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Messages - Travis

I'm getting some pretty weird results. With my cheap desktop speakers there are odd stereo-panning-like effects even though there is no panning in the audio. This could be because the speakers are awkwardly placed behind my monitors, and the monitors and other crap are in a weird asymmetrical configuration (limited desk space/crappy desk/really bad eyesight that forces me to use monitors at unconventionally close distances). Maybe that results in some weird acoustics.

On my headphones, I get less of this, but still an apparent "pan" around 1800Hz, for instance, and I have some weird, very sharp dips around 4100 Hz and 6900 Hz (which don't seem to happen with the speakers). Also, I can apparently hear from about 30 Hz up to only 14.5 KHz (where it drops off sharply and I don't hear much else other than some faint aliasing noise at times), but I feel I remember being able to hear a bit higher than that not too long ago.

Now, I did have a flu or something early November, and I had a lot of fluid in my ears for a long time, and technically I'm still not quite completely over all the effects nearly a month later (I feel pretty much fine but am still coughing some), so I figure this could be having an effect, too. Maybe I'll have to wait another month or so and see if things are any different then.
Apparently I missed this thread when it originally started, but as far as I recall (or at least from what I gather from looking at the internal server software commit history from back then), authors were contacted for consent before their programs were included on the CD, and I think there were probably criteria that had to be met. (For some odd reason, I can't seem to find any kind of announcement about the CD on ticalc.org other than the recall notice; am I overlooking it?)

According to staff member Issac a couple of years ago when an internal discussion about this came up, there was a screening process, but there was at least one inappropriate/nude pic or something embedded in a game that slipped through, and evidently someone found it. ticalc.org didn't have any money nor a written contract or anything with TI, and TI realized that they screwed up by not checking the CD themselves.

The archives were then shut down and screened and the feedback form for reporting problems was implemented in order to show the public that ticalc.org's staff was taking the situation seriously.
General Music Talk / Re: Your favorite chiptune music
December 02, 2016, 08:27:12 PM
^ The first one sounds like it has far too many channels for VRC6, though it might be possible to do something like it with N163 (which offers up to eight(!) arbitrary-waveform channels). The second one sounds like, I'm guessing, MMC5 audio expansion.
General Music Talk / Re: Audio cassettes still alive
November 25, 2016, 04:55:57 PM
Well, anything converted to digital has to be quantized (that is, converted from analog to discrete numbers) in some way, and you could argue that no matter how high a sample rate you use, some data technically is lost because it has to be forced to fit into specific value ranges. But this isn't generally called compression, because then you'd have to call everything that's stored digitally "compressed". Normally, compression means applying extra algorithms to remove data that was there after the initial conversion to digital that is considered redundant or unnoticeable by human ears. CD audio is just a raw stream of 16-bit 44.1 kHz samples digitized from the source, though, so it's not considered compression.

Sample rate could be thought of like the resolution in a raw uncompressed image bitmap. The higher the sample rate, the more pixels you have, but scaling down the image to a smaller pixel size isn't usually called compression by itself, even though it results in a loss of detail. But converting the image to PNG, JPEG, GIF, or the like is called compression because the pixels are encoded in a special way that tries to remove either redundancy or detail that people theoretically wouldn't notice (much).
A buttscreen phone?
Heh, I hadn't thought of it being possible to stick control characters in topics. With ^A, it may be possible to fool a bot into making arbitrary CTCPs (or mess up the CTCP /me's it's already trying to send). :P
General Music Talk / Re: Audio cassettes still alive
October 17, 2016, 12:49:24 PM
One reason some people like vinyl better may be because of the sound characteristics of older analog technology vs. modern DACs (differences in frequency response, distortion, etc.). Even if the modern digital sound technology might technically be more accurate, some seem to like the way older tech sounded. (This seems to apply especially to tube vs. transistor amps.) There may also be psychological effects, where if someone prefers one or the other and knows which type is playing (or thinks they do), they might hear one as sounding better or worse even if it's exactly the same. The latter is where double-blind ABX tests and such come in.
I tried the slide-based typing/Swype thing on a Kindle Fire a couple of times, and it's actually kind of impressive. I wouldn't have guessed something like that would work so well, almost as if it's reading my mind sometimes.

