Author Archive: Alan Hart

WordPress xml sitemap noindex errors – Google Search Console (aka Webmaster Tools)

If you notice Google Webmaster tools console flagging up the following…
Error – Submitted URL marked ‘noindex’ for

You can easily prevent these HTML files being created by the “XML Sitemap Generator for WordPress” plugin.

This is NOT in your site’s robots.txt file but instead it’s a meta tag in all html sitemap pages generated by the plugin.
The only page Google needs is the sitemap.xml file these extra html files aren’t needed.

  1. Login to wordpress (ofc)
  2. Go to settings > XML-sitemap
  3. Find and un-tick “Include sitemap in HTML format”
  4. Make sure to apply the change by scrolling to the bottom of page and click [Update options]

This article is specific to “XML Sitemap Generator for WordPress”

If this helps you out please feel free to say thanks by clicking “Buy Me a Coffee” PayPal button in the sidebar (down the bottom on mobiles) or via

Outlook imap send/receive – folder sync taking ages?

Is outlook taking forever when doing imap send/receive or synchronizing subscribed imap folders?

I had the same problem when trying to connect to imap using gmail accounts.
Here’s how I resolved the issue..

In outlook…

  1. Navigate to File >> Options >> Advanced
  2. Scroll down to the “Send and receive” heading
  3. Click on the “Send/Receive…” button on the right.
  4. On the right hand side of the send/receive groups window that opens click on the “Edit…” button.
  5. Un-check “Get folder unread count for subscribed folders”
  6. Under “Receive mail items”, select the option “Use the custom behavior defined below”
  7. In the “Folder Options” list below that displays your imap folders just select inbox and leave the others unchecked.
  8. Click “OK” and then exit out of options.

Now do a send/receive to test if it is now working a bit quicker. Hopefully it is and your imap speed issues are sorted!

If this helps you out please feel free to say thanks by clicking “Buy Me a Coffee” PayPal button in the sidebar (down the bottom on mobiles) or via

Thank You.

Hostgator GDPR Compliance

I couldn’t find anything on the hostgator website about GDPR, so emailed privacy(at)

Update: Hostgator have since added some gdpr compliance information:

Here is the email we sent to hostgator:

“We currently use Hostgator to host our websites.
Please can you let me know your status with becoming compliant with the new EU data privacy law (GDPR) which comes into effect on 25th May?
The law states that all our data processors (suppliers) must adhere to the law even if they are not based in the EU.”

Got a response and figured this might be useful for some people (UK & EU customers of hostgator) to know…

[27/04/2018] Currently, HostGator is not compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation. However, we are committed to achieving compliance with the GDPR by May 25, 2018. This will include work that will be “behind the scenes” such as the reviewing and revision of our agreements, internal processes, features, templates, and policies as necessary to assure our compliance.

With becoming GDPR complaint, both HostGator and our clients have obligations. Our Terms of Service requires that clients lawfully obtain and process all personal data appropriately which is something that must continue with becoming GDPR compliant. If you collect EU residents’ personal data, you are likely to be classified as a data controller under the General Data Protection Regulation. To clarify, this means you will have some additional obligations around such things as data subject rights.

We urge you to understand this and seek legal advice where you think necessary. HostGator is reviewing providing our customers with additional features, such as updated consent tools and the ability to respond to a customer data subject request. Moving forward, this email has now established a direct line of communication with our Management Team and will remain assigned to our Department. Please do not hesitate to let us know if you have any additional questions or concerns that we have yet to address.

This is a well written and reassuring response :)
I hope this info is useful to you.

Google Hangouts Emoji Keyboard Shortcuts

I’ve been annoyed that i couldn’t find emoji keyboard shortcuts on Google Hangouts (on mobile or gmail in web browser), i was specifically looking for the thinking face emoji.

You can copy and paste from this list but keyboard shortcuts are so much easier

Naturally i did the geeky thing and tried to find it.

