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The Spam Thread!

Yeah I'm just as irked with the annoying advert-like donation appeals on Wikipedia as well.

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Here's a thing I barely remember seeing advertised on American kids' TV...

Hasbro made this very early run at portable music in the early 2000s. They were seemingly successful since new and second hand units are bountiful on eBay, but there's actually a lot of misinformation about it's history and the overall sales numbers. Techmoan does his research and sets the record straight along with taking a look at how this tech worked.

HitClips weren't my thing since by the time these came out, I was in middle school and I never had a chance to buy them locally if I wanted them. I also wasn't really into pop music at the time.

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(09-27-2020, 02:01 AM)cpd2009 Wrote:  Here's a thing I barely remember seeing advertised on American kids' TV...

Hasbro made this very early run at portable music in the early 2000s. They were seemingly successful since new and second hand units are bountiful on eBay, but there's actually a lot of misinformation about it's history and the overall sales numbers. Techmoan does his research and sets the record straight along with taking a look at how this tech worked.

HitClips weren't my thing since by the time these came out, I was in middle school and I never had a chance to buy them locally if I wanted them. I also wasn't really into pop music at the time.
It became moot point when digital music players came out at that time, but I guess for a kids' novelty toy, Hasbro and record companies saw it as a (rather cynical) trojan horse for kids to keep patronising pop music.

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Indeed. By the end of the decade, a cheap 512mb or 1GB MP3 player was very affordable as a kids Christmas or Birthday gift. Those were perfect for parents who still didn't want to buy a full blown iPod, but something cheaper that did more or less the same thing. But for the early 2000s, HitClips was an interesting idea, even if it was just to make money for Hasbro and the record labels.

Hell, by 2005, Disney released their own line of "Mix Stick" players capable of playing MP3s and also coming with music from whatever Disney artist was popular. The included music was on it's own MMC card, taking an idea from HitClips, but the advantage was the full music tracks rather than a low quality 1 minute clip. You could also expand the storage to 1GB using an SD card to make up for the MixStick's paltry 128mb flash. https://www.macworld.com/article/1047186/mixstick.html

I miss the 2000s. Before streaming and smartphones took over everything, there was such a variety of unique and bizarre digital gadgets. I might just get some of those HitClips off eBay someday before they shoot up in price.

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(09-27-2020, 10:32 AM)cpd2009 Wrote:  Indeed. By the end of the decade, a cheap 512mb or 1GB MP3 player was very affordable as a kids Christmas or Birthday gift. Those were perfect for parents who still didn't want to buy a full blown iPod, but something cheaper that did more or less the same thing. But for the early 2000s, HitClips was an interesting idea, even if it was just to make money for Hasbro and the record labels.

Hell, by 2005, Disney released their own line of "Mix Stick" players capable of playing MP3s and also coming with music from whatever Disney artist was popular. The included music was on it's own MMC card, taking an idea from HitClips, but the advantage was the full music tracks rather than a low quality 1 minute clip. You could also expand the storage to 1GB using an SD card to make up for the MixStick's paltry 128mb flash. https://www.macworld.com/article/1047186/mixstick.html

I miss the 2000s. Before streaming and smartphones took over everything, there was such a variety of unique and bizarre digital gadgets. I might just get some of those HitClips off eBay someday before they shoot up in price.

One of my classmates had a "Sony"-branded MP3 player in what is known as the "S1" form factor:
[Image: S1_mp3_player_example-edit.png]
IIRC that silver one had 128MB of storage, which could get you up to 15-30 songs at 128kbps. Nowadays, similar iPod Shuffle clones could be had for almost free at places like Lazada as I mentioned some time ago.

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You can still find these "S1" players on eBay for next-to-nothing. The only issue is fake flash capacity, which is still a common issue with online retailers via eBay. If I want an S1-type player, I tend to go for new-old-stock of branded players or ones that are known discount brands such as Polaroid, eMatic, etc. Those are just as plentiful, and while you end up paying a bit more, you will more than likely get the full advertised capacity.

