Editing the WordPress .htacces file on Mac OS

Earlier today, I was attempting to edit the .htaccess file of my WordPress site on my Mac. To begin with, I couldn’t see the file on my cPanel hosted File Manager (it is set up as a hidden file). In order to get to the file, I had to FTP a copy across from my server onto my client machine, which happens to be a Mac.

Now I’m familiar on how this works with a PC – I’ve been a PC user for over 20 years now. Doing this on a Mac was a little different.

The issue was that even though I know I had downloaded my .htaccess file to my folder on my Mac, it wouldn’t show up. It was hidden. Unlike windows, there’s no easy way to “Show hidden files” in Finder as there is in Windows Explorer. I had to Google how to do it. Here’s how…

To show hidden files, first open up the Terminal app. If you’ve never used this, it’s here:

Applications > Utilities > Terminal

Right after the dollar sign you can go ahead and type or paste in the code below, and press enter.

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE

At this stage, nothing will happen. To put the changes into effect, you will need to restart Finder for the changes to take effect. To do this, you can either

  • press option+command+esc to open the Force Quit Applications window, select Finder from the list and hit “Relaunch”, or
  • simply type in the code below in the Terminal window, and again press enter.
killall Finder

If you typed those lines correctly, your desktop icons should disappear for just a second while Finder restarts. Your changes have now gone to effect, and you ought to be able to navigate to your folder, and see your .htaccess file.

At this stage, all hidden files on the system ought to be visible. A lot of these will be system files.

You need to be careful while remembering that deleting any system files can break stuff on your computer. You need to take care not to edit anything that you are not familiar with.

Once you’re done editing your .htaccess file, you will probably want to restore your settings so that you don’t delete something by mistake.

To hide the files again, go back in the Terminal window, and type the following code in:

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles FALSE

You need to restart Finder just like you’d done previously with killall Finder or the Force Quit Applications window. That’s all there is to it!

Excel macro to delete all rows in a table except the first one

Every now and then, I need an Excel macro to be able to delete all the rows in a table, except the first one. The following macro will do just that:

Sub DeleteTableRows(ByRef Table As ListObject)
    On Error Resume Next
    '~~> Clear Header Row `IF` it exists
    '~~> Delete all the other rows `IF `they exist
    Table.DataBodyRange.Offset(1, 0).Resize(Table.DataBodyRange.Rows.Count - 1, _
    On Error GoTo 0
End Sub

This is not something that I came up with, but a piece of code that I found on StackOverflow.

Excel: Allowing a macro to proceed if it encounters an error condition

While building an Excel macro, occasionally, you may need to plan for an error condition where. In such a condition, if an error occurs, you may want the routine to ignore the current error and move to the next command. To do this, all you need to do is pre-pend the command with the following line of VB code:

On Error Resume Next

I’ve had to use this when I build a macro to filter content in tables. This is specifically when I need to clear all filters in a table, where the table may be in a condition where the filters are already cleared.

How to fix Chrome when weird characters appear in the password fields

This is something that I have faced in Google Chrome version Version 35.0.1916.153 m and earlier on a PC running Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1. I have never experienced it on a Mac. This issue arises when a font called Helvetic Neue is installed. Helvetic Neue is a favoured font among a lot of graphic designers. While I do not use it very often myself, I do have clients who send me documents that often use this font, compelling me to install it. While it allows me to work with documents in the form that they are intended to be seen in the print world, it ends up causing me a fair bit of angst when I try to log into WordPressor Mailchimp, or read content on 500px. It causes Chrome to display characters incorrectly.

There are two ways of solving this issue. The first is to remove the offending font. In my case, it has always been Helvetica Neue. Once I removed it, it was no longer an issue.

The other way to remove it is to update your custom CSS file for Chrome. (Note – I found this solution on the Mass Media Design UK blog) Chrome allows users to define their own custom CSS changes which override the website CSS. By editing this file, we can force Chrome to replace Helvetica with something more reliable, such as Arial.

To find the custom CSS file, go to

C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\User StyleSheets\

Open the file “Custom.css” in your favourite text editor, and paste in the following 3 lines:

@font-face { font-family: 'helvetica neue'; src: local('Arial'); }
@font-face { font-family: 'HelveticaNeue-Light'; src: local('Arial'); }
@font-face { font-family: 'Helvetica Neue Light'; src: local('Arial'); }

Save the file, and close and restart Chrome. This ought to solve the issue without the need to remove the Helvetica Neue font from your system. (Note – this is under the assumption that the font causing the issue is indeed Helvetica Neue).