Here’s the geeky stuff…
The code for keyboard shortcuts is buried in a javascript variable “J7a”
To see the javascript yourself: make sure you have a hangouts chat open in gmail then…
right-click  > inspect > sources

Here’s a snippet of the javascript…
(more geeky stuff)
J7a={“!:)”:128579,”!:-)”:128579,”(=^..^=)”:128568,”(=^.^=)”:128568,”(N)”:128078,”(Y)”:128077, …

What you’re seeing there is each keyboard shortcut “:)” and the corresponding Unicode character in decimal.
e.g. 128053 is decimal for the hexidecimal value 0x1F435 (monkey face U+1F435) .

Here are the emoji shortcuts…
Without further delay, here’s the full list of all currently available Google Hangouts emoji keyboard shortcuts…

:C frowning/sad face (U+2639)
:) or :-) smiley (U+263A)
<3 heart (U+2764)
-<@% honeybee (U+1F41D)
:(|) monkey face (U+1F435)
:(:) pig face (U+1F437)
(Y) or (y) thumb up (U+1F44D)
(N) or (n) thumb down (U+1F44E)
(]:{ man with turban (U+1F473)
</3 or <\\3 broken heart (U+1F494)
~@~ pile of poo (U+1F4A9)
:D or :-D grinning face (U+1F600)
^_^ grinning face with closed eyes (U+1F601)
:”D laughing face with tears (U+1F602)
=D laughing face open mouth with happy eyes (U+1F604)
^_^;; laughing face open mouth with tear (U+1F605)
O:) or O=) O:-) angel face (smiley with halo) (U+1F607)
}:) or }=) or }:-) devil face (U+1F608)
;) or ;-) winking face (U+1F609)
=) blushing smile (U+1F60A)
B-) smiley with sunglasses (U+1F60E)
:, or :-, smirking face (U+1F60F)
:| or =| or :-| neutral face (U+1F610)
-_- expressionless face (U+1F611)
o_o; downcast with sweat (U+1F613)
u_u pensive face (U+1F614)
:/ or =/ or =\\ or :\\ or :-/ or :-\\ confused face (U+1F615)
:s or :S or :-s or :-S confounded face (U+1F616)
:* or :-* kissing face (U+1F617)
;* or ;-* face blowing a kiss (U+1F618)
=* blushing kissing face (U+1F61A)
:p or :P or =p or =P or :-p or :-P face with tongue (U+1F61B)
;p or ;P or ;-p or ;-P winking face with tongue (U+1F61C)
:( or :-( or =( dissappointed face (U+1F61E)
>:( or >=( or >:-( pouting / angry face (U+1F621)
:'( or ='( or T_T or ;_; crying face (U+1F622)
>.< or >_< persevering face (U+1F623)
D: frowning with open mouth / worried (U+1F626)
:”( loudly crying face (U+1F62D)
:o or :O or =o or =O or :-o or :-O or o.o face with open mouth / shocked (U+1F62E)
O.O astonished face / gasping with shock (U+1F632)
X( or X-( or X-o or X-O or x_x dizzy face (U+1F635)
:3 or :X) or =^_^= or (=^..^=) or (=^.^=) grinning cat with smiling eyes (U+1F638)
!:) or !:-) upside-down face (U+1F643)
>:(X person gesturing no / crossed arms (U+1F645)
\o or o/ person raising hand (U+1F64B)
:)X or :-)X or >:D< hugging face / open hands (U+1F917)
\m/ hand horn sign / ‘rock-on’ (U+1F918)
V.v.V crab (U+1F980)

Annoyingly, as you can see in the list, my original search for a keyboard shortcut for the thinking face emoji proved fruitless…
There isn’t one  … yet

For reference here’s the current Unicode full emoji list.

I hope this helps you and saves you from diving into the javascript source.
If it does please feel free to say thanks by clicking “Buy Me a Coffee” PayPal button in the sidebar (down the bottom on mobiles) or via

Thank You

B4508 Road Closure near Watchfield- 6th Nov 2017

[19/12/2017] UPDATE:
The road has now re-opened. So the road is back to how it should be with no traffic calming and lovely new two lane bridge!

