HTPC Golden Age? Reducing Component Count - Page 6 - AVS Forum
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post #151 of 186 Old 12-16-2010, 08:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Agreed. RF Interference is actually a huge issue in all aspects of home theater. The common way to deal with it is to simply deny its existence.

The three most effective methods to gain the utmost in reliability, performance, picture and sound quality are actually very simple:

1) use wired Gigabit Ethernet
2) keep the video signal digital all the way to the display (HDMI does this)
3) keep the audio signal digital all the way to the power amplifiers output stage

That is, digital and analog do not mix well. So simplify: no wireless, no D/A converters, no resampling. no digital volume controls, no video processing in receivers.
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post #152 of 186 Old 12-16-2010, 09:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiFiFun View Post

Agreed. RF Interference is actually a huge issue in all aspects of home theater. The common way to deal with it is to simply deny its existence.

The three most effective methods to gain the utmost in reliability, performance, picture and sound quality are actually very simple:

1) use wired Gigabit Ethernet
2) keep the video signal digital all the way to the display (HDMI does this)
3) keep the audio signal digital all the way to the power amplifiers output stage

That is, digital and analog do not mix well. So simplify: no wireless, no D/A converters, no resampling. no digital volume controls, no video processing in receivers.

RF interference is a real problem, but it's not one to worry about unless you are using cheap cables or running analog signals a long distance. Just keep out things that are actively transmitting radio signals (cordless phones, mobile phones, microwaves, baby monitors, wi-fi, bluetooth, etc.).

I also want to point out that Windows 7 switched to using floating point values for audio data, so the digital volume control leaves the sound practically untouched.
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post #153 of 186 Old 12-19-2010, 01:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Black Level Variations
A lot of this is the varying versions of HDMI. It is in a word a mess.
Then MS, Cyberlink, ATI and Nvidia all have to integrate (play nicely) together.
Frequently they don't.

I always set my display and ATI drivers to 16-235 range, so that everyone will know this is what I want. Do they listen? Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

For instance, the current Power DVD 10 I have to change the display to full range(0-255) to get the black level correct, else it too dark on two of my three systems.
On the third (an all HDMI 1.4) system, it works fine. Why? HDMI "smart" reporting is often flawed between components and generations of the specifications.
The solution is easy: upgrade your HDMI gear each year. Throw the old stuff in the trash. Great for high-tech employment.

WMC 7 black level now stays correct. The ATI drivers don't smear motion anymore at 24Hz. So great progress is being made by many bright people.

Frame Rate Selection
I hear in 2023 they will switch between 24 and 60Hz automatically, just like them stand-alone players. Obviously a grand scheme get a promotion or doctoral degree.

Horizontal Smearing Gone
Noticed a huge reduction in horizontal Motion Smearing on my systems with the latest ATI drivers with the new control center. I confess to loving Ponyo (24hz) a very high quality animated Japanese movie. There is a scene where the mother pulls up to the nursing home. In the old days (last week) the ATI drivers would smear and jerk the building's trailing roof. My Panasonic VT25 really does now have much less smearing (as they advertise with the low delay phosphors). Congratulations!

ATI Control Center
The advanced view is a step forward resulting is less mouse navigation. Congratulations again!

Streaming Issues Updated
One of the first steps is to establish a clean baseline by reinstalling the latest Ethernet drivers from Windows Device Manager. Do this for all computers on the network.
Realtek drivers are here:
http://www.realtek.com/downloads/dow...&GetDown=false

Leave everything default except for MTU which I set to 9K, cause were streaming. Other settings (like off-loading) are pretty dangerous, and can choke your streaming. Ridiculous but true.
Then, with Windows Task Manager->networking->network utilization monitoring, copy video files between computer desktops. For Gigabit Ethernet you should see 80-90MB/sec (9*8 = 720Mbits/sec).
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post #154 of 186 Old 12-21-2010, 06:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Progress is Painful
-----------------
I recently reported black level variations in my three systems, all which had Ati 5570-5750 cards. I had planned to NOT upgrade to the 6800 series because there were just optimizations or refinements to the design and architecture.

