Archive for July, 2021


Camtasia: Speech to Text not available

July 31, 2021

I’m testing out Camtasia. I used to use it for creating training videos years ago, but haven’t used it in a long while, so the new version is a just a little bit different… Anyhow, one of the features of Camtasia 2021 is that you can convert your audio narration to caption text, using their Speech to Text function (open the Captions option and click the cog wheel settings icon for it). But there was a problem — the Speech to Text option was grayed out and unavailable. Off to the internet…

Something someone said on a forum about Windows language settings led me to find the solution; however, I tried several things, so I’m not sure exactly which one was the critical one. My Windows language settings were set to both English Australian and English US, but when I looked a bit further (click on the language name and select Options), I didn’t have the language pack for Australian English installed and the speech ‘pack’ for US English wasn’t installed either. I downloaded and installed both, then check the Speech to Text settings in Camtasia. No change. So I shut down Camtasia and restarted it and the Speech to Text option was now available. Hopefully this will help someone else.

(Aside: Despite training my voice for speech recognition as Camtasia suggests, my experiments using their Speech to Text function were abysmal. The words in the captions that Camtasia created bore NO resemblance to anything I’d said!! I’ll try again tomorrow with a different microphone [I was using earbuds with a built-in mic, so next I’ll try a plug-in headset microphone to see if that makes any difference.] Meantime, I wondered if it was Windows speech recognition that was at fault or Camtasia, and in my minimal testing I can say that it was Camtasia. I exported the narration to an MP3 file, then used the online version of Word to transcribe it to text and it was perfect, whereas the Camtasia version was unintelligible.)

Further to the audio issue: Yes, my headset microphone made the world of difference to the audio, but despite that, the speech to text conversion in Camtasia for the captioning was still awful. Here’s what the transcription function in online Word had, followed by what Camtasia thought I’d said. The Word one needed a little editing; the Camtasia one needed to be rewritten from scratch. And when I imported the transcription as an SRT file (using the same time stamps as the Camtasia SRT file), it left out all by about 5 seconds of audio, so that wasn’t a good option.

Here’s what Word transcribed it as:


In this simple find and replace, we’re going to find a particular word, change it to another word, but we’re going to add a twist to that, and we’re going to make the second word in italics.


So what we’re going to find is the company name in this case here XYZ, and we’re going to replace it with another name and make that name.


Italics first thing we’ll do is we open the find replace window. We do need extra functions, so we need the one that’s under control H, so I press control H, just move it up a little out of the way here. Going to search for XYZ.

And here’s the SAME audio converted from speech to text within Camtasia:

00:00:00,100 –> 00:00:10,433

If in the civil fine to replace dead to find a particular word tragic to another live within 11 twisted left with kind Q of the 82nd would be

00:00:10,433 –> 00:00:20,766

the targets so if we could find if the company name and face. It’s like C wood and replaced with another nine can make it nine attempts to

00:00:20,766 –> 00:00:31,132

sink as we often find replacement that we do need if function so we need the one that under control page to press control H

00:00:31,133 –> 00:00:37,999

move it up and-white hit did a search for its YC

Just amazingly BAD.


Windows: Customize file/folder view in Explorer by customizing the template used

July 25, 2021

A recent major Windows update on my PC totally screwed with the settings I had for folder/file views in Windows Explorer (which I’ll call Explorer in this post). This post is not about changing the file attributes displayed for one or two files/folders—there are plenty of other sites that will tell you how to that. No, this post is on how to change the displayed attributes for a file type template and thus ALL files/folders that use that template. Microsoft rarely calls these templates, but that’s what they behave like, so I’ll call them templates here.

What am I talking about? Well, when you create a new folder in Explorer and add files to it, by default the attributes shown for that folder and its files in the Details view use the General Items template (you can see the template used by right-clicking on a folder, selecting Properties, and checking what is set on the Customize tab under Optimize this folder for). If Windows detects that all the files are image files or music files or document files, it might default to the attributes of those templates instead. The template used dictates what attribute columns you see in Details view in Explorer (View > Details).

