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Auto Ads are Messing with my Blog: Blogger, Adsense and Auto Ads

You naturally want to build revenue from your blog but sometimes this gets in the way of functionality of even the most basic kind.

Testing Auto Ads on a Moto G7 with Android Version 9 (Chrome Browser), I discovered that the ads were preventing the links within the blog being active in the normal way. I was suspicious in the first instance of the Anchor Ads that stick to the edges of your screen on a mobile device.

The problem I was seeing was that a simple tap on a link did nothing, only a long press and the selection to open in a new tab was effective. But I can't expect blog visitors to know this and so I needed to fix.


I turned off Anchor Ads like this:
Navigate to the Adsense account for your blogClick on Ads in the sidebarFrom the Ads Overview page select the pencil icon next to the name of your blogYou will see a page similar to the one pictured aboveExpand Ad Formats in the sidebarTurn off Anchor AdsClick on the blue Apply to site buttonWait for up to an hour and the new se…

Watch Your Language in Adobe InDesign: Paragraph and Character Styles

It might feel like a minor inconvenience to have the language set to English: US instead of English: UK or vice versa, but actually it impacts on spelling and grammar checks, and also automated word breaks.

If you are not using Paragraph and Character Styles (shame on you!), then you can change the Language of text in your document by highlighting all the text and selecting Window > Type & Tables > Character from the top menu or Command + T in macOS to open the Character menu and then selecting the language from the dropdown box at the bottom of the menu.



To set the language for the whole program, go to Dictionary and Auto-correct languages from InDesign > Preferences...



For Paragraph and Character Styles you need to define the language within the style itself under the Advanced Character Formats tab.


If you have already highlighted the entire document and changed the language via the Character (window/submenu), then this will lead to a mismatch between style and actual l…

Sony PlayStation PS2 screen has turned green: Is it dying?

You unbox your newly bought PlayStation 2 and plug it in, sadly the screen looks like a 1980s Amstrad monitor. Relax. It's not dying, the output setting is wrong.


To fix this:
Remove any discs from the DVD trayTurn the PS2 onNavigate to System Configuration using your controllerWork down the menu until you reach Component Video OutPress (X to) EnterChange from "Y Cb/Pb Cr/Pr" to "RGB"Now you can leave the menu and load your game See it in pictures below.










The Minotaur Project: Llamasoft Still Remain!

Llamasoft is probably not a name familiar to young gamers, but it most definitely should be. Here's how they describe themselves:
Founded in 1982 by Jeff Minter, Llamasoft quickly established a reputation for producing games rich in originality, adrenaline-pumping action, quirky humour and digital ungulates. Over the years Llamasoft has released over 30 games on nearly 20 platforms, garnering plenty of awards along the way as well as a loyal community of fans - The Llamasofties. This is very accurate. To a modern gamer, the graphical elements will appear naive and random, coloured flashing text will look like something cheesy from the early web, but there is an art behind their work and an irony that once you start to play the games becomes evident.


Sadly, their attempts to crack the iOS market failed and it was not financially viable for them to continue releasing work there but Apple's loss is Android's gain. You can install (reinterpreted) classics on an Android devic…

eBay: PlayStation PS2 Bundle and Commodore 64C Warranty Sealed

Blogging doesn't grow on trees, there is no magic blogging tree. It takes time and attention to detail. In starting to blog again after a fairly long hiatus of any regular posting on this blog, I've decided that it's important to restart in a sustainable and free to access way. At the same time I'll be extending the blog's reach, and not only delving into all the publishing and programming related areas that have been addressed in the past, but now I'll be looking into a newfound passion of mine as well: retro gaming.

The blog already has ads and always did, but they weren't being served well using the old blogger template (hence the updated look). To further extend the possibilities of the blog, I'm now going to let you know on a fairly regular basis about retro gaming items that I'm posting to eBay under the username sketchytech_retro. But don't worry this blog will not simply become a noticeboard of sales.

Let's begin.


I currently have fo…

Sony PlayStation 1 outputting black and white image: Is it broken?

The natural response to seeing your old (or newly bought) Sony PlayStation 1 outputting black and white is to panic. With many thoughts whizzing through your brain about whether the cable, the PS1 or the TV is to blame.

After some investigation and theorising I've come to some conclusions about why this happens. The key being the label on the bottom of some PlayStations which reads PAL 50/60Hz.

I will explore here why I think this happens based on my experience and I will also let you know that while it means something has likely gone wrong (or worn out) inside your PlayStation that there is a workaround which will restore colour and it doesn't involve any soldering or opening of the PlayStation unit.

Not all PlayStations output 50/60Hz, there are models that only output 50Hz.

Model No. SCPH-9002 is the one that sometimes does (there may be others).
The scenario in which a PlayStation sometimes outputs a black and white signal Plugging a PlayStation (Model No. SCPH-9002) into …

Little scares with the Commodore 64: Blank screens and what to do about them

When you've had something major go wrong with a Commodore 64 it can make you nervous that something will go wrong with all C64s. The first second-hand C64 I bought from eBay (a "breadbin") was working fine for about an hour and then the screen went blank and never returned. It turned out the PLA and the SID chip had gone bad, and I'm currently waiting for the repaired C64 back.

The second Commodore I bought, a C64C, was treated with caution when it first arrived and I insisted on doing one test turning on before recapping (having noticed some brown marks on one of the capacitors). It took all my bravery risking the recap, but I really wanted to protect the chips in every way I could. Recapping successfully completed, I've been building up my usage. Games have been loading great, and I'm protecting it with a power saver box, but once in a while, I turn it on to a blank screen which is either the normal screen without text or cursor, or it's completely bl…

Loading Games on the Commodore 64: Troubleshooting Common Problems

If nothing loads, then you should look at problems with your datassette. The belt might need replacing, the alignment might need adjusting (through the small hole on the front of the datassette). But if games are fairly reliable to load, and it's a few that don't load, then don't give up on them just yet. Try the following:

Read the loading instructions, most require Shift + Run/Stop to load but others prefer you to type the instructionUnplug all joysticks while loading, some instructions mention this explicitly, but it never hurts to tryRewind and fast-forward tape before loading to make sure there's not too much tension slowing the cassette down. You can also give it a shake to loosen things up. If you want to improve a datassette, there are a few things you can do: Use rubber renewal liquid on the pinch rollerClean heads with alcohol solutionPurchase a copy of the Azimuth tape head alignment software. And if you are happy unscrewing the case Replace the drive belt ...…

Retro gaming with the Commodore 64: Before you turn it on

You've bought a Commodore 64 off eBay or you've pulled your old machine out the loft and fancy some retro gaming. If it still works, that's great news, but that's not a reason to become complacent. There might be trouble ahead. Conversely, if it doesn't work that's not a reason to chuck it in the bin. Most Commodore 64s can be repaired and, if not, they have value for their spares (keyboards, chips, cases, and so on).
Stop! Before you plug it in. Don't be too hasty, before you plug it in (or plug it in for a second time) test the power supply with a multimeter. The currents flowing from the power supply can rise to dangerous levels for the components inside or spike after a period of use.
Here's an online guide to testing your power supply. Set multimeter to AC (V~), turn power supply on, measure pins 6 and 7, two pins at top of connector closest divot, should be around 10 volts. Anything over 11 volts is dangerous. Set multimeter to DC(V⎓), test Pin 2…