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Comment: This is NOT new, and there are other problems... (Score 2) 103

by StandardCell (#49786157) Attached to: Microsoft Edge To Support Dolby Audio
Not too long after Windows 8 launched with the AC-3 and E-AC-3 codecs, Internet Explorer has had the capability to decode these audio formats. It recognizes the FourCC codes in the ISO Base Media File Format container as well as the MIME tags.

Part of the problem, however, is the perceived shift in both audio loudness and the perceived location of speech. All AC-3 and E-AC-3 content, when properly measured, should play dialog back at -31dB relative to full digital scale. Unfortunately, this makes the codec inherently quieter unless the decoder is set to something called RF mode, which boosts the loudness to -20dB and compresses the audio more heavily. Such control for loudness is not typically found in HTML5-based apps, though the W3C has a committee working on this issue. The loudness can be a particular problem on the Windows 8 tablet devices out there, as many programs in AAC format come pre-normalized to somewhere around -23dB to -24dB relative to full scale. Unless all content is pre-normalized to the same consistent playback level - which AAC ads will definitely not be, and probably not AAC stereo content - there will be an inconsistency of experience.

All of this also presupposes that you have either a proper surround virtualizer or a discrete 5.1 speaker system such as is found in a properly set up home theater. Considering that less than a third of homes have any kind of surround sound in them, and given the loudness issues, I'm not certain what the benefits will be here. But it gets even worse, as dialog in multichannel AC-3 and E-AC-3 is steered to the center channel in most programs, whereas in stereo content it is mixed into left and right without regard to position. This can result in disturbance to the listener. Furthermore, any channel configuration changes to an audio-video receiver will typically cause muting when switching modes between stereo output and multichannel output, potentially interrupting the experience for the listener.

Part of this is the add-on nature of AC-3 and E-AC-3 to Windows and an inherent failure to integrate stereo AAC and HE AAC playback behavior with that of stereo and multichannel AC-3 and E-AC-3. Until then, this will be more of a curiosity than anything substantially improving the consumer's experience, and developers should take note if they believe that HTML5/CSS/Javascript development of their apps can really unify their experience across devices yet.

Comment: The last, lagging symptom of inflation (Score 3, Insightful) 1092

by StandardCell (#49731465) Attached to: Los Angeles Raises Minimum Wage To $15 an Hour
I'm normally pretty libertarian when it comes to issues like this, but it doesn't surprise me especially in a state like California where the cost of most things has become overinflated. Wages are typically the last thing to rise...but something is different here...

The government's "basket of goods" used to calculate inflation is blatantly false and misleading, as are its unemployment numbers (look at U3, not the cooked statistics you hear on the news that were called out by Gallup's top guy). Particularly in a state like California where most of the population lives in a few densely-populated areas with horrible traffic and ever-rising rents and house prices, inflation has already greatly impacted individuals. The federal government has already encouraged this by making the FHA loan conforming limit different for high-priced California areas. Between this and speculators buying and sitting on houses as investments, the average slug has zero change of owning a home and struggles even to rent due to the growing techie population.

The difference is that the gap in overinflated places like California has been extended beyond any reasonable means by expansion of debt. It's all about the monthly payment for a good, not the total amount out of your pocket for that good irrespective of repairs and devaluation. Between the large bank failures and the constant pumping of the money supply, it appears that the debtors will win and the savers will lose at the expense of substantial amounts of inflation simply because compensation for productivity has to be based on something somewhat tangible, even if it's intellectual property. That underpinning simply isn't there. This is a giant souffle that will be hardened into place from the top and pull the bottom up with it.

So yes, raise the minimum wage if you will. But those prices will be passed along to consumers. Those in LA and the rest of California and like places should get used to $9-$10 McDonald's meals and $2 cans of soda and $2.50 for a basic pack of gum. Other than austerity and contraction (which may cycle multiple times between inflation before all is said and done), this was the only possible outcome whose chickens appear now to be coming home to roost. Welcome to the new normal, with effectively no consolation for the minimum wage earners.

