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Facebook's Auto-Play Videos Chew Up Expensive Data Plans

russbutton Re:Slashdot chews up expensive data plans... (108 comments)

One's right to life, liberty, property, speech, press, freedom of worship and assembly may not be submitted to vote

Unless of course, if you're black, gay, or an undocumented immigrant...

about two weeks ago
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You Got Your Windows In My Linux

russbutton Two solutions (613 comments)

For those who object to systemd, why not fork off your own distribution and bring back init? It's not like that sort of thing hasn't been done before.

For y'all who are systemd proponents, if you actually want it to be adopted, then spend some money on a good tech writer and document the damn thing. I've read what documentation there is and it sucks. Really.

I'm pretty agnostic when it comes to things like this. The big issue for me is whether I can get it to do what I want. Is the documentation sufficient for me to understand how to use it and how to get it to do what I want? In this case, not only do I need to know how to start/stop system services, I want to be able to add new system services. Doing so was very easy in REHL/CentOS with init and chkconfig.

Most of us really don't care two cents for the reasons y'all want systemd, and I'm sure there are good reasons. What we want is to be able to know how to use it, and that only comes from good documentation.

Of course this may be a case of some a**holes feeling they're more clever than everyone else, and because they know better, this not only gets pushed own everyone's throat, they get to feel superior because they know how it works and nobody else does. This is the same kind of ego inflating attitude that guaranteed UNIX and Linux would (and will) always take a back seat to Windows and MacOS (which is doggy doo of a different kind, but doggy doo nonetheless).

about two weeks ago
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NRC Analyst Calls To Close Diablo Canyon, CA's Last Remaining Nuclear Plant

russbutton Re:Earthquake Safety isn't the main problem (216 comments)

I stand by my statement that I believe the reactor to be safe. But the on-site storage of waste is quite another matter. Were there to be a major quake and tsunami, there's no telling what that would mean for waste stored on-site. That would be Very Bad.

about three weeks ago
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NRC Analyst Calls To Close Diablo Canyon, CA's Last Remaining Nuclear Plant

russbutton Earthquake Safety isn't the main problem (216 comments)

33 years ago I was the cost analyst for the Diablo Canyon project. I've been inside the thing and earthquake safety was huge in the construction of the plant. It is VASTLY over-engineered for earthquake safety. The original spec was to survive an 8.0 earthquake on the San Andreas fault, which is 30 miles away. The Hosgri fault, which is just off-shore, was unknown at the time the plant was first sited and was only discovered later. The plant was re-engineered to withstand an 8.0 earthquake on the Hosgri fault, which hasn't moved in many thousands of years.

The real problem with Diablo Canyon, and the rest of the nuclear industry is managing the waste. There is no place to put nuclear waste in this country, so it's just stored on-site. That's crazy. You can't do that forever.

That being said, my expectation is that we'll continue to see tech advancements in solar and wind generation, and energy storage to the point where large central generation will be a thing of the past.

about three weeks ago
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The Coming IT Nightmare of Unpatchable Systems

russbutton Re:Driverless cars... (240 comments)

Eddie Jefferson was shot outside a Detroit nightclub in 1979 by a dancer who was pissed off at him. In 1972, Lee Morgan was killed on-stage in a New York night club by his jealous girlfriend. In 1988, Chet Baker died when he "fell out of a window". One of the greatest tragedies of all was when Clifford Brown died in 1956, at the age of 25, when a car he was riding in ran off a highway on-ramp in the rain. Probably the most amazing jazz musician's death was that of Buddy Rich, who somehow managed to die of natural causes.

But I can't recall any jazz players who were killed in a Chicago nightclub.

about 3 months ago
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The Coming IT Nightmare of Unpatchable Systems

russbutton Driverless cars... (240 comments)

Wait until we have driverless cars on the road. But I'm sure they'll all be bullet-proof secure, don'tcha think?

about 3 months ago
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Facebook Refuses To Share Employee Race and Gender Data

russbutton Re:Ugg the diversity brigade strikes again (250 comments)

What about all the older engineers who are out of work?

One of the problems in tech work is that the tools and technology we use keep changing so fast, it's very, very difficult to stay current. Companies don't provide training for their workers any more either. So workers tend to get used and thrown away when their skill sets are no longer relevant.

