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Posted by: cpd2009
11-01-2020, 05:27 AM
Forum: Computers, Games & Tech
- Replies (7)

Here is my mid-2011 iMac, purchased refurbished from MacOfAllTrades. I named it "Lilly", the same name of my now-gone 2011 Mac mini, and also because this was the Mac I would have purchased in 2011 if David hadn't pressured me into getting the slower Mini instead. I digress...

Below are photos of the final setup. This iMac previously had High Sierra installed, but I decided to downgrade to Mountain Lion. ML works better with 4GB RAM, I can still use the older version of iMovie that has more features, and overall, this OS is nowhere near as demanding as High Sierra is.

[Image: Lilly-Final-01.jpg]

I placed Lilly where Rusty's monitor used to be at. Rusty will soon be hooked up to my HDTV solely for games.

[Image: Lilly-Final-02.jpg]

From left to right past the calendar icon... Arctic Fox browser, Preview, iTunes, VLC, iMovie '11, QuickTime, HandBrake, and Avidemux 2.6.9. I found Handbrake to have a much better interface than Avidemux just for converting the raw QuickTime recordings to smaller files. I keep Avidemux around for the commercial compilations and making the upscaled YouTube uploads. I know I said I was going to use iMovie '11 for that, but it caps at 30fps. I plan on making YTP again though, and iMovie '11 works well enough for that.

[Image: Lilly-Final-03.jpg]

[Image: Lilly-Final-04.jpg]

[Image: Lilly-Final-05.jpg]

The recording setup. The HDMI dongle connects to one of the back USB ports, and the Composite-to-HDMI converter goes into the dongle. Final picture shows QuickTime recording from the HDMI dongle. It's stretched out, but I resize it to proper 4:3 with Handbrake.

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Posted by: cpd2009
06-24-2020, 10:10 AM
Forum: Computers, Games & Tech
- Replies (9)

On my way of starting some kind of retro Mac/PC laptop collection, I wound up with a gently used (for the most part) 2009 White MacBook from eBay. I got it delivered yesterday, and it was very clean throughout. As it was, it came with 2GB RAM, Mac OS X Snow Leopard, and a 5400rpm 250GB hard drive. Graphics are an Nvidia GeForce 9400M, and the latest OS it can run without a patch is High Sierra. Odd... kind of reminds me how 2013 MacBook Airs get Big Sur while 2013 iMacs do not.

But anyway... it was a bit of a process to restore this machine and make it semi-modern. One odd thing about this MacBook is that two screws were missing on the bottom panel. This was clearly mentioned in the description, and given how neatly kept the remainder of the machine was, this wasn't a deal breaker, and I am planning on replacing the bottom panel anyway for reasons I'll get to in a bit. It even came in a nice protective sleeve too. Another nice thing was the previous owner decorated the laptop with one of those stick on skins, which here is a abstract leaf pattern with colored birds sitting on said leafy patterns. I plan on leaving this sticker on as I won't really be using this MacBook out in public. Taking off the bottom panel is very easy, with normally eight small Philips head screws holding the case in... or rather, six as two were missing with this MacBook. A neat feature about these 2009 White MacBooks is the bottom case is covered in a rubber sleeve which helps the laptop keep a good grip on a table surface. Age hasn't been kind to it. This rubber bottom is crimped onto the metal plate around the edges, and you'd think it be pretty tightly fit. Well, it's not, or at least, no longer is. While trying to get the case taken off, I instead pulled off a portion of the rubber casing, and getting it back on over the edge of the metal plate is impossible. So now, the edges of the rubber are drooping out in spots. Sad Luckily, spare bottom cases (likely after market ones) are sold on eBay, and I am going to get one soon.

Here is what I am doing. I replaced the slow 5400rpm drive with Greta"s old 250GB SSD. I then installed El Capitan, and upgraded to High Sierra from there. Next up is the RAM. This MacBook supports up to 8GB RAM. High Sierra is running rather snappy as it is with 2GB RAM, but this is because of the SSD speeding things up. More memory intensive apps and games will start to slow things down, and I am planning on some video/audio capture experiments with this thing. I will upgrade the RAM at the same time I replace the bottom case.

Below are some photos of the unit, and some random pictures taken during the setup process. I will also provide links to Geekbench Scores, which I ran against my 2020 MBP. Spoiler: The 2009 MacBook gets smoked by the 2020 MBP.

2020 MBP score:
https://browser.geekbench.com/v5/cpu/2661672

2009 Macbook:
https://browser.geekbench.com/v5/cpu/2661689


Photos in the next post...

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Posted by: huckleberrypie
05-27-2020, 10:59 AM
Forum: LeapFrog Epic
- No Replies

Special thanks to Roy Boxer for supplying me with this one:

[Image: hyiMRKm.jpg]

ROM build number is KOT49H.user.1.1.171.20190530.155308. Should work on all editions using SP Flash Tool v5.1744 and later. Just make sure to BACK UP the stock ROM first before flashing this, and clear /data and /cache via recovery mode after flashing. Trust me, I bricked one of my Epic demo units before and it helps to keep the stock secro, seccfg and NVRAM prior to doing anything with the Epic.

Code:
https://androidfilehost.com/?fid=4349826312261738402

P.S.: If you're getting a signature error upon flashing, try unticking SEC_RO and then try again.