I'm still partial to physical keyboards, though. ;) I feel faster with them, and it's possible to learn to feel for the keys so you can use them without having to stop and look down every time (and accidentally tap the wrong thing because there's no tactile separation between targets on a touchscreen).

Anyone remember Graffiti with the Palm handhelds? Letters/characters were entered with gestures, sort of like handwriting. If the detection were really good, that might work well in theory (maybe even without having to look down), but I haven't seen anything like that in a while.
General Music Talk / Re: Audio cassettes still alive
October 04, 2016, 02:18:06 AM
Wikipedia hints that there was some experimentation done for an audio format read by laser, but it wasn't considered good enough and never saw the light of day. So, they developed a digital format that became CD. I don't know of any analog format on the market that was ever called "Compact Disc"; the CD we know was always a digital format. It's possible in principle, though. LaserDisc, for instance, is read optically by the same sort of laser as CD, but it stores analog video and can have either digital or analog audio. (The discs were huge at 12 in./30 cm across because analog video required a lot of space, even with the microscopic optical grooves. Oh, and even then, movies came on several discs, and you had to flip over or change them a few times during the showing. :D)

Quote from: DJ Omnimaga on October 03, 2016, 08:36:24 PM
@Travis to be fair I am not a big fan of computers or machines processing all the keys I inputted after it's no longer busy, unless there is a way to abort the key input string. Otherwise this can lead to accidents. On the other hand, missed keypresses would be very annoying (see the TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition and TI-84 Plus CE on-calc editors). >.<

You bring up a good point, actually. There are times where I type ahead and actually change my mind, and I haven't seen a single program or system to date that has a "panic button" that lets me immediately clear the pending key buffer without interrupting anything else. I feel there ought to be one.

QuoteOn a side note I wonder which VCR's used to play the sound while fast-forwarding?

I haven't seen many. But it seems like I remember one I saw in elementary school (in the late '80s or early '90s) that did that.

Also, I actually had one of my VCRs do that, exactly one time. Normally, the sound is muted during fast motion, but on one occasion a weird glitch occurred and it left the sound on in fast-forward. It happened just one time, and then never again.

(On a side note, some VCRs, I think (and DVD players, too) had a "fast playback" that could play the audio and correct the pitch so that it still sounds normal. This is usually limited to double-speed or slower, though, and I don't know of that being done for a full-speed fast-forward/rewind.)
Glad to see you got it working. :) The last time I used VTI was at least 10 years ago, I think. I think I actually ran it in WINE in Linux, and it actually (mostly) worked, even though I pretty much never managed to get anything else WINE-related working. :P Of course, I also used it on Windows quite a bit before 2004 before I moved to Linux.
What I meant (sorry if I didn't make it very clear) was that I didn't think it has anything to do with the .tig format itself but rather the individual files inside (.86p or whatever they are). That's why I was talking about TILP, because I once had an issue with certain 86p files that I came across, and maybe TILP would be able to handle them better because it has code for handling some of these weird varname padding variations and such.

Assuming it is just the embedded variable names and nothing else in the files is corrupted, it should even be possible to fix them. I might investigate myself if I can find some time, though I can't make any guarantees right now when that might be.
TILP can read and write them as well.
We do accept .tig since, as mentioned, they're just ZIP files. We still reject .TIProgram, however, because they're some kind of funky XML thing specific only to the Mac version of TI Connect.

The problem DJ Omnimaga shows in the screenshot seems vaguely familiar to me. I seem to recall having similar problems sending 86 files with TILP years ago, and I was talking to the TILP II maintainer (Romain Liévin at the time) about it. Apparently, there are a lot of funky variations of the .86p file format in the wild regarding how the variable name is stored and padded, and it sounds like this file might be using some kind of nonstandard format that confuses TI Connect.

