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Can Rep. John Culberson Save NASA's Space Exploration Program?

rnturn Re:um.... (150 comments)

Maybe, just maybe, if the USPS wasn't required to prepay the retirement benefits for employees who haven't even been born yet (and their children who may become postal workers), they'd be able to make a profit. That wasn't mentioned in the article you referenced. My guess is that providing the reader of that little tidbit of information would interfere with their "USPS = inefficient govt. agency" narrative.

yesterday
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Research Highlights How AI Sees and How It Knows What It's Looking At

rnturn Can't you just call it broken? (130 comments)

I mean an AI that looks at static and says it's a school bus 99.99% of the time seems to be about as broken as could be. The researchers have to be the most optimistic folks in the world if they still think there's a pony in there. I'd be seriously thinking about scrapping the software (or, at least, looking for a bad coding error) and/or looking for an entirely new algorithm after achieving results that bad.

5 days ago
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Dr. Dobb's 38-Year Run Comes To an End

rnturn Re:Time to mourn another passing... (156 comments)

You're a mind reader. It's that time of year to re-up my membership and I was thinking of adding a couple of the Societies to the fee for this next year.

5 days ago
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Dr. Dobb's 38-Year Run Comes To an End

rnturn Time to mourn another passing... (156 comments)

Creative Computing...
IBM PC Technical Journal...
Byte...
DEC Professional...
UNIX Review...
Perl Journal...
Linux Journal...
SysAdmin...
And now Dr. Dobbs?

What the heck am I going to do for leisure reading now?

about a week ago
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Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

rnturn Re:Mesmerizing (433 comments)

Those were used on direct drive turntables to allow the user to fine tune the speed. Line frequency is -- in theory -- 60Hz (in the US) but can be off a bit. The strobe+markings were to let you compensate for that. I'm not aware of any drive-wheel or belt-drive turntables that had the speed adjustments.

about a week ago
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Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

rnturn Re:NO DRM! (433 comments)

``Except for the fact that it will be worn down.''

Depends on how you take care of it. I suspect that someone buying vinyl today for the first time is going to subject it to a whole lot more abuse than those of us who've been listening to it for decades. After seeing my daughters drop their MP3 players time after time (after time) I wonder if an LP would survive a week. That doesn't necessarily make the format inferior. (Except for the use case or environment that a newcomer to the format may assume it can be used in.)

about a week ago
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Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

rnturn Re:Not convincing at all (433 comments)

There's also the ridiculously (scratch that... obscenely) expensive audio cabling from Pear that were discussed on /. years ago.

about a week ago
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Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

rnturn Re:Nitche Market (433 comments)

I have to chuckle a bit when I hear people extolling the virtues of the higher dynamic range of digital recordings when those recording are typically heard while in the car or played through second-rate ear buds. Face it: you only get the advantage of that dynamic range when you're sitting at home in a comfortable chair. (When nobody else is around vacuuming the carpet or running the washer/dryer.)

about a week ago
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Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

rnturn Re:Nitche Market (433 comments)

I realize you're talking about the vinyl recording industry but so much of what happens today depends wa-a-a-y too much on someone being able to make a killing on something. Not a comfortable profit but a killing. And you can see where that's gotten us.

When I think of the number of recordings that would never have even made into the record store bins if this idea became the sole reason for making a record, my head spins. It might be the entire thought process that someone like Simon Cowell employs when deciding to make a record but how many classic rock performers would have been able to make past that a**hole if he'd been around back in the '60s or '70s. "I'm sorry Janis but that was bloody awful!"

about a week ago
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Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

rnturn Re:Nitche Market (433 comments)

Not really. Modern, overly-compressed recordings sound louder because of the reduced dynamic range. Once you throw away dynamic range you can make things seem louder at the expense of detail in quieter passages or the emotional impact of quiet sections followed by louder. You cannot pull the same trick on vinyl. There's only so much room on the medium that if you tried making it louder you'd have to give up on duration. To make it louder by compressing the dynamic range prior to putting it on the vinyl, the only way you can make it louder is by forcing the listener to walk over to the amp and turning up the volume. On one point, I do agree with you: there would be awful recordings on vinyl today as there is no shortage of awful producers that want their records to sound "big". These are the same producers, though, that I suspect have been polluting the airwaves with overly auto-tuned pop garbage for the past decade or so.

about a week ago
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Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

rnturn Re:Sounds Better? (433 comments)

In the early days of CDs there were some differences that could be heard. The audio magazines were full of the pros and cons of analog/LP and digital/CD recordings. It often came down to a need to change the manner in which performances were recorded, changes in miking, etc. Early CDs often came across as too "harsh", "hot", or "bright" and clearly sounded different than LPs.

about a week ago
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Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

rnturn Re:not lossless (433 comments)

BINGO!

about a week ago
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Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

rnturn Re:Not really missing vinyl (433 comments)

``There is great hope that once broadcast stations have adopted new loudness measurement standards like EBU R128 the problem will vanish over time.''

