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Comment: It obviously can only mean one thing (Score 1) 894

by zuki (#48819447) Attached to: Pope Francis: There Are Limits To Freedom of Expression
Even though the consequences of posting as yourself are sometimes really positive, in such cases as what happened with Charlie Hebdo it would seem that anonymity is going to become the norm in criticizing, lampooning or using one's constitutional rights to make fun of whatever we feel like doing.

Because somehow, since religion is belief-based it's becoming more and more difficult every single day to keep people believing in these localized fairy tales when we are all able to compare notes by using uncensored, real-time communication networks. And the more this happens, the more upset and frustrated those who are trying to remain in control are getting; and in their desperation the less of a sense of humor they can afford to have as the very survival of their belief-based system is at stake.

While I am not necessarily condoning any approach, it's fairly obvious that Anonymous (the loose group claiming this name) and 4chan have the right idea. In order to get one's message across in this day and age, more than ever privacy and anonymity are going to be very important liberties; certainly worth making sure they remain something we have access to.

Thanks in no small part to people such as Lenny Bruce, who had the courage to stand up for those rights when they knew all too well that it would destroy their careers when no such options existed.

Comment: Re:Remember the context (Score 1) 749

by zuki (#43251849) Attached to: Can You Really Hear the Difference Between Lossless, Lossy Audio?

So if I always listened to music in a concert hall with a 25000 watt speaker system then I might care. But instead I always listen to my music through earbuds or my car stereo or even my home stereo - where, as you say, "The difference in audio quality may not really be apparent".

So, to answer the question of the thread, NO, I can't really hear the difference between Lossless, Lossy Audio.

The people doing this are called DJs and their audiences. In case you haven't noticed, this whole EDM trend has sort of really blown up in recent years. It's not a fringe phenomenon anymore.

A few of these DJs (not many) have endeavored to try and keep providing their audiences with the best-possible audio experience. There's no question that lossy audio has less 'depth', punch, 'inner dynamics' whatever you may want to call it which has nothing to do with frequency response, but certainly relates to psychoacoustics and perceptually how it makes people feel.

The very imperfect vinyl still sounds much smoother and deeper (especially the bass) on these very large-scale sound systems. Many UK dubstep DJs still insist on playing vinyl. It's immediately apparent during gigs when the next digital DJ comes on. Their digital files may sound cleaner, but lack that punch, what sound system culture enthusiasts refers to as 'weight'.

Comment: Remember the context (Score 1) 749

by zuki (#43248573) Attached to: Can You Really Hear the Difference Between Lossless, Lossy Audio?
While I agree that for most consumers it's really a bit of a moot point, the following may need to be kept in mind:

The difference in audio quality may not really be apparent when something is played back on earbuds or tiny computer speakers, rather than on a concert hall-sized system. These differences are very hard to pick out - even in an audiophile home situation - but become far more obvious once these same recordings are played on a 25,000-watt sound rig in a large auditorium.

Like taking a jpg logo you just lifted from a web site and blowing it up to a large billboard on the side of the road. Pixelation will occur, but won't be noticeable until you scale up to those large sizes. And yes, before someone dismisses this as irrelevant, do not forget the thousands of professionals who play recorded music for millions across the planet every week on those large sound installations. (granted, most of whom do not care one bit about audio quality)

But the difference is there, it's just a shame that no one wants to take the time to actually do these listening tests in large-scale environments with proper acoustics (clubs, concert halls, auditoriums). It should be added that if the venue in question has horrendous acoustics and tons of reflections, none of this will obviously matter.

These perceptual compression algorithms do in fact strip out the very essence of what bind the sounds together, the inner dynamics (so to speak) and it's truly a shame that by now it's become the new 'normal'. Even though vinyl is far more imperfect, on large-scale installation it has a much smoother presentation and the bass really comes out in ways that the castrated digital files do not seem capable of generating. The human ear is extremely sensitive to a lot of this once these details become noticeable due to the size of the room.

Comment: There are days I really wonder (wishful thinking) (Score 1) 522

by zuki (#42972889) Attached to: Illinois Politician Wants a Kill Switch For Anonymous Speech Online
Some days, after reading about the same type of posts from allegedly-clueless politicians over and over again, I truly wonder if we're not the ones being played here.

