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Comment: Re:Modern audiophiles are no different. (Score 1) 469

Given selected music with characteristics that make a MP3 encoder generate artifacts, a good playback system, a set of headphones with good treble reproduction, and a quiet environment, I can consistently point out the difference between the uncompressed music and a 256kbps CBR MP3 made from it by carefully listening for specific artifacts.

With the majority of music in the majority of listening environments, well-encoded lossy audio content isn't noticeable. But on rare occasions it is - and I don't believe accepting that fact makes me a green-marker-in-hand audiophile.

Comment: Re:Why not? (Score 1) 147

by gmarsh (#46693031) Attached to: Seagate Releases 6TB Hard Drive Sans Helium

Why not?

- Requires extra machinery/infrastructure to be installed at the HD plant
- Expense of buying helium
- Expense of other drive changes required to support helium (better sealing, etc)
- Expense of licensing existing patents on helium filled drives and their manufacture.

Or perhaps they're just busy validating new drive models and their assembly line, and they'll be shipping helium filled drives shortly...

Comment: Playin' a bunch of old games. (Score 1) 669

by gmarsh (#46285885) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Games Are You Playing?

Lately I've been playing a bunch of old games, using new source ports/engines, eg:

- Duke Nukem 3D (using eduke3d engine + high resolution pack)
- Descent series (using DXX-Rebirth engine)
- Doom/Doom2 (using zdoom + high res texture pack)

I've got a never-ending fondness for these old games, and the new engines allow for an enjoyable gameplay experience - 320x200 on a 14" CRT back in the day was acceptable, not so much on a modern LCD. I can't give enough thanks to the people who run these projects.

Comment: Re:A car refurbishment industry (Score 1) 368

by gmarsh (#45887273) Attached to: Australian Team Working On Engines Without Piston Rings

My VW specialist mechanic buys older VWs, overhauls them, puts in modern engines and sells them for a nice profit. Eurovans/Wesfalias primarily, also MK1 Rabbits, MK2 golfs/jettas, caddies, etc. He can't keep up with demand.

Though, I do believe VW enthusiasts are more likely to go for such a thing - I can't see someone spending several $K getting their pontiac sunfire rebuilt.

Comment: Re:Regulations a bit premature (Score 2) 1146

by gmarsh (#45700053) Attached to: US Light Bulb Phase-Out's Next Step Begins Next Month

Don't buy your CFLs from a retail store. Find a local industrial supplier (eg, Grainger) that sells GE or Osram/Sylvania professional bulbs and go with them. Pick some part #s off the manufacturer websites to have ready when you walk in.

My house is full of GE FLE10HT2/2/827 CFLs, 40W equivalents that pull 10W. 2700K color temperature so their light output is easy on the eyes, and they've got a rated 12000 hour lifetime that I believe - I bought this house 6 years ago and bought a case of these bulbs to replace the existing incandescent bulbs, most of those bulbs are still in place. Indoors, they start up with about 1/4 second of lag and don't have any noticeable warmup period.

I swear by 'em. When LEDs come down to the same price I'll switch over, but I'll stick with CFLs for the time being.

Comment: Things I've used them for.. (Score 1) 246

by gmarsh (#45454857) Attached to: Raspberry Pi Hits the 2 Million Mark

- SSH to serial converter. Plug a couple of USB-RS232 cables into the Pi, plug them into serial consoles on servers/industrial equipment/whatever, and you no longer have to crouch behind a rack with a laptop whenever you need to monitor/control stuff.
- Print server for a USB laser printer
- NAS/backup machine/torrent downloader/etc
- New guts for a broken NES.

I'm sure the closed-source GPU and ARM11 CPU offend some people, but hey, it gets the job done in places I've stuffed it.

Comment: Re:Sounds Expensive (Score 1) 108

by gmarsh (#45083469) Attached to: Kickstarter For Open Source GPU

Even the highest end Virtex can't touch one of AMD/nVidia's ASICs for 3D rendering, but that isn't the target market for this design.

Here's an evaluation board for a low end FPGA chip, emulating a full 80186 PC including CPU, BIOS, keyboard controller, and VGA video:

http://zet.aluzina.org/index.php/Altera_DE1_Installation_guide

The Cyclone II on that card is several years old, a modern equivalent of the FPGA is about $12. Now if you haul the x86 and everything else out, you've got plenty of room freed up to enhance up that VGA controller into something more modern. That's what they're going for here.