Comment: A poorly-run "platform" just like Android/Play/etc (Score 0) 45

I don't know what it is about Google-run platforms that makes them so awful, but they seem to shovel on tons of features with a corporate agenda but without the ability to really understand the underlying user experience. I'm not an Apple fan myself, but at least their app store for a non-jailbroken iOS device is much much cleaner from a malware perspective than the equivalent Android app stores. We aren't even talking about the ever-present developer inconsistencies version-to-version in the Android platform, especially for DRM and media playback, which make life hell for developers.

In the desktop browser environment where average users have no idea what the root of trust really is other than "oh it's Google so it's ok", the potential for malware intrusion is huge and there's no excuse for this nonsense. Google's leadership needs to crack their whip at their product management and get things back on track so they not only test add-ons but randomly audit code for backdoors on the Play store and for Chrome add-ons if they want to retain customers' trust.

Comment: Act decisively according to project goals & sk (Score 4, Interesting) 255

by StandardCell (#49229723) Attached to: On Firing Open Source Community Members
I know that many folks in the FOSS community feel more comfortable behind a keyboard than they do in front of others, but none of us live in a vacuum away from others. As such, these are golden opportunities to assert the type of leadership and expand skills necessary for personal as well as professional growth.

More fundamentally, every project needs to have clearly defined goals as to what they want to accomplish. The schedule of such projects, by the generally voluntary nature of FOSS contribution, may slip, but the cohesion required to achieve these project milestones is only possible in the presence of relatively strong leadership. Strong leadership should also recognize the skill inventory available to the project on a per-contributor basis and encourage those with particular strengths to be used in needed areas modulo personal goals (e.g. growth in coding skills, UI/UX, etc.). Leadership also needs to set down ground rules like mutual respect and positive communication style.

Therefore, project leaders need to manage the relationships between contributors, recognize political and personal differences, and reconcile them reasonably but quickly for the betterment of the project. If that includes terminating the relationship of one or more contributors to said project, then it needs to be done. But before all that happens, project leadership has to set the base of the building correctly before building subsequent floors, as it were.

There's an old saying that says "the fish rots from the head down" and it applies here too: if things are getting out of hand with a project, deal with it but make sure all of the rules were set and the relevant parameters understood prior to drastic action such as terminating a relationship.

Comment: Good for the goose, good for the gander (Score 5, Insightful) 77

by StandardCell (#49068945) Attached to: Company Promises Positive Yelp Reviews For a Price; Yelp Sues
The exact same arguments Yelp makes in effectively extorting businesses by deleting positive reviews unless they pay up are the same ones that RevLeap is trying to counterbalance and the same ones that SEO companies use to boost their Google rankings. I see neither a moral nor a legal argument that could favor Yelp in this case given their prior behavior, and I hope they pay RevLeap's costs in the end when they lose.

Comment: How about a law preventing SSN use for credit/ID? (Score 4, Interesting) 125

by StandardCell (#48795439) Attached to: Obama Proposes 30-Day Deadline For Disclosing Security Breaches
Of all the laws that hasn't been put forth that is most sorely needed in the market, it's a law to prevent private companies from using SSNs for ID numbers, customer identification and credit granting. How many people have had to spend thousands of dollars and years in court trying to get their identities back and repair the damage to their credit because they know a name, DoB, address and SSN?

Comment: Not a fan of procedural languages syntax for HDL (Score 4, Interesting) 51

by StandardCell (#48760893) Attached to: Learn Gate-Array Programming In Python and Software-Defined Radio
Folks who do development with Python should be wary of using too many procedural definitions for algorithms, even if they can be converted to hardware. Main reason is the size of the state machines and data paths, and the efficiency of algorithmic implementations in hardware, as even the best synthesis tools need to be constrained for reasons of design frequency and implementation size (hence synthesis pragmas). Granted, the hardware has gotten much more powerful and yes I know Python has object-oriented elements, but the idea of inherent concurrency and expressed versus implied data path are the trickiest things about designing hardware with languages that most people use procedurally. My other concern is supporting formal verification tools to check that Python = Verilog netlist for RTL->gate. For us more experienced hardware folks, I wish there was more emphasis on VHDL or Verilog straight-up even with open source tools.

