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Input Devices

Is the Line-in Jack On the Verge of Extinction? 411

Posted by timothy
from the erasing-the-analog-hole dept.
SlashD0tter writes "Many older sound cards were shipped with line-out, microphone-in, and a line-in jacks. For years I've used such a line-in jack on an old Windows 2000 dinosaur desktop that I bought in 2000 (600 Mhz PIII) to capture the stereo audio signal from an old Technics receiver. I've used this arrangement to recover the audio from a slew of old vinyl LPs and even a few cassettes using some simple audio manipulating software from a small shop in Australia. I've noticed only recently, unfortunately, that all of the four laptops I've bought since then have omitted a line-in jack, forcing me to continue keeping this old desktop on life support. I've looked around for USB sound cards that include a line-in jack, but I haven't been too impressed by the selection. Is the line-in jack doomed to extinction, possibly due to lobbying from vested interests, or are there better thinking-outside-the-box alternatives available?"
Image

Metaprogramming Ruby 84

Posted by samzenpus
from the read-all-about-it dept.
scottl writes "Metaprogramming Ruby is the first book to give an in-depth and readable explanation of how dynamic programming works in Ruby. It is both readable and accurate and will be a valuable resource to intermediate and probably advanced Ruby programmers for some time to come." Keep reading for the rest of scottl's review.
Social Networks

YouTube Was Evil, and Google Knew It 419

Posted by kdawson
from the those-darn-archives dept.
pcause writes "Silicon Alley Insider has the most damning evidence released in the Viacom/YouTube suit. It seems clear from these snippets that YouTube knew it was pirating content, and did it to grow fast and sell for a lot of money. It also seems clear that Google knew the site contained pirated content and bought it and continued the pirating."
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: Re:Disappointing. (Score 1) 1713

by nick.cash (#30932180) Attached to: Apple's "iPad" Out In the Open

And for those who want a full-featured OS, there's still the Mac.

Hopefully that stays true! I've said this a few times today, but part of me is very afraid that this is part of a bigger, overall move by Apple to transition to more of the iPhone OS on more devices than OS X. I was really expecting this device to run actual OS X, perhaps with some limitations, but I was clearly wrong. But it makes some sense that that's where they're headed... and now I wouldn't be at all surprised if the next round of Mac Books run this dumbed-down iPhone OS instead of true OS X... and who knows from there?

If this happens, I'll be extremely sad. OS X is a breath of fresh air in the operating system world. I've run more OSes than any normal person, and more still than many hobbyists, and yet OS X is very much my favorite. I'd hate to see it cast aside by Apple because they don't want to make real computers any more.

Comment: Re:Extra things you'll need (Score 1) 1713

by nick.cash (#30931928) Attached to: Apple's "iPad" Out In the Open
Apple has always over-charged for upgrades when you buy from them. Every time I buy a Mac, I always immediately upgrade the RAM (which it generally needs), but with memory from a different vendor for far far less.

But those sneaky bastards have found a way to close that loophole. By having non-upgradeable components, you can't avoid paying their exorbitant upgrade costs (short of hardware hacking...which, however cool, is not practical). So iPod, iPhones and now iPads have drastically different price points for what amounts to an extra dirt-cheap memory chip being added.

This is partially why I have an android phone, and partially why I love having one... I can always upgrade the SD card, and prices on those things seem to fall monthly. Every time I fill it up, I buy a new one that's twice the size of the one I have, for less than I paid for the smaller one... and then sell my old card to some grumpy blackberry user.

Comment: Re:multiple SIM cards (Score 1) 1713

by nick.cash (#30931864) Attached to: Apple's "iPad" Out In the Open
No, no, no, no, nonsense. We have more freedom because we get to pick between four totally different phone carriers, and get cheap cheap phones at the tiny of cost of a two (or more, in the end) year contractual commitment! It's totally more convenient that way. And the best thing is, once you're contract is up and you want to go to a different company, you get to throw away your old phone (cuz its not compatible!) and start all over! (Yes I'm aware T-Mobile and ATT are both GSM and unlocked phones are compatible between them, but they have different 3G frequencies, making modern phones non-portable if you care about using 3G. Sprint and Verizon use a silly CDMA system almost no other country uses and aren't portable between the two anyway) Vendor lock-in makes everyone happier! Nobody wants to pick phone companies based on their actual merits. We prefer when the decision is easier and based on what trendy phones are available to suck us into a commitment. Yay!

