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Comment: Re:Can anybody tell the difference? (Score 1) 526

by melatonin (#37864818) Attached to: Apple's Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC) Now Open Source

Sorry, but your stereo's not very good ;-)

One thing audiophiles like to say is that you don't need an equalizer or bass/treble controls to listen to music with a good stereo. However, this rule pretty much applies if you have at least a $3000-ish stereo system. And you must have well-mastered, non-compressed music.

All my music is stored as ALAC, streamed to my Airport Express, and fed to the stereo with an optical cable. My brother was visiting once, and I mentioned how this stereo really does work without fiddling with an equalizer. In my absence, he hooked up his iPod to the computer and listened to his 192 kbit AAC audio, and in order to get it to sound good he had to fiddle with the bass & treble. When I came back he mentioned this, and showed me how it sounded without the adjustments (it was pretty flat). I have some of the same music he does, so I showed him how the same song sounds with lossless audio (with the stereo still having no adjustments). His jaw dropped. There was BASS and clear, distinct treble. It's just not there in compressed audio (at least, with 192kbit AAC. MP3 is hopeless).

If you have a single instrument playing solo, it doesn't really matter what codec you use. But once you add layers of instruments, or voices, that original instrument is going to sound pretty muffled with a poor codec.

Unfortunately the biggest problem with audio quality is the loudness war. Uncompressed music is unforgiving, and the loudness war is badly distorting the raw audio we get on CDs now. Right now the best way to get audio is DTS audio on a DVD. The loudness war has no affect on that, because DTS is a compressed format, and 'loudness' is just part of reconstructing the signal (and the dynamic range of DTS is phenomenal). Unfortunately, you can't get much music that way.

Android

Kongregate App Pulled From Android Market 139

Posted by Soulskill
from the gone-in-a-flash dept.
itwbennett writes "Last week Google took a page from Apple's book and pulled the Arcade by Kongregate app from the Android Market for violating its terms of service. In particular, the part that forbids distributing 'any Product whose primary purpose is to facilitate the distribution of Products outside of the Market.' As Kongregate's Jim Greer explained to Joystiq, the app is essentially a custom web browser that loads in a Flash game from the mobile version of Kongregate. Plus, it will cache the game so you can play offline. And this may be the feature that got it yanked, speculates Ryan Kim at GigaOm."
Nintendo

Nintendo 3DS To Be Released In February/March 131

Posted by Soulskill
from the now-with-more-dimensions dept.
angry tapir writes "Nintendo's 3DS, the first portable game device with 3D graphic technology, will go on sale in Japan on Feb. 26 next year. The 3DS will cost ¥25,000 (US$298), Satoru Iwata, Nintendo's president, told a packed news conference in Chiba, Japan. It will launch in Europe, Australia and the US in March." Nintendo also detailed a number of games that will launch at or near the same time, and they said the online shop would get some improvements
Earth

China To Tap Combustible Ice As New Energy Source 185

Posted by timothy
from the undra-the-tundra dept.
lilbridge writes "Huge reserves of "combustible ice" — frozen methane and water — have been discovered in the tundra of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in China. Estimates show that there is enough combustible ice to provide 90 years worth of energy for China. Burning the combustible ice may be a far better alternative than letting it just melt, releasing tons of methane into the air."
Censorship

Venezuela Bans Hostile Videogames and Toys 335

Posted by timothy
from the hostile-autocrats-still-ok dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In an effort to 'help improve child education and prevent misconduct,' the Venezuelan government began enforcing a law on March 3rd banning war videogames and toys, imposing a fine and 2.5 years in prison on the production, distribution, sale, hiring and use of video games and toys inciting violent behavior. Alberto Federico Ravell, former director of opposing news network Globovision, has already come on twitter denouncing the authorities for seizing imported Gameboy, Wii and PlayStation 3 consoles, due to considering them violent."
Transportation

Porsche Unveils 911 Hybrid With Flywheel Booster 197

Posted by timothy
from the yeah-well-I-get-better-mileage dept.
MikeChino writes "Porsche has just unveiled its 911 GT3 R Hybrid, a 480 horsepower track vehicle ready to rock the 24-hour Nurburgring race this May. Porsche's latest supercar will use the same 911 production platform available to consumers today, with a few race-ready features including front-wheel hybrid drive and an innovative flywheel system that stores kinetic energy from braking and then uses it to provide a 160 horsepower burst of speed. The setup is sure to offer an advantage when powering out of turns and passing by other racers."
Space