That said, it's great to see Chris getting this project off the ground. It'll be very helpful for the SDR community and I hope we see lots of good things come of it.

Comment: An overregulated province anyway... (Score 5, Informative) 184

by StandardCell (#47857029) Attached to: Ontario Government Wants To Regulate the Internet
Ontario is so overregulated that actions like this are practically ingrained in the culture of bureaucrats.

The government has a monopoly on all liquor sales. You aren't even allowed to buy certain cough medicines unless there is a licensed pharmacist on premises, even though while they're busy in the back you can just grab the stuff off the shelf. All stores MUST be closed on certain statutory holidays even if there are people willing to work those days, and the store is fined heavily if it opens anyway.

All of this is, of course, theatrics designed to garner the perception of an effective government while the Ontario government debt has risen by a third or $90B over the last five years alone. And they're worried about regulating foreign OTT services? I predict spectacular failure as it has been for the longest time in the province.

Comment: But you only have so many dollars... (Score 1) 197

by StandardCell (#47689547) Attached to: Is Dolby Atmos a Flop For Home Theater Like 3DTV Was?
...so who is going to pay for this extra feature vs. what we've got today? Are people even going to care if they hear in three dimensions versus on a single plane? Most people aren't because most people don't care about surround sound in the home, and most people can't tell the difference between even 5.1 and 7.1.

Comment: Re:Betteridge's law (Score 1) 197

by StandardCell (#47689445) Attached to: Is Dolby Atmos a Flop For Home Theater Like 3DTV Was?
You work for Dolby and want an Atmos mix of Dark Side of the Moon originally produced and mixed in an inherently planar format? What is there to actually gain? If it's just to take the original stems and mix them, the sound mixer is going to do that anyway before it's released. In fact, for most people, they will never use this feature and it will be a waste of bandwidth at a time when streaming media is quickly becoming a margin business and the vast majority of media is consumed in really poor environments with really poor reproduction equipment. As a mezzanine or mastering format, sure. For publishing? Not so much.

The ".1" is supposed to be the low frequency effects channel. Are you saying that a bandwidth-limited LFE has any other position in the EIA/CEA-861 speaker configurations? Do you even know WHY it is called a ".1"? (Hint: the channel is LPF'd)

More importantly, who cares when you need extra hardware? Most people don't buy A/V receivers and extra speakers, and what few are out there are improperly configured just as the article says. I can't see how one issue should be conflated with the other.

Finally: I've heard Atmos in the theaters. Unless the content is specifically produced to take advantage of height speakers, I stop caring about it very quickly since my other senses are also being inundated. This means most of the movie. Who knows how much money a theater operator has to spend to put this stuff in and if they'll get a single dollar more for it from the audience. Same thing happened with 3D and boy did these guys take a bath.

Comment: Re:im a music mixer in hollywood... (Score 1) 197

by StandardCell (#47689361) Attached to: Is Dolby Atmos a Flop For Home Theater Like 3DTV Was?
That isn't cinema Atmos, but consumer Atmos. There's a difference, especially in the way it's carried. If you doubt me, analyze the HDMI connection to the A/V receiver versus what is in a DCI-compliant box. Basically, there's a 5.1 or 7.1 channel bed and extra objects for the effects in 3D, but far fewer objects and the channelized mix is all you get. In a true object-based reproduction environment, the objects are all that should be used and that's not what's there.

Comment: Re:So, about those changes... (Score 1) 146

by StandardCell (#47205763) Attached to: Auditors Release Verified Repositories of TrueCrypt
That was part of my little joke but of course that's all cynicism on my part at this point.

The only truly reliable idiot-proof encryption method is a one-time pad where you commit the key to memory or parts of it among more than one person. Not that practical compared to a mountable volume or full-disk encryption like the old TrueCrypt, but everything has a price.

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