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The all encompassing Computer help thread

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Re: The all encompassing Computer help thread

Postby blackmarket on Thu Nov 03, 2016 1:20 pm

rappard wrote:No offense meant, but that's dumb - what if one of the files is corrupted? Better to accept the "... (2)" duplicates and remove those later.


This is best done on a third, new drive. Storage on spinning drives are cheap these days, 1TB enclosures for $50 or $60. The old files are still kept on the original drives. Original drives should be used for archiving. File corruption is a genuine concern, but I don't think it happens all that often these days. It is rare that I see it, and I handle hundreds of digital files every week for work and at home.
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Re: The all encompassing Computer help thread

Postby MatthewK on Fri Nov 04, 2016 6:09 am

A_Man_Who_Tries wrote:I'm tired of my music setup at present. I keep all my digital stuff as tidy as possible but a lot of it has been fucked by Apple's many foibles.

All I want is a hierarchy of Artist / Release / (Disc number, if multiples), Track.

I can sort that manually. 99% is probably done already. But once done I'd like a media player that respects the hierarchy instead of doing all sorts of arbitrary, heinous shit to it.

If anyone has a similar set-up then, I'd like to know. PC, not Mac.

Not to provoke, but if you check "Keep Music Folder Organised" in iTunes, it will do exactly that. You can turn it loose on a pile of unorganised shit and it will build a folder hierarchy organised precisely that way. Whatever you want to use to play it thereafter is fine.
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Re: The all encompassing Computer help thread

Postby MatthewK on Sun Nov 06, 2016 7:20 am

A_Man_Who_Tries wrote:Really? I had everything set up fine until I checked that very box (several years ago) thinking it'd automate it in future, and that's what fucked it all up. Been playing catch up ever since.

Hm, maybe dependent on intensely anal retentive track data. I'm not proud to say I have a 31000 track library - ripped my CD collection over the space of a few months and spent half an hour each evening fixing the metadata on the new imports. The resulting folder structure makes the Versailles palace grounds look like Grey Gardens.
iTunes has a bad habit of splitting artists/albums at random (e.g. two listings of an album, the first has track 1 and the other has tracks 2 onwards) but this can be retrieved by selecting all and adding a space to the end of the artist name or album title, then changing it back.
Not perfect but it is doing some heavy lifting for me, on hardware nearly ten years old, and can feed those 31000 (lossless) tracks to an outboard DAC or two Airport stream receivers. Controllable by kb/mouse, phone, dedicated remote, screen sharing.
Edit - there is something in a menu somewhere called "Consolidate Library" which basically forces the folder structure on yr existing library.
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Re: The all encompassing Computer help thread

Postby MatthewK on Sun Nov 06, 2016 8:43 pm

Yeah that stuff is irritating. Sometimes there is a bit of horseplay between Artist and Album Artist which can ease the pain slightly. Also doing stuff like unchecking the Compilation tag and then re-checking it, can clear a mis-set flag.
Also - depending on your sources, there can be issues about whether the music file itself supports the metadata. I believe iTunes keeps "shadow" files corresponding to some filetypes, which store the metadata, so sometimes it may be helpful to purge and re-import some tracks.
Lastly, if you are using something with a screen to serve your music, like I am with my kids' old broken iMac, the iTunes visualiser "Jacket" gives you just the fucking record sleeve on screen, no animation or 3D or whatever. And a discreet track title and artist lower left.
Far more than 31000 tracks? Salut. I thought I was a pack rat.
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Re: The all encompassing Computer help thread

Postby bishopdante on Sun Nov 06, 2016 11:04 pm

Bigdumbfake1 wrote:Hey, longtime user, but wanted to use a fake for security purposes.

We just got a new VOIP installed where I work, but ran into a snag with it. From the company doing the install:

The firewall that you have currently isn't performing the NAT correctly when sending outbound traffic. This means that when the phone system send traffic to the SIP trunk (meaning making outbound calls) it is presenting [internet provider]'s server with the internal IP of the phone system instead of the external IP. Everything is working because [internet provider] turned off the security feature of verifying the source IP. This does mean that if anyone obtained the credentials for your SIP trunk they could use your SIP trunk without your knowledge. This can lead to extra costs and potentially security breaches. I would recommend that we look at a newer firewall that can route the packets correctly and allow IP based rules.


The quote we got from them is:
1) 150/month for the firewall, 3 year license and full support
or
2) 2500 to buy the firewall with 3 year license and no support


Ho hum.

