Downloadable Racking Inspection Checkout

We have just brought some secondhand warehouse racking. I wanted to inspect it for faults. This company provide a free racking inspection checklist.  They make you jump through lots of hoops to get access to it. Here are the direct links to the download:

Downloadable Racking Inspection Checklist – 1
Downloadable Racking Inspection Checklist – 2

I hope your enjoy these free downloadable racking inspection checklists.

Extracting data from Brother P-Touch Label Printer .lbx Files.

We recently had to extract barcode data from a large directory of .lbx files, which is the file format used by Brother P-Touch Label Printer software. We could have found the software, opened each file in turn and cut and pasted the data into a spreadsheet, but this didn’t seem very efficient.

Opening the files in a text editor revealed that .lbx files are actually standard zip files – if you change the extension from .lbx to .zip you can open them up to reveal two files inside – label.xml and prop.xml, both standard XML files. The contents of the label can then be found by opening the label.xml file and looking for a node called ‘pt:data’.

We wrote a quick and dirty PHP 5.2 script that extracts all the label data and displays it in a basic html table:

// Eg my_web_server_dir/data_dir/labels
$labelsDirectory = 'labels';

echo '<table>';

foreach (new DirectoryIterator($labelsDirectory) as $fileInfo) {

if ($fileInfo->isDot() || (!stripos($fileInfo->getFilename(),'lbx'))) {

$zip = zip_open($labelsDirectory . '/' . $fileInfo->getFilename());

do {

$entry = zip_read($zip);

if (!is_resource($entry)){

$entryName = zip_entry_name($entry);

if (trim((string)$entryName) != 'label.xml') {

$entryContent = zip_entry_read($entry, zip_entry_filesize($entry));

$xml = simplexml_load_string($entryContent);

$matches = $xml->xpath('//pt:data');

$barcode = '????';

if (isset($matches[0])) {
$barcode = $matches[0]->__toString();

echo '<tr><td>' . str_replace('_', ' ', str_replace('.lbx', '', $fileInfo->getFilename())) . '</td><td>' . $barcode . '</td></tr>';

} while ($entry);


echo '</table>';

Zortrax M300 3D Printer Problems

We have brought a Zortrax M300 3D Printer.  It was recommended to me by several people.  They told me that it was really reliable and made good quality prints.  I have spent just over 92 days using this printer and printed a wide variety of things.

Image result for zortrax m300

When the printer works, it is a dream and can makes good quality prints.  However, when it doesn’t work (which is around 50%) of the time, it’s a complete nightmare.  It has had a catalogue of problems.  Here is a little diary of my Zortrax M300 printer problems.

18th April 2017
Straight out of the box the printer was non-functional.   Zortrax sent out replacement parts including a new extruder cable, extruder PCB, heater and a thermocouple.  We contacted Zortrax on the 18th April; new parts arrived on the 27th April   The printer was unusable for 10 days

30th April 2017
Amazingly, a large print burnt mid print.  The fan shroud was ripped off and the hot end damaged.   We had to print a new fan shroud using our far more reliable Makerbots.  The odd thing about this is that the Zortrax software sets the route of the printer.  I have no idea why we would have this sort of problem.

Focal Length



Focal Length

What a mess!

The damaged hot end

10th May 2017
The second strange to happen was that the printer nozzle drove into printer bed and caused significant damage.  Again, there is nothing that we could have done wrong because their computer program does the programming on the machine.

31st May 2017
After a few weeks of successful printer suddenly the printer stopped extruding any material or would print just one layer of raft then stop extruding but carry out the remaining printer movements.  We contacted Zortrax, and they sent replacement parts including a new heater and a thermocouple and perforated print bed   We contacted Zortrax on the 31st May, new parts arrived on the 7th June.  The printer was unusable for 8 days.

