Hey! Welcome. A daily blog for me to keep up with daily things. I rarely have any input medium for my day: As such weeks can go by that I don’t keep track of. This way I can write whenever I choose to in just a few seconds.
Happy Wednesday. I have been working on modeling the last few days, my city model I built, separating what will be SkinMesh from what will remain RigidBody. Rigidbodies are the simple model that sets the parameters: What is ground, what is walls, where your player can or cannot go. The Skinmeshes, on the other hand give details to the model, make a cube look like a building, a road look like dirt, or asphalt, or cracked pavement. A flat panel a forest.
The first image is From RAD, where I am putting the game together, adding logic, models, etc. The second image is from Ultimate Unwrap where I am adding the new layout I built in my modeler. I use Ultimate Unwrap more and more as a modeler as it does much of the work that used to take me longer to do in my Modeler, much faster.
So that is what I have been doing the last few days. I also set up my new monitors in my office, from six 23 inch 1600 x 1200 to four 32 inch 1920 x 1060
I listed the old monitors for sale to move them out. It is rainy here in New York, and cold. I have ripped my office apart, hopefully for the last time, setting the new monitors up. I learned that even though you can set Windows to rotate your monitors, you cards will only run them as basic monitors if they do not have the ability to work in that rotated format:IE; from 1920 width to 1920 height will not work. It looked great, but all my games quit as my dual 710 GT cards could not translate the Direct 3D to the new resolution, hence the reason I have 3 monitors low and one in the center up high. That allows me 1920 width by 2160 height for modeling, UV work, game building, and some game play as well. Works very well.
Check out my latest book: Fig Street. A story set between our time and 1969. A story about a small town in New York. Sort of like the one I grew up in, except all the killings, and murders, and the talking dog.
Fig Street: Fig Street: Glennville has its share of runaways, bar fights, mysteries, but in the summer of 1969 the body of a young woman is found dead in a weed choked field, and sheriff Kyle Steven’s world changes. #Fantasy #Noir
Amazon: Paperback and Kindle, all countries.
Love you folks, be back soon, Dell…
Ultimate Unwrap: https://www.unwrap3d.com/u3d/index.aspx
My old Monitors: My old ACER 24s and other computer items that might be of interest.
04-11-2021 – Dell – Free TV:
Is anything really free? Well, as a matter of fact no. No matter what you watch someone is paying for it. Be that an advertiser, a friend, some huge corporation, your WIFI provider charging you for that slice of bandwidth you use, or you actually footing the bill via subscription: Having said that, if you are already a network TV consumer, you are used to commercials. If you have ever watched some of the shopping channels, you must know by now those are really just huge commercials that go on for several minutes, as they sell an item, and even hours; and the networks just use the age-old half or one minute commercials.
So, having laid that ground work I’ll be presenting stuff that costs very little to watch.
First, wifi. You need bandwidth to watch anything. I use Spectrum. A high speed WIFI-Ethernet subscription will cost you about $50.00 a month to start and will eventually rise to about $80.00 a month after the trial period ends. One of my friends pays about the same a month for satellite WIFI, and that has a cap. There are many wifi providers in a fair sized city. I live in a small village, I can only get Spectrum, so like it or not I’m stuck with it. Another relative that lives about 20 miles away pays about $100.00 per month for the same service from the same provider.
What I subscribe to is the unlimited plan. No caps. No slow downs, and very fast all of the time. It runs everything I do including two full-time connections to the internet on a daily basis, along with a PLEX server.
So that is the WIFI part. Check your area. Don’t just say yes to the first plan. Check to see if there are limits. That great deal you got may not be so good when you find it shutting you out after a few days or weeks, leaving you without WIFI for the balance of the month.
You might ask: “Is there a way to get free WIFI?” You must have missed the opener, nothing is truly free. Yes, at malls, the doctor’s office, the local library, the WIFI is free to connect to. However, dependent on where you are there just may be users lurking just waited to hack and of Phish your info once you connect. I have never had it happen, but I know people who have. So, it may be free but you might find yourself paying in ways you didn’t expect.
One way to make sure you are not hacked via those ‘FREE’ connections is to use a VPN. A VPN or similar app will block your information you send, and stop Phishing or Hacking software from know who you are. I use an APP called Private Tunnel. Type in Private Tunnel and you’ll find it. I am not sponsored by them or anyone else, but their app is what I use. I have never had a problem with it, except a few sites that refused to allow me to connect unless I turned it off. I choked on my coffee laughing. Way to let me know you intended to hack me. Listen, even if they say you need to turn it off, don’t. The reason you got it is to protect your bank information, subscription accounts and passwords to everything else that you deem important.
So. No free rides. Is there a way to get TV without WIFI? Yes. There are still FTA (Free To AIR) broadcasts from most major channels, and in any large city, or even moderate city, you can gain access to many with an antenna.
