4K HDR. Is it worth the investment?

I recently purchased a 4K 10bit HDR Monitor, the Acer ET430K, and without a doubt it’s lovely in 4K. But this week saw a much needed update to VideoLan (VLC), it now finally supports 4K and 8K hardware playback, something severely lacking in previous releases, even 4K playback was tricky and I used MPC-HC for that, now VLC also supports HDR too.

When I bought the monitor I also dropped £50 on a new BDXL drive (Asus BW-16D1HT), this will let me rip UHD movies to my WD EX4100 and play them back anywhere. I was initially surprised by the file size, they’re big, but only twice the size of a bluray at 1080p, yet they contain  four times the resolution, 10 bit colour (instead of 8 bit) and for the most part improved audio with more channels and higher resolution.

So I went to my local CEX and bought some UHD movies, The Hateful Eight, The Martian, Logan, and Alien Covenant, and after watching them initially in 4K SDR or 8bit colour I was a little unimpressed, but I was using MPC-HC to play them back, MPC-HC has hardware playback but no support for HDR, and at the time VLC didn’t. My initial misgivings were found-less, once VLC 3.0 launched I immediately saw the difference that HDR gives. I will say that 4K is very nice, but to be honest, it’s the difference with HDR that you’ll immediately notice. And all I can say is WOW. It’s HDR that will sell more TV’s and monitors than 4K alone.

Here are some screenshots from these films, sadly you really won’t be able to enjoy them as they are… you’ll need a 4K HDR screen.

What is HDR? Basically HDR (High Dynamic Range) means richer colours, more contrast and brightness this gives a scene better definition without losing details like increasing brightness and contrast will. It’s one thing that’s hard to quantify, but once you’ve seen it you’ll know it.

So does 4K 10bit HDR make a real difference… OH HELL YES it does. Be warned though, there are many 4K 8bit HDR screens out there, and they use software to push this to 10bit, they are severely lacking, they cannot and never will render 10bit properly. So be warned… don’t be duped into buying an 8bit screen, insist on HDMI 2.0 (this meets the bandwidth requirements of 4K HDR @ 50hz) and you should be ok, though always check with the internet before buying.

So is it worth the investment? For gaming on the PS4 and PC, yes it’s worth the entry fee alone. As for movies? HELL YES.

Another thing to consider, if you don’t use the TV’s built-in tuner or smart services then why bother with a TV, get a monitor instead. Monitors don’t have this stuff and as a result you should get a better image from it than a similar priced TV.

Save Wizard for PS4 Review

Not to be confused with Save Wizard MAX (<— This one actually works.) for the PS4

Caveat Emptor.

I recently purchased the PS4 Save Wizard, I just wanted a little help with The Last of Us getting the platinum trophy. So I downloaded, installed, and purchased the Save Wizard in good faith that it’ll work.

It wont, it only works with US games and refuses to do anything with any other region.

So I tried to contact them via their website contact form several times, every time you submit a form it just refreshes the page, so I filed a dispute with Paypal, and left it for 72 hours… no response, I escalated the dispute and found my key for the save wizard was cancelled and they still failed to respond to paypal. However in 1 week I will be issued an automatic refund.

It’s still pisses me off that I now have no refund and software that doesn’t work as advertised.

Caveat Emptor – Buyer beware.

It’s a shame too, the PS3 version has a work around that the PS4 version doesn’t have.

So my advice is to stay clear of it. https://www.savewizard.com/ if you have anything other than a US PSN account and games, and https://shop.xploder.net/xploder-ps4-edition avoid too. The Xploder uses user generated save games.

https://www.savewizard.net  makes use of actual cheats. These work on all regions EXCEPT Japan.

 

In the Wake of WannaCry, how to be secure?

If you have a small office or home office, then security and data backup must be right at the forefront of your concerns in today’s connected world, especially in the wake of WannaCry.

In most cases you’re probably using some sort of cloud based backup, and while for the most part cloud storage is great, it’s still not as safe as you’d imagine. For one you have no idea who’s looking at your data, it maybe some nosey git in a data centre, or it could be security services from a number of different countries. Most people think they have nothing to hide and therefore nothing to fear, me personally I err on the side of paranoia. I also think no one has a right to inspect or collate your data for you but you.

So if you’re dependent on cloud systems to store your data, you’re probably also paying a hefty fee to keep it there, but what if I told you you could host your own cloud system at home or in the office for far less than an annual fee, and what’s more, only you and the people you allow can access it?

My system of choice here is NextCloud, it’s a free open-source and fully functional cloud based data storage. I have mine running on a Raspberry Pi 3, and it handles everything just fine. I also have a SSL connection, complex passwords and 2 PC’s, this makes 3 on-site backups for me, one on my desktop, one on my laptop and one on the Raspberry Pi. I also use it to save my photos from my iPad and iPhone through the iOS app. Android is also available too.

If you allow more users, and this is easy to do, then you’d have more backups, but you can also create users with their own accounts and own storage completely separate from one another. What’s more it only takes around 30 minutes to setup and secure.

You’ll need 3 tutorials, all listed here, all will help create a small cloud based server and help keep it secure.

