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Comment Re:Monster Business School (Score 1) 288 288

Monster does not make a bad cable. I'm sure they make a nice profit after they account for their marketing costs. The genius of their pricing is the huge margin they offer resellers. Let's use the "$10 cable" example. Standard assumptions with electronics is manufacturing cost ... the Bill of Materials and assembly ... is 20% of retail MSRP. There is packaging, shipping and marketing on top of that. Retail margins on accessories are close to 50% (100% markup). So ... the $10 cable should wholesale for maybe $25 and MSRP would be $50. Monster would put a MSRP on that item of $75, leaving the dealer with $50 ... or 200% markup (67% margin). You don't need to be a Rocket Scientist to see how much a reseller is going to push the sales force to sell that brand over others, and there is plenty of money to go around for cash or other incentives to be paid directly to the sales staff. As for Apple vs Monster, well, Monster is famous for sending an office tower's worth of lawyers at anyone and everyone they can scare into settling, most notably any Mom + Pop who dare use the word "monster" for anything at all. So it's no surprise they are in court, yet again.

Comment Trans-Fat free not free (Score 1) 851 851

You have to read the Ingredients list and seek out "hydrologised" or "partly hydrologised" fats. Because a small amount of trans fats below a certain threshold are allowed to be listed at zero in the main Nutritional Information list the manufacturers manipulate the Serving Size so that Trans Fats are below the threshold, you can't go by the Nutritional Information list. Also they can use "Trans Fat Free" banners on the package if the serving size is so manipulated.

Comment Force Fail ISP's tests (Score 2) 479 479

Take ISP's modem / router, place on top of microwave oven (I *know* you have long cables, if necessary, sitting around somewhere). Fill a very large bowl with water and heat on low for 20 minutes.** Do not touch bowl of water for at least an hour.** Take portable AM radio, tune to a station low on the dial, and place on top of modem / router. Call tech support.

Comment Probably True (Score 5, Informative) 164 164

In Canada there are basically two prison systems. One, for those sentenced to less than two years, is run by the province (thus a common sentence is "two years less a day"). The second, for those sentenced to two years or more, is run by the Federal Government. Recidivism rates for those sentenced to provincial jails is roughly 45% re-offend (statistics are lifelong, not three years as in the parent post's research). For the Federal system, it's less than 5%. Provincial inmates are released to the community they came from, while Federal inmates are paroled to a different community. They balance the releases by placing people based on the incarceration rate in a given community; in other words if 5 criminals are sent to Federal prison in a town, then 5 are released to that town, but are not from that town.

Comment I call bullshit (Score 1) 102 102

There is plenty of Uranium to go around; the current operating mines in Northern Saskatchewan, Canada can supply all Western needs for any foreseeable future needs. Proven reserves in the area are massive ... new mines take a decade or more to be approved and operating, but if needed there is so much available known deposits in the Athabaska Sand Basin in SK that supply is clearly not the issue. The Russians also have their own needs well met. Uranium spot prices are lower than in the past due to current market oversupply vs demand, although it's important to note that supply is almost always based on long-term contracts of 25 years or more ... power utilities contract for the expected life of the reactor at a fixed price. Now, if you want to talk the Chinese cornering the market for Rare Earth Minerals, well, maybe there is a story ...

Comment Nothing wrong with it (Score 1) 221 221

Been there, done that. Oh, did I mention it works? I worked and resided in a part of Canada that still retains a Microwave Transmission Network ... a tower every 60 miles stretching north ... as part of a strategic backup communications network. Most Microwave systems have been de-commissioned in Canada but a few were retained (Canadian teleco and media satellites were launched in the early 60's and that is the primary network to this day). But all our telephone and data networking is via a box about 12" square that has a direct line-of-sight to a tower, T1 speeds, plus telecom and DSL to a community about 20 miles from our worksite, plus a couple of other worksites with more than 200 employees each. Fast and reliable, we have on average 160 devices connecting at any given time. Cheap, too ... WAY cheaper than stringing poles.

