Archive for October, 2010

Codecs, Media Players, and Web Browsers

October 24, 2010

During the last couple of days I’ve been screwing with my media players more than usual.

A while back I installed K-lite Codec Pack. It’s a pack consisting of DirectShow filters, splitters, and a whole bunch of other stuff I had never heard of before. Any DirectShow player- WMP included- can take advantage of it and play anything. So, in a nutshell, I no longer needed QuickTime and I can play things in formats I didn’t even know about. Unfortunately, I had to keep QuickTime around since Premiere Elements relies on it for MPEG 4 support. I never use it, though.

So, just recently, I decided to try Media Player Classic. I liked the amount of control it gives you. You can select codecs, change rendering settings, and apply shaders. I found that changing settings doesn’t really do a lot, at least not the ones I changed. The interface was okay, not great but usable, it was a bit slower to load. It doesn’t have any media library functionality. Though I rarely use that stuff, I at least want to have playlists handy. Which is something MPC can’t do. Basically, the only thing I gained over WMP is .vob support (you can get .vob to work in WMP by changing it to .mpg, by the way), so I ditched it after less than a day. It was interesting, but I missed the familiar interface and playlists.

On to web browsers. I’ve been getting screwed by IE for a while now. It messes up the order of pages- what I mean by that is sometimes if you go back a page, forward a page, it screws up the order they are in so you go back two and they are swapped. A minor problem, but really annoying. And of course, it doesn’t display certain pages correctly. And crashes sometimes for no apparent reason. So I decided to make the switch to Firefox.

Overall, Firefox is a better browser. The interface is pretty much the same, though a few things are in different spots. It’s faster. It has a lot of addons, some of which I use. At first it refused to import. Oddly enough, if I import things one at a time (favorites, cookies, internet options, history) it worked fine. Dealing with imported bookmarks was a nightmare. The bookmark manager felt awkward and is slow as hell. I got over the awkwardness but it never sped up. I actually had to reimport my bookmarks/favorites once because I deleted half of them. But I got it all sorted out eventually. I was annoyed by the lack of clicking sounds when browsing- an addon fixed that. The download system is a bit odd, but I’m getting used to it. I’ll probably make the switch if I can get over the little quirks.

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SGU – Merely Bad

October 11, 2010

I watched SGU 1×19 and 1×20 Divided. I’m neutral to say that SGU is no longer unwatchably awful and now merely bad.

Of course, they’re still a bunch of idiots doing stupid shit, it’s still full of “drama” and plot holes. But at least there’s some bad guys and some action, and something resembling a plot. Since I was watching it on a computer, I skipped past most of the scenes with Eli and Chloe, because I don’t like them. I took a moment to remark how bad the characters are. O’Neill and Carter appeared briefly, and O’Neill actually acted somewhat like O’Neill this time. I still don’t understand why they sent 302s instead of beaming a team in just outside or bombarding the Lucian Alliance base from orbit. The whole gamma ray burst thing adds an additional element, but I don’t understand why a ship that can fly through a sun has any problem with it.

There’s one scene where Wray (I think it was Wray) gets handed a ballistic vest that as far as I can tell, has no plates in it. I briefly wondered why they’re still using that crap after two sets of Kull armor and all the knowledge of the Asgard. Not really a complaint about SGU, more of a random thought. Anyway, I actually found myself cheering for the Lucian Alliance. They’re actually competent and can function as a unit. That said, I was still happy when it seemed like everyone was going to die at the end of the episode.

Summarized? Still too much drama, too many unlikeable characters, and a lot of continuity fail and plot holes. But it’s not unwatchable anymore. It’s gone up from a horrible TV show to a bad TV show.