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The Spam Thread!

After bit of a delay, my new LG Rebel 3 is now activated.

It runs Android 7.0, so it's not that far behind in terms of being current. It also supports HD Voice! Smile

The phone runs a customized Android UI known as LG UX. It's far different from old Oscar, but it's rather nice. Bloatware isn't that numerous, being limited to Polaris Office, FB and Messenger and the standard Google Apps. There is also a pre-installed Weather app and some sort of "app finder".

Storage is 16GB, and it's expandable to 64GB via micro SD. The phone also as a replaceable battery, something Oscar doesn't have. (a case of form over function with him, as the back is fancy smooth gorilla glass, trying to one up the iPhone Tongue ) The downside is the LG Rebel 3 has only a plastic removable cover, making durability a bit more of a concern. Investing in some kind of protective phone case is a must for this particular LG phone.

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Well it's pretty much obligatory to put some sort of silicone case on a cellphone or tablet, no matter how cheap the device is. LG UX isn't that bad imho, at least it isn't as obnoxious as some of the other custom UIs out there like EMUI or the like.

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Well, with things like the upcoming Steam Play compatibility layer entering beta testing, I feel now is the time to switch over to Linux full time. I figured as time went on, Linux and it's associated applications would reach this point. I have settled on Ubuntu MATE, as it has the performance of Xfce while being more polished overall. I was taking a liking to GNOME 2.xx back in the day despite liking KDE a bit more. Turns out, IMO, KDE isn't that good anymore. Plasma 5 is far more buggy than MATE or Xfce, and it uses far more resources to boot.

The Nvidia drivers work very well too, and I decided to go with the proprietary drivers to get the best possible performance. The only issue is screen tearing, which can be fixed by selecting "Force Composition Pipeline" in the Nvidia control panel. Too bad the settings are lost after each reboot and have to be reset each time. :/

As for my old Windows casual games, I am resurrecting old Jasper next week. I'm heading back home to visit family for the US Labor Day weekend and I will retrieve more furniture and computer stuff, including old Jasper. He needs some work and testing, but if I can get him up and running again, he'll be a rather good Windows XP box to run my old casual games on. He does have an ASUS Radeon 9600XT AGP  4x/8x card which can run nearly all my old casual stuff rather well. I could switch him over to Nvidia, but Jasper's ASUS TUV4X board always had stability issues with Nvidia cards. I remember trying the old Riva TNT2 card he came with along with a newer GeForce card, and they would cause a system freeze or general instability after awhile.

I posted the most recent desktop screenshots in the associated thread in the Computers subforum. I'm still experimenting with the look and feel so I may update the thread later on.

And, here is just some random desktop screenshot from my previous year-long Linux switch. October 2005. Hard to believe it's been 13 years... BTW, the desktop wallpaper was from some now-obscure Christmas special called "Nine Dog Christmas". Looking back, the special has good character designs and animation, but it's very predictable and overall meh. I still have the DVD of it. Tongue

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I'd make the switch to Linux if not for the fact that my relatives are more used to Windows, and going for another OS full-time would certainly confuse the heck out of them.

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If you were to go to Linux in the future or at the least, play around with it under a VM or a spare computer, I would recommend something Ubuntu-based. Ubuntu derivatives or Linux Mint are good starting points and Ubuntu has really good hardware detection when it comes to video cards and the proprietary drivers.

As for Desktop, go with MATE as it has been the most stable and polished out of the various DE's that I have tried. The main Ubuntu spins now use a customized GNOME 3 instead of Unity. :/ MATE has many different panel layouts. You can make MATE look like macOS complete with knockoff dock or turn it into a knockoff Windows OS. There is even a "Mutiny" layout which emulates Unity very well. The layout I shown in my screenshots is "Traditional", which mimics the original GNOME 2x panel layout. I added in my own customizations afterward.

KDE would be a secondary choice, but with Kubuntu, there are some minor graphical bugs and it doesn't feel as snappy as MATE.

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I have an idea on how to rearrange my computer setup. Here's the situation.

Once Jasper is back up and running, he will need a computer desk. I only have one desk at the moment, and I could get a second desk and put it on the opposite side of my living room. The downside is that I possibly could cause unwanted noise to the neighbor next door to me unless I use headphones. I also could just place the desk in my bedroom, but the only realistic location for the desk is in the space between the end of my bed and the closet door.

My idea is to move Pearl to the entertainment setup and use her as a retro emulation game PC and media center, while using Greta for everyday tasks like Facebook. Jasper would then use Pearl's old desk and be used for playing old PC games that run better under either XP or Windows 98. I haven't decided whether or not to use XP or source an old copy of Windows 98 SE. He does have a license key for Windows 98 on the top of his case, so I could in theory just get a copy of Windows 98 ISO and use the key on his case.

If Pearl is to be used for emulation purposes, I will give RetroArch a try. It's available in the Ubuntu repositories and can emulate many different systems.