Comment Parallels works best (Score 1) 209 209

Although Bootcamp is an option, and the price is right, I recommend installing Parallels Desktop 10. Choose your Guest OS or (choose multiple versions of Windows, for example) and be done with it. On modern hardware the VM's are fast. Once you boot an OS (which takes about the same time as booting via Bootcamp) you can suspend and resume, which takes about 10 seconds. Dynamically sized virtual drives makes the task of dedicating a Bootcamp partition size seem primitive. I've yet to run an application that is not compatible including those that require a dongle. Fullscreen or Windowed mode (which is handy for those Patch Tuesdays ... keep working in MacOS). Build a base SystemOS and dedicate VM's to tasks where on Windows machines problems can be expected in a do-everything system. (eg, build an Audio-Only VM). And so on. And Linux is no problem either. I run XPSP3 on a 2013 MacBook Pro without issues; older OS's don't present problems. Parallels can be purchased cheaply by adding it to a hardware order from OWC. And so on.

Comment Re:Somewhat cheap - Sounds fine. (Score 1) 249 249

I spent the most that I felt needed to sound 'fine' to me. What's with the pairing of subjective terms? What I spent could be seen as a lot (to someone who's never bought audio equipment) or a super-budget (to an audiophile).

  • Onkyo TX-8255 receiver - $120
  • Pioneer SP-BS22-LR Bookshelf speakers - $126
  • Audio Technica AT-LP60 - $100

I've also got an audio interface separate from the built-in one for my laptop, but I only use it for recording.

You could certainly go cheaper (laptop -> active speakers or cheapo turntable with speaker built into them) or way way more expensive (audiophile-quality).

Your choices ARE "audiophile quality" because you chose wisely (although I would have spent a bit more on the TT, say a Pro-Ject Debut Carbon). Price does not (and never has) = value. The point to take away, though, is your baseline is good enough that you could now evaluate a more expensive component and know whether it's an improvement or not, again regardless of the asking price. Another option would be TEAC who have a nice stereo receiver with phono for $180 with 100w/ch versus the Onkyo's 50w @ $120.

Comment Re:Cheap and sounds great! (Score 1) 249 249

Certainly there are good values available with used equipment and I recommend anyone interested in good sound to explore that option; typical savings over original MSRP with quality gear is more (sometimes much more) than 50%. However, there are certain areas where buying new pays dividends ... #1 is loudspeakers. Of all the areas of HiFi, there have been more advancements in loudspeaker technology than any other area, and I highly recommend buying new, regardless of budget (which could be as little as $150/pair; even at that price level you are looking at a few models that outclass what you would have had to spend $300 to get 5 years ago). The improvements cover the spectrum ... cabinet construction, crossover technology and the drivers themselves. I have been either following the industry or actively employed in it since the 70's ... there has never been more choice in the marketplace than there is today, and there is no need to spend megabucks to get truly great sound. But, as always, there is plenty of mediocre product out there as well. Use your own judgement.

Comment Re:Sony thought ... (Score 1) 391 391

VHS was licensed by JVC to anyone who asked, while SONY refused to license BetaMAX. So inertia built on the VHS format because everyone would sell you a VHS deck, even off-brand units at Wall-Mart. Then the *other* studios started dropping their BetaMAX releases. SONY did eventually decide to license their format, but once the software supply narrowed, it was just a matter of time. I'm not sure "marketing" had much to do with it, but even so, SONY's well-known propensity for exclusive formats was the real killer.

Comment Re: Clearly (Score 2) 391 391

When surveyed, people claim their #1 Priority criteria for headphones is "sound quality". And then they buy "Beats by Dr. Dre", which do not sound terrible, but have never won a direct comparison versus the brands that have been building 'phones for Pro's for 60+ years. The premium headphone market ($100+) is worth about $1.6 Billion annually; "Beats" sells about $1.5 Billion annually. This SONY seems to be trying to compete with the ASTELL & KERN products, such as the $2500 AK240, which sells in small volumes but does sell. As for $ six-figure+ sound systems being "off the shelf", well, no, they're not. They are a fixed specification, but sales figures like "5" or "2" are not unheard of. Lexicon, a fairly well known Home Theatre manufacturer, indicated in print it expected to sell "about 30" copies of it's flagship BLU-Ray player, for example.

Comment Make Them Pay (Score 1) 401 401

I had a little hassle with my Cable Company over cancelling my service, so I just hung up and redialed. The second call was to "remove the cable drop" because the "house was being demolished". They actually gave me a little grief over this, so I said "either you remove it or I will, and I won't be careful". This costs them (around here) about $200 because they contract this to a third party company. Don't worry if you want cable again in the future, they will happily re-install the drop. Costs them ANOTHER $200). You can do this any number of times you want. They will always remove and reinstall at their expense.

Advertising is a valuable economic factor because it is the cheapest way of selling goods, particularly if the goods are worthless. -- Sinclair Lewis

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