There even was a website dedicated to hacking S1-type players, hosting tools for modding the firmware, boot logos, and even replacing the firmware. I think an archive of it is still online somewhere.

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(09-28-2020, 10:55 AM)cpd2009 Wrote:  You can still find these "S1" players on eBay for next-to-nothing. The only issue is fake flash capacity, which is still a common issue with online retailers via eBay. If I want an S1-type player, I tend to go for new-old-stock of branded players or ones that are known discount brands such as Polaroid, eMatic, etc. Those are just as plentiful, and while you end up paying a bit more, you will more than likely get the full advertised capacity.

There even was a website dedicated to hacking S1-type players, hosting tools for modding the firmware, boot logos, and even replacing the firmware. I think an archive of it is still online somewhere.
How I missed out on that scene. There was a project dedicated to making an open-source firmware replacement for them S1 players, but it appears to have been shelved as it's a monumental effort to port them to most if not all Actions/ALi/Rockchip-powered portable media players.

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Well, even after a fresh vanilla Windows 10 install, I still have issues recording video from the HDMI device. I did some test recording sessions a few days ago, and did all the necessary post processing with Avidemux. The software used for recording was OBS, with hardware encoding enabled, at 60fps. No framerate drops occur and the video is smooth as it can be.

But, I still encounter bad audio sync problems that don't occur when recording from the same device using the MacBook + QuickTime software. Linux is out of the question because of that weird graphics driver bug that still occurs on even newly released distros. I did try OBS on my old Gateway laptop but I can't get NVENC enabled even if I try to force it with the right click menu, or in the Nvidia Control Panel.

I had it in the back of my head to either get a 2011 or later iMac, or a 2013 Retina MacBook Pro just as a dedicated recording device. I would have to go for something with an Intel i5 quad-core for best results. My white 2009 MacBook almost cuts it for recording since the preview works flawlessly, but it suffers dropped frames during recording and there's no hardware accelerated encoding to ease up on the CPU.

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(09-29-2020, 07:02 AM)cpd2009 Wrote:  Well, even after a fresh vanilla Windows 10 install, I still have issues recording video from the HDMI device. I did some test recording sessions a few days ago, and did all the necessary post processing with Avidemux. The software used for recording was OBS, with hardware encoding enabled, at 60fps. No framerate drops occur and the video is smooth as it can be.

But, I still encounter bad audio sync problems that don't occur when recording from the same device using the MacBook + QuickTime software. Linux is out of the question because of that weird graphics driver bug that still occurs on even newly released distros. I did try OBS on my old Gateway laptop but I can't get NVENC enabled even if I try to force it with the right click menu, or in the Nvidia Control Panel.

I had it in the back of my head to either get a 2011 or later iMac, or a 2013 Retina MacBook Pro just as a dedicated recording device. I would have to go for something with an Intel i5 quad-core for best results. My white 2009 MacBook almost cuts it for recording since the preview works flawlessly, but it suffers dropped frames during recording and there's no hardware accelerated encoding to ease up on the CPU.

That's quite strange. Are you sure it's not some sort of bottleneck on part of the CPU/GPU or the capture device itself?

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I doubt it's the device itself since the MacBook records both audio and video in sync all the way through, but after our chat on FB and doing a bit of searching on the OBS Forums, I believe I found the possible culprit... mismatched sample rates.

The HDMI audio capture is weird. On the MacBook, you can tell it records in mono since during recording, sound only comes out one speaker. The resulting file plays fine in dual-mono. After learning about the sample rate thing, I looked at how the device appears under the Windows sound settings. It only has two sample rate options, both at 96khz. OBS defaults to 44.1khz.

Here is what I am trying out. I decided to skip the HDMI device's built in audio and instead routed the analog audio out of my VCR into the Dell's audio input. I then selected that input instead of the one built into the HDMI device. Not only does it record in true stereo, but I can set both OBS and the recording source at 44.1khz. This could possibly fix the audio sync issue. I'm running a test recording now to see if this works out good.

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