But then i noticed a large jump in picture quality with the 6870 with my Panasonic VT25. Why?
Hmmm...

So (took my own advice) and upgraded my home theater system (a 46" lcd for daytime and JVC RS1 front projector for nighttime) with the top rated Asus Radeon 6850.

Once again i observe a similar jump in picture quality, some which now can be traced to 5000 series black level variations.
That is, in my opinion, the 5xxx has a moderate severity bug in its design, which has been corrected in the 6800 series.
Now, with the 6800 series I don't need to band-aid fix the projector from limited (16-235) to full range (0-255) scale. It turns out that this was only one of a number of fixes, as the 6800 series has other improvements in motion resolution/clarity too. All displays are now drop-dead gorgeous, like going to Bone Daddy's.

The only unresolved issue is how will the 6000 series low-end HTPC cards fare, now with the black levels fixed. The small form factor 66xx equipped PC will undoubtedly improve too, but will they be as good as the full-sized 6850-70 cards?

I also am able to (for the first time) drive both displays without HDMI throwing a hissy-fit and shutting off the picture. Now I don't need an expensive HDMI 1.4 splitter either:
http://sewelldirect.com/HDMI-1-4-Splitter-2-port.asp
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post #155 of 186 Old 12-28-2010, 04:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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MicroSoft wants to take control of your network and streaming of libraries. However Hollywood won't let them support two major consumer formats:
video==.iso and audio==.flac

So lets take charge!
First there is the network setup.
ControlPanel->Network and Sharing Center-> Change Advanced Sharing Options

These are the settings i use fro my secure network
Turn On Network Discovery
Turn On File and Printer Sharing
Turn On Public File Sharing
Media Streaming is Off (this is BS - very misleading!)
Turn Off Password Protected Sharing
Use user accounts and passwords to connect to other computers

Do not use HomeGroups as this is MS attempts to get you to relinquish control of your network streaming, with all the DRM limitations included.

Then set up "Advanced" Shares (right click on the folder) on each computer with at least Read privileges for Everyone.
Actually this Advanced Share is really the most basic, simple share possible.

However at this time access to other computer may very well still not work?
The secret lies in the (new feature not advertised or explained in networking help troubleshooting) Windows 7 Credential Manager.

ControlPanel->Credential Manager
Enter the other PCs name a password

With these roadblocks removed, you can transparently stream shared content without screaming, cursing or pulling hair.
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post #156 of 186 Old 12-28-2010, 05:51 PM
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iso is a video format now? You might want to read up on that.

You do realize that Homegroups are just a nice, easy way to setup sharing over your network, right? All it does is setup the folder sharing without diving into the properties window that's been in Windows since NT4.

I could do what you did, but it's much simpler to say "Join Homegroup".

I'm beginning to think that you just like hearing yourself type.
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post #157 of 186 Old 12-28-2010, 08:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spivonious View Post

I'm beginning to think that you just like hearing yourself type.
Funny, that is the same thought I had when this thread reached 2 pages.

BB

New wealth is created in 2 ways:
You dig it from the ground (mining and oil)
Or you grow it (fishing, farming and forestry).
Everything else is just processing what you dug up or grew.
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post #158 of 186 Old 12-29-2010, 03:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spivonious View Post

iso is a video format now? You might want to read up on that.

You do realize that Homegroups are just a nice, easy way to setup sharing over your network, right? All it does is setup the folder sharing without diving into the properties window that's been in Windows since NT4.

I could do what you did, but it's much simpler to say "Join Homegroup".

This is not true as access to other shared folders is still frequently be denied. Why do you think MS felt it necessary to store passwords in the new Credential Manager?