I went to Google and Bing, researched antennas, and looked at ways to build my own, and then did. I purchased three or four cheap antenna kits of eBay. I think I had about $50.00 or so in them including shipping. First, of course, I had figured what I needed to built the antenna I wanted to build, so when I ordered I was looking at the parts included in the build and re-using those parts in my own build.
I did my first build, it worked far better than I thought it would. I ordered some pole sections to get it up higher off the roof and I received even more channels. Altogether I ended up with 21 channels, crystal clear and in HD, except one that was SD. And I am in a small village in Northern New York. I also received 2 Canadian channels. Altogether, all the networks, PBS channels, two shopping networks.
$50.00 in parts for my first build, and about $35.00 for three 5 foot pole sections (Another 35.00 for two more eight foot sections. I used only one, so we’ll call it 17.50). So for under $120.00 U.S. I had 21 channels permanently. No further cost. All HD TVs have a way to scan for channels built into the menu. Until you scan you will receive nothing. So scan, it will find the channels you can get. As I had to you may have to move or rotate the antenna until you find the best signal. And, higher is better. As I mentioned, I live in a small village. That village is in a river valley, so in order to get a stronger signal I started on the roof on my house, which but me at about 25 feet at the peak. Then I added two of the 5 foot sections, which got me to 35 feet.
So, other than WIF, an antenna can be a solution.
Satellite: Satellite can be a partial solution. Satellite used to be a great option. Back 40 years ago when I was building an off grid house and wanted something I could depend on, I thought it was the way to go. No. I never really ended up with more than six channels. Even a few years ago I tried it with the same result. Yes, you can receive thousands of Satellite channels. But only a few of them are in the English language, and may of them are not really all that helpful. Yes, now you can get more than a half dozen you can use, but no, those promised network satellites are not available without??? A subscription through some service. So, you’ll end up buying equipment and having a subscription you’ll have to pay monthly for to get those network channels, and or settling for the FTA satellites, and moving your dish around to get a few of those.
Commercial satellite: Dish, Direct TV, or a FTA Dish and receiver that works via subscription. Any way you slice it, you’ll be paying for service that goes out in the rain, snow, overcast skies, etc.
So I have my antenna. I decided to build a second antenna, call it a backup antenna, really just a different style I wanted to build. I have built it, and at 25 feet it picks up the same 21 channels the other one does. I am going to lift it up further and see, but I believe I have reached the actual limit for my little area. But, PBS, All the Networks, ABC, NBC, CW, FOX.
Antennas and weather: Antennas are also prone to weather disturbances but nowhere near as bad as Satellite dishes. Something I learned. Use good heavy duty Cable wire and solder all of your joints. Even if they have screw or bolt-on terminals, solder them; because in rain or snow the connections will loosen and you may lose the signal. Also tape the cable wire down, no loops either, and tape your connections/splitters etc. About splitters. Try not to use many. Each time you split the signal you lose some of that signal. About Cable wire: You can buy it by the roll, or like me, use the left in place Cable company wire when I canceled the cable.. Use good wire and good connectors. You can buy the connectors and the crimping tool too. I am running a solid piece of wire from antenna to TV, no splitters.
Okay, so there is the basic TV. Now, what can you get with your WIFI account?
Crackle: Crackle is free, but you pay by watching commercials. Even so, they have come a long way. Lots of movies, TV shows. You can watch them online or you can access them through a ROKU or similar device.
Pluto: Pluto is free also, paid via adds. Pluto is one I have and watch quite often. It is laid out like a schedule. You scroll through and read the descriptions, watch what you like.
PLEX: PLEX you ask? Well, yes. PLEX now has its own movies, plus several free (Add driven) movie and TV sources, so you can watch a lot of content without having anything on your actual PLEX server. It will cost you a whopping $5.00 bucks a month for the premium subscription to get those. But what can you get for that price anywhere else? Nearly nothing.
HULU: Hulu is one of them. Here is an APP that with adds will cost you about $7.00 bucks a month. For that you will get access to many (Not ALL) of the network content, ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, CW etc, a day or so after they air in real time. What did I mean by Not All? Just what I said. There are some premium shows from some networks that are not included. It has a treasure trove of bygone series. I love that section, because there are programs I do like to watch over and over again.
NETFLIX: Hate it, Love it, NETFLIX has a ton of content for very little money Movies, Series, original content. For $9.00 to about $20.00 a month, it is an awesome deal for a great deal of quality content. However, this does not have current daily Network stuff. Eventually it does end up with series from Network TV on its service, but only after the current season is over, or even longer. I have NETFLIX as well a HULU.
Sling: Sling is a good way to kill a couple of birds with one stone. For about $30.00 per month you can access a lot of sports channels. IE: If, like me, you want to follow NASCAR? You can get every episode that isn’t on Network TV, and usually catch the rebroadcast of the event after a day or so. It has a DVR function for $5.00 a month that you can set up to tape your events so you never miss anything at all. News, Sports, and a fairly good selection of other useful channels (No Network Channels however) for that price you can’t go wrong. I also have SLING to round out my viewing.
