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The Spam Thread!

GameStop may be bad, but AliExpress may be worse with refurbished handhelds...

Looks fine on the outside, but it's what is on the inside that matters.

I love foxes, especially the one in my avatar.
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Reminds me of sloppy cross stitching - it looks lovely up front, but the stitching on the back tells you the real story. Tongue

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So Congress finally passes another stimulus package with said direct payments to individuals. I'll likely get $600, and the checks may be deposited as soon as next week. Time to go 3DS shopping... that is unless my own 3DS cart slot gets it's act together.

Anyway, I've come across a very strange video sizing issue with VLC Media Player. I normally use QuickTime for video playback, but if I need to make screencaps of a TV show or cartoon, VLC is my go to player. From DVDs to MP4 files, making screencaps with VLC is easy. There is one problem VLC has when playing back the MP4's I make.

When encoding my VHS rips in AVIDemux, I keep the resolution at 1280x720 but I add a 4:3 aspect ratio flag to the file so it's not horribly stretched out. This results in a display resolution of 960x720. In QuickTime player, it opens my files at the proper 960x720. But in VLC, open that same file and the video size has nearly doubled. VLCs media information states the file is playing at 1280x720, but it's more like scaling up to 1080p 4:3.

This isn't a major issue since my files are meant for playback on a TV, but for screencaps, it results in captures that are far too large in size. I have to manually set the screenshot resolution to 960x720 in the advanced VLC settings. But this setting applies to any screencaps you make, so if I wanted to take screencaps of a DVD, I have to go back into the advanced settings and reset the resolution to the defaults.

To further test this bug, I made an encoding of a VHS rip with the encoder settings I use, but in two files. One file has the standard 4:3 flag set, while the other has a 16:9 flag set. Resolution is 1280x720. When I load the 16:9 stretched VHS recording into VLC, and then use VLC's internal aspect ratio setting at 4:3, the video is now in it's proper display size, just like it shows up in QuickTime.

I have screenshots of this issue shown below, and I am planning on sharing this on the VLC forums. It seems like a weird bug with how VLC handles the MP4 metadata, but who knows? I'll also share my screenshots there as well.

The first two screenshots are the MP4 file with 4:3 set in the metadata. The last two is the 16:9 file and how VLC handles that differently from the first file.

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[Image: 02-MP4in-VLC.jpg]

[Image: 03-Stretched-Filein-VLC.jpg]

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I love foxes, especially the one in my avatar.
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I miss head cleaning tapes and discs lol. I remember one which my dad bought some two decades ago to go with a portable CD player my relatives in the States handed over to my folks for them to use. It's almost identical to a normal audio CD, except there's a tiny brush jutting out of the disc surface which rubs over the lens and a message telling the user that the disc has (presumably) been cleaned. I guess those along with cleaning diskettes have gone the way of the dodo no thanks to media being distributed as a digital download or through streaming instead.

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(12-22-2020, 07:37 PM)huckleberrypie Wrote:  I miss head cleaning tapes and discs lol. I remember one which my dad bought some two decades ago to go with a portable CD player my relatives in the States handed over to my folks for them to use. It's almost identical to a normal audio CD, except there's a tiny brush jutting out of the disc surface which rubs over the lens and a message telling the user that the disc has (presumably) been cleaned. I guess those along with cleaning diskettes have gone the way of the dodo no thanks to media being distributed as a digital download or through streaming instead.

After transferring the A/V content of this tape, I reused it's shell to repair another tape that needed it's content archived. I noticed the cleaning tape is slightly different from a traditional one. The inside of the tape is made out of some different kind of plastic with a matte finish. From what I read, the dry cleaning tapes used static electricity to remove particles from the play heads. Later try tapes switched to a non-magnetic tape that had no A/V content, but presumably worked in the same way.

These days, you can easily find VHS or audio cleaning kits on eBay. While I just use rubbing alcohol and a cotton swab to clean my audio tape deck, I have to use a VHS cleaning tape when I need to clean the playback heads of my VCRs. I prefer the wet cleaners since they can clean off more debris, but most dry tapes are made of very light plastic, and not all VCRs like these tapes. As for CD lens cleaning, I've never had to use one personally but perhaps it's just because I was more into audio tapes than CDs back in the day.

As for the economic stimulus, it's up in air yet again. Our "president" (who I refuse to say his name here) now wants the direct payments to be $2,000 for individuals and wants it redone yet again, indicating he won't sign the bill, and that is after he was seemingly set to sign it at first. I really hate to bring up politics here, but it really infuriates me just how inept our government can be and they can't provide simple aid to millions of Americans who need a financial boost right now.

I love foxes, especially the one in my avatar.
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(12-23-2020, 03:46 PM)cpd2009 Wrote:  
(12-22-2020, 07:37 PM)huckleberrypie Wrote:  I miss head cleaning tapes and discs lol. I remember one which my dad bought some two decades ago to go with a portable CD player my relatives in the States handed over to my folks for them to use. It's almost identical to a normal audio CD, except there's a tiny brush jutting out of the disc surface which rubs over the lens and a message telling the user that the disc has (presumably) been cleaned. I guess those along with cleaning diskettes have gone the way of the dodo no thanks to media being distributed as a digital download or through streaming instead.

