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Comment "This isn't so bad"? (Score 4, Insightful) 578

It's weird that pro-Windows folks are saying "this isn't so bad," pointing out how easy it is to turn off. Why would my operating system recommend apps in the first place? Others are suggesting that "perhaps I'll find an app that I never would have noticed with these suggestions." When I have a need for functionality, I will actively research apps! Do Windows users really sit around waiting for "surprise apps"?

IMHO, starting with Windows 8, Windows began transforming into a steaming cesspool of unusable crap. Recently, when faced with having to drop some money on a new computer, I switched from Windows to Mac. I'm not a fanboi, but because Windows started to dumb desktops down into the smartphone form factor, I figured: If I have to learn a new UI anyway, why not just switch? Now, I very much appreciate using an unobtrusive OS that lets me load files and run applications, and that also allows me to update the OS when I want to, at no additional cost.

I'm still forced to use Win8 at work (we're completely entangled in Office365 now), and to support my wife's Win8 machine at home, and that is enough Windows for me.

Comment An Objective Explanation from an Engineer (Score 1) 574

I see lots of people attacking Neil Young's music and "conflict of interest" regarding the Pono player (plus lots of the old Slashdot ignorance reflected in pseudo-scientific knowledge about audio). Here's an objective video that explains the actual science of streaming audio encoding.

Comment Re:Why is Uber better? Serious question. (Score 1) 230

I live in the city and take taxis quite often. While traveling for business, my counterparts used Uber exclusively when we went out at night. My conclusion: I didn't notice any difference in the service offered, other than the Uber driver had a mini van rather than a sedan. The wait time seemed comparable to calling a taxi. I'm not sure how you would "hail" an Uber driver, though.
Anyway, from a customer's perspective, I am definitely perplexed by the Uber hype.

Comment Re:But... (Score 1) 244

I sense a lot of ignorance regarding how much work goes into a professionally recorded song. Regardless of whether or not you enjoy the final product, the team that brings professional recordings to the public includes one or more songwriters, recording engineers, producers, mixing engineers, mastering engineers, graphic designers, manufacturers, distribution channels, etc. So yes, a song that you may not like *does* have a production cost associated with it and, yes, the people associated with that song *do* deserve compensation for their work, like any other professional.

This is why/how an "industry" exists behind recorded music nowadays. It is clearly possible for you, with your "good taste in music," who only admires "working musicians," to only attend live shows. Just keep in mind that there is more "work" involved in creating a professional recording than you apparently realize.

As for the songwriter-- without him/her, there wouldn't be anything for those people to work on! Why should songwriters not demand just compensation? And why should there be a limit to the spoils that can be enjoyed by those who helped create songs and recordings of those songs? What if the consumers of $your_product suddenly decided that, because $your_product is so ubiquitously enjoyed by so many people, you should just give $your_product away for free; and, worse, these consumers did nothing but complain whenever you tried to speak up for your right to compensation for providing $your_product?

Comment Re:Put your money into speakers (Score 1) 433

Yes! A complete signal chain with quality equipment is the best way to get your $whatever sound.
I've been writing and recording songs for most of my life, and have been all-digital for many years. By the time I kind of knew what I was doing, I took a step back and re-learned how to listen to music, with the question in my mind, "What the heck is wrong with how *my* stuff sounds vs. classic recordings?" The answer I arrived at was: The absence of analog saturation. All of the old-school analog hardware that all of the old beloved classics are recorded through *add distortion* in the form of the harmonics created by analog saturation. This distortion makes sounds more pleasing to human ears. I had lingered for years under the impression that leveraging the "exactness of digital" was a desirable achievement; but the "color of analog" is the secret audio sauce.
So, does vinyl "sound better" than digital? The "science of vinyl" shows that it absolutely cannot match the dynamics of a digital recording. Digital is capable of better stereo imaging; a 26db better dynamic range; and can reproduce a higher frequency bandwidth. Unfortunately, the superior specs of digital recording have been abused since the inception of CDs because of the so-called "loudness wars." Some early digital mastering engineer must have thought, "Thank goodness I don't have to worry about the needle jumping," and subsequently turned everything up to 11, forgetting what "dynamics" is all about. And so, dynamics did, in a sense, vanish from popular digital recordings. If you've only been exposed to digital re-masters that are louder and less dynamic than the original recordings, or contemporary music recorded digitally to be "loud" and "sound good on earbuds," I can see how the limitations of vinyl would represent a "more dynamic" sound to you.
The resurgence of vinyl seems-- at best-- a cute and hip marketing ploy to collect something, and "Sound Quality!" is the mantra of the suckers who own lots of vinyl. It's about the analog saturation and dynamics of the recording. And digital can reproduce that better than vinyl. I'd much rather collect music in a medium that sounds best, requires no physical maintenance, and will retain the quality of the recorded material forever, without degradation.
Maybe, one day, the loudness wars of the Music Industry will end, and great-sounding (and appropriately saturated) digital music will become the norm and sound awesome through an excellent set of speakers. Or earbuds. Or your little monophonic cell phone speaker.

