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Messages - Spectere

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1
Random Chat / Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
« on: January 22, 2021, 08:11:17 PM »
I'm kind of thinking of grabbing a beat up 4th/5th gen and restoring one of those just for the fun of it.

So I did this and hoo boy, did I get an interesting specimen.

DankPods has a video entitled "Don't fall for this scam!" where he examines a "new" "in-box" iPod Video (5th gen). Here it is, for reference:



The one I ordered is one of them and it ticks all the boxes. Weird pixelated box art and the cheap replacement shell on the unit itself. The main difference is that the one I ended up with is most definitely second-hand. The case is pretty scuffed up, so it probably got a lot of love.

Originally I figured that only the front shell was replaced, since the serial number on the back matches the one in the unit itself and has the correct drive capacity etched in. After playing with mine for a bit, I noticed one big discrepancy. There are two distinct iPod Video hardware revisions, dubbed "5th generation" and "5.5th generation." The 5th generation came with either a 30GB or 60GB hard drive, while the 5.5th generation came with either a 30GB or 80GB drive. There is one very notable difference in the operating system, however: mine has a search feature. Only the 5.5th gen had that!

I looked up the serial number and found out that the iPod's motherboard is actually from a 30GB 5.5th gen! Kinda seems like the people passing those refurbs off as genuine new products just put together whatever they could using the parts they had available. But, wait a sec. The back of the case has a matching serial number and capacity. It really seems like the group that did this really pulled out the stops to ensure that it would look as much like the genuine article as possible, including laser etching their own back shells.

Good thing they did such a bad job on the box and polycarbonate front, then, huh?

All that being said, I did sync it up and have been playing music through it for the past hour or so. I'm going to be pretty much replacing everything that the refurbishers did anyway, so as long as the guts are good I'm happy with it. Sucks that the person I bought it from probably grabbed the carrot and wound up getting scammed, though. At a distance or from online photos it would have been really hard to tell this apart from the genuine article.

2
Random Chat / Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
« on: January 18, 2021, 06:33:56 PM »
The only thing that gives me pause is that I haven't had the greatest experience with on-ear headphones. That said, the only on-ear cans I've used were a pair of Sony Bluetooth headphones that I ended up getting free for putting up with my employer for over five years, so they probably aren't the best example. They had a stiff, non-adjustable band and it felt like they were designed for small felines given how much they crushed my head. I gave them to my dad and he had the same problem with them.

From what I've seen of the Grados, they tend to just rest on the ears, and their band is designed to be bent around the shape of your head. Unfortunately, finding a place that would allow me to try a pair around my area is a long shot, especially during pandemic season, so I'd really only be able to buy on faith.

As far as the two sets of cans that I currently have, I have the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x and the Focal Elex (a Drop-exclusive that pairs the now-discontinued Focal Elear with Focal Clear earpads), both of which are over-ear. The ATH-M50x is a bit on the overpriced side, but it sounds fine and is easy to drive. It's nowhere near as balanced like my old ATH-M40fs, with a bit of texture loss and more emphasis on bass. Since they're closed-back, their soundstage is a bit narrow, but they provide a lot of natural isolation. The earpads are made of leather and memory foam, so they're very comfortable to wear for long periods of time (which is good, seeing as that's the pair I use on the rare occasion that I stream), but they do tend to trap in a bunch of heat. One issue I've had is that they seem to have an issue with mismatched drivers. I have to push the balance slider slightly toward the right on mine, and based on what I've read I'm not the only one with that issue.

The Focal Elex are big, open back cans with a solid metal body. They're a bit on the heavy side, but they're so well balanced that I don't really notice when I'm actually wearing them. They aren't as bassy as the ATH-M50x, but in its place you get a ton of clarity and detail, coupled with a huge sound stage. Obviously there's no sound isolation, but that's kind of a good thing. I've actually held conversations with people simply by pausing the music and speaking normally. They have breathable microfiber and memory foam earpads (in addition to being open-back), so my ears don't get as toasty when I wear them for long periods of time.

