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Solo: A Star Wars Story movie review

Background

I’m a fan of the Star Wars movies, and I remember my parents taking me the see the original movies in the 1970’s. I had a VCR tape of Return of the Jedi, that I’d watch after school. To this day it’s still burned into my memory what the Ewoks said and where exactly the cut scenes are. (spoiler warning, this post will describe scenes in the movie)

On my flight back from CA I was able to watch the Solo movie on the plane. Before the movie started there was a message about the movie being edited for time and content. It was hard to hear on the plane, but I did watch the entire movie wondering what was cut. When I got back home I watched an uncut version hoping to see the meaningful scenes that had been cut. However, I don’t think anything was, this is just a meaningless movie.

My thoughts about the acting

From start to finish this movie is action, barely taking a moment to breath. It was exhausting to watch. Alden Ehrenreich the actor that played Solo was a one dimensional character. He mainly emoted confidence and a smile. A smile that just didn’t fit for many of the scenes it showed up in. I remember Harrison Ford playing Solo and he had a wide range of emotional reactions. He was clearly deflated, (even whining a bit) while showing off he went to activate hyperspace and the ship malfunctioned. Embarrassed when he triggered the alarm on the detention level, had an awkward conversation and ended up shooting the com. Jealous when he thought Leah liked Luke more than him. Gruff and indignant when he thought the search teams didn’t do enough to find Luke on Hoth. Loving and appreciative when Leah had a concealed blaster and saved their lives. Worried when on the ship with the stolen code in route to the death star with Luke “Keep your distance, but don’t look like you’re keeping your distance… fly casual”. He wasn’t over confident when he was begging Jaba to make a deal after coming out of carbonite.

Alden didn’t show this kind of depth and breadth of emotion. Even in dire situations mostly he showed over confidence. The speeder chase was boring. When the speeder got stuck sideways there was no break for a human reaction to the situation. He just took the dice and ran. This may have been a directorial issue, but it was a lost opportunity to show the emotional result of Solo’s miscalculation and ultimate failure. There was passion between him and Emilia Clarke, but even in times of struggle the interaction didn’t show any range of emotion. The best part of his performance was the interaction and growing relationship between him and Chewy. It showed a genuine development of a relationship.

Casting character choice

Although they are good actors, I didn’t like seeing Woody Harrelson, and Emillia Clarke in the movie. I want the experience of watching a Star Wars movie to take me away. Seeing Emilia I could only think of Daenerys Stormborn. It even felt like her when watching this movie. Woody is in many other movies and shows and this just flashes back at me when watching him, regardless of how good his performance was. Thandie Newton’s performance was good, but again all I saw was Maeve from West World. Maybe this is normal, but I remember seeing the movie Capote played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and I felt like I was watching a completely different person.

A few things I disliked (hated)

Enough with the dice, I get it, and handing dice to Solo while he was in cuffs was just stupid. It was as if the dice were more important than good character development. It seemed out of character for Solo to say “we’re gonna win” in the elevator. That just made me think of the present day. The gambling scenes; I felt like Solo should have had more push-back before even getting a seat to the table. He was accepted too easily into that situation. That scene introduction also felt stark and forced. Generally all of the non stop action was exhausting to watch.

A few things I liked

Paul Bettany’s performance was great, he seemed like chaos, rage, and unpredictability rolled into one. The building of the relationship between Chewy and Solo. L3-37’s character and the voice acting by Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Jon Favreau voice acting for the character Rio. Donald Glover’s performance as Lando.

Overall impression

This movie has no soul. It was devoid of the character development that connects me with the story and characters. This is sad for me as a fan of the Star Wars universe. I wasn’t expecting it to live up to characters from the original movies like Yoda, Solo, or Obi-Wan. I expected something emotionally meaningful, even if the movie didn’t inherently have the deeper meanings of the original movies.

How to stream to Twitch using a Macbook

Hello! and welcome. This article is over a year in the making. I’ll describe how I stream to Twitch using a MacBook Pro 15″ 2015 El Capitan 10.11.6. My wife streams with her Macbook 13″ Pro 2015 Sierra 10.12.6. If you have a newer Mac you probably won’t have any USB 2.0 or 3.0 ports only USB-C. You’ll need some dongles ( %$&*@#$ Apple!)

Warning!! Don’t use this. When I first started streaming I use an Elgato HD60. Since they don’t write drivers for the Mac you have to use their propriety software. It’s called Game Capture HD. This software sucks on the Mac. I’m not just saying that. I’ve tested this software for over a year and it has not gotten any better. Here is the article that describes the troubles you’ll have if you by a Elgato and Game Capture HD. I won’t go into the details, but there are video and audio problem.

Goals

Get the Mac laptop or desktop to stream our games to Twitch.tv using OBS

Hardware you’ll need

AVerMedia Live Gamer Portable 2. This is plug and play. The drivers are built into the kernel. There is nothing to configure. You literally plug it in and it works. You may need to update the firmware on the Avermedia. For this you’ll need a micro SD card. This is a great unit, only thing that I don’t like about it is the main light blinks enough when it’s idle to give you seizure.

