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Comment Only at low bitrates (Score 1) 391

If you use high quality settings VBR with an average around 256 or higher, I doubt that anyone could tell the difference in a double blind test.

If you can actually tell the difference between a CD and mp3 (and not imagine it, as many people do), it is likely due to it not being encoded by the best standards allowed by the mp3 algorithm.

Audiophiles are convinced they can detect all sorts of differences that they probably cannot. It is the placebo effect. A lot of them rushed out to buy SACD's, recorded and played back at 24 bits and 192K samples per second, but double-blind tests show they cannot actually distinguish between a SACD or analog source played purely and one downsampled through a CD-quality DAC.

I suspect it is the same in distinguishing between high quality MP3s and CDs.

Comment I doubt that (Score 1) 391

The drivers (headphones) probably represent about 95% of the difference in playback quality that is detectable to a human. Headphones are what actually create the sound, not the amp and not the DAC. You'll get a lot more bang for your buck on a headphone upgrade than on upgrading your DAC or amp.

I would like to see double-blinded studies that show otherwise.

Comment Show me the actual double-blind studies. (Score 1) 391

Most of the quality of your music is determined by how it is recorded and mastered.

Most of the rest is determined by the drivers you use.

Different DACs and amps have different audio characteristics, but it is doubtful that, among similar ones that are not weird outliers, audiophiles can actually tell the difference or prefer one to the other when thy are properly balanced against each other in a double blind test.

Comment MP3 versus FLAC (Score 1) 391

So far, I have seen no convincing double-blind tests showing that anyone can distinguish between high-quality MP3 compression and lossless.

Audio has an awful lot of pseudoscience in it. Almost all the differences in the quality of sound is made:

1) During the recording process.
2) By the drivers that play back the sound.

Unless you're still listening to 128 kbs MP3's encoded using old algorithms, lossless is likely not doing much if anything beyond the placebo effect.

If you can tell the difference between a high quality, 256+ vbr MP3 and a SACD, you are probably a Cylon.

Comment Re:Let them eat cake! (Score 1) 307

There are a number of flaws with your argument:

1) "Black kids" most certainly are "less able to program," at least in the US, as revealed by the empirical evidence.

2) If you meant to write that they were congenitally not "less able to program" (which is how I interpret it), then it is a supposition based on speculation and not upon empirical evidence. The fact is, we do not know to what extent congenital factors affect ability in computer science nor do we know if they are unevenly distributed along gender, ethnic, or racial lines.

3) African Americans and "blacks" are two different groups.

4) If you had "race-blind" programs than there would be no way to target the demographics most underserved. The hill-folk in rural West Virgina and the impoverished people in Bedford–Stuyvesant both tend to be poor and undereducated and are at higher than average risk to be the victim of a crime, but for a police/sherrif's department to develop the same strategies to combat the higher crime rate in those very different demographics would be laughably obtuse.

Likewise, if you're trying to get poor, mostly rural white people in the Ozarks into computer science, you need a very different strategy than you would to get poor, mostly Latin kids in San Ysidro. Ignoring essential demographic information would be tantamount to incompetence.

Also, if helping one race to the exclusion of other races is "racist", then our whole society and culture is racist, as there exist many social institutions, formal or informal, that create that effect. It seems kind of silly to worry about Google giving money to programs that help low-participating demographics achieve parity when there exists a massive institution called American society that exists to elevate members of one population above another, on gender, racial, ethnic, national, and pecuniary lines.

Comment Re:Let them eat cake! (Score 1) 307

Your statement relies on a false premise. If race were "irrelevant" as a factor, then there would be no disparity along racial lines. Since there exist disparities along racial lines, your premise is false and race is certainly a "relevant" factor.

Furthermore, inherent in your definition of "reverse discrimination" is the necessity that some groups must be discriminated against to begin with (otherwise it would be just plain ordinary "discrimination" instead of so-called "reverse-discrimination", so your whole argument is self contradicting.