Maiden Drone Voyage

I’ve gone airborne!

It was only a matter of time. I had been contemplating getting a drone for several months now. Last week, I finally took the plunge and ordered a DJI Mavic Pro. It arrived on Tuesday. I promptly unboxed it, and charged all the batteries.

It wasn’t until yesterday, Saturday the 28th of October, when I finally got a chance to take it for a spin. I headed down to Clarke Quay where they have a nice open field. I’ve seen other people fly drones here in the past, and knew that I would be on the right side of the law if I flew here.

I didn’t know what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised to discover how easy it is to fly one of these things. I spent the next 25 minutes launching and landing the device, and sending it up to 60m before bringing it down for a safe and soft landing. It is a ton of fun. This short video shares some of the footage that I shot.

Singapore has some regulations that have now come into effect when it comes to flying drones. These guidelines are clearly documented on the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore’s official website. In a nutshell, as of Sunday the 29th of October 2017, the rules are that you do not need a permit to operate a drone if all of the following conditions are met:

  • The Total mass of Unmanned Aircraft, including payload is 7kg or below
  • The Unmanned Aircraft is flown at 200ft AMSL* or below
  • The Unmanned Aircraft remains outside of restricted, danger, protected, prohibited areas and not within 5km of an aerodrome / airbase.

They also have a map marking restricted, danger, protected, and prohibited areas, and areas within 5km of an aerodrome / airbase on their website. In order to operate within these areas, one needs to secure a permit for which they can apply for.

Samsung Galaxy S7 32GB Dual SIM – first impressions

A few days ago, I ordered my Samsung galaxy S7 handset. It was delivered yesterday and is replacing my iPhone 6S.

I have multiple SIM cards and multiple handsets to separate my personal life from work. Now having relocated overseas, I find myself having two sets of SIM cards for both Australia and Singapore.

I’ve been an Apple iPhone user ever since the iPhone 3GS. I really wish Apple would make handsets that support multiple SIM cards. Sadly, they still don’t make one.

When Apple released iOS 10, I upgraded the software on both my iPhone 6S Plus, and my iPhone 6S. Everything worked perfectly on my iPhone 6S Plus.

Unfortunately, my iPhone 6S began to experience the fast battery drain issue. It also started having issues with the lightning cables — even the original ones sold by Apple. Now having done some research, I’ve discovered that this is a fairly well known problem that affects a very small number of users. This is software related, and was apparently first seen after one of the updates that Apple released shortly after iOS10 was launched. Apple usually fixes these in subsequent releases.

However, in the meantime, I needed a functioning phone.

I figured, if I was going to get one, I might as well get one that supports 2 SIM cards. I’ve previously test driven the Galaxy S6, which I was impressed with. I’ve heard good things about the Galaxy S7, and at first glance, would have to say that Samsung have done great job on their flagship phone.

What I like about the phone

This is a well built device that has a nice solid feel when you hold it.

Samsung have retained the fingerprint scanner that makes it easy to unlock your phone.

It supports two SIM cards, which is great for someone with two phone numbers or who travels internationally a fair bit and likes the flexibility of being able to add a second SIM card into the same device they use all the time.

The Android operating system integrates seamlessly with all my Google services, Which gives me a unified view of all the information that I regularly use and need at my fingertips. This includes my address book, calendar, appointments, weather forecast, and flight details. The integration of the “OK Google” voice recognition function makes it easy to search for information.

The phone also comes with wireless charging as a standard feature.

What I think they could have done better

When I bought this, the specifications said that it had 32 GB of storage. It also said that I could add a microSD card for additional secondary storage.

This is true.

What the specifications were not explicit about was that you could either use a second SIM card, or secondary storage. You can’t have both.The slot for the second SIM card is the same slots for the use of microSD card.

The Best Improvements

The UI and overall customer experience is definitely far more improved then the Galaxy S5.

Samsung did a lot of work in improving the user experience when they launched the Galaxy S6. They’ve carried this trend forward with the Galaxy S7.

The battery life has been impressive, with the phone supporting two SIM cards on roaming lasting the whole day on a single charge with about 40% remaining at the end of the day.