Homegroup's required a new cryptic MS generated password which they asks you to write down with a pencil! Do you see the irony here? (of resorting to a pencil rather than a computer)

MS is attempting to insert itself, take control and add false value. Its like eating highly processed foods, rather than sticking with the basics (why are so many overweight?) Why lawyers in Congress are unable to comprehend the laws they pass? Is this why we on the wrong track?

Consumers don't need more passwords, they need less, and they need to be efficiently managed. Each HTPC already has its Windows login password: that is what gets entered into the Control Panels Credential Manager's password vault.
Thanks go to MicroSoft, as everyone should be using Credential Manager. In fact, I'm going to suggest we use it at work too.
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post #159 of 186 Old 12-29-2010, 04:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spivonious View Post

iso is a video format now? You might want to read up on that.

The iso format takes any number of files and concatenates them into one. The beauty is its independent of the data inside. This prevents interpretation and new copy protection schemes.

This is why the industry frowns on .iso files and consumers love it!
I own 305 Dvds conveniently stored as .iso files on my network. They can instantly be streamed to any PC using Virtual Clone Drive.

Virtual Clone Drive is a free program which lets consumers mount an .Iso file from the shared folders and make it seem as if its in the local computer Dvd drive. Just right-click on the .iso file and select Mount. Power Dvd 10 then opens and plays the movie. Sweet!
http://www.slysoft.com/en/virtual-clonedrive.html
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post #160 of 186 Old 12-29-2010, 05:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiFiFun View Post

This is not true as access to other shared folders is still frequently be denied. Why do you think MS felt it necessary to store passwords in the new Credential Manager?

Homegroup's required a new cryptic MS generated password which they asks you to write down with a pencil! Do you see the irony here? (of resorting to a pencil rather than a computer)

MS is attempting to insert itself, take control and add false value. Its like eating highly processed foods, rather than sticking with the basics (why are so many overweight?) Why lawyers in Congress are unable to comprehend the laws they pass? Is this why we on the wrong track?

Consumers don't need more passwords, they need less, and they need to be efficiently managed. Each HTPC already has its Windows login password: that is what gets entered into the Control Panels Credential Manager's password vault.
Thanks go to MicroSoft, as everyone should be using Credential Manager. In fact, I'm going to suggest we use it at work too.

Having the computer remember passwords for you defeats the point of passwords.

You can change the homegroup password to whatever you want it to be.

I have never had problems with homegroups as long as all PCs are running Windows 7. Otherwise you do need to revert to the older sharing mechanisms. Either way, since I've been setting up LANs for 15 years, this is not a problem.

The ISO format simply saves an image of an optical disc. It has nothing to do with videos. ISO will do nothing to remove any copy protection schemes. The industry does not frown on ISO images. In fact, many companies use it as a way to distribute software. Microsoft uses it for programs downloaded through an MSDN or TechNet subscription. Virtually all Linux distributions use it for their install disc.
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post #161 of 186 Old 12-29-2010, 05:13 AM
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When you buy a copy of Windows 7 from the MS store you download it as an ISO. Even in my guides i have direct links to those copies, Win 7 Home Premium 32/64bit ffs.

ISO is just a pain in the ass. It requires time to mount, and the programs that can playback an ISO without 3rd party software can`t do ISO images (XBMC can playback Blu Ray folder structures, but no ISO BD rips).
Blu Ray folder structures can be played back without any mouting software, TMT5 and XBMC take 1 second to load them (XBMC without menu/extras support)


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post #162 of 186 Old 12-29-2010, 02:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spivonious View Post

Having the computer remember passwords for you defeats the point of passwords.

Typing in passwords daily is a huge risk in itself. Why not just type it in just once? From that point on its always encrypted. With the proper layered safeguards, this approach is actually safer.

The technology has progressed to the point where it must be safe or MS would not have released it. MS obviously must be working closely with academia, industry and governments.

