Windows 10 Upgrade

One of the gifts I asked for and received for Christmas was some new RAM for my computer.

RAM is what your computer uses when it’s actually running programs. More RAM means your programs will run smoother and you’ll be able to run more of them (with some limitations).

I wanted the extra RAM to help with issues I’ve had in the past when I’m running programs in the background while playing a game. Things like Skype, my recording software for streaming, or just leaving Chrome open with a guide to the game.

In the past these things have slowed the game down a little bit, but not so much anymore!

I upgraded from 8GB of RAM to 24GB. I should be able to run three times as many programs, right?

Turns out that’s not the case. My current operating system, Windows 7, throttles the RAM my computer can use at 16GB.

Windows 10, however, lets me use up to 128GB of RAM. Far more than I will ever need.

And as you may have heard, Windows is offering a free downloadable upgrade to Windows 10 on all Windows 7 and 8 machines.

Setag liah! Setag liah!
Setag llib liah! Setag llib liah!

I’ve been reluctant to go through with the upgrade for a number of reasons.

First, bad reviews. Most of the reviews of Windows 10 are bad. That’s par for the course when a new operating system comes out though.

My dad has tried Windows 10 out and he hasn’t noticed any serious problems which was encouraging.

Second, detailed reviews that talk about the increased bloat of the operating system and annoying default features that spy on your computer for Microsoft.

The operating system bloat shouldn’t be a problem. Even if Windows 10 uses a whole 1GB more of RAM then Windows 7 I’ll still be 7GB up on what I previously had.

The spying is annoying, but since I can turn it off I’m not too concerned about it.

My third and final concern is whether all my programs will continue to run on Windows 10.

Most, if not all, of my games will continue to work on Windows 10 according to this community list.

I’d be shocked if Microsoft Office and Google Chrome didn’t transfer over fine.

That leaves just my streaming software.

While the upgrade was initially to get more use out of the streaming software, I haven’t seriously touched the stuff in about a year. Maybe it’s not so big a deal if it doesn’t work?

Anyways, I’ll be making a jump into Windows 10 tonight. If I don’t update the blog next week it’s probably because Windows 10 caused my computer to go up in flames and burn down my house.

Here’s hoping that doesn’t happen.

Crossed Fingers

-GoCorral

The Death Knell of my iPod

Here lies a dying breed, the iPod classic.
Here lies a dying breed, the iPod classic.

Alack and alas oh readers of my blog! For my iPod is slowly dying!

I got this iPod about six years ago back and it has served me well in its lifetime.

But now… Now it refuses to connect to my computer!

I can still charge it using the cable, but iTunes no longer registers that the iPod is connected.

I looked the issue up and found a post on Apple’s support pages from 2012 which listed a number of solutions to my problem, none of which worked.

I probably reinstalled iTunes a dozen different ways in an attempt to fix this issue, but it still refuses to interface with my iPod.

And I’m sure its not the iPod. My computer still sees the device. I could remove and add things to the iPod manually, but the music is coded and difficult to rearrange. Plus, that process is a whole lot harder to deal with than using iTunes like I have in the past.

My reading on the issue makes me think something got messed up in my computer’s registry when I updated iTunes from version 11 to version 12. The registry of my computer is some internal programming section that I can’t normally access to fix and if I did go through the steps to access it I might irreparably damage my computer for ever and eternity.

I could go to the Apple Store for help, but since the problem is with a Windows PC I don’t think they’d be able to help.

Likewise, because the problem is with my computer, getting a new iPod might not necessarily work either. Plus, they don’t even make the iPod classic that I have anymore! It’s all iTouch, iNano, and iShuffle now. None of them have the same storage capacity as my six year old iPod which is frankly a little shocking. My collection is sitting at 45GB right now and the largest iTouch is 64GB, so I wouldn’t have to make any hard choices. I’d still be missing the assurance that a new device would even work with my computer though.

The most frustrating part of this whole experience has been how long Apple has known about this error in iTunes code. The support page I found indicates they’ve been aware of this issue or a similar issue for the last two years and haven’t fixed it. Peter Jackson’s finished two movies faster than that!

The core of it is that Apple won’t fix an error when the error only occurs on their competitors machines. Its turned me off so much to their company that I’m now looking into getting a different MP3 player.

So… Any suggestions?

-Mister Ed

Editing for Youtube

Making a new video called Blood Knight Adventures.
Making a new video called Blood Knight Adventures.

I started up my own Youtube channel to have another place for my Twitch videos to be watched.

I’ve uploaded my highlights from Twitch to Youtube and I’ve been posting some edited highlights as well.

Twitch is rather limited in how you can edit a highlight. The highlighted video has to be a specific section of the video and that’s it. No other modifications allowed.

So if you wanted to create a highlight that combined a section from the first minute and the last minute of your broadcast, but nothing in between… Twitch’s in browser editing application doesn’t let you do that.

Fortunately, as I’m streaming I also set my streaming software to store the broadcasts to my hard drive. From there I can edit the videos and produce a better finished product.

The two videos I’ve made so far are called “Holy Alchemy” and “Why Mind Control is Amazing in Arena too.”

They’re pretty basic. I highlighted a specific card in each video from my early Arena runs on my Twitch stream. I edited all the shots of those cards together and slapped some music on it.

