSSH (free) and VNC Viewer (free for a short time)
  • Enabling SSH (Secure Shell Access) on the Raspberry Pi
  • Connecting via SSH on the iPad or iPhone
  • Setting up a Static IP address on the Raspberry Pi
  • Installing a VNC Server on the Raspberry Pi
  • Setting the VNC Server to run on boot
  • Connecting via VNC on the iPad or iPhone

I suggest you refer to the original tutorial to work through these stages.

Second Stage – Setting up the Connection between iPad and Raspberry Pi from an External Network or 3G

In this section I will provide the step by step stages for setting up remote access:

  • Determine Local and External IP address
  • Determine the VNC port used by your Raspberry Pi
  • Set up Port Forwarding on your Router
  • Test whether the ports are open
  • Connect remotely via SSH
  • Connect remotely via VNC

During the set up I will mostly be connected on the same local network but in order to test the remote connection I need to switch to an external network. To save me rushing off to a neighbours house I just flick over to a 3G mobile connection on my iPhone which means I tend to flit between the iPhone and iPad during the set up. Its also worth noting that you need to be on the same network connection to use Fing to its full advantage – so my router has a 2G and 5G option and as my Raspberry Pi uses the 2G wifi I want to make sure all my other devices are uses the same connection.

How to Determine Local and External IP address

Using my local SSH and VNC connection I enter the following script into the terminal to reveal my local IP address:


20140125-182307.jpgNote that this is even easier to do using the Fing app on your iPhone – ensure you are on the same wifi network as the Raspberry Pi and hit the refresh button on the Fing screen to display al the devices on your network and the relevant local IP addresses. We’ll use this again later, so its really worth installing.

To get your external IP address you need to go to What’sMyIP. You will only have one IP address per router so you can access this from any of your devices.

Joy both of these addresses down.

How to Determine the VNC port used by your Raspberry Pi

I’m not entirely sure what a port is but your device will use a different port for different functions and you need to know the right one in order to allow external access to it. SSH uses port 22 VNC uses a range of ports in the format 59xx with 5900 being the most common. When I set up the VNC server on my Raspberry Pi in the first tutorial, it set up 5901 and this caused me quite a lot of consternation when setting port forwarding for 5900 didn’t seem to work.

This is an optional extra step but it could save you a lot of bother.

20140125-182318.jpgOpen Fing on the iPhone (or iPad) and refresh to view the devices on the network. Select the Raspberry Pi and then click on Scan Services. This confirms that ssh is on 22 and I’ve managed to set up 2 VNC servers on 5901 and 5902.

Jot down these numbers as these will be the ports we need to set up in the Port Forwarding stage.

How to Set up Port Forwarding on your Router

Here’s a quick introduction to port forwarding from Lifehacker:

By default, your local network is local and cut off from the rest of the internet. In most cases you have just one IP address that’s shown to the world, despite the many that your router distributes to your individual computers and devices locally. What port forwarding does is take a port on that shared IP address that’s available to the rest of the web and forwards it to one of your local machines. This lets people from outside access services on your local network.

So in order to access my Raspberry Pi from the outside world via SSH I need to tell my router that it is ok to accept external traffic on port 22 and forward that request to the Raspberry Pi (identified by the local IP address that we wrote down in step 1). If I want to connect to my Raspberry Pi through a VNC client I will need to set up port forwarding for port 5901.

NB. Other tutorials I’ve seen recommend forwarding the following ports for VNC: 5900, 5500 and 5800 so they might be the right ones for you but the previous step would help you determine for certain.

To set port forwarding you need to access your router controls. I am using the ASUS RT-N66U and that can be accessed by typing the IP address in the browser address bar. When I previously accessed the internet via the Virgin Superhub the address was If you are struggling to find the correct address just search for your router on the web.

You will need to explore the router access panel to find the correct area to enter port forwarding details or you can go to Port Forward which will almost certainly have the instructions you are looking for. Here’s an example from the site that shows the details for forwarding port 5800 on my router.

Port Forwarding for VNC

I repeated this for ports 22, 5900, 5901, 5902, 5500 and 5800.

