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How Stanford Engineers Created a Fictitious Compression For HBO

Josh Coalson Re:Meh (90 comments)

The method they use remind me though of FLAC.

FLAC is actually in the first episode for a few seconds; it was the baseline they were comparing against.

about 5 months ago

Whose Bug Is This Anyway?

Josh Coalson I've seen this before... (241 comments)

I used to get bug reports for FLAC caused by this very same problem.

FLAC has a verify mode when encoding which, in parallel, decodes the encoded output and compares it against the original input to make sure they're identical. Every once in a while I'd get a report that there were verification failures, implying FLAC had a bug.

If it were actually a FLAC bug, the error would be repeatable* (same error in the same place) because the algorithm is deterministic, but upon rerunning the exact same command the users would get no error, or (rarely) an error in a different place. Then they'd run some other hardware checker and find the real problem.

Turns out FLAC encoding is also a nice little hardware stressor.

(* Pedants: yes, there could be some pseudo-random memory corruption, etc but that never turned out to be the case. PS I love valgrind.)

about 2 years ago

Is Silicon Valley Morally Bankrupt and Toxic?

Josh Coalson Not a Luddite screed (469 comments)

It's not just corporate greed; consumer greed fuels the race to the bottom of the price curve. Users apparently have no problem "paying" for a service with their and others' privacy or other intangibles as long as the service is free-as-in-beer. The whole vendor-customer structure has been inverted; Facebook's and Google's etc. users who might have been paying customers in a sane economy pay nothing so are now the product. Now half the "innovation" that happens in the valley is just new ways to get people's attention and sell them out to advertisers, and the more obvious a patent is, the more it's worth.

I wonder if there could ever be a sane market again where you paid what a phone costs and got secure communication without being tracked, or paid for email with built in PGP and avoided getting spammed and having your email property of and stored by your provider forever, paid for a social networking service without having your life exposed or your face secretly scanned and sold to the government. I think those times are gone.

more than 2 years ago

How Spyware Reaches Oppressive Governments

Josh Coalson Total non sequitur (109 comments)

What the hell does capitalism have to do with it? I hate to break it to you but capitalism is not the only economic system that allows some to sell something to someone else. I suppose you think it is also capitalism's fault that Chinese companies sell weapons to Sudan?

more than 2 years ago

Federal Court Tosses Colorado's Amazon Tax

Josh Coalson Re:Gid Rid of All Sales Taxes (229 comments)

Here's an idea to clear up this mess nicely: get rid of all sales taxes. They're extremely regressive and complicate and impede commerce. Increase income, property, and capital gains taxes to compensate.

Sales tax is only 'regressive' if you measure the expenditure as a percentage of income, which is totally arbitrary. That phony definition plays on people's classism to sway them one way or the other. Sales tax when measured against the actual tax base is not regressive and in the US is actually more 'progressive' in that some goods you need to survive have no sales tax.

more than 2 years ago

Mastering Engineer Explains Types of Compression, Effects On Today's Music

Josh Coalson Re:Not avoiding MP3s (382 comments)

Note that FLAC was not designed to sound better than MP3s. (It can, if the MP3 encoding wasn't done correctly.) It was designed primarily as an archival format, the master copy from which you could encode to whatever format was practical for listening.

It didn't take long to realize that FLAC was easy to implement on devices, and memory keeps getting cheaper, so why not skip the transcoding step entirely? Not for quality reasons, for practicality. So now pretty much all software (except iTunes) supports it and many very good devices (except iPod) do too.

more than 2 years ago

Why We Should Buy Music In FLAC

Josh Coalson Re:Seems fairly obvious why not (550 comments)

Isn't the fact that it's "good, free, and open" the exact reasons the publishers wouldn't use it? It kinda flies in the face of them being tyrannical mongrels controlling the media distribution if customers can actually meaningfully use it.

From the publisher's point of view, MP3 is as free and open as FLAC is. That's why a lot of them do sell FLAC. Like the Beatles (before they were even in the Apple store), the Rolling Stones and even Metallica.

more than 3 years ago

Hosting Company Appears To Be Violating the GPL [Resolved]

Josh Coalson Re:10 years and almost no development (418 comments)

better yet, grab a copy of the whole cvs repository from which you can check out any version:

rsync -av rsync://winmtr.cvs.sourceforge.net/cvsroot/winmtr/* .

more than 3 years ago

One Tip Enough To Put Name On Terrorist Watch List

Josh Coalson Re:Perhaps. (446 comments)

Citation needed. What are you talking about here? I'm sorry, but you can't look for hidden weapons in peoples' cars with today's technology just by driving by them in a van. X-rays don't penetrate steel unless they're extremely high power, and at that power, you'd kill the people inside the car.

did you even look? http://blogs.forbes.com/andygreenberg/2010/08/24/full-body-scan-technology-deployed-in-street-roving-vans/.

hell, even https://encrypted.google.com/search?q=x-ray+van would do it.

