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Sending and receiving SMS messages on the Brandmeister DMR network

I recently got into DMR radio and picked up an Anytone D878UV. While exploring some of the features of the radio, I found information on doing SMS over DMR. As interesting as it looked, it was not well documented. This post is going to be an effort to pull some of the resources together in one place for other folks who might find it useful, and document what I’ve been able to get working.

This will all be based on use of the Anytone 1.18 CPS, available here.

To start, you’ll want to make sure your radio is programmed to interface with the Brandmeister network correctly. Make sure that in the CPS under Public > Optional Setting > Digital Func you have SMS Format set to M-SMS. Also, according to this post, you will need to have Digi APRS RX turned off for the channel you are set to, as it may interfere (I haven’t confirmed this).

Next, in Brandmeister SelfCare, ensure that your radio is set correctly. I was able to get this to work with Brand set to Chinese Radio.

With these set, you should be able to send a message containing the word “HELP” to 262993 and get a response. More of the commands are documented on this page in German (Google Translate version here).

Additional resources:

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pip3 crashes on macOS Catalina

In cases where pip3 has a bad environment on macOS Catalina, it may crash with this message:

% pip3 
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "/Library/Developer/CommandLineTools/usr/bin/pip3", line 10, in <module>
    sys.exit(main())
TypeError: 'module' object is not callable

To fix this, clear the user pip library by running:

rm -rf ~/Library/Python

You can also reinstall Xcode tools with:

sudo rm -rf /Library/Developer/CommandLineTools
xcode-select --install

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Bulk Convert jpg to HEIC (with metadata!)

Want to bulk-convert jpg files to the more space-efficient HEIC format, and preserve your metadata while you’re at it?

Here’s a few commands to do just that.

This will assume all images in the current directory have ‘.jpg’ extensions, and may have an ‘.XMP’ sidecar file with metadata in it. Most photo libraries, including macOS Photos, have an option to export files with metadata in an XMP sidecar file. Doing this is highly recommended, as it will pull in metadata from the sidecar file that may not be embedded in the original image.

These bash one-liners were run using bash 3.2.57. These also require the latest (as of this writing) ExifTool and ImageMagick installed and on your path. If you’re using macOS, ExifTool and ImageMagick can be installed using Homebrew with the following commands:

brew install exiftool
brew install imagemagick

Once you have those, you’re ready to go.

First, convert all the files to HEIC:

for x in *.jpg; do echo "$x"; magick "$x" "${x%.jpg}.HEIC"; done 

Next, import the metadata from each source image:

for x in *.jpg; do echo "$x"; exiftool -overwrite_original -tagsFromFile "$x" -all:all "${x%.jpg}.HEIC"; done

Last, import any additional metadata from XMP sidecar files, if they exist:

for x in *.jpg; do echo "$x"; exiftool -overwrite_original -tagsFromFile "${x%.jpg}.XMP" -all:all "${x%.jpg}.HEIC"; done

That’s it!

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Reimport an image and MOV file as a Live Photo in macOS Photos

If you have a Live Photo in your macOS Photos library, and export it using File > Export > Export Unmodified Original, you’ll end up with 2 (or 3) files:

  1. an image file that is the still image,
  2. an MOV file that is the video and sound portion of the Live Photo,
  3. and optionally an XMP file (if you selected Export IPCT as XMP)

Reimporting the image or the movie file will give you separate files in your photos library. If you want to reimport these, make sure they both have the same filename (except for the extension) and drag both the image file and the MOV file (and the XMP file, if you have it) to Photos at the same time. Photos will reimport them as a single Live Photo.

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Import XMP sidecar data into JPG file

This is a quick tip based on my experience handling image files with XMP sidecar files.

XMP sidecar files typically contain useful data such as GPS information and file keywords. Some asset management software may not handle the sidecar file as easily as an image file, so you can import the XMP data directly into the image file using exiftool.