I used to work at macys.com. I was pidgeon-holed doing one thing - building Linux systems using kickstart. I wanted to grow my skill set at the time and get into working with puppet, but they said they instead wanted to bring in someone with puppet experience instead of giving me a chance to do the work myself. That's about the time I started my job search to go elsewhere. Got a $15k pay raise out of it too.

Age discrimination is more pervasive than even gender and race discrimination. Just you wait and see for yourself...

about 4 months ago
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Facebook Refuses To Share Employee Race and Gender Data

russbutton Re:Ugg the diversity brigade strikes again (250 comments)

Chances are were you to look at Facebook's demographics, not only would you find it to be either white or Asian Americans or H1-B Indians, as well as lacking in American blacks and latinos, you'd also find it be a very young crowd as well. Chances are there are very few people over the age of 35 who are not in the executive class. Even then, you'd probably not find many older workers even as executives.

Zuckerberg has made no effort to hide his disdain for older workers as well as anyone else. A disclosure of Facebook's demographics would likely open them up to many, many $millions in discrimination lawsuits.

Remember that today's college graduates are having a difficult time finding work while Zuckerberg and his like are doing their best to bring in South Asians on H1-B visas. The excuse for the H1-B visa is that you can't find anyone to do that work. The truth is you can't find anyone to do that work for minimum wage...

Clearly Zuckerberg hasn't got enough money.

about 4 months ago
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Climate Scientist: Climate Engineering Might Be the Answer To Warming

russbutton Re:What if we overcorrect? (343 comments)

I just don't think our climate modelling is yet good enough.

One problem is that it's not possible to validate your climate modeling. Planetary terraforming is writing and implementing Alpha code in a Production System with no backout plan.

Pretty scary when it's the Fate of All Mankind in your hands.

On the other hand, things are VERY bleak if something isn't done. History is very clear about how we will respond to this threat. Humans are very selfish as individuals and will not act collectively for the good of the whole. It's never happened and is not likely to any time soon.

The only real answer will be to both continue with current efforts to develop new sources of energy, new energy storage systems, new ways of acquiring safe water cheaply as well as looking for ways to gently manage the planetary climate. There really is no other choice.

about 5 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Start With Linux In the Workplace?

russbutton Consider moving the users to a Chromebook (452 comments)

If you're considering putting a whole office of newbies on Linux, then all they need is a web browser and simple word processing, spreadsheet, e-mail and printing. Sounds to me like something that could be accommodated by a Chromebox or Chromebook. They're CHEAP too! Zero maintenance.

about 5 months ago
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Smart Car Tipping Trending In San Francisco

russbutton Re:San Fran = the new Detroit (371 comments)

If that $4000-Bedroom is downton SF, your tech job in Mountain View or Cupertino is NOT within walking distance.

The tech jobs have come to SF big time. Where have you been? South of Market is full of techies. I live in the East Bay and work at 3rd/Brannan. The whole area is tech companies. Rackspace, Zynga, Adobe, Facebook, Twitter, Macys.com and Ubisoft are just a few of the companies in the area. A ton of little startups like the one I'm with are there as well.

But yes, SF has a large number of people who work in Mountain View and Cupertino as well. Google, Apple and some of the other big companies provide buses for their people who work in SF. There are so many techies in SF that rents have gone waaaaay up and the working class folks are pissed because of it.

about 5 months ago
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Smart Car Tipping Trending In San Francisco

russbutton Re:San Fran = the new Detroit (371 comments)

Actually San Francisco is gaining a lot of people with money. Rents are beyond belief. This is the city where $4000 gets you a 1 bedroom apartment within walking distance of your tech job. Your basic $1 million home is 3 bedrooms, 1 bath, with a patch of cement in front some here call a lawn.

Certainly there is a sizeable left leaning population, but they are hardly unemployed sitting around demanding handouts. The politically active leftists are just as self-sufficient and delusional as the politically active right wingnuts. We do have both here in the San Francisco area.

about 5 months ago
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Elite Violinists Can't Distinguish Between a Stradivarius and a Modern Violin

russbutton Re:Modern audiophiles are no different. (469 comments)

Digital audio is only a storage and transport mechanism, and in its role as a transport mechanism, analog audio cannot compete.

In this I agree. Frankly this is the appealing quality of digital technology. Unfortunately we don't listen in the digital domain and there are a number of links in the chain that happen by the time you actually hear something and they're all analog.

