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The Spam Thread!

(10-19-2019, 12:59 PM)huckleberrypie Wrote:  
(10-19-2019, 08:49 AM)cpd2009 Wrote:  
(10-18-2019, 02:46 PM)huckleberrypie Wrote:  Makes me wonder if it's worth investing on a VCR, but since all of our archive tapes of home video footage are sadly long gone... Sad
Sad I archived my family's home video footage to DVD years ago using a crappy Lite-On set-top DVD recorder. LiteOn drives are typically good, but their set top recorder was a bit buggy. The discs themselves wouldn't play that well in certain players, and also don't play nice with VLC.

Even if you don't have those home movies anymore, you can still find used VCRs and VHS tapes second hand. It's a good way to find lost TV shows or cartoons that haven't been put on DVD yet, as well as nostalgic old TV commercials.

Anyway... placed an order for a replacement battery for Greta. I sold my old Sansui 40'' TV that I didn't really need anymore after getting that Samsung smart TV over the summer. I should get it in the mail sometime next week.
I could imagine the publicity ensuing from discovering a lost film stored in a random cassette or something.
It's why the LostMediaWiki exists. Smile It's a cool site that lists lost pieces of media like TV shows, cartoons, Internet media, etc. It shows what lost media has been found or remains missing. It even lists NSFW content, and obviously, advises you to use discretion before you decide to view said content if it's been found.

Later tonight, I'm going to post something interesting in the Tech sub-forum. I have amassed a large amount of "MP4" players over the years, and it's time to showcase them all and decide which ones to keep.

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Those so-called "MP4" players are a textbook example of a NonIndicativeName, no thanks to the fact that they use an odd format to store videos. It may have something to do with the limited compute power of the DSPs used in them.

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(10-21-2019, 07:41 AM)huckleberrypie Wrote:  Those so-called "MP4" players are a textbook example of a NonIndicativeName, no thanks to the fact that they use an odd format to store videos. It may have something to do with the limited compute power of the DSPs used in them.
Many of these players, even name brand models, come with a disc or pre-loaded installer containing a video conversion tool, which encodes them into odd formats like MTV or AMV, which are specifically designed for these players. If one were to watch video on a tiny LCD back in the day, it would have been kind of cool. It looks extremely archaic compared to today's tablets and smartphones, and I can't imagine watching a whole feature film on such a tiny TFT LCD.

This evening, I'm setting up a Windows 8.1 VM in VirtualBox mostly for games that may not run on Wine or running that YTP+ app. YTP+ is written in Java and theoretically it can run under Linux. I tried it, and even with the required libraries installed (FFMpeg, ImageMagick), it still coughed up errors when it tried to make the video.

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Said formats have been successfully reverse-engineered though, so there's no need to use those sketchy conversion tools any longer (especially as some of them installers may be laced with malware).

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(10-21-2019, 08:48 PM)huckleberrypie Wrote:  Said formats have been successfully reverse-engineered though, so there's no need to use those sketchy conversion tools any longer (especially as some of them installers may be laced with malware).
I seem to recall that the player's packages were too small to include a mini-CD, and the flash memory only had various example media files and no installer of any kind. The small manual probably contained a web address to download the conversion software, but it's best to avoid that as it can come with malware too.

I was able to successfully isolate the bloated battery in that Hipstreet player, and transferred the music and photos that were on the device. Now the question is how to dispose of it? I don't think there is any place in my town that takes bloated batteries and it's too dangerous to just toss them in the trash.

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(10-24-2019, 09:48 AM)cpd2009 Wrote:  
(10-21-2019, 08:48 PM)huckleberrypie Wrote:  Said formats have been successfully reverse-engineered though, so there's no need to use those sketchy conversion tools any longer (especially as some of them installers may be laced with malware).
I seem to recall that the player's packages were too small to include a mini-CD, and the flash memory only had various example media files and no installer of any kind. The small manual probably contained a web address to download the conversion software, but it's best to avoid that as it can come with malware too.