23rd June 2017
Again, after a few weeks of printing… you have guessed it…. the printer stopped.  It will not extrude any material or print one layer of raft then stop extruding but carry out the remaining printer movements.   The printer was sent back to Zortrax, looked at by their engineers, given the all clear, then suddenly they found a problem (apparently some material was stuck in the extuder head) and it was sent back to us.  We contacted Zortrax on the 23rd June, and the printer arrived back on the 18th July.  The printer was unusable for 25 days

18th July 2017
So… finally got the printer back and you have guessed it….  straight out of the box….. it didn’t work!.  The printer will read the extruder temperature at 4% even though the hotend is visibly very hot, smoke can be seen and a burning smell is noticeable.

I currently don’t have a working printer.

In summary:

Total length of ownership of the printer – 92 Days
Total time the printer has been completely unusable – 43 Days

So, I’m afraid that I can’t recommend the Zortrax M300.  It’s an unreliable, temperamental and generally frustrating machine.  The customer service isn’t very good either given the length of time it takes to get spares and repairs.  You can’t speak to them on the phone; they are unapologetic and slow to react.  We have had to wait for ages to get the printer shipped back and forth between Zortrax UK office.   In comparison, Makerbots have proved far far more reliable.  We are looking to purchase two new 3D printers.  At this rate, there certainly won’t be from Zortrax!

How To Stop Firefox Adding An Extra Line In Google Sheets

I use Firefox with Google Sheets.   When filling in the cell and pressing enter Google sheets automatically adds a new line.  It only seems to happen then you press enter.  It doesn’t happen when you press tab or click out of the call.   It also only happens in Firefox and not Google Chrome.   Being cynical, I wonder if Google know about this bug and aren’t fixing it so that people migrate from Firefox to Chrome.  Anyhow, it is quite simple to fix it.

Just go to Tools.  You will find that autocomplete is enabled.

Disable autocomplete and the problem will disappear,

Hope this helps someone.

Bluetooth Really Quiet / Low Volume on Bluetooth iPhone

I have an Audio Pro T10 bluetooth speaker. I use it to play music from my iphone. For some reason this morning, when I tried to use, I could not hear any music coming out. The iphone was connected and playing music. I tried my wife’s phone and this played perfectly. I finally realised that the music was coming through but really quietly at a really low volume.

It seems that you have reset your bluetooth connection. Go into bluetooth setting. Click the information button.


Then forget the device.


Then re-pair the phone with the bluetooth speaker.  The sound should then work again.  If it doesn’t then repeat the process.

OpenSSH Xauth Command Injection Vulnerability – Ubuntu 14.04 – PCI Compliance

I’m just going through PCI Compliance for a company that I work for. The security scan picked an apparent vulnerability in the open-ssh server. The vulnerability had been patched in Ubuntu 14.04 and so this is a false positive. I thought that I post put about it because I found lots of posts where people are trying to compile their the latest open-ssh servers to get around this problem – when in fact it isn’t actually a problems. Compiling your own version of the open-ssh server isn’t recommended because you will have to continually patch the package yourself from then on.

The warning text said:

OpenSSH (OpenBSD Secure Shell) is a set of computer programs providing encrypted communication sessions over a computer network using the SSH protocol.

The sshd server fails to validate user-supplied X11 authentication credentials when establishing an X11 forwarding session. An authenticated user may inject arbitrary xauth commands by sending an x11 channel request that includes a newline character in the x11 cookie.
Please note that Systems with X11Forwarding enabled are affected.

Affected Versions:
OpenSSH versions prior to 7.2p2
An authenticated, remote attacker can exploit this vulnerability to execute arbitrary commands on the targeted system.
Users are advised to upgrade to the latest version of the software available. Refer to OpenSSH 7.2p2 Release Notes for further information.

Following are links for downloading patches to fix the vulnerabilities:

OpenSSH 7.2p2
SSH-2.0-OpenSSH_6.6.1p1 Ubuntu-2ubuntu2.8 detected on port 22 over TCP.

I hope this is helpful to someone.