It feels as if they exactly know how to propose things that will set us off, and the precise language that guarantees people getting up in arms about it.

Maybe they're really the craftiest, most masterful trolls there ever was? Elevating the art of trolling to heights the kiddies cannot even dream about? At least on Slashdot, it never seems to fail either!... just an observation in passing. (I do realize that this is fantasy, and in fact this dude is probably another brick added to the 'series of tubes' wall, which has reached pretty mighty heights if I may say so myself)

Comment: No one mentioned Truecrypt? (Score 3, Informative) 307

by zuki (#42485081) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Keeping Your Media Library Safe From Kids?
Buy a humongous hard drive (3Tb is good). Make a giant Truecrypt partition, like at least 1 Tera, ensuring that it's the type that can accommodate files larger than 4 gigs. (NTFS for Windows, HFS+ for OS-X)

Copy all those movies to this partition while it is mounted. Unmount it... Then just mount it again with password when needed to either watch a movie or copy new ones into the partition.

If you run out of room, make a second partition on the same disk with the same password.

All done.

Comment: My take on copyright law and public domain (Score 1) 309

by zuki (#42448445) Attached to: What Could Have Been In the Public Domain Today, But Isn't
TL; DR version: The Internet has pretty much made these outdated copyright laws somewhat irrelevant, merely an annoying series of obstacles that forced all of humanity's cultural traffic to reroute itself around them.

The only time the public domain issue might be a problem would be for those who want to make products for commercial exploitation. One suggested solution might be to crowd-fund them if production budgets are needed, and just give the result away for free!

As long as there is no expectation of direct financial gain and we manage to stay globally connected (regardless of who controls the copyrights), our cultural heritage is pretty much guaranteed to safely survive.

Comment: those proverbial chickens are coming home to roost (Score 4, Insightful) 166

by zuki (#42278215) Attached to: iPhone Infringes On Sony, Nokia Patents, Says Federal Jury
Given Apple's current stances on these very issues, I don't expect they're going to get a lot of sympathy here

Yet beyond the mere satisfaction of seeing the bully take a couple, it does highlight how inherently flawed the patent system has become, and that whether copyrights, patents or trademarks, it's all become so lawyered up as to defeat the very purpose of these limited protections.

That it arguably poisons the well for the rest of us and human innovation at large is something future generations are going to have to come to grips with; in the meantime as I don't see any short-term end in sight. Not a good time to be a start-up in that space.

Comment: very sad to be reading this (Score 1) 290

by zuki (#42195703) Attached to: <em>City of Heroes</em> Reaches Sunset, NCsoft Paying the Price
Difficult to comment without having the inside scoop, but "sudden-death-by-beancounter" seems to be an increasingly common ailment in the electronic age.

Was either deemed superfluous, not worthy of the time, and I can hear the famous "can we just move on to focus on the core IP development" from the accounting department.

All arguments in which players having developed an emotional bond and deep attachment to the game has little if no place at all anymore; even though ironically that was the very thing the developers tried to elicit from customers at the start of the project. But in corporate terms, this has no place in any company's strategy.

Chew'em up, spit'em out. Any questions?

Comment: I'd take this with a grain of salt (Score 2) 163

by zuki (#41940625) Attached to: Mike Storey and His Plate Reverb (Video)
I would like to mention that with due respect to Ecoplate there are many seasoned audio professionals who would argue that the best reverbs are proper acoustic chambers like Capitol Studios' basement rooms, the Power Station's stairwells in NYC or the ones rumoured to be at Abbey Road and Air Studios in the UK.

As far as getting awesome plate reverb, there'll be some who will say that a pair of well-tuned and maintained mono tube EMT 140 units ganged together as a stereo effect is pretty much unbeatable. But the maintenance and tuning is a real lost art that very few techs remember. Also equally worthy of mention is the EMT 240 gold-foil plate, which has a sound of it own and has arguably been used on so many records that it is a necessary part of a producer's arsenal to get certain vintage sounds.

Although looked on as black sheeps by many fancy mix engineers, spring reverbs like the ones used back in the day at King Tubby's and Lee Scratch Perry's studios in Jamaica are something that just cannot be emulated with software, and have become such an integral part of the sound of Reggae that some pundits might find it a bit disingenuous to say that Ecoplates are that superior. Just as much, many producers used to splash AKG BX-10 and BX-20 spring reverb on many a track to the point that that sound became an important part of pop music in the late 60's and 70's.