Since the Elex's impedance makes it a bit harder to drive, I do run it through an amp: specifically, the JDS Labs Element II. While it's a bit overkill for 80%u03A9 cans, it does give me the ability to drive higher impedance headphones down the road should I acquire them, and it looks pretty cool.

As an added bonus, I decided to try some of my earbuds and IEMs with the iPod. I was actually pretty disappointed when I used my Shure SE215. I get that they're supposed to be neutral, but they just sounded lifeless. I have a pair of SE425s at work (I really, really need to drive out there and pick those up%u2026) and I remember those sounding significantly better across the board. Obviously isolation is fantastic for both the SE215s and SE425s, given that they're IEMs with foam earplugs.

The ones that surprised me were my old Apple EarPods. I don't like wearing them, or earbuds in general, because they don't really feel secure (apparently there are silicone sleeves you can put over them to fix that, but I don't have those), but they actually sound decent in my ears! They aren't super bassy, obviously, but mids and highs actually sound pretty clear. Of course, given their shape, simply having a different ear shape could lead to drastically different results. I have to say, though, for a product that I paid $0 for (I've never actually bought Apple EarBuds or EarPods%u2014they just sort of come with everything they make) I'm impressed. I'd take these (preferably with a sleeve) over the significantly more expensive SE215 any day.

Edit: Just hooked my Focals up to my iPod using a 6.3mm to 3.5mm adapter and%u2026wow. I did have to turn up the volume a bit to get the same levels that I do out of my ATH-M50x, sure, but the drivers are sensitive enough that the difference wasn't as extreme as I thought it would be. I sampled a variety of music over about 15-20 minutes and everything sounds crystal clear, and I don't hear any obvious distortion or artifacts.

I imagine the wheels would fall off pretty hard as you neared and exceeded 100%u03A9 (I mean, understandably so), but I could definitely work with this. Hell, I could probably find a 3.5mm cable for these things if I wanted to ditch the dongle.

3
Random Chat / Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
« on: January 17, 2021, 06:01:11 PM »
So I got a thing (click to embiggen).



iPod classic 7th gen with a purple case and button, black click wheel, and a wine (purple) back with a 2000mAh battery and 256GB of flash storage, purchased premodded by Elite Obsolete. As tempting as it was to just eBay a 7th gen and do the modding myself, the idea of prying open a 6G/7G iPod didn't really appeal to me. It's not that it's difficult to mod them, but since they switched from polycarbonate to aluminum cases they became a bit more rigid in the process.

I'm kind of thinking of grabbing a beat up 4th/5th gen and restoring one of those just for the fun of it.

The motivation behind this was two-fold. While I do like using streaming services, a little incident that happened a couple of months made me realize that having a local backup is a really good idea. I primarily use iDevices so I generally favor Apple Music. It integrates well and is just a fine service all around. I'm also a YouTube Premium subscriber, which includes YouTube Music, which makes for a nice backup. Well, a couple of months ago both services went down at the same time. Whoops. That got me to start buying music that I really like, and gave me the push to rip my CD collection in high quality (specifically, FLAC and AAC TrueVBR q127).

The second motivation is the rise of scam calls. Using your phone is all well and good until your phone starts ringing. While I can silence it pretty quickly with my watch it's still irritating when the music completely cuts off. For whatever reason I didn't even think about getting a standalone music player until I started watching DankPods on YouTube, where he brought up the seemingly obvious fact that with a "dumb" device like an iPod, you're the one that controls the music. With this thing, I can just put it somewhere and it'll play and play and play until I tell it to shut up. It doesn't receive notifications like an iPod Touch, so I never have to worry about anything barring a flat battery interrupting my tunes.

I guess there's sort of a third motivation as well: I've always wanted an iPod. I'm a couple decades late, but here we are. This isn't technically my first iPod as I did have an iPod Touch 4G, but the Touch is just the iPhone without, y'know, the phone. If you wanted to change songs you'd have to use a fiddly touchscreen. With this thing, no matter where it is, I just bonk the right side of the wheel if I want to skip a song.

As an added bonus, this thing drives my ATH-M50x cans (also purple!) very well. It would have been nice if their colors were a teeny bit closer, but oh well.



