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The Spam Thread!

(11-11-2018, 05:20 AM)cpd2009 Wrote:  I tried reinstalling the Honestech software, but I'm still not getting a video preview. The program can still capture and record video fine, but without a working preview the software is useless. I believe Windows 10 is to blame for this since both OBS and Movavi are able to see the video input while recording, and they both appear to be using a hardware video overlay while the Honestech software (and probably VirtualDub) both use software based previews.

The only possible way to restore working video preview is to downgrade to Windows 8.1, but I won't do that. Instead, I will use Movavi/OBS for recording, using Handbrake for deinterlacing, and Magix for making video DVDs. I'll ditch the bundled software. It appears to be a bit more buggy under Windows 10.

When I am able to post a review at the HSN product page, I will make mention of the bundled software and probably give the device a three star rating. The device is easy to set up, the drivers work well, and third party application support is great. It's the bundled Honestech software that drags things down. Since this is primarily targeted at beginners, this could be an issue for others who also use Windows 10 and also don't have the technical knowledge of manually enabling the audio output from the device in a third party program like OBS.
Yeah, the software that often comes with low-cost hardware or peripherals tends to be half-baked at times, like that camera I raved about when we had a Facebook chat recently - it wasn't essential for the camera to work at all, it conflicted with Vector Magic of all things, and it was flagged as malicious by Avast for whatever reason.

In other news, it turns out that the models used by KT Racing for WRC 7 are encapsulated in an RIFF container, with stuff like dummies/bones/vertices/whatever neatly labelled and organised in a series of nodes as defined in the RIFF spec. An importer for 3DS Max should be possible given the format's apparent simplicity, and theoretically you could replace Ott Tanak's Fiesta with something else, or perhaps update the roster to account for this year's WRC season (or 2019 for that matter).

And I shall put this picture of an epic cat because reasons:
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What a nice surprise..

The Vidbox is immune to the effects of Macrovision on VHS cassettes. I tested this by copying the intro credits of a random Disney VHS tape I own, and recording wasn't blocked nor was there any brightness fluctuations.

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(11-15-2018, 11:28 AM)cpd2009 Wrote:  What a nice surprise..

The Vidbox is immune to the effects of Macrovision on VHS cassettes. I tested this by copying the intro credits of a random Disney VHS tape I own, and recording wasn't blocked nor was there any brightness fluctuations.
Which reminds me of those defeater boxes made to circumvent Macrovision restrictions on home taping. And then Fred Rogers (yep, that Mister Rogers) came in and testified in support of home taping because he argued that personal copies of a television programme would allow people to watch shows ad hoc, in his case children who may not be able to catch up with the latest episode.

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(11-16-2018, 08:37 AM)huckleberrypie Wrote:  
(11-15-2018, 11:28 AM)cpd2009 Wrote:  What a nice surprise..

The Vidbox is immune to the effects of Macrovision on VHS cassettes. I tested this by copying the intro credits of a random Disney VHS tape I own, and recording wasn't blocked nor was there any brightness fluctuations.
Which reminds me of those defeater boxes made to circumvent Macrovision restrictions on home taping. And then Fred Rogers (yep, that Mister Rogers) came in and testified in support of home taping because he argued that personal copies of a television programme would allow people to watch shows ad hoc, in his case children who may not be able to catch up with the latest episode.

I never knew about Fred Rogers supported home recording of TV programs. It's comforting to know that he understood that not every owner of a VHS deck is a pirate. If it wasn't for home VHS recording, a lot of old obscure programming would have been lost forever. And if you think about it some more, recording shows off TV to tape was the precursor to the DVR. Watch shows anytime you want. I have such a large cache of things I recorded off TV, but it's a four hour drive away at my old residence. I'm going back home for the Thanksgiving holiday next week, and I plan on bringing part of, if not all, of that collection back with me. That is what the Vidbox is for. It's going to be a very long process to go through each tape, probably taking over a year or so to complete.

As for Thanksgiving, this is the time of year retailers start "leaking" their Black Friday ads. Of course, I'm keeping my eye for the Menards ad. If it doesn't leak soon, it will show up on Menards' website Monday morning. I'm looking at either a new Android tablet or some kind of odd Android device to play with. Maybe there will be a ultra low-end Windows tablet. Tongue  In the past few years, their Black Friday electronics selection has been getting less and less interesting. Gone are the days of quirky off-brand DVD players and MP3 players in favor of slightly name brand stuff. Most of the off-brand things tend to be Bluetooth speakers and mobile gadgets.

Almost forgot... I'm thinking of collecting old games again. There's something I miss about game collecting and I still have my old consoles sitting unused. If I do collect again, I'll invest in some sort of backup device to rip the ROMs from the carts.

It won't take much to get the popular titles again. Some retro gaming collectors even speculate that prices for so-called "rare" games will start coming back down at some point.

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The Menards Black Friday ad leaked, and it's another disappointment with electronics. It's the typical low-end stuff like off-brand Bluetooth speakers, cheap record players, those crappy AtGames consoles, action cameras, etc.

