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Comment Re:Sonos - it begins and ends with Sonos (Score 1) 438

(redundant bit) As someone else has pointed out, this is incorrect - the Squeezebox players decode FLAC, MP3 etc. directly from the stream.

(non-redundant bit) And the Squeezebox Server is a very useful central controller for setting up plugins, playlists etc.

I guess the Sonos players can also synch to each other tightly so that playing the same thing in multiple rooms works nicely? The physical Squeezebox players do, but the version you might run on a PC (Squeezeslave) doesn't as far as I know.

And if you're paying in GBP, you'll probably be interested in the BBC iPlayer plugin which is very convenient. No neat Spotify integration yet but it's on the cards.

Comment Re:Linux audio (Score 1) 374

Is there a purist option which would allow me to flip between merging sources via mixing/resampling and letting the bitstream through to the digital output unmolested (e.g from a FLAC file)?

Part of my confusion is that I don't know how volume is supposed to work with digital outputs - is the mixer supposed to simply reduce the amplitude or does it encode a separate volume setting in the PCM stream?

Ta for any info - I've looked but not found anything in the PA docs.

Debian

Mono Squeezed Into Debian Default Installation 503

pallmall1 writes "OS News reports that Debian developer Josselin Mouette got Tomboy accepted as a dependency for gnome in the next release of Debian (codenamed Squeeze). While that may seem like nothing big (except for the 50 MByte size of the Tomboy package), Tomboy requires Mono — meaning that Mono will now be installed by default. Apparently, Debian doesn't have the same concerns over using specifications patented by Microsoft and licensed under undisclosed terms that Red Hat does. Perhaps Debian doesn't believe that Microsoft might do something like Rambus did."

Microsoft Trolling for New Acquisitions 142

NewShinyCD writes "Sources tell Valleywag that startup Ustream.tv is in advanced discussions with Microsoft to acquire the lifecasting service for more than $50 million, but there are other companies in the bidding as well. Ustream is currently raising a very large initial round of VC financing, and Microsoft is attempting to grab them prefunding for a cheap price. Our tipster also mentions that Microsoft would use Ustream as a way to promote its Adobe Flash competitor, Silverlight." Relatedly, Microsoft has also announced their intent to buy Sidekick maker Danger. Financial details of the Danger buyout were not disclosed.
Microsoft

DoJ Extends Microsoft Oversight for Two Years 118

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "The US Department of Justice has extended its anti-trust oversight of Microsoft by two years. This only applies to the requirement that Microsoft make protocol documentation available to competitors, though. All of the other requirements have expired, and Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly did not give the states complaining the full five years of oversight they requested. Still, this should prove useful given that one of Microsoft's new tricks is to use OOXML extensions to tie businesses to Sharepoint."
Microsoft

Journal Journal: MS copies feature, then patents it

Michael Kölling, a senior lecturer at the University of Kent and one of the developers of BlueJ, an educational development environment, realized last year that Microsoft had copied one of the BlueJ features into Visual Studio. Flattery, right? Well, recently he was informed that Microsoft has filed a patent describing the very same feature.

Michael's blog entry describing this here

Announcements

Submission + - Dinosaur extinction - meteor not to blame?

The Fun Guy writes: "Recent microfossil evidence casts fresh doubt as to whether an asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs. Prof. Gerta Keller of Princeton University: "We now have evidence that the Chicxulub impact occurred about 300,000 years before the end of the Cretaceous and thus didn't cause the mass extinction and, in fact, didn't cause any species to go extinct." These findings were presented during the October 2006 meeting of the Geological Society of America."
Censorship

Submission + - ABC warