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Sony Thinks You'll Pay $1200 For a Digital Walkman

Mr_Wisenheimer Only at low bitrates (391 comments)

If you use high quality settings VBR with an average around 256 or higher, I doubt that anyone could tell the difference in a double blind test.

If you can actually tell the difference between a CD and mp3 (and not imagine it, as many people do), it is likely due to it not being encoded by the best standards allowed by the mp3 algorithm.

Audiophiles are convinced they can detect all sorts of differences that they probably cannot. It is the placebo effect. A lot of them rushed out to buy SACD's, recorded and played back at 24 bits and 192K samples per second, but double-blind tests show they cannot actually distinguish between a SACD or analog source played purely and one downsampled through a CD-quality DAC.

I suspect it is the same in distinguishing between high quality MP3s and CDs.

about three weeks ago
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Sony Thinks You'll Pay $1200 For a Digital Walkman

Mr_Wisenheimer I doubt that (391 comments)

The drivers (headphones) probably represent about 95% of the difference in playback quality that is detectable to a human. Headphones are what actually create the sound, not the amp and not the DAC. You'll get a lot more bang for your buck on a headphone upgrade than on upgrading your DAC or amp.

I would like to see double-blinded studies that show otherwise.

about three weeks ago
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Sony Thinks You'll Pay $1200 For a Digital Walkman

Mr_Wisenheimer Show me the actual double-blind studies. (391 comments)

Most of the quality of your music is determined by how it is recorded and mastered.

Most of the rest is determined by the drivers you use.

Different DACs and amps have different audio characteristics, but it is doubtful that, among similar ones that are not weird outliers, audiophiles can actually tell the difference or prefer one to the other when thy are properly balanced against each other in a double blind test.

about three weeks ago
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Sony Thinks You'll Pay $1200 For a Digital Walkman

Mr_Wisenheimer MP3 versus FLAC (391 comments)

So far, I have seen no convincing double-blind tests showing that anyone can distinguish between high-quality MP3 compression and lossless.

Audio has an awful lot of pseudoscience in it. Almost all the differences in the quality of sound is made:

1) During the recording process.
2) By the drivers that play back the sound.

Unless you're still listening to 128 kbs MP3's encoded using old algorithms, lossless is likely not doing much if anything beyond the placebo effect.

If you can tell the difference between a high quality, 256+ vbr MP3 and a SACD, you are probably a Cylon.

about three weeks ago
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Neil DeGrasse Tyson Explains His Christmas Tweet

Mr_Wisenheimer Oh no. . . (681 comments)

. . . he demonstrated a kernel of cleverness. He's a witch! We must burn him for upsetting the simpleminded villagers!

about a month ago
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Neil DeGrasse Tyson Explains His Christmas Tweet

Mr_Wisenheimer Nice Strawman (681 comments)

Did Newton personally force anyone to adopt Christianity?

Someone can condemn the enormity of the crimes Christians have committed against humanity in the name of their religion without condemning everyone who claims to be a Christian.

about a month ago
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Neil DeGrasse Tyson Explains His Christmas Tweet

Mr_Wisenheimer Re:Kind of disappointed in him. (681 comments)

I have a difficult time understanding the impetus that drives random people on the internet to lecture perfect strangers on how they should live their lives.

about a month ago
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65,000 Complaints Later, Microsoft Files Suit Against Tech Support Scammers

Mr_Wisenheimer Your Windows Computer has a Virus (246 comments)

SCAMMER: We have detected that the Windows computer running on your network has a virus.
ME: [lie] I only run Linux.
SCAMMER: [click]. . . [dial tone]

about a month ago
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Google Suggests Separating Students With 'Some CS Knowledge' From Novices

Mr_Wisenheimer Re:Let them eat cake! (307 comments)

There are a number of flaws with your argument:

1) "Black kids" most certainly are "less able to program," at least in the US, as revealed by the empirical evidence.

2) If you meant to write that they were congenitally not "less able to program" (which is how I interpret it), then it is a supposition based on speculation and not upon empirical evidence. The fact is, we do not know to what extent congenital factors affect ability in computer science nor do we know if they are unevenly distributed along gender, ethnic, or racial lines.

3) African Americans and "blacks" are two different groups.

4) If you had "race-blind" programs than there would be no way to target the demographics most underserved. The hill-folk in rural West Virgina and the impoverished people in Bedford–Stuyvesant both tend to be poor and undereducated and are at higher than average risk to be the victim of a crime, but for a police/sherrif's department to develop the same strategies to combat the higher crime rate in those very different demographics would be laughably obtuse.

Likewise, if you're trying to get poor, mostly rural white people in the Ozarks into computer science, you need a very different strategy than you would to get poor, mostly Latin kids in San Ysidro. Ignoring essential demographic information would be tantamount to incompetence.

Also, if helping one race to the exclusion of other races is "racist", then our whole society and culture is racist, as there exist many social institutions, formal or informal, that create that effect. It seems kind of silly to worry about Google giving money to programs that help low-participating demographics achieve parity when there exists a massive institution called American society that exists to elevate members of one population above another, on gender, racial, ethnic, national, and pecuniary lines.

about a month ago
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Google Suggests Separating Students With 'Some CS Knowledge' From Novices

Mr_Wisenheimer Re:Let them eat cake! (307 comments)

Your statement relies on a false premise. If race were "irrelevant" as a factor, then there would be no disparity along racial lines. Since there exist disparities along racial lines, your premise is false and race is certainly a "relevant" factor.

Furthermore, inherent in your definition of "reverse discrimination" is the necessity that some groups must be discriminated against to begin with (otherwise it would be just plain ordinary "discrimination" instead of so-called "reverse-discrimination", so your whole argument is self contradicting.

And then there is the impetus of your argument, which is even more disturbing than its illogical nature. You are seriously stating that, as a matter of public policy, it is a bad idea to spend education money where it is most needed, among demographics most likely to suffer from lack of educational opportunities due to circumstances beyond their control. We don't earmark as much money for fire-control measures in Alaska as California because Californians tend, demographically, to be more at risk to suffer from fire. It is just sound public policy. Likewise, we should be earmarking more money to serve demographics that are at a higher risk of ignorance. It is just sound public policy.

When African Americans are graduating college at about half the rate of non-Hispanic whites, that is terrible not just for African Americans, but for all Americans and it needs to be addressed by everyone.

about a month and a half ago
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Google Suggests Separating Students With 'Some CS Knowledge' From Novices

Mr_Wisenheimer Re:Let them eat cake! (307 comments)

I wasn't aware that African Americans were the ones who chose, "to group themselves". I'm pretty sure that slavery wasn't created by African Americans. I'm pretty sure that 300 years of systematic discrimination using legal and extralegal means to keep African Americans from participating as equals in American societies was not created by African Americans.

The issue here is not, "reverse discrimination to make things equal." That is a straw man. What is being discussed is identifying where American society is failing to provide opportunities, and targeting those demographics, the same way that a police chief identifies which areas have high rates of criminal activities and dedicates extra resources to those areas.

about a month and a half ago
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Google Suggests Separating Students With 'Some CS Knowledge' From Novices

Mr_Wisenheimer Re:Let them eat cake! (307 comments)

You are absolutely correct. African Americans are the ones who chose to separate from American culture. When the US Constitution was written, African Americans volunteered to be slaves and quite vociferously demanded that they were only as 2/3rds of a person. African Americans wrote the Jim Crow laws. African Americans were the ones that passed zoning regulations in Silicon Valley that made it illegal for African Americans to buy or rent homes in many neighborhoods and cities. African Americans petitioned colleges and universities around the US to create regulations to keep them from attending. Even today, African Americans continue to separate themselves by choosing to be disproportionally born into impoverished families in dangerous neighborhoods with under-performing schools.

Your reasoning is bullet-proof and beyond reproach. Clearly it was African Americans who separated themselves from mainstream society, not 300 years of systematic discrimination written into law and social mores by those who controlled US society.

about a month and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Software To Revive PocketPCs With Windows Mobile 5-6?

Mr_Wisenheimer Don't bother (110 comments)

The Android ports all seem to have serious flaws. The Windows CE software can still be very useful, so long as running an older version makes sense. For instance, you're probably out of luck if you want to find an up-to-date browser or version of Skype, but if you want to use it as a calculator emulator, planitarium program, or gameboy emulator, you can probably find some fine programs for it.

I have a couple of them (a Dell Axim PDA and a Windows Tilt 2 smartphone), but I just gave up on making anything useful out of them. The primary problem is that for all the cool uses that exist, very few are not better-served by simply using your smartphone. That said, there are still a few possible uses that I have thought of:

1) An MP3 player for situations where your smartphone would be inappropriate (only problem here is the DAC in most of these phones suck, so probably won't work well hooked up to a $10,000 A/V system.

2) A networked security camera.

3) Give it to a child to play games and tinker around with (one who isn't going to be getting a smartphone for a while).

4) An exchange server display (many of these still sync fine with exchange)

5) An Alarm Clock (they display time, date, weather, et cetera).

about a month and a half ago
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Google Suggests Separating Students With 'Some CS Knowledge' From Novices

Mr_Wisenheimer Let them eat cake! (307 comments)

Your argument seems to be contradictory:

1) Everyone in this country is an American.
2) If any group of Americans is underrepresented, it is solely the responsibility of that group to fix the systemic problems within US society that cause that lack of representation.