Software you’ll need

OBS  –  Main streaming software
Soundflower  –  Software to stream audio from the Mac (optional)
X-Chat Aqua  –  Software to get audio notifications for chat messages (optional)

OBS settings

You can find info for how to setup OBS. Here is a good article that shows how to set your encoding for Twitch streaming (bitrate, framerates, resolution, etc.) Primarily I stream from a Nintendo Switch. I’m not going to get into the details for how to setup OBS for streaming because it’s the same for Mac and PC and there are plenty of articles online that describe in detail how to do this. Here is an article on Lifewire, and Here is an article on Windows Central. I’d rather not watch video instruction, but here is an article on OBS Project that has multiple videos. You can choose your article or find another online.

How to get audio from the Mac into the stream

By default you’ll only hear audio from the Avermedia and the microphone. If you play a song on your Mac you will not hear it in the stream. This is where SoundFlower comes in. You’ll need the SoundFlower software here is this download link and info you should read before installing SoundFlower. It doesn’t install a program you can find or see on your computer, so don’t bother looking for it. It gives you the ability to bridge audio from multiple sources. Once soundflower is installed, Here is a link that explains how to setup SoundFlower to add a Multi-Output device. Once you set the audio to the Multi-Output device, you won’t be able to control the volume in the convention way. See image below.

To adjust the volume that you hear, use two volume control in the Midi settings Audio devices for Built-in Output.

Another trick you can use to adjust the audio after it’s set to Multi-output. I learned this from my wife. Instead of going to MIDI settings and adjusting the two sliders in Built-in Output, go to settings and sound. Temporarily change it from multi-output to internal speakers, or headphones. Adjust the sound like you normally would and then change it back to multi-output. Image below.

Adding desktop or laptop audio into your stream

When you’re ready to stream and you want to have your audio from your laptop as part of the stream. For example, if you want music from iTunes, Spotify or Discord to play in your stream. (See additional Discord instructions below)

In the earlier step we created the Multi-Output device. Now go into the Sound settings in System Preference and set the Output to to Multi-Output device. See image below. Note: You don’t need to do this if you only want the audio from the game and your microphone in the stream.

Getting desktop audio into OBS

In OBS click the plus (+) and add “Audio Output Capture” (image below) Name it something like “Laptop Audio”

Next select in the drop down under device, (SoundFlower 2ch). Click OK and now you will have an audio source that says “Laptop audio” this will be the audio from anything that plays sounds on your laptop, iTunes music, Discord, etc.

Increasing desktop audio volume beyond the maximum

I found that after I added the audio source to OBS even with the volume slider all the way up the volume was not loud enough. Here is how to increase the max volume. This will work for any audio in OBS.

Click on the cog next to the audio source. My source is labeled as Laptop audio. Click on filters.

In the filters area click the Plus (+) and add Gain. Than slide the gain control up, as you see in the above image.

Adding Discord audio into your stream

Similar to what we did in the above steps we’ll set the output in Discord to multi-output. In Discord go to user settings -> Voice and Video. Set the output device to Multi-Output Device. That’s it, make sure in OBS under sources you have an audio source set to Soundflower (2ch). As described above.

Issues and options: Audio out of sync

I think it’s common for the audio to be out of sync. My voice audio was ahead of the stream so I added a delay to the Avermedia in OBS mixer settings. You can access mixer settings right from the front of the OBS screen, click on the small cog next to the word mixer. Note, this cog is not in later versions of OBS, the mixer settings are located somewhere else in the OBS program.

Above you can see I added a 400ms (millisecond) delay to the Avermedia which brings it in sync with my microphone audio.

Also note the Monitor off setting. If you turn this on the game audio will come through the speakers or headphones of your Mac. Problem is, there is a delay that you can’t fix with a setting. It’s not a big delay, but it’s enough to be noticeable. There is a solution and I’ll discuss this. Note, it may not be an issue if you are streaming a game from the Mac directly.

How to hear game audio without a delay

You have two options for hearing the game play. Either plug the headphones into your Avermedia or plug them into your Switch, Xbox, or PlayStation. I plug them into my switch using a Aux jack. Problem is there is not volume control and it’s likely that that volume will be too loud. There is a volume control on the Avermedia, but it doesn’t adjust the volume on the headphones. It only adjusts the microphone volume if you were using a Mic through the Avermedia, which is something I don’t do.  The solution is a small device made by Koss.

You plug this Koss VC/20 inline with your headphones, it has a volume control wheel which enables you to set your volume control.

Listening for the Twitch chat (optional)

If you’re busy playing a game it’s easy to miss the chat come in. I use X-Chat Aqua to connect to Twich chat via IRC protocol. When a chat comes in, I set it to play an audible town so I can quickly respond to chat. Once you get X-Chat Aqua installed here is a link that describes how to configure it to connect to Twitch chat. This is completely option.

Above image, set it to Beep on channel message

Above image, set the channel Message to the sound you want. I have mine set to Glass.aiff. It sound like the ping of a wine glass when I get a chat message.

