Working with GameMaker Studio 2 again

  • Posted on: 17 December 2018
  • By: charm
Benjamin Rivers introductory tutorial for GameMaker Studio 2

After a very long hiatus I'm finally working with GameMaker Studio 2 again. This afternoon I spent a bit more than an hour going through Benjamin Rivers' (HeartBeast) A Live Introduction to GameMaker Studio 2. Although I found the video a bit slow-paced it was a good reminder of what I learned before, though Drag 'n Drop elements were used where I was using code in the past (controls).

Upgraded our KODI server CPU to an i7-2600

  • Posted on: 27 November 2018
  • By: charm

Lately I've been harnessing the power of our KODI server's i5-2300 CPU to encode the Blu-ray media stored on that machine. Of the CPU's in all the machines in our household the KODI server's i5-2300 was the most powerful CPU and the media was all stored on the server, so it made the most sense to encode right on the server. While I'd love to upgrade the server to an i5-8600, that would mean a new CPU, new motherboard, and new RAM. The i5-8600 is at a pretty reasonable price point right now, but having to buy a new motherboard and RAM puts it a bit out of our budget right now.

KODI server (planning upgrades)

  • Posted on: 7 November 2018
  • By: charm
Running Handbrake-cli on 3 separate machines via ssh

Our KODI server has been doing a great job of serving our media (movies, television shows, music videos and music), but lately I've been using it to convert blu-ray media files (via handbrake-cli) and play/download some pretty big Steam games. With the price of SSD storage media dropping it seemed like a good time to think about some upgrades.

Actual compression numbers from compressing our Blu-ray library

  • Posted on: 22 October 2018
  • By: charm
Compression of mkv files above 50%

Over the past week we've been compressing our Blu-ray library to save space on our 8TB Seagate Ironwolf NAS drive. After around 8 months we managed to almost fill the drive, the vast majority of space being taken up by MKV files created from our Blu-ray library. A solution was needed, and buying a new larger drive wasn't an option at this point. Enter Handbrake-cli, the command-line version of the popular DVD-ripping and compression program Handbrake. Initial tests showed positive compression results with very good quality at 1080p using the h264 codec. After a week of compressing our library we have the results from 18 files we've compressed over this period.

Encoding our Blu-ray library (Update on Handbrake-cli encoding tests)

  • Posted on: 17 October 2018
  • By: charm
Original on left, encoded file on right side

If you rip Blu-rays using MakeMKV the resulting file size can be huge. File sizes of Blu-ray movies in our collection range from 16GB to over 36GB. This was fine a year ago when we added an 8TB hard drive to our KODI server, but in less than a year we managed to whittle the free space on that drive down to 250GB. Buying more/larger drives is one approach to solving the free space problem, but we've already done this several times, going from a 1TB drive to a 2TB drive, then a 3TB drive, and another 3TB drive, before replacing them all with the 8TB drive. Another approach, the one we ulimately decided would be the right solution for us, was to encode those files - in this case using handbrake-cli, the command-line version of handbrake.

Handbrake-cli encoding tests x265

  • Posted on: 15 October 2018
  • By: charm
Handbrake-cli encoding video on seperate systems

When you're working with Blu-ray media file sizes can be a nightmare. Back when I got my 8TB drive I had slightly over 5TB of files. Eight terabytes seemed like it would be enough at the time, but here it is less than a year later and the drive is dangerously close to full (308GB free). Drive space wasn't a problem when I was ripping my DVDs, but when I "rip" my Blu-ray discs it's more like dumping them to the drive, there's no re-encoding done.

Hardware upgrades (tank) and switch to Xubuntu 18.04

  • Posted on: 2 October 2018
  • By: charm

Over the past couple of months I've been swapping hardware and and out of my daily desktop computer: tank. The last drive setup involved two Samsung 120GB SSDs in a striped RAID array (Ubuntu 16.04) and a 1TB Western Digital Blue (Windows 10). The setup was annoying both from a hardware and software perspective. One of the SSDs was situated below the 1TB hard drive while the other was mounted below a Blu-ray drive. Part of the reason for this odd setup was the configuration of the Antec Three Hundred Two case.

[Hardware] Networking for apartments

  • Posted on: 19 August 2018
  • By: charm
Our old network

Even small home networks can sometimes involve a lot of networking technology. Take the photograph above as an example. In that photograph we have a wireless router, an ADSL modem, a Gigabit switch, and a VOIP modem, plus a power bar to support all the devices. This is an old photograph, and the wiring is a bit messy (I've improved things with cable sleeves and changed up some of the technology mounted here).

[Linux] Xubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver available @ Computer Recycling

  • Posted on: 19 August 2018
  • By: charm
Network boot screen

The Computer Recycling Project at The Working Centre is happy to announce we now have Xubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver available on our PXE network installer. If you're in the Kitchener/Waterloo area and need Xubuntu installed, please feel free to drop by. This form of installation is particularly useful for those who don't have a DVD drive. We've also got older images, including some that work with Pentium M-based architecture.