Bigdumbfake1 wrote:Does this make sense?


It makes some.

Am not a networking engineer (and that industry chews staff / obsoletes skills and people like the clappers, as well as equipment, the datacenter equipment moves very fast indeed).

The actual problem & system design you have is not described, but it does sound like a plausible recipe for stuff not working. I have come across many sorts of "nasty NAT" resulting in hardware going in the bin or some features being deemed unworkable. Very much depends what sort of traffic is being directed... can be a minefield, and certainly was a decade ago.

NAT was originally designed as a kludge to get around having run out of IPV4 addresses, and people could/should have been using IPV6.

To make it even trickier, the "network address reassignment matrix" feature turned out to be useful for all sorts of stuff, so it has become a bit of a feature, and is used/required for all sorts of nightmarish kludging / "features", and is used something like a recording studio's patchbay, usually with another extra layer of potential hazards on top such as UPnP, zeroconf, DLNA, so the system configures (or ruins) itself automagically.

______________


Here is a slightly unclear but digestible video about what NAT is getting up to:

phpBB [media]


It's pretty easy to see that if that goes wrong in some way... packets end up going to the wrong place.

______________

Network engineers will tell you on the regular:

Cheap stuff usually claims to support standards, but doesn't. Any software service relies on a whole bunch of these different standards being implemented properly, of which NAT is only one of many many many. This happens especially if any of the standards involved were under development at the time, which they usually are, but also if the standard is old, and the people implementing it just copy-paste some third hand OEM chip or codebase into the system assuming it'll work. It's a bit of a lottery. Cheap networking switch gear can cause very time consuming and expensive problems.

Any network you cannot administrate yourself, such as ISPs, well, you're at the mercy of the unwritten corporate telco policies, which shift like sand.

This is why people tend to pull out all the hardware & replace everything at once, often testing the system design on a network-hardware-emulator before buying.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network_simulation

http://www.brianlinkletter.com/open-sou ... imulators/

Bigdumbfake1 wrote:Is this stupid?


Would say "typical".

It could be described as "stupid" if it were just a question of updating the software on your firewall... which the manufacturer won't do because they want to sell you a new one.

Inside most "hardware" network systems these days is a little PC, usually running Linux. It is even possible to change the OS on routers and firewalls, to make them do new stuff, or make them more secure / less prone to crashing.

(Hence it's also possible to put malware on routers, switches, firewalls etc. This is one notable example: https://www.techjuice.pk/british-intell ... -exchange/ )

Bigdumbfake1 wrote:Is there a cheaper way to do this?


In terms of outlay of hardware, the good stuff is never cheap brand new.

However, the stuff depreciates and self-obsoletes at incredible speed. For most non-datacenter purposes, using some second hand good stuff from juniper, cisco or extreme networks being pulled out of a data center so they can have the latest/fastest, it's 1/10th of the cost. Can even pick up vans full of the stuff for free. Would expect you could find something for a few hundred dollars that would work.

There are also various methods of using PCs to do that sort of job... and it might be hardware cheap but it is not easier or time-cheaper, or more secure. Good thing is generic hardware the software can be updated or tweaked. That's also the bad thing.

It is even possible to use a network-hardware emulator system (intended for network designers) as actual hardware, using virtualisation/cloud tech. I have seen it done, and saving people money (because on such a system you can upgrade the "hardware" at no cost, without touching wires or screwdrivers). Probably not cheaper/easier for the given task, but the cost would be the effort & expertise, rather than the expensive tinned hardware. Especially if there is the need for constant modification / change of direction.

______

Another solution might be to use a different ISP.

Another idea to consider which a good ISP tends to make available for a small additional cost is setting up a few fixed external IP numbers, so that you can have specific security features/certificates & IP numbers for the VOIP system and general internet traffic.
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Re: The all encompassing Computer help thread

Postby Dudley on Thu Nov 10, 2016 8:38 am

I dunno if this belongs in this thread, so apologies if it's wrong, but...

I've started using an old iphone 4S, which is generally fine for my limited needs, BUT it's useless for browsing this forum. On any thread with more than five pages, the index top right puts the most recent pages off screen.

I tried the iOS Firefox app, but that was horrible, an unnavigable mess of pop-ups. I tried tapalot, supposedly a really good forum browser, but that refused to acknowledge the forum.

