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The Spam Thread!

Here are the default apps I set up on the iMac:

Music player - Varies between QuickTime Player and foobar2000. QT is used for playing single files like podcast MP3s, while foobar2000 is for music playlists. I didn't know there was a Mac version of foobar2000 until a few months ago. Like the Windows version, foobar2000 is a basic music player that primarily uses playlists. No media library functionality or anything extra.

Video players - Varies between VLC and QuickTime. I always preferred the Mac interface of VLC over the Windows version, and it's largely the same today. I mainly use VLC just to grab screenshots off my DVDs and cartoon videos I rip off YouTube. QuickTime is used for regular video viewing, and has a much nicer interface than the Windows Movies & TV app.

Web browser - Naturally, it would be Safari if I had a fully up to date macOS, but for now, it's Vivaldi. It's turning out to be a rather nice browser, and is very reminiscent of it's spiritual ancestor, the original Opera browser. Highly configurable user interface and is more feature packed than other Chromium browsers. You can even pin sites in the sidebar and they load up as they would on a mobile device. Vivaldi also has a built in Adblock and tracking blocker.

Office apps - Right now, I'm using the pack in Apple stuff. There's Pages, Keynote, and Numbers. Pages is the word processor, Keynote is the presentation maker, and Numbers is for spreadsheets. They aren't really replacements for Microsoft Office, but if one just needs a basic word processor or spreadsheet, these apps will work just fine.

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I'm getting around to viewing the MPEG2 recordings I made with PowerDirector Express, and I'm wondering why I didn't use this from the start.

The MPEG2 files it records are at 59.94fps, aka 60fps interlaced. The Honestech app only recoded at 30fps with automatic deinterlacing. When played in VLC with deinterlacing filters on, the video looks amazing. Framerates are more natural looking, pretty much how they were broadcast. This comes in handy for archived news broadcasts.

But, this means I now have to find a different way of transcoding the MPEG2 files to a usable format. Avidemux doesn't like these higher quality MPEG2 files, and the audio/video go out of sync after conversion. XMedia Recode also doesn't seem to have any options to convert 60fps video, but perhaps I'm not looking hard enough. I found another program called SVP, or SmoothVideo Project. It's trialware, but the results are promising. SVP also uses AMD AMF for transcoding. Avidemux just used software encoding and has no AMD AMF option. Xmedia Recode supports AMD AMF out of the box.

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OBS also has support for AMD GPU acceleration too, but unlike Nvidia it doesn't appear to be as widely supported.

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Re-arranged my computer setup today. Rusty goes back to the living room, while Periwinkle (iMac) takes over Rusty's former desk. Daffodil now uses the TV-stand desk. Both of the latter computers are in the bedroom.

Daffodil will also be getting some new upgrades soon. I ordered a new WD Blue 500GB 7200rpm hard drive for recording video to. I want to install some more games on her main 80GB hard disk (namely, my casual game collection. The Intel GMA shouldn't have problems with those, one can hope), and figured a 500gb secondary DVR drive would work well. Also had to order some spare plastic brackets to install the drive. May as well order Daffodi's 1GB RAM upgrade as well.

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I'm not really that much of a fan of Oppo's Android customisations, but for being a solid emulation device the Realme C3 seems like a great bargain. If Antutu's benchmarks are to be believed, the phone seems on par with the Galaxy S7.

Dolphin ran well on it, though some hacks may have to be done to get a bit more performance.

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The Vivaldi browser is quite buggy on Mac. When it works, it's rather nice, but it keeps freezing up at random and I have to force quit. Chrome worked just fine.

I have since uninstalled Vivaldi and am now trying Opera. I've used it on and off over the years, dating back to when they still used the old Presto engine. It got rid of a lot of the customization in recent years, which lead one of the former Opera CEOs to create Vivaldi. Still, Opera has a lot of features when compared to Chrome, such as an integrated news feed, built in ad/tracking blocker, and web apps you can pin on the side. Then again, Vivaldi had these too, but what's the point of Vivaldi if it keeps bugging out on me?

