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Comment: That and DACs aren't the issue anyhow (Score 2) 308

It is easy to make good DACs these days. Basically any DAC, barring a messed up implementation, is likely to sound sonically transparent to any other in a normal system. When you look at the other limiting factors (amp, noise in the room, speaker response, room reflections, etc) you find that their noise and distortion are just way below audibility. Ya, maybe if you have a really nice setup with a quiet treated room, good amps, and have it set for reference (105dB peak) levels you start to need something better than normal, but that isn't very common. Even then you usually don't have to go that high up the chain to get something where again the DAC is way better than other components.

Now that said, there can be a reason to get a soundcard given certain uses. For example you don't always want to go to an external unit, maybe you use headphones. In that case, having a good headphone amp matters and onboard sound is often remiss in that respect (then again, so are some soundcards). Also even if you do use an external setup, you might wish to have the soundcard do processing of some kind. Not so useful these days, but some games like to have hardware accelerated OpenAL.

Regardless, not a big deal in most cases. Certainly not the first thing to spend money on. If you have $50 speakers, don't go and buy a $100 soundcard. If you have a $5000 setup, ok maybe a soundcard could be useful, but only in certain circumstances.

As a side note, the noise in a PC isn't a big issue. Properly grounding/shielding the card deals with it. A simple example is the professional LynxTWO, which is all internal yet has top notch specs, even by today's standards. http://audio.rightmark.org/tes...

Comment: They don't care about the cards (Score 1) 347

by Sycraft-fu (#47409003) Attached to: Here Comes the Panopticon: Insurance Companies

They track you using your credit card. The cards are because people want them these days. Albertsons finally knuckled under and started offering them. Not because they needed them for tracking, like I said they already did that, but because customers whined they weren't getting a "good deal". So they raised their prices, and introduced a card.

Comment: Also (Score 1) 110

by Sycraft-fu (#47408593) Attached to: YouTube Issuing "Report Cards" On Carriers' Streaming Speeds

It doesn't take in to account the net speeds that people have. So you might well have a provider who has no problem doing HD video from Youtube all day every day, on lines that can handle it. However they sell slower lines and some customers have that, so that skews things.

Like say a phone company offers ADSL and IDSL for customers who are way out in the boonies, but VDSL for people in the city. Well those slow connections will bring down their stats, even if their network is quite fast and makes them look bad, despite them actually being the only option for some people.

A somewhat similar deal with cable companies can be people using old hardware. DOCSIS 2 cable modems only use one channel per segment, and those can get saturated these days. Well cable providers tend to be DOCSIS 3 to deal with that... but not everyone has a new modem. The cable company can recommend they get one, but if it is your equipment they can't make you (I guess other than cutting you off but they don't wanna do that).

Comment: Re:Incoming international flights (Score 1) 674

by Just Some Guy (#47407503) Attached to: TSA Prohibits Taking Discharged Electronic Devices Onto Planes

Yeah, no. You can't enumerate every permutation of every weapon imaginable. At some point, you have to expect an adult to assess a new situation using generally acceptable principals to reach a reasonable conclusion.

Ask a random guy on the street whether Scala is a declarative language and you should expect a random distribution. Ask him whether a disassembled rifle is a weapon and you should expect a solid "yes". You shouldn't need to train on that.

Also, this guy was a dumbass.

Comment: Re:Superman logo is a Trademark (Score 5, Insightful) 245

A little harsh but dead accurate. They're not legally obligated to sue the grieving parents. They could even draw up a contract and sell them limited rights to have this one statue in perpetuity for a dollar, or some such. For PR reasons, the DC rep could even donate the dollar to the rights purchaser.

There are many ways DC could do this, legally and protected, without being asswipes. They chose "fuck 'em; none of the above".

Comment: Re:Incoming international flights (Score 4, Informative) 674

A family acquaintance - let's call him "Joe" - worked as an airport screener. This is a true story: I was personally in the room when Joe was complaining to my dad that he'd been fired.

