Random thoughts.... [Tech Edition]

Matt2000

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Due to the person who developed a system at work leaving with nobody to support it, I've had to find a way to link an item in the database with its name. This while having no access to the database or any actual data on the web app due to the way it's build.

My solution is to run a looping Powershell script that goes from 1 too 400 trying every ID in the URL in edge, taking a screenshot of the section of the screen that would include the name, then saving the screenshot with the ID number and closing the browser. I kind of hate it but it's working.

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I was looking for a magazine app for the iPad (which I'm loving by the way) and remembered that I had magazines on Zinio about 5 years ago. Surprisingly the service still exists. I want to get digital copies of my Land Rover magazine, especially the old issues. In the past I would cut the spine off the old mags, scan them all in (I got an old document feeder HP ScanJet for free from work) and then recycle them. For £3 I can buy the old issue as a digital version. The digital version looks pretty good on the iPad and the price is worth it to not go through the hassle of cutting and scanning.

Anyway, me being me I don't trust the service to stay active. I'm really reluctant to buy things on any 'streaming' services that may disappear, I'm even reluctant to buy movies on Amazon Prime Video. Therefore I wanted a way to get a hard copy of the magazines. Zinio doesn't export to PDF and the only old hack I found for downloading doesn't work with the latest desktop app so I dumbed it down until I had a solution.

With the reader open in full screen on my UHD display, the DPI is approximately the same as the scanned copies I had. Therefore the simple solution is to go through the magazine in the app, taking a screenshot of each double-page as a high quality PNG. Copy the resulting images into a left and a right folder and run different Photoshop cropping actions on each, add L and R as suffixes to the file names and combine them all as a PDF with the front and back covers. I'm quite proud of my dumb ideas sometimes. :LOL:

I did the first one manually but I have several micro Arduinos around that I have used as keyboard emulators in the past, I'll knock up some code that just triggers a screenshot and presses right alternately every 5 seconds, then link that code to a toggle switch.
 

jack_christie

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Anyway, me being me I don't trust the service to stay active. I'm really reluctant to buy things on any 'streaming' services that may disappear, I'm even reluctant to buy movies on Amazon Prime Video. Therefore I wanted a way to get a hard copy of the magazines. Zinio doesn't export to PDF and the only old hack I found for downloading doesn't work with the latest desktop app so I dumbed it down until I had a solution.
Have you tried looking in the browser cache? With some online mags there is usually an image per page in cache.
 

Matt2000

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Have you tried looking in the browser cache? With some online mags there is usually an image per page in cache.
Thanks for the link, I love the old-school NirSoft packages but didn't think about that one. That finds some ~1000px images which aren't quite good enough and some encrypted PDFs, which I assume are the full pages. I'll have a go at breaking in to them. Otherwise I've already written my Arduino code, just need a 3D printed case, a switch and two wires to the I/O pins.

Also an excellent basis for a prank device, like my (un)patented CapsLocker that was great for toggling CAPS and pissing off colleagues. Computers see the Arduino as a normal keyboard, obvious potential for malicious use but I'm not interested in that.
 

jack_christie

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Just did a search for decrypt Zinio, this came up:

Calibre used to have plugins for decrypting but I don't think they work anymore
 

DanRoM

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Due to the person who developed a system at work leaving with nobody to support it, I've had to find a way to link an item in the database with its name. This while having no access to the database or any actual data on the web app due to the way it's build.

My solution is to run a looping Powershell script that goes from 1 too 400 trying every ID in the URL in edge, taking a screenshot of the section of the screen that would include the name, then saving the screenshot with the ID number and closing the browser. I kind of hate it but it's working.
That's horrible. :D

So as far as I understand you try to pair IDs to names? Have you tried OCR-ing the saved images for further automation?
 