I'm missing something dead obvious. What is it?
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Re: The all encompassing Computer help thread

Postby bishopdante on Thu Nov 10, 2016 8:58 am

^ there is a "disable mobile version" link at the bottom of the page when viewing the forum on a mobile device.

The phbb mobile theme IMHO is pretty much junk. The inability to navigate from page to page, weird truncation & mishandled overflow... whoever coded that clearly did not think properly, or test. Too many amateur designers in this world who think the job is easy.

You might also find that other browser apps do the job better. Browser bugs seem to happen with the "desktop" PHBB also.
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Re: The all encompassing Computer help thread

Postby rappard on Tue Nov 15, 2016 8:18 am

blackmarket wrote:
rappard wrote:No offense meant, but that's dumb - what if one of the files is corrupted? Better to accept the "... (2)" duplicates and remove those later.

This is best done on a third, new drive. Storage on spinning drives are cheap these days, 1TB enclosures for $50 or $60. The old files are still kept on the original drives. Original drives should be used for archiving. File corruption is a genuine concern, but I don't think it happens all that often these days. It is rare that I see it, and I handle hundreds of digital files every week for work and at home.

I stand corrected - somehow I missed the part about copying stuff over to a new drive.

Also, +1 on everything else you said.
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Re: The all encompassing Computer help thread

Postby catwoman on Sat Nov 19, 2016 11:56 am

Two questions;
As I'm slowly trying to de-duplicate my audio files, I'm trying to figure out if it's more important to look at the bit rate over the file format. Example, should I keep the 128 kbps AAC file or the 160 kbps MP3?

And, I recently upgraded my Tablet, so now I have a spare tablet w/ ~40Gb of storage, so I thought to use it as a music server for my Bluetooth speaker(s) (a "Boom Bottle, and 2 different iHome radios for now). Any recommendations for an Android app for that purpose? The standard Google Music Player is pretty clunky, I think.

(Ultimately, I would like to get a new stereo receiver that will let me plug in my old school analog turntable and will also do Bluetooth. I may want to retain my cassette deck as well as the the CD player. Yes, the equipment is old as hell, but it's what I know best. I'm finding that music coming from a little mp3 device really isn't as satisfying as putting the needle on record.)
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Re: The all encompassing Computer help thread

Postby brephophagist on Sat Nov 19, 2016 6:46 pm

catwoman wrote:As I'm slowly trying to de-duplicate my audio files, I'm trying to figure out if it's more important to look at the bit rate over the file format. Example, should I keep the 128 kbps AAC file or the 160 kbps MP3?


I know this is not the answer you want, but: it really depends on the file and its history (is it a good vs. shitty master recording, has it been corrupted while living on a hard drive 3 years ago, etc). Whether one format is better than the other is one of those subjective arguments that can have audio nerds flinging spittle at each other indefinitely.

Generally, though, the bitrate is more important than the format, when the bitrates are different enough. The example you gave is more of a judgment call, imho. if it's 256kbps or more vs. something less than 256, I'd keep the former.
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Re: The all encompassing Computer help thread

Postby zircona1 on Sun Nov 20, 2016 3:33 pm

What programs would you recommend to send iPod music back to iTunes? Will I have to download something, or can it be done with iTunes?

Edit: I found that if I plug in my iPod and display hidden folders, I can transfer them back to iTunes.
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Re: The all encompassing Computer help thread

Postby rappard on Mon Nov 21, 2016 6:30 am

brephophagist wrote:
catwoman wrote:As I'm slowly trying to de-duplicate my audio files, I'm trying to figure out if it's more important to look at the bit rate over the file format. Example, should I keep the 128 kbps AAC file or the 160 kbps MP3?


I know this is not the answer you want, but: it really depends on the file and its history (is it a good vs. shitty master recording, has it been corrupted while living on a hard drive 3 years ago, etc). Whether one format is better than the other is one of those subjective arguments that can have audio nerds flinging spittle at each other indefinitely.

Generally, though, the bitrate is more important than the format, when the bitrates are different enough. The example you gave is more of a judgment call, imho. if it's 256kbps or more vs. something less than 256, I'd keep the former.

^What he said.

A few more things to bear in mind:
- At the same bitrate, AAC is usually a better codec than MP3. E.g., 256 AAC > 256 MP3. Then again, MP3 is universally accepted by all phones, portable players and software - not quite sure about AAC.
- Also, MP3s are more likely to suffer from transcoding (i.e., MP3 > WAV > back to MP3) than AACs.

