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  Troubleshooting  
  Downloading/Installing

What can I do when I am told the download file is corrupt?
What do I do if my security software says SoftSkies is a virus?
Why am I getting a .html file when I download SoftSkies?
Why do I get an NSIS error when I try to install?
Why am I having problems with Windows Media Player?
On Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion), why am I getting an error that SoftSkies.pkg can't be opened because it is from an unidentified developer?

General

Why can't I exit full-screen mode in the Standalone application?
Why isn't my media player listing SoftSkies as a visual plugin?
Why doesn't SoftSkies respond to my keystrokes or mouse clicks?
Why isn't the album cover art in my media player showing up in SoftSkies?
Why does SoftSkies crash or get extremely low frame rates?
Why do my changes in the preferences file have no effect?
Why does SoftSkies run slowly, stutter, or run in spurts?
Why does SoftSkies momentarily pause when it loads a config or sprite?
Why does SoftSkies look pixelated in full screen mode?
Why isn't the SoftSkies Standalone or the V-Bar responding to sound?
How do I enable my on-board sound source for Standalone or V-Bar?
If I use a digital audio output connection, why isn't the SoftSkies Standalone application responding?
On Mac OS X, why isn't the Standalone application responding to my audio?
My media player lets me control visualization frame rate in a control panel, but why doesn't SoftSkies respond to it?
Why isn't the visual response from SoftSkies in sync with the audio that I am hearing?
Why do I hear crackling and/or stuttering when SoftSkies is running?


 
 
Downloading/Installing

What can I do when I am told the download file is corrupt?
If your download process is not completing, there may be something wrong with your internet connection. If you are using any firewalls, please ensure that they are configured to allow executable downloads and/or please temporarily disable your firewall in order to download SoftSkies. If you are using any download accelerators, please ensure that they are turned off and/or are temporarily disabled. If you still continue to experience problems, please try using an alternate browser (we recommend Firefox as a trusted and free alternative).

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What do I do if my security software says SoftSkies is a virus?
SoftSkies's installer needs to connect to the internet in order to verify the authenticity of your license. Many security programs mistake this for a threat, and we are trying to correct this. But, we need your help. Most security companies decide whether or not a program is malicious based on the developer's reputation. We are a small company and we rely on word-of-mouth for our reputation. Please go to your security provider's support website and report to them that their software is giving you what is called a "false positive." In the meantime, simply restart your computer and disable your security software prior to re-downloading SoftSkies. Make sure to re-activate your security after the installation is completed. Please contact SoundSpectrum support if you have any questions about this.

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Why am I getting a .html file when I download SoftSkies?
We have found that certain third party browsers will rename our files upon download. If you are receiving a .html file when you download your SoftSkies installer file, please note that you may need to change that file's .html file extension to a .exe file extension. Alternatively, we would suggest that you use a different browser to download your SoftSkies files (we recommend Firefox or Explorer for Windows users and Firefox or Safari for Mac OS X users).

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Why do I get an NSIS error when I try to install?
If you are getting an "NSIS Error" message upon install, then your download file was somehow corrupted during the download process and/or there is a conflict with your firewall. If you are using any firewalls, please ensure that they are configured to allow executable downloads and/or please temporarily disable your firewall in order to download SoftSkies. If you are using any download accelerators, please ensure that they are turned off and/or are temporarily disabled. If you continue to experience problems, please visit Why do I get NSIS Error page to learn more.

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Why am I having problems with Windows Media Player?
Microsoft offers a "taskbar" mode to Windows Media Player (WMP), which sometimes creates problems during SoftSkies installation (the SoftSkies installer displays an error message, but problems can arise if you opt to "ignore" this warning). Fixing this is difficult, since the WMP Taskbar runs in the background whether or not you are using WMP, but try the following steps:
  1. Restart your computer.
  2. With all applications closed, right-click on the middle of your Windows Task Bar (also known as the "Start Bar").
  3. From the right-click menu, select the "Toolbars" menu and ensure that there is NO checkmark next to Windows Media Player.
  4. Re-install SoftSkies.
  5. If this does not work, search your hard drive for a file named SoftSkies_WMP.dll and then delete (or rename) that file prior to re-installing SoftSkies.


