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26  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: I'm ready to join the HTPC (home theater pc) revolution - what to get? on: July 24, 2015, 08:49:18 AM
well, i think we should distinguish two kinds of devices, that may have different roles to play.

You found the WD TV -- that will have LESS flexibility, LESS expandability, and LESS POWER (?) -- but it will be a set top box, preinstalled with software ready to be a media player with a nice interface.
I gather that the Zbox unit is basically a windows box, designed for use as an htpc.  So you'll still have to install media software, show the person how to run the right programs, etc.

So for setting up a non-pc-savvy family relative, you might still have some pros and cons to weigh..

Yes, less on the flexibility. It really depends on what you mean by expandability.  If it's storage, then the answer is no.  Less power?  Than these zotacs?  Not by much if at all, and definitely less noticable, since the interface is made for the power.  I've had one of these mini-devices, and it was a lifesaver when my wife and children's mains went down... we just cycled them through it, and other than the fact that my wife lost use of photoshop, they were great for browsing and using office.  But they were definitely quite slower.
are you saying the zotac will struggle more with video playback than the WD TV?
27  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: I'm ready to join the HTPC (home theater pc) revolution - what to get? on: July 23, 2015, 11:14:54 PM
Earlier this year, I replaced a desktop PC that I had been using as an HTPC with this Zotac ZBOX-BI320-U-W2. I paid under $200 at the time.  It comes with a licensed copy of 64-bit Windows 8.1 preloaded on a 64GB SSD.  It has 2GB of RAM installed and supports up to 16GB, but the since the installed memory is on a single DIMM with one slot free, you can upgrade to 6GB very cheaply just by adding a 4GB laptop DIMM. The pre-installed SSD is an mSATA card, leaving the internal SATA slot free, so you can install a 2.5" HDD or SSD for additional internal storage. 

I'm very pleased with the unit.  It's tiny, completely silent and worked right out of the box without any hassles. Even installing additional RAM and an HDD was easy enough for a complete novice. It feels much snappier than the nominally much more powerful Core-2 Duo system it replaced.  While it may not be up to multitasking multiple browsers and desktop applications, it has no problem running any kind of multimedia, including streaming HD-video.  The integrated HDMI port supports 5.1 surround sound nicely through my receiver, which is actually more important to me than video, and with 4 USB 3.0 ports plus Gigabit Ethernet, it can connect to anything I want.

In the past, I've tended to recycle older systems for multimedia purposes, but this has been so much easier that I doubt I'll ever do that again.

Thanks xtabber and mouser.  I think I am convinced of the zbox.
28  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: I'm ready to join the HTPC (home theater pc) revolution - what to get? on: July 23, 2015, 12:59:06 PM
I just went back and checked out dirhaels post, that is a very slick build.

The request right now is just to play back video.  I checked the wd live box, and it can play all video including mkv.  Nice.  Perhaps I should avoid the whole building thing.

mouser, that is good advice I think at this point.  And tbh, i don't really want to build a pc again. 

I hate hearing about the death of the htpc, lol.  I'll never give it up.  I'll keep trying to make it smaller, and quieter, and more powerful, so that will never end.

wraith, can you give me an idea of the streaming power of the WD TV?  Does it have a hard time with anything, large mkv, bluray files?  How is seeking back and forth, pleasant?
29  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / mouser: revisiting your HTPC thread on: July 23, 2015, 10:23:40 AM
mouser, was wondering what your followup thoughts are.  My sister is asking for the same thing now so I'm looking into them.  I don't want to build an HTPC, and her budget is around the same as yours.  So after going through all this, what would you recommend now?

I saw some silent htpc computers on alibaba that look like you can load windows on it.  And they're pretty cheap, like $200.  If they can play 1080p mkv files smoothly...if it can handle an 8GB video file (2 hours), that would be ideal, but not exactly necessary.
30  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: The end of the hard disk on: July 22, 2015, 09:01:59 AM
An 8TB single drive is a beautiful thing.

Until it dies.

Yeah, but they're (relatively) cheap enough to buy two (or more) for redundancy. smiley
exactly.  I learned my lesson with the IBM deathstars.  I buy drives 2 at a time now.  Always even numbers.
31  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: The end of the hard disk on: July 21, 2015, 04:26:07 PM
revisiting this topic...
ok, so 4TB regular hard drives can be had for about $200-300.
1TB SSD is over $400

If the analysis involves storage capacity, the SSDs don't stand a chance unless you are willing to fork over 4x more for them.  And with 8TB and 10TB coming out soon...I just don't see the "end" anywhere near.

Currently, and for the near future, they seem to serve two different purposes.  The only market that the SSD took over is the non-techie consumer market (a large one, however, lol).  People who don't use computers much now can get desktops with SSD instead of the big mechanical drive.  And for external use, most are also going with the SSD for good reason, even over the similar form factor 2.5 mechanical drive.  But for actual hardcore use, massive storage, enterprise etc. the mechanical drive is still king by a longshot.