It might be interesting to see if TILP II can handle it okay, as I believe it has support for several of these "weird" file variations, including the one I had come across at the time which Romain had not seen before.
No data loss, fortunately. I've always been pretty aggressive about backups, which has helped me lose very little computer data over my life up to this point. It was pretty frustrating, though, because I kept having problems for no apparent reason. Ever since I put in one of the new drives, my Linux kernel occasionally crashes while writing to it now, which never happened before, and I still haven't managed to track it down yet. (It's been a few days now since it last happened.) On top of that, I accidentally broke my running system's bootloader while trying to move the OS to the SSD, so I was left with no bootable OSs (and ran into some weird complications trying to fix it that I never had to deal with before). So that meant several hours of booting from a Linux USB stick and trying to manually fix it from the terminal and booting a million times before finally getting it working. Given that this is my only primary computer, every time I have to do that, it results in downtime and my being in a really bad mood for a while. :P And then there was some other unrelated crap with the OS that happened to crop up at the same time (even though I had already run out of patience long by that point). So it took me about a full week instead of the expected couple of days to get back up and running.

But the good news is, I eventually got my system to boot again on the SSD and the original HDD. (Even though I don't even need the old HDD now, I managed to fix the bootloader on it anyway. :P Maybe the knowledge will help next time this happens.) And I was amazed with the SSD. Instead of 2 or 3 minutes, my whole system boots in something like 15–20 seconds, not including the BIOS screen and the time it takes me to enter passwords. :D

Also, HP did put out a new OS as you said, and also a new HP Connectivity Kit version, and this fixed my issues (the Connkit crashing was an issue a lot of people were having), so I can back up again. I was able to back up, upgrade the calc, and restore the backup without incident (as they warned, this update did reformat everything). So it looks like I'm back in business. Also, it looks like they added a backup feature where you can save backups on the calc itself, which is nice. Of course, I'll be backing up both on the calc and the computer as usual. ;)
General Music Talk / Re: Audio cassettes still alive
September 13, 2016, 10:12:03 AM
QuotePersonally I always used boomboxes or walkmans with slow fast forward, so I never got worried as much about tape destruction, but I once had a tape recorder with a mic and it fast forwarded so fast that near the end I took no chance and stopped early lol.

Some tape recorders with high-speed playback that I've had or used could be put in high speed while in rewind, making the tape rewind super fast, which was kind of cool when I was in a hurry. :P

QuoteAnd yeah about VCR's I noticed that newer ones slowed down when reaching the tape's end, which is a good thing. One thing I always wondered, though, about VHS tapes, is if it was dangerous for the tape if you pressed rewind while the tape was playing rather than pressing stop then rewind, or rewinding then fast forwarding back and forth. As for VCRs destroying my tapes I never saw that happen to any owned by myself or my mom, the only time a VCR failed it just stopped powering on and the time wasn't showing up at all. It might just have been the cord.

Ideally, VCRs are designed to treat the tape well when switching modes. Even when you press buttons really fast, the CPU remembers all the pending mechanical operations and finishes them properly in order, which is a lot better than the annoying DVD players which just flat out ignore you if you press something while they're busy. 9_9 But like all mechanical devices, there's always a chance that something can go wrong, and I would guess that when the tape is stopped and started or changed direction often, the probability of failure goes up a tiny bit further each time. The vast majority of the time everything's fine even if you do it a lot. But eventually something breaks someday and you can end up in a mess. Rubber idler wheels or pinch rollers go bad after a while, a belt can break, etc. I've had things like this happen, and then the tape gets stuck in the VCR with the tape eaten because the firmware tries to safely reel it back in but can't because the mechanism broke and there's nothing the code can do about it. I've also occasionally seen the tape snag or come off the guides in fast-forward/rewind playback and get damaged, usually from a crappy-quality late-model VCR or one where mechanical parts are getting loose or going bad in some way. With the required precision and complexity being so high, it's kind of amazing they're actually as reliable as they are most of the time, sort of like computer hard drives.

