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Crowdfunded Linux Voice Magazine Releases First Issue CC-BY-SA

mcphail Slashdot is so full of hate these days (62 comments)

M-Saunders, please ignore the hate and thanks for your enlightened views on publishing. I was disappointed when you guys "forked" LinuxFormat but I have enjoyed what I have consumed of the new magazine and podcast. I hope your business model is sustainable and look forward to catching up with the issues I've missed.

about 2 months ago

DarkMarket, the Decentralized Answer To Silk Road, Is About More Than Just Drugs

mcphail Re:So go ahead - what are the legitimate uses of t (251 comments)

I doubt there will be any "legitimate" uses of this particular technology.

However, it may be a model on which we can base future online retail. The existing model is utterly broken: I really don't want databases all over the world holding my username, password, credit card details and billing address waiting for the next SQL or SSL vulnerability to vomit the information into the hands of criminals. Nor do I want to trust, use or respect services like paypal.

View this as an iteration towards a more secure and decentralised system for legitimate commerce which keeps credit card and escrow companies out of the equation. Surely that is a good thing?

about 9 months ago

450 Million Lines of Code Can't Be Wrong: How Open Source Stacks Up

mcphail Re:Some things can't be measured objectively (209 comments)

The line which tends to ruin my software is: /* Copyright (c) 2013 Neil McPhail */


about a year and a half ago

RAM in my most-used personal computer:

mcphail I'm obviously in the dark ages (543 comments)

I christened my main box "beast" because I put in a whopping 2GB of DDR RAM. It continues to serve me well. Hardly ever swaps (I even ran it for about a year with no swap space - by accident - with no noticeable ill effects...). The processor is the choke point but not that I notice unless I'm editing video.

more than 3 years ago

BetaNet Sues Everyone For Remote SW Activation

mcphail Re:The mostest (227 comments)

Far too much prior art in that little corner of the world, I'm afraid.

more than 5 years ago

New Hitchhiker's Guide Book "Not Very Funny"

mcphail Re:meh (410 comments)

You are aware that the correct spelling is "fetus"? "Foetus" would be derived from the Latin for "stench" - which tends to be a post-partum phenomenon!

more than 5 years ago

Prescription Handguns For the Elderly and Disabled

mcphail Accident waiting to happen? (1093 comments)

Moral objections aside, the pictured device looks reasonably similar to several dry powder inhaler devices (e.g. http://www.serevent.com/how_to_use_serevent.html) used for the treatment of asthma. Patients get confused about their medications and devices on a frequent basis, and it won't be long before someone tries to inhale a lump of lead.

more than 6 years ago

After 3 Years, Rockbox 3.0 Released

mcphail Re:Anyone prefer this to the stock firmware? (248 comments)

First of all, I am by no means an audiophile. I have a 3rd generation iPod and a computer with onboard sound and 2 tinny speakers on either side of my monitor.

I quite like the standard iPod interface. I can find tracks quickly using the database and scrollwheel. I've had some issues transferring files with amarok, but gtkPod works well.

Most of my collection sounds fine on the iPod, but I was never very satisfied with orchestral music with a large dynamic range. I'd ripped some Arvo Part CDs to MP3 at increasingly high bitrates using lame. Despite that, the quiet bits (such as the closing bell harmonic at the end of "Cantus") sounded awful: some sort of bubbling distortion. It seemed fine playing through my PC, but I put that down to my dodgy hardware blotting out the bubbling noise. In the end, I resurrected my old windows partition and ripped to AAC in iTunes. It was a bit better. My conclusion at the time? AAC was a better music format than MP3.

Then I installed Rockbox. I didn't like the interface much, and preferred browsing a database of artists rather than reorganising my whole collection into folders. At the time, browsing on a 3G iPod was painful. It would take about 60 seconds to scroll through a moderate sized list of artists. (I submitted a patch to speed this up but it was rejected. In any case it works much better now.) Battery life was poor, and crashes were frequent. I considered wiping it from the machine, but then I listened to those quiet MP3 tracks again.

The difference was stunning.

Crystal clear and without distortion, they sounded as good as the original CDs (and at least as good as the AACs).

My conclusion now? Apple's MP3 decoder on the 3G iPod is appalling. Being a bit of a cynic, I suspect it has been crippled or underdeveloped to push DRM-leaden formats.

Rockbox has come a long way since I tried it. It now seems as stable as the default firmware and I'd recommend it highly.

more than 6 years ago


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