Below is a folder with Documents set as the template—in Details view you can see that the file name, date modified, file type, and file size attributes are shown.

Explorer properties for Document include Name, Date Modified, file Type, and file Size

This one has Videos set as the template—its Details view has similar attribute columns, with the addition of the length of the videos in hours, minutes, and seconds.

Explorer properties for Videos include Name, Date (created), file Type, file Size, and Length of the video in hours, minutes and seconds

You might ask why this is important. For most people, this is of no consequence and they can live with the default settings, or perhaps change them every so often if they want to see other attributes. Many others have no idea that these attributes shown can be changed, or have no need to change them. But for some people the attributes shown in Explorer are hugely important—for example, photographers or anyone who needs to curate their photos; musicians or those who have an extensive music collection on their computers; movie buffs with thousands of videos etc. These people work with their files every day and need to see at a glance the attributes that interest them. So when Microsoft stuffs up the attributes displayed, this can anger these users because they likely have many thousands of files in many hundreds or thousands of folders that get reset to the default values. Changing the attributes one folder at a time is NOT what you want to do!

But if you change the underlying template’s attributes, you can then apply that template to a high-level folder containing files with that type of content, and the changes you make cascade to all subfolders and to other folders that have the same template applied to them. Unfortunately, this is NOT an intuitive process and requires going into two places—one to set it up how you want, then another to save it to that ‘template’. It took some Google sleuthing and trial and error based on some of the clues I found before I could test and then document these steps. Hopefully they will help others who are equally frustrated by this.

Part 1: Pick the template suitable for the types of files

  1. Open Windows Explorer and go to a folder that contains files of the type you want to amend. In this example, I’ll use a folder containing music subfolders and files.
  2. Right-click on the folder’s name in the left panel, and select Properties.
  3. Select the Customize tab.
  4. Select one of the drop-down options for Optimize folder for. In this example, I’ll select Music.
  5. Check the Also apply this template to all subfolders checkbox.
  6. Click OK.
  7. Go to the next set of steps.

On the Folder Properties window, select the type of files (Music is selected) and check the box for Also Apply this Template to all Subfolders, then click OK

Part 2: Set up the attributes you want to see in Detail view

  1. Change the Explorer view to Details—click the View tab, then click Details in the Layout group.
    View tab in Explorer showing Details in the Layout group selected
  2. At the top of the right panel are column headers, named with file attributes (e.g. Name, Size). Right-click anywhere in this column header area.
  3. The current attributes for the template are checked. You can click on any (except Name) to show or hide them (if already selected, clicking will deselect them; if not selected, clicking will select them). Yours will likely look different to this example, which is set for what I was testing with Music.
    Right-clicking on a column header shows the attributes selected to display in Details view
  4. Click More at the bottom of the list to see the full list of attributes you can choose from, arrange the order shown across the screen (Move Up moves the column closer to the left; Move Down moves it to the right), and adjust the column widths (all optional). Once you’ve made any changes here, click OK to close the Choose Details window.
  5. Adjust the column widths and positions, if required.
  6. Go to the next set of steps.

Part 3: Save those attributes to the template

  1. Once you have your folder set up with the attributes you want to display for the template you selected in Part 1, step 4, you need to ‘save’ it to the template. Go to the View tab in Explorer, if you aren’t already there.
  2. Click Options (far right on the View tab).
  3. On the Folder Options window, go to the View tab.
    Folder Options window where you click the Apply to Folders button
  4. Click Apply to Folders.
  5. You will be asked if ‘you want all folders of this type to match this folder’s view settings’. This message is a little confusing—what it’s really asking you is do you want to apply these settings to the TEMPLATE you selected for this folder. Click Yes if you do. Then click OK to close the Folder Options window.
  6. ALL folders on your PC that use the template you choose when you changed this one should now update their Details view to reflect the attributes you chose.