An 8TB single drive is a beautiful thing.

The whole storage industry is nutz right now.  The capacities and form factors are unbelievable.  I just got a 128GB microSD card for under $100.  It's the size of my pinky nail.  With this kind of storage power, it may be the end of the world, but not the end of the mechanical drive!
32  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Ooh, CarotDAV portable ROCKS! on: July 18, 2015, 01:58:29 PM
Yeah, I don't think it can be used as a server. But yes, it does permit you to access Box, GDrive, Dropbox, etc., as if they were local folders and files.
that's awesome.  ok i'll be using this.
33  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Ooh, CarotDAV portable ROCKS! on: July 18, 2015, 01:18:59 PM
i don't understand what it does.  am i understanding this right?...
it allows you to create a drive on your local pc where you can access things like dropbox, box, like normal folders?

that's cool.  dropbox and google drive already have desktop apps, but they don't offer direct access to the dropbox files...more like a local folder that syncs with dropbox.  this carotdav sounds like you can directly access the files.

if  that's the case, i don't think it can be it's own standalone carddav or caldav serve, which is what i want.
34  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Ooh, CarotDAV portable ROCKS! on: July 18, 2015, 12:53:56 PM
can i use this to make a carddav server?
35  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: I need a physics/chemistry/engineering/science forum on: July 17, 2015, 06:07:55 PM
i like reddit
36  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: microsoft flowchart advice on: July 16, 2015, 09:55:40 AM
i don't think visio has an unlimited space like onenote.
i also don't think onenote can do things like visio very easily.
37  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Using a Webcam as a security camera -- software suggestions? on: July 15, 2015, 03:25:17 PM
If you set up a program like OBS to just record your webcam, you can leave it running while you're gone, just doing a Replay Buffer (of, say a minute) and then hook into that (or some global hotkeys or something) from some motion detection hardware/software to tell it to start streaming when it detects motion. This will allow you to watch your home get robbed in realtime!

And if the thief shuts down your PC in the middle of the stream, the streaming site (such as will have the stream automatically archived for a few days so you can save it or download it or view it.
Well this is interesting!  I'll have to try this.
I remember OBS a couple of years ago, looks like it's better and still being developed, cool!
38  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Jaikoz Audio Tagger, what are your thoughts? on: July 14, 2015, 06:08:39 PM
I too use Mp3tag. I am however not impressed that after all these years, there is still no way to say "[Album Artist] same as [Artist]"

how did the audio fingerprinting / "Music Identification via Sound Card" turn out to be like? Can it recognize music from YouTube? My "competitor" is wrong a lot more often than right.

By the way, almost related link: http://www.donationcoder....39478.msg377307#msg377307

I've never attempted id'ing files like that, using the soundcard audio.  SO I can't really say.  From what I know, I'd be highly skeptical of it, so much so I don't even care to try it, lol!!

mp3tag has been around for so long, wow!  Yea, it's been the best of the best for quite a while, impressive.  I still use Tag&Rename for that sort of work because I have some very specific interface complaints.

Jaikoz does some pretty fancy things.  I wouldn't consider it my everyday use application for tagging, but the more I use it, the more I like it.  It is a relatively "advanced" software, however.
What's good about it is being able to select the tags and fields like an excel spreadsheet.  You can also make changes and preview them before applying them, in a very powerful way.  For me, it's best when I have to update or modify a very large collection of files, so only once in a while.

But what I'm saying is, let's say I run the auto-correct function.  Well, it offers thousands of changes...spelling corrections, artwork changes, added fields, etc.  I can preview all this on the big screen (color coded) and I can say for each individual field "No, leave that one alone" or select a group of random fields and also cancel those changes while leaving the rest intact.  Then, once everything is perfect, you apply all the changes at once.

It's like Oscar's Renamer for text files, but for mp3.  If that makes sense.
39  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: How do you resist buying ever more powerful PCs? on: July 14, 2015, 12:49:22 PM
Maybe I've grown cynical with age, but eventually you realize that there will always be something better and faster with more memory and disk space.

(It also helps to get married, or have kids, or a high maintenance girlfriend or boyfriend, or Harley)

lol at this answer.  so true.

