Category Archives: Tips

Fixed: phpMyAdmin is throwing a #2002 cannot log in to the mysql server phpmyadmin

This one had me going round the houses a bit until I the wrong permissions confirmed something to me.
Firstly the /etc/phpmyadmin/ file is crud. For some reason this file doesn’t resemble the actual config file that you should use.
The file /usr/share/phpmyadmin/ is the format that you need for a correct phpMyAdmin configuration, so copy it to /etc/phpmyadmin/

Next you need to edit this config file. This isn’t the hardest of the things in the world to do if you just want the basics. You just need to edit the value for $cfg['Servers'][$i]['host']

Once you’ve done that you can then login to phpMyAdmin using your mySQL credentials and get started.
It will bitch about not having the advanced features enabled. To do this follow the blog post I did at INSTALLING PHPMYADMIN ADVANCED FEATURES ON UBUNTU

Make sure you log out and back in to pick up the changes.


FIXED: Ubuntu Not Seeing More Than 2TB of a Disk

WARNING! Backup your data before proceeding!

For me this process didn’t destroy the data. I completely expected it to, but it didn’t. Make sure you backup in case you’re not as fortunate.

Move into Single Users Mode
sudo init 1

Unmount partition in question
sudo umount /mnt/disk1

Launch PartEd pointing at the disk in question
sudo parted /dev/sdb

Make the Partition Table GPT
mklabel gpt

Accept the warning and quit PartEd
Warning: The existing disk label on /dev/sdb will be destroyed and all data on this disk will be lost. Do you want to continue?
Yes/No? yes

Check the disk (resize2fs required this before it would resize the partition)
sudo e2fsck -f /dev/sdb1

Resize the partition to fill the total available disk space
sudo resize2fs /dev/sdb1

Mount the disk again
sudo mount /mnt/disk1

And hey presto!

Landscapify – Adjusting Portrait Photos for Landscape Frames

I’ve been making a lot more use of my digital photo frame since I moved into my flat but a fair few of the photos I want to make use of are portrait orientation whilst the majority are landscape.

For a load of photos I’ve gone thru them and manually made them landscape by using a method I noticed that You’ve Been Framed use when viewers send in mobile footage shot in the wrong orientation for tv. The technique is to enlarge a second copy of the image/video as a background layer to fit the width of the landscape orientation and blur the background.

I figured as I’d want to do this to a lot of images over time I’d make a script to do so. So using Photoshop’s Actions I’ve done so and thought I’d share it: Landscapify – Mike Dixson.atn Here’s how to load the actions into your Photoshop


  1. Open Image
  2. In the Actions Window click on Landscapify
  3. Click the Play Icon >
  4. When prompted for the new canvas size enter the current width as the height and the current height as the width
  5. Click Ok (if prompted that clipping will occur click Ok to that too
  6. You’re done 🙂

Hope it’s useful to you.

Can I Park On A Single Yellow Line?


I learnt this today, & thought it best to share it with all to help you avoid getting a parking ticket or your car towed as was experienced by my friend today:

“Single yellows indicate a restriction that applies for any period less than 24 hours. A time plate is needed to show the times of control unless the restriction is in a CPZ and the hours of operation coincide with the CPZ operating times.”

-Taken from Tower Hamlet’s Parking Policy.

For instance, the road near me has resident parking Monday – Friday 8:30am – 5:30pm. Whilst this is very clearly marked on the side of the road with the restriction the other side has no signage at all, just a single yellow line.

Be aware of the above and hopefully we can stop this ridiculous psuedo tax on parking in London!

Share this with everyone you know please.

Lyrical Challenges – Tips To Write Song Lyrics

A friend asked me to write a piece on setting lyrical challenges for myself so I thought I’d post it here as well.

The Goal is to Have a Goal

First things first. When setting a lyric challenge having a goal is the key. If you’ve got no reason to write a song you won’t get a word written down.
Often the reason is heartbreak or sitting there bored with your guitar in hand and happening upon something to explore. Setting a goal with a song challenge is a more proactive way of writing songs.

Once you have a goal you have something to work towards, whether it’s write one song by the end of the day, or write a song a day.

A Creative Goal

The next thing is to have a goal that inspires some interesting creative angles. It’s very easy to become stale in musical style and lyrical theme, something to put your outside your comfort zone, but also something to make you take different approaches to those you’d would normally take.

For instance, a title for a song normally doesn’t come to mind till you’ve written a song. Start with a handful of titles, pick one and and explore what it could mean.
“See you on the other side of goodbye” – Could be about the end of a relationship, or it could be about what happens after a relationship has ended and lovers want to remain friends. Or it could be about someone dying and the morning process.

Your Starter For 10

Ok so there’s a few suggestions for lyrical challenges to get your started

  • Title Ideas – Lists 10 potential song titles (and lyrics) per day
  • Write a Reply – Find a favourite song and write a reply song
  • A novel idea – Try and capture the main theme of a favourite character in a novel in a song
  • 5 Minute Rush – A great way to quiet your inner critic set a timer and write as much of a song as you can in 5 minutes.
  • Change Position – If you’re songs are normally written in the first person, or normally from a narrator’s point of view then switch it up. Force yourself to use another perspective.
  • One a Day – Similar to some bloggers, taking a 30 day challenge of a song. Write one song a day for 30 days. It doesn’t have to be a good song. But the act of writing every day will encourage your brain to generate more lyrics all the time and doing anything for 30 days in a row is a great way of starting to form a habit.

Take Advantage Of Your Little Thoughts

Whilst this doesn’t quite fit in as a challenge, I implore every lyricist to buy some of these soft pocket notebooks and carrying one of these very pocketable pens and take them absolutely everywhere with you! The times when I’ve written the most lyrics are the times when I’m most idea and my brain has time to wander.

I might have a few minutes on a bus or a tube and my mind idly wanders through one thought or another, maybe driven by what I see in front of me, or maybe I’m lost in my own mind. But then BAM! I’m hit but a beautiful turn of phrase or way of perceiving something that I’d not thought of before.
If I can capture that right there and then I have a chance of working it into a song.
Otherwise it’s gone forever!

I’ve tried to mimic this spontaneous note taking using my ever-present smart phone instead. However there’s something so unforgiving about typing text into a phone that means I lose the meaning almost as much as if I’d never written it down at all.

Good luck with your lyric writing!