It seems to me that if we are truly one nation of Americans, we as a nation have a collective responsibility to ensure that nobody gets left behind. If African Americans are struggling educationally, the attitude of, "well, I'm not going to worry about it because it is African American's responsibility to fix the situation," is akin to not worrying about a major US city hit by a natural disaster or your neighbors' house being on fire.

If we are one nation, then the onus is upon every one of us to do all we can to help undermine the barriers that keep a group of Americans, simply through accident of birth, from achieving social parity. You can help by simply volunteering your time, or as Google has done, volunteering your money if you have it (and many Google employees also volunteer their precious time as well).

about a month and a half ago
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Programmer Father Asks: What Gets Little Girls Interested In Science?

Mr_Wisenheimer Perfect example of why engineers . . . (584 comments)

. . . should stay away from doing science. Using science and doing science are two very different career fields.

Engineer: Based on my experience . . .
Scientist: Based upon rigorous examination of the data modeled by a Poisson distribution, we conclude to within a five sigma error . . .

about 2 months ago
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Programmer Father Asks: What Gets Little Girls Interested In Science?

Mr_Wisenheimer Re:Yeesh (584 comments)

N=100 anthropological study of chimpanzees being correlated to the roles gender plays in human society is not a valid extrapolation.

It is an interesting preliminary study, but saying that girls play with barbie dolls because there have been 100 observations of chimpanzees possibly playing with sticks like dolls is about as scientific as concluding that most bonobo males are willing to have sex with infants therefore most human males are pedophiles.

about 2 months ago
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Programmer Father Asks: What Gets Little Girls Interested In Science?

Mr_Wisenheimer Re:Yeesh (584 comments)

Ever consider that the universe is just a computer simulation in some lab that exists on a plane of existence that we may never be able to access?

That's why science is so important. We can throw speculation out there all we want, but until we actually form a valid hypothesis and rigorously test it, that is all it is, speculation.

We know (from rigorous scientific testing) that the roles women and men play in society have a very strong cultural basis. We know, for instance, that the decline of women participating in CS programs was caused by changing environmental factors.

It is important that we stick to what we know scientifically and not add unfounded speculation. It is also important (from a pragmatic perspective) that we address what we can change, not what we cannot. Even, for the sake of argument, if we assume that men and women tend to naturally gravitate toward certain occupations, we cannot change that. What we can change is the well-documented environmental factors that influence the disparity.

about 2 months ago
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Programmer Father Asks: What Gets Little Girls Interested In Science?

Mr_Wisenheimer Source Needed (584 comments)

So basically, you don't have any conclusive scientific evidence so you simply claim that it is, 'rediculously obvious [sic]," and leave it at that?

What is, "rediculously obvious", is that there are a myriad of cultural factors that discourage women from pursuing certain fields such as engineering, physics, and computer science. This is backed up by some pretty compelling quantitative evidence, such as the decrease of participation of women in CS programs in the United States (unless you want to believe that the "girly" genes of the female population magically increased in a span of one generation).

Now, absent these cultural factors, would half of nurses be men and half of programmers be women? It is impossible to say with the evidence we have before us. There COULD be congenital factors to the gender disparity, but it is important to note that the possibility of something existing is not the same as it actually existing.

What we do know is that there exist significant cultural factors that discourage women (and men) from taking on certain roles in society. This is backed up by significant scientific evidence. The "nurture" claim is not.

From a practical standpoint, the nature versus nurture argument is meaningless anyway. We don't know whether or not nature keeps women from taking on certain roles in society and even if it does, there is little we can do about it. We do know that nurture keeps women (and men) from taking on certain roles in society, and that is something we can work to correct.

about 2 months ago
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Nature Makes All Articles Free To View

Mr_Wisenheimer Going forward? (97 comments)

The question is, will Nature be "free" going forward? If not, what limitations will be put on it.

Reading the article, it seems that the way this is going to work is that non-subscribers cannot access nature articles (which is disappointing), but anyone who does have access to the articles can share them with anyone who does not have access.

It is still a much better solution than the current one, which requires you to either pay or to login to your institution and search.

At least it is a step in the right direction.

about 2 months ago
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Chromebooks Overtake iPads In US Education Market

Mr_Wisenheimer Schools can get enterprise tools (193 comments)

Microsoft got where it is today because its enterprise tools are so good. In a small school district, with a part-time IT guy, I could see this being a real mess but if a school has a properly staffed, full time IT department, it is not that hard to manage these things through active-directory and other enterprise tools.

Actually, that is why most universities have switched from local administration to Google or Microsoft for email and such, and Microsoft seems to be winning that battle. You can create one login for the student for their entire tenure in the district, and that can include active directory logins, office 365, and email, so they can use that login on tablets, school computers, and the city library.

Of course, those are major universities and colleges. I'm not sure how well it scales down to a school district serving a town of 3000 people with 300 students K-12.

about 2 months ago

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