Example:

exiftool -tagsfromfile IMG_1234.XMP -all:all IMG_1234.JPG

If you want to loop through a directory of files, try this:

for x in *.JPG; do exiftool -tagsfromfile ${x%.*}.XMP -all:all $x; done

References: https://superuser.com/a/1414490

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How to fix Elder Scrolls Online crashing on launch on macOS

If you’re trying to play Elder Scrolls Online on macOS Sierra or higher, you may encounter the application crashing on launch, especially on new installs. Specifically, this is likely to occur right after clicking Play in the launcher. The specific error message is:

Exception Type: EXC_BAD_ACCESS (SIGSEGV)
Exception Codes: KERN_INVALID_ADDRESS at 0x0000000000000078
Exception Note: EXC_CORPSE_NOTIFY

Termination Signal: Segmentation fault: 11
Termination Reason: Namespace SIGNAL, Code 0xb
Terminating Process: exc handler [0]

This appears to be caused by an issue with how the game handles the number of cores on your machine. I found the following fix on the Elder Scrolls Online forums, but it wasn’t well-documented, so it took me a bit of stumbling around to actually get things working.

This is a two-part fix. The first part involves changing the number of cores that ESO is allowed to use so that it will run once, and then adjusting it’s configuration file to fix it for every launch.

Some users have reported success with only creating a changing the UserSettings.txt file. When I tried this, it resulted in game freezes and instability. Your mileage may vary, but going through all of the steps below worked for me with a minimum of hassle and kept the game stable throughout.

First launch fix – Limit the number of cores

To do this, first go to the App Store and install Xcode.

Once Xcode is installed on your system, run Instruments.

Screen Shot 2018-08-05 at 3.31.36 PM.png

Once Instruments starts, go to Instruments > Preferences and limit the number of Active processor cores to half of whatever your maximum number is:

Screen Shot 2018-08-05 at 3.34.52 PM.png

After you make this change, start the game normally, log in to the game until you’re able to move your character around, then log out. Exit the game completely and change the number of cores back to the maximum in Instruments. then move on to the next section to find out how to make a change in the game’s config files to eliminate the need to use Instruments for subsequent game starts.

Subsequent Launch Fix – Edit the UserSettings.txt file

Open the UserSettings.txt file with TextEdit. The file is usually located at:
Documents/Elder Scrolls Online/live/UserSettings.txt

Find the following lines:

SET RequestedNumJobThreads "-1"
SET RequestedNumWorkerThreads "-1"

Change them to:

SET RequestedNumJobThreads "0"
SET RequestedNumWorkerThreads "0"

Save the document, and start Elder Scrolls Online once again.

Happy adventuring!

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How to fix calendar invites not sending from iCloud accounts

If you use an iCloud calendar and invite an iCloud user to a calendar event, they’ll get a notification in the calendar app. If you invite a non-iCloud user, they’ll get an email notification — except when they don’t, and it might be confusing to figure out why.

To understand why this is happening, it’s important to realize that invitations sent from an Apple ID to another Apple ID are, by default, kept in Apple’s ecosystem and routed to the recipient as a notification rather than an email. If your recipient has an Apple ID that’s a third-part email address, such as a Gmail address, and uses the Gmail calendar, your invite likely won’t make it to them because of this.

The solution is to ask the recipient of your invite to sign into iCloud and change a setting within their iCloud calendar settings to enable email delivery of notifications. After signing in, the recipient should open Calendar, click the gear icon in the bottom left corner, click Preferences, Advanced, and change the invitations setting to “email to…”

I’ve prepared a snippet below that you can use to pass this information on, in case someone doesn’t get a calendar invite. Feel free to use this freely and modify it as the need arises:

If you were invited to a calendar event that I sent you, you should have received a notification to inform you of it, which includes an option to respond. If you didn’t receive this notification, it’s very likely that you have an Apple ID set up with the same email address. The reason that you didn’t receive my notification has to do with the way that notifications are passed through Apple’s system, and it may have redirected the notification to your iOS or MacOS calendar instead of your email, or vice-versa, depending on how you have it set up.

To make sure you don’t miss these notifications again, I encourage you to change the setting within your iCloud account to best fit your notification preferences. To do this, just follow the short instructions below:

First, sign into your iCloud account and go to your calendar by following this link:

Next, click the gear icon in the lower left.