Then again, several tests have demonstrated that for most people a bitrate of 192 kbps or higher is transparent. See also: LAME's default encoding level of V2, which is right around that number.

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Re: The all encompassing Computer help thread

Postby catwoman on Mon Nov 21, 2016 1:12 pm

rappard wrote:A few more things to bear in mind:
- At the same bitrate, AAC is usually a better codec than MP3. E.g., 256 AAC > 256 MP3. Then again, MP3 is universally accepted by all phones, portable players and software - not quite sure about AAC.
- Also, MP3s are more likely to suffer from transcoding (i.e., MP3 > WAV > back to MP3) than AACs.

Then again, several tests have demonstrated that for most people a bitrate of 192 kbps or higher is transparent. See also: LAME's default encoding level of V2, which is right around that number.

</audionerd>


okay, I think I'll just make judgment calls as I go through with de-duplication.

Now, I'm still wondering what would be a nice Android app to make it easy for me to play my musics. I searched some of those "Top 5 Android Music players", but didn't seem to come to any great conclusion. Instead it looks like I'll just have to play with them...

Ideally, I also need a better way to sync music to the old Tablet. Not a problem from my Windows 7 machine, but Vista machine hates my Tablet.

(ASIDE; I discovered I can also turn the old Tablet into a "Nanny Cam"! This has some potential, as an "I've got nothing better to do..." project, as well. Reality is I think I'm using this project as procrastination from "real work"! ;-) )
Thanks for the input.

OH! And what about PLEX?
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Re: The all encompassing Computer help thread

Postby blackmarket on Mon Nov 21, 2016 2:01 pm

I use the simple Android VLC player for my phone. Most of what I keep is FLAC and I don't like to sync through intermediary applications, so that was one of the only options for me. There is really nothing it can't do.
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Re: The all encompassing Computer help thread

Postby Superking on Wed Dec 14, 2016 1:05 pm

Hello!

About every 90 seconds or so, my internet connection gets disconnected. And then reconnected. Just started yesterday. It's only a mild pain in the ass, unless I'm trying to upload a batch of files to DropBox or something, and then ... holy shit, I might have thrown a tantrum last night. Not sure.

I'm using WIn7. Cable internet via a newish router from Comcast (ugggg), wired into my desktop. Wireless seems to be fine, but I'm going to test that now, just for fun.

I know just enough about networking to completely make this bad situation a disaster, so I'll see if any of you-all have a good starting place.

Thanks!
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Re: The all encompassing Computer help thread

Postby Tommy on Wed Dec 14, 2016 6:02 pm

Superking wrote:Cable internet via a newish router from Comcast (ugggg)


Those routers SUCK.

Does it look like this? Image

So much suck. So much.

My life improved by buying my own and not renting that massive pile of garbage. And then I had to deal with their Customer Support again re:charges. Dumped them. Now happily using AT&T internet. No issues in 8 months or however long it has been.
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Re: The all encompassing Computer help thread

Postby Superking on Wed Dec 14, 2016 6:27 pm

That's it! You got it in one.

I've had it for quite some time, and it's given me very few problems. Used to have AT&T and my service was constantly messed up.

I ... think ... the problem isn't happening. At the moment. I factory-reset the thing. I have a lil' MacBook air plugged into the thing, too.

Will probably start shopping around for a replacement. I've had good luck dealing with Comcast by going directly to one of their dumb Xfinity Showrooms, or whatever they're called. That must be where they send their best and brightest.

Does anybody have a recommendation for a replacement router / modem / switch thing?

Cable internet. Will never need to hook up more than two devices via ethernet. Needs wifi.

THANKS!
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Re: The all encompassing Computer help thread

Postby Superking on Wed Dec 14, 2016 6:30 pm

UPDATE!

Hmmmmm... The Win7 machine dropped connection and reconnected. The Macbook did not drop (was ping-ing at the time).

Going to try a couple of dumb, obvious things I haven't tried yet...
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Re: The all encompassing Computer help thread

Postby Bill Flaig on Wed Dec 14, 2016 8:24 pm

Superking wrote:Does anybody have a recommendation for a replacement router / modem / switch thing?

Cable internet. Will never need to hook up more than two devices via ethernet. Needs wifi.

THANKS!


Wirecutter is great for both of these:

Cable Modem

Router

You should be well sorted with that. Fuck paying Comcast to rent their bullshit gear anyway.
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Re: The all encompassing Computer help thread

Postby Superking on Wed Dec 14, 2016 10:00 pm

Nice - thanks!
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