Security considerations

By setting up port forwarding you have effectively bypassed your networks firewall and potentially opened access to anyone. I don’t know a lot about this area but I suppose it is best to keep your external IP address private but there is also password control for both SSH and VNC access to the Raspberry Pi.

How to Test whether the ports are open

Having set up the port fowarding for a host of ports you might find it beneficial to test which ones are open and therefore ready to accept external traffic. offers a simple and free service to enable you test multiple ports. When I checked mine I found that 22, 5901 and 5902 were open – just as I was expecting from the Fing scan.

Now that I’ve successfully got open ports for both SSH and VNC I can move on to the next stage and try to connect my iPad and iPhone remotely.

How to Connect remotely via SSH

The instructions are the same for the iPhone and iPad but I will test this on the iPhone so I can easily switch to my mobile phone network in order to test external access.

Open your SSH app (I’m using WebSSH) and add a new connection and fill in the following fields:

Name – Any descriptor such as Remote Raspberry Pi
Host – this will be your external IP address
Port – this should already be completed and will be 22
User – if you haven’t amended your Raspberry Pi login details this will still be pi
Password – probably raspberry

Now you need to hit connect and hope for the best. Hopefully you will be rewarded with the command prompt. This will work with both home and remote connections.

How to Connect remotely via VNC

Open VNC Viewer on your iPhone (same instructions for iPad) and set up a new connection.

20140125-182828.jpgAddress: this is you external IP address followed by  a : and a one or two digit number representing your port such as (mine ends :1 because its port 5901)
Name: Anything descriptive eg RPiExternal

If you hit connect know you should hopefully see the beautiful raspberry on your screen. Congratulations.

Next Steps

Having gone through that almighty palaver to set up your connections bewteen your Raspberry Pi and your iPhone and ipad you may not be particularly excited about the thought of your external IP address changing. Some routers allow you to set up a single DNS which ensures you have a static name to use for external connection rather than the numbered IP address which might change. If you us an ASUS router you can find more detail here.

Useful External Sources

Controlling the Raspberry Pi from an iPad

After the frustrations of the first few days I am now coming on in leaps and bounds with the Raspberry Pi. Today I managed to set up my iPad so it can take control of the RPi. This means that the Raspberry Pi can be tucked away in corner, running headless while the iPad seizes control so I can make use of its keypad and monitor.

This means that I can now log on to RPi from anywhere that I have internet access – my main desire for doing this is so that I can run python and start learning to program from the mobile convenience of my iPad.

Before you can connect remotely to your Raspberry Pi you need to have connected it to the internet. You can do this by plugging it into an ethernet cable or as I have done by using the Edimax Wireless Nano USB Adapter, which is a fantastic piece of kit, its tiny and was a doddle to install.


Apps Required to Connect to your Raspberry Pi from an iPad

Apps to connect iPad to Raspberry PiThese are the apps that I’ve used to connect and all have proved effortless to setup and have so far served me well. Note the VNC Viewer is quite expensive so you might want to play around with some free versions before deciding to part with this much cash.

Fing (free) (Fing – Network Scanner)
WebSSH (free) (WebSSH)
VNC Viewer (£6.99) (VNC Viewer)

Using SSH to connect to your Raspberry Pi

Enable SSH
SSH (Secure SHell) provides access to the Pi’s command line interface. Before you can use it you need to enable SSH from the RPi config.txt file.

Open up the terminal and type

sudo raspi-config

From here you should select Advanced Options and then enable SSH. Now save and exit.

In order to connect to your Raspberry Pi you need to know the IP address that it is using. You can find this from the command (see instructions here)


but I have found it convenient to install the free iPhone or iPad app Fing which enables me to scan the home network to see all connections (will prove useful later).

Connect via SSH
Setting up SSH Connection with Raspberry PiDownload WebSSH (or similar) and add a new SSH connection.

The Host is the IP address used by your Raspberry Pi and identified using Fing. User and password are as set up in raspi-config. The default is pi raspberry

iPhone connected to Raspberry Pi via SSHIf you hit connect now you will be rewarded with access to the command line.

I find this extremely satisfying. One thing to bear in mind is that your Raspberry Pi will be using a dynamic IP address so every time you reboot it is likely to select a different address, which means you would need to amend your SSH connection details in the app.

