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The Spam Thread!

(02-28-2020, 08:48 AM)huckleberrypie Wrote:  
(02-27-2020, 11:51 AM)cpd2009 Wrote:  Reason number two why I'm not pursuing an iMac via eBay or other online store... possible shipping damage.

I ordered a Sony mini stereo system, model CMT-mx500i for use as a bedroom system. Ordered from a seemingly reputable seller. Item was sent quickly and arrived in two days in box marked fragile and wrapped in air pockets and bubble wrap.

Turns out, the dependable and reliable USPS roughhandled said box, damaging the stereo in the process. Nearly all the air pocket wrapping was broken as well. The speakers are fine but the plastic bezel on the main unit sheared competely off. Functionally, the unit still turns on and the radio and speakers work fine. CD player is broken though. Sad I also had to take the metal cover off to let out some of the broken plastic that fell inside, and with that came a thin metal rod, which I assume is the reason the CD player doesn't work.

The cosmetic damage can be easily repaired with super glue. The CD part would be a bit more difficult to repair since that would involve working on the internals. I have emailed the seller to explain what went on and what the next steps will be. If I can't send it back or get a refund, I'll just use it as a set of TV speakers and move my better Sharp mini system (which I bought brand new) into the bedroom instead.

Silver lining is that the system works great as TV speakers and the radio tuner isn't as good as the Sharp. With eBay, you sometimes have to take a loss if the USPS is careless with your item.

I once bought an old PowerMac G4, and it arrived in perfect condition. It's very hit or miss.
Now imagine ordering a hard drive online lol.
I was thinking about just that. It doesn't take much of a drop to render an HDD useless. SSDs are the future, but HDDs are still common for data storage and NAS usage.

Good news from eBay though. I have been in contact with the seller, despite not thinking of taking pictures of the damage while opening the box. I didn't notice the blown out side of the box at first, and was excited to open it only to be shocked at the damaged main unit. I did send in pictures of the mangled box and the bits of plastic and metal rod, and the seller did apologize for the trouble and is in the process of refunding me. He is also letting me keep the damaged item as well.

I was able to fix up the front bezel with super glue just fine. At a first glance, the item appears to not have suffered any damage. I can't really do anything about the broken CD player, but since it will be a TV speaker system, a working CD player isn't needed.

The experience did teach me a lesson. If something like this happens again, take pictures of any damage you notice right away. I am thankful the seller was so understanding of me even though I also apologized to him regarding not taking photos of the damaged item at first.

In other good news, it appears Windows XP will work just fine in VirtualBox. I have to use an older version however. More recent versions deprecate 3D/2D acceleration for XP guests, so I'm using a 5.x release. I got XP all set up and updated, and ran a few of my old games. Outside of occasional sound issues, they appear to run well. I will put more games to the test later tonight and share some results of those older benchmark programs too.

And I haven't activated XP just yet. I need to make sure the VM will work well before I do that. Surprising that XP still needs activation nearly six years after support ended. MS will need to take those activation servers offline at some point. What happens then? Will they just put up an activation key to get around that issue, or leave XP users high and dry unable to activate the older OS?

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Assuming that MS is no longer willing to activate XP installations in favour of pushing for Windows 10, I'd say using a pirated volume licence key is a necessary evil.

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I think I'm getting close to the optimal XP VirtualBox setup. Currently running VirtualBox 5.1.26 to help deal with the audio issues mentioned earlier.

[Image: RustyXP_default_030120.jpg]

[Image: RustyXP_seamless_030120.jpg]

The last picture is VirtualBox in "seamless" mode, which blends the VM UI with the standard Windows 10 environment. You have to deal with an extra taskbar at the bottom though. Parallels Desktop for Mac has a similar "cohesion" mode which displays no extra taskbar.

The CD I tested is an old bargain basement game collection called "Really Cool Arcade Games". It has a horrid CD browser program that isn't coded right. Try to play the classic DX Ball, you instead get a Windows Pacman clone. DX Ball is on the disc and can be run from there.

I love foxes, especially the one in my avatar.
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Have you by any chance tried WineVDM? It seems to be making at least some progress with 16-bit Windows emulation on 64-bit and I was able to at least load up the kids' games Big Top made using Macromedia Director.

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(03-02-2020, 09:39 AM)huckleberrypie Wrote:  Have you by any chance tried WineVDM? It seems to be making at least some progress with 16-bit Windows emulation on 64-bit and I was able to at least load up the kids' games Big Top made using Macromedia Director.
I've heard of it, but I probably will pass. I'd prefer to run the 16-bit stuff on actual hardware (or at least on XP or Win98SE VM).

But things haven't been going too well in the VM department. I've been spending the last few hours running various games in VirtualBox. Performance isn't quite to where I'd like it to be though. VirtualBox doesn't support 3D/2D acceleration on the most recent versions and is also prone to audio stuttering issues. The version I mentioned above doesn't have the audio issue but video performance seems to be a bit worse. Sad

The deal breaker is some of my games run way too fast. There is this breakout clone called "Break Gold" that's on one of my eGames compilations. In VirtualBox 6.x, the game runs at proper speed, but not at the 60fps framerate I'd like. In the old version, the graphics run extremely fast, as if the CPU timing in the VM is off. It makes the game unplayable.