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On Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion), why am I getting an error that SoftSkies.pkg can't be opened because it is from an unidentified developer?
Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) comes with an extra security feature called Gatekeeper which may only let you install applications downloaded from the App Store or from "identified developers". However, you may adjust Gatekeeper to allow you to install other applications, like ours. For more information on Gatekeeper and how to adjust it please see the following page on Apple's website:

Gatekeeper Support

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General

Why can't I exit full-screen mode in the Standalone application?
To enter and exit full-screen mode, please use the keystroke "Shift Enter" or "Shift Return".

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Why isn't my media player listing SoftSkies as a visual plugin?
Each media player detects visual plugins differently, so the best general guidance is to ensure that you're using the latest version of your media player and that you followed the installation instructions carefully. Beyond that, restart your computer, uninstall SoftSkies, and run the installer again.

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Why doesn't SoftSkies respond to my keystrokes or mouse clicks?
Some media players don't pass keystrokes or mouse clicks to visual plugins, leaving you unable to use SoftSkies's hot-key commands. For example, Windows Media Player does not give 3rd party applications such as SoftSkies dedicated keystroke support (you'll find that WMP passes keystrokes to SoftSkies only some of the time in full screen mode, but unfortunately not always). You are encouraged to contact the creators of media players that don't have full keyboard and mouse support for visual plugins and request that they add it.

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Why isn't the album cover art in my media player showing up in SoftSkies?
Support for album cover art is available only in SoftSkies Gold and SoftSkies Platinum. Further, only iTunes, J. River MEDIA CENTER, jetAudio, Musicmatch pass album cover art to visual plugins (making it impossible for SoftSkies to display album cover art in any other media players). If you use foobar2000, make a tag named "APIC" and set it to the pathname of the album cover art image file.

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Why does SoftSkies crash or get extremely low frame rates?
Out-of-date video drivers or system extensions are known to cause performance problems, so be sure that your system is up to date and disable unnecessary background tasks. Also, try deleting your SoftSkies preferences file in the case that it's become corrupt (see the following question to generate a fresh preferences file).

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Why do my changes in the preferences file have no effect?
The preferences file is read when SoftSkies starts and is overwritten when SoftSkies exits, so any changes made to it while SoftSkies is running will be lost. Some media players internally do not close SoftSkies even when it is not visible (so exit the media player before you edit the preferences file). Another reason that preference file edits are often not successful is that the wrong file was edited. You can ensure that you're not editing a preferences file from an older version of SoftSkies by checking its modification date before you edit it. See the above FAQ item for more information.

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Why does SoftSkies run slowly, stutter, or run in spurts?
If you're running other software that loads your system (such as sound filters/equalizers, virus scanners, file sharing apps) then you may observe visual stuttering. Quit other processes, disable intensive extensions, disable extra sound processing, and reboot in order to maximize your frame rate. Also, many laptops have energy saving features that reduce CPU speed when they believe that the user isn't using the computer—review your energy saving control panel and disable appropriate features and/or background tasks. Finally, some users have reported that performance or smoothness of frame rate improves when hyperthreading is disabled (on Intel-based machines) or when process affinity is set to a specific CPU (on multiprocessor machines).

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Why does SoftSkies momentarily pause when it loads a config or sprite?
Unexpected disk access can result in an unsightly visual stutter or pause (which is what can occur if you manually load a sprite or config that hasn't been recently already read from disk). When the OS fetches a requested file, the requesting application (SoftSkies in this case) is halted (or "blocked") because it cannot proceed until it has the file. Hence, if the file is large (such as a large image or video file), this stutter can be very noticeable. SoftSkies uses a cache look-ahead to prevent this (causing the file to be asynchronously read-in about a second before its needed), leaving only manual user actions able to cause I/O stutters.

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Why does SoftSkies look pixelated in full screen mode?
LCD display devices look best in their natural or "native" resolution. For example, a laptop display may be 1024x768, but the OS supports applications that switch to 640x480 by scaling each 640x480 frame to 1024x768. Since 640x480 isn't an integer multiple of 1024x768, the image on the display appears "pixelated". You should experiment with different full screen modes in order to find a mode favorable for your display device and personal preferences. For high frame rates, choose a small resolution mode (e.g., 640x480, 800x600).