I find it humorous that retired computers still show up under the Network folder. They can be removed by Credential Manager as MS already uses it to store your netowrk passwords. In other words, only you know that an old computer no longer exists, so get used to using Credential Manager.

To automatically log-on to a remote share, simply type in the computer name, user name, and the password once in Credential Manager.

Another benefit of using Credential Manager is each PC is able to use different log-on and password. Everyone clap! Its a non-brainer improvement in home network access management, and I thoroughly enjoy using it.
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post #163 of 186 Old 12-30-2010, 04:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Case Fans
----------------
Many system builders still think they need noisy, high throughput fans, a leftover from when pc were power hogs.

The Silverstone and Antec cases are the best suited for HTPC as earlier posted.
However the included and number of fans may not the quietest for home theater/DVR use.
Antec does include plastic fan cover if three fans are not required. I'll go further: I use only one or two 120mm case fans, as they are quite large and do not need to spin at noisy, high rpm's to cool effectively. 950 to 1000rpm is the target speed.
Here is a quiet, long-life ball-bearing fan for $5:
http://www.amazon.com/120MM-Kingwin-...3709347&sr=1-1

Kingwin is a great brand name. I use there hot swap enclosures to backup/image hard drives:
http://www.amazon.com/Kingwin-3-5IN-...710452&sr=1-30
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post #164 of 186 Old 12-30-2010, 05:49 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spivonious View Post

You do realize that Homegroups are just a nice, easy way to setup sharing over your network, right? All it does is setup the folder sharing without diving into the properties window that's been in Windows since NT4.

I could do what you did, but it's much simpler to say "Join Homegroup".

I still wonder why Microsoft made us set permissions on both the share level AND the file level. Setup a share for read only for Everyone and it still does not work until you setup the folder/files for read only for Everyone as well (or specific people, etc).

Always hated that.
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post #165 of 186 Old 01-13-2011, 05:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Tablet PCs will become an important new type of HTPC.

The ASUS Eee Slate EP121 would be a capable 1280*800 12.1-inch capacitive pressure-sensing multi touch (Win 7) LED-backlit HD display for intuitive navigation - without a mouse.

Use the Windows remote desktop login for complete access other full sized htpc's. The wires are hard-wired to that htpc, not the high-rez wireless N remote/tablet pc on your couch. Replace the low-rez Logictech music display devices. Leave the front projector or 65" plasma off. No HDMI display issues either.

Do kitchen recipes, surf while out, or take it to bed. Watch HDTV using the HDHomeRun Ethernet tuners, or stream recorded WMC 7 movies anywhere.

One issue is the Windows 7 home Premium does not allow for remote desktop connection. The other is the tablet price of about $1000.

I will probably be purchasing one in the coming year once they are reviewed.
Asus has a top contender.
http://www.amazon.com/ASUS-Slate-EP1.../dp/B004HKIIF8
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post #166 of 186 Old 01-13-2011, 05:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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In my opinion, tablet pc's should not be controlled in any way by TV manufactures, as it is for the new Google/Sony/Samsung/Vizio/LG "Smart TVs".

"Smart" TV is like "Best" Buy.

"Some manufacturers—including South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co., the largest TV-set maker—will unveil smart TVs based on chip sets and operating software of their own design." Sony doesn't need root kits anymore!

I would only count on Google, Microsoft and Apple for Operating System upgrades, and only when they can be performed independently of a TV manufacture. Otherwise they will insert advertising, spam and restrict the sites you can visit. Open HTPCs are a consumers best defense!

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...rticle_related
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post #167 of 186 Old 01-13-2011, 06:26 AM
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did we ever figure out how hifi gets free internet?
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post #168 of 186 Old 01-13-2011, 08:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by westerndigital81 View Post

did we ever figure out how hifi gets free internet?

You mean you don't? Everyone else does. You must have missed the memo.

