What’s wrong with me versus what’s wrong with me

What’s wrong with me versus what’s wrong with me:

It’s not moving my grandmother’s commercial sewing machine and squeezing it into a tiny storage room on my patio that bothers me. Fair enough if that shouldn’t be stored on my patio.

It’s finding a garbage bag full of Disney VHS tapes, that the machine kept snagging on, that really bothers me. Because why the fuck do I still have that!?

Between my mother’s passing and the last time I moved, things were pretty much sorted into four groups: thrash, keep, brother’s attic, and defer. I’m pretty sure it’s time some defers become trashed. On the flip side, I’m pretty sure that I found a cache of DVDs that I know I have but haven’t been able to find since I moved in, lol.

Cheapskate Handy repurposing of old stuff: turning my multimedia dock into a spare tablet stand.

After writing this the other day, I was a bit tempted to get another stand similar to the Anker I use in my living room or just transition one of my Breffo Spider Podiums to my desk.

Rooting around in the closet to see if I had any spare Spider podiums to use as a headphone stand, I foumd my old Samsung multimedia dock. Sadly it became a paper weight when I upgraded from the Tab S2 to the Tab S3, much as I traded external monitor support for S-Pen capability when I did. Without Samsung’s old 11-pin MHL/MicroUSB and driver support the ports are basically useless. Shame because it was a great one cable and done docking station when I used my tablet as my workstation.

But the little fellow still remains physically useful as a stand since my Tab S3 still fits in the slot. Thus one problem solved by recycling, and not having to spend a dime; this makes me happy even if the poor dock is no longer able to fulfil its original purpose. It is still useful for more than keeping makkuro kurosuke from settling in /dev/closet.

It also puts my tablet at a fairly convenient angle, hehe.

I wonder what’s technically worse: when you’re sitting at your desk and using your tablet/pen to finish something. Or when you’re still sitting at your desk and consider transitioning your keyboard over to aforementioned tablet rather than switching to a PC.

An odd artifact of my small desk space is how well it meshes with my tablet.

The mousepad dominates most of the working surface; the Razer Goliathus because I wanted a large pad and the SteelSeries Rival because I got tired of how fast Logic MX rats wore out^. Years ago, I had bought my K810 as a way of sharing a keyboard between my tablet, laptop, and desktop at work; these days it just serves as my desktop keyboard. Underneath the headphones and xbox controller off to the left is a USB keyboard of similar size and layout.

This lack of space is what lead me to such a small keyboard–full size but with the “Right” matter, the numpad and navigation clusters removed. Basically a few hairs larger than the smallest you can make a physical keyboard without me calling it useless.

Conveniently my tablet fits in much the same spot. Since swapping the wired keyboard for the Bluetooth one, I find it much less hassle to simple push my keyboard aside and put my tablet in the same spot; whichever I am using at the time usually takes center stage and the displaced ends up on the side-zone or next to the charging cable.

I think it is quite possible that if I had a dandy stand in here like I do on my living room end table, I’d probably would have dropped my tablet in it and toggled my keyboard over to my tablet; rather than writing this on my desktop. Yes, I’m kind of lazy 🙄.

^ Two left mouse buttons in 10-15 years is too much 😜. I loved both my Logitech MX-series laser mice but wanted something with claims of “Many damned clicks” before it dies.

Prime Day Deal on Fire TV Stick 4K

So $25 for the 4K stick and $15 for the 1080p sick? Well I’m likely sold.

A while back I was debating if I wanted to retire my first generation (2014 iirc) Fire TV box with one of the modern iterations of the Fire TV Stick just for the upgraded codec support.

Pretty much my old first generation box and Sandy Ivy Bridge desktop are the last Gizmos I use that lacks H.265 support. My desktop, well it doesn’t spend its days playing video and can probably brute force anything 1080p at this point.

The only reasons to hang on to my first generation box is it still works damned great and the Ethernet port happens to be a short trip to my network. That and the dollars per year of usage must be ludicrously awesome by now, lol.

Damned temptations

Things that tempt me: the latest XPS 15.

At this point my desktop, Centauri, is old enough that if you buy any variant of Core i5 or i7 laptop: the crunch power will exceed it. Let’s just say I’ve gotten Every, Last, Dollar out of my 3570K and I’m finding its limits as the years go on. I built the system back in 2012~2013 with the plan for it to retire around 2018. Officially it’s re-issued expiration date is 2023 based on it being decrepit for my use case by then.