It kind of seems as though 38Ω is a pretty sweet spot in terms of impedance for classic pods. I did end up ordering a 6.3mm to 3.5mm adapter so that I can try my Focal Elex (80Ω) with it. I suspect it'll sound fine but it's definitely going to be a bit on the quiet side. Kinda thinking of grabbing a pair of Grados so that I can have a pair of nice open-back, low-impedance cans to pair with this sucker.

I'm still trying to figure out how much listening time I can realistically get out of this thing. It's taken eight hours of music playback and a day of idle time for the battery icon to drain one tick, so I'd say that bodes well.

Oh, naturally I had to check to see if it works in my car, and it totally does. It actually works better in my 2019 Civic than it did in my 2012 thanks to the touchscreen (I think my 2019 also has voice recognition?). With the 2012 you'd have to jog the wheel on the head unit for an eternity to find the song you wanted, but with the 2019 it feels more like you're interacting with a decade old MP3 player using a smartphone-style interface.

4
Random Chat / Re: The Thread of Excessive Rage
« on: January 16, 2021, 12:46:01 PM »
Kinda getting tired of people only bothering to message me when they need something.

5
Gaming / Re: wut specturr'z playing
« on: January 12, 2021, 06:15:34 PM »
I've been playing a fair amount of VR lately, mostly fiddling around with H3VR and Boneworks. The former has easily the best firearms handling I've ever seen in VR and the latter is just a fantastic experience overall.

One thing that's noteworthy about H3VR is the way it makes use of the Index touchpad, particularly on things like semi-automatic pistols. You can literally operate the slide lock lever using the left side of the trackpad. If the slide is locked back, flicking down will release the slide. If you pull the slide back, push up, and release the slide, it'll lock. Pressing the bottom of the trackpad actuates the magazine release. It's hard to overstate how natural it all feels. It's just kind of a shame that the actual combat scenarios that the game has are a bit on the meh side.

The pistol slides are also interesting in that they can interact with the environment, and with other objects:



As far as Boneworks goes, that sucker is practically a VR physics sandbox that's guaranteed to make you sick if you don't have your VR legs. Its firearms handling is somewhere between arcadey and realistic, but the physics! Man, the physics. Nothing beats being able to hook a crowbar onto a zip line and pull yourself up, firing at enemies as you slide past. Similarly, nothing beats being able to pin down their headcrab analogues and repeatedly stabbing them until they stop moving. HL:Alyx played it safe in a lot of ways in order to appeal to a broader market, but Boneworks pulled out all the stops in order to make the most immersive sim possible for experienced VR users, and despite that still manages to be relatively jank-free (oh, there's jank, but far less than what I would have expected).

Payday 2 VR is also a thing that my friends and I have been playing for the past couple of months. Kinda seems like they reversed course on some of the worst additions to the game over the years and in general created a fun experience. Considering the underpinnings of the game, the VR version runs way better than it has any right to, though I suspect that it will eventually become non-viable when the difficulty gets to a certain point.

Aside from that, Spelunky 2 and Drake Hollow have both proven to be really fun Christmas gifts. When I get over my current VR fixation I'm going to need to dump more hours into both of those.

6
Gaming / Re: 2021 Backlog Report
« on: January 12, 2021, 05:54:18 PM »
I played through the first section of the Outer Worlds on PC and thought the shooting was…okay. I'd say it's easily better than the first-person Fallout games, but it kind of lacks the punchiness and visceral feeling of something like Cyberpunk or DOOM. It's serviceable, at least. I didn't have any issues with it, but it wasn't anything special.

7
Random Chat / Re: BEER
« on: December 23, 2020, 03:56:44 PM »
All this is doing is reminding me that I need to make a run up to Vintage Estates and grab an assortment of brews, heh.

I'll have to write that one down. I'm always in the mood for a good sour.

8
Computing / Re: The Keeb Thread
« on: December 23, 2020, 03:52:37 PM »
Yeah, that sort of thing just isn't mass produced. If you want something that's super flexible, there are 75% PCBs (TKL with a condensed navigation key layout) that have several spots for switches around the space bar. Thing is, the PCB and case usually run around $60-100 (depending on case materials), with the caps and switches running another $100+ easy, with stabilizers and lube running another $10-20, depending on what you get (all figures in Freedom Bucks. Not sure about the what the cost would be in Maple Leaf Moneys, especially since you'd probably have to import a bunch of stuff :(). That's assuming you're up to hand solder everything, too. PCBs with pre-installed Kailh sockets are usually a bit more.