You can get around that by forcing your RPi to use a static IP address.

How to Use a Static IP Address with your Raspberry Pi


There are detailed instructions on both Raspberry Shake and tuts+ but this is what I did:

From the terminal, enter the following code to open the nano text editor in order to change the connection details

$sudo nano /etc/network/interfaces

You will now be in the editor and can overwrite and add additional instructions.

Look for the line that reads

iface eth0 inet dhcp

and change the dhcp to static

iface eth0 inet static

Beneath this add the following lines of instructions:

address <—-this should be your IP address as identified by Fing
network <—you can also identify this in Fing, for me it was the address of my router

In order to save this file you need to press CTRL O and then enter. CTRL X will close the nano editor. It is then worth opening a web browser to check that you are still connected to the internet and you haven’t messed everything up but entering the wrong addresses.

If you have messed something up, just retrace your steps and alter the details in the nano editor.

When you reboot, your IP address will be fixed and you won’t have to amend the SSH connection details.

Using VNC to Connect your Raspberry Pi from an iPad

The SSH protocol has just enabled us to connect to the command line of your Raspberry Pi but if you want to replicate the graphical desktop you will need to use VNC (Virtual Network Computing).

Install the VNC Server on the Raspberry Pi

To use this we need to install a VNCserver on the RPi. Follow these instructions from the terminal:

sudo apt-get install tightvncserver

follow the instructions and enter a username and password as instructed and then run the server by entering


the VNC server won’t automatically run after you reboot (unlike SSH which will always be enabled). This could be a nuisance if you reboot regularly and if so you might want to follow the instructions below that force the VNC server to run at start up.

Connecting via VNC

Raspberry Pi running on an iPadDownload a VNC Viewer to your iPad, I’ve used VNC Viewer but there are cheaper and free versions available.

Add a new connection. The address will be the static IP address that you set above but should also include the port number. So mine reads (I believe 1 is the default port so should work for you as well.

The password will be whatever you set up when installing tightVNCserver.

Hit connect and you should be rewarded with a beautiful raspberry on your iPad screen.

Running VNC when your Raspberry Pi Starts Up

The details for this task are can be found at adfruit who have provided a very clear tutorial for running VNC at StartUp.


I’ve used some really useful tutorials to help me complete the task – here are the ones I found the most useful:


I have just added a second tutorial that explains how to go further with the setup and allows you to access the Raspberry Pi from an external network for true remote control of a Raspberry Pi.

Festive Frustrations with the Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi Tiny ComputerI was really excited to open the tiny box that revealed a raspberry pi starter kit but if my partner had realised quite how much strife it was going to cause, I know for a fact should would never have put it under the xmas tree.

I am writing from a place of calm now, a mere 36 hours after revealing a tiny solder board of components I have now been rewarded with a the image of a giant raspberry on the Toshiba widescreen telly. No Dr Who or Eastenders Christmas Special in this house, everyone is going to have to endure me learning how to use linux and programming a strange cat on Scratch.


Just in case anyone else is still out there trying to get the tiny computer to take its first breath, I thought it might be useful to make a few notes of where I went wrong or where peripherals let me down and then more importantly, how I got over it and finally got my raspberry pi to boot.

Problem 1 – Raspberry Pi would not boot

My raspberry pi starter kit came with a pre-installed SD card with the NOOBs installation pack on it. When I put it into the slot and switched on the raspberry pi it rewarded me with a rainbow splash screen but went no further.

Without having access to a command prompt I had no alternative but to reboot through the brute force method of yanking out the power cable and re-inserting. This has a tendency to mess up the SD card and is not recommended but what are your choices in this situation?

Putting the power cable back in took me straight back to the rainbow splash screen.

I then discovered the power of the 10 minute wait. It seems the raspberry pi will not immediately reboot and requires a cool down period. Not the 15 second cool down so favoured by your IT helpdesk staff but a full on, mind bogglingly dull 10 minutes. No idea why, but I’ve seen a comment about capacitors and heat.