Final Thoughts

If I didn’t already have an Apple ecosystem at home, it wouldn’t take much for me to switch all my devices to the Samsung S7. However, I still like my Apple devices, and unless Apple seriously impacts my overall experience with all their products for the worse, I do not see myself giving up the convenience of iOS and OSX keeping all my data in sync across all my devices.

The Galaxy S7 is priced at a very reasonable SG$800. This is Hong Kong stock to specifically get the dual SIM model. The capability to add additional storage is a huge plus for this phone, though you’ll need to choose between extra storage or an extra network.

If you’re looking for a reliable phone or an alternative to iOS, I’d definitely recommend considering the Samsung Galaxy S7.

Social Media and Me – the love hate relationship

I’ll start off by saying that I was very late when entering social media. It wasn’t until 2010 (April 9th to be precise – I looked it up!) that I joined Facebook. I had resisted the urge to have a social media presence till then. My logic was quite simple about this… I didn’t feel the need to publish every detail of my life on a shared online medium. This is a bit of a paradox, since I have had a homepage since 1995 (starting off with my presence on the now defunct Geocities, before finally getting my own domain name in 2001).

During the early days of the Internet and running your own domain, there were a few key differences from the Internet and social media today. Back then…

  1. I took full responsibility of the content that I chose to share online.
  2. The content was only put online when I chose to manually create an HTML page (or a database entry).
  3. People could reach out to me via guestbooks and feedback forms, and I could respond to those messages that I chose to at my own pace without being bothered during times when I would rather be doing something else.

Being somewhat introverted, I am not big on socializing. Don’t get me wrong, I like meeting people as much as the next person. However, I do like my quiet time, and there are occasions when I would rather spend time alone reflecting on life, or thinking up solutions to simple problems or challenges that I am faced with.

So why did I join Facebook in the first place?

There were a couple of factors that led to this.

  1. I had moved to another country, and didn’t anyone there. It was a trying time in my life. I’d used Facebook as a tool to stay in touch with the people whom I knew and were far geographically away. This helped me through this difficult time.
  2. It was a great way to see pictures and share videos among long lost friends.

So what changed?

Well, everything!

The Internet as we know it has changed in the last few years at a scary pace. All of a sudden, social media platforms were popping up all over the place. Mainstream websites encouraged engagement by associating your participation with a Facebook profile. Some of them went further to where you could log into a website using Facebook credentials. It was all too easy!

Enter the smartphone

Then the stakes just got higher.

Social Media wasn’t just there for you to log onto via your PC. It was with you all the time in your pocket. It would allow you to document every single thing in your life that appealed to you and share it with the world… all with the convenience of a finger swipe across the screen of a device that lay in the palm of your hand.

It still seemed pretty cool, and for a while, I participated, sharing stories of when I climbed a mountain or checked in at an airport. It became easy for me to let the people whom I cared about know where I was in case in ran into any strife.

Somewhere along the way, the lines of convenience began to be eroded with the information that I was parting with.

You see, social media platforms operate by knowing as much as about the user as they can. The engineers running these platforms build algorithms to serve you with the content that they deem is what you will want to see.

The initial annoyance

I’ve always resisted parting with what I consider too much information on any social media platform. What began to bother me was that every time I logged into Facebook, questions about my date of birth and religious and political views would however subtly, be in my face. They sat there in the corner with suggestions about how my profile could be better if I answered a few of these questions. That subliminal suggestion of how I needed to provide these details remained in my peripheral vision, and it began to annoy me.

I persisted. I pretended that it wasn’t there. I felt that as long as I didn’t provide them with the details, everything would be fine. Then came the updates to the mobile apps.

OK… now we have a problem

One fine day, I noticed that the Facebook app update had a clause that stated that the app needed to be able to read my text messages, and listen to my calls (I do read the terms of service.).

At this stage, it was officially creepy. I’d decided that I had had enough and promptly uninstalled the app from all my mobile devices (in the plural… I used to have a few as a result of my job back then).

But hang on… there was something amiss here. There are some devices from where you cannot uninstall the app! Now that left me particularly peeved! You see, as a customer, when I purchase a device and/or software product, I believe that I have paid the manufacturer to compensate them with the right to use the said device or software as I see fit to meet my needs as bound by their terms of service. Their needs from me (i.e. harvesting my information) are not of my concern. So why can I not uninstall the offending app from my smartphone, I wonder? Having done the research, I am yet to find the answer to this.

