Work & Hardware

It’s been more than two months since the last post. I don’t really think about posting things here often as is probably obvious. But once in a while I check in here and realize how long it’s been. This is gonna be a long post to get caught up.

The Works

Since I last post I’ve changed jobs. I now work with industrial factory robot arms. It’s strange. If asked I wouldn’t have expected to have ended up in this line of work at all. But by chance after quitting my previous job I applied to this one even though it was a long-shot. I’ve never worked with anything like this before.

By chance, they were looking for someone to work on their websites (and other things), and so I was brought on for this, and to learn robot stuff from the ground up essentially. It’s been about 4 months now, which is longer than it feels. It’s been great so far, though I’ve accidentally broken a couple of things. But mostly it’s gone well. I’ve learned a lot of things about robots, how to disassemble and assemble them, and program them. There’s a lot more to learn though.

I’ve also been working on the website and advertising, which I’m already fairly familiar with.

YouTube, Mixer & Twitch

My YouTube channel is marching on as usual. Not much has changed there, except I finished up with Enter the Gungeon. I have two series running currently, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night and Darkest Dungeon, and I’d like to get a third going again, but I need to actually decide which and get that organized.

I’ve briefly dipped into streaming in the past, and I’ve used Mixer (aka, before being bought by Microsoft) in the past, mostly because at the time it was an interesting new service in competition with the popular Twitch, but also because they had the ability to stream without (much) delay which was interesting.

I wasn’t very good at streaming regularly though, and had a huge break in that for various reasons. But recently I’d decided I wanted to get to it again. I started up OBS and hit start stream, and got an error. I thought it was because something had happened with the connection to the service, and went to get a new stream key.

I found that Mixer had a new policy in place. I don’t remember if I’d been informed about it via email at some point, I probably had. But this new policy meant you had to “apply” for a key and be “approved” the first time. This process would take 24 hours. This enraged me. I’d had an account for 3 years, and now I’m subject to a review process for seemingly no reason. A cursory search didn’t tell me anything about what the review was for or what exactly they “review”. All I found out is that it seemed to have something to do with facecams, since it said that you could bypass the review and stream on Xbox, but you were unable to have a facecam. Something they obviously can’t control on PC.

So with this, after contacting their support to complain and receiving a cookie cutter reply with no useful information, no word on what this policy is for, I’ve moved to Twitch.

I plan to get back to streaming regularly, and first up on the docket is Distant Worlds that was just released and I’m very excited to play. Of course I barely have an audience, even on YouTube where I’ve been consistently active for years, but maybe I can built something, and if I enjoy it I will keep going.

Using Twitch has a number of benefits compared to Mixer. The obvious one is that it’s more popular, there are more viewers there which might pay a visit. Another benefit is that it has Discord integration, which means that if you link Discord to your Twitch account, when you are streaming people looking at your name in Discord will be able to tell, and easily come and watch if they want.

I’ve streamed once on Twitch so far, which is less than I’d have liked, I was going to stream Outer Worlds yesterday, but I was unable to due to what I’ll be talking about in this next final segment. It’s hard to motivate streaming when you know essentially no one will watch, at least in the beginning.

Graphics & Drives

A while ago I bought a new graphics card, because my current one, a GTX 750 Ti, had started failing, the screens would occasionally flicker subtly. It was also getting up there in years. The card was released way back in Februrary of 2014.

This change to an MSI Radeon RX 570 caused an issue where OBS was set to use an encoder specific to Nvidia, which is why it failed to stream when I attempted it. Possibly the stream key I had would have worked, but I’m no longer interested in streaming on Mixer, even though the “review” is complete and I could if I wanted to.

Unfortunately, this also lead me to switch to a different encoder when I was going to record videos for the YouTube channel, and not realizing the settings from the old encoder wouldn’t necessarily carry over I recorded a whole bunch of videos that ended up a much poorer quality than I was happy with. But since the videos weren’t something I could easily re-record I had to settle for releasing them. I did put a text at the start of each about why the quality was lower than it’s been previously.

I mostly discovered what happened when I noticed the file sizes of the raw videos were less than half of what OBS produced before the switch. I still need to look into the settings of the new encoder and get the quality back to where it should be.

The reason I haven’t gotten around to doing that yet is that my primary hard drive in my computer started failing a couple of weeks ago. It started making loud noises you don’t want to hear from your computer at any time. After a couple of days I ordered a replacement drive, which arrived the following week.

I could have been up and running again within a couple of days if I’d just created an image of the old drive and transferred it to the new one, but due to my system exhibiting a few issues I wanted to create a fresh problem free installation, and transfer things (programs & games) over one by one to rid myself of these annoying problems.

One of these problems was a process that prevented the computer from shutting down normally without being forced to. This process had no name in the overlay that tells you which processes are preventing a shutdown, so I was unable to figure out where it came from. My solution to that was a shortcut to the shutdown executable with the “force” parameter which forces a shutdown ignoring open programs. I believe there was another issue as well but I cannot remember what it was at the moment.

The move has taken a long time unfortunately. Mostly due to trying to get a virtual machine running from the old hard drive, which turned out to be much trickier than I thought it would be. But now the new system is mostly set up, barring a bunch of games I haven’t tried yet, which will most likely need save files moved over. I should make sure to get to this before the old drive fails completely.

And that’s it. Nothing else major has really happened since the last post. As usual I will try to write more often so I don’t have to write these gigantic essays each time.

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