After transferring the A/V content of this tape, I reused it's shell to repair another tape that needed it's content archived. I noticed the cleaning tape is slightly different from a traditional one. The inside of the tape is made out of some different kind of plastic with a matte finish. From what I read, the dry cleaning tapes used static electricity to remove particles from the play heads. Later try tapes switched to a non-magnetic tape that had no A/V content, but presumably worked in the same way.

These days, you can easily find VHS or audio cleaning kits on eBay. While I just use rubbing alcohol and a cotton swab to clean my audio tape deck, I have to use a VHS cleaning tape when I need to clean the playback heads of my VCRs. I prefer the wet cleaners since they can clean off more debris, but most dry tapes are made of very light plastic, and not all VCRs like these tapes. As for CD lens cleaning, I've never had to use one personally but perhaps it's just because I was more into audio tapes than CDs back in the day.

As for the economic stimulus, it's up in air yet again. Our "president" (who I refuse to say his name here) now wants the direct payments to be $2,000 for individuals and wants it redone yet again, indicating he won't sign the bill, and that is after he was seemingly set to sign it at first. I really hate to bring up politics here, but it really infuriates me just how inept our government can be and they can't provide simple aid to millions of Americans who need a financial boost right now.
Said kits still do have a niche of course, especially for preservationists and those who need to transfer their priceless memories to a more reliable storage medium.

As for the stimulus, one of my American Girl doll collector friends co-opted what a character from Kit's stories said to describe FDR and used it to pejoratively refer to that Biff Tannen wannabe, i.e. "that man in the White House". I don't like bringing up politicks here either but sometimes you gotta vent what you gotta vent.

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Well, another Christmas has come and gone, and it was one like no other due to obvious reasons. Still, me and my family tried to make it as good as possible.

Due to mail delays and social distancing stuff, I will still be getting presents throughout next week and into January. I did get two on Christmas Day... a copy of StarFox for SNES and TaleSpin for Sega Genesis. Now I have a reason to check out TaleSpin on Disney Plus. Tongue

Some gift cards are on their way, which are those presents I haven't received yet. I plan on using it to help build up my retro game collection and get back some coveted titles.

Now when it comes to the possible stimulus, it depends. If it does get extended to $2,000, I may use part of it to get an iPad Air and Pencil. While I have been enjoying my little art studio setup, I've become increasingly tempted by the iPad Air. Another reason for that temptation is an app called Procreate. Procreate is used for artwork creation, and has what you'd expect from an artwork app; lots of brushes, layers, effects, etc. Many illustrators are using Procreate to supplement their usual computer setup, or switching to it completely. Procreate isn't available for any other platform, and it's only $10 USD from the App Store. Procreate may come in handy for daily sketching. Not only do I have to sketch daily to help build my art skills, I don't have the room for physical sketchbooks either.

There is always the Samsung Galaxy Tab and their S-Pen as well, but again, no Procreate for Android. I'm also starting to get rather annoyed at how newer versions of Android stuff suggestions in your face all the time (an example is when you make a call and it goes to an answering machine, the phone UI keeps suggesting "Say why you called" and has a link to send a text, which I never do and don't want to do), or provide helpful "tips" pointing out functions that you already know how to use.

I notice it's a trend of newer versions of Windows and Android to start pointing out every single function either after a fresh install, or as you use the app as "tips", even if you already know how to access those functions or if you don't care about them. I know that the less technically-inclined users will appreciate these, but it just adds to the feeling that tech companies are pushing the experienced technical people to the wayside.

I love foxes, especially the one in my avatar.
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(12-27-2020, 01:00 PM)cpd2009 Wrote:  ...but it just adds to the feeling that tech companies are pushing the experienced technical people to the wayside.
I lament the fact that most computer users these days don't know how to use the terminal or command prompt.

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Well, $600 stimulus checks it is. Our government sucks, but hopefully change is coming in January....

I won't be able to get much with it, and the iPad Air is out of the question. I may get an new SSD for Greta, the old Windows laptop as I found her to be a perfect fit for recording radio shows using a USB audio DAC, but even Windows 8.1 is a bit sluggish on a 5400rpm disk. I could roll back to Windows 7 but I'm missing one of the original restoration discs.

I'm will disable the Nvidia GPU in the old laptop. There's nothing wrong with it, but I won't really need a dedicated GPU for simple audio recording and it still takes a bit of effort to get graphic switching working properly in Linux. You can turn off the Nvidia card in the BIOS.

Either way, Linux will run well on an old mechanical HDD, and even better once I get the SSD. I'm also in the market for a BluRay Disc Drive since backing up my growing archives of old VHS recordings will become very cumbersome with DVD-R discs. DVD-R DualLayer may be better, but those discs are a bit more expensive and hard to find. I'm also interested in using M-Disc BD-Rs to ensure data integrity.

I love foxes, especially the one in my avatar.
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I'm so glad I have a family for a lot of reasons, but one of them these days is that my stimulus will actually be worth something.

I've been holding my Sour Grapes doll for comfort and self-love. She still smells like grapes. I have a bad sense of smell and always have, like the character (in the 1985 special, but I like to think it carries over to my favorite version), and even I can smell the grape and cupcake smells. It's nice. I feel like my doll loves me. In a meta way, Grapes has her doll that looks like her that she always dreamed of.

I know this is super sentimental, but this is a Strawberry Shortcake forum, or was. Love ya.
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