Comment: Re:Typical techies and gadget freaks (Score 1) 1713

by nick.cash (#30931804) Attached to: Apple's "iPad" Out In the Open

Perhaps. Apple is extraordinarily smart and they may prove us all wrong in the end. I'm currently of the mind that this device doesn't fill any niche I need filled. I have a smartphone with me at all times in case I need to quickly/randomly access a website. I have a fairly small, portable, notebook most of the time, and when I'm at work I have several workstations available to me. Soon, I'll have a Nook to read books on. Between all these, all situations I might use an iPad are soundly covered.
There is simply no time where I need internet access, my phone won't cut it, and I don't have access to an actual computer. And that further generalizes to all of the features that the iPad has. I simply do not need one.

But....that's just me. And that's just right now, today, January 28th 2010. If Apple succeeds, this could become very popular and many people could some day end up with an iPad instead of owning a more traditional computer - netbook, laptop, or even desktop. To the very casual user, this may be all they need. We've all been saying for years that Linux is good enough for the average user because it has a web browser and email, and that most people don't really need Windows... well, here, Apple is saying the same thing. And with their marketing and "cool factor", they might actually succeed with our rthetoric. Pretty soon, people might not be complaining that the iPad doesn't fill any niche... they'll be asking why anyone would buy a laptop or desktop or e-reader when a phone and a tablet cover are all anyone needs.

(This doesn't bother me too much. But what does is the idea that Apple may be eventually abandoning "real" OS X and focusing on locked-down devices like this... but that I shall complain about in more relevant threads.)

Comment: Re:What is the point? (Score 2, Informative) 1713

by nick.cash (#30931722) Attached to: Apple's "iPad" Out In the Open

Nah, "synergy" was a mid-90s buzz-word. Nobody buys synergy anymore.

We in the hipster computing community have moved onto newer buzz-words. What we want is a "cloud computing" turd*! And we'll settle for nothing less than that! Everything else you said was pretty much dead-on, though. I can't believe how many people are obsessing over this iPad even though it was a total let down, by nearly all expectations.

* Today, that is.. Tomorrow we'll pick up on some other meaningless marketing term and demand it whether it makes sense or not.

"And one more thing! With the iFece, your shit literally will not stink! It's the Apple-lovers dream!"

Comment: Re:No flash support (Score 1) 1713

by nick.cash (#30931684) Attached to: Apple's "iPad" Out In the Open

I readily see the logic in what you're saying, but I'm terrified it might be true. I currently rather like Apple, primarily because I think OS X is a great OS. It's everything about Unix I like (and to be truly productive, need!) but still totally usable, attractive, and stable. On top of this, I think the way Applications work in OS X is utterly perfect. I can't believe no other OS does it this way.

But I've resisted getting an iPhone because I don't like the App Store distribution model. I happen to be a fan of Android phones, and I use Google Voice daily. Apple rejected the Google Voice app for iPhones and I couldn't fathom using a phone without it now. I'm sure there are other examples I could find of things that the iPhone won't do but more "open" phones will. Not that it can't do, but won't.
And that bothers me, inherently.

I have no intention of buying an iPad as is, but I sincerely hope this isn't a sign of where Apple's other computer offerings are headed. I love my Mac Book. But the things I love about it are things that wouldn't be remotely true if it were running the iPhone OS. (does it have an official name? "OS X but not quite" isn't very friendly)

So..uhhh...I guess now is a good time to ask...how are everyone's experiences with Darwin? Should I look into migrating there? If OS X dies out, I'll be quite sad indeed. Is the FOSS world prepared to step up to keep it going? I know it's only the Unix basis of OS X, but has anyone implemented any of the OS X GUI, or is it just a standard X Server? (sorry for somewhat offtopicness of this... and sorry that this is probably all information I could google easily, but I'm more interested in what everyone else has to say about it)

Comment: Re:No flash support (Score 1) 1713

by nick.cash (#30931626) Attached to: Apple's "iPad" Out In the Open

As already stated, Chrome does this. But it runs everything it can in different processes, so this isn't too surprising, Even if it didn't sandbox, a crash in Flash would only take down the one tab that had Flash. I imagine with a sandboxed system the same thing would happen.

Supposedly, IE8 also sandboxes plugins (I know there have been stories about it on slashdot even!), but I'll be damned if I can find a reference for this right now.