As far as vinyl vs. CD, I never said one was superior to the other. I just said they were different and attempted to qualify what that difference was. I do know that vinyl (or digital for that matter) on my home system will be vastly more pleasurable than a digital recording on any set of head phones, computer attached speakers, commercial home theatre system, or whatever it is most of y'all listen to. Ultimately it's all about the pleasure of listening to music.

about 5 months ago
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Elite Violinists Can't Distinguish Between a Stradivarius and a Modern Violin

russbutton Re:Modern audiophiles are no different. (469 comments)

And there's exactly the problem. You're using subjective words like "better". When you're looking for "better" sound, you're looking for the specific quirks and distortions that you prefer. None of that belongs in a recording medium. A recording medium should be measured on how accurate it is...

"Better" is something subjective. It really comes to what you prefer. As for "accuracy", there is so much that affects audio reproduction that the simple notion of "accuracy" is almost nonsense.

I find so many audiophiles who worry about the smallest details of reproduction, spending enormous sums on a variety of audio tweaks, completely ignoring how the recording was originally engineered and produced. There is enormous difference in the signal produced by different microphones. Miking technique makes a tremendous difference in a recordings timbre and imaging. When you put separate mikes on each player in isolation, the resulting recording never sounds like the band was actually sitting in front of you. It's a totally different experience.

There are a variety of recording techniques that are used for a reason. Many find that the 3 channel recordings the Mercury label did back in the 1950s to be some of the best sound ever done. Are you familiar with the differences between M-S, Blumlein and ORTF recording techniques? Do you know which microphones are best with each and why?

And then there's how you use the playback equipment you have. What is the shape of your listening room? What effect do you believe it is that your room has on the result? Did you ever consider that your room might be affecting your sound? Have you ever experimented with speaker placement?

The whole notion of "accuracy" is almost irrelevant in the face of so many other variables.

I love digital because bits is bits and get copied with perfect accuracy, but we don't listen to digital. We listen to analog and every file of digital information has to be translated to an analog wave form, and that translation has a great deal of variation in it. That's why there are so many different DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) devices sold. And you don't have to spend megabucks to hear this. Take a Behringer USB audio interface and compare it to any of the $400 to $600 DAC devices on the market. You'll hear a very real difference, and one that I submit would be surprising. Compare the Behringer to the output of a typical pro-grade Tascam CD player (you do this by feeding the Behringer a digital signal direct from the CD player) and you'll find that they're indistinguishable. So your typical CD player is actually inferior to most of the $500 range DAC devices you'll find.

We listen to analog and there is a great deal of analog happening long after you leave the digital domain. Anyone who says that digital is perfection clearly hasn't seriously examined the world of analog reproduction, which is so much more than vinyl vs. CD.

about 5 months ago
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Elite Violinists Can't Distinguish Between a Stradivarius and a Modern Violin

russbutton Re:Modern audiophiles are no different. (469 comments)

44.1kHz/16bit CDs cover the full functional range of human hearing.

if you truly believe that 44.1khz/16 bit digital reproduction is perfection, then there is no further discussion possible with you.

about 5 months ago
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Elite Violinists Can't Distinguish Between a Stradivarius and a Modern Violin

russbutton Re:Modern audiophiles are no different. (469 comments)

His description is exactly what happens with vinyl. It's also similar to tube amps. We tend to like the particular distortions that we like.

But we don't hear like that. I do love the sound of tube amps. But I'm not so conceited as to declare that the best. You can listen to Rameau with hip hop filtering on your system as far as I care - it's what you like.

But to the subject at hand, it isn't difficult to prove that digital has much higher potential for much less distortion compared to vinyl or tube amps. It's all just that some people prefer the distortin that they like.

Note: a lot of CD music these days is coming out with a lot of distortion and compression in the original mix.

The thing I object to in some of the earlier comments is the suggestion that the difference in sound quality is due to equalization. That the difference in sound quality of vinyl vs. digital is that it's just a low-pass filter. I think there are many other reasons for audible differences, such as the distortion characteristics you suggest. I also like tube amps but currently only run solid state. If my Bryston preamp ever dies (and I probably will before it does), I may go to a tube preamp then. My Linkwitz Orions are multi-amped and call for 8 channels at 60wpc, which would be far too expensive to run with tubes, let alone how much they'd heat the house. I find that mosfet amps have a pleasing distortion quality similar to that of tubes, so I'm happy with that.