They run periodic checks where an undercover agent tries to smuggle contraband onto a plane. When questioned after the fact, Joe didn't understand why everyone was upset that he'd allowed a disassembled rifle through screening: "but it was in pieces! He couldn't have done anything with it!". "But Joe, he could've taken it into a bathroom and put it together, couldn't he?", followed by an expression of horror creeping across his face as the realization sank in.

Comment: No shit (Score 5, Insightful) 202

Slashdot needs to knock it off with these "Child genius is going to totally upstage all those stupid companies and make something amazing!" stories they run some time. The thing is, they are essentially never true and we as geeks should know better.

Smart kids often have the problem of thinking they know everything. They have the brains to be well above their peers at pretty much everything, and so have a confidence in their knowledge and intelligence, but lack the experience to understand the limitations of both in the larger world. Hence they'll think that they have found an "obvious" solution to a problem in the world that nobody else has managed to think of. I'm sure most of us felt like that at one time or another as children.

However, it turns out that smart kids become smart adults, and those smart adults get job making the thing we use, solving the problems we have, and so on. So, usually if there's something that hasn't been solved, the reason is that there is NOT a simple solution. There isn't something that a kid will just say "Oh look, here's a better way to do it." Rather it is a complex problem and thus the solutions are complex.

So Slashdot needs to quit with stories on shit like this unless there' something to back it up. A printer actually gets released based on this kids design? Ok that's a story. Some kid says he can do way better than anyone else? That's not a story. That is, to quote the Reapers, "A confidence borne of ignorance." It's not news.

Comment: Re:What we need... (Score 3, Insightful) 234

by Rob the Bold (#47381249) Attached to: Radar Changing the Face of Cycling

. . . do something about the assholes on bikes that think that little white line and bike lane are some sort of magic force field that protects them from massive hunks of steel inches to their left...

As you drive, do you also swerve into cars separated from you by the "magic force field" white line? Or are you concerned about your paint job in a car vs. car scenario? Perhaps bikes/bikers just need some extremely aggressive abrasive on their sides to protect them from motorists.

Comment: Re:First things first... (Score 1) 142

by Just Some Guy (#47370639) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Replacing Paper With Tablets For Design Meetings?

Also, something like a Livescribe pen that records what you right might be the ultimate setup. You're letting your team use tools they're already familiar and comfortable with (ballpoint pens) while still getting the advantages of recording notes as they're taken.

OP: know how you hate it when work gives you some weird-ass, nonstandard tool to do your job ("we've decided to standardize on programming editors!")? Yeah. Why would you want to do that to everyone else?

Comment: Re:Any periodic e-mails should be RSS feeds (Score 1) 130

With RSS feeds, user can unsubscribe, suspend and resume viewing updates at their convenience.

With email subscriptions, users can unsubscribe, suspend, and resume viewing updates at their convenience. Email is also vastly more bandwidth and power friendly than continually polling to ask "have anything for me yet? have anything for me yet? have anything for me yet?".

An email newsletter that a user can subscribe to and which honors the "unsubscribe" link it at the bottom is identically as spammy as RSS.

Comment: Re:they might be right. (Score 1) 130

Also, no matter how many sendmail servers you have you can't get around the fact that egress still takes bandwitdth.

I just got a large, image-filled email from a vendor, and it came out to 20KB (including headers). Let's assume Microsoft's announcement emails are that huge, and that Microsoft sends out 100,000,000 of them. Let's further assume that Outlook is smart enough to batch recipients to the same domain with a conservative 10-to-1 reduction in number of unique messages sent (probably closer to 500-1, given the number of Gmail users you can collapse). That math works out to about 1000 gigabit ethernet seconds, or about about 1 second of AWS's estimated bandwidth-time, or about 3 seconds of Azure's estimated bandwidth-time, or about a second of traffic at a major porn site. And that's with hugely conservative worst-case estimates for all the numbers involved.

Egress doesn't take nearly the bandwidth you might think it does.

Luck, that's when preparation and opportunity meet. -- P.E. Trudeau

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