With that said, it set me thinking…

Why do I not need a social media account?

Before I could effectively answer why I needed a social media account, I first needed to asses what I didn’t need a social media account for. This is what I came up with.

I do not need a social media account to stay in touch with loved ones.

Really, I don’t.

I actually reach out to the people that I care about. Having grown up in the pre-Internet era, my friends, family and I stayed in touch with long-time old friends by writing to one another. There’s a charm in receiving the single photograph in an envelope accompanied by a hand-written note. General etiquette demanded that you respond within a reasonable time.

While e-mail has killed the art of hand-written letters, it has allowed us to stay in touch with friends and still share images with a lot more speed. The reality is that my friends do not have the time to look through 20 pictures from my lunch with a group folks whom they may not know. They do however have the time to look at the odd picture of me in a new place, and reflect on how I have changed. It is the personal relationship that I share with them that prompts a meaningful response and keeps the friendship together.

I find that I can stay in touch with my friends just fine by dropping them the odd email, calling them, or even sending them a postcard (yes, I am old fashioned). I did not need social media to do this.

I do not need social media to remember birthdays and anniversaries.

Really, I don’t.

This is just me, but I actually remember the birthdays of the people that I care about.

And just as a safety net, I have them programmed into my calendar, which gives me a pop-up on the morning of their birthdays and anniversaries which prompts me to write a personalized note them in the event that I have forgotten. The ones whom I am really, really close to get a handwritten card in the mail, or a phone call, or both. I would rather not extend empty greetings just because I happen to see someone else wishing them on my feed.

I do not need social media to make a long time relationship last for a lifetime.

Here is the reality: everything has an expiry date, and that includes the best of friendships. Having gone to primary school, middle school, high school, undergraduate school and graduate school in different parts of the world, I made some great friends. Most of them have done well in life, and have settled down, started families, and have their own thing going on. The space between us (with me living on a different continent from them) results in us not being able to relate to each others’ lives over time, and results in a natural process of growing apart.

This is not to suggest that I have fallen out with them. I believe that the true test of any relationship is your ability to let go of one another so that you can live your lives to the fullest. It is a matter of respecting that life goes on, and that you both have the right to make the most of it without looking, judging or reflecting on things or situations that you may not fully understand. And in the off chance that you happen to be in the same vicinity, a phone call or an email is all that it takes to organize a catch-up so that we can relive old times, reflect and share a laugh over now.

I do not need a social media account to document my life.

Four things key things rang out to me.

  1. Documenting ones life takes time – something that I am in very poor supply of. (Remember that thing called “Second Life” where people lived an alternate life in a virtual world? I barely have enough time for my real first life, leave alone a virtual second one).
  2. My life is pretty boring. There is little purpose behind documenting my life online, and even less for people to read it.
  3. Rather than spending time documenting life, it is perhaps a better idea for me to be living my life and enjoying it.
  4. Last, but not the least, if I want to share things about my life with the people that I care about, I will call them, or write to them. I did not need to be putting it onto a platform which will mine that information and use it to market products to me.

I do not need a social media account to get my news.

I am somewhat old fashioned.

Plus I have a set of bookmarks that are my regular reading list for the news that I am interested in.

Having this in social media just ends up mixing the news content with non-news content which makes it annoying for me to read, and assimilate. Maybe that’s just me, but I believe that there is a time for serious content, and a time for light content… and mixing the two ends up frustrating me.

Facebook has news updates in the corner, right next to the ads, which puts me off.

So in a nutshell, I was pretty clear about what I didn’t need a social media account for. Having gotten that out of the way, I proceeded to consider…

What do I need Social Media for?

Here are some of the common things that I do find it useful for.

Keeping up with my favourite bands and performance

I like going to concerts. Living in When I lived in Australia, we didn’t don’t often get treated to the best bands that tour North America and Europe. When they did do come to town, they sold sell out very quickly. Social Media allowed me to receive updates on when they are going to be in town.

Interacting with people over a common interest

In my case, that is photography. The well-established photographers have their own websites. A lot of photography enthusiasts who are up and coming do not. Irrespective of this, they use social media to share images that they create. It also allows me a platform to share my images and short films with a large audience.

Keeping up with the industry in my line of work on which skill sets are in demand for the next role that I am looking for

This is where something like LinkedIn comes in handy, where I can regularly receive content that I consider useful for consideration in day-to-day assessment of career choices. I typically wouldn’t use Facebook for this.