And then there is the impetus of your argument, which is even more disturbing than its illogical nature. You are seriously stating that, as a matter of public policy, it is a bad idea to spend education money where it is most needed, among demographics most likely to suffer from lack of educational opportunities due to circumstances beyond their control. We don't earmark as much money for fire-control measures in Alaska as California because Californians tend, demographically, to be more at risk to suffer from fire. It is just sound public policy. Likewise, we should be earmarking more money to serve demographics that are at a higher risk of ignorance. It is just sound public policy.

When African Americans are graduating college at about half the rate of non-Hispanic whites, that is terrible not just for African Americans, but for all Americans and it needs to be addressed by everyone.

Comment Re:Let them eat cake! (Score 2) 307

I wasn't aware that African Americans were the ones who chose, "to group themselves". I'm pretty sure that slavery wasn't created by African Americans. I'm pretty sure that 300 years of systematic discrimination using legal and extralegal means to keep African Americans from participating as equals in American societies was not created by African Americans.

The issue here is not, "reverse discrimination to make things equal." That is a straw man. What is being discussed is identifying where American society is failing to provide opportunities, and targeting those demographics, the same way that a police chief identifies which areas have high rates of criminal activities and dedicates extra resources to those areas.

Comment Re:Let them eat cake! (Score 1) 307

You are absolutely correct. African Americans are the ones who chose to separate from American culture. When the US Constitution was written, African Americans volunteered to be slaves and quite vociferously demanded that they were only as 2/3rds of a person. African Americans wrote the Jim Crow laws. African Americans were the ones that passed zoning regulations in Silicon Valley that made it illegal for African Americans to buy or rent homes in many neighborhoods and cities. African Americans petitioned colleges and universities around the US to create regulations to keep them from attending. Even today, African Americans continue to separate themselves by choosing to be disproportionally born into impoverished families in dangerous neighborhoods with under-performing schools.

Your reasoning is bullet-proof and beyond reproach. Clearly it was African Americans who separated themselves from mainstream society, not 300 years of systematic discrimination written into law and social mores by those who controlled US society.

Comment Don't bother (Score 1) 110

The Android ports all seem to have serious flaws. The Windows CE software can still be very useful, so long as running an older version makes sense. For instance, you're probably out of luck if you want to find an up-to-date browser or version of Skype, but if you want to use it as a calculator emulator, planitarium program, or gameboy emulator, you can probably find some fine programs for it.

I have a couple of them (a Dell Axim PDA and a Windows Tilt 2 smartphone), but I just gave up on making anything useful out of them. The primary problem is that for all the cool uses that exist, very few are not better-served by simply using your smartphone. That said, there are still a few possible uses that I have thought of:

1) An MP3 player for situations where your smartphone would be inappropriate (only problem here is the DAC in most of these phones suck, so probably won't work well hooked up to a $10,000 A/V system.

2) A networked security camera.

3) Give it to a child to play games and tinker around with (one who isn't going to be getting a smartphone for a while).

4) An exchange server display (many of these still sync fine with exchange)

5) An Alarm Clock (they display time, date, weather, et cetera).

Comment Let them eat cake! (Score 3, Insightful) 307

Your argument seems to be contradictory:

1) Everyone in this country is an American.
2) If any group of Americans is underrepresented, it is solely the responsibility of that group to fix the systemic problems within US society that cause that lack of representation.

It seems to me that if we are truly one nation of Americans, we as a nation have a collective responsibility to ensure that nobody gets left behind. If African Americans are struggling educationally, the attitude of, "well, I'm not going to worry about it because it is African American's responsibility to fix the situation," is akin to not worrying about a major US city hit by a natural disaster or your neighbors' house being on fire.

If we are one nation, then the onus is upon every one of us to do all we can to help undermine the barriers that keep a group of Americans, simply through accident of birth, from achieving social parity. You can help by simply volunteering your time, or as Google has done, volunteering your money if you have it (and many Google employees also volunteer their precious time as well).

Comment Perfect example of why engineers . . . (Score 1) 584

. . . should stay away from doing science. Using science and doing science are two very different career fields.

Engineer: Based on my experience . . .
Scientist: Based upon rigorous examination of the data modeled by a Poisson distribution, we conclude to within a five sigma error . . .

The nicest thing about the Alto is that it doesn't run faster at night.

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