Matt2000

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That's horrible. :D

So as far as I understand you try to pair IDs to names? Have you tried OCR-ing the saved images for further automation?
That was exactly the next step, and it worked! I used this pre-built script to collect the name, then appended it to the file name. I was then able to produce URLs that linked directly to items and email them out, which is what the system was supposed to do automatically...

I've got my 'screenshot and right' Arduino working for Zinio too, I'll still try the PDFs but this is just so damn simple and it's quite satisfying to know I'm giving the middle finger to the Zinio people with something as dumb as a screenshot.
 
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93Flareside

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For those who know of the Crutchfield website, has anyone actually bought from them? For car audio, I have used their “what fits my car?” Tool so much, that when I was regularly installing car stereos for friends, I’d used their website, then search the local Best Buy for the adapter kits needed. Seemed to almost always be in stock locally so I never needed to buy car audio items online and wait. But knowing what I needed was the tricky part.
 

GRtak

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For those who know of the Crutchfield website, has anyone actually bought from them? For car audio, I have used their “what fits my car?” Tool so much, that when I was regularly installing car stereos for friends, I’d used their website, then search the local Best Buy for the adapter kits needed. Seemed to almost always be in stock locally so I never needed to buy car audio items online and wait. But knowing what I needed was the tricky part.


I bought from them before there was a local Best Buy. /Old guy

The only other option was the local stereo center, and they was expensive!

Things like speaker wire I went to Radio Shack. (See, old guy)
 

CraigB

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For those who know of the Crutchfield website, has anyone actually bought from them? For car audio, I have used their “what fits my car?” Tool so much, that when I was regularly installing car stereos for friends, I’d used their website, then search the local Best Buy for the adapter kits needed. Seemed to almost always be in stock locally so I never needed to buy car audio items online and wait. But knowing what I needed was the tricky part.

I put a nice Sony headunit in Gena's Altima last year and bought everything from them. Headunit, wiring adapter, steering wheel adapter, etc. Truly was a bolt in deal. Looking at prices, I thought they'd be high, but they were pretty close and had everything in one place.
 

NecroJoe

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Yes, but in the 90s. I didnt want to have to think about the mounting adaptor or wiring harness, and it worked flawlessly to put a single DIN unit into my 1996 Ford Explorer Sport.
 

73GMCSprint

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It seems like Crutchfield was expensive back in the mail-order catalog days, but now they're very competitive with most things. You can find some adapters and things cheaper other places, but often the prices are close enough so that it's more convenient to just order it all from one place.

Of course, for at least a year now, with the chip shortage they've had hardly anything in stock that's worth buying. But, everywhere else has been in the same boat. It's got to be hurting them pretty bad.
 

NecroJoe

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It's worth noting that when I've helped install a couple other car stereos since that one 20 years ago, and the adaptor face plates these other people bought elsewhere because they were cheaper, the plastics for those others felt significantly cheaper. Like...either a lower-quality plastic, thinner plastic, or both. A case of "you get what you pay for", and unfortunately that isn't something you can tell from photos on website photos. It's entirely possible Crutchfield's also chased the same pennies of margin and lowered their quality as well in the decades since...
 

NecroJoe

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Which uses more power: cryptocurrency and NFTs or electric vehicles?
 

GRtak

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Which uses more power: cryptocurrency and NFTs or electric vehicles?


Which one provides more to society? Me thinks it is the EVs.
 

GRtak

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Oh, of course. Which is why I'm curious if crypto out-paced them yet.


Crypto uses a huge amount of power, and NFTs aren't much better.
 

93Flareside

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I’m starting to get to the point where I want my cell phone to be like the old flip phones or Nokia type bar phones. I like the ability to surf the internet and text people, but I hate the fragility of current phone offerings.
 

gaasc

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The solution is an iPhone SE and an Otterbox Defender. It's a bit larger with that, yes, but you can surf the internet, text people, and you basically not have to worry about dropping it unless it somehow fell off your car at freeway speeds.

I'm not just an otterbox simp, I'm also a customer :p
 
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