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Comment: Sounds wrong (Score 1) 88

by Waccoon (#47797927) Attached to: RAYA: Real-time Audio Engine Simulation In Quake

To me, this demo is serious uncanny valley territory.

When I was composing MOD music on my Amiga back in the late 80's, I was very much aware of the problem of playing the same instrument on the left and right channels at the same time, especially when doing pitch slides. You got all kinds of weird interference problems, or the audio version of moire effects, if you will. If you were good composer, it could be used to good effect in music in a lot of cases, but most of the time it was a real pain, especially with sound effects in games.

I hear plenty of that in this demo, and it's far different and more annoying than actual reverb. As it is, the sound is just too "off" for me to consider it an improvement, and just like 3D sound, I'd have this feature turned off.

Comment: Re:Now almost as useful as python was 5 years ago! (Score 1) 116

by Waccoon (#47797821) Attached to: PHP 5.6.0 Released

Every time I update PHP on my Windows dev box, I have to re-arrange the order of the extensions in the config file to get PHP to start. Apparently, if you use any extensions that aren't enabled in a vanilla install, the default order of the extensions results in dependency issues. The helpful, paraphrased error message I get is something like, "PHP can't load this extension".

Yes, I know I'm talking about the Windows version, but installing PHP still isn't as simple as just unzipping an archive.

Then again, I've learned not to trust anything in PHP that is designed to make it portable across OSes. I used to use PHP_EOL to determine which newline style to use in my text files. On more than one occasion, PHP_EOL was broken and produced UN*X newlines.

Microsoft

Microsoft Surface Drowning? 337

Posted by timothy
from the use-it-or-don't dept.
hcs_$reboot (1536101) writes Again, not much good news for the MS Surface. Computerworld reports a Microsoft's losses on the tablet device at $US1.7 billion so far. But, still, Microsoft is serene: "It's been exciting to see the response to the Surface Pro 3 from individuals and businesses alike. In fact, Surface Pro 3 sales are already outpacing prior versions of Surface Pro. The Surface business generated more than $2B in revenue for the fiscal year 2014 and $409 million in revenue during Q4 FY14 alone, the latter of which included just ten days of Intel Core i5 Surface Pro 3 sales in Canada and the US." Should Microsoft pull the plug on the tablet? Or maybe it's just a matter of users getting used to the Surface? Even if they're losing money on the Pro 3, Microsoft has seemingly little to be ashamed of when it comes to reviews of the hardware.

Comment: Re:Also those sliding "give us your email' boxes (Score 1) 418

by Waccoon (#47497689) Attached to: Dealing With 'Advertising Pollution'

"Pop" is too kind a term. What usually happens is that the screen darkens, and an animated box will slowly scroll into view, then the ad will fade into the box, followed my more JQuery-ish transitions before the close gadget (if you can recognize it as such) finally comes last. Click the close gadget, and the whole thing proceeds in reverse. Really nice when combined with paginated content!

Once I see a page darken, I immediately hit F5. If it darkens again, I close the window. There are actually some sites on the Internet where I intentionally disable AdBlock, but I won't tolerate any site that attempts to block content on purpose.

Comment: It's all in the bridge (Score 1) 101

It's been known for a while that if you place a banjo mute or any other metal object directly on the bridge, not only does it mute the volume but it also eliminates the characteristic, metallic ring. Placing objects anywhere else along the strings, pot, or even on the drum has little to no effect. The "valley" created by the bridge pressing into the drum is surprisingly small, so only a very small area of the drum affects the behavior of the bridge.

The bridge is what defines the sound of the banjo, and using differently shaped bridges has a bigger impact than using different drum materials.

It's a shame I lost most of the strength in my fingers over the years. I tried different setups for my banjo, but I could never actually play it. It's a wonderful and fascinating instrument.

Comment: Re:I dislike electric power steering (Score 1) 128

by Waccoon (#47134603) Attached to: Ford's Bringing Adaptive Steering To the Masses

I just bought a 2015 Subaru WRX with electric steering, and the feel is pretty incredible. Way better and gives much more feedback than my old 2005 WRX with hydraulic steering. People are still saying good things about the electric steering in the Subaru BRZ, too.

It wasn't long ago that all American cars were very soft and all drove like boats. Whether the technology works or not has little to do with the mechanics and more to do with the tuning and manufacturer's priorities. Thankfully, Ford has shaped up a lot since the 2008 economic crash,and they'll probably do it well. I'm not sure how GM and Chrysler would fare.

Comment: Re:Better question (Score 1) 160

by Waccoon (#47024583) Attached to: The Shrinking Giant Red Spot of Jupiter

Fluid simulations have shows that vortexes spinning in the opposite direction of a planet's rotation tend to continue spinning in a stable manner, and will eventually consolidate into a single vortex. Vortexes spinning with the planet's rotation will dissipate.

I assume something similar explains the hexagonal shape of the storm at the pole of Saturn.

What this country needs is a good five dollar plasma weapon.

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