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The Spam Thread!

Here's another cool computer channel I have found on YouTube...

https://www.youtube.com/user/Hildron101010

This is Computer Clan, home to a rather cool tech series called Krazy Ken's Tech Misadventures. As the name implies, it has the guy Ken look at various old computers or technology with things going wrong along the way. He primarily focuses on vintage Macs, but has done videos on PCs as well. He appears to be a collector of vintage computers, something I'm kind of getting into myself. I can't really go all out yet because apartment. :/ Someday I'd like to restore old Jasper into a DOS/Win98 PC and acquire a vintage PPC iMac of some kind.

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I was watching an LGR video today where he takes a short notice trip to the Dallas, Texas area because people told him about a place filled with old computer equipment that may or may not have been shutting down. I watched it, and it makes me wish I could find a place like that. I could probably dig up an old copy of Windows 98SE or a box full of new-old-stock games that hardly ever turn up on eBay. But it's what appeared at the specific timestamp below that got my attention.
https://youtu.be/rvM82T3C2Ik?t=642

Keep your eyes on the lower right, and you will see this pop into the frame:

[Image: SSC-dvd01.jpg]

At first, I thought this was some kind of rare and valuable SSC themed desktop computer. It has the shape of one of those mini towers, and there have been companies that licensed children's brands and turned them into desktop computers before. Closer inspection shows that it wasn't a computer. The power plug isn't a three pronged grounded type. That got me searching for various SSC branded electronics, until I finally found what it is...
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Strawberry-Shor...3870454969

This is an eBay listing for a bundle, but it has the device in question. It turns out to be a slot loading SSC themed kids DVD player! I knew that for a brief period in the 2000s, there were CRT TVs and DVD players that had kids branding. Those DVD players that I saw had traditional tray loading mechanisms, but I never thought a slot load DVD player also existed in SSC branding. It looks rather neat TBH, and I wouldn't mind getting one just to have if I did find one that works. These hardly show up on eBay, with this listing bundling it with the same SSC branded CRT TV being the only one. I haven't seen it in thrift stores or flea markets either.

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I actually saw those on Amazon back in the late 2000s. The reviews on those suggest that the slot-loading mechanism was an Achilles' heel and parents were having a hard time fishing the discs out of it. Spectra also released a lid-loading DVD player under the same branding and with a bespoke shell. Judging from what I've seen, both were essentially running off the same reference platform (developed by ESS iirc) as those cheapo Chinese DVD players which were quite common back in the day.

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(06-07-2020, 10:34 AM)huckleberrypie Wrote:  I actually saw those on Amazon back in the late 2000s. The reviews on those suggest that the slot-loading mechanism was an Achilles' heel and parents were having a hard time fishing the discs out of it. Spectra also released a lid-loading DVD player under the same branding and with a bespoke shell. Judging from what I've seen, both were essentially running off the same reference platform (developed by ESS iirc) as those cheapo Chinese DVD players which were quite common back in the day.
I think you just revealed the reason why these slot-load SSC DVD players hardly make it to thrift stores. It's likely that the majority of those old SSC players have had the slot load mechanism fail, or the player doesn't function at all. Expected for such cheap Chinese players, but you'd think TCCC would license out to a more well known manufacturer to get some kind of good quality control. I will say if I do spot one of these at a thrift store or yard sale for cheap, I'm buying it whether it works or not. Tongue

When it comes to video capture, I've come to the conclusion that I have to capture my analog video in a lossless format. I still haven't found that PowerProducer 3 disc I lost, and my other solutions either don't record at full resolution, use encoders that drain the CPU, or apply a deinterlace filter as you record. Honestech VHS to DVD 2.0 creates MPEG2 files that are only 30FPS and showing a slight loss in resolution. It's fine for most people, but I'd like to have transfers that are the highest quality possible.

I gave the bundled TV card software another try, and it does record well. I recorded a half hour of random cable TV footage with no frame rate loss or audio sync problems. The issue is the size. Recording in RGB24 colorspace and 16-bit 44100khz stereo yields around 50GB file per half hour of video. Despite the massive size, having a lossless video stream gives me a better way to fine tune the video before I render it to MP4 video. Daffodi's 500GB drive is well suited for storing at least a couple hours of recorded materials, but none of my existing flash drives are large enough for copying over the video to Rusty. I may have to invest in a USB 3.0/2.0 external hard drive at least 2TB in size and have a lot of patience as well. Daffodil will be slow copying the files with USB2 speeds, but Rusty should be much faster to the point where I could just transcode the files directly off the USB drive or import them into Premiere Pro. USB 3.0 support is wonderful.

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(06-07-2020, 02:51 PM)cpd2009 Wrote:  
(06-07-2020, 10:34 AM)huckleberrypie Wrote:  I actually saw those on Amazon back in the late 2000s. The reviews on those suggest that the slot-loading mechanism was an Achilles' heel and parents were having a hard time fishing the discs out of it. Spectra also released a lid-loading DVD player under the same branding and with a bespoke shell. Judging from what I've seen, both were essentially running off the same reference platform (developed by ESS iirc) as those cheapo Chinese DVD players which were quite common back in the day.
I think you just revealed the reason why these slot-load SSC DVD players hardly make it to thrift stores. It's likely that the majority of those old SSC players have had the slot load mechanism fail, or the player doesn't function at all. Expected for such cheap Chinese players, but you'd think TCCC would license out to a more well known manufacturer to get some kind of good quality control. I will say if I do spot one of these at a thrift store or yard sale for cheap, I'm buying it whether it works or not. Tongue
I'd likely end up case-modding the SSC DVD player into a mini-ITX rig of some kind if I ever stumble upon one off eBay. You could also theoretically cram in a Wii into it, perhaps complete with the optical drive that came with the console.