Then click Preferences, Advanced, and locate the invitations setting on this screen.

Set it to email if you want an email, or in-app notifications if you want that instead.

Last, click Save.

I’ve had to do this once myself, so I can speak to it solving the issue.

Source: iCloud calendar not sending invites (StackExchange)

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Switching your Apple ID to your iCloud email address

When creating an Apple ID, it’s very likely that you set up an Apple ID based on a third-party email address, such as a Gmail or Outlook address. You may want to consider switching your Apple ID to your iCloud email address, especially if the email address that you first used was your primary email, and you’ve considered using your iCloud email address as your new primary email.

Apple has a great support article on how to change your Apple ID to your iCloud ID,  and it comes with one very important notice: That you need to sign out of every device that’s associated with your Apple ID before you start.

Once you do this, I recommend that you have a recovery email address set on your account.

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Taking Notes

Most people reading this blog carry around a computer every day, whether its a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Yet many of us still reach for paper and pen when it’s time to take notes.

For many of us, it’s because pen and paper are what we’re familiar with, and we know how they work. There’s a bunch of note-taking apps out there, and they don’t all work the same, or even similarly in many cases.

I recently decided that I was going to try to take notes in a digital format whenever possible and went on an adventure to see which of the most popular apps fit my needs. I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted when I started, and I’ve spent a few days trying to find an app that was just the right fit for me.

I put together a few apps I found and a list of the features that I directly compared between them below, and hopefully it helps someone in the same position that I’m in decide which works best for them:

OneNote 2016 Evernote Bear Turtl Apple Notes
Publisher Microsoft Evernote Shiny Frog Lyon Bros Apple
Price Free Free-$7.99/mo Free-$1.49/mo Free Free
Platforms Windows, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android, Web Windows, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Web Mac, iPad, iPhone Windows, Mac, Linux, Android Mac, iPad, iPhone
Cloud Sync Yes, via OneDrive Yes, via Evernote Yes, via CloudKit (Subscription only) Yes Yes, via iCloud/CloudKit
Self-hosted sync option No No No Yes No
Offline access Yes Paid plans only Yes Yes Yes
Local storage option No Yes No No Yes
Organization Notebooks, Sections, Pages Notebooks, Notes Notes, Hashtags Boards, Notes Folders, Notes
File attachments within notes Yes Yes Images and photos only Yes No
OCR within attachments Partial Yes N/A No No
Encryption Yes, per section Yes, selected portions of notes No Yes Yes, per note
Encryption Strength AES-256 AES-128 N/A AES-256 AES-128
Encrypts media within notes Yes No N/A Yes Yes
Web Clipping Yes Yes No No No
Sharing Yes Paid plans only No Yes No
Drawing/Write anywhere Yes Mobile apps only No No No
Markdown support No Partial, as typing shortcuts Yes Yes No
Language syntax highlighting No No Yes No No
Note history No With paid plan only No No No
Import options Print to OneNote, Import from Evernote zip file Apple Notes, Evernote, DayOne, Vesper, Ulysses None ENEX
Export options OneNote, Word, PDF, XPS, mht ENEX, HTML HTML, PDF, DOCX, MD, JPG None PDF

There are a lot more options out there than just these. In fact, there’s a whole Wikipedia page here.

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Removal of Comments

Comments have been a part of this blog since its creation, and I won’t deny that they’ve opened the door to interesting conversation. Allowing comments does have a few drawbacks, and those are the potential for spam, pingback/trackback abuse, and comments containing malicious links or code. Comments also restrict the potential for future development, as they limit the types of services and platforms that this blog might be migrated to in the future, though I haven’t made any decisions just yet.

For all of these reasons, I’ve made the decision to completely disable comments, and I’ll be purging all of the user-submitted comments from the site soon. I appreciate everyone who has submitted constructive comments, and to keep a channel open for folks to provide their thoughts on articles on this site, I’ve added a contact form which will submit an email to me.

I realize the potential for contact form spam as well, which is why I removed it in the past, but I think this is the right way to go here.

Thanks for reading.

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