Pluto — a Complex and Changing World 191

Posted by timothy
from the can-imagine-quite-a-bit dept.
astroengine writes "After 4 years of processing the highest resolution photographs the Hubble Space Telescope could muster, we now have the highest resolution view of Pluto's surface ever produced. Most excitingly, these new observations show an active world with seasonal changes altering the dwarf planet's surface. It turns out that this far-flung world has more in common with Earth than we would have ever imagined."
Science

Why the First Cowboy To Draw Always Gets Shot 398

Posted by timothy
from the more-guns-less-crime dept.
cremeglace writes "Have you ever noticed that the first cowboy to draw his gun in a Hollywood Western is invariably the one to get shot? Nobel-winning physicist Niels Bohr did, once arranging mock duels to test the validity of this cinematic curiosity. Researchers have now confirmed that people indeed move faster if they are reacting, rather than acting first."

Comment: This is pretty ridiculous (Score 1) 1343

by melatonin (#30980190) Attached to: Students Failing Because of Poor Grammar

I have a hard time believing this (though I didn't read the article), but I suppose it's true. I grew up in Ontario. When I was in high school in the 90s, they really grilled us for spelling & grammar, especially "comma splices." I remember in particular the teachers "threatening" us by claiming that in university you lost something like 10% for each spelling mistake (though from my experience, they really didn't care outside of literature courses).

Where I work now we have a steady supply of co-op students. I remember we had this one student who made liberal use of chat-speak... over IM. I was actually pretty surprised to see a client-facing email of hers written perfectly eloquently.

If people are using 'cuz' in academic papers, they deserve to fail. Dang idiots.

Space

Space Photos Taken From Shed Stun Astronomers 149

Posted by timothy
from the love-the-gold-mylar dept.
krou writes "Amateur astronomer Peter Shah has stunned astronomers around the world with amazing photos of the universe taken from his garden shed. Shah spent £20,000 on the equipment, hooking up a telescope in his shed to his home computer, and the results are being compared to images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. 'Most men like to putter about in their garden shed,' said Shah, 'but mine is a bit more high tech than most. I have fitted it with a sliding roof so I can sit in comfort and look at the heavens. I have a very modest set up, but it just goes to show that a window to the universe is there for all of us – even with the smallest budgets. I had to be patient and take the images over a period of several months because the skies in Britain are often clouded over and you need clear conditions.' His images include the Monkey's head nebula, M33 Pinwheel Galaxy, Andromeda Galaxy and the Flaming Star Nebula, and are being put together for a book."
Networking

Game Developers Note Net Neutrality Concerns To FCC 74

Posted by Soulskill
from the game-developers-are-people-too dept.
eldavojohn writes "A list of notes from game developers (PDF) was sent in a letter to the FCC which represented a net neutrality discussion between the developers and FCC representatives. Game Politics sums it up nicely, but the surprise is that developers are concerned with latency, not bandwidth, unlike the members of many other net neutrality discussions. One concern is that each and every game developer will need to negotiate with each and every ISP to ensure their traffic achieves acceptable levels of latency for users. 'Mr. Dyl of Turbine stated that ISPs sometimes block traffic from online gaming providers, for reasons that are not clear, but they do not necessarily continue those blocks if they are contacted. He recalled Turbine having to call ISPs that had detected the high UDP traffic from Turbine, and had apparently decided to block the traffic and wait to see who complained.' It seems a lot of the net neutrality discussions have only worried about one part of the problem — Netflix, YouTube and P2P — while an equally important source of concern went unnoticed: latency in online games."
Image

Own Your Own Fighter Jet 222

Posted by samzenpus
from the only-one-on-the-block dept.
gimmebeer writes "The Russian Sukhoi SU-27 has a top speed of Mach 1.8 (more than 1,300 mph) and has a thrust to weight ratio greater than 1 to 1. That means it can accelerate while climbing straight up. It was designed to fight against the best the US had to offer, and now it can be yours for the price of a mediocre used business jet."

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