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Posted by: huckleberrypie
05-27-2020, 10:52 AM
Forum: LeapFrog Epic
- No Replies

Here's yet another ROM dump I made for the Epic:

[Image: u9Vem1J.jpg]
ROM build number is KOT49H.user.1.8.804.20200416.135116. Should work on all editions using SP Flash Tool v5.1744 and later. Just make sure to BACK UP the stock ROM first before flashing this, and clear /data and /cache via recovery mode after flashing. Trust me, I bricked one of my Epic demo units before and it helps to keep the stock secro, seccfg and NVRAM prior to doing anything with the Epic.

Code:
https://androidfilehost.com/?fid=4349826312261819358

P.S.: If you're getting a signature error upon flashing, try unticking SEC_RO and then try again.

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Posted by: huckleberrypie
02-21-2020, 10:22 AM
Forum: Creative Corner
- No Replies

[Image: GW4NK5Q.jpg]
Musings of a Snoobian Butler

LEGAL STUFF: No, I don't own and will never have the rights to the Frozen franchise or any other Disney property, let alone Steamboat Willie.

Set shortly after the Dark Horse comic Reunion Road and told in his own point of view, Kai Mikkelsen breaks his silence and tells his story to Elsa and Anna.



It's been quite a while since I last met my brother Karl. To say that we were thick as thieves is an understatement, as other than my childhood friend Gerda whom I've had the honour of being her loving husband, Karl had been the brother I always looked up to and cared for. Serendipity brought him back to my life, as my employers, Her Majesties Anna and Elsa of Arendelle, turned out to be expressing their intent to attend the harvest festival in my hometown. It was quite an eventful journey, and I felt embarrassed as the trip wasn't without incident, having encountered obstacles along the way. Fortunately for the two sisters, they were accustomed to it no thanks to that assassination plot involving a certain scheming ursurper for a prince. The Royal Family is, by protocol, accompanied by a royal escort to keep any untoward incidents from taking place, but in practice they are able to hold off any threats on their own-after all, Elsa could easily dispatch anyone with her ice powers anyway.

Kristoff and I were in front of the carriage, and he was merrily discussing about things icemen and adventurers such as himself tend to get themselves into. I guess that compelled me to share more of my life. Even though I typically defer to them as per protocol, the circumstances surrounding the Royal Family made formalities less of a concern for the two sisters and their extended family, which included the servants such as myself and Gerda. Being a veteran of the royal court the sisters grew up with us employees and they treated us like family, to the point that Anna and Elsa would refer to my wife and I as "Aunt Gerda" and "Uncle Kai" especially when they were little. In public I'd address them as Queen, Princess or Your Majesty, but whenever the opportunity arises they'd often compel me "No, it's OK, Kai, just call us by our names and it'll be fine," even though to be honest it's quite hard considering I still have to stick to the rules regardless. Though over time I learned to relax a little and just do my best for the Royal Family.

"So, uh, how's things with your brother, Kai?" Kristoff asked quizzically, still a little uneasy about the idea of conversing with royal staff even though he himself wasn't any better off in terms of social status.

"Better than ever, if you may have witnessed," I remarked, tears welling from my eyes. "Thank you so much for caring about me, Elsa, Anna, Olaf and Kristoff,"

"Oh, it's nothing," Anna scoffed, "As long as you got yourself a well-deserved R&R and you finally reunited with that brother of yours, we're happy. And we got to have some 'swell time at the harvest festival, don't you think?"

"Haha, absolutely!" I agreed. The gang nodded in unison.

"You mind if I tell you something?" I asked, though to be honest I'm not sure if I really am privy to this as I am indeed the butler and I have to keep my place.

"Sure, no problem," Elsa assured. "Besides, it's going to be quite boring if we just stare at each other here along the way,"

"Not unless Elsa randomly shoots ice at someone or something-hey!" joked Anna, but Elsa interrupted her mid-sentence.

"Alright, here it goes..." I started my story.

I haven't always been the portly old man that I've been known for since taking a job in Arendelle. I was a brash little kid back in the day, having seen and partaken in so much mischief until Gerda and yours truly, had a chance encounter with Ingrid, the original Snow Queen. I've been quite cursed with the shattered mirror, seeing nothing but garbage and misery at those whom I have been with. Gerda was understandably upset at what I've become back then, an embittered little boy only to be consumed by the Snow Queen's curse. It was Gerda's friendship that changed me, her and Ingrid for the better. Like Elsa, Ingrid had always been misunderstood, a pariah and thus a product of her society. A series of unfortunate events turned Ingrid, who also had the ability to conjure ice and snow, into a bitter old woman, having been misblamed for the death of her sister Helga. Ingrid became subject to damnatio memoriae, and thus the incident with her trying to stop the Duke of Weselton from attempting to weasel her way through Helga was erased from public memory. Ingrid ran off and struck out on her own, wandering around various kingdoms every winter for reasons I am still not sure of.

Having been struck by the mirror's curse, the imbecile in me towed my sled to Ingrid's carriage, and thus I was at her mercy-three kisses and I'd be dead. Gerda had been through hell and back, desperately looking for me and concerned for my safety. It became obvious that the girl's pure heart was the key to my salvation, and Ingrid, moved by Gerda's sense of mercy and compassion, tearfully admits her wrongdoing and shares her story about her tragic life with her sisters in the kingdom of Astoria. Her story was very much like Elsa's, and since then I've been worried that the cycle would continue with another dynasty until there's a family who would learn to care and cherish for a sibling who is, ahem, different to them. Ingrid sacrificed herself to stop the curse; Gerda and I pleaded that there's still a chance for her.