There is a $79 "Packard Bell" Android tablet with detachable keyboard. As with most of these newly relaunched brands, the "Packard Bell" name is just slapped on generic electronics from China. The brand itself is owned by Acer, used under license in the USA by a third party.

The specs of the tablet indicate it has Android 8.1 Oreo, though it could be the slimmed down Go variant. It has a quad-core CPU and 16gb storage, with support for 64gb MicroSD cards. It's the typical budget Android tablet. https://www.bfads.net/Item/Menards-Black...ard/468163

They also have a knockoff Chromecast. I never owned a Chromecast as I find them pointless, but still, I wonder how a $10 version would fare with the real deal? https://www.bfads.net/Item/Menards-Black...ice/468392

Black Friday may be a pass this year. Menards still has time to redeem themselves with their Holiday Catalog. It too has an electronics section and sometimes I find that ad more interesting than the BF ad in recent years.

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I was bored. Decided to play around with WindowBlinds trial. I do like how WB can re-skin Windows without modifying system files and having a good amount of built in themes to boot. It's a bit buggy with Windows 10 v1809, as evidenced in their forums. Most of the issues come from modern apps which don't blend in well with the custom skins. Regular apps appear to display the skin okay, but sometimes have issues with menu bar placement and UI elements just being a bit off, but it gets better after a reboot. The Stardock devs say they are aware of the modern apps issues and state they are working on a fix.

I'll toy around with WB for a few days since I have a 30-day trial. If it doesn't work out, I'll remove it and revert to plain old Windows 10 theming.

Back in my XP days, I used to use something called Longhorn Transformation Pack, a tool that patched the uxtheme.dll to allow unsigned themes. Given it's name, it ported over various themes from the aborted Longhorn project. It later became known as Vista Transformation Pack and brought the Windows Vista UI to XP machines.

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(11-18-2018, 01:31 PM)cpd2009 Wrote:  I was bored. Decided to play around with WindowBlinds trial. I do like how WB can re-skin Windows without modifying system files and having a good amount of built in themes to boot. It's a bit buggy with Windows 10 v1809, as evidenced in their forums. Most of the issues come from modern apps which don't blend in well with the custom skins. Regular apps appear to display the skin okay, but sometimes have issues with menu bar placement and UI elements just being a bit off, but it gets better after a reboot. The Stardock devs say they are aware of the modern apps issues and state they are working on a fix.

I'll toy around with WB for a few days since I have a 30-day trial. If it doesn't work out, I'll remove it and revert to plain old Windows 10 theming.

Back in my XP days, I used to use something called Longhorn Transformation Pack, a tool that patched the uxtheme.dll to allow unsigned themes. Given it's name, it ported over various themes from the aborted Longhorn project. It later became known as Vista Transformation Pack and brought the Windows Vista UI to XP machines.
I used to muck around with themes back then too. I like how Vista looked, but couldn't be bothered to install said OS on my Pentium Dual-Core rig at the time, so I decided to make my XP installation resemble the then-new OS as much as possible with some tools alongside said Transformation Pack. But later on I played with the idea of transforming my Windows XP UI to that of Mac OS X Leopard, to the point that you won't be able to distinguish what I did with the real deal. That had its downsides however: the transformation only skinned the UI and the Windows shell wasn't made to account for that, leading to usability issues along with applications that are designed with Windows in mind and won't blend in well with whichever Frankenstein interface that ensued.

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Wink 

A good video from Linus about Windows Vista's bad reputation. I was one of the few who actually liked Vista. Shame they took away Aero with Windows 8.

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(11-19-2018, 10:36 AM)cpd2009 Wrote:  
A good video from Linus about Windows Vista's bad reputation. I was one of the few who actually liked Vista. Shame they took away Aero with Windows 8.
Vista wasn't as bad as people make it up to be. The real problem for one was the transition to NT 6.x-ready drivers due to the different driver model used.

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Adventures in Game Compatibility!

I'm finally getting around to installing the remainder of my PC game collection on Pearl. Some of these games date to the early 2000s, which means that you manually have to go into the program directories and set program compatibility to get them to launch. I have a budget pinball sim called "Ultimate Pinball" from ValuSoft. Each table is it's own EXE and they won't play unless you run them in Windows 98/ME compatibility mode.

This brings to mind Apple's quest to get rid of 32-bit apps from macOS with the next release, going for all 64-bit apps. While it seems logical to move forward with technology, Apple doesn't seem to care that many Mac users still use 32-bit apps especially if they prefer older versions. Windows 10 continues to use 32-bit apps, and likely will continue to do so for a long time as many industries use Windows and still use 32-bit apps or old versions. Now if they would just bring back 16-bit app support.... Tongue

One last thing. Windows 10 no longer has a dedicated Games folder in Start. I have another casual collection called Play 101 and all the shortcuts are normally placed in the Games folder. But since it doesn't exist in Windows 10, no icons get created. I have to manually create the icons myself which doesn't take that long. I didn't install all 101 games obviously. Nearly every one is a village builder or simulator game or a hidden object game. The latter I find very tedious instead of relaxing IMO.

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