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Comment: Re:is this good? (Score 1) 159

by iluvcapra (#49346695) Attached to: Many Password Strength Meters Are Downright Weak, Researchers Say

The "letter-number-symbol" verifiers are the bane of my existence.

I have a really simply rule: "You may choose whatever password you wish. If your password is compromised, you will be denied further access to this system. If your job requires access to this system, you will be terminated."

Maybe that's too severe, but if the user needs a little color-coded bar-graph to tell them how good their password is, that would suggest that (1) they don't understand what a password is actually protecting or is for, and (2) the incentives aren't correctly aligned. Personally I think employees should be assigned passwords to company servers. If they have trouble remembering it print it on a key fob or something, it'd be better than them doing what they obviously are going to do: "$username.2015". If a company's password policy is know, a reasonably clever script kiddy can generate a list of 10 probable passwords per account that would probably crack a few percent of them.

And of course the execs are the worst offenders, because their incentives are completely misaligned. It transpired after the Sony hack that the co-chariman of the motion picture group, Michael Lynton, used "sonyml3" as his email password.

Those meters are stupid.

How do they actually work? Do they do any kind of entropy calculation, or check the data against known rainbow tables? Or do they just apply rules?

Comment: Re:eliminate extra sugar (Score 1) 492

by iluvcapra (#49331205) Attached to: Hacking Weight Loss: What I Learned Losing 30 Pounds

Don't get too cute, sugar is a perfectly cromulent part of your diet; a very small part, but a part.

Sugar doesn't rot your teeth. Sugar stimulates the growth of mouth flora, many of these critters exude waste substances that lower your mouth's pH, your teeth erode in an acidic environment, particularly if you don't have fluorine ions in your enamel.

Comment: Re:Commercially makes sense ... maybe (Score 1) 148

by iluvcapra (#49304827) Attached to: Apple May Start Accepting Android Phones As Trade-Ins

This is definitely an issue, Apple's supply chain model is much more efficient than Samsungs. Like most west asian conglomerates it maintains a bloated, 20th century heavy industrial infrastructure.

Why doesn't Samsung run its factories and supply chain like Apple? Because they're a byzantine Korean chaebol that doesn't know half the time if it's making a cellphone, a car or an oil tanker, and measures its success by how many little paternalistic fiefdoms it can sustain.

Comment: Re:Commercially makes sense ... maybe (Score 1) 148

by iluvcapra (#49302457) Attached to: Apple May Start Accepting Android Phones As Trade-Ins

I don't think Sammy has anything to gain by cutting prices to get marketshare. It's good to sell more units but they don't benefit in the slightest by having a marginally higher percentage of the pie. From a platform perspective and drawing developers and mindshare, the Android share is the important number, and that's mostly out of Samsung's control, eating HTCs business is a wash and even at the prices they charge their flagship phones are still basically the same price as iPhones for the same specs and generation.

If you're Samsung you have to ask, I'm cutting my prices under the prevailing market price point, so I'm going to lose X million dollars in prospective revenues in order to get more marketshare. So exactly what is an additional 5% of smartphone marketshare worth? It's not worth much of anything. it'd be worth a lot if you were selling that 5% of phones at a good profit, but you already sacrificed that.

The whole point of marketshare is that share should give you leverage, like you get more bargaining power with sales channels, or you make it more profitable to sell complementary goods (like apps); you have Network Effects that draw in more consumers because of the perception that they need to have a Samsung phone over and above any other. But if Android is a commodity, and the phones are a commodity, market share is useless; it can be an indicator of your health in a competitive market but it does not itself reify into something you can use to your advantage. It's an indicator, not a cause.

Comment: Re: Good luck (Score 1) 148

by iluvcapra (#49298791) Attached to: Apple May Start Accepting Android Phones As Trade-Ins

Yeah that's why I said I thought the articles sounded like BS. I could see it maybe being part of some kind of watch or tie-in strategy, maybe "we'll take your phone if you want to get an Apple-watch" or something like that.

Also they might just be offering it just for the recycling value, it's not clear they're going to offer over and above the market value of the phone (i.e. "buy marketshare"), they might just be trying to front-run Gazelle's business. There are people in the article speculating that they may be paying a premium for old Android phones but nobody knows what their business model for the service is actually going to be (assuming it's not BS in the first instance).

Comment: Re:Good luck (Score 3, Interesting) 148

by iluvcapra (#49291911) Attached to: Apple May Start Accepting Android Phones As Trade-Ins

Apple is trying everything except the one thing that would actually work - stop price gouging their customers.

It seems to me like everything they do works great. This story kinda sounds like BS, very un-Apple, they've never cared about market share, except in the depths of the Gil Amelio/Mac Clone days, and anyways their actual unit share of sales in the US and other developed markets is increasing.

Everybody just wants mobile to play out like the PC/Mac wars, and for network effects to award the whole pie to the dominant player, but it's just not working out that way. Network effects don't count for much anymore, "ecosystems" aren't as closed as they were, even the Apple one, and the most important applications, the drivers of growth in the IT space, of our era are cross-platform, usually web-centered. Android has a majority of the mobile installed base, but it's a worthless hill to hold. Things have reverted to a mean and traditional branding and product positioning are more important now, you buy from a company you had a good experience with, not the company that's logo-compliant with your box at work.