Looks like I'm going to have to either bring back one of my older PCs, or get the vintage iMac after all and risk a damaged shipment. 20'' iMacs from 2007 to 2009 can be had for below $100 in good condition but I'll need to see if my budget will allow. I also need a separate computer desk for it as well.

I love foxes, especially the one in my avatar.
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(03-02-2020, 09:54 AM)cpd2009 Wrote:  
(03-02-2020, 09:39 AM)huckleberrypie Wrote:  Have you by any chance tried WineVDM? It seems to be making at least some progress with 16-bit Windows emulation on 64-bit and I was able to at least load up the kids' games Big Top made using Macromedia Director.
I've heard of it, but I probably will pass. I'd prefer to run the 16-bit stuff on actual hardware (or at least on XP or Win98SE VM).

But things haven't been going too well in the VM department. I've been spending the last few hours running various games in VirtualBox. Performance isn't quite to where I'd like it to be though. VirtualBox doesn't support 3D/2D acceleration on the most recent versions and is also prone to audio stuttering issues. The version I mentioned above doesn't have the audio issue but video performance seems to be a bit worse. Sad

The deal breaker is some of my games run way too fast. There is this breakout clone called "Break Gold" that's on one of my eGames compilations. In VirtualBox 6.x, the game runs at proper speed, but not at the 60fps framerate I'd like. In the old version, the graphics run extremely fast, as if the CPU timing in the VM is off. It makes the game unplayable.

Looks like I'm going to have to either bring back one of my older PCs, or get the vintage iMac after all and risk a damaged shipment. 20'' iMacs from 2007 to 2009 can be had for below $100 in good condition but I'll need to see if my budget will allow. I also need a separate computer desk for it as well.
Whichever works for you I guess.

I did manage to flash CyanogenMod 12.1 on my Amazon Fire 7 2017 as the stock firmware kept on shoving ads and stuff up my throat, and I'm sick and tired of having to firewall them out. Unfortunately, getting this to work involves having to short out either CMD or VDD to ground which is not for the faint of heart. Though if there's any consolation, at least the bootrom exploit seems to be a potent way to bust those locked-down MediaTek devices wide open like the Epic.

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Took a look at Jasper tonight. Here's his insides for you...

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This was from the time I plastered cartoon stickers on all my computers like my long lost online friend used to do. The brand of the case, Tangent, is one of those system builders that markets only to business and schools and not the general public. Said friend bought this PC originally from a college or school, and at some point, the original motherboard got replaced with the ASUS TUV4X. There appear to be no leaking or bulged caps upon visual inspection. Don't know if the CMOS battery is still good.

[Image: Jasper03.jpg]
Jasper's motherboard. He currently has an old PCI TV tuner card, a PCI USB 2.0 card, and sound card. I need to get a new ethernet card for it though. Graphics card is an ASUS Radeon 9600XT AGP 8x/4x. Installed RAM is one 128mb PC133 stick and another PC133 stick of unknown size. Hard drive is WD Caviar Blue 160GB with IDE interface, and there is a standard DVD-ROM drive and a DVD writer.

[Image: Jasper04.jpg]
Jaspers current no-name crap PSU I pulled from an equally cheap PC case from an abandoned system build a decade ago. Claims 480 watts, but I seriously doubt it. The Radeon 9600XT has stability issues with newer drivers and the BIOS occasionally complained about voltage problems on one of the 5V rails IIRC.

[Image: Jasper05.jpg]
A good look at the ASUS Radeon 9600XT card.

What will it take to get Jasper back up and running? He will need more than 128MB RAM to start with. As I recall, Windows XP can struggle with only 128MB RAM. A 512MB PC133 SDRAM stick is cheap these days, so that will be no problem money wise. He also needs a new rear case fan, new PSU, and perhaps some PCI slot covers. The PSU will be a bit tricky. Modern PSUs only have a few 4-pin molex power connectors if you're lucky. All of Jasper's internal drives use the molex standard, so I'd have to find at least four or five SATA-to-molex connectors, or acquire a used Dell PSU with molex connectors.

I love foxes, especially the one in my avatar.
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I gave WineVDM a try out of interest. I was able to get some 16-bit stuff running via the drag-and-drop method, such as a Cosmi Software welcome screen. It even had an embedded AVI video file that played. The installer failed. It's one of those 32-bit games packaged in a 16 bit installer file, and the InstallShield program just sits at 0%. Sad

It was worth a try though.

I love foxes, especially the one in my avatar.
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(03-02-2020, 04:35 PM)cpd2009 Wrote:  I gave WineVDM a try out of interest. I was able to get some 16-bit stuff running via the drag-and-drop method, such as a Cosmi Software welcome screen. It even had an embedded AVI video file that played. The installer failed. It's one of those 32-bit games packaged in a 16 bit installer file, and the InstallShield program just sits at 0%. Sad

It was worth a try though.
Yeah, it's very much an early work-in-progress though some simple applications do work well.

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Dude... I just bought another Dell.

Same pawn shop. Much lower price. $25 for an as is fix-em-upper Dimension E310 tower. Pictures taken and specs noted, but it will be later tonight before I get them posted here. I had to disconnect Rusty to work on it.

Details incoming.

But that pawn shop has been a magnet for old, unused Dell PCs as of late. Tongue

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