"Please, Your Majesty, you still have a chance at life!" Gerda pleaded tearfully, "Please!"

"I'm so sorry, my child," Ingrid cried, "This has become way too deep and too complicated for me to turn back,"

"Just listen to Gerda, Your Highness," I pleaded as well, "I know you've been through it all but believe us when we say that there's still a good person in you,"

"No, it's too late," Ingrid insisted, "You and Gerda deserve better than this. Please take care of your family and be good little children to those surrounding you, please,"

And without a doubt, Ingrid burst into a flurry and disappeared forever, though her memory still remains.



"You mind if I tell you something, Kai?" Anna asked.

"What is it dear?"

"That was... EPIC!" Anna enthused.

"You know I've been saving that story for later," I said, having not thought about sharing it for so long ever since I started working for the Arendelle royal court. You know, duty calls, protocols and all that. "Just didn't have the time,"

"Because you've been too shy to say it?" Olaf smirked.

"Hmm you can say that," I nodded, "Though I've been so diligent with my duties that I didn't want to interfere with whatever it is you're doing,"

"Nah it's alright, Kai," Kristoff dismissed, "I wouldn't be finding my way into the royal family if it wasn't for these two sisters being less into this classist nonsense. I mean it's not like anyone could just knock on the door and ask for a spot in the family, let alone plot an attempted takeover, but well you know,"

"Our mother was a commoner as well, hence why we weren't so snobbish about who we were interacting with," Elsa added.

"So, what brought you to Arendelle in the first place?" Anna asked, "I mean, you've been through a lot of adventures as well even though it didn't look quite as obvious at first glance, and it wasn't until now that you decided to spill the beans on everything. You know what, you missed an opportunity back when we treated you like the uncle we never had,"

Anna sure is one heck of a chatterbox ever since she was a wee toddler. I remember her telling a story when she was little, and she went all out, going on and on for an hour until all she said would be a wall of text when written. It annoyed her sister at times, but that's what she's very well known for. She's definitely a foil compared to Elsa's calm, cool and reserved personality.

"Okay, it all started back when I was in my twenties..." I resumed my story. "...back when the Baron took notice of my skills and offered me a spot at the Royal Court of Snoob,"


My family was on hard times back then when I first started working as a secretary at the Baron's house. My father Harald worked as the head Royal Guard while my mother Judith was a schoolteacher. We were more or less well-to-do with Karl and the rest of the family, having enjoyed the benefits the King of Snoob bestowed upon its castle staff and their relatives. Unfortunately, a series of unsuccessful harvests took a toll on our kingdom, and it didn't go well with our family either. Most of the staff had been laid off, Father included. He didn't take it lightly, and most of the savings he had for our family went towards his booze. I do understand why he fell into alcoholism, gambling and all, but he really didn't have to go through all of this, especially after what I've been through myself. I wouldn't want to hold a grudge against him or anyone else for that matter, after what I learned from Gerda and Ingrid about caring those surrounding you. It then came to the point that, in his deathbed, I told father that Karl and I will show what the Mikkelsens are capable of and will bring our family back on its feet again.

"Don't you worry about Mother, Pa," I said assuringly, "Karl and I will take good care of her and we will make sure that we'll be alright," Even after all Pa had been through, I always remember him fondly for the krumkake he'd bring home every weekend.

Father knew the Baron well at the time, and had been sharing a lot of stories about my brother and I ever since we were wee lads. It was to our benefit as the Baron showed no hesitation to take us in. Karl worked as head of security while I took on a secretarial role, having been well acquainted with clerical and financial matters. It was definitely no picnic, and I also had to learn the ins and outs of etiquette, as well as the finer points of being a servant in the court. I know it's not something to take up if you desire to be in the spotlight, but I'm not one for publicity anyway. I've been a shy young lad way before I even set foot in Arendelle.

The job wasn't exactly high-paying at first, as we did get a few krones a month plus food and lodging, but it was a start, and Ma later retired from her work at school to focus on taking care of the neighbourhood children. Later on, Gerda and I got happily married in what amounts to a lavish and festive ceremony, knowing Snoobian local customs and all, and after a few years of settling in my childhood home, my wife and I thought about leaving for some better work opportunities. It was a hard one, really, I didn't want to leave Ma and Karl hanging, but they assured to me that it'll be alright. To my delight, the Baron was able to pull some strings and recommended me to King Agnarr, who was just recently crowned after the tragic death of King Ruenard. They told me they needed someone with my skills and talent to turn things around, and I was just the right man for the job. I initially dismissed the sweet-talking the Baron said as mere flattery, but the Baron was right all along that I'm trustworthy and talented enough for the tasks at hand.

Such was when I recalled having to escort the Crown Prince of Snoob to town and there were a band of bullies keen at taking the mick out of the frail prince. I wasn't exactly a brawler kind of person, nor was I into picking up fights in the street at random, but I knew early on that I had to learn how to defend myself and my friends from whoever is wanting to threaten then. I told the prince to take cover and hide in a corner, while I was on the defensive, sarcastically praising them for their effort at vanily trying to beat me and the prince up to pulp.

"You really are good at brawling..." I retorted, "...for a little girl!"

"Are you trying to make fun of me?"