Setup a hard drive or SSD on a Raspberry Pi: https://the-bionic-cyclist.co.uk/2017/03/22/run-a-raspberry-pi-on-a-ssd/

How to install NextCloud: https://the-bionic-cyclist.co.uk/2017/03/22/install-nextcloud-cloud-server-on-a-raspberry-pi/

How to setup SSL in 2 minutes: https://the-bionic-cyclist.co.uk/2017/03/22/setup-ssl-on-a-raspberry-pi-in-2-minutes/

I also use http://freeddns.noip.com/ to make my Pi accessible from anywhere in the world.

If you want to, you could even setup Pi-Hole and stop internet adverts too 🙂 and it’s brilliant.

 

The entry fee for this small project is around £55 for a Raspberry Pi 3, MicroSD card and power supply. The hard drive depends entirely on your space requirements.

You can buy a 4TB desktop hard drive for around £90-£100 but then you’ll need a caddy to store it and connect it to your Raspberry Pi via USB. Something like this: https://www.cclonline.com/product/227503/MR35TU3/External-HDD-Enclosure/CiT-USB-3-0-SATA-Hard-Drive-Enclosure-for-3-5-inch-Drives/HDD2869/

You know how important your data is, and if you do something like this, I’d recommend you test it for a week or two first to make sure it’s suitable and stable. If you have a lot of users (more than 5) I would only recommend doing this with something bigger like a desktop PC. The Raspberry Pi is an awesome little PC, but it will struggle with multiple simultaneous users. So spend a bit more money and get a dedicated PC

Awesome Wifi SSID’s

To be honest the World needs Awesome Wifi SSID’s and here’s a collection of the best SSID’s you’ll ever see.

 

 

 

 

It hertz WAN IP and variation of it, 8 hertz WAN IP
Tell my WiFi love her
Bathroom Cam #3
Pretty fly for a WiFi

 

It’s a shame ┌∩┐(◣_◢)┌∩┐ doesn’t work as ascii is forbidden

 

  1. Virus Detected! Do Not Join
  2. I’m Under Your Bed.
  3. WamBamThankYouLan
  4. FBI Surveillance Van #119871.
  5. DEA Surveillance #4188A87.
  6. I’m In Your Closet.
  7. I’m Watching You Now.
  8. Skynet Global Defense Network.
  9. TheseAreNotTheDroidsYourLookingFor
  10. Router? I Hardly Knew Her
  11. Occam’s Router
  12. The Promised LAN
  13. Benjamin FrankLAN
  14. Martin Router King
  15. I Believe Wi Can Fi
  16. No More Mister Wi-Fi
  17. LAN Solo
  18. Winternet Is Coming
  19. The LAN Down Under
  20. Wu Tang LAN
  21. Titanic Syncing
  22. (.)(.)
  23. 128 KBPS WiFi
  24. Protected CeX
  25. Unprotected Cex
  26. TellMyWifiLoveHer
  27. Silence of the LAN
  28. LAN of Milk & Honey
  29. Bill Wi, the Science Fi
  30. Drop it like its hotspot
  31. The LAN that time forgot
  32. We can hear you having sex
  33. All Your Bandwidth are Belong to Us
  34. Don’tYouWishYourWifiWasHotLikeMine

I switch between these every now and again.

Lithium Ion Battery Care

Batteries aren’t watt they used to be 🙂 See what I did there…? I’ll get my coat.

They used to be weak in comparison to today’s standards, they leaked worse than sewage into the Thames, they’d be flat in 10 minutes on today’s modern appliances and they were dangerous to just throw in the bin.

If you see bins for batteries anywhere, then that’s where you need to dump them, and they then get recycled! Far safer than landfill.

First off Ni-cad (Nickel Cadmium) had a “memory”, if you discharged them to say 50% enough times then the battery would think 50% is the full capacity. Do you remember getting a warning that the battery in your laptop of phone was empty, but it’d still run for hours right? That’s the Ni-Cad memory at work.

Li-Ion and Li-po are different to any battery you’ve ever had before, they don’t have a memory, they can be charged hundreds of times before you see any loss in capacity, and most importantly they are much more energy dense than ever… and they’re only ever getting better.

But you do still need to consider battery care, and occasionally you need to discharge them fully. Storage is also a factor if you’re not going to use them constantly. Today’s lithium battery killer is heat, (it used to be you could revive old batteries with a little heat), today’s batteries are effectively killed with heat. So keep them cool, especially when storing them.

So how to really care for your battery.

  • Only charge to 100% if you’re really sure you need 100%
  • Try not to charge more than 80% and never let the charge drop below 20%
  • After 30 charges, try to discharge the battery as low as you dare, and never never let it drop below 5%
  • Once a battery drops below 2.2v it’s dead, it can be resurrected with boost charges, but these can be dangerous if the battery internally suffered serious damage. Nominal charge for an 18650 is 4.2v
  • If you aren’t using the battery for a while drop the charge to 20% and store in a cool/cold place away from moisture.
  • Never charge to 100% and leave it on charge, let the charge dissipate slowly, you probably won’t notice a difference anyway.

The SRSuntour battery for the Carrera Crossfire-E should do up to 500 charges before you see any real degradation, but if you follow these simple tips, it should give optimum life beyond 500 charges.

Happy Cycling 🙂

Sources: http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/how_to_prolong_lithium_based_batteries

And: http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/five-apps/five-tips-for-extending-lithium-ion-battery-life/