Please note that I've never said here that either format was better than the other. All I've said is that I hear differences and that it's not simply a matter of equalization. In a world where most experience music through ear buds connected to their smart phones or iPods, what we audiophiles think really is of little consequence.

It's also been my experience that CD releases are typically re-mastered from the original studio recordings, so much of the difference between vinyl and CD releases has to do with the mastering engineers and the decisions they made.

As for my own preference, I don't have one. I enjoy both formats and am more interested in listening to good players than I am in worrying about the relative merits of vinyl/CD/hi-res recordings. I've got some 10" LPs from the late 1940s which really swing. To me, that's what's important.

about 5 months ago
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Elite Violinists Can't Distinguish Between a Stradivarius and a Modern Violin

russbutton Re:Modern audiophiles are no different. (469 comments)

If you are a true audiophile, you can only listen to live music.

I'm both a performing musician and an engineer. I've had a strong interest in audio since I built my first Heathkit tuner in 1971. During my college days, I built solid state Dynaco units, and later spent a number of years designing and building loudspeakers. My first loudspeaker was from a design in the August 1976 issue of Audio Magazine for a Theil aligned enclosure of 20 cubic feet. It was the size of a refrigerator. Was 3 db down at 20 hz. Loads of fun.

The definition of a "true audiophile" is as varied as their are human beings to interpret the phrase. I see the term "audiophile" as being anyone who loves listening to music and wants to reproduce it faithfully at home. Most are constrained by limitations of budget, physical listening space and situation, and having to accommodate the living situation requirements of others they live with. Many audiophiles are familiar with the acronym "WAF" (Wife Acceptance Factor) as it seems to be fact that those who consider themselves to be audiophiles, under whatever definition you care to use, are 99% male.

I like to think that audiophiles are people who care to engineer the sound reproduction systems in their homes. What takes it another great leap forward is when you begin to build your own gear - amplifiers, speakers, etc. Another path is to do your own location recordings. As my wife is a professional violinist, I get to record some very good concerts from time to time. You can check out some of them at the website for the Temescal String Quartet. In particular the recordings of the 1st movement of the Brahms Clarinet Quintet and the whole of the Ravel String Quartet are performances I very much enjoy.

So if you want to meet *MY* definition of a "true audiophile", you'll build some of your own gear and will get out and record stuff live and bring it back home. If it sounds in your living room like it did live, then you've accomplished something. And yes. You can get it all done with very inexpensive gear. My recordings were done with Behringer C2 mikes, cheap cables, an M-Audio USB audio interface feeding into a 7 year old Win XP laptop running Audacity. Take a listen at:

http://www.temescalquartet.com...

about 5 months ago
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Elite Violinists Can't Distinguish Between a Stradivarius and a Modern Violin

russbutton Re:Modern audiophiles are no different. (469 comments)

Yes, that "warmer" sound is called "low pass filtered"...

(Real, live music has a much higher share of high frequency noise than both vinyl and CD, but it gets mastered and filtered to the tastes of the listening public.)

Since you know so much about live music, what instrument do you play? Is it an acoustic instrument? Do you play without amplification and thus have experience balancing your sound level with the other players in the ensemble? Or is that too Old School for you?

And while we're at it, what gear do you listen on which so accurately informs you that digital is so much better.

about 5 months ago
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Elite Violinists Can't Distinguish Between a Stradivarius and a Modern Violin

russbutton Re:Modern audiophiles are no different. (469 comments)

To my ear, (and that's MY ear), the things I listen for in an audio system are tonal balance and imaging. For me it's all about voices. There are some local jazz singers I know well and have heard live a number of times. One woman used to sing with my big band back in the 90s. I can take those tracks and have a pretty good idea of how accurate a system sounds.

A truly good system will have a real 3D quality to the imaging as well. It's not only left-right, but also front-back that you can hear on a good system. Sadly few people ever get to hear that sort of thing outside of a hi-end showroom, and most of those systems cost an insane amount of loot.

That's why I'm so big on the Linkwith Orion stuff. Siegfried Linkwitz will sell you just the plans and you can build everything from scratch, or you can buy everything already built and get the same results as hi-end systems costing 10 times as much. But you don't get it for the price of a Cambridge Audio system.

Headphones can sound quite good, but they can never give you the same kind of experience.

about 5 months ago

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