Chrome Improvement Project

Chrome. It’s the best browser. But it also has some quirks I personally find annoying and by the power vested in me I shall right these wrongs.

Quirk One – New Tab Google Doodles

I don’t mind the design of the new tab page in Chrome. In fact I think it’s pretty nice. HOWEVER I really don’t like the design language of the new tab page being compromised for the Google Doodle. Due to security limitations in the permissions Chrome can grant Extensions we are not able to intercept or modify requests on chrome://newtab. Instead a near perfect recreation of the new tab page was built from scratch to provide all the same functionality with a local mirror.

Disable Google Chrome Google Doodle – Default new tab (left) vs Recreation (right)

As a result, no doodles. If you really want you can change the search box’s color back to white but I think it look nice this way. The signin and voice search are purely cosmetic.

Free and Open Source (MIT License)

https://github.com/downthecrop/new-tab

Quirk Two – Themed Scroll Bars

This is less of a problem with Chrome itself and more of a problem with Windows 10 and their ugly scrollbars. Using Webkit CSS we are able to override these system defaults. When creating this extension I wanted to keep the permission model as light as possible. This extension requires the all_urls permission to keep a unified theme across all pages and as such is a big security risk. Because of this I am utilizing pure CSS and content_scripts. This extension is completely static and thus cannot read and page content or browsing data.

Chrome minimal scrollbar – Default Windows 10 (left) vs Custom CSS only content_script extension (right)

Free and Open Source (MIT License)

https://github.com/downthecrop/minimal-scrollbar

WebP in Photoshop CS2

Modern WebP format images opening in Photoshop CS2 (2005)

The abandonware Photoshop CS2 still does everything any aspiring content creator could ask for. It even works great on Windows 10. Quality software created by quality people. However in todays modern internet we have a few new formats that were far after CS2’s time. The main problem I run into is opening WebP format files. I’ll go to grab an asset I assume to be a .PNG off Google Images, try to open it up in CS2 and I’m met with the error “Could not complete your request because it is not the right kind of document.” but luckily for us the competent developers of CS2 thought ahead. They allow for plugins to extend the support file types in the program!

WebPShop, the plug-in for opening and saving WebP images directly from Adobe Photoshop

https://developers.google.com/speed/webp/docs/webpshop

available under the Apache-2 License this open source WebPShop plugin works just fine for our legacy version of Photoshop. Unfortunately they aren’t distributing x86 binaries of the latest version but the Apha 0.2.1 version seems to have everything we need anyway. You can download the binary from the 0.2.1 release page. You want WebPShop_0_2_1_Win_x86.8bi. Once that’s downloaded place the 8bi file into C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CS2\Plug-Ins\File Formats or wherever you have CS2 installed. Then fire up Photoshop and open any WebP file you like!

Export Options

The plugin also allows you to save .webp files with a quality slider! Just use File > Save As... > WebP and the WebPShop compression Window will open. Enable the preview and compress to your liking.

WebPShop Save As Dialogue Window and Compression Settings in Photoshop CS2

OBS Multitrack Recording Audio Remuxer

FFmpeg Audio Remuxer demo video: https://youtu.be/Q10JB-iD85o

Download on Github: https://github.com/downthecrop/audio-remuxer/releases/

Features:
– Automatically selects the most recent stream recording to remux
– Drag any recordings onto the .exe to remux them into the output directory
– Fast. a 2 hour stream can be muxed in 10 seconds.
– Batch directory support
– Output file prefixing
– Free and Open Source

With Twitch DMCA muting vods lots of people are going to be multitrack recoding locally. This tool can remux multritrack recodings into a new mp4 with a single audiotrack selected. Useful specifically if you record a track with only game audio and microphone selected for archival on Twitch or YouTube.

If you utilize multitrack recording with OBS you might already be using a script to use FFMPEG to remux the video. This program makes remuxing after a stream really easy.

Update to PHP 7.4 with Redis on Apache2 Ubuntu 16.04/18.04/20.04

PHP 7.4 is recommended to use used by WordPress. In this guide the simple to use commands will be layed out one by one for easy copy and pasting to your Ubuntu VPS/Server.

First update/sync your repositories and make sure you have redis-server and php7.4 installed

sudo apt update
sudo apt install redis-server php7.4

next disable php7.3/php7.2 and enable php7.4 (substitute for your currently used php version)

sudo a2dismod php7.3
sudo a2enmod php7.4

Install common php7.4 modules. You may skip this step if you know exactly what modules you need.

sudo apt install php7.4-dom php7.4-common php7.4-mysql php7.4-xml php7.4-xmlrpc php7.4-curl php7.4-gd php7.4-imagick php7.4-cli php7.4-dev php7.4-imap php7.4-mbstring php7.4-opcache php7.4-soap php7.4-zip php7.4-intl -y

Install php-redis and enable the module

sudo apt install php-redis
sudo phpenmod -v 7.4 -s ALL redis

restart the apache2 service

sudo service apache2 restart

League of Legends DirectX 9 vs DirectX 11 Performance Benchmark

League of Legends DirectX9 vs DirectX11 FPS Performance Test Benchmark. Watch the side by side here

With the release of League of Legends Patch 10.16 there is now official (beta) support for the Direct X11 Rendering backend for League of Legends (LoL). I have conducted a side by side comparison between the old rendering backend D3D9 (DirectX 9) and the new D3D11 (DirectX 11). If you want to enable DX11 in your own game you can follow the instructions provided by Riot here.

Hardware

  • RTX 2080 8GB
  • i7 9700K @ 4.6Ghz
  • 16GB DDR4 RAM
  • NVMe SSD

Drivers/OS

  • NVIDIA 451.67
  • Windows 10 1909

League of Legends

  • Medium, Shadows Disabled
  • 240 FPS Framerate Limit (Recommend)
  • VSync Disabled
  • Patch 10.16

Results

  • DX9 Average: 168.6
  • DX11 Average: 175.2
  • Performance Advantage FPS: 6.5+ DX11
  • Performance Gain Percent: 3.91%

Recording Settings

Note: The impact of OBS with these settings is as low as ~5FPS. When running the tests I had no additional software running other than OBS and League of Legends. In a real use case even if you don’t record/stream the performance impact should be similar to having Chrome/Firefox open with a YouTube video or Discord ect.

H.265 NVENC Encoder Max Quality preset, 2300kbps Bitrate, 1280×720

Dota 2 OpenGL vs Vulkan performance in Linux https://downthecrop.xyz/blog/dota-2-opengl-vs-vulkan-linux/