Details view for a folder using the Music template now shows Bit Rate, Size, Year, and Length (time)

NOTE: This isn’t an exact science! You may find that some folders/subfolders don’t change as you expect, and others you didn’t think would change, do. With luck there shouldn’t be too many of these and you can reapply the correct template to them (e.g. if the attributes for some General Items folders changed to reflect the Music attributes, then change those folders back to General Items.)

Part 4: Optional: Apply those attributes to other folders

If you have, say, music files stored in folders that use another template (e.g. the default General Items), then you can change the attributes shown just by changing the template for those folders. To do this, follow steps 1 to 6 in Part 1 above.

Tip: If you have LOTS of folders/subfolders containing a particular type of file, change a top-level folder and make sure you select the checkbox to apply to all subfolders.


Amazon pricing sucks

July 9, 2021

After the issues with an Amazon gift card earlier this week, I thought I’d try to buy a book for one of my nephews. The link from the author’s page went to Amazon’s US site, where the price of the book was about US$14. According to, at today’s exchange rate, that’s AU$18.85.'s price for Whole Whale hardbaok book is US$13.59

But I couldn’t buy it! Instead of a ‘buy now’ button, there was a message to buy it from the Australian site:

Message reads: Shipping to Australia? Get FREE delivery on eligible international orders with AU Prime (Membership fee applied) and pay in AUD, with a button to buy it on Amazon's Australian site So I clicked on that button and found the same book available on Amazon at a price that was nearly DOUBLE the price on the US site—AU$31.98:'s webpage for Whole Whale, shwoing a price of $31.98 for the hardcover book And free shipping? Nope. You only get free shipping if you spend more than AU$49 in your order.

Message: Free delivery by [date] on Prie International orders over $49.00

Bottom line: I can’t buy this book from the US site even when logged into it using my Amazon .com credentials—they force me to the Australian site, where the price is nearly double (AU$32 compared to AU$18.85 on the US site, converted from USD). And then I can’t get free shipping unless I buy something else that takes my order over AU$49.

When I added it to my cart on the Australian site, the shipping was surprisingly low for an Amazon book at just AU$5, but that now takes the total price to AU$37, TWICE the price that US customers pay.

So, even with credentials to Amazon’s US site, I can’t buy something from there—instead, they force me to the Australian site where they then try to charge me double the US price!


Just for giggles, I looked at some Australian booksellers’ websites, where I found the same book for $27.99 (no idea of postage as they wanted all my details before they’ll tell me this); $33.75 (+$7.95 postage); and $36.17 (free shipping; they state the Australian RRP is $46.18). I also found it on a UK bookseller’s site for AU$41.98 (+free shipping).



Windows 10: Lost your taskbar or desktop icons?

July 8, 2021

Way back when, I discovered how to restore a missing taskbar/desktop when Windows Explorer had closed incorrectly and taken them out (see Those instructions still work, as I discovered when this happened on my DH’s computer earlier today, but they’re a little different for Windows 10. In his case, he’d lost his taskbar and his desktop had gone black with just the mouse cursor showing. He could move the mouse, so that was a good sign that the computer hadn’t completely frozen. Before doing a hard reboot, I suggested he try getting his desktop back by restarting the Explorer process. And it worked!

Here’s how to do this in Windows 10:

  1. Press Ctrl+Alt+Del.
    • If everything is still working behind the scenes, you should get a list of options—go to Step 2.
    • If you don’t see a list of options, don’t continue with these steps. You’ll likely have to turn off the computer, wait 30 seconds, then turn it back on—with luck all should be well on rebooting the computer.
  2. Click Task Manager.
  3. On the Processes tab, check that no Explorer.exe processes are still running. If they are, end them (select each one then click End Process in the bottom right corner of the Task Manager window).
  4. Go to File > Run new task.
  5. In the pop-up window, type Explorer.exe, then click OK.
  6. With luck everything should start to display again within a few seconds. If it doesn’t, you’ll have to reboot your computer:
    • Try the ‘soft’ way first, which is to press Ctrl+Alt+Del again, then click the power icon in the lower right of the window and choose either Restart or Shut down, if offered those options.
    • If you don’t see any of those options, then you’ll have to do a hard reboot, which means pressing the power button on your computer to turn it off, wait 30 seconds, then turn it on again.