I struggle with this also.  The way I handle it is by researching obsessively the equipment I'm eyeing, and if i can put together an actual project that I will do something with, then I start buying the stuff.  It took me 3 years before i started my server project.
40  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Jaikoz Audio Tagger, what are your thoughts? on: July 14, 2015, 11:25:20 AM
Still using this thing.  It's actually very powerful.  Super geeky interface, but once you use it, you will save a lot of time.
41  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Microsoft OneNote - some experiential Tips & Tricks on: July 10, 2015, 11:01:00 PM
IainB...sometimes you scare me.
42  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Looking for Software with this feature on: July 03, 2015, 10:25:34 PM
real quick, i didn't read too intensely...
syncovery has enough features where it might be able to do it.

also, something called "hygeia" can do stuff like this.
43  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: reverse smilie (: on: July 03, 2015, 08:50:48 PM
life is weird.
44  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Patent your mom tips on: June 30, 2015, 10:19:19 PM
mom stick is hilarious.
her tone is genius, lol!!!
at first i thought mom stick meant something else.  something QUITE else.  naughty
45  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: The end of the hard disk on: June 25, 2015, 03:43:24 PM
I will be shocked if these predictions come true.  That is, if SSD's have capacities like 8TB or 16TB in 2016, I will be very shocked.  I'm talking at a reasonable cost, even enterprise cost.  anywhere under $1000 will be shocking to me.  Second, I will also be shocked if enterprise level applications will forego getting SSD's to replace mechanical drives by 2016.  For example, if cloud storage providers start using SSD's like that, I will be very surprised.

Not saying it's not possible, just that a jump like that so soon would be crazy.  Have we just been sitting on the technology all this time?
46  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Microsoft "Hyperlapse" tech is finally available to play with on: June 18, 2015, 11:24:31 AM
That vimeo video is really incredible.  I'd be curious how difficult it was to get it to look like that, and what kind of equipment was used.  Looks amazing.

I came across this description:
I had to import and customize the NEF files before I
equalized them with the great LR-TIMELAPSE from Gunther Wegner. (
(Adobe Lightroom is necessary)
The observed jpeg had then to be droped into virtual dub and were rendered as avi.
When this was done, I had to stabilize the sequences manually frame by frame (AE motion tracker) and rendered each of them in 3 different sizes: (4928x3264 pixels, 1920x1080 pixels, 1024x768 pixels)
Last but not least the snippets were edited fitting to the beautiful title "Diving Through The Blue" by the respectable composer and musician Valentin Boomes.
from this video -

Tbh I dont understand half of that description - but it does sound like a lot of work. Surprised the stabilizing has to be done manually. Also not sure what exactly the LR-Timelapse software does.

They seem to generally use full-frame cameras - I guess if you're going to put all that work in, you may as well start with a quality image.
boy, it really is a lot of manual work.  i think i was assuming it was more automated.   I don't know what to think now...if there is that much work required, to me it seems like regular video editing.  So now I'm underwhelmed by the hyperlapse software.
47  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Softmaker Office 2016 released on: June 14, 2015, 10:58:31 PM
Can someone help me figure out what kind of users prefer softmaker office?  I've always wondered...those who use MS office are not really going to use it.  And those who don't want to pay seem content with using the free stuff or google docs.  So which users like softmaker?  thanks
48  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: [Infographics] WWII deaths compared w. others on: June 14, 2015, 02:01:29 PM
it is confusing.  i don't know what the specifics are that are going on but I definitely got confused by the presentation when they started making it seem like there are almost no violent deaths now than before wwii.  so i really don't know yet where i stand on the video.

maybe their point is more to show those that are living in wealthy countries to appreciate what they have?  something like that?  but again, that is not clear.  to me, it initially felt like there just isn't as many war related deaths anymore, so i feel confused and partly misled by that.
49  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: [Infographics] WWII deaths compared w. others on: June 12, 2015, 12:28:28 PM
I like how the ending of the interactive version is ruled by your PC's clock.


Thankfully, very few war deaths have occurred in Japan, Western Europe and North America after 1945. However, I don't like how the wartime killings (after 1945) of more than 50 million people in other areas of the world not is mentioned in this video - except "they were not rich countries", without telling how extremely many it has been.

Why did you remove the link in your original post Curt? (Was is not your source of the number of deaths?)
I was curious about your changed number - I did find this site which says 51 million war deaths between 1945 and 2000:

IIRC, the narrator did say that most deaths since WWII were related to conflicts within a country as opposed to between countries.
This could be taken as suggesting that the 'problem' (and presumably, the solution) belongs to those countries with the conflicts. Of course the problem belongs to people, whether the conflicts are between countries, or within countries.

To leave out the total number of deaths since WWII seems to be biased in favour of their argument that, to paraphrase, things aren't so bad. I dont know the source of their information - but did come across this page ( that seems to be making a similar argument with the data:
 (see attachment in previous post)
I think you got it...i have to go back and listen to the video closely again to see how that got around that in the part where they talk about the rich nations.  To be honest, that did strike me as an odd thing to stick in there.
I guess they want to emphasize it's not so bad if you are in a rich country.  But how about this, what if someone does the same kind of nifty animation with JUST the poor nations, with the percentages and everything since WWII.  What if it shows that things are relatively awful there?  What if you exclude the rich nations and find out that 50% of poor nation people have been killed since WWII?  Obviously not nearly as positive an attitude as what is expressed in the video.

great...i was feeling not so sure.
50  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Software for planning wood bookcases/cabinets/tables etc? on: June 12, 2015, 09:07:57 AM
lol...i like how you regret it in the beginning of the project, but you're going to do it anyway.
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