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Comment: Re:people still watch that crap? (Score 1) 101

by Dogtanian (#48644079) Attached to: Behind the Scenes With the Star Trek Fan Reboot

TOS was a bunch of LSD lights and kirk visiting stupid copies of earth

Hahaha.... I'm sure someone will point out that Kirk only went to a "stupid copy of earth" twice and LSD lights in space didn't feature that often... yet somehow you've managed to distill and exaggerate an already selective general perception into something that *sounds* like you hit the nail on the head. :-)

TNG a bunch of technobabble and reengineering the ship to solve the problem of the week

True... but you forgot the overuse of the holodeck, which, if you were to exaggerate it the same way you did TOS, would have every third episode involving Data dressing up as Holmes and chasing Moriarty who'd somehow overridden the safety settings. :-)

(Disclaimer: Still my favourite ST series).

never got into Voyager

Saw some of it, nowhere near as bad as some people claimed, but came across as too much like a rerun of TNG with weaker characters.

(And the TNG-style episodic "reset button" formula was more obviously contrived when there was an end goal (i.e. to get home) that had to be put back out of reach).

Comment: Re:Separate Marginal Tax Rates for IP (Score 1) 134

by Dogtanian (#48641853) Attached to: The Beatles, Bob Dylan and the 50-Year Copyright Itch

Listen here SmartAss®, It is for...

Er, yeah, I think we all know what you meant. You yourself understand that the guy was being a "SmartAss®" (i.e. he knew what you meant but deliberately misinterpreted it), so not sure why you bothered re-explaining the bit in bold!

Comment: Re:Doubt it (Score 1) 299

by Dogtanian (#48596679) Attached to: Blade Runner 2 Script Done, Harrison Ford Says "the Best Ever"

In the sequel, the story will have to be much more powerful because the world is already introduced. From what I see in Wikipedia, it's not going to do it (which is not surprising, because it is by a different author).

That's a story from a series of Blade Runner books. Not the plot of Blade Runner 2, the movie.

Yeah... I suspect the film's still going to be written by a different author though. Well, unless there have been significant improvements in ouija board technology I wasn't aware of...

Comment: Re:Sounds Better? (Score 1) 433

by Dogtanian (#48595175) Attached to: Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

I will admit there are some moments on audio records that weren't effectively replicated by replacement CDs. For example, the swelling of a brass section in a jazz big band, and a dramatic piano entrance with loud, stacatto notes (I can just picture the pianists' hands repeatedly dropping 10 inches). Not at all dramatic on the CD, but maybe with today's higher bit mastering that could be improved.

Isn't this a problem with the (already mentioned) audio range compression- AKA "loudness war" where the quiet bits are made louder and hence the (already as loud as they can be) loud bits don't sound as much louder by comparison.

I noticed this with one song on a Vangelis compilation I got from a shop that- compared with the vinyl version- lacks "punch" when the expected increase in volume should come in.

Comment: Re:not lossless (Score 3, Interesting) 433

by Dogtanian (#48594915) Attached to: Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

Vinyl is the only consumer playback format we have that's fully analog and fully lossless

The article itself gives plenty of examples why vinyl isn't lossless, and it's easy to name a few more.

This comes across as a second-hand, simplistic interpretation of something that was a fallacy to begin with. This is a fallacy that's either explicitly or implicitly used as the (flawed) basis of arguments, even on Slashdot.

The fallacy is that because "analogue" as a *purely abstract* concept can in theory have infinite precision- as opposed to digital (which by definition has a clearly-defined level of precision)- then an analogue medium like vinyl records must inherently be able to hold more detail than a digital one like (e.g.) compact discs.

Problem is, that argument could then be applied to any analogue medium (not just vinyl), so that e.g. a cheap, worn-out audio cassette recording made on a portable recorder in the early 70s must also be inherently superior to a CD, or even to a 24-bit, 96KHz digital master(!!!)

This makes the flaw in the argument more obvious, but it's still a flaw when applied to vinyl. The problem is that we're talking about actual, real-world examples of analogue media, not the abstract concept. In real life, no analogue medium can have infinite bandwidth, so they quite obviously *do* have inherent limits of precision and quality- just not as clearly delineated as those of digital. (*)

Of course, you might argue that we could engineer our analogue media to higher standards... but similarly, we could (theoretically) engineer a higher resolution and sampling rate into digital media, so there is no inherent argument in that either way.