Playing with my new editing software was fun. I started using Movie Maker which is a freeware editing program put out by Microsoft.

I took a video production course in high school that helped me learn the basics of video editing. The program I learned on was called Final Cut Pro.

I’d like to use Final Cut again. It has a lot of things that Movie Maker doesn’t. But it also costs $300. šŸ˜¦

The first hurdle I had to jump over with Movie Maker was the file type for the recorded videos from my stream.

Almost every internet video site, Twitch included, broadcasts their videos using the Flash file type (.flv). My broadcasting software saves the recorded videos to my hard drive as Flash videos as well.

Movie Maker can’t understand Flash videos. Kind of dumb considering that Flash is the most popular video type now, but whatever.

I had to download a converter to change the recordings into something that Movie Maker could understand.

After that it was simple enough, throw the video in, pick which sections I want, delete the other sections, etc.

I remember Final Cut being easier to work with and having more options than Movie Maker.

Movie Maker hides transitions under the Animations tab. Adding titles is also hidden under the home tab.

I’m still unsure if Movie Maker allows custom title movements, cropping a frame, moving a frame, or even multiple audio tracks.

It might that I just can’t find these things yet within Movie Maker’s interface or maybe there’s nothing there for me to find.

I’ll stick with Movie Maker f it does have those options and I find them. Final Cut’s software is better because I know how to use it. Once I’ve mastered Movie Maker there won’t be any reason to switch.

Go check out the videos if you like Hearthstone! I added in some public domain music from Youtube’s audio library. Enjoy!

-Mister Ed

Online Videos and Copyright

Public domain music is a mystery to me.
Public domain music is a mystery to me.

I’ve been thinking about including music on my streams and Youtube channel.

There’s just this problem of what music I’m able to include.

I want to play my typical playlists that I listen to on my own.

But all that stuff is copyrighted!

I can’t play The Beatles, Elvis, or Johnny Cash. I can’t play the modern stuff I like like Katy Perry, Ke$ha, or Barenaked Ladies. Not without getting slapped by a copyright notice.

Youtube has software that searches a video when its uploaded for copyrighted music.

If Youtube finds copyrighted music, it plays an ad before the video. The revenue from the ad goes toward the owner of the music.

Additionally a link to iTunes appears below the video so that someone can buy the music played in the song.

I couldĀ live with that eventually, but when I setup my Youtube channel I was looking forward to the possibility of making money off of it. If I use copyrighted music, then the ad revenue goes to the owner of the music instead of to me.

One of my ideas was to play music while streaming and then using editing software to eliminate the music from the audio track.

I have a theory for how I could do that, but I’m not confident that it will work successfully.

If I can’t get that to work then I either can’t play music during my streams, or I can’t profit directly from uploading clips of my Twitch streams to Youtube.

A separate problem that I hadn’t considered is whether its legal to play copyrighted music while streaming.

I’d need to relook at Twitch’s license agreement that I barely skimmed when I first agreed to it.

If it turns out that I’m not allowed to play stuff there then only one option remains for playing music on my Twitch and Youtube channels.

Public domain music.

I have close to zero experience with public domain music and no idea how I’ll find stuff that I will like or that will be appropriate.

I’m willing to give it a shot though!

-Mister Ed

Mapping Methods

Room 2 of the Lich Shade dungeon drawn using graph paper with notes on it.
Room 2 of the Lich Shade dungeon drawn using graph paper with notes on it.

There a lot of different styles of DMing in D&D and other roleplaying games.

You can wing it and come to each session with very little prepared.

You can come up with the adventure for each session in the week before.

You can also do what I do, make up the entire campaign before starting it.

Between each session I have almost no creative work to do for D&D. My campaign has been running for close to three years now and I’ve only had to design one adventure out of about a dozen since then.

It’s nice. I don’t need to spend extra time on the game for me and my friends to have a lot of fun.

I have started to run into a few issues though.

When I wrote the campaign I imagined my group would still manage to meet in person.

That proved to be horribly wrong. We have in person sessions about once a year now.

When I drew all my maps they looked like the one pictured above. I’d make them on a piece of yellow-green graph paper.

When they reached a room I’d draw with a wet-erase marker on a battle mat I brought to each session.

When the players defeated the monsters in one room I’d erase and draw the next room.

Dry erasing was easy, but creating good maps in our current system is a little difficult.

My group now plays over the internet using an internet browser program called Roll20.

Roll20 is really great. It has everything a tabletop has. You can even turn on a feature to see your dice roll across the table.

However, I can’t just grab a pen and draw on my monitor as easily as I draw on the battle mat used previously.

I suppose I could do that if I was used to creating digital images, but I’m not.

Instead I’ve taken to making lame looking maps or using a cool mapping software piece called GridMapper.

The second room of the Lich Shade dungeon made using GridMapper.
The second room of the Lich Shade dungeon made using GridMapper.

GridMapperĀ is extremely simple. You pretty much just click to change stuff.

I can easily build maps in GridMapper. They don’t look amazing because it doesn’t come with preset images like trees and stuff, but they’re functional just like my dry erase mat.

GridMapper has one issue, it has a maximum image size. Easy to get around though, I just make two images and glue them together for really big rooms.

I’m slowly converting all my old pencil maps into GridMapper maps for Roll20 now.

That’s it for now!

-Mister Ed