The B4508 Highworth Road, Watchfield, Oxfordshire, my usual route to and from work is closed.
Google yielded no answers so here’s why and when it’s closed…

Map of roadworks on B4508 at Westmill bridge / watchfield

B4508 Highworth Road, Watchfield, Oxfordshire roadworks at Westmill Bridge from 6th November 2017

Highway Authority: Oxfordshire County Council
Location: B4508 Watchfield. From east side of Westmill Bridge westwards to end of road.
Description of works:
GFRP (Glass Fiber Reinforced Plastic) bridge deck repair.
Removal of traffic islands. (Yay! about time to)
From 6th Nov to 15th Dec
24 hours a day 7 days a week.

Works ref: KE400999998777

Current status: Work in progress

Work info last updated: 00:00 on 06/11/2017

Latest up-to-date info on interactive map:

Data source: Oxfordshire County Council

Connect Tablet Front/Back Camera Not Working – Intel AVStream Camera – Error code: 0xA00F4243(0xC00D3704)

I bought a cheap (£39.99) Connect 8″ Tablet with Windows 10 from eBuyer. It’s pretty good considering the price.
One problem i have had, when switching between front and back cameras, is getting the following message…

Close other apps
It looks as though another app is already using the camera.
If you need it, heres the error code: 0xA00F4243(0xC00D3704)

After much searching online and reinstalling the camera/driver not solving the issue, there are two ways to get this to work:

Method 1: Install Windows 10 Anniversary Update…

Visit this URL on the device:

Click [Update Now]

Method 2: A basic workaround…

  1. Hold down the windows button and tap the power button (This is the same as holding Ctrl + Alt + Delete) (home button on other devices)
  2. Tap the [Cancel] button.
  3. BOOM! camera works!

Note: You will have to do this each time you switch…Annoying but at least it works without updating!

I believe it does this because the camera app itself is the “other app” mentioned in the error message. As the camera is already in use it fails to switch.

Performing Win + PWR (ctrl+alt+del) stops the current camera and allows it to switch.

Updating to the latest version of Windows 10 fixes the camera app issue.

If you had this problem and it helped you out please tweet or comment below stating the Tablet/Phone model you had the issue with hopefully it will help someone else.

Also if you’re feeling generous you can buy me a coffee via PayPal at or using the link in the sidebar.

Printer goes offline randomly in Windows Vista, 7, 8, 10 and Server 2003, 2008, 2012

In our office users were complaining of printers randomly going offline even though other users’ computers on the same network were able to print just fine. Usually they would just reboot the PC or disconnect from ethernet and connect to the office wifi instead and it would start working again.

After much exploring of network and IP related settings the solution actually turned out to be ridiculously simple!

Windows Vista and all versions of windows thereafter automatically enable SNMP for networked printers, and if there’s no response to an SNMP message then it stupidly assumes that the printer is offline.
If you didn’t know,  SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) is used to get info from network devices (such as printers, switches, routers, servers etc).
Many network printers support SNMP and will happily reply to SNMP requests. In this scenario i discovered that some do not.

Our printers are all reasonably old Brother HL53250DN or HP CP2015 devices (or similar) which seem to have difficulty with SNMP. Essentially Windows will report the printer as offline randomly because it has just tried to get a response via SNMP with no luck.

The easy fix is to just ask Windows politely to not use SNMP to detect printer status.

1. Right-click on the printer in the Printers window
2. Choose the Ports tab
3. Select “Configure Port”
4. Untick the checkbox “SNMP Status Enable”
The printer should then start showing as online again.

This fix has worked on many versions of Windows on the various PCs, laptops and servers in our offices.