"Without a doubt,"

I didn't really want to hurt them too bad, but with these situations, one has pretty much no choice but to do some drastic measures. A few parries and missed attempts at whacking me later, I replied with a flurry of punches and strikes from my cane. Once the bullies were terrified and ran away from all the self-defence I was forced to carry out, the Prince came out and thanked me for standing up to the bullies, as he was often teased for being a sissy and a coward, even though I know all along that he is strong and capable from within. And I was right--that scrawny little prince later became King, vowing to bring Snoob back to prosperity and pledged to become a trade partner with Arendelle among other kingdoms.

And then my wife and I said our sad goodbyes to Ma and Karl, all while packing up our things and heading to Arendelle where the King and Queen awaits. Agnarr and Iduna, bless their souls, were among the most generous and benevolent monarchs to have served in this world of ours.

They, especially Iduna, had little patience for too much pageantry and formalities, and while they do still enforce royal protocol especially in front of dignitaries and statesmen as a matter of formality, in private they were just as relaxed as any other family. Agnarr and I would sometimes sit down with a pitcher of Bavarian ale like old friends, while discussing about royal affairs and what was needed to be addressed or done with trade or inter-kingdom relations.

"Ahh, isn't this lovely, Kai?" Agnarr enthused. "A starry sky, and a breath-taking view of the fjord overlooking our kingdom, all while relaxing with a pint of Lagier Bier from the Kingdom of Bavaria,"

"Lovely indeed, Your Majesty," I agreed.

"Now have a seat, Kai. We've got some things to talk about,"

Being the chief of staff in the Arendelle Castle I've had access to kingdom's funds and resources, as well as inside information on what's going on. Agnarr knew that I was trustworthy and diligent enough to carry whichever tasks he'd put me to, and while there were fairly obvious fears that I might filch or embezzle resources which has sadly been the case with a few neighbouring kingdoms (*cough* the Southern Isles *cough*), I wouldn't be having the gall to risk destroying my life's career and potentially get beheaded just because I was being desperate for an extra krone. Such as the trust and cordial friendship between myself and Agnarr that he appointed me as the kingdom's spymaster and head of security, which was no different from Karl's job back home. The rest I'd rather not spill the beans on for fairly obvious reasons, but regardless I did what I can for the kingdom and then some.

"Well, you'll have to excuse me, Your Majesty, but I have to retire to my quarters and call it a night," I said, "Duty calls,"

"Alright, it's getting late anyway and I need to straighten myself up for an edict I'm coming up," Agnarr agreed.

And then the day went by when Elsa came to our lives. Anna's birthday was just as remarkable as it did mark the occasion that the next heir to the throne came to being, but it was the first-born that reminded me of my encounter with Ingrid. Gerda and I knew all along from the aurora borealis and the sudden winter shower that something was up, and this child will be blessed. That said blessing was to have a catch though, and my wife and I can tell that it is indeed no walk in the park both for the Royal Family and Arendelle.

I lamented in my quarters that I could do fairly little about it, at most praying to God that things would work out well for Elsa, her sister and their family. Alas, I'm just a servant of the family - why would I even interfere with their affairs? But then again, I knew I had to act in some way, assisting Anna when she was succumbing to the curse and assuring the dignitaries that Elsa meant no harm. It was one hell of a public relations exercise to convince everyone that the Queen was of no ill intent and wouldn't want to hurt a soul, but luckily Anna was there to help plead with the people to care for and understand their newly-crowned monarch. Anna's unwavering optimism is something to behold, I must say.

To say that we cared for the two sisters is an understatement. We served as their parental guardians, and they do reciprocate by expressing their admiration and appreciation for what we do unlike a number of royal children whom I encountered, treating their nannies and butlers as just that out of spite or snobbishness. This is very much why I fell in love with Arendelle and devoted the rest of my life in this fine kingdom. I know it came at the cost of missing my brother Karl and my friends back home, but I'm glad they do care enough for me even when I was away.



Anna was so moved by the story that she didn't hesitate at hugging me. Elsa and Olaf followed suit, and I was so flattered and blessed to have people like them who would never turn you down.

As I was reading a book in my quarters at midnight, Elsa came knocking on my door, bringing me my favourite fastelavnsbolle. I have to admit that my affinity for deserts gave me a bit of heft to put it lightly, but I thought it wouldn't hurt to have some on occasion.

"Thank you, Kai, for being the Uncle we never had,"

"It's very much appreciated, Elsa, I complimented, "You and Anna were the daughters Gerda and I never had, and I am glad that you two do care a lot about us and the kingdom,"

"It's nothing," Elsa scoffed, "We're all just doing our jobs, you know,"




Author's note: The Mikkelsen surname was a nod to Andreas Mikkelsen, a Norwegian rally driver who competed for Hyundai in the World Rally Championship. And yes, Kai does have a thing for desserts hence his rather bulky frame.

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Posted by: Momma_ki
02-06-2020, 11:14 AM
Forum: LeapFrog Epic
- Replies (3)

I bought a leapfrog epic academy edition online for my granddaughter and it didn’t come with an activation code. Tried reaching out to the seller, but to no avail they're not answering my messages. Please help me, my granddaughter is so upset and ready to play with it.

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Posted by: Powderpuff
11-28-2019, 02:16 PM
Forum: Gallery
- No Replies

A fan picture i made of 2003 strawberry shortcake, angel cake, orange blossom, Huckleberry pie, and gingersnap as princesses.