Keeping up with local events in town

My local city council have Facebook, Twitter and Google+ accounts where they announce local events. Melbourne is particularly good with this, as it always has something or the other going on in the city that is worth visiting. And a lot of the events are free. You get the latest news directly delivered to you.

So now that I have ascertained what I needed social media for, and what I didn’t need it for, it was time to decide…

Which social media services do I needed, and how was I going to use them

  1. To stay in touch with people that I care about, I have chosen to revert back to emailphone callsletterspostcards and even personal visits. For me to be truly social, I decided to embrace the notion of investing the universal life currency of time into the relationships that I value. I feel that it is the most genuine way to nurture the relationships that I have. So from now on, there will never be another personal update from me on social media.
  2. To share the knowledge that I have gained from life experiences, and being technically savvy, I am reverting back to my own website. I am not inclined to make a living out of sharing life’s little lessons so that other folks may avoid angst. By correctly coding my web pages with the appropriate keywords and meta-tags and ensuring that it is search engine optimised, the information that I share ought to make its way to people who are looking for it. And if a reader finds the content useful, they are always in a position to share it via their social media channels.
  3. To share videos and short films that I create, I will continue to maintain presences on YouTube (which is a Google service) and Vimeo. Both services make it easy for me to integrate content into my website.
  4. To share my best photographs, I have decided to go with 500px. It is a photography focussed community with devoid of Internet Memes and Cats. It also allows me to interact with other serious photographers, and will allow me to automatically integrate my content to other social media platforms. (Yes, there is also Flickr… it’s not my cup of tea).
  5. To maintain a professional presence, I will continue to maintain a LinkedIn profile with the very basic details. Recruiters, hiring companies and entrepreneurs who are interested in my skill sets, they can get in touch with me directly via LinkedIn.

So what about my Facebook, Google+ and Twitter accounts?

That is going to require a bit of clean-up.


I never manually post to my Twitter account. I’m no celebrity, and I never really caught onto the concept of posting a comment on the Internet which in all likelihood will never be read. I reckon auto-posting from my website to a Twitter account after a post has been carefully constructed, with best efforts having gone in to ensure that it is relevant, responsible, respectful, and representative is the only purpose that Twitter would have for me to reach an audience.

On the flip side, it does help me stay up to date with my favourite bands – so I guess I will be following them… on my terms.

Killed! The account has been deactivated, and will never be resurrected. End of story!


It has been retired permanently. While Facebook have mined whatever personal information of mine that they have, it will at least not be visible for the rest of the world to see.


Being a newer social network, this one has worked quite well for me. A lot of this is as a result of me being very careful about whom I follow. This one will stay put (for the time being), as it allows me to share relevant content with a relevant audience without being besieged by content and Internet Memes that I am not interested in. It also gives me enough updates of the bands that I follow so that I can catch a concert in town.

My rules for social media mobile use

I will never again install a social media mobile app on my mobile phone or tablet. The reality is that I can wait to get my social media fix when I get online. It really isn’t that important for me to have it on my mobile, and for it to be a distraction throughout the day. It is perhaps more beneficial for social media companies than it is for me to have their apps on my mobile device.

I will also never share personal information on social media again. I know that the more I share means that the service can be tailored more to meet what I might be interested in. That’s ok… the less than perfect social media experience will not decrease the quality of my life. Real socialising happens in the real world.

So what does it mean for you and me?

For my friends with whom I share a mutual connection, we’ll stay in touch via email, phone calls, or better still, in real life. It is my commitment to making time so that we can continue to stay in touch. I can understand that it might mean that you might not be able to make time to write regularly – and that’s ok. You have a more important place in my life than merely being part of a social media feed. There will be real birthday, anniversary and holiday cards and phone calls from a real human being who took the time to remember and drop something in the mail that you can hold in your hands.

The reality is that social media is here to stay.

I choose to control how I use it, and not let it control my life.

Windows 10 DOS Here


As an occasional developer, I like the ability to be able to right click and bring up a Command Prompt with minimal mouse clicks. In previous versions of Windows, there used to be the “DOS Here” Powertoy. Windows 10 got a little simpler, where by holding the shift key down while right clicking on a folder name, you can invoke a DOS Prompt at the location of the folder. No additional software tweaks required.