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Comment: Discrete? Yes. Creative? Not so much. (Score 1) 477

Now admittedly, I'm a bit bitter about a problem that's not really Creative's fault. I bought an Audigy 2 ZS for my laptop using PC Card...and then the next wave of laptops only came with an Expresscard slot. So, I ponied up again for an X-Fi card that fit the Expresscard slot...and then laptops stopped coming with those. Now I fully admit that Creative isn't to blame for that, but it is sad just the same. However, I digress.

I use my onboard audio for nearly all of my listening needs. My internal speakers are utter crap (I think one is blown, actually), and thus, even if Creative added all the super-duper offboard processing in the world, it wouldn't sound any better than what those speakers can pump. Adding a nice set of Sennheiser or Denon headphones, I can start to hear some of the MP3 sizzle in the 128kbps MP3s, and a handful of 192's, depending on the song and the encoder and settings used. Even playing video games, the difference between 'Good Enough' and 'X-Fi Good' never comes into play, because it's the nuts-and-bolts of the big picture that will make or break it in either direction - if the sound effects and musical score is good, the miniscule difference an audio chipset will make has nothing to do with it. If they're crap, a ZxR processor isn't going to change anything.

That being said, I still use offboard audio hardware on a regular basis. I use my Rane SL3 to DJ with Serato. Even if it wasn't a de facto hardware dongle to unlock the Serato software, there's no motherboard chipset that supports 2ms latency from end-to-end of the audio path. In other words, my SL3 can reliably take an audio signal from my turntable, translate it into speed and directional data, and send MP3 audio back out, in 2ms. Creative doesn't make hardware like that. The story is pretty similar for my Audio6 (which I use for Traktor) and my Connectiv (which I used to use for Torq and Deckadance, though it required closer to 5ms latency to be stable). I have a MobilePre USB that I use occasionally for XLR and 1/4" recording. These are niche products for niche purposes, but the fact that your local Guitar Center sells a range of these kinds of interfaces demonstrates that there's indeed a market for discrete audio hardware. Creative just doesn't make it.

Comment: Re:Meanwhile, in DSL-land (Score 1) 149

by Voyager529 (#47417639) Attached to: Alcatel-Lucent's XG-FAST Pushes 10,000Mbps Over Copper Phone Lines

Your ideas are intriguing and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter. No seriously, I'm with you on the 3mbps/sec DSL situation and am wondering what software/hardware you use for this. I see this as being quite handy on Patch Tuesday and similar. I have half-ideas as to how to make it work, but I'm interested to hear about your tried-and-true setup.

Comment: Re:And, probaly, nothing of value was lost. (Score 3) 174

I for one had never even heard of these products, and I don't think I've ever encountered a web site using it. All I see is Google Maps when sites need to do something with mapping.

Well, duh. MapPoint and S&T was a plastic-disc software title, intended for end users to do stuff without an internet connection. See kids, in the days between the joys of attempting to re-fold a paper map and always-on, always-connected internet streamed maps, companies got all the street information together and sold a software release in a perpetual licensing format. People could then take their laptops and a serial (later USB and/or Bluetooth) GPS add-on and navigate with a laptop, without worrying about data plans, cellular outages, or getting stuck on a necessary phone call that brought into question one's allegiance to accurate navigation.

In the case of MapPoint, routes and distances were mass queried and used in tandem with Access and Excel to make geographical and topological data useful in a business context.

Websites are going to use Google maps (or yahoo/mapquest/bing, to a much lesser extent) because their APIs allow embedded maps nice and easily. For folks who need offline information, Google Maps was never intended to fill that space. Now, it seems, Delorme is the sole holdout for plastic disc mapping software.

Comment: Re:Dang. What's next, Encarta? (Score 1) 174

Annoyingly, it's not just Encarta. It's seemingly any offline reference title. Grolier's is paywalled to oblivion, Britannica gives the first two paragraphs, Simon & Schuster haven't sold a reference app in years, and Wikipedia is, well, Wikipedia.

Now yes, the internet is how we get data around fastest, and even CDs were a de facto subscription since you'd buy a copy every year or two to stay current. I get that. Where plastic disc media had some usefulness to it was that, for K-12 schooling, it was easier to cite them as one would cite a traditional printed volume. Additionally, even if not the most bleeding edge information, most information contained therein would remain relatively consistent from year to year (especially ones on historical matters; technological matters, less so for obvious reasons). It also provided a baseline with which to compare other sources. If Encarta and Wikipedia disagreed, it'd pose the question of 'why'. Was there some sort of major breakthrough that allows Wikipedia to show its strengths as being an up-to-the-minute, crowdsourced reference, or is the Wikipedia article amidst an edit war? At least with Encarta, there's some semblance of "information freeze" where it's accurate to the point where the disc was pressed, and can be relied upon as such.

Sending reference works "to the cloud" makes sense, until companies paywall the whole thing, you don't know what you're really getting when you fork over your Mastercard, and it causes people like me to wax nostalgic for the plastic disc for well-written, relatively unbiased descriptions of WWII battles.

Comment: Re:Java (Score 1) 534

But in terms of long lived, go with Java. It has no buzz or the glory the pretty new things have and thats why its still in wide use in the enterprise.

I'm more of the persuasion that the reason why Java is still in widespread use in the enterprise is because it predates most other solutions and no one wants to pay between five and nine figures to replace the existing system.

Java is getting particularly annoying in that they're try to make the runtime environment more secure...and in doing so, have a tendency to break things to the point where it's a requirement to undo all the new security defaults in order to make the Java stuff actually load. Oracle has indicated that it will soon remove the ability to allow things to run by clicking 'yes/allow/run' to half a dozen warning error messages, which means that the amount of time and effort to make the JRE security requirements happy may eclipse the time saved in using it in the first place. Java is also a nonstarter on mobile devices. Finally, I've had major issues reminiscent of IE6 hell - $SOME_APPLET is only compatible with a particular version of the JRE and it's impossible to upgrade without breaking it, so people are stuck on that particular variant of Java.