Comment Practice vs. Innate Talent (Score 1) 192

As a musician, I've been in situations where someone tries out for my band. He has really nice gear, and can play some neat licks. But when it comes to playing an actual song, or even writing a part, it becomes clear that he doesn't really have any talent. He has definitely practiced and acquired some skill (and I'm not claiming to be some kind of prodigy), but I can detect that he isn't "feeling the music" and won't be invited back. TFA seems to summarize a scientific explanation for this type of "band tryout" story.
As a parent, I'm mindful of the balance between nurturing my child's perceived innate talent and getting her to try new activities until she can figure out what she likes. Hopefully, what she likes will relate to her innate talent so that she'll thrive rather than struggle.

Submission + - Practice Does Not Make Perfect (

Scroatzilla writes: What makes someone rise to the top in music, games, sports, business, or science? This question is the subject of one of psychology’s oldest debates. Malcolm Gladwell's "10,000 hours" rule probably isn't the answer. Recent research has demonstrated that deliberate practice, while undeniably important, is only one piece of the expertise puzzle—and not necessarily the biggest piece.

Comment Legally Available? (Score 1) 284

I have shelled out ~$140 to legally watch the first few seasons of a Showtime series which is currently in its last season. I would *gladly* pay to legally obtain access to the current season. Unfortunately, it is not available for me to do so. Therefore, I have to comb the internet every single week to find the new episode. This is becoming more and more time consuming and complex.

I'm curious about where the link to the legally available episode would point to? I assume that it would point to where I would be advised to contact my local cable company to purchase service and subsequently subscribe to Showtime. Suddenly legally purchasing one episode of a tv show becomes a several-hundred-dollar affair.

This seems wrong. Having cut the cable several years ago, this is the kind of punishment that I have been subject to repeatedly.

Comment What industry is your company in? (Score 1) 515

That's the first thing I wondered. Until I got my current job with a software company, I was around the same type of IT people. The big difference was that the IT department in my other companies was seen as a necessary expense in order to keep everything running. This tends to shape the attitudes of IT folks, who only get yelled at when stuff doesn't work but who otherwise are relatively invisible. The IT department in my current company absolutely must work in concern with developers, customer support, and executives because our infrastructure simply must support a complex, secure, and ever-changing environment.

Some of the wisdom that you will probably gain if you stick with it is that change in any IT infrastructure is absolutely frightening, be it hardware or software. Veterans understand that each and every piece of hardware and software is tweaked to meet the business requirements of your company, and any small change to anything can bring the whole thing down. Even an OEM-recommended upgrade to a server that has been tested thoroughly can have unexpected and disastrous results. An enterprise level OS upgrade is "nontrivial" and, if your system was already working with XP and there was no compelling reason to upgrade, their attitude is completely understandable.

As you learn how to coexist more peacefully with your IT co-workers, you will notice that everyone has specialized knowledge that everyone else relies on and respects. It is that specialized knowledge that makes them good co-workers. If you respect that and understand that--like you-- they are just doing their jobs, you will understand that the "pat on the back" you seem to desire will come in the form of their mutual respect.

Lastly, as someone you would consider an "older" co-worker, I would say that the any new workers who don't know The System have the potential to be relatively dangerous. They landed their respective jobs because they have lots of knowledge, but don't know enough about The System to understand why things are the way they are. So if you feel coddled or treated in some way that makes you feel under appreciated, I'm guessing it is because you haven't made any impression otherwise yet. You were just doing your job.

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