I was able to successfully isolate the bloated battery in that Hipstreet player, and transferred the music and photos that were on the device. Now the question is how to dispose of it? I don't think there is any place in my town that takes bloated batteries and it's too dangerous to just toss them in the trash.
Yeah, it's likely they simply put up a link of some kind, but given the sketchy nature of these manufacturers 'tis indeed best to avoid them. I vaguely recall reading about an incident where a batch of digital picture frames came with malware which stole not just video game account credentials but possibly other personal information as well.

As for disposing the battery, that's a good question. Have you tried contacting the local agencies responsible for waste disposal? The only other resource I could think of is this site.

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I checked out that site, and clicking on the Battery Recyclers link took me to a Call2Recycle locator page and it does list some places in a nearby city that can take old Li-Ion devices. I don't know if they would take bloated batteries due to their inherently dangerous state, but it's worth a shot.

Greta's new battery came in the mail today. It has an April 2019 manufacture date, and it boasts a 97% capacity upon initial charge. My old battery was down to 31% and it would barely last one hour on a charge. I plan on using Greta for a few days to test the new battery out and see how long it can last on a charge. Linux is known for being very light on battery depending on how you set it up.

That little MP3 player I ordered also came in the mail today. For those unaware, here is the link to the eBay listing:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/MP3-MP4-Player-...2749.l2649
This $8 player needs a microSD card as it lacks on-board storage. The only accessories it comes with are a pair of cheap earbuds and a very short mini-USB cable. The earbuds don't sound too bad, but the cord is extremely short, only about 2 or 3 feet.

The player does have some caveats. For one, the MP3 player interface is very limited. The OS doesn't let you browse songs by folder or artist. It just plays all the MP3 files that you store on the microSD card, though it does seem to group them based on the folders they are stored in. Another missing feature is ID3 tag support. The player displays the raw name of the MP3 file. but in 8.3 DOS format, so every song tends to end with a "~1MP3" in the display.

The FM radio is also weird. It is a digital tuner, but there's no manual tuning. You need to press the Play/Pause button to scan for available stations and store them as presets. The reception is very good, especially in buildings where my other players tend to fail. What's weird is that the frequency display is about three 1mhz steps off than what it actually is. For example, say there's a station on 93.1mhz. The player will tune in that station fine, but it will display it as 93.4mhz. Odd.

So, the player is lacking in features, but for $8, it's a decent little mini player. However, there exists similar models of this player that have a slightly different OS, complete with ID3 support and manual FM tuning. With these players from China, it's hard to tell what kind of firmware you'll get until you buy one and see for yourself.

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I'm sure the recycling centre would accept the battery in question though, provided you packed it in a manner prescribed by the centre.

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I came across an old Wacom Graphire 4 tablet (CTE-440) at a pawn shop one year, and I got it for only about $10 or $15 USD. It came with a mouse and pen. It ended up getting put into storage and forgotten about until about a week ago. I dug it back out and tested it on my Linux system. It works in Krita, but I still have to test pressure sensitivity. I also think I left it's mouse back at my old home. Funny thing is, this tablet is so old that Wacom no longer supports it with their latest drivers, and it's a bit tricky getting it working on Windows 10. Use the latest macOS? Good luck, thanks to Apple's removal of 32-bit app support. It's interesting that modern Linux distros continue to have support for such old hardware. In many distros, you can even get an ancient RIVA TNT2 GPU running with legacy proprietary drivers if you have an equally ancient PC.

Oh yeah, customized Pearl's KDE setup to make it resemble macOS. It's rather easy. I just installed LatteDock from the Mageia repo, created a new panel on the top with a global application menu and the system tray, install and configure McMojave themes and icons, and arranged window buttons accordingly. Now I need to get used to this setup. Tongue
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It's because unlike commercial OSes, hobbyist programmers typically don't have the burden of companies having to decide whether this or that particular piece of hardware is worth the added support costs.

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