Disclaimer: I haven't written a line of code since college. I have, however, had to support Java applets and, without exception, they cause these kinds of problems. I don't care if you use PHP, Perl, Python, Ruby, or .NET...just please...PLEASE spare the support staff the hell of dealing with end user Java sites.

Comment: Re:dismal state of batteries (Score 1) 119

by Voyager529 (#47351767) Attached to: Boston Trying Out Solar-Powered "Smart Benches" In Parks

www.zerolemon.com

If you have a compatible phone (predominantly Samsung, though a handful of LG units are also in the mix), this solves the problem. It does keep your phone from being anorexically thin, but I personally don't mind the extra heft. I generally get between 2 and 3 days out of a charge. This past weekend it lasted an entire ten hour drive as a GPS Nav courtesy of Waze (meaning GPS receiver and screen on the entire time, both notorious power suckers), through areas with spotty cell reception. They support NFC and come with a case.

I'm not affiliated with them in any way besides being a super happy customer. It single handedly determined whether I was going to replace my recently-broken HTC One with a One M8 or a Note 3. It was a no-brainer.

Comment: Is there a 'less nerdy version'? (Score 2) 347

by Voyager529 (#47310261) Attached to: Evidence of a Correction To the Speed of Light

Genuine question - this seems like an interesting thing, but as someone whose expertise in physics is incredibly limited, is there anyone who would be willing to provide an "explain it like I'm five" version for an individual like myself who is interested in understanding the speed differences observed in the particles?

Thanks, internet!

Comment: Re:I want to see where this goes (Score 1) 364

by Voyager529 (#47200263) Attached to: Netflix Trash-Talks Verizon's Network; Verizon Threatens To Sue

If the ISP is concerned about this, they can just ask Netflix for a caching box.

I actually wondered whether it'd be practical for Netflix to offer this at a customer-by-customer level. Give them a magical device that's the lovechild of an AT&T Microcell and a Western Digital MyCloud drive. End users can't access the Microcell at all; they're just widgets hooked up to the router. Have Netflix tie a particular magic box to a particular customer's Netflix account. Then, Netflix can send the user's instant queue titles to the magic box during off-peak hours to help distribute the load. Additionally, some variant of bittorrent-style swarming could help ease congestion on the tier 1 providers by minimizing the amount of traffic needed from them. When users want to watch content from their instant queue, they stream it from the magic box, no buffering, no quality degradation, no need for bits from Cogent during peak hours. Everyone wins.

Comment: Re:t-mobile (Score 1, Insightful) 321

by Voyager529 (#47174041) Attached to: AT&T Charges $750 For One Minute of International Data Roaming

... just sayin
Every one of their new plans they have unlimited data including international.

It's among the reasons I too am a customer of theirs. It's also what worries me about the Sprint merger. I have a gut feeling that we'll end up with a Sprint-like T-Mobile (not super-evil, but still a huge corp), rather than a T-Mobile like Sprint (a company that seems to go out of its way to make life miserable for Ma Bell and VZW).

Comment: Because Airport Wi-Fi sucks (Score 5, Insightful) 135

by Voyager529 (#47172207) Attached to: Free Wi-Fi Coming To Atlanta's Airport

First, in order for airport wi-fi to not-suck, you'll need a massive subnet with a TTL of no more than 30 minutes. Yes, I've been in airports where a /24 subnet was apparently just dandy...

Second, everyone who's in an airport seems to want to stream Netflix or something like that; I do hope that Netflix throws a peering widget their way, because the thousands of iPads in that airport will strain the pipe pretty efficiently.

Third, you're on a single collision domain, half-duplex, along with everyone else. 5GHz may help matters, but 2.4 will still be needed for compatibility, and if you're stuck on it, you'll probably get useful speed out of a dial-up optimized RDP session an an SSH window, but the only way regular web browsing is ever worth it is if you have some absurdly early flight (5AM takeoff or similar), at which point 'using my computer' plays second fiddle to the better activity: sleep.

Sorry, I've just never seen it worth it. I always load up my hard drive before I go, and I've never regretted it.

The airport: the worst place to be in the cloud.

Comment: Re:This is so 1990s (Score 1) 132

by Voyager529 (#47167571) Attached to: Linux Mint 17 'Qiana' Released

Since its Qt based I would have thought that a port would be relatively easy

I genuinely don't know, but it's possible that the issue isn't "get the program to compile on Windows" as much as it's a "get the program to run like an actual Windows application". Har harr, I don't mean 'it crashes every five seconds" or "has a metric ton of DRM" or "litters stuff all over your file system". There are other aspects of a QT application on Windows that go beyond just getting it to compile...

1.) Codec support. Windows users will fully expect files from their devices to get onto a timeline, and this includes MPEG-4, AVCHD, and Quicktime files. If Openshot is going to work on Windows, 'working with the dominant file types on that platform' is a prerequisite. A word processor on Linux that didn't support ODT wouldn't get too far...same principle here.

2.) the 'open' and 'save' dialogs of QT applications on Windows applications are very Linux-y. I'm generally okay with this, but the absence of shortcuts on the left side, along with the necessity of going through the complete file structure to get to the user's profile folders, are decisively not-Windows behavior.

3.) Some GPU acceleration can be done with OpenGL...but I don't think MPEG-4 encoding typically is. That's a bog standard feature in basically every video editing title on Windows...and is VERY handy for longer stuff.

I'm sure there's more, but 'compiling and shipping and slapping on an Installshield Wizard' isn't all there is.

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