I also gave iCab a whirl. Don't know if you heard of it, but it's this somewhat obscure browser for Mac, yet it still receives updates to stay current. I believe the rendering engine in iCab is proprietary and not based on Gecko, Blink, or WebKit. It's apparent when trying to access certain local news websites or Facebook. The rendering isn't quite as good compared to more popular browsers. Oh, and it's nagware. You can pay $10 to upgrade to a full version, but you can still use it without paying. Just expect a pop-up asking you to pay when you load iCab.

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Have you ever had Windows "forget" a device you had installed?

That happened today with Daffodil. I converted some VHS tapes last night and shut her down as normal. When I turned her on earlier today for another recording session, I find that Windows XP needed to reinstall the TV card drivers again, as if they were never installed in the first place. The only reason I could think of was me uninstalling some uneeded programs the previous night, but those shouldn't have touched the TV card drivers at all. I also thought my TV card died, which wouldn't be surprising since it's over 15 years old.

I went ahead and reinstalled the drivers, and the TV card is working again.

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(05-06-2020, 12:01 PM)cpd2009 Wrote:  Have you ever had Windows "forget" a device you had installed?

That happened today with Daffodil. I converted some VHS tapes last night and shut her down as normal. When I turned her on earlier today for another recording session, I find that Windows XP needed to reinstall the TV card drivers again, as if they were never installed in the first place. The only reason I could think of was me uninstalling some uneeded programs the previous night, but those shouldn't have touched the TV card drivers at all. I also thought my TV card died, which wouldn't be surprising since it's over 15 years old.

I went ahead and reinstalled the drivers, and the TV card is working again.
Could be a fluke with XP, or the hardware itself giving the user a hard time.

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The RAM upgrade has been ordered for Daffodil. Went for a new-in-package 2GB kit which is listed as compatible with the Dell E310 (aka DV051) PCs. 2GB is a bit overkill for XP, but nevertheless, it will speed things up with memory intensive tasks. It was also only around $10 USD. It's not name brand RAM, but it should do okay for my particular setup.

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Another tech rant incoming.

Woke Rusty up from sleep to do some video editing work, and Windows 10 froze again like last time. Taskbar and other elements stop responding and all that's left is a spinning circle cursor until you force a power off. It appears the updated AMD drivers didn't do a thing to solve it. Sad

I guess I could start doing some random troubleshooting, but seeing as how this issue occurs entirely at random, I have no idea what the issue could be. I could go days without the freezing issue popping up, and then it just happens after waking up from sleep. Maybe I'm just lazy, but really, I shouldn't have to do an entire list of troubleshooting steps just to stop Windows 10 from freezing. I will give it a try anyway. https://windowsreport.com/random-freeze-windows-10/

In all seriousness, I think I may as well save up for a brand new modern iMac, or just buy one if the US government does another round of stimulus checks. I'm constantly changing my tech setup it seems, but I guess the main reason why I got my current iMac is to get around these odd issues I have with that Dell rig. Besides the random freezing and hard drive issues, the cooling system is very overzealous. Sometimes simply scrolling the web page in Chrome or Edge makes the fans ramp up to jet-liner standards before quickly quieting down as soon as you stop scrolling. It doesn't even eat that much CPU doing so, only going barely above 10% CPU utilization. Perhaps there is dust buildup, but I recall this jetliner fan issue happening even after I purchased the rig and started using it. I will download Speedfan and check the thermals while running my video encoding tasks and in benchmarks.

I also found out that my go-to Pinball collection is available on Mac under the name Zen Pinball 2.

I understand that I bring up the Mac argument a bit too much, but after using Periwinkle for nearly two weeks now, I'm pleased at macOS in itself. Given it's age, my 2008 iMac isn't the fastest, and servicing it would be a bit of a daunting task, but macOS hasn't really given me show stopping problems, and any that have occurred were my fault. (protip: be careful with Disk Utility) And performance for web browsing and drawing in FireAlpaca is very good even with 4GB of RAM. If I end up getting a modern iMac or Mac Mini, I'd just have to ensure the specs I order will last me five to seven years down the road without worrying about upgrading again since you obviously can't do upgrades yourself.... unless you get the 27'' iMac.

On the other hand, Daffodil has been wonderful. I just recently got my 500GB Hard drive, and I would have uploaded a picture, but need to find a new file server to host it on first. After I get her RAM upgrade, Daffodil will be quite good for a retro XP rig. And it doesn't randomly freeze either.

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