Honestly, I would take a few moments to consider if you really need a full keyboard layout. After working with a 60% for several months, even going back to a TKL slows me down and forces me to shove my mouse further away from the keyboard. Being able to just Fn+WASD to navigate feels awesome, especially in macOS (since Cmd+Left/Right is home/end and Cmd+Up/Down is PgUp/PgDn). Being able to navigate quickly thought documents without having to move from the home row honestly feels incredible, and I can honestly say that I'm actually far more productive with this keyboard than any of the ones I've owned in the past. I occasionally miss having a numpad, so I built myself an external numpad that I can just plug in whenever I need it. On the Preonic I could even add a proper numpad to a separate layer, given that it's already an ortho layout.

As long as you're using a keyboard with the QMK firmware you can do basically anything with it. Head over to the QMK Configurator, select any keyboard from the list, and just check out the crazy shit you can do with it using the keycodes listing below. I think there are some cheaper QMK-compatible DZ60-based compacts and TKL boards on Amazon for fairly reasonably prices (roughly $70-80 IIRC) but I can't really speak for their quality.

The only real downside about all of this is that whenever I use my laptop undocked I always end up inadvertently turning on caps lock and typing "AAAAAAAAA" out of habit. Whoops.

9
Gaming / Re: wut specturr'z playing
« on: December 22, 2020, 05:48:11 PM »
I used a shotty for a little bit in early game, but I'm not really tanky enough to make full use of it. I'm planning to do a meat mountain/guns blazin' build in the future, and I'm sure that when I do that I'll probably use them extensively. Revolvers honestly feel pretty great to me. Even in early game I was able to find a revolver that can do 1500 crit headshots even with a suppressor attached.

I haven't done The Hunt yet, but your description intrigues me. I'm looking forward to it.

I don't have anything up to 20 yet (I think my highest skill perk level is around 10-12 right now?). It definitely feels like a lot of the higher end perks are more nice-to-haves than must-haves. I think the biggest reason why I think they'd pad the game out with those is for future content. I mean, some of the Witcher 3's DLCs have had essentially an entire game's worth of content in them. I guess we'll see.

Yeah, I really loved the way they handle different languages, particularly that little detail where if your character doesn't have a language module installed then they can't auto-translate the language. Up until the introduction of the Voodoo Boys I assumed that the subtitles were more provided as a service to the player. Turns out, not so much!

10
Gaming / Re: wut specturr'z playing
« on: December 20, 2020, 05:37:06 PM »
I tend to favor technical ability over reflex. I basically have enough points in reflex to ensure that I can pop heads if necessary. I also have enough points in intelligence to ensure that I can quickhack often and effectively.

My general priority system:

1. Cool / Technical Ability.
2. Intelligence
3. Reflex
9999. Body (might put a few points into this for perks, but it's definitely not important for how I've been playing)

As far as weapons go, I recently scored a tech precision rifle that I plan to get a whole bunch of use out of. That gives me a pretty nice trifecta: suppressed revolver for stealth kills, assault rifle for when I need to put a lot of lead down range, and a tech precision rifle for pretty much everything else.

I was planning to run with SMGs instead of assault rifles, since I generally prefer those in games, but the way they implemented them sort of makes them feel like worse rifles. SMGs in real life run on pistol ammo (typically 9x19mm or .45ACP), while the ones in Cyberpunk take rifle ammo despite doing relatively low damage per shot and having a noticeably higher cyclic rate. If they used pistol ammo I could see them being a nice way to round out a shooty build, but as it stands now they just seem to chew up valuable rifle ammo without really bringing anything to the table.

Maybe I just haven't found a good SMG yet. I dunno.