  • Plug power cable in after all the other components – the SD card goes in before you power up
  • If you need to reboot by pulling out the cable, you may as well go and make yourself a cup of tea (and drink it) before coming back to plug the cable in again

Problem 2: Raspberry Pi boots to NOOBs, successfully installs Raspbian but will not boot to Raspbian

After much re-booting and cooling down and re-booting I managed to get my system to boot into NOOBs. Here I was able to select the recommended Raspbian operating system. It even went as far as telling me I had successfully installed Raspbian before the screen went blue and then black.

It seems that the problem is with the HDMI connection. NOOBs is apparently rather good at dealing with a whole host of HDMI options (no idea what I’m talking about here) but Raspbian is not so good. So I get a display on my Toshiba Regza widescreen while I’m in NOOBs but nothing at all in Raspbian.


Have another cup of tea and reboot.

This takes me to the splash screen where I have an opportunity (if I’m quick) to enter the Recovery Mode. This could be useful as it allows me to select Raspbian again and then press e to edit the config file. Here I can tell it to enter HDMI safe mode. I say “could be useful” but its not at all useful as it doesn’t seem to save the instruction and when I’ve made yet another cup of tea and rebooted I’m back in the same place with another blank screen.

On further investigation I discover that I can amend the config.txt file on another computer, but not it seems, a windows PC (as they won’t read linux files). The instructions I read suggested that you either need a linux machine or a Virtual Machine running on your PC so you can boot into a linux OS. I have experience with VM’s and I fear it is another route littered with painful hurdles. Still, as I have virtual box installed on my Mac, I thought I’d give it a go.

Installing RaspbianFortunately I noticed that when I inserted my SD card into the mac it mounted 2 drives, one of which was called boot. In there was the config.txt. Opening this with a text editor allowed me to remove the #comment in the first section so that:


I saved this file and went back to the raspberry pi to reboot – joy of joys – it booted, ran some complex looking install script and finished with:

pi@raspberrypi ~ $

The Giant Raspberry of SuccessI wondered what I was supposed to do next but on referring to my manual, I discover that is it. I had finally reached my destination.


  • Insert your SD into a mac (or PC running linux in a virtual machine) open the Boot drive, open the config.txt and remove the # that comments out the instruction to boot in HDMI mode 1
  • Reboot and watch with satisfaction as a giant raspberry appears on the screen
  • Type startx if you want to see a more visual representation of raspberry pi success.

How to ReSize of the Virtual Disc Drive for VirtualBox Running on Mac

When I first installed VirtualBox on Macbook Pro it was with the intention of running a single piece of Windows only software – SportTracks by Zonefive Software, the definitive athletes training log. I have to confess that I’ve struggled in this task and after failing off and on for the last couple of years I finally got it sorted this weekend but only after I fathomed out how to expand the size of the VirtualBox virtual hard drive.

[GARD align=”center”]

This post won’t explain how to set up and install VirtualBox, I’m assuming that’s done and you have Windows installed as well. I’m using Windows XP.

During the installation of VirtualBox I think it defaults to a virtual harddisk size of 10Gb which seemed plenty for one piece of software but as the years went by the storage was consumed and this weekend I found I could no longer download anything as C:/ was full.

Then I discovered the confusion of expanding the VirtualBox drive. Following some experimentation I found it to be quite simple so I thought I’d jot down my notes to aid complete beginners.

Resizing the VirtualBox Hard Disk using Mac Terminal

Step 1 Open Terminal

This bit stumped me. There are loads of tutorials explaining how to expand a VirtualBox hard drive but they talk about the VBManage Tool which I couldn’t find and show illustrations of code that I didn’t know where to write.

The trick is to stick it all in the Mac Terminal (I think of it as the DOS prompt for old PC users).

To open Terminal navigate to Applications / Utilities and then double click the Terminal.

Mine opens into my user folder which proved to be fine and dandy and required no changing of directories which might have stumped me.

Step 2 Find the Path to Your Virtual Box Hard Drive

This just means opening up VirtualBox, navigating to Settings / Storage then selecting the vdi harddrive and then hovering over its location to reveal all. You can right click and then copy this for ease.

Step 3 Clone your Virtual Hard Drive for Backup

This is a precautionary measure and requires you to enter the following instruction into the Terminal window.