Comment: Re:Commercially makes sense ... maybe (Score 2) 148

by iluvcapra (#49291837) Attached to: Apple May Start Accepting Android Phones As Trade-Ins

Apple had the most profitable quarter ever recently and is the most profitable company in the world. How do you do that without heavy markup?

Right, but why don't Samsung or HTC have such a high margin on their phones? Do they sell at a lower price because they want to be nice to you? Or because the people who set the prices at Samsung and HTC only want to charge you a "fair" price?

Their phones are just less desirable. Supply and demand.

Comment: Re:i don't get it..... (Score 1) 82

by iluvcapra (#49284541) Attached to: 3D Audio Standard Released

I'm not in a big hurry, and I want to see what DTS comes out with before I invest in an object-oriented sound system.

Seriously, don't bother, all the features and TV shows doing objects mixing now are mixing in Atmos, and the DTS-Barco system is a vaporware "open spec" that's DOA.

You don't have to do a ceiling installation for home atmos, I've heard good things about top-firing speakers.

Comment: Re:i don't get it..... (Score 1) 82

by iluvcapra (#49279779) Attached to: 3D Audio Standard Released

There is no disk format for "DTS Neural Surround" as such.

Right, it's a phase matrix format, like Dolby Stereo or Pro Logic II. And like those, you can listen to the LtRt as a plain left-right and you'll still hear something that's tolerable stereo, it's just perilous for certain applications (it'll have bad mono compatibility).

See also this press release. A radio station was broadcasting in 5.1 using Neural Surround... broadcasting in ordinary stereo FM as well as HD radio. Anyone could listen in stereo, but those with Neural Upmix in their stereo receivers could hear 5.1 sound.

Right, it's a format. In a professional context this would be called a format. Format does not imply digital. Optical SVA Dolby SR is a "format" in this context.

Then I would say that DTS 11.1 is an actual format exactly the way Dolby Surround was an actual format.

Neural Surround is a format, it's a 7.1 format. DTS 11.1 is Neo:X, at least it's the only one I can find.

If you read their white paper it says nothing about encoding or encoding format, Neo:X is an upmixing system. This is what it is:

To match the user's speaker layout, DTS Neo:X separates input frequencies into sub-bands and then creates additional output channels. As it adds depth and intensity, it maintains the integrity of the original audio, keeping elements in their intended locations.

Okay, any box that "adds depth and intensity" is rank woo. You can't take a stereo mix from, say, the 1980s, run it through an upmixer and call that a high-fidelity process, you're making up a mix that the original mixer never intended. If the guy who made the mix didn't make it in DTS 11.1, there's absolutely no reason for you to play it back in 11.1, unless you're an audiophile or a horn-counting crackpot. But this is what the DTS gear is selling -- play any format through our box and we'll make it surround, that's the pitch. (More like, we won't make you feel like an idiot for buying all those speakers when nothing on cable, Internet or Blu-Ray uses them.)

I'm a feature film sound designer and mixer, DTS is completely out of theatrical and television -- the original theater format is owned by a different company now, and the DTS name is just used to sell stereo equipment. DTS has become is the Bose of home theater. Go through their website and there's basically nothing for filmmakers, film mixers or TV mixers. I can't find any documentation of a Neo:X encoder, or a licensing system for productions. All of their "for professionals" documentation looks like its for home theater installers. Neo:X is just a box in your house that sprinkles fairy dust on your speaker outputs.

The difference with Dolby Stereo is Dolby Stereo uses an encoder, an SEU4 or the AAX/VST/AudioUnits equivalent, and you need the decoder in order to hear the mix in surround, and the filmmaker has complete control over how sound is placed and presented, not a box in the viewer's living room. It's up to the filmmaker to add "depth and intensity" if he wants to, not some box.

The only movie I can actually find that's advertised as Neo:X is Expendables 2, and it doesn't appear to be encoded for Neo:X, it's just been "optimized" for Neo:X, which means they just listened to the mix it through a Neo:X receiver and made a whole new mix just for people with Neo:X receivers -- in other words, the mixer had to change his mix so the Neo:X box wouldn't screw it up the presentation. Any box that remixes my work is crap. We spend weeks getting this stuff right and getting the director, editor and producers to sign off on every little detail, and then some home theater box is going to re-pan everything, add nonstandard height channels and multiband crossovers? What's the point of that, except to sell speaker gear?

Comment: Re:OpenAL? (Score 1) 82

by iluvcapra (#49278977) Attached to: 3D Audio Standard Released

Every electronic space/reverb algorithm I've heard just adds distortion and makes the original sound worse.

Well, by definition any signal-dependent component a process adds to an original signal is distortion. :) I just don't think you've heard good ones. Also, part of doing good music mixing is using reverb in a way that people don't notice, or just accept as natural. There are also applications of reverb that don't sound like reverb.

I prefer to hear just the original instruments in as pristine quality as possible as if we were in an infinite volume room.

I assure you, no recording of music you love has been recorded or presented in this way. Anechoic musical recordings exist but they're sorta special and they only work for certain instruments (OK for strings, awful for percussion, death for winds and vocals).

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. -- Albert Einstein