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Posted by: cpd2009
10-20-2019, 01:41 PM
Forum: Computers, Games & Tech
- Replies (1)

Over the years, I have amassed a small collection of iPod clones that would eventually be known as "MP4" players. The MP4 moniker usually has nothing to do with the MPEG-4 video codec, but rather, it was meant to signify an evolution from the standard MP3 player. "MP4" ends up just being a fancy name for these players since they can display photos and video and have additional features like built-in games and sometimes an FM radio tuner.

By the mid-2000s, you could find these MP4 players at major retailers sold at deep discounts compared to name brands like Apple, Sandisk or Creative. The price reflected the overall quality of the devices. While some devices could actually be decent, others can have cheap build quality, buggy firmware, and poor battery life.

Despite this, I had an appreciation for these kinds of media players... at least the ones that worked well. Below is my collection that I have built up over the years, along with details about them.

[Image: MP4_Player_Collection.JPG]

1 - RCA M6204-B MP3/video player. This little player was a Menard's holiday special in 2014. It looks like it has capacitive buttons, but it's just a thin flexible plastic sheet that sits over mechanical buttons. The buttons do work well, and navigation is easy to figure out. It has your basic functions like MP3/WMA playback, FM radio, and photo viewer. FM tuner isn't the best. It's not that sensitive, so distant station reception is very hit and miss. The player is limited to onboard storage, which in this case, is 4GB. No expandable memory slots at all. Sad It works rather well, even if the menu navigation is a bit slow.

2 - Mach Speed "Eclipse" 180 Pro. This is/was a very common brand seen in big box discount stores like Walmart, Kmart, and Shopko. The 180 Pro has that familiar Chinese iPod-clone design, only with branding printed on the reverse. Features are similar to the RCA, but the layout mimics the iPod interface somewhat. It also has a low quality digital camera and expandable microSD memory. The player itself comes with 4GB onboard storage. As a useful player, it's debatable. The music playback functions well enough, but the FM tuner leaves a lot to be desired and the player takes a really long time to start up. Build quality is decent thanks to an aluminum casing.

3 - HOTT MU763. This is my only Rockchip MP4 player I own. The case is aluminum like the Eclipse. The player has a resistive touch screen, which works okay but sometimes doesn't respond like it should. I really like the equalizer in the music player. It has something called "MS EQ" which with the right headphones, can produce a rather deep bass and crisp treble. FM tuner is once again not that great. This player would be alright to use if it weren't for one "feature" that ends up being a nuisance. In the music player, you can shake the player right or left to go forward or back in the playlist. If you carry the player in your pocket, this "feature" may trigger by accident and your music playlist gets disrupted as the player goes forward or back unintentionally.

4 - Altus M204-B - Probably my personal favorite of all the MP4 players I have used. My original from 2010 is long gone, but I found new-old-stock on eBay a couple years ago. As you can see, I have two of them. The batteries charged up fine and continue to hold a charge. The menu navigation is easy to learn and responsive, and the media features work really well. The best feature is the ability to customize the startup, shutdown, and main menu background images. It also includes a camera which isn't that great. The FM tuner works really well and handles weaker stations fine when the display goes to sleep. Has 4GB onboard storage and additional microSD card slot.

5 - Hipstreet Crossfade 4GB I found this on sale for $15. There's a reason it was so cheap. The build quality is among the worst I have seen. The player is very lightweight plastic, and the button switches are very glitchy. The FM tuner is quite excellent for such a cheap player as well as music playback. There's no expandable storage and you're limited to the onboard 4GB storage. My player is now disassembled because the battery has swollen, and I need to find a safe way to disconnect the cell before trying to recover the data that's still on the device.

6 and 7 - Generic MP4 players from China I found these at a small town RadioShack franchise. These were the most generic MP4 players you can find. The one on the right requires a microSD card to function, and came with a 16GB card. The one on the right has no expandable memory and 8GB onboard storage. FM tuners are okay. The player on the left suffers from glitchy buttons and the one on the right is having battery issues. Battery doesn't seem swollen, but it will not charge at all.

8 - Eclipse Supra Fit From the same company behind the 180 Pro. Has the features of that model but with one of the worst capacitive screens I have used. It's way too sensitive. You can barely touch the sides of the plastic bezel and it will register a random touch on a part of the screen. It has 8GB storage and microSD slot.

9 - Visual Land ME-907 I originally purchased this in 2012 to replace my first Altus M204-B that died. The UI is entirely built on Adobe Flash, and has the ability to play back Flash movies. It could load Flash games, but IIRC, the touch screen doesn't work with Flash content, so you can't click on buttons presented in such files. In addition to a 8gb storage, it has a microSD slot and a mini HDMI output. The UI is very responsive and full of fancy animations, though it doesn't have dedicated buttons for changing music tracks. In order to change the track, you have to turn on the screen, get past the screensaver, and then go back/forward in the playlist.

I'm currently trying out my players to see which one I can use as my main music device. I was thinking of just getting one of those cheap USB-stick MP3 players that use a AAA battery, but seeing how I have so many of these, there's no real need to add yet another.

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Posted by: huckleberrypie
07-24-2019, 10:50 AM
Forum: LeapFrog Epic
- No Replies

Here's another ROM dump I made for the Epic:

[Image: u9Vem1J.jpg]
ROM build number is KOT49H.user.1.8.160.20190530.103948. Should work on all editions using SP Flash Tool v5.1744 and later. Just make sure to BACK UP the stock ROM first before flashing this, and clear /data and /cache via recovery mode after flashing. Trust me, I bricked one of my Epic demo units before and it helps to keep the stock secro, seccfg and NVRAM prior to doing anything with the Epic.