If IE8's sandbox model is actually decent (unlikely), that leaves only Firefox being left out of the sandbox playground. ...Also, I think we're using "sandboxing" here to mean that the plugin runs in a separate process. There are other meanings of sandbox, though. Java has always been considered "sandboxed", although browsers traditionally run it in their own process space. In this case, it just means that the Java plugin itself corrals its own programs from doing anything sneaky. This doesn't really apply to Flash (or Shockwave, or any of the other common web plugins) as it doesn't have such capabilities.

Comment: Re:No flash support (Score 1) 1713

by nick.cash (#30931588) Attached to: Apple's "iPad" Out In the Open

Even on Windows (yeah, I know... I'm forced to use it at work, same story as everyone else), it's the only real program that ever seems to cause crashes. In my case, I listen to last.fm all day long, and occasionally when opening multiple tabs where one tab is loading and I'm trying to open others, it totally crashes Firefox. Without Flash, this never happens.

This shouldn't be hard to avoid, given what Flash does. I can only assume that it's a poorly written program.

Comment: Re:In SOVIET RUSSIA... (Score 1) 144

by nick.cash (#30931398) Attached to: Twitter Developing Technology To Thwart Censorship
That's just one example, though. (Albeit, one excellent example). But as is popular to say on slashdot these days, "the plural of anecdote is not data".

It does indeed provide evidence that American news is "good" in the sense that it can criticize it's own government (even in extreme ways), but it doesn't prove that American news is "the best" in any way. Many, many other governments allow the same thing (most modern nations, in fact).

I personally believe our news is generally pretty good compared to 3rd world and totalitarian countries, but otherwise unexceptional. I regularly read news from abroad that seems to be either skipped altogether or totally under-reported here. My (perhaps somewhat controversial amongst the libertarian crowd here) view is that having our news run almost entirely by private enterprise means it tends to pander to the lowest common denominator--what gets reported is simply what sells, not necessarily what is most interesting or relevant in the world.

To argue with myself here, though: On one hand, totally non-capitalist state-run news organizations tend to be little more than state-run propaganda mills (see the the Soviet Union's Pravda, present-day China, etc), but completely freely run private news organizations tends towards fox news style "lots of dogs!" reporting that is utterly meaningless but sells well.
But to compromise: middle-ground style agencies, such as the BBC, seem to put out excellent reporting without being beholden to the state or their advertisers. I think they must occupy the "sweet spot", so to speak, of journalism.


(alright, I admit the "lots of dogs" blow was a little low... it wasn't even on fox news after all, but it's representative of the utter crap that dominates news programs here in the US)

Comment: I don't understand... (Score 2, Insightful) 673

by nick.cash (#30931174) Attached to: Man in Court Over Simpsons Porn
I don't understand the commentators that think there's nothing inherently wrong with the "Simpsons porn" but still think this charge is all okay because he's been convicted of having child porn before, as if that makes all the difference. If what he's doing isn't wrong, it shouldn't matter what he's done in the past. If what he's doing is wrong, it still shouldn't matter. I can't see any way to logically arrive at the conclusion that justice was served here solely on the basis that he had done wrong before. They say Justice is blind, etc etc. Look: he was probably ordered to stay away from schools, jobs involving children, etc. If he has violated that, he would be charged with breaking parole or something similar (whatever the antipodean analogue thereof is) and we would never hear about him. Instead, this is something it appears he was not told not to do, is not normally illegal, and wouldn't be considered wrong if someone else did it... but yet he's being charged with a crime ONLY because he had committed a previous crime. I can't see this as anything other than the Australian authorities on a witch hunt to target anyone classified as a "pedophile". I (admittedly) don't know much about Australian law and politics, but if this were the US, it would almost undoubtedly be some prosecuting attorney wanting to demonstrate that they are "tough on crime" to further their career. On the other hand, since I having a daughter a little over a year ago, part of me can completely understand the knee-jerk reaction against pedophiles (if anyone hurt my daughter, I can't say what I would do to them)... but I just can't see having that reaction against this guy. I don't think he hurt anyone here. He may have contributed to hurting minors in the past, but it appears he's served his time for that. The law says he's served his time and that's over with (if you want to argue that he should have been punished more, go ahead, but that's irrelevant to the case at hand). He apparently hasn't hurt anyone since. There's no reason this should be held against him. In short: I've seen a few Simpson's porn pics in my day. Most everyone who's been around on the internet this long has. I've seen most every cartoon, tv show, comic, book, etc Rule 34'ed. I laughed and continued my day. I don't think there was anything wrong with me doing that, and I don't think there's anything wrong with anyone else doing the same thing, even a convicted child porn trafficker. This is a misapplication of the law.

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