Which reminds me... I will never forget that piece of shit GanzKlar brand DVD player my aunt and uncle bought back around that period. Said brand is a case of AsLongAsItSoundsForeign as they present themselves as either a "German" brand or using "German technology" even if their products were merely built using off-the-shelf reference platforms not unlike the SSC DVD player. And it was also as shoddy as you can imagine, as I vaguely remember my cousins and I trying to watch the Snoop Dogg horror movie Bones or something, and the drive mechanism was so conked out that the film was unwatchable.

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That GanzKlar DVD player really reeks of similar low-quality home theater crap sold out of the backs of white vans. It's known as the "white van scam" In the US and some European countries. One day out of the blue, you may be approached in a parking lot of a big box store or strip mall by guys driving a white van or similar vehicle. They will start offering you what appears to be a great deal on a supposedly high quality home theater system or speaker set. The branding is either one of those German-sounding names, or a slight variation of a well known legit brand. One example of the latter is Theater Research, a ripoff of Acoustic Research. The guys will tell a story on how they were installing a home theater system, and they have an extra they need to sell off. They show you the MSRP, which is in the thousands of dollars, and they will offer it to you at a very good affordable price. The victim falls for the scam, buys the set, and brings it home to discover the speakers don't sound as great as they were advertised or are poorly made. The white van guys are long gone and the person is now out of their hard earned money.

This is a poorly made advertisement video showing off a crappy "HD" projector sold under the fake Volk Cinema name, another German-sounding brand sold by the white van guys. The stilted narration and poor production quality should be a tip off to experienced viewers, but people probably fell for this anyway. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGBc8TV8eAs

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Finished up with Arkham Origins, and have started Arkham Asylum.... on my old Xbox 360.... on a 19'' CRT TV with composite video. Tongue I have the Xbox 360 GOTY edition purchased for cheap at a big box store and it's next in my Batman game list.

Main reason for playing on a CRT is lack of Wifi adapter. My original Xbox 360 doesn't have Wifi, and I needed built in ethernet to access achievements and whatnot. The graphics on the CRT aren't too blurry and do the job just fine. Component video would be better but my current CRT only has composite or SVideo.

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My financial situation is improving, temporarily. I should finally get unemployment benefits by the end of the week (after making a phone call to figure out the nearly eight week holdup), but they will be retroactive to when I got laid off. This means that after bills and food are paid, I will still have a substantial amount of leftover funds because of that coronavirus CARES Act. I should be able to get some kind of tech upgrade and save the rest of the money that's left.

Instead of an MacBook Pro, I may just get the Air instead. Current use with Greta is very light web browsing and online video. An MBA would be fine with those tasks and should also be fine with simple video work with iMovie. Reviews of the 2020 MBA are generally good, but there is conflicting reports of thermal throttling. Some users don't report it at all, while others do. Add in a possible macOS system update to the mix and the reports get even more confusing. I guess it comes down to an individuals use case and what software they choose.

As for my job search, still hardly anything I can do or is similar to what my previous job had. Unless I want to slave away behind a desk answering phones all day or working at McDonalds....

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Given the cramped confines of the Air, it's no surprise how some are complaining about thermal throttling. My HP notebook for one goes up to plus 70 degrees Celsius whenever it's at full load; one could imagine how hot the MBA would be in a muggy tropical climate.

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My local pawn shop is at it again with vintage computers. This time, I scored an ancient iBook G3 for $40.
[Image: ibook-initial.jpg]

It was rather dirty and scratched, but a quick clean with a wet wipe got rid of most of the old dirt and grime. The screen and keyboard were in far better shape.

[Image: ibook-open.jpg]

[Image: ibook-desktop.jpg]

[Image: ibook-specs.jpg]

This has a PowerPC G3 750 at 800mhz, 256MB RAM, and ATI Mobility Radeon 7500 with 32MB VRAM. Hard drive is a Toshiba 30GB. Mac OS X is Tiger 10.4.11, and the LCD is 1024x768 resolution. This particular iBook shipped with an AirPort card, enabling WiFi internet access. I can also connect with a standard ethernet cable too.

The system booted right up and the battery appears to be charging. No swelling has been observed, and the battery pack is not getting abnormally hot either. Performance is okay; more RAM would help with that, and this particular iBook maxes out at 640MB. The installed software is much like what you would find in a typical Tiger install, but there is a copy of Microsoft Office X and AppleWorks.

Based on the registration info in MS Office about box, this was owned by a school teacher. To see when this iBook was last used, I checked Safari's history menu, and it shows entries dating up to September 2013. That's quite a long time to use an iBook. Nearly all of the previous users documents were cleared out, with the exception of Mail. I got a bit curious to see if it was cleared out, and nope. A whole archive of emails appeared. Sad Safe to say, I quit Mail as fast as I could, and I intend on deleting that archive soon.

In the short term, I will create a new user account and delete the old one which should take care of the old Mail archive. As for what I will use this iBook for, it will be for PowerPC only software and games. I need to find a copy of the original iBook setup discs. According to Mactracker, this iBook shipped with Mac OS X 10.2 and Classic Mac OS 9.2. The iBook should be a good candidate to test TenFourFox.

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