Some people feel that the picture-playback rewind/fast-forward is hard on the video heads. From what I understand, though, the video heads are already spinning so fast relative to the tape that the actual linear tape speed past the heads (whether it's normal playback or high speed) makes little difference. Fast-forwarding for ten minutes, therefore, probably wouldn't wear the heads out much more than ten minutes of normal playback.

Stopping the tape before rewinding, though, makes rewind much faster since it doesn't have to show the video at the same time. Older VCRs would completely unload the tape from the heads and wind it back into the cassette for this, which took a few seconds. Newer VCRs usually leave it wrapped around the heads the entire time which would seem harder on everything, but presumably they relieve enough tension on the tape to make it reasonable. (It actually does take some careful engineering to make such fast rewind with the tape fully loaded workable; it's not likely done just to save costs because it's technically a lot easier to just retract the tape first.)

Manufacturers of those tape rewinders would often claim you should buy their devices to save wear and tear on the VCR. But some of those rewinders can be so cheaply made that they often are a lot harder on the tape than the VCR is. I've heard that some people have had rewinders crinkle or otherwise damage the entire tape by the edge dragging on something or snap off the tape completely because they don't stop automatically just before reaching the end like VCRs normally do. Given that rewinding and fast-forwarding happens only a few minutes at a time, I never worried about it much. IMO, normal playback causes the most wear and tear simply because that's what a typical VCR spends the vast majority of its lifetime doing.

QuoteALso lol I thought laserdisc was digital or at least something close, due to how they seemed to look like CDs rather than vinyl records. Did they have grooves or something? Also analog is a good thing if recorded with no quality loss or minimal one, because it often results into much better quality than DVD or even blu-ray sometimes. ALso, for people who use rabbit ears with a digital converter, the image quality is much better than some set top cable/satellite boxes because the signal isn't compressed. But the signal has to be good.

I believe it was an optical spiral just like CD and DVD, though the reflectivity (signal) would vary in an analog way sort of like grayscale, rather than being coded on-and-off "bits" like binary. It might have been sort of like the analog optical sound track on a lot of old movie films, which was a strip at the edge of the film that had dark and light spots according to the sound waves and was "read" with a light bulb shining through it toward a light sensor inside the projector.

Yeah, theoretically analog can be more accurate than digital because you don't have to "round" the signal to the nearest integer or take samples of it; you can just record it "as it is". The drawback is that all the noise/distortion gets perfectly recorded, too. :P And because you can't do fancy math and bit manipulation like with digital data, it's harder to separate and remove the noise.

QuoteAs for myself, one thing I liked is how the song started playing instantly. But seriously, having to find the song was a chore lol.

What I liked about tapes was that they remembered your place for next time you listen to them. Some disc players did this, too, but not all, and it only worked on that particular player, and they could only remember a certain number of discs at a time. Also, tapes keep their place even if the player loses power. :P

And yeah, CDs could be annoyingly slow to load, and MP3 discs were worse because they had a CD-ROM filesystem to load (several if there were multiple burning sessions). DVDs also, though some players are a lot faster than others. (My video recorder that can record to an internal HDD and copy to DVD is particularly slow at loading discs, sometimes as long as a minute or more. Really annoying when I need to search for something or check a bunch of discs really fast.)

But finding songs is much easier for sure with modern stuff. And I appreciate that the most, though I have to admit that for some reason there's something I find nostalgic sometimes about waiting for tapes to wind. I have a strange fascination with watching the tape counter change at varying speed through the tape depending on the mechanical setup, so much so that I sat down and worked out the geometry formulas and made simulation programs on my calcs. :P I can enter the sizes of the reels, thickness of tape, etc., and see what the effect is with different speeds and types of tape movement. I can start a simulation and a real tape player at the same time and have the counter readings and tape positions stay in fairly good sync.
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