[Link last check July 2021]



Amazon gift cards are account- and/or country-specific

July 7, 2021

I had an interesting situation today that I wasn’t aware of and no doubt many others aren’t either. So here’s some info for future reference in case you ever give an Amazon gift card to someone in another country that also has a local Amazon site, though I’m not sure it would’ve helped me as I have the same credentials for both the Australian and US sites. NOTE: The terms listed in the gift card email clearly state that “Your gift card balance can’t be transferred to other accounts”, so that isn’t a way to get around this situation either.

Here’s what I wrote on Facebook, and a couple of the comments I got from those who’ve been in a similar situation:


The things you learn the hard way. I recently helped someone in another country and they sent me an Amazon gift card as thanks. Nice! I applied it to my account (I only have ONE account with ONE set of login credentials, an account I set up in the mid-90s and that I rarely use). Today, I had a couple of things to order from the US via Amazon, and thought I’d apply the gift card to the order, but its details were nowhere to be found under my account info. I still had the original email for the gift card so tried to reapply the gift card but it said it had already been redeemed. What?

I emailed Amazon to see what was going on, and they said the gift card didn’t apply to amazon orders, only to amazon .com. NOTHING in the info email that came with the gift card told me this, and when I applied it to my account I used the only login details I have for Amazon and wasn’t given the option to apply it to .com or purchases. I assumed Amazon is Amazon, but apparently not! Had I known this earlier, I’d have ordered those items from the .com site, not the site.

Who knows when I’ll get to use that gift card — as I said I rarely order from Amazon, and even more rarely from the US site. And in the process of doing all this, I discovered that my Prime membership only applies to orders from the site. So if I order something from the US site that I can’t get from the Australian site (the Australian site has a limited range), I can’t get free shipping via Prime. <grrr>


Some of the comments:

Another Australian: Yup, it sucks, I’ve ended up with .com and accounts.

Me: Well, it seems I have two accounts too, but the same credentials!

Aussie: I think I have the same login but different passwords. So confusing!


American: I think when I was gifting Amazon cards for India, I did so on the site. For about a year after, I’d occasionally default not that site. I think the same thing happened in 2019 when I gifted someone who worked for me in the UK. I went to the UK site. But I did it because I knew about the different sites.


Another American: I give folks on my team Amazon cards and have to go through .ca and .uk

Me: Never thought about it from the donee’s end! That sucks too — do you have to have separate accounts/logins for each country? or can you specify that at the time you give the card?

Response: Same credentials, I just have to go through the different interfaces. The authentication is the same, the billing is different, though, so I have to manage credit card data for each interface.


Seems a ‘global’ company like Amazon isn’t really global at all!

Update: I thought I’d be able to use the gift card on the US site to buy ebooks, but nope! They’ve blocked that avenue off as well—I get this message if I click on a Kindle edition: ‘Kindle titles are available for AU customers on Amazon’ If I click on a printed edition, I get a price plus the exorbitant shipping charge, which is often more than the book!! I’ll look into seeing if I can re-gift the card to a US friend, but I don’t think that will be an option. If I can’t do that, then Amazon has the money paid to it, I can’t buy anything with it, and they rake in yet more $$$$s!!!! It’s possible the donor could request a refund, but I won’t go down that path yet.

Also, on the US site, they have this at the bottom of the page on gift cards: “Amazon .com Gift Cards can only be used to purchase eligible goods and services on Amazon .com and certain related sites as provided in the Amazon .com Gift Card Terms and Conditions. To purchase a gift card for Amazon’s website in another country, please visit: Amazon .ca, Amazon .cn, Amazon .fr, Amazon .de, Amazon .in, Amazon .it, Amazon .jp, Amazon. uk, or Amazon .es.” [I’ve added spaces in the URLs so they don’t become clickable links]

But the gift card page for the Australian site doesn’t have ANY of this info at all. Note: The Australian site is NOT listed above.