"citation needed" does not mean "I'm too lazy to type 2 words into a search box"

more than 3 years ago

Apple Pays Couple $1.7m For 1 Acre Plot

Josh Coalson Re:fools! (215 comments)

Hopefully it turned out better for them than this.

more than 4 years ago

Cyberwarrior Shortage Threatens US Security

Josh Coalson Re:Duh, they are in jail. (394 comments)

It's part of a greater "war on curiosity" that's a fear-based initiative to stamp out any and all behaviors that even slightly deviate from a prescribed norm.

It's deeper than that; I think there's a large contingent of the population here that would agree with Tertullian:

"Now, pray tell me, what wisdom is there in this hankering after conjectural speculations? What proof is afforded to us, notwithstanding the strong confidence of its assertions, by the useless affectation of a scrupulous curiosity, which is tricked out with an artful show of language? It therefore served Thales of Miletus quite right, when, star-gazing as he walked with all the eyes he had, he had the mortification of falling into a well... His fall, therefore, is a figurative picture of the philosophers; of those, I mean, who persist in applying their studies to a vain purpose, since they indulge a stupid curiosity on natural objects, which they ought rather (intelligently to direct) to their Creator and Governor." -- Tertullian, Ad Nationes II:4

more than 4 years ago

US Immigration Bill May Bring a National Biometric ID Card

Josh Coalson Re:Start with lawmakers (619 comments)

The problem is not the card, it's the data and what's done with it. Somehow I doubt Congressmen have their personal and biometric data in some crappy insecure system, easily accessed, shared with any agency or corporation willy-nilly, sold to marketers, etc. like what is going to happen if this proposal goes through.

more than 4 years ago

US Immigration Bill May Bring a National Biometric ID Card

Josh Coalson Start with lawmakers (619 comments)

Fine, congressmen should get the cards first. If they still like the idea after 6 years, let them try and foist it on the rest of us.

more than 4 years ago

Ethics of Releasing Non-Malicious Linux Malware?

Josh Coalson Re:Dear Slashdot (600 comments)

bad analogies are like waxing a monkey with a rainbow.

about 5 years ago

Vulgar Comment On Newspaper Site Costs Man His Job

Josh Coalson Re:"We reserve the right" (643 comments)

it could just be a hoax. from the comments:

Just a month ago Greenbaum wrote an article and tweeted about hoaxes in the media. What motivates people to do them, etc.

Now, it sounds like all the details come straight from Greenbaum. ...

http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/leaving_a_vulgar_comment_online_might_cost_you_your_job.php#comment-169438 http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/leaving_a_vulgar_comment_online_might_cost_you_your_job.php#comment-169602

more than 5 years ago

Can We Really Tell Lossless From MP3?

Josh Coalson Re:Who cares? (849 comments)

maybe as a distributor you care about ipod market share. and yet the fact remains: no one is selling alac, only flac.

as a consumer, the market share of players makes no difference. what matters is choice. how many portables do you have to choose from if you want alac? ipod. how many players if you want flac? dozens, probably hundreds now.

anyway lossless makes the least sense in portables. lossless makes the most sense in distribution because encoding to some other format incurs no generation loss.

your advantages/disadvantages just don't match with the reality.

more than 5 years ago

Can We Really Tell Lossless From MP3?

Josh Coalson Re:I've been saying this for years. (849 comments)

Nonetheless, I just rip all my music as .wav now for archiving. To me its not even worth the effort to convert that to FLAC or other lossless codecs, because that just means an additional decoding step if I ever want to use the music for purposes besides playing it live in Winamp.

there are a couple of benefits (besides the free space): 1) flac is easier to tag in a way that is seen by all players; 2) if your wavs get corrupt, you might not know until you listen to them (maybe getting full-scale noise screaming out of your speakers), and the damage (rarely) could mess up the remainder of the file. with flac, each frame has a checksum and you can verify the whole thing. any errors damage only the frame, and can be detected and muted.

more than 5 years ago



Numbers Trickle In For Online Music Experiments

Josh Coalson Josh Coalson writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Josh Coalson (538042) writes "Radiohead's move to offer their new album online was bold, but since they haven't released sales number we've been left to guess at the results. Recently Trent Reznor posted details about the results of his online experiment, the release of Saul William's "Niggy Tardust" album with the option to pay nothing for 192kbps MP3 or $5 for higher quality. Of 154,449 downloads, around 1 out of 5 chose to pay. (Also interesting, of those choosing to pay $5, about 20% opted for FLAC over MP3.) In interviews Trent and Saul both talk more about why the results are "disheartening" but not a failure."


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