11
Computing / Re: The Keeb Thread
« on: December 17, 2020, 11:22:16 PM »
HEY GUESS WHAT, I HAVE A NEW KEYBOARD



Yeah, I decided to try the whole ortho thing. I wasn't bold enough to grab a Planck and join the whole 40% movement, so I just went with a 50% layout (the Preonic) instead. I'm kinda glad I did, honestly, since it gives me a lot more room to tweak the layout without things getting too far away.

To input symbols, you would use the lower/raise buttons (the keys flanking the space bar) and tap home row keys. For example, lower-J gives you '-' and upper-J gives you '_'. A someone who primarily programs in C/C++/C#, being able to lower-L and lower-; for '{' and '}', respectively, is one hell of a killer feature.

Beyond that, I did some tweaking to the standard keyboard layout to bring over a few things from my 60% configuration, like Fn+WASD for arrow keys and the like, as well as adding in a few essentials like right-ALT (since I use that as a compose key in Windows/Linux).

It's been…interesting so far. I've used it for about ten hours and have found that the orthogonal key layout does sort of change the way you have to type, so it's hard to say whether or not I'm completely sold on it. The staggered key layout allows you a great deal of flexibility in how you type things. For example, if you type the word "certify," with a staggered layout you can very easily move your left index finger down (or your thumb up) and left to pick up 'c', tap 'e' with your ring finger, 'r' with your middle, then 't' with your index. The way I approach typing is full of little quirks and optimizations like that.

With an ortho layout, typing "certify" using the method I outlined above is a hell of a stretch since your fingers have to move a full step over instead of a partial-step. The number row is even more awkward, which is why I suspect that the Planck layout appears to be a bit more popular than the Preonic. If you shove your middle finger up two rows on a typical staggered keyboard layout you land on '2', while on a Preonic you land on '1'. The combination of these two factors definitely initially decreased my confidence to the point where my speeds fell to levels I haven't seen in around 30 years.

I've built back up to around 60-80% of my usual speed (I still fumble with symbols) and there are certainly things that I've grown to like. There are two keys on a standard keyboard layout that are a bit tricky to hit: 'B' and 'Y'. 'B' is a step and a half away for both fingers while 'Y' is slightly closer to the right hand, but from a home position they're both a bit awkward. On an ortho both keys are a single diagonal step away.

I plan to stick with it and try to steadily improve my performance. If things really don't work out I doubt I'll have a problem selling it.

As far as the specs, it's capable of accepting taking both Matias-style (requires soldering) and MX-style switches (with Kailh hot-swap sockets). I went with 67g Zealios V2 switches. They're currently unlubed (it took USPS a week to get a small parcel from New York to Ohio and I just wanted to assemble it) but I'm planning to pop the switches out and give lubing them a shot. I like how Zealios switches feel unlubed, so I'm curious to see how much of a difference it'll make. The included space key stabilizer is unlubed, so I plan to take care of that as well. It squeaked like crazy on day one but it seems to have quieted down quite a bit…somehow.

The keycaps are the fairly typical Drop x OLKB Acute set, which are dyesubbed PBT caps in the OEM profile. They feel pretty good, but it is a little strange going from my exaggerated MT3 profile boards to this one. The case is a nice lilac colored aluminum jobby. It's nowhere near as heavy as the chonky case my 60% is in, but it has a reasonable amount of heft.

I do swap between my three keebs occasionally (had to switch back to my 60% for work yesterday because the Preonic was slowing me down way too much for the amount of work I had to do, and occasionally I need the nav cluster from my TKL), so I also picked up a magnetic cable. Basically, you just pop the little adapter into the microUSB/USB-C/Lightning port and the magnetic thinger attaches to it. That'll be nice if I decide to haul a keyboard back and forth between work and home after the lockdown ends.

Oh, and just to give y'all an idea of how small this sucker is, here's a picture of my G502 casually resting on top of it:



And, finally, a comparison shot/group photo/whatever you wanna call it:


12
Gaming / Re: wut specturr'z playing
« on: December 15, 2020, 04:41:36 PM »
I don't get it. I mean, there are plenty of valid criticisms for the game (especially if you bought the XBone/PS4 versions…oof), but I'd be hard pressed to consider the story and longevity as flaws.