Code:
https://androidfilehost.com/?fid=6006931924117908682

P.S.: If you're getting a signature error upon flashing, try unticking SEC_RO and then try again.

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Posted by: huckleberrypie
07-09-2019, 03:38 PM
Forum: Creative Corner
- No Replies

Benson's Melancholy

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The following is a work of fiction, and I do not in any way claim ownership of the Toy Story franchise or its characters, created by Pixar and produced by Disney.

[Image: nwmTIAI.jpg]

Benson remembers his former career as a ventriloquist's dummy in the 1940s, and the time he spent being Gabby Gabby's loyal assistant and brother. Set post-TS4.




The thud of the pram at the carnival grounds struck me as an end of a friendship between my brothers and I and someone whom I since considered to be my sister. Maybe I've been a pawn for so long. A tool. A button man as what I've heard.

The elderly antique shop proprietress' daughter promptly took me back in storage, wondering about the bizarre occurrences that has been going on ever since Woody and the others went in and took Forky back with them. Sitting alone in one corner of the curio cabinet while my brothers are daydreaming in another corner, I took off my suit jacket and cushioned it behind me as I sat down and reminisced. I've never done that often, apart from when my previous owner, a once-famous ventriloquist named Martin Fisher, also known as Marvellous Marty, had to clean me and my brothers up after a long and gruelling tour throughout the country. Mr. Fisher knew no other immediate relatives after his parents died and viewed us all like family, something which I am more than glad to know.

Gabby has been a good kid, a sister to me if I might add. Realizing this goal of hers to be free from the torment of gathering dust in a shelf, in a way, I, too, wanted to experience being loved and cherished again. It's sad, really, all they think of the likes of us these days, apart from those who bore more of a resemblance to plush toys like those in Sesame Street, is that we were terrifying or creepy. Sure enough, the very sight of us moving a limb or two would give someone the jeepers, thinking we were cursed or something. Or that we reminded them of some popular horror series in the 90s from that Steine fellow with a dummy who looked a touch like us. It's stigmatizing, really, I can understand the fear but that wasn't my brothers and I intend to do, let alone maim someone.

Now, where was I? Oh, yeah... I don't exactly remember when I was made, though it was in the early 1940s at the earliest. An elderly French guy named Sébastien Camilli did all the handiwork, as he had been making puppets and dummies during the early 20th century before moving to the States. Mr. Fisher commissioned Monsieur Camilli to do us all for his theater and carnival appearances for the kids. He had dummies like us before, but memories of those were rather fuzzy to say the least.

The earliest performance that I could recall was in the town of Jefferson, Illinois in 1943, where the kids, one of whom is the daughter of an Army doctor who happened to be a classmate of Mr. Fisher in elementary, were quite amused by the antics he and us dummies did. Mr. Fisher would sometimes ask the girl, whose name is Molly, to say hi to his father for him, being it's been quite a while since the two school pals met each other. Through his voice I did impersonations, cracked jokes, and basically entertained everyone who would pay for such an act. There were also times when Mr. Fisher and I, along with my brothers, would meet with Fred McCracken and his pal Wacky, who as we all know had a radio show when they rubbed elbows with a certain orphan girl from New York who was looking for her long-lost parents, in a collaborative act. The more, the merrier, right? And it was – backstage I would grunt at Wacky and we would do pranks at each other when our owners aren't around. Too bad it was Mr. McCracken's swan song at the time and he was compelled to retire with Wacky after a one-night show at the Tri-County Theatre. Which gave me the sinking feeling of being put in a closet, never to make a kid smile again.

It was in the mid-1960s when Mr. Fisher sadly passed away after a debilitating stroke that signaled the end of his career as a popular children's entertainer. I could have been under the employ of another ventriloquist, but honestly, it would never be the same. The voice may sound alike but it's the subtleties that some may point out. It may not matter much to children but it does to someone who has the dedication. I wanted to let out tears as what humans do, but that is sadly not what I am capable of. Nevertheless, I felt it was all done with for me and my brothers. Lucky for Pinocchio, his days as a puppet ended with a happily ever after; to us, it's being a permanent guest at the antique store which would serve as our home for decades after being handed over by Mr. Fisher's relatives.

I never harbored any disdain for those who put us all in storage, it was a fact of life for us playthings. I'm just disappointed that we could have made more kids smile and all that. And it feels rather dreadful that no one would view you in a positive way for being a staple of horror stories and Halloween pranks. It was an unintended consequence of looking eerily like a human, something I have no control over. Whenever I felt rather lonesome and somewhat despondent from the stark reality of not being played with any more, my brothers would sometimes cheer me up with circus acts and other sorts of tomfoolery. While the other three were rather silent and would grunt at most when left to our own devices, I learned to speak on my own after picking up the mannerisms both from my theatrical character and from other people over the years, often influenced by popular culture and from what I have read whenever I stumble upon reams of National Geographic magazines collecting dust, though to be honest I am yet to fully grasp today's modern culture being that my brothers and I have been trapped in this sort of prison for decades, the likes of Davy Crockett and black and white televisions and things as recent as Evel Knievel and Niki Lauda would be something I'm having more of a grasp of.

