Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:Rather late (Score 1) 259

by TheRaven64 (#48478849) Attached to: Windows 10 To Feature Native Support For MKV and FLAC

It depends a huge amount on what you're listening to. For about 90% of my music, I can't tell the difference between the original CD and 128kb/s MP3. A few things have noticeable artefacts that don't go away no matter how high you put the bitrate. Substitute 128kb/s AAC and that changes to over 95%. At 256kb/s AAC, I can't tell the difference for anything I own, but I've heard some recordings that hit pathological cases in the algorithms used for AAC and sound terrible at any bit rate (usually orchestral pieces with a single voice and only for short samples). With FLAC, you can 100% reconstruct the original, bit for bit, so you won't suffer from any unfortunate coincidence between your choice of music and the CODEC of choice.

The big advantage of a lossless compression though is for recompressing. For a long time I had a DVD player connected to my living room speakers that could play back MP3s, but not AAC. If I wanted to burn a CD-RW or DVD+RW to play on it, I had to recompress, which usually sounded noticeably worse than if I'd gone straight to MP3 from the source material. If I'd ripped everything as FLAC, then that recompression would not have introduced any new artefacts.

Comment: Re:What Does This Mean (Score 2) 101

by TheRaven64 (#48478577) Attached to: Mathematicians Study Effects of Gerrymandering On 2012 Election
They created an algorithm that constructed constituency boundaries randomly, but in such a way that obeyed the rules. They constructed 100 such random maps. The average of these had 7-8 Democrat seats, 5-6 Republican seats. The actual results were 9 Republican, 4 Democrat, using maps drawn up by the Republicans (note: TFA didn't say what the results would have been with the previous set of maps, which had been drawn up by the Democrats). This means that, although the Republicans lost the popular vote in the state, and they lost the geographically weighted vote according to 100 randomly drawn electoral maps, they still ended up winning the state overall.

Comment: Re:Nuclear is Clean (Score 2) 110

by TheRaven64 (#48478433) Attached to: Renewables Are Now Scotland's Biggest Energy Source
I'm trying to read this site, but it's quite difficult as they pop up an obnoxious banner that doesn't go away when I click the red close box. Their figures are 7,900,000 birds killed for coal, 330,000 for nuclear. So your citation directly refutes your point: coal kills 24 times more birds than nuclear.

Comment: Re: Hafnium in short supply? (Score 1) 119

by TheRaven64 (#48478191) Attached to: Scientists Develop "Paint" To Help Cool the Planet

So, as the price goes up economically viable reserves go up.

Yes. Of course, at some point you'll start getting the material from asteroid mines, because at a few million dollars per kg it's actually worth doing that. Generally, the demand slows as the price increases too though. A roof paint that costs a few thousand times the value of the house probably isn't going to be that popular...

Comment: Re:EUgle? (Score 1) 180

by TheRaven64 (#48478095) Attached to: Google Should Be Broken Up, Say European MPs

By the time Gmail was no longer an invite-only beta service, everyone had been talking about it for months. The buzz was enormous

Among geeks, sure. Among normal people? Not so much. A year after GMail launched, I still had non-geeks asking me 'what's your hotmail address?' meaning 'what's your personal email address' (as opposed to the work-run one).

Microsoft bought a well reputed linux based webmail service (whose name I can no longer recall) that they painfully migrated Linux>Windows to attempt to jumpstart their entry into webmail.

The service that they bought was called Hotmail and was running FreeBSD, not Linux. They bought it long before Google was a major player in the online space. When they bought it, it was (by quite a large margin) the dominant player in the webmail space (it was also the first mover). They tried once and failed to migrate to Windows. Windows Services for UNIX exists solely because of that PR disaster: they eventually migrated everything to Windows via a POSIX compatibility layer.

Comment: Re:Why is competition not a good criterion? (Score 1) 180

by TheRaven64 (#48477741) Attached to: Google Should Be Broken Up, Say European MPs

So why isn't anyone making a big deal about Microsoft any more? The big issue at their trial was bundling the browser with the OS. They are still doing that.

The big issue was using a monopoly in the OS market to gain a monopoly in the browser market. Bundling the browser with the OS was one aspect of that. Giving away the browser for 'free' (actually for free for the Mac and UNIX editions, while they lasted) was another. Tying ActiveX to IE and pushing server products that only worked with their browser was another. Forcing OEMs to pay more for Windows if they included Netscape or other browsers was yet another. The shipping of a browser with the OS was a relatively small part of the complaint, just the part that got the most press coverage.

And this was addressed in Europe, by requiring Microsoft to allow OEMs to bundle other browsers and to provide a box on first boot that would allow the user to select their browser of choice. ActiveX is basically dead and it's been a while since Microsoft launched any IE-only services, so this seems to have worked.

Comment: Re:EUgle? (Score 1) 180

by TheRaven64 (#48477725) Attached to: Google Should Be Broken Up, Say European MPs

When did Google ever start forcing users to sign up just to search?

If you visit the Google search engine, it will set a tracking cookie that is used to serve ads to you, so they are forcing you to sign up to their targeted ad service to use their search. If you want to be able to configure the search settings, then they do this via the tracking cookie. This is not a technical decision: DuckDuckGo, for example, sets a cookie that just has a set of preference flags in it, so any two people with the same preferences will have the same cookie, not a unique identifier, and the web server can handle these preferences without needing any kind of database lookup.

I'm not sure if the EU is aware, but Google is absurdly popular. I'd be shocked if Gmail didn't come up #1 in a search for email

That's certainly true now. But when gmail launched, it wasn't absurdly popular, it was a new contender in an established market, yet it still showed up at the top of the search results.

Comment: Re:Poe's law (Score 1) 180

by TheRaven64 (#48477707) Attached to: Google Should Be Broken Up, Say European MPs
When I started using Google, its results were not better than AltaVista. The thing that caused me to switch was the fact that AltaVista took 30 seconds to load the search page and another 30 seconds to load each results page on my modem (with calls charged per minute), whereas Google loaded almost instantly. That meant that I'd find the result faster with Google, even if it happened to be lower down.

Comment: Re:How about transfer rate and reliability? (Score 1) 185

by TheRaven64 (#48473409) Attached to: Consortium Roadmap Shows 100TB Hard Drives Possible By 2025
And how does the size of a photographs compare to a 1500 page book? Modern mobile phones come with cameras that can take pictures that are 30MB each. That 1TB is enough for 35,000 photos at that size, but it doesn't take too many doublings for it to start to feel cramped. HD video can get through it very quickly and most modern phones can record at at least 1080p now.

Comment: Re:Ok, so what's the new flavor of the moment? (Score 2) 278

by TheRaven64 (#48469161) Attached to: Is Ruby On Rails Losing Steam?
As with C before it, the fast languages are the ones where people have invested a lot of time and effort in the compilers. JavaScript is pretty horrible to compile, but there's no reason why languages like Java or Ruby would be slow, other than effort. The Ruby implementation is pretty slow, but it's also pretty simple. Go and C had the advantage of being able to get fairly good performance from a simple compiler, but if you compare a modern GCC or Clang to an early C compiler you'll see a massive performance improvement. A modern JavaScript implementation employs all of the techniques from Self and Smalltalk, as well as some new tricks (in particular, loading time is far more important for JavaScript in a web browser than any other language). If you look at the WebKit JavaScript implementation, it has four different implementations (a bytecode interpreter, a simple fast JIT, an optimising JIT and a more complex optimising JIT) and promotes code to the later ones as it appears on hot paths.

Things equal to nothing else are equal to each other.