 

 

 

Repairing a 1961 Olympia SF

Okay, so I made another mistake. I got this “Mint Condition” Olympia off of Ebay in It was from Florida and I’m almost positive whoever owned it liked to type at the beach. I also think it was kept in a humid location. The body had rust and pitting. Note that the Splendid version is basically the same machine.

It typed poorly when I got it, it was out of adjustment and was a mess. I think there was sand in it too. Above you can see the rotted foam and the surface rust. The foam disintegrated when I touched it.

Lots of eraser shavings and oxidized feed rollers

The feed rollers and platen were also a mess. I cleaned them with Bar Keepers Friend and water. Soft scrub also works.

Here is the feed roller after cleaning, it was still soft.

Here it’s outside being cleaned with Mineral Spirits, and carb and choke cleaner. I took one trip to the eye doctor when the carb and choke cleaner bounced and sprayed into both my eyes. I was fine, but wear eye protection.

One of the issue was when returning the carriage at the end of a line. It felt kinda sticky, not smooth. It moved in fits and spurts instead of smoothly. Here is a link to a video that shows what it was doing. I didn’t want to, but I had to remove the carriage to get access to the main gear. (see above). I’ve heard horror stories of spurs and bearings falling all over the place when people have removed carriages. The bearings on this are neatly captured in these brass bars. Technically, I didn’t need to remove the carriage, some oil in the right place would have fixed it. But I had to take it apart more than I would have liked in order to learn how it worked.

Here is the gear and the culprit, the wire that goes around the gear. I had failed to lubricate it.

Here you can see how the wire attaches to the gear. I put a combo of grease and light oil in the groove. I actually think it made the mechanism too smooth. Because it relies on a certain amount of friction to engage the carriage release lever.

In this video you can see how the friction of the wire around the gear pushes the release. I think it’s a brilliant design.

Another issue I didn’t discover until late was the escapement trigger. It adjusts the distance the typebar is from the platen before it triggers escapement. Escapement is just the carriage moving to the next character. It’s the slotted screw in the photo with the hex nut around it. The escapement was too far, it triggered maybe a .5 inch before the typebar hit the platen. I forget the proper distance, but I needed it to trigger closer to the platen. Maybe an 1/4″ to 1/8″. The problem was, when it was too far, the keys didn’t want to make contact with the platen. I had to hit some keys very hard. This photo is the typewriter upside down.

Re-attaching the paper bail spring was a huge pain, until I figured out a trick. I tied a piece of dental floss to the end of the spring. Threaded the floss through the machine and pulled on the floss, stretched the spring and hooked it over the thing.

The last adjustment I needed to make is sometimes called ring and cylinder. It moves the platen closer or further from the typebars. I think the rubber on the platen over time dried and shrunk a bit. I used this adjustment to move the platen closer in order to get a better type imprint. (note: you have to loosen two screws on each side of the carriage [4 screws] in the next photo before making this adjustment.)

Loosen these two screws on each side of the carriage before adjusting the ring and cylinder adjustment in the previous photo. The screw on the bottom right maybe aligns the carriage left to right. Mine was too tight and it wouldn’t allow the carriage to completely drop back down after pressing shift.

I was soo careful to not loose the tension on the main spring, even when I took the carriage off. I didn’t want to have to rewind it and guess the correct tension. But when trying to re-attach the carriage I lost the tension on the main spring. Uggg… but it was a learning experience and now I know how to rewind a main spring and determine the proper tension. It’s a huge pain and easier if you have three or four hands.

The weird shaped silver thing is mat that’s on the inside bottom of the typewriter. Mine was a mess, I found a placemat at Bed Bath, I traced around the old one to make a template

Here’s the new mat. I cleaned up the glue you see around the holes.

Here it is under the keys.

Speaking of the keys, they had crap all around them. I used a slightly damp towel and Turtle wax rubbing compound. A light rubbing removed the dirt.

Here is the key after cleaning.

The same white grommets are used to hold the top cover on and act as the feet for the machine. I replaced them with the black ones from Hillman I found at Lowe’s.

This is the package for the grommets that fit this machine. They fit the top cover and the feet.

I put new felt inside the body. You can see the top side panel has the felt inside.

Bottom panel before cleaning. The entire body looked like this.

After cleaning

The paint on the body was a mess. I used automotive liquid rubbing compound, then use the polish to finish. I can’t describe how bad the paint looked before cleaning.

Review

Overall the Olympia SF is a great machine. SF stands for Super Flat. It’s very small and easily portable. It’s definitely a great typer. The line spacing adjustments are excellent. On some of my other machines (Underwood & Remington) the distance between the lines of text is larger. You can fit much more type on a page with the Olympia. I think the larger machines have a better typing feel. There is more space inside of them to leverage the key presses for optimal feel.

This is an ultra portable typewriter. Fingers and hands bump into the body when turning knobs, and returning the carriage. This however  is easy to get use to, but coming from a bigger machine it’s immediately noticeable. For some reason this machine feeds the paper very well and very straight. It has a very convenient spring loaded pop up paper rest. For it’s size I’d still say this is a heavy duty, serious typing machine. The engineering is superb. Even after all the years of abuse (I’m pretty sure it was dropped once) and neglect it still types great.