Furthermore, by definition, a "perfect" analogue copy would require infinite perfection in the duplication process (clearly impossible) and the ability to verify this to infinite levels of precision (ditto). So by definition *any* analogue copy will be imperfect.

This isn't to say that CD is better than vinyl, or that digital is better than analogue. Maybe vinyl *is* better... maybe not. What it *is* saying is that the "analogue is infinite and digital is limited" argument *in itself* is flawed, and not a valid basis for drawing a conclusion either way. One can make comparisons where either is the clear winner- a good quality analogue turntable setup (and LP) will quite obviously sound better than a grungy 4-bit digital sample "bit bashed" through a C64 or Atari 800 sound chip. But the aforementioned 24-bit, 96KHz digital master will blatantly knock spots off an analogue C90 cassette recorded in 1973.

(*) One may be scientifically able to calculate the meaningful upper limit of cassette bandwidth and the noise floor by (e.g.) looking at the maximum theoretical magnetisation possible, spacing of the grains, et al... both in theory and in practice. I can't tell you what those limits are, but I can be quite confident that they'll exist, and hence dictate the maximum sound quality.

Comment: Re:Benny Hill? (Score 1) 80

by Dogtanian (#48594313) Attached to: Proposed Theme Park Would Put BBC Shows On Display

Given the standard of what ITV produces* this isn't surprising. I can't think of a single show that ITV managed to export before Downton Abbey.

What are you talking about? The company "ITV plc" (which has only existed since 2004) or the ITV network?

Remember that "ITV" was originally- and still is- the collective name given to the network of (once independent) regional franchisees for the main commercial TV station.

It was only after the franchisees were allowed to merge- starting in the 90s- that the two largest remaining companies merged to become "ITV plc" in 2004. Before that, there wasn't an ITV company, just a bunch of separate companies that generally cooperated. And there are still two companies (STV and UTV) that are on the ITV network but not part of "ITV plc".

So, yeah, there were plenty of "ITV" shows exported before 2004, but those were made by various different companies.

Comment: Re:When you try and leave . . . (Score 1) 80

by Dogtanian (#48593347) Attached to: Proposed Theme Park Would Put BBC Shows On Display

Will a giant white ball chase you down?

Not unless they license that show, since it was made by ATV/ITC for the ITV network, not the BBC. (*)

Unless, of course, I misunderstood you, and you were referring to a bizarre episode of It's a Knockout. ;-)

(*) Ditto this post regarding the "all British TV programmes were made by the BBC" fallacy Americans and others seem to hold.

Comment: Re:Benny Hill? (Score 1) 80

by Dogtanian (#48593323) Attached to: Proposed Theme Park Would Put BBC Shows On Display
The article does claim that he was on the BBC- albeit even then not exclusively- in his early career, but moved to Thames in the late 60s. Still, this is another example of how Americans(?) always assume that British Television = BBC.

Since his move occurred just before BBC1 and ITV started colour transmissions, it's safe to say that any "Benny Hill Shows" in colour weren't made by the BBC.

Comment: Re:But does it report artificially low ink levels? (Score 1) 270

by Dogtanian (#48576999) Attached to: Keurig 2.0 Genuine K-Cup Spoofing Vulnerability

Keurig lost a $120 sale and a continuous sale of K-Cups because they choose to screw me and the rest of the consumers. They lost out with me.

I'm pretty sure companies don't care about a single lost sale, and even a low number of lost sales to geeks caused by DRM et al (if they're aware of it) will be considered a minor tradeoff against the monetary benefit of being able to lock in and (profitably) screw over the large number of people who *will* still be buying it anyway.

(This is the same situation as with the PSP et al being locked down and a couple of geeks saying "you lost a sale". Big deal, they lost a sale to people who probably weren't going to buy lots of games (where they make the most profit) and retained the ability to milk the remaining 99.5% of people who were still going to buy it for lots more money).

The best way to hit them where it hurts is to spread the word about how lousy and hostile to the user Keurig's machines are, preferably in terms that the ordinary user will understand (i.e. you *can't* use generic pods, you *will* have to pay more because Keurig want your money, and if you can't get the official Keurig ones, tough).

