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Comment His books never worked for me (Score 2) 105

I've got 4 of his circuit cookbooks. There's precious little explanation of how the circuits work, why particular component values were chosen, etc. If you want to duplicate his circuits, fine, but the books sure don't teach anything about how to design your own. The hand drawn and lettered graphics are cool, but the information content is minimal.

Comment Not a brilliant business model (Score 1) 263

So you've come up with a business model that says you need me to view ads to pay your expenses? Not terribly original as business models go, and most definitely not my problem. Go ahead and block me from your site for refusing to view those ads, I don't have a problem with that. No web site is indispensable.

Wait, you don't want to block me from your web site, you need my page views, but you still want me to feel guilty for blocking ads?

Methinks you haven't thought out that business model very well. Have you tried opening a restaurant where paying for the meal is optional? All you have to do is stand near the exit with a sad face and beg your customers to pay on the way out. Now that one ought to make you a bundle!

Comment Color me shocked (Score 3, Interesting) 96

That a computer can beat humans at a computer game.

The real question is, can a computer beat a human at a human game? Chess, yeah. Go, not so much.

Hasn't reverse engineering been around for a while now? If a computer wasn't better and faster at that than a human, that would be the true surprise.

This just in -- maybe it doesn 't require "intelligence" to win most computer games, just good memory and fast reflexes.

Comment Old media's big advantage (Score 5, Insightful) 73

It isn't just about the technical problem of how to preserve/read digital information.

Back in the day (get off my lawn!) it took a lot more thought and planning to create a document, without instant digital editing etc. Those old letters, books, et. al., took a lot more time and effort to create, and were considerably more difficult to edit and modify, and as a result, tended to have more forethought and planning before putting words down.

As a result, penning a few paragraphs or an essay or two wasn't such a casual endeavor as it is today.

Now that any monkey with a keyboard (and a little cut-and-paste ability) can create volumes of prose, the signal to noise ratio is a lot lower. IMHO, we don't want or need to preserve every piece of text (or image) ever created. The problem is, how do we tell the signal from the noise?

Even if we were able to preserve all digital information across time, nimbly leaping from one format or platform to another, would we want to? And if we did, what a vast amount of garbage! Might as well preserve all our landfills, in case future historians have a desperate need to pick thru them...

Of course, the NSA is probably already doing this, and has just the search algorithm to target YOU, citizen!

Comment Not this again... (Score 1) 755

Logic can't explain intuition, and intuition can't explain logic. They're two different ways of looking at reality, and each is perfectly valid in its own way, and they happily coexist within each of us.
For "science" (that is, a logical, rational approach) to try to explain "God" (a matter of faith, intuition, or myth, depending on your point of view) makes about as much sense as describing a piece of music in terms of odors (I know, some music stinks). Most of us have no problem surfing between levels of consciousness, or realizing that it's silly to try to describe the effect of a piece of abstract art in terms of the chemical composition of the paints.
Be rational, be irrational, enjoy them both, but don't try to explain one in terms of the other.

Comment Depends on the definition of 'is' (Score 1) 301

OK, if it's 'fully autonomous', then there is no 'driver', only 'passengers'. The 'driver' is, as they say, 'autonomous'. So this is really a semantic quibble about the meaning of 'fully autonomous'. Or 'fully'. Or 'or'.

In other news, would I be willing to be a passenger in such a vehicle? Depends on the definition of 'willing'.

Comment easy solution (Score 1) 924

Just don't bother to go to movies. They're expensive, dumb, and annoying, with or without the foibles of your fellow movie fans.

The sound is louder, the previews are more irritating, and the movies are more mindless. This is fun? The occasional good flick can be viewed in comfort and privacy in your home theater (or other device) on your own terms.

Comment This is the real deal (Score 1) 294

In digital audio, nothing can be louder than 0dB. So, if you're an ambitious engineer, and want your song to sound louder than the rest, but you still can't go above 0dB, you employ tricks to make your song apparently louder. These tricks include compression (reducing dynamic range), but more sophisticated versions like multi-band compression where different frequency ranges are compressed differently, or look-ahead limiters that sample audio ahead of the playback to limit more smoothly. However, compression reduces dynamic range, throwing away information and resolution, and lessens fidelity. So if I'm an engineer and want to make a recording that sounds really good, with a wide dynamic range, it's not gonna sound very loud on the radio or CD player next to the other guy's highly compressed song. That means that in order to satisfy my client and have a song that's sufficiently "loud," I've got to compress the crap out of it. Of course, since no song can go over 0dB, that "loudness" is a subjective thing. Until now, it was difficult to come up with a way to measure it, and therefore a way to control it. Bob Ludwig is a famous mastering engineer, and to hear that he's involved with this effort tells me it's the real deal. I own a small recording studio, and I have to deal with clients all the time that want their music louder. Maybe I'll finally have some good tools to say "This is as loud as it's gonna get."

Comment Prineville is like Mayberry but more so... (Score 1) 136

Back in the 70's, I lived in Bend, Oregon. I played in a country band (there wasn't hardly any other kind there), and we had a (very) funky gig in Prineville, highlighted by a scene I remember vividly still. An extremely large individual, dressed in flannel and overalls and looking and smelling thoroughly unwashed, came up to the stage and said, "Y'all know Home on the Range?" We tried to explain politely that it wasn't in our set list. After a little back and forth on the subject, he said, "Y'all play Home on the Range or I'm gonna come up there and mix it up a little." After a brief on-stage discussion we decided that the key of C was our best bet, and proceeded. That's gonna be some serious culture shock to a tiny rural bump on the map like that.

If you can't learn to do it well, learn to enjoy doing it badly.