It's not that the old lady running the place is any cruel though. I'm just sad that no one would appreciate us other than just a mere museum piece or a haunted house prop to strike fear into the hearts of those who dare enter one. If anything, it was like Woody's sister Jessie who suffered pretty much the same fate as us – loved at first but eventually forgotten when people move on or pass away. I'm glad Jessie got over her resentment as well; it was never a good thing to hold a grudge, that's for sure. Mrs. Riley, the proprietress, would occasionally do an inventory check and see if any one of us is accounted for, and while some antique or charity shop owners would sell things for clearance or crassly recycle them, she preferred to let things trickle down naturally and use the newly vacated space for "new" items. Fortunately for us, she wasn't that scared and would dust the specks off us and talk to us in a rather gentle way.

"Oh, I hope you four fellows will be all fine there," the elderly woman spoke gently, "Don't you boys worry though, I'm not that scared,"

I'm glad we knew a woman who would treat us just fine if not for having us stay here sitting ducks. For every person who'd cower in fear at pariahs like us, there's always someone who'd actually care for you one bit without having any scorn or ridicule. At least being at her antique shop is a better consolation than either decaying in a dumpster or slowly eaten away be termites who'd find my wooden head and limbs to be a tasty morsel for whatever reason. And then there's this little fellow in a yellow polka-dot dress, red pig-tailed hair and Mary Jane shoes. Except she is twenty inches tall and sitting un-played with in a glass cabinet for as long as she and I could remember, her blue-grey eyes and vinyl face reflecting both sadness, joy and a longing for someone to have a quaint tea party with her. We never crossed paths with each other being my brothers and I were at a different part of the store, until Vinnie, the mischievous of us dummies, wandered off in search of something. Running around like a cross between a reanimated corpse and Raggedy Ann, Vinnie was looking for a banjo to try and play some tunes in when he bumped into Gabby, who built up the courage to wander around on her own at night.

"AAAAHH! Don't hurt me!" Gabby shrieked, terrified at what she saw and crawling back from what appeared to be a rather ghoulish figure.

Vinnie gestured that he meant no harm to her in the clumsiest way possible. In a swift change of mood, Gabby was quite amused and laughed at the lanky curtsy my brother tried to do. He didn't mind being laughed at, as to us it was all part of the act. After all, we were meant to be performers anyway, even for a solitary audience such as this doll we've just met. My brothers and I came to where Vinnie was at, and he and Gabby seemed okay and unhurt.

Being that Gabby was meant to be a friend to everyone, the girl simply smiled at us once she learned we were of no ill intent.

"Hi there! My name is Gabby Gabby. What's your name?"

"B–B–B–Ben... son," I stammered, "Ch–Ch–Charlie Benson,"

I didn't really want to say more than a few words, let alone hold a conversation, being I was used to having my ventriloquist employer do all the talking for me, so to speak. Either that or I was just too shy.

"Would you like to be my friend?" asked the redhead.

I nodded and smiled, or at least as much as what my stiff and stilted wooden face can do. Gabby gave us all a big, big hug, and it felt like a glimmer of hope for us four, if not a definite answer to our prayers.

To be honest, Gabby, or Gabrielle as I jovially call her sometimes, can be a little annoying and bratty, but overall, she has a big heart and of good character from within. I just lament that she had the rather cruel misfortune of having a defective voice box, rendering her an inferior toy for children to play with. Not that a girl can't have a tea party with her and use her imagination though, but Gabby's distorted record player meant like a sort of life sentence to her. To her it was a curse, a punishment, sometimes grumbling to herself that the factory didn't know better. She didn't harbor any ill will at anyone though, only sighing that she would've been like any other of her kind if not for this fault.

Over time I learned to open up to her and share my thoughts on life and things, as well as my experiences with Mr. Fisher, Bert Healy and Fred McCracken – even if my conversations with her were rather stuttery and laconic at first, with Gabby's aid I gradually learned how to speak to her in a passable if not perfect manner. We'd crack jokes, play card games like "Go fish!", and just do what a brother and sister pair would do as what human siblings do. She was quite amused at the rather hammy and clumsy vaudeville acts me and my brothers would pull off. It didn't matter to her even if they aren't perfect or well-rehearsed as long as we put on a show. Gabby would meanwhile tell me about her experiences here at the antique shop, as well as vague memories of the day when she was made in 1959, springing to life as the factory worker was done with her.

"I don't get it," Gabby sighed, "They could have tested my voice box more, right?"

I simply sighed in commiseration. Nothing much I could do, I'm afraid.

"I freed myself from the restraints and came out of the box for a bit, pulling the string behind me," Gabby recalled, "I knew something was wrong to begin with, and it's no wonder my first owner didn't like me,"

"O–Okay..." I agreed.

"If only someone could give me a new voice box so I can talk properly,"

I nodded and gave her a pat in the shoulder. As it was late in the evening, I gestured that I needed some sleep, and we all went to take some shut-eye. I didn't have any night clothes of course, so I simply took off my jacket and tie and went to limp myself down at a nearby box, folding my suit to serve as a makeshift pillow.

Years passed and it was all the same routine as before – same old morning and evening stroll with Gabby and the others, pushing the pram around for her when no one is looking, and warding off intruders who'd dare harm the girl, like that cat who'd walk along the floor and claw at those unfortunate enough to be in her reach. My brothers and I did it out of gratitude for being good friends with her, and in return Gabby showed kindness to us.

