Hard drives got better.

I’ve had a technology category I haven’t used in over 3 years. Good fucking lord. I can’t believe I waited that long just to post a tech entry.

Let’s begin with my opening image. If the bro-hug is making you wary, please direct your eyes to the right-most girl. She’s flipping out because she’s a (recently awakened) fujoshi. I am flipping out, too.

For you see, Seagate has finally developed a design with more than one actuator in a spindle hard disk. It’s amazing for how long this seemed an obvious solution, but only in this most recent announcement that it’s finally a viable product. It’s very much like the lead up to the Oculus Rift. We’ve had the technology to do VR for a very long time. However, we needed technology to reach a point where it is cost-effective to do so. The Rift was simply slapping smartphone panels onto our heads, and then waiting for panel technology to get good enough.

I wondered why we weren’t making one with individually moving heads. This news item is bluntly saying we simply didn’t have the technology to get it to happen. Seagate was already making designs for a while, and now a two actuator hard disk is finally feasible.

Makes you wonder if it’s still worth it when we have SSD solutions today. I do think that spindle drives are on the way out. But having this new tech might mean that those who can’t afford the comfort of SSDs will still have a low-cost high capacity option. It also means that the SSD+spindle option will remain a popular solution for an even longer time.

However, all of this might mean nothing for a number of anime fans. Not everyone has piles of hard drives and a full tower PC. I imagine a large portion watch on their TVs via a gaming console or phone, as well as directly on their phone. So, while I’m rather excited that such technology is still developed, improving spindle-based storage might be a breath in the wind. Spindle drives would have to receive another innovation in data retention and longevity – if not simply becoming indestructible in normal or extreme operations.

Hard drives got better.

The push for 10-bit encoding.

After noticing a new piece of text being added to files — hi10p — I decided to look up info on it. There’s quite a bit of stuff being encoded in this new.. thing. I decided to install the latest, greatest, and correct filter/codec I could find to properly play these new files. Why the sudden upgrade? Anyone who’s been watching their anime in 720 and up certainly don’t complain that often, provided that their method of watching works. But I don’t touch 1080 files yet simply because I don’t have terabytes of space laying around.

So, I downloaded a 10-bit anime episode. Holy crap, I didn’t expect such a significant difference in file size. It is also rightly stated and observed that it has effectively removed banding from gradients. I especially appreciate this since there seems to be a growing trend for animation studios to use gradients instead of the traditional three tone shading I got so used to. This can really inflate a single episode’s file size. I could show off a screenshot, but what’s more important is the overall effect of moving to 10-bit.  The primary reason to move to 10-bit is for the higher achievable quality and potentially lower file sizes. It does eat more CPU cycles, and at this point only CPU cycles since most video cards do not have 10-bit hardware support. This is mostly a non-issue for me, since I have a quad core. (And soon to upgrade to hexa core. Mwahaha.)

I have obtained a 10-bit encoder to find out for myself what exactly is the butter zone for 1080 files, film or anime. Too bad I’m flying blind here. Having done zero encoding, the only thing I can do at the moment is read the full command list and keep breaking it until something produces a result.

The push for 10-bit encoding.

Flash Freezing Fix

You know, I’ve left the technology category alone for a very long time. Haven’t had much to say about computers and stuff, but this issue pissed me off so much I figured that some people might still be getting it.

This is an old issue. I’m surprised this hasn’t been fixed already, but I’m experiencing it right now, so I might as well address it. The solution is as easy as disabling “Enable Hardware Acceleration” in the Settings tab. When you right-click in any instance of flash, it will bring up a panel, which you can navigate to uncheck the checkbox in question. For those who are having a problem with Flash, and experiencing freezes, this probably the fix you’re looking for.

As far as I’m aware, it can be a problem with video card drivers — this I’ve been more concerned about because I recently installed a new graphics card. I idiotically swapped out my graphics card without completely uninstalling any drivers and software related to my previous card. Windows 7 seemed to not care, since it promptly booted up with the correct resolution, and immediately went to look for the appropriate drivers on the internet. Thanks W7 for being smart, but bad for me, since I should have cleaned up before installing. I might have turned hardware acceleration back on for some reason, which was obviously the wrong thing to do.

Flash Freezing Fix