 

 

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post #169 of 186 Old 01-14-2011, 04:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Joel Osteen says there will always be people trying to cause trouble.
Thank them because they improve your message and help make your point.

Frankly speaking, I'm surprised that there has not been more resistance from those within the industry, as every media company wants to control your home network and access to the Internet using proprietary hardware and software solutions.

They have been adding shot-term, incomplete Internet solutions to Blu-ray players, receivers, gadgets and now TV's. The frequent buying of more gadgets is unsustainable for consumers, unless you want to transform our living rooms into a TV studio and our garages into a pawn shop.

Never forget the home computer offers a high performance, complete, long term, low cost, convenient solution. It took consumers 20 years to cut the cable. Hopefully they can nip the alluring gadgets-gone-crazy fad much faster.

Frankly technology itself is out of control, and everyone needs to learn how to manage it under extreme levels of "buy" pressure.
Thank you for the inspirational posts!
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post #170 of 186 Old 01-14-2011, 06:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiFiFun View Post

Thank you for the inspirational posts!

It's when he actually starts referencing himself in the 3rd person that we have to be concerned.

-Suntan
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post #171 of 186 Old 01-14-2011, 07:26 AM
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I watched a snail crawl along the edge of a straight razor. That's my dream; that's my nightmare. Crawling, slithering, along the edge of a straight razor... and surviving...


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post #172 of 186 Old 02-12-2011, 07:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The Google Plan to Monitor TV and Internet Usage
---
As the recent CES Google partners were to launch their Google TV's. The event was canceled it at the last minute. Notably missing was the all important time-shifting DVR, a critical feature consumers take for granted.

In this thread it was sarcastically suggested for Google to buy Tivo, as Tivo is infamous for selling detailed information of the programs you watch and commercials skipped over.
Fast forward a few months and we see that multimedia giant Sony is adding recording capabilities to their Google HDTVs!

Sony TV with Built-In DVR

The second piece of critical gear missing is the keyboard which Sony added to their Blu-ray player. Typing in a charge card number once is so easy!

The end result is that they are taking apart htpc functionality, then repackaging it in proprietary gear that they control. Then charge a premium and subscription for it!

In the previous generation TV viewing habits were closely monitored. Now add your Internet surfing habits to. These corporations will know more about you than you yourself.

No wonder cable companies are beginning to limit Internet usage. Sadly the technology is regressing on several fronts, as higher-speed Internet connections simply mean you will reach your monthly quota earlier, then pay a premium for exceeding it.

My privacy policy is to not pay to be targeted with advertising by:
1) drop cable and put the antenna in the attic
2) record OTA content with a DVR based Windows 7 htpc
3) reduce clutter by not buying countless add-on gadgets
4) rent dvds from Redbox and Blockbuster kiosks
5) play back dvd and Blu-ray with htpc
6) only connect htpc/pc's to the Internet
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post #173 of 186 Old 02-13-2011, 08:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Here we find Sony reestablishing their proprietary formats and taking control of public broadcasts:

"The recording made with other USB hard drive and can not be used in conjunction with a PC. Recorded programs on USB hard drive, you register (with Sony) can only be played. Also, during registration, USB must initialize the hard disk contents... For more information, we will update later"


http://translate.googleusercontent.c...G3jDH-ztslDg1g
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post #174 of 186 Old 03-27-2011, 03:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I wanted to post the most important ways to increase consumer privacy:

1) Disabling outgoing advertising requests in PowerDvd:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1294905

2) Speeding up WMC and your PC in general by turning off the Micro Soft Network sharing service:
Microsoft has made simple sharing difficult as the want to take control of your home network (just like every other media company), and then slow every pc down as a result. Ridiculous.
Don't be mislead into thinking that you can't stream if media steaming is turned off in the advanced networking page. Actually its Media Player streaming, an application hamstrung by digital rights management, that we want to disable. Microsoft makes it almost impossible for the average consumer to turn off!
http://www.mydigitallife.info/2010/0...vice-wmpnetwk/
Important Note:
The author forgot to say that it’s also a required to go to the ‘Recovery’ tab & switch the all option to “Take no action”

Always use the sharing through the folder properties tab (right click on the folder to share, then select properties. Don't use MS sharing with home groups.