Ultimately, giving them an abstract lecture about DRM will probably turn them off, explaining *why* this particular example of DRM is lousy for them is a preferential backdoor in propaganda terms. (Though I wouldn't shove the term DRM down their throats).

Comment: Re:The thing that made the Sinclairs popular ... (Score 1) 110

by Dogtanian (#48558197) Attached to: Spectrum Vega: A Blast From the Past

Yeah, we still have Spectrum fanboys on Slashdot claiming people in the UK bought them instead of 2600's/NES's because you could do homework on them because it was a "computer".

I said most people used them for games; that, as the other guy said, still leaves a small but significant percentage who *did* end up programming them. It's just that a lot more of them were basically bought for games playing. And I think the "word processing" thing is a bit of a strawman; the Spectrum never had a reputation as a home office or business machine anyway.

The VCS/2600 was around for five years before the Spectrum. Some people here did own it; it just wasn't as ubiquitous.I don't know when it launched in the UK, but I'm assuming that a combination of the fact it (as an imported machine and going by the rule of thumb) was probably more expensive here than in the US along with the fact that people in the UK had lower rates of income (and hence disposable income) to spend on a still relatively expensive machine contributed to most people not buying one- regardless of whether the Spectrum was out or not.

As for the original NES, yes, though it wasn't a flop here, it wasn't remotely as dominant as it was (apparently) in the US. It's known that- until well into the 90s- Nintendo didn't really take Europe that seriously or push as hard there. The Mastertronic-distributed Sega Master System outsold the NES here- possibly because Mastertronic was a UK company and more in tune with the UK market. Even so, the UK market remained far more home computer driven than the US until the Mega Drive/SNES started selling in large numbers circa 1992. Oddly, *their* cartridges weren't easily pirated, unlike Amiga games (which lost ground to the 16-bit consoles around this time); yet the consoles weren't so much better than the Amiga that they would have beaten it if piratability of games was the only factor.

Comment: Re:The thing that made the Sinclairs popular ... (Score 1) 110

by Dogtanian (#48549631) Attached to: Spectrum Vega: A Blast From the Past

The ZX81 didn't last as long, more because it had limitations compared to the Speccy.

All that is true, and I'm aware of it, but it misses the point. The point wasn't why the ZX81 didn't last long- that, of course, was because it was superseded.

The point I was making was why the Spectrum *did* last so much longer despite also being eclipsed in purely technical terms. That, as I mentioned, was because it was the first machine "good enough" for arcade games and "good enough" for its existing software base to have value. The mid-80s point circa the Amstrad buyout, when "serious" support started to fade was (I'm guessing) the point at which the non-gaming hobbyist/enthusiast market moved on to more advanced machines, and the point at which it probably would have faded if it was being purchased for the same reasons as the ZX81. It didn't- it lasted well the early 90s, i.e. past the start of the Mega Drive era!

Also, the original unexpanded ZX81 had a full 1KB; still a tiny amount by most standards, but not the almost unusable 256 bytes (i.e. "1/4k") that you suggest. The Atari VCS/2600 had an even tinier 128 bytes (plus one line of screen memory), but that was a much older machine and intended to run programs stored on external ROM, so the RAM there was "only" needed for keeping track of scoring players, etc. Still an incredibly small amount, though.

Comment: Just emulation anyway, not a reimplementation (Score 2) 110

by Dogtanian (#48544963) Attached to: Spectrum Vega: A Blast From the Past

Some of the emulators even allowed you to load directly from tape with a simple interface.

As far as I'm aware, the Vega *is* effectively just a cheap ARM-based computer running an emulator anyway (as opposed to a logic-level reimplementation of the original circuitry like the C64 Direct to TV was), supplied in a parodically cut-down mockery of the original Spectrum keyboard.

If I was a Spectrum fanatic, I'd want something that was either a "true" reimplementation of the original Spectrum and/or something that looked and could be used like the original Spectrum- possibly with additional features or connectivity, but retaining the original features.

This is- in some respects- better than Elite's "relaunch" of the ZX Spectrum (reported as such in many places) as a Bluetooth keyboard (i.e. they designed a Bluetooth keyboard that approximates the old Spectrum case and works with some crappy proprietary Android app). But that's a pretty low bar... the Vega is still just an emulator in a nostalgia-exploiting case that won't properly replicate the experience anyway, so why bother? I've no doubt it'll still sell, though.

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