SEATT updated to 1.5.0

Simple Event Attendance has been updated to 1.5.0.

Update to fulfill some of the requests posted at, as well as some other fixes:

  • Updates to structure of comments in source files to improve readability
  • Addition of list format to make displaying multiple events easier
  • Change to remaining time display in the admin panel (from hours to a formatted time)
  • Removed use of extract function from add_shortcode (seatt-list and seatt-form) as per best practice
  • Added ability to use shortcode to control public visibility of comments
  • Updated screenshots for plugin

Plugin is live on


DateTime with no DateTimeZone set in PHP.ini with ffmpeg and ClipBucket

I’ve been exploring how to generate videos on the fly through use of packages like ffmpeg (I installed this the other day), and recently tried out ClipBucket (a free video site script).

ClipBucket is a little rough around the edges, but has a load of great features, has a relatively active community, and large parts of the code are on GitHub.

It’s easy to setup, but I wasn’t getting thumbnails through ffmpeg for any of the uploaded videos. Instead I was getting:

Response : Oops ! Not Found.. See log

Command : /usr/bin/ffmpeg -ss -i /var/www/html/files/...

Invalid duration specification for ss: -i

Searching the web returned no results, so I’m posting this as a record.


The Culprit

The culprit was the casting of time, which is used when a duration is available.

It uses the following line in ffmpeg.class.php:

$d = new DateTime($d_formatted);

And on my server, this threw an invisible exception:

DateTime::__construct(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone.

The DateTime construct gets rather unhappy when it doesn’t have a default timezone, and it turns out I’d neglected to put a default timezone in PHP.ini. Just a quick change in PHP.ini to:

date.timezone = Europe/London

Restart Apache and we’re good to go. Oops.

Another option for this is to set the timezone in the PHP code, but it should still be set at the server level:

$d = new DateTime($d_formatted, new DateTimeZone('Europe/London'));


INACCESSIBLE_BOOT_DEVICE, courtesy of Intel Rapid Storage Technology drivers (

Note to self: do not update Intel Rapid Storage Technology drivers on a HP Proliant ML10v2, unless I really, really need to.

I’ve become complacent when throwing drivers at devices and this is a reminder how easy it is to break things. I recently added a TPM to one of my servers and one of the fixed drives is classified as removable by Windows, which means I can’t use the TPM with it. There’s at least two ways to fix this, either install Intel RST drivers and configure it through the console, or change some registry keys to force them to fixed drives.

So – download Intel RST version (the latest one that I thought was compatible), install, and reboot.

Restarting takes ages with a server BIOS, and you’re unlikely to have it hooked up to a display, so I had to jump into the iLO console to work out why it hadn’t started. After a reboot, all I had was the Windows logo, the spinning wheel, and shortly after a:


Restarts will yield the same result, even on safe mode, I didn’t have access to restore points, and the startup repair was also fruitless.

A fair while later I stumbled across this brilliant blog post which eventually provided success through:

  1. Restoring an earlier driver version as per the post
  2. Using the “Use last known good configuration (advanced)”, which managed to remove the BSOD.

All in all, much of an evening wasted by a single driver.

Mapping UK Highways Agency traffic data in PowerBI Desktop

I downloaded the May 2017 version of PowerBI desktop to load in some of the traffic data that I dropped into Qlik Sense and Tableau in a previous post.


The finished article first


So – back to getting started. This is my first time using the software, and it’a pleasant experience right up until I try to load an .xls file.


A missing driver? Already?

Continue reading “Mapping UK Highways Agency traffic data in PowerBI Desktop”

Viewing Department for Transport vehicle statistics by make in Qlik Sense

Generally, getting access to vehicle data is a pay-for-data experience – but snapshots are released each year to the public.

If you head to the Vehicle Statistics page on you get statistics about vehicle licencing, excise duty evasion, vehicle roadworthiness testing and more. You’ll probably want to check out the index as there’s 76 files in the 2016 download alone, at various levels of granularity…

The one I’m going to look at today though, is:

Licensed Cars, Motorcycles, Light Goods Vehicles, Heavy Goods Vehicles, Buses and Other vehicles by make and model, Great Britain, annually from 1994, quarterly from 2008 Quarter 3 ; also United Kingdom from 2014 Quarter 4

AKA table VEH0120. Interestingly, Qlik Sense throws an “Unknown Error” message when trying to load “.ods” files so I converted it to Excel prior to loading.

Continue reading “Viewing Department for Transport vehicle statistics by make in Qlik Sense”

Having a look at UK Highways Agency Traffic flow data – in Tableau Public and Qlik Sense (Cloud)

I’ve had a copy of some of the Highways Agency data downloaded for about a year – so it was time to have a quick look at it.

I’m going to quickly load a single month into Tableau Public and Qlik Sense Cloud (the CSVs are approx 850MB per month) to look at some basic mapped traffic flow information.

The data

The data in this post comes from the Highways Agency journey time and traffic flow data on the website. Unfortunately this data stops at the start of 2015 (data from then on is incomplete) and is now available via the webtris system APIs, although this post looks at data from March 2012.


Tableau Public vs Qlik Cloud Maps

Continue reading “Having a look at UK Highways Agency Traffic flow data – in Tableau Public and Qlik Sense (Cloud)”