And there came one early morning when a pull-string cowboy named Woody and a makeshift toy named Forky. Woody was just looking for an old friend of his, someone who had been away from his life for more than a decade or so. Oh, I could tell that Bo Peep has changed a lot over the years. Tell you what, she sure knows how to give me and the other boys a rough time. I feel sorry for Woody and his girlfriend though, I really am. It was understandable that Gabby was driven by sheer hopelessness and desperation when she thought cannibalizing the cowboy's voice box would be a great idea. To me it wasn't necessarily so, as Gabby will always be loved by a child no matter who she is in my opinion. I simply had to do what I had to do for a sister. In the end my brothers and I made amends with Woody and the rest of the gang, knowing I've wronged them unwillingly. Gabby of course did the same, and being the generous old fellow that Woody is, he gave his old voice box away for the girl to be given a chance to be loved, even if Harmony, the child who Gabby longed for, callously dismissed her as uninteresting. There's obviously more to love than just Harmony, said Woody, and he was right, there was.

My brothers and I volunteered to help with carrying out a daring escape from the antique shop. Tying Bo Peep's "skunk-mobile" to the pram, we rallied our way out of the place, flat-out and into the carnival, where Gabby and the others would rendezvous with Woody's current owner, Bonnie. Woody, Gabby, the two plushies and I were the ones in the pram, sitting there until the carriage hit an obstacle, spilling us out of the cart. Suffice it to say, the woman who encountered me was horrified at my rather macabre self.

To Gabby, it was the last time she saw me and my brothers. To me, I felt gutted and somewhat betrayed as a sibling. I asked myself, why did she do this to us? She had been so kind to us and then she'd leave us all like this! Vinnie, Benny and George sympathized, but at the same time comforted me and assured that she didn't want to leave us all for good either. I then thought, if there's any silver lining to this, it's that we fulfilled our purpose to her and gave her the means to be loved and cherished more than we could even muster.

Still I have these pangs of loneliness and guilt as I sit here by the cabinet where my sister used to be. I didn't know of any other way to get in touch with her, so I sneaked out on my own and scouted the park for Amy, the girl whom Gabby befriended. Fortunately, she left her bag at a park bench with her address on it, which I made a mental note of. I surreptitiously went back to the shop and got my friends to hand some supplies to me so I could type a letter on one of those old Underwoods. If this ain't a circus stunt we're doing to get everything done, I don't know what it is. Pat Morita would've dismissed us as Karate Kid rejects for our lankiness, but it just works. Imaginary tears welling in my painted eyes, I tapped the keys until I wrote something of a letter for a dear sister who had been a good friend to us all...

Dear sis,

I'm sorry if your brothers and I have failed or disappointed you, and I'm sorry if I've been rough with everyone, especially Woody and Bo. I know, we never meant to harm or hurt anyone, and it's very much understandable that you only wanted a better life than years and years of monotony at the antique shop where we lived for most of our lives. I really do hope we'd meet each other again, even just for a bit at your new house. And can you say hi to Amy for me please? I know it's rather awkward but eh, it shouldn't hurt to ask, right?

Rest be assured that we'd look after ourselves for as much as we can, and Gabby, take care of yourself too and be a good doll to your Amy.

Your loving brother,
- Charlie Benson


Again as no one was looking, my brothers and I sneaked our way out of the shop for a while, and in another circus act, deposited the letter I made in the mailbox. The next morning the mailman came and took the parcels to be delivered to their destinations, our letter included. It was fortunate enough that Amy didn't dismiss the letter as junk, even if she wondered who on earth is that Charlie Benson and "Gabrielle O'Neil" on the mail. Thinking it could be for another person, she left the mail in her room until she found the time to give it to its supposedly intended recipient.

Gabby couldn't help but cry equally imaginary tears as she read the letter. She was overjoyed to know that I didn't get mad or feel any ill will towards her after that incident at the carnival. With the help of her fellow toy friends whom she had the pleasure of meeting and playing with, she too wrote and printed a response on Amy's computer, having learned more about 21st-century technology and all from her new toy friends. My sister sure had a lot of catching up to do.

Dear bro,
If anything, I should be the one to apologize for that sudden departure I made a while back. I hope you can forgive me though, but I'm glad that you are more than willing to do so. And how's life at the antique store lately? Still finding that pinstripe suit of yours stuffy, I presume? Don't worry, Amy has a sewing machine and I might as well do some clothes for you guys so you could look a little more, um, fashionable. I've actually made friends with some of Woody's friends on the Internet like Trixie and Rex. I mean, they're a 'swell bunch and I'll see if I could introduce them to you some time. Take care of yourselves, and let me know if you guys get a new ventriloquist owner too.

Your loving sister,
- Gabby Gabby xoxo



Author's notes: Couldn't resist doing another TS4 fanfic so here you go. I decided to portray Gabby and the Benson boys as siblings since I don't see them in a romantic relationship or anything of that sort anyway. I always felt that Benson was a big brother to Gab, someone who is more than willing to care and protect her with all he can do for a lanky dummy.

The Sebastien Camilli name was a portmanteau of Sebastien Ogier and Eric Camilli, two rally drivers who have been competing in the World Rally Championship. The former gained notoriety for scoring six consecutive driver's championships since 2012.
Bert Healy and Fred McCracken and his dummy Wacky was, as some of you might guess, were from the Annie musical. Thought I'd do a mini-crossover for good measure and to add up to the backstory.

And speaking of mini-crossovers, there's also a cameo from Molly McIntire from the American Girl series of books and toys, since a friend of mine is a huge fan of Molly and I thought of her when I incorporated this into the narrative.

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