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  Jasper Restoration Thread
Posted by: cpd2009 - 03-17-2021, 04:43 PM - Forum: Computers, Games & Tech - Replies (9)

Here is a thread to document my next computer restoration project, this time on one of my old PC towers from back in the day. It's what I named "Jasper" a frankenstein of a rig that I purchased from a friend in 2009.

The case is branded "Tangent Computer" as it was once a pre-built PC, but at one point, the former owner had to replace the motherboard with it's current Asus TUV4X one. The CPU is a Pentium III at 1ghz and the graphics card was originally an Nvidia Riva TNT2. I later replaced it with an Asus Radeon 9600XT. Exact amount of RAM is currently unknown, as with the hard drive too.

I last used this computer as a daily driver for about two years, running Windows XP Professional. For 2009 through 2011, it was still a decent computer for web browsing, but it was beginning to show it's age with sites like YouTube. Once I moved on to the mid-2011 Mac Mini, Jasper became secondary, and then unused and in storage.

Taking inspiration from Clint/LGR, I want to restore Jasper into a semi-retro computer gaming rig, with main focus on Windows 9x/ME PC games. I have many such games in my collection, such as Bejeweled, Chuzzle, various shovelware collections, you name it. Tongue The OS will either be Windows 98 SE or ME.

Here is what Jasper needs so far:
-A new PSU.
-A new rear cooing fan with a proper motherboard connector
-A preferably new-old-stock IDE hard drive at 80GB. Windows 98SE has issues with larger drives such as 120GB and up unless you use special drivers.
-A motherboard BIOS battery.
-Optionally, a new case as well. The current one is very beat up and full of stickers from your's truly. I could get some Goo Gone and remove the stickers off the front and it would look rather presentable.

Thread will be updated once parts are ordered.

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  McDonald's Commercials from Pakistan featuring SSC and others!
Posted by: cpd2009 - 02-01-2021, 01:25 PM - Forum: Entertainment & Lifestyle - Replies (1)

Hey, here is something SSC related for once! Well, at least for one of the videos I will link below. Some of you may have seen these before as they were memes around 2011 when they first showed up on YouTube. What makes these Pakistani McDonald's toy commercials appealing (at least to me and many others) is how unintentionally funny and disturbing they are. And it's all thanks to using very cheap 3D CGI and taking many liberties in re-creating the licensed characters in whatever 3D software they used. It's far above Rapsittie Street Kids, but it's still very amateurish. And don't forget about King Schwarz. More on him in a bit...

First off, the one with the SSC toys. Or rather, somewhat creepy renderings of SSC herself, and either a clone of her or another character altogether. (I'm quite rusty on SSC lore Tongue ) It's also shared with some random flying toys for some reason.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=224RSCqouNA

Secondly, it's the Crash Bandicoot Side of Life. Nowhere near as creepy as the SSC renderings above. Crash himself looks okay, but Neo Cortex? His face looks far too realistic in comparison to his normally cartoony appearance in the games. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3WmB28Gi14

Third, the infamous Sonic Games commercial. This particular commercial got the most attention with YTP creators. The animation is cheap, as expected. Sonic looks a little off, but the other characters do look rather decent. The small bit Sonic fans point out the most is the Pakistani narrator calls the character Rouge as "Row-guh", as in "going Rogue" and not the French pronunciation of Red. I think this has more to do with the narrator simply not knowing English phrases that well. The best part? These Sonic LCD games got a North American release and can be found on eBay. Good luck replacing the battery as you'll need to have a tri-wing screwdriver on hand.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxV7495Oabw

Fourth is the Hello Kitty commercial. And no, she is not saying "I am a little boy" at the end. It's a mondegreen, and "boy" is actually "Queen". The thick accent muddles the English words quite a bit. Other than that mondegreen and Hello Kitty's creepy smile, it's a fairly standard Happy Meal ad.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-8Z9NKJbro

Fifth is for a Play-Doh Happy Meal, with some surprisingly good English in some parts. Nothing too special here.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bX54qj35V1U

Sixth is for some toys called, confusingly, Crash Gear. No relation to the Crash Bandicoot universe, but these appear to be just generic action vehicles. All but one have fairly generic names, but the last vehicle is called "Kingschwarz". Eh, what? Is a King name Schwarz driving that thing?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgb0e-g1ogw

Seventh is another ad featuring Hello Kitty. Very little animation in this one, but was that Grimace jumpscare at 0:26 necessary? Tongue
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ii35iS_k2d8

The final ad is for McDonaldland Character bobble toys. Birdie is definitely on something here, and she and her other McDonaldland friends are now aliens. Just run with it.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgP2n1Gk0Ew

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  Lilly is back! :)
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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  My recent 2009 White MacBook restoration project
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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  LeapPad Academy ROM v1.1.171 (KOT49H.user.1.1.171.20190530.155308)
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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  Epic Academy Edition ROM v1.8.804 (KOT49H.user.1.8.804.20200416.135116)
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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  Frozen fanfic: Musings of a Snoobian Butler
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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  [SOLVED] Think I was scammed!! No activation code. Please Help!!
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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  The princesses of strawberryland
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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  My "MP4" player collection.
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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