So I'd venture to say that for anyone reading this who hasn't had experience with the gear mentioned those pronouncements about Ecoplate being so incredible should clearly be taken as a matter of someone's taste, aesthetic and cultural biases, rather than as fact.

I did not even bother going into the high-end digital reverb category, with serious contenders from Quantec, Bricasti, EMT, Sony, Lexicon, TC Electronics and other brands, many of which have found favor with all of today's price-is-no-object top mix engineers.

Just the same way a Neumann U-47 microphone can sound pretty bad when not used properly if either of its irreplaceable VF-14m tube inside or its gold-foil capsule have gone to the dogs, this is yet another illustration of what an inexact science audio production really is.

As always, use your ears!

Comment: cool Dickian idea but still not impressed (Score 1) 478

by zuki (#41880149) Attached to: Will Microsoft Dis-Kinect Freeloading TV Viewers?
Sounds like a patent deserving the 'Philip K. Dick Award' in the paranoid invention category.

I can guess a remedial approach... it's always been each person's choice to stop passively watching spoon-fed prime time entertainment programs.

There's so much high-quality content out there that more of it arguably makes little difference, especially since this quantity keeps increasing at such an exponential rate that we don't even have the time to watch a sliver of it anyway... I really don't see much of a down side to refusing to kowtow to any systems featuring 'safeguards' such as this, and that would include similar features.

Comment: Another eccentric one-of-a-kind (Score 1) 438

by zuki (#41808839) Attached to: Steve Jobs' Yacht Revealed
All I can recall is the disappointment that occurred between the time I read the story and clicked on the link (anticipating a dreamy design of some sleek, yet-unseen and heretofore stunningly futuristic spaceship of the waters) and the first-glance impression when looking at the photos ("is this some sort of practical joke... structure looks like some gazebo-thing made out of Lego blocks with its square top... so totally, repulsively ugly not to mention impractical on the ocean"). Maybe it has some redeeming values somewhere else, but wow! That's a pretty amazing feat to design something that instantly feels this ugly.

On thinking about it a bit more, it did bring to mind the one-of-a-kind aircraft that Howard Hughes built, a monstrosity that he even managed to fly once, the Spruce Goose. But looking at it side-to-side, the biggest bird ever built seems fairly normal compared to this anomalous-looking ... 'thing'

Renamed "Steve's Folly', it will probably stay moored at some museum or other. Might just be the right kind of curiosity piece for Paul Allen to add to his collection.

Comment: Thinking about how to frame this in Slashdot terms (Score 1) 678

by zuki (#41637643) Attached to: Saudi Arabia Calls For Global Internet Censorship Body
Maybe we should reword this and describe this situation in tech terms.

Those wah-wah-bytes are really butthurt because they are very much like the classic monopolist telcos, some patent trolls, the **IAAs or anyone else who wants to continue to operate by steamrolling their competition, buying the laws to do this if necessary.

They have been historically accustomed to doing whatever they wanted, and are ready to go to any length to protect that monopoly. Just like the telco suing a town for giving its residents free wi-fi. Not so, you need to go through us...

And the wah-wah-bytes in question are certainly not ready to share these sophisticated mind control networks that took hundreds of years to build and maintain.

Why should anyone else have the right to be heard?

What's next after that, they're going to have to share the last mile of their brainwashing wires to let competing and unlicensed carriers deliver services over what they've built? Imagine! Suddenly having to allow others to freely voice their opinions, and for those opinions to be broadcast and heard without any control... that's just unheard of!

We should also takes these comments with a grain of salt, it's a show purely being put out for the home crowd to notice. The dudes saying this certainly aren't dumb enough to actually believe that it would work, but since Pakistan's prime minister clamored for the same thing the other day, they don't want to be less devout than the guy down the street and feel obligated to raise the stakes a bit higher on the BUPD scale (blind unconditional prophetic devotion).

But truly, once framed in corporate terms, all of it seems very far from outlandish. Quite the contrary, actually.... very practical and coherent.

"Most of us, when all is said and done, like what we like and make up reasons for it afterwards." -- Soren F. Petersen