It does kinda feel like the launch was rushed (the game could have probably used another six months of dev time), but considering CDPR's reputation for sticking with games until they're done and polished (see: the entire Witcher series) I'm not super concerned. They've already announced that there's going to be story expansions down the road, which leads me to believe that the journey has only begun. Kinda makes me wonder how much of an overlap there is between the people who are bitching about how rushed the game is and the people who sent fucking death threats to the devs over the delays. HMMM.

Then there's that whole "global pandemic" thing. I'm sure that didn't impact development at all.

Yeah, I'm definitely still enjoying it. I'm only about 15 hours in (taking it kinda slow to avoid burnout, and because I have a lot of little projects I've been tinkering with) but the content still feels pretty fresh. I have a pretty good variety of side missions that I'm going to plow through before I get back to the main story.

I'm running a tech/stealth build, throwing some points into reflexes from time to time in case things get messy. My current method for getting perk points has been to pick someone off from a distance with a suppressed revolver (are all future-tech revolvers Nagants or something?) for points in pistols, then hiding their body to get points in stealth. That well's going to run dry soon, but I might as well drink from it while I can.

One thing that I kinda think is worth noting is that the in-dialogue animations in this game are seriously incredible. From what I've seen every character has their own unique body language and tics. Also, being able to kinda sorta hang out with muh boy Keanu is pretty sweet.

13
Gaming / Re: wut specturr'z playing
« on: December 10, 2020, 10:58:59 PM »
I'm guessing your monitor is FreeSync/G-Sync? If so, that would explain why it's stuttering when you stream. I'll bet your system is dipping below 60fps and the stream is skipping frames as a result. You wouldn't see it on your display since its refresh rate dynamically adjusts, but it would be pretty apparent in a recording.

I just ended up getting to Act 2 as a character with a Streetkid background (and a normal-sized penis, 'cuz%u2026y'know) and the game has only been getting better. I ran into my first softlock just after Act 1, but the event worked properly on the second run. Gotta say, I wasn't exactly sure how to rate the voice acting, but the actors have been crushing it in the part that I'm in.

Kinda seems like the 1.03 patch gave me a few more FPS on my GPU. Kinda seems like I've been hovering closer to 75fps with my current settings rather than 70fps. I might turn some of the settings back up, since it seems like the resolution scaling is what really helped the most.

14
Creation Station / Re: 3D Printers
« on: December 10, 2020, 01:38:03 AM »
Ended up snagging this for my TAZ 6, along with the universal toolhead adapter. Should be arriving tomorrow. Not only will it give me another 1.75mm-capable toolhead (the LulzBot printers typically use 2.85mm filament, which isn't as widely used these days), but it also pairs a BondTech BMG with a Mosquito hotend, giving a pretty kickass platform for printing flexibles, and allowing for fast and easy nozzle swaps. I modded my Prusa MK3S with the same extruder/hotend combo last year and it's kind of amazing how quickly that thing can chew through even soft TPE.

Gotta say, for as old as the TAZ 6's design is (2016!) it's still one hell of an awesome printer, and it's awesome that LulzBot is still supporting it (as well as the TAZ 5!) to some degree.

15
Computing / Re: Spectere's Random Programming Bullshit
« on: December 10, 2020, 01:32:32 AM »
Sometimes the hardest part about approaching a problem like that is knowing exactly what to search for, and sometimes not knowing what the most effective solution is. It's all too easy to search for a solution only to find out much later that there are far easier ways of accomplishing a given task.

That's one of the pitfalls I typically find myself jumping into if I opt to use a certain project to learn a language. On one hand, it's a great way to learn by doing, and pursuing a goal is far more likely to lead to viable results than just writing a bunch of test programs. On the other hand, there were a lot of little things that I wound up reworking in Plip (that GameBoy emulator) because I ended up approaching a number of problems from the perspective of a C programmer, not a C++ programmer. While the two are largely compatible, C++ adds significantly more safety and convenience.

With the expression parser, I just went ahead and implemented that in C#. I live and breathe that language so I was able to just focus on the implementation and not have to worry about language details. My test suite is admittedly a bit less than ideal, but it does the job. :P

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