3) Disable insidious tracking cookies which won't go away (Zombie cookies). Do for each pc:

Update: see the post below titled "Procedure to Permanently Disable Internet Tracking Between Sessions"

http://www.whatsthelatest.net/tutori...cookie-zombie/
http://www.macromedia.com/support/do...manager03.html

Many corporations (for instance Disney) use this sneaky and unauthorized invasion of privacy method, which tracks you even if you delete cookie every 5 minutes!.
The most shocking aspect of all this is a Google search for "remove zombie cookies" will not show the link to delete them! Yet it's the first result for Yahoo's search engine.

** Anything for a buck guys. **

It is hoped that taking these defensive steps, along with Microsoft correcting the black levels with Windows 7 service pack 1, will make your htpc viewing and surfing enjoyable.
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post #175 of 186 Old 03-27-2011, 05:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thread at Adobe Flash User Forum
---------------
Mar 27, 2011 4:02 PM
Unable to change Adobe Flash global settings with Firefox 4.0

I change the global settings; privacy, storage, security, etc. then I come back to the settings panel and all the changes I made are reset to the default settings.
example:
I change the global storage setting from 100 kb to 0, close firefox and reboot system, reopen firefox, navigate to the settings panel and everything I changed is set to back to its original setting. How do I stop the above from occurring?
eidnolb Contributor
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1. Mar 27, 2011 5:54 PM in response to: Mfdemon
Re: Unable to change Adobe Flash global settings

Hi, Make sure you have the popup blocker off, no adblock or adblock plus enabled.
See if that helps.
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See how these media companies operate? They make every step as hard as possible. Adobe is claiming to be unable to save your choices in the registry? Hello?
Consumers are to be kept stupid, so they can make a buck off selling your personal data and tracking you without your permission.
http://forums.adobe.com/thread/829968?tstart=0
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post #176 of 186 Old 03-27-2011, 05:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Adobe is unbelievable. One cannot permanently stop third parties from tracking your Internet thanks to tactic assistance from Adobe flash, the biggest spyware application I've ever seen. Now I really know what Steve Jobbs was really referring to when he said he didn't like Adobe Flash!
http://blog.eset.com/2010/10/06/adob...2%80%93-part-1
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post #177 of 186 Old 03-27-2011, 08:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by westerndigital81 View Post

did we ever figure out how hifi gets free internet?


Tinfoil hat.
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post #178 of 186 Old 03-28-2011, 05:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Adobe Flash has rightfully received much bad press. They certainly deserve it. Many prudent company IT administrators ban its use completely, as Adobe Flash allows tracking of you between sessions. This is also how the legal system can discover every site you have visited as Adobe keeps a log in their local storage.

Adobe quietly admits there has been security issues and now allows system administrators to disable this tracking by disabling the Flash local storage.

In summary, the single best defense is to create an Adobe sanctioned configuration file called mms.cfg and place it in the Windows System directory. The critical point being files in this area require system administrator privileges, which the bad guys don't have.

This is far preferable to the Adobe recommended Global Settings, which are stored to in the very storage area subject to abuse!
I will post the simple text settings this evening.

Note that the industry is dead-set against this and that is why you see the junk posts!
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post #179 of 186 Old 03-28-2011, 08:00 AM
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Is there an echo in here?

BT

Just remember, to the MPAA "We're all guilty until..............."
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post #180 of 186 Old 03-28-2011, 10:00 AM
 
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It's when he actually starts referencing himself in the 3rd person that we have to be concerned.

-Suntan

Cybrsage says you have nothing to worry about when people refer to themselves in 3rd person.
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