From a bit of poking around: I imagine between my desktop’s CPU bottleneck and how old my GTX 780 actually is that such a laptop model GTX 1650 is probably powerful enough for my gaming needs. Close enough that I don’t need to spend for a Thunderbolt eGPU dock for the old war horse until bottlenecks actually show up. That counterbalances the sales on the previous chipsets. Games like RE7 and FF15 kinda cause low level fractures in Centuari’s Aging Kick Ass Factor.

Likewise there’s a fairly viable jumping off point for the fifteen inchers. The heavier assed 15s maintain dual RAM slots and a full sized SATA bay. Where as the lighter 13s only have the M.2 and soldered RAM. Thus allowing me to reuse the Centauri’s SATA SSD and its whopping 1 TB of game / video storage. Migrating to 32 GB of RAM is something I fear will happen within the next ~5 years based on my experiences on machines with 16, 12, 8, 4, 3, and 1 GB of RAM that I still use. Which means if I bought an XPS 13 the minimal capacity would be 16 GB.

So sadly the 15″ models become far more attractive to me than the 13″ models. Because I don’t want another couple year and its crap device, if I’m paying that much again: I want a use until fall apart device.

That said, I don’t really like the idea of a laptop that weighs almost 2 kg as much as I’d rather one weigh closer to 0.5 kg, but getting such performance in that light a package is at least a decade or two away for PCs >_<.

The concept of paying off such a war beast makes me groan. But on the other hand Centauri is already past her retirement age. And provided no pancaking: it would be a war beast that could both replace Centauri for the next ~5 years while deep sixing the choke point of the beater I use for work.

My Chromebook 3 cost me about $50, as a decent machine for my lab bench. But it is limited by the dinky CPU which leaves me groaning far to often as the machine struggles to keep up with my flow of terminals, emails, and tabs. So much so that I already delegate a lot to my my more powerful Android tablet, with its cracked screen. Which leads me towards using my development laptop, Stark as a bench box rather than kept safely on my desk. Because while Stark is about as old as Centauri, a a 3360M totally nukes the crap out of an N3060 any day.

Heavy lifting usually lands upon Centauri and Stark. The difference is the non compiling code all day tasks are both what Centauri does and where its weaknesses are growing. I imagine that Stark would remain the development system, and that Centauri would replace my file server, Cream; or end up donated to the office.

Ahh, so much to plan.

Sad thought: when I start thinking it’d be handy for my Fire TV box Gen 1 retired and was replaced with a Fire TV 4K stick Gen 1 just for the HEVC support.

The Fire TV box Gen 3 I use in the living room generally does its job well. The older Gen 1 I use in the bedroom also does pretty well and still gets the occasional updates other than Android version) just fine.

Typically I normalize my video rips into H.264/AVC video. Making the audio carry an AAC-LE stereo track and passing through surround; and sometimes adding AC-3 because of surround sound constraints on the platform. Because if you can’t play H.264 and AAC at this point: you should just go home or be recycled.

Lacking H.265/HEAC is a more understandable at this time. But currently the only devices I really use that lack hardware decoders for that are my Gen 1 Fire TV from 2014 and my Kepler era GPU from 2013. Anything else ain’t getting used for video anything anyhow.

A quick little test using Noucome; episode one, chapter one.

The baseline is about 4.18 GB per episode at around 18~20 Mbit input reported by VLC’s stats. Drop the DTS master audio for the regular DTS, and you arrive at about 3.8 GB per episode. The amount of bits is also a bit excessive when you consider the show has a stereo audio :P. Feeding it through my usual HandBrake settings the video gets taken down to about 5 Mbit/s which is plenty for a 1080p source in that codec.

Encoding a few tests, creating AAC and AC3 at 160 Kbit/s both take about equally long as just passing through the regular DTS. Because the video codec is really where the ~5 min gets spent in x264. Using my old desktop’s 2.1 logitech speakers I can’t telly any difference. The file deltas are about 60M for AAC/AC3 versus 90M for DTS passthrough. Not enough to care about that much.

Using my usual HandBrake settings for H.265 HEVC, which aims to achieve comparable quality to my H.264 AVC configuration, my old ass desktop’s encoding time for the short clip virtually doubled but the size drops from about 60M to 35M.

And then there’s the given case when the per-episode file sizes are only about 4 GB, they’re small enough that I don’t really need to give a flying hoop. The 3 TB drive for that part of my media server is only about 43% full, and by the time it is filled up I’ll probably be able to get an 8 or 12 TB drive for the same price point as when I bought my 3 TB. Which in turn cost about as much as the 1 TB drive it had replaced, lol.