tools.jsephler.co.uk

tools.jephler.co.uk is a project site that I have set up which primarily houses different tools ranging from convertors and calculators to more generally links to reference sites. It was built with ease of use and portability in mind and is fully compatible with mobile devices too!

I think of the site as my coding playground and allows me to create and share tools which I not only find interesting, but more importantly useful. Thanks to Django, this does not limit the site to what you see today and will hopefully be expanded upon through time.

I have some existing projects that currently live in a myriad of Python files which I am hopeful to convert and eventually host here.

Suggestions or comments welcome! Please get involved.

tools.jsephler.co.uk

Adding desktop shortcuts in Ubuntu 18.04

I like having my desktop filled with shortcuts to programs that I regularly use. In Ubuntu 18.04, there is a lack of a “right click > add shortcut to desktop” option. If you are missing this option too, don’t fret! There is another way to do just that.

In the Terminal, navigate to:

/usr/share/applications/

If you list all files with ls, you will see many different .desktop files each of which houses the information for executing a program. It also tells the UI where to find the icon that it should display.

Find the program that you wish to add to the desktop (you should find it here if it is installed through apt and it is a GUI application)

Copy the .desktop file to your own Desktop folder:

cp /usr/share/applications/<app>.desktop /home/<user_name>/Desktop/<app>.desktop

Next we need to make the desktop file executable:

chmod +x /home/<user_name>/Desktop/<app>.desktop

Now looking at the desktop, you should see your copied .desktop file.

ubuntu 18.04 desktop shortcut
ubuntu 18.04 desktop shortcut

Double clicking on the file will bring up a prompt, warning that the program is untrusted. Click “Trust and Launch”

ubuntu desktop 18.04 launch application
Ubuntu 18.04 desktop launch application

Once accepted, the application should launch as normal. Close it down, and you should now see the once .desktop file changed into an icon launcher as intended!

ubuntu 18.04 desktop shortcut 2
ubuntu 18.04 desktop shortcut

Battlefield 1: choppy graphics fix

Ever since I bought Battlefield 1 on release day, it never ran well on my PC. The FPS would spike to 0 randomly and frequently.
Monitoring my system during gameplay, the temps were fine, CPU and GPU not under 100% load and plenty of RAM unused.

It clearly wasn’t the hardware. I took my time to change many different graphics settings to try and pinpoint a single setting that might be causing the issues, to no avail.

Turning off DX12 (DirectX 12) prompted me to restart the game. Loaded into a new multiplayer game and it ran as smooth as butter.

If you play Battlefield 1 on PC and you experience choppiness, turn off DX12!

No Man’s Sky “Loading Shaders” crash fix

Following news about the new “Next” update for No Man’s Sky, I decided to to buy it through Steam. However, I initially spent alot of time trying to play it, without success. During the “Loading Shaders” starscape, the game would crash to the desktop.

I followed many different guides that the community had put together to fix the issue:

  • Remove overclocking CPU/GPU
  • Delete Shader cache and “keep trying”
  • Change resolution in game settings file
  • Change buffer sizes in game settings file
  • Change CPU threads (min & max) in game settings file

I spent hours changing these settings incrementally and running the game again until it crashed back to desktop. After more searching, I read someone suggesting that it was caused by the game running out of RAM. Since I had 16GB installed, I was a little dismisive at first. Dispite this, I followed a suggestion to increase the “pagefile” size in Windows 10.

As a last resort, I decided to give it a go.
I deleted the SHADERCACHE and changed the pagefile setting from 800Mb to “Automatic” and started the game.

The game finally stopped crashing and found myself on a colourful planet in the middle of an expansive universe. It worked!

I put together a guide to accessing the pagefile settings for Windows 10:

A guide to change pagefile / virtual memory in Windows 10

Changing Pagefile (Virtual Memory) settings in Windows 10

The Pagefile is a file used by Windows that is kept on the hard-drive. Pagefile is also known as Virtual Memory. It acts as an additional cache for things that might be kept in RAM, but stored this way because either RAM is too full or the data might be needed to made persistent.

If you frequently run out of RAM, increasing the pagefile will help to keep your programs running properly could stop crashes caused by low memory.

Some things you need to know

  • Data stored in the in the Pagefile is not optimal as hard-drives are much slower to access then in physical RAM.
  • Important: Pagefile/Virtual Memory is not recomended on SSDs as the file can be written to and read from fairly frequently and can cause premature wear on the drive. If you’re not worried about wear, you may still set a page file.
    You may also move the pagefile to a mechanical drive or set the file to a static amount.
    Also to note: as SSD tech matures, the agility of flash increases thus lowering potential wear.

Changing the settings

Use Cortana to search for “Advanced system settings“:

Search Cortana: advanced system settings
Search Cortana: advanced system settings

Clicking into Advanced system settings will bring up the “System Properties” view. In the “Advanced” tab, click “Settings…” under the “Performance” section:

System Properties: Advanced
System Properties: Advanced

This will bring up the “Performance Options” view. Continue to the pagefile settings by clicking “Change…” under “Virtual Memory” in the “Advanced” tab:

Performance Options: Virtual Memory
Performance Options: Virtual Memory

Lastly, you should be presented with the “Virtual Memory” view where you will be able to control your pagefile settings:

Virtual Memory view
Virtual Memory view

You can set a static size, move the pagefile to another drive or simply let Windows take control of the virtual memory with dynamic allocation.