Tag Archives: issues

Resolving no audio/sound on some videos

I’ve had this bizarre issue where most videos online, be it on Twitter or Youtube had sound, I had sound in Musicbee and in video players, but there were some videos online that were just dead silent. It looked like audio is playing, but I couldn’t hear anything. Couldn’t figure it out for a while till it hit me I’ve done a soundcard driver update recently. The reason was I’m using 2.1 speakers and the soundcard reset itself to 5.1 mode after driver update.

When this happens, videos with mono sound won’t play any audio at all because the mono channel is expected to play on a center speaker which, with using 2.1 speakers, you do not have. Switching back to Stereo mode in soundcard settings forces mono sound from non-existing center speaker into both stereo channels and sound should “appear” again.

So, if you’re having such problem, check your soundcard settings speakers mode to see if it changed by itself to 5.1, causing this problem…

Hope this helps 🙂

Advertisements

Web of Trust (WOT) privacy scandal

I’m a bit surprised there is nearly no news surrounding this in English news, especially on tech sites, considering the scale and amount of users of WOT that aren’t limited to German market only.

Researchers of German NDR (Norddeutscher Rundfunk or Northern German Broadcasting) found out that WOT browser add-on was (and as things stand now, still is) gathering user data beyond what they were promising, ranging beyond only visited websites, they are gathering entire user history from browser, usernames, e-mails and more and selling it to 3rd parties. And they are doing this in such sloppy way external researchers were able to identify individuals by accessing open resources from WOT without even illegally (via hack) accessing their servers. You can apparently do it without any of that!

What’s even worse, after researchers asked developers of WOT about these things, all they got back was… silence, pretty much. Just a very vague reply that you can read here. When someone, instead of being open about the issue veils in silence, that’s a sign that something is going on. And nothing good will come from that.

I liked WOT a lot, because it was good resource to identify unknown websites and what experience others had with it. I’m not aware of any other service that has such level of user involvement in user rating and commenting of webpages. But as things stand now, I recommend users to at least block all public views of their ratings in WOT profile. What they’ve transferred to the 3rd party has already been done, but I think blocking will prevent cross-linking of users to the data. Also make sure to delete all cookies in browser under name “mywot” and quite frankly, deleting your WOT profile at this point wouldn’t be a bad idea either considering all the weird things going on around this service.

I now prefer avast! rating add-on (avast! Online Security) which comes with avast! Antivirus which I already use. Chrome users can even install it separately via Chrome Store even without avast! Antivirus. There is no commenting, but it has extra features like tracking blocking and the fact that avast! as company is very open about their product. When there were privacy concerns about it, they instantly provided answers to any questions by users. They also in detail explained how their rating and resource sharing system works and you can even opt out sharing of properly anonymized data with 3rd parties.

More links, mostly in German with greater details. Use Google Translate to read them.

In depth information from the researcher who uncovered all this:

https://www.kuketz-blog.de/wot-addon-wie-ein-browser-addon-seine-nutzer-ausspaeht/

Think whatever you want, but something fishy is going on and I’m not going to stand around as the smell spreads. Until developers come clean, this thing should not be on any computer.

I’ll keep you posted how things develop in the following days or weeks…

Sound Blaster Z Surround setting disabling by itself

Do you happen to own a Sound Blaster Recon3D or Sound Blaster Z/Zx/ZxR and your “Surround” option keeps on getting disabled for no obvious reason?

SBZ_Surround

Yeah, that one. Surround feature, as much as people hate it for music and movies, it’s fantastic for games. It makes sounds that pass through different speaker channels a lot smoother or gradient if you want. When there is a stationary continuous noise in a game, try rotating around your own axis. Sound will pass from one speaker to another. Without Surround feature enabled, sound will usually be cut and transitioned to another speaker where with Surround enabled, it will fade away in a more natural way and transition to another speaker channel, creating a lot more natural and smooth audio environment. Similar to how our ears perceive it in real world.

Anyway, this feature was getting disabled on its own and I couldn’t figure it out why. And then some nice chap gave me an answer on Creative Labs Forums. The culprit for this is ALchemy. If you use Creative Alchemy to re-enable DirectSound3D audio for older games, it will disable the Surround when you run that game. After testing, that was indeed the case, because I’m just playing F.E.A.R. and I also use ALchemy so I can have HW Audio Acceleration and all the EAX HD effects fully enabled. Every time I ran F.E.A.R. Surround setting was disabled.

There is a partial solution to this until Creative fixes it. You can Alt+Tab (or Ctrl+Esc) a game, open the above Creative panel and manually re-enable Surround. It does work.

Hope it helps for anyone having the same annoyance…