Windows Vista
Windows 7
Windows 8
Windows 8.1
Windows 10
Windows Server 2003
Windows Server 2008
Windows Server 2012

If you tried the steps above but the issue presents itself again then you may be able to edit the registry (if you’re comfortable to do so)

To do this…
1. goto HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print
2. Add new DWORD “SNMPLegacy” with value of 1 and restart the PC/Server (if safe to do so)

The issue can occur even if the printer does support SNMP but a firewall or network setting is getting in the way. This happened in one of our other buildings using an older router setup.

If you had this problem and it helped you out please tweet or comment below stating the Windows version and printer model you had the issue with.

Also if you’re feeling generous buy me a coffee via PayPal at or using the link in the sidebar.

Why ALL4 Advertising Sucks – Worst implementation of online advertising ever?

All4 (Channel 4’s online catch-up tv service) sucks and here’s why….

We all know and understand that content providers especially commercial channels make their money from advertising.

Advertising isn’t that much of a deal, we’re all used to it, but when that advertising gets in the way of service users actually accessing the content they want to see, that’s when it becomes an annoyance, and in this case it’s a massive annoyance!

Here is an example of an experience with All4…

To view a catch-up video I have to sit through 6 minutes of ads at the start. (6 minutes! and unskippable! – How anyone can think this is acceptable is crazy)
As i already watched the first 45 minutes of the show a few days previously on live TV I click to skip to the last 15 mins of the hour long show to catch up on the bit that i missed.
I then get hit with 3m45s of more advertising!  (total time wasted = 9m45s)
I then go to pause the video and accidentally hit the skip back button… and get hit with another 3m45s of ads (total time wasted = 13m30s).
I then skip forwards to get back to the spot where i was watching and get 3m45s of EVEN MORE ADS!!

So after watching the last 15 minutes I wanted to catch up on i’ve been subjected to a total of 17m15s minutes of bloody adverts, making my entire viewing experience take more than double the time it should!

This is the most shockingly poor implementation of online advertising i have ever experienced.
On top of all this the video quality is rather poor.

Dear Channel 4 / All4, If you see this PLEASE end this insanity and change your service to make user friendly. At least allow users to skip ads if they’ve already watched at least 3mins of advertising.

I’ve sent Channel 4 a message so will be interesting to see what their reply is.

Update: Here’s a handy tip to save you sitting through 10+mins of ads…

How bulk delete multiple photos from iphone 6


Turns out you can no longer delete photos from your iPhone on your PC…



1. Open Photos App

2. In camera roll make sure you are in “Albums” (bottom right)

3. Scroll up/down to where you want to start deleting from (if you want to keep your most recent photos and videos)

4. Tap “Select” (top right). Then tap the last photo you want deleted and drag your finger across or up (to select more than one photo)

How to bulk delete multiple photos from iphone 6How to bulk delete multiple photos from iphone 6
5. While still holding your selecting finger on the screen, Tap the top of the screen (where the clock is) with another finger.
This will automatically scroll you all the way up to the older images at the top of your camera roll and select everything in between.

How to bulk delete multiple photos from iphone 6
6. Tap delete (Bin / Trashcan Icon) and confirm, wait a few seconds and the photos will be deleted (almost)

How to bulk delete multiple photos from iphone 6
Naturally you would be expecting this to have removed the photos and videos freeing up valuable space for more lovely photos, videos and apps wouldn’t you?


7. Tap “< Albums” (top left) and scroll to “Recently Deleted”. Then tap “Select” (top right)

How to bulk delete multiple photos from iphone 6How to bulk delete multiple photos from iphone 6
8. Tap “Delete All” (bottom left) and then confirm you really want to delete the photos completely.


Of course Apple have made this SO intuitive you could have easily figured this all out for yourself, right? ;)

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McDonalds Scraps 5p Charge for Sauce/Dips?

Just picked up a deliciously juicy breakfast from a local McDonalds and it was 5p cheaper than usual…
The guy at the drive thru said that they are no longer charging the silly 5p surcharge for sauces and dips.

Free sauce for everyone?
Unfortunately this isn’t the same in McDonalds restaurants nationwide..

Comment below or tweet me (@alanhart) if your mcdonalds charges or not.