Probably not. Have you heard what's on most radio stations nowadays? It's 50% commercials that are mixed to sound louder than the next guy's commercials. Who's going to listen to a radio station that plays music with a high dynamic range only to have their eardrums blown out when the station switches to a five-minute long block of commercials? I've given up on the vast majority of radio stations because of the quantity of commercials. That and the constant playing of the same "hits" ad nauseum. The major exception is a classical station I can pick up that has announcer-read commercials. I can't imagine how bad that station would sound if some outfit like Clear Channel ever got its mitts on it.

about a week ago
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Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

rnturn Re:Speakers (433 comments)

Most people who care about good sound reproduction will budget about 50% (or so) of what they wanted to spend for an audio system on just the speakers. High-end electronics plus cheap speakers are a terrible combination but we've probably all known someone who went for the crazy expensive amp with 0.00001% THD and then ran the signal to crappy speakers.

about a week ago
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Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

rnturn Re:Not really missing vinyl (433 comments)

A higher sampling rate reduces the distance between the "steps" over time. Using more bits in the sample increases the accuracy of the measurement taken at each sampling instance, i.e., lowers the quantization error. I think there are studies that show that the human ear+brain combination is less sensitive to the errors in reproduction due to quantization error so recordings can get away with fewer bits (plus the digital filtering you referred to).

I still have the IEEE journal edition that came out when the CD format was finalized. Article after article about how and why the format is the way it is. Sounds like tracking that down might make for a good night of leisure reading.

about a week ago
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Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

rnturn Re:Not really missing vinyl (433 comments)

``my hearing exceeds 15KHz - unusally good for humans''

Trust me... you lose that as you age. When I was younger, I could tell when walking into someone's house whether there was a television on. It was easy for me hear the 15KHz flyback transformer from the TV's CRT. Years later I could only hear it unless I was sitting right next to the CRT. Nowadays, with the death of the CRT, I have a lower ability to measure my high frequency hearing loss. (Without going to an audiologist, that is.)

Good luck finding speakers that can reproduce sound at 100KHz. That's far outside the range of a good ribbon tweeter and well outside the hearing limits of any humans. And probably even that of dogs.

about a week ago
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Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

rnturn Re:Not really missing vinyl (433 comments)

It's not the digital format that produces "the watery tones of overcompressed music". It's crap engineers and (IMHO, mainly) crap producers that create the atrocities that are most of today's music. I have some early CDs made back when the format was new that are a treat to listen to. I also have a few CD titles that I have two copies of: the original garbage CD release and a remastered version that the artists got re-released after being engineered by someone who knew WTF they were doing and was more concerned with the quality of the resulting sound than by a rush to get it out the door.

I also have a ton (I haven't weighed the lot but it would surprise me if that wasn't a literal assessment of the quantity I have on the shelves; it sure feels like that much when I have to move them) of vinyl that I still enjoy listening to. Having to get off my rear after 20 minutes or so to flip to side B is not such a big deal. The occasional pop and tick due to dust isn't all that much of a deal either. What does make me sad is how certain vinyl recordings have deteriorated with age because of the substandard material used in the pressings (it seems to result in an overall increase in the background hiss and pops and ticks of a much higher frequency than one gets from a dust particle). Unfortunately, these are recordings that will likely never be released in a digital format.

I love the comment about the social activity of gathering around a turntable to listen to a record. How many people actually do that with a CD or, especially, an MP3?

about a week ago
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Ask Slashdot: Dealing With Electronics-Induced Inattentiveness?

rnturn Re:Objectively Guage Your Happiness (312 comments)

``They won't understand. They'll list all of the great things that the modern device can do that the old device can't do. You'll repeat: `it doesn't make me happier.' You'll add: `and it doesn't look like it makes you happier either'.''

I love this. I have done something like this, on occasion, when my relatives/friends get on my case about not having cable. (I have put a big-ass antenna in the attic that's pointed toward Chicago so I can still get basic TV; I'm not a total hermit.) I do it to a certain extent with my phone. Not the latest and greatest. We got one with an ``almost no data'' plan. That means we're not able to surf on our phones unless we're at home or someplace where we can hop on a free WiFi access point. Most of the time I'm too lazy to jump through the hoops so no data/web and I really don't miss it. One downside of my not keeping my ancient flip phone was that the new phone is too large (and too expensive) to stash in a cycling jersey and won't fit into my amphipod when I go out for a run. Small price to pay for some peace and quiet, I guess.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Dealing With Electronics-Induced Inattentiveness?

rnturn Re:Change your state of mind (312 comments)

And try jogging/running without an MP3 player.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Dealing With Electronics-Induced Inattentiveness?

rnturn Re:Don't be passive, DO something (312 comments)

``I stumbled upon a solution while taking an online course... watching the lecture at 2x speed helped me focus.''

I devised a solution to a similar problem some years ago. We were required to listen to a series of audio training sessions. If the topics weren't boring enough already, to top it off, they were done by a couple of people from the Texas office who were unable to talk in anything but a slow (a painfully slow) drawl. I found that playing the sessions back at about 120% or so of normal speed made them a bit more tolerable for my Midwestern ears. At least they didn't put me to sleep. (New Yorkers might have needed to crank up the speed a bit higher.)

about two weeks ago

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