Comment: This isn't "screw customers", this is "screw HDMI" (Score 5, Interesting) 256

by gmarsh (#45071239) Attached to: AMD Intentionally Added Artificial Limitations To Their HDMI Adapters

If AMD put HDMI ports on their video card, they'd have to pay licensing/royalty fees to HDMI Licensing, LLC. By only putting DVI connectors on their video cards, ATI doesn't have to pay the fee. But for the small percentage of customers who *want* HDMI, they sell the adapter and pay for the licensing costs with that instead. Since they sell far fewer adapters than cards obviously, the overall license fees paid become much less.

Presumably the EEPROM is in there because the HDMI Licensing lawyers aren't complete idiots, and required the card to make sure the adapter is licensed. Tossing a 10-cent 24LC01 or something in there with a magic byte on it probably didn't break the bank.

Comment: Re:Thanks, from an embedded designer. (Score 1) 121

by gmarsh (#44589697) Attached to: Debian Turns 20

In one case I selected an ARM chip, drew the schematic, made a set of rules for the PCB guy so the DRAM/flash interface would have good signal integrity, verified the layout and had it sent off for manufacture. Then brought the prototype board up, broke out the J-Link, verified the hardware, banged out and debugged an assembly code bootloader to initialize the ARM and pull the customized kernel out of NAND. Once I had Debian running stable on there, I handed it off to the software guys for them to do their part.

But sigh, it runs an OS, so I guess I'm not an embedded designer. Got a better job title?

Comment: Thanks, from an embedded designer. (Score 2) 121

by gmarsh (#44586545) Attached to: Debian Turns 20

I've used Debian extensively in the past for embedded Linux development - I've got equipment in the field running on the x86, armel, mips and powerpc ports, from biscuit PCs running full GUIs to $10 uP's doing network-attached-widget duties in the corner of a PCB.

Debian's "non-x86" ports work well, the distribution is simple, trims down small, easily modified for whatever purpose, and it just plain gets the job done. Couldn't be happier with it.

Comment: This is a good thing. (Score 1) 551

by gmarsh (#43741675) Attached to: A Computer-based Smart Rifle With Incredible Accuracy, Now On Sale

Speaking as an outdoorsman that has come across far too many dead/wounded deer in the woods... If a hunter using this setup is much more likely to score a single fatal shot on game, killing it with as little suffering as possible, I hope this makes it to market as quick as possible.

Around here half the deer hunters don't bother going to the shooting range, and they're god-awful shots because of it. So they end up wounding whatever deer they shoot at, and the poor thing takes off and suffers for hours until it either bleeds to death or a coyote brings it down.

Comment: Re:Not to mention... (Score 3, Insightful) 455

by gmarsh (#43643541) Attached to: Why Your New Car's Technology Is Four Years Old

TFA mentions at least one challenge. Kit in automobiles have to be built for extreme conditions (temperature range, vibrations, chemicals, dust, etc).

Hyperbole. The engine management and other systems vital to operation of the car have to meet such specifications, but infotainment systems can be mounted in the passenger compartment side of the firewall and so don't need to withstand such environmental conditions.

Take a consumer hard drive, put it in a deep freeze and let it chill to -20C. Now take it out and plug it in your PC.

Is it gonna work? No? Well I guess the same hard drive won't work in a car that's been parked overnight in the winter.

And that's just the first test your hardware has to pass before it can be installed in a car. Next up, vibration testing...

Comment: PC/104? ugh. (Score 3, Interesting) 84

by gmarsh (#43377983) Attached to: Inside Mantis: a 2-Ton Hexapod Robot With a Linux Brain

From personal experience.

Never put a PC/104 setup in a system that's going to be subjected to vibration, you'll cause the connector to wear out and eventually one of the important pins on the PC/104 connector will fail. And when it does, the ISA bus presented on the PC104 connector doesn't have any error detection/correction either, meaning your system may not fail gracefully.

Not something you want in a large robot.

Prof: So the American government went to IBM to come up with a data encryption standard and they came up with ... Student: EBCDIC!"

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