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Why isn't the SoftSkies Standalone or the V-Bar responding to sound?
SoftSkies is probably not listening to the audio source that you want. Right-click (or control-click) on the SoftSkies or V-Bar window to select audio input sources. If you're listening to the correct audio source but do not see any visual activity, the source may not be powerful enough. Increase the visual responsiveness and preamp scales to see if a signal is there (see the SoftSkies Standalone section for more on this). Finally, if you're not seeing an appropriate sound source, see the entry on enabling it, below.

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How do I enable my on-board sound source for Standalone or V-Bar?
If you are using Windows XP and you do not have an on-board sound source available from within Standalone or V-Bar, then you should open your "Device Manager" from within the "Properties" section of your "My Computer" icon and then look for an updated audio driver from the manufacturer of your audio card (note that some audio cards do not provide support for this feature within XP). If you are using Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8, and you do not have an on-board sound source (often called "stereo mix") available from within Standalone or V-Bar, then please follow the steps below:
  1. Select "Sound" from the Control Panel.
  2. Select the "Recording" tab.
  3. Right click on the background of the tab and choose "show disabled devices" (this should then show additional sound chanels labeled "Stereo Mix" or something similar).
  4. Right click on the "Stereo Mix" or similarly named audio channel and click "Enable".
  5. Now launch your SoundSpectrum visualizer in Standalone or V-Bar mode and select this audio channel.


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If I use a digital audio output connection, why isn't the SoftSkies Standalone application responding?
Digital audio output (like over HDMI, USB, S/PDIF, etc.) is not generated and reported to our software in the same way as analog signals, and this output may not be routed through a channel that our software can "listen" to. Currently, our software can only respond to your audio if the drivers that support your soundcard's digital output are recognized by our software or this audio is routed through an accessible channel.

However, if you are so inclined, there is an application for Windows called Virtual Audio Cable (VAC) which can be used to route audio signals between applications. Unfortunately, it is a paid application, but there is a free trial you can download to make sure that it works successfully.

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On Mac OS X, why isn't the Standalone application responding to my audio?
Please note that Apple restricts access to the built-in soundcard or the output of other applications to third-party applications like ours on the OS X operating system. This means that, by default, the SoftSkies Standalone application cannot respond to your built-in output.

However, if you are so inclined, there is a free, open source application you may download called Soundflower which allows applications to pass audio to other applications on the OS X platform. With Soundflower installed and configured correctly, you should be able to get the SoftSkies Standalone application to respond to any audio source generated on your Mac. Though, please note that we are not associated or affiliated with Soundflower or its developers, so we cannot provide you with any support on downloading, installing, or using this application nor can we guarantee successful operation. However, we have tested this application and it appears to work as advertised on Mac OS X machines.

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My media player lets me control visualization frame rate in a control panel, but why doesn't SoftSkies respond to it?
SoftSkies allows you to specify a desired frame rate regardless of what media player being used. Because SoftSkies can only have one desired frame rate, it disregards the frame rate requested by the media player. Note that if your player does have a frame rate control, you may be able to improve audio response by playing with it (players will give visual plugins sound bites more often as the requested frame rate increases).

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Why isn't the visual response from SoftSkies in sync with the audio that I am hearing?
Your audio player is probably buffering audio such that by the time it gets to the speakers it was already displayed in SoftSkies a while ago. Try experimenting with smaller buffer sizes in your audio player to decrease this time delay. Also, running SoftSkies in a large window can cause a high enough system load that the audio player enters an abnormal state of playback, so try reducing the SoftSkies's frame size to correct the problem.

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Why do I hear crackling and/or stuttering when SoftSkies is running?
SoftSkies is CPU-intensive software. If your system isn't fast enough, SoftSkies's CPU demand may compete with your audio player, not allowing your audio player decode audio at a fast enough rate. An audio player's equalizer or third party software that digitally filters audio are also large CPU loads and are common causes for jumpy video in SoftSkies or audible crackles. Try decreasing SoftSkies's CPU load by either reducing the size of its window or by decreasing the target frame rate.

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