ROKU: What? Yes, ROKU now has its own channel, and has apps to get all those other free (Add Driven) channels too. It also has a PLEX app, if you have a PLEX server, so you can watch that right from one menu. If you buy a TV with built-in ROKU you get your antenna channels added to the free ROKU channels, all on one guide and you can watch them right from the app. I have had FIRE TV as well, the layout is nice, but not as easy to use as the ROKU app, in my opinion. I also tried out a TV box, manufactured to bring all your apps to one place. It worked about two weeks and then quit. I looked it up online and there are dozens of videos about what to do when your TV box app crashes, so it must be a pretty common occurrence. I fixed it, it crashed again a few weeks later. Maybe those TV Box apps will be a good investment in the future, but not now. I mean, if guys are making YouTube money telling you how to reset them, and also telling you they crash all the time, it’s a safe bet to wait a few years until the tech is better.
PLEX: More on Plex; I mentioned the free stuff that has been added to PLEX, but the PLEX app also accesses your PLEX server if you have one. To build a PLEX server you simply need a medium quality older computer. Build with storage space and you can now collect your TV and Movies, Documentaries, Music Videos, Music too, Images, videos of all kinds in one place and access them from anywhere in the house on your ROKU PLEX app, or anywhere in the world (With the premium $6.00 a month subscription). Easy peasy.
And, it is easy. I have my own PLEX server. I have about 8 terabytes of storage space on it, apart from that I’ll say nothing about it. Why? Because there are constant battles over what you can and can not have on it. It is my feeling that if I paid for something, say a movie, I’m going to download it and put it on my PLEX server in case I want to watch it later, or a month from now. That is a gray area. Then you have folks that want to keep their own videos, old VHS stuff they have converted to digital and the occasional TV or movie they download to watch later. After all many APPS, HULU, Crackle and NETFLIX allow it. Not as gray area, perfectly legal. But there are some who download all the TV and Movies they can to watch when they want to. Slightly darker gray, but it gets even darker once they let anyone access that content besides themselves, and PLEX will allow you to do that, share it will family as I do.
Lastly, YouTube: YouTube is the last corner of my TV building blocks. Anything you are into is on YouTube. YouTube will allow you to keep your subscriptions. When you log-in it can be set to show you all your latest subscription episodes. You can access it from a browser, I access it from ROKU. Free to watch, or commercial free for about $12.00 bucks a month.
Okay. I hope that gave you some clear information you can act on, and I hope you enjoyed this article, Dell.
Tuesday April 6th.
Watching some Youtube that I enjoy. If you wonder where my characters learned the things they did about survival: It was this author watching YouTube survival shows ans reading Jean Auel books (Earth’s Childrens Series)
I literally subscribe to more than a 100 channels. Not all survival, some automotive, some pure entertainment; but my point is there is a lot out there in YouTube land you can watch for free and learn from.
I am doing links today, and listing a free book you can download in any format you need; the first book of the Earth’s Survivors series, Apocalypse. Click… Earth’s Survivors: Apocalypse.
Download the book. Enjoy it, and I hope you have a great day. Coming up Friday, a new episode of The Nation Chronicles. Check all the episodes with the link at the top of the page, Dell.
Sunday April/04/2021: Just past noon and I have caught up on everything for the morning work. I always thought that being an author meant hours and hours of writing, editing, followed by hours and hours of writing, editing, lol, but no. If you are a an Indy author as I am, you spend little time writing, and a massive amount of time trying to get people to look at you work, like it, hate it, leave a comment of some type, distribute links for it, and on and on. Yes, even on Easter Sunday.
I also have been sorting 3D Models. Like thousands of them. Stuff I have made or picked up as open source, or purchased a commercial license for. I think there are about 2 terabytes of models. Working on a 1963 Chevy Impala now. Eventually, like everything else, it will end up in the RAD distribution.
I did upload a recording of a song I wrote to SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/wendell-sweet/a-minor-raw-acoustic-w-vocal
A little information, from me, about the Nation Chronicles eBooks and Paperbacks. You can find the book links and podcast links on this website.
Hope all of you are staying healthy and safe. Be back soon. If you are looking for specific content from me, leave a message and I’ll do my best. If you would like a certain read to be free for a few days, tell me and I’ll make it happen. 🙂
Friday/April/02/2021: I’ve been posting on Twitter all morning. I had wanted to be working on some Models I started a few days back, but no time, maybe later tonight. I’m about to head over to FB and post there.
Later today will be a new episode of The Nation Chronicles you can listen to. I have also been posting free chapter reads of America The Dead. I had been doing posts of America The Dead on YouTube, but it really wasn’t working out well, YouTube is not a good medium for a podcast or a free audio book. I may post them here if I get requests to do so.
Spring is here in Northern New York but it is cold, very. Ice in the mud puddles. Hope it warms up soon. Stay safe, see you soon, Dell…