The bit before the $ sign is populated automatically when I open Terminal and I presume yours will open in a similar directory but be specific to your set up. Just type the following (items in bold are to type, items in bracketed italics are instructions):

VBoxManage clonehd (then you need to enter the path to your VirtualBox drive, right click and paste if you’ve already copied it)

/Users/warriorwoman/Library/VirtualBox/HardDisks/WinXP.vdi (then a space and then renter the path to your hard drive but change the name to your cloned version) /Users/warriorwoman/Library/VirtualBox/HardDisks/WinXPcloned.vdi

Should look like this, then hit enter:

Step 4 – Resize your VirtualBox Harddrive

Type the following:

VBoxManage modifyhd (then again paste or tpye out the location to your original VirtualBox drive) /Users/warriorwoman/Library/VirtualBox/HardDisks/WinXP.vdi (then type two – – and the size of your desired disk) –40960 (will give me a 40GB drive)

Should look like this, then hit enter:

Step 5 – Expand the Disk Size on the Guest Operating System

When you open VirtualBox you should see the expanded disk size. As I’ve already done mine the first screen shot shows my virtual size to be 40Gb. Unfortunately the guest operating system still needs to be updated.

Open Windows and navigate to the Disk Management tool:

Start > My Computer > Admin Tools > Computer Management and then the disk management option.

You should now see your existing 10Gb partition and a new 30Gb Unallocated Partition. What you want to do is right click the existing partition and select the Expand option.

Now before you panic, that didn’t exist for me and I don’t think it works in WinXP but should be ok if you are using a later version of Windows such as Vista. For the WinXP users we have one final hurdle and need to download another disk management tool.

I used Mini Tool Partition Wizard which was free a doddle to use. Load it up, click on C: then right click to select extend. It will ask you if you wish to use the Unallocated area to extend into and then ask you how much. I selected 100% and then applied. The software needed to restart the machine to work but actioned the change during Boot.

No problems – job done.

Thanks to Gubatron who got me most of the way with this task.

NHS Excel website expands

I’ve added a number of excel tutorials to the NHS Excel website and this will become the home for most of my excel related content.

It’s been a busy month at work due to year end and the agreement of balances exercise but its been interesting from an excel point of view. We’ve had to work across a departments and this has thrown up a number of issues, not least of which has been the problem of people using different versions of excel to work on a single workbook. This month I’ve written a tutorial explaining how to force Excel 2007 to work in compatibility mode so that you can create pivot tables that work in earlier versions of excel.

I’ve also written some VBA code to automate log-ins to password protected websites. The idea of this is to use in conjunction with a website query to download data from a central NHS website to a spreadsheet on a regular basis.

Assembling a Campagnolo Frictional Gear Shifter

Campagnolo Friction Gear Shifter - AssembledI had a slight moment of panic when I recieved in the post a set of vintage Campagnolo C Record downtube shifters for the Walvale classic bike restoration. They came in no less than 18 teeny pieces and as they were vintage they didn’t come with an easy to follow assembly instruction manual.

After 15 minutes of the now well recognised mechanical frustration, I determined the correct order of assembly.

For all those that go after me I thought it might be useful to write down how to assemble a Campagnolo frictional gear shifter.

The photo shows the individual components laid out in the order of assembly with each part also oriented as they should be put together.

So, part A sits on the braze-on part of the down tube followed by B and C. D goes in flat side up pushed down of the protruding part of the frame. E is flat side down. Then F, G, H followed finally by the D-clip screw.

Campagnolo Friction Gear Shifter Parts

Job done, or at least almost done. I haven’t wired it up yet but that will follow in another post.

I’ve read somewhere that these frictional Campagnolo shifters were not the most reliable and have a tendency for losing the friction setting so you have to repeatedly tighten up the D-ring. I’ll report back when it’s all working.

I had some amazing assistance on the Retrobike forum and want to link back to the post as it should form a useful reference for those who may also struggle to match together the parts from a disassembled friction shifter.

On the same forum, one of the members uploaded a scanned copy of the original instructions which you can view here: Campagnolo Record Friction.

1 2 3 5