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Here are my experiences with the Linux Steam "Proton" compatibility layer.

Pinball FX2 works flawlessly. Game is set at 16X MSAA and ball reflections on, and no noticeable framerate drops.

Pinball Arcade opens, but I run into a similar issue with vanilla Wine. The game appears to be rendering the graphics just fine, but irt's constrained to a small window. Maximizing the window results in extremely pixelated and stretched graphics. The configuration utility does not run either. I still need to test DX11 mode and running the game with the beta version of Proton.

Right now, I'm downloading the Mafia II demo to see how that runs with Proton. Tongue

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Well, my latest trip with Linux was fun. Emphasis on was, as there is a change in plans now.

Part of the experience was to see how well Steam's built in Proton compatibility layer works. It started promising, but it turns out the newest games tend to not work at all. The Mafia II demo failed to launch at all, and neither does Pinball FX 3. It's a real shame since the previous Pinball FX 2 runs flawlessly. There is also the fact that the Microsoft Store has some other games I want to play such as Super Lucky's Tale.

Other than the gaming stuff, Ubuntu overall has improved greatly. If I didn't run into the Windows game compatibility issues, I really could have made this my default OS going forward. In the end though, it's best that I stick with Windows 10 as my own family uses it, and I may need to stay in the loop just in case they need help.

As for testing Linux again in the future, I could spare myself hours of backing up and restoring my documents by just running Linux inside VirtualBox, or simply paying this handy website a visit: https://spcr.netlify.com

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(09-06-2018, 11:02 AM)cpd2009 Wrote:  Well, my latest trip with Linux was fun. Emphasis on was, as there is a change in plans now.

Part of the experience was to see how well Steam's built in Proton compatibility layer works. It started promising, but it turns out the newest games tend to not work at all. The Mafia II demo failed to launch at all, and neither does Pinball FX 3. It's a real shame since the previous Pinball FX 2 runs flawlessly. There is also the fact that the Microsoft Store has some other games I want to play such as Super Lucky's Tale.

Other than the gaming stuff, Ubuntu overall has improved greatly. If I didn't run into the Windows game compatibility issues, I really could have made this my default OS going forward. In the end though, it's best that I stick with Windows 10 as my own family uses it, and I may need to stay in the loop just in case they need help.

As for testing Linux again in the future, I could spare myself hours of backing up and restoring my documents by just running Linux inside VirtualBox, or simply paying this handy website a visit: https://spcr.netlify.com
This pretty much kept Linux to a mostly niche audience at best. Though funny enough, Linus is getting the last laugh as Android's one of the most dominant operating systems in the world regardless of market segment.

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Recently, I have found more time to play around with that "QFX" Android TV box I purchased last summer. I will say video streaming performance is excellent for such a low end device. YouTube runs great, and I am going to test Netflix later this evening. I also have tested playing video from the SD card slot, and it too was perfect. I have tested it with MP4s and I'm using Handbrake right now to convert some of my cartoon DVDs to MP4 for play on the device. It will be far more convenient than messing around with my big stash of DVD-Rs of cartoons and obscure media. Plus, my current DVD player doesn't like to play DVD-R discs well.

One thing I will say about the device is that the included remote is crap. I think I already mentioned it in the first impressions post. What drags the remote down is that there is no accelerometer in it. You have to use the arrow keys to go through the functions on the custom home screen UI, which the remote only works the best for. Using the remote in an app like YouTube is an exercise in frustration. You can't tell what item you are selecting since there is no obvious highlight. You can bring up a mouse pointer by pressing the button with the mouse icon, but you still have to move the cursor with the arrow keys... and it's painfully slow. I haven't even figured how to scroll with the damn thing. The best thing is to toss away the crappy remote and invest in a cheap wireless USB mouse. Navigation improves 110%, and QFX should have just included a USB mouse instead of a cheapo remote that barely works.

The store I bought this from, Menards, promoted this QFX box as a back-to-school streaming device. While it has no malware preinstalled (according to a Malwarebytes scan) and it seems powerful enough to handle streaming video, the remote will no doubt frustrate other users to the point of returning the box to the store. The included manual is also of no help since it barely goes through the file manager function. That's it.

In the end, I may wind up ordering one of those accelerometer based "air mouse" remotes off eBay. I had an Android HDMI stick that came with one. While you have to re-calibrate the pointer at times, it's a step above a USB mouse.

When it comes to computers, Pearl is back on Windows 10, and I also changed my monitor back to my old HP S2031. It's not 1080p, but 1600 x 900. I bought it new in 2011 to go with my then new Mac Mini and when I got that cheap AOC 1080p monitor in 2015 or so, the HP went into storage. The main motivation is that the Dell is far too wobbly when typing. The HP is a bit more stable thanks to it's thick bezel. I can also place my Skype webcam on the top as well. I could do that on the Dell, but part of the plastic clip extends into the display area due to the Dell's thin bezel.

Oh yeah, I'll just leave this here.

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