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Last Updated: 2020/12/29
Generally everything relating to software or hardware.
My dramatic adventure backing up a stubborn iPhone
Friday, November 26, 2021

I used to be an iPhone user back in the days of the iPhone 4S. Back in those days, I would jailbreak my phone, which gave me full file system access. Backing up my device was very simple, without even needing iTunes. Since then, I've moved to Android. I've just used microSD cards to store everything, as well as have a script to run rsync to copy my data to my personal server. It's nice. But that's just my own backup solution.

I thought I never had to deal with iPhones again. Not like they were a problem. I just enjoy Android much more. The rest of my family uses iPhone. Yes, in our family group chat, I'm the sole reason they have green text message bubbles instead of blue. It's funny. Well, now that the iPhone 13 is out, they are upgrading to that and want to have their data backed up.

Side note, this is a bit more of a rant or silly story than an actual post. It's almost straight from my diary. It'll be shorter than a usual post, and more dramatic. Gotta make it fun somehow.

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Audio Recovery via Waveform Inversion and FFmpeg
Thursday, January 14, 2021

I wrote a post before regarding how I archive Zoom lecture recordings, whether I am teaching or someone else is. However, post-recording, those files sit in the vault unedited. It took a few months, but I discovered an issue with the audio in them. Funny. The times that I don't check audio prior to recording are the times it always goes wrong. It's Sod's law. With the audio messed up, and no chance to re-record, is recovery possible?

Let's analyse the situation. They are MKV files with a single video stream encoded via h264_nvenc. Ok, nothing wrong there. There's 3 audio streams saved as lossless FLAC. Here's the ffmpeg stderr output (yes, it goes to stderr) for one of the files:

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Star Force Wave Scanner In-Depth
Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Recently, a group of friends wanted to replay the Mega Man Star Force series. The Japanese version of the first game has some accessories that you can purchase to enhance your stats. One in particular, the Wave Scanner, caught my attention. So, I bought two of them. What does it do though?

It's a cute little device that lets you swipe real life battle cards in. Every battle card has a barcode at the bottom of it, so this device has a barcode scanner embedded. Battle cards may be used for the minigames that are on the device. However, the feature that caught my eye was that it can connect to your Nintendo DS/DS Lite/DSi via microphone jack and send battle card data over that. Now that's pretty cool.

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Storage Upgrade! Western Digital easystore 14 TB × 3
Wednesday, November 25, 2020

My 42 TB storage is running out and Black Friday is around the corner. Deals are already out online. This sounds like a pretty good time for an upgrade. I need something that can last for a few more years. The plan? Same as the last time. Shuck external drives to get high capacity drives for cheap. Can't be a data hoarder without the capacity to store data, right?

Let's take a trip back for a sec, so we can compare past to present. Those WD (Western Digital) easystore drives have consistently been a nice way to get high capacity drives for cheap. Back in 2017, I needed more storage because some external 2 and 3 TB drives weren't enough. I wanted something overkill. Something that will last me for a few years. So I bought 4 of the 8 TB models for $160 each. That's just a bit above $20/TB when tax is considered. I have tweets with pictures covering these and what shucking them looks like. You can see those below:

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The Ultimate Zoom Lecture Recording
Friday, September 4, 2020

As a University graduate student and teaching assistant, I have to attend and teach classes. Due to the events of the COVID-19 pandemic, classes have now moved mostly online. Zoom just happened to be the platform of choice where most classes are being hosted.

Back when I physically attended classes, I was that one student who sat in the front row and recorded every lecture. I don't really go back and listen to them, but they are useful if you forgot details about an assignment or if you wanted to double check the due date on an assignment being changed. Though, to me, the main reason was data. I wanted data... and I wanted as much as possible. When I teach, I also record everything. No matter the perspective, online classes make this much much easier.

So, what did I do? My usual. Made a completely overkill setup to preserve as much data as possible and accomplish the ultimate Zoom lecture recording. Speaking dramatically aside... Before I get to discussing the details on the setup, let's talk about Zoom and some technical details about it. This'll be important for later on.

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A software "solution" to recording HDR10 via Dxtory & FFmpeg
Thursday, May 28, 2020
On Black Friday last year, I got a pretty nice deal on an ultrawide HDR10 supported monitor by LG... so I bought two of them. One for my office at work, and one for home. It's definitely not a monitor used for mastering content, but it's a nice way to get into the world of HDR content creation. So, what can we do?

Well, as it turns out, there isn't a real way to record HDR at the moment via software (EDIT: Ok, maybe "Action!" can do it. I'll test that later). Content creators out there resort to using high quality capture cards to capture HDR10 gameplay. But why is there no software solution? Well, there is... sorta. But you have to get creative with it and manually do everything. For me, this is fine. I prefer being in full control in post. Let's experiment.
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How Tmux made me more productive on the Linux Terminal
Wednesday, July 19, 2017

So I'm willing to bet that a lot of Linux power-users out there use terminal multiplexers to increase their productivity.

The terminal, at first, can be quite intimidating. I like to expose my students to it whenever I am teaching them how to program in C or C++. This is because UTK Computer Science major students are forced to use it to do their lab assignments eventually (usually in their second year).

The terminal, put quite simply, is just a single session for a user to input commands. However, there are so many ways to change this that it is ridiculous. Let's look at a general terminal running zsh:

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Why downloading MP3s from YouTube is a terrible idea
Saturday, April 16, 2016

Note: This is actually a pretty outdated post now. YouTube has updated their video processing and audio support tramendously. Not only do they support higher quality audio, but they also support 5.1 surround sound! I'll keep the original post here for archival's sake. Do I support downloading from YouTube? No. But I'm not going to hide the fact they've improved in the past three years.

tl;dr - It's a terrible idea.

A frequent question I see on YouTube music videos is "How can I download this song?". A common answer to that question is to use a "YouTube to MP3" converter which will take the video and extract its audio stream (AAC), convert it to MP3, and then let you download it. Yes, you get the song, but let's be honest... The quality of that file is pretty shitty.

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Windows 10 Technical Preview Comparison Screenshots
Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Oh my, look how Windows 10 grew! With Windows 10 already available for about 190 countries, I felt like it was time for me to show a few screenshots of what Microsoft went through in the past few Technical Previews of Windows 10.

I must admit, I enjoyed being part of the preview. I got to see how Windows 10 grew and how it changed based on people's input/opinions. It was fun even though I never got to actually develop software like applications for the OS myself (yet).

Let's break down changes over the time via screenshots. You can see how graphical instances have changed, etc. Like all images on this blog, click the images to view their full resolution (mostly 1920x1080 PNG).

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Windows 10 Japanese Keyboard Fix
Sunday, February 1, 2015

So as some readers may know, I own a Japanese Keyboard. The layout is slightly different on Japanese keyboards compared to US keyboards. I would have expected Windows 10 to adjust to this automatically, as Windows 8.1 was able to, but unfortunately, it hasn't. I was able to fix this via registry edits (Same as what I did in Windows 7...). Let's break down how to fix the issue:

Deep into the heard of the operating system is the registry. If you mess the wrong value up, it could result in your computer's functionality being terminated! Ah whatever, let's proceed.

To open: Press the Windows Key and R at the same time. It will open a text box asking what program to open. Type "regedit.exe" (Just "regedit" will do too) and press Enter. It will open up the Registry Editor.

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Clara Nguyễn
Hi! I am a Vietnamese/Italian mix with a Master's Degree in Computer Science from UTK. I have been programming since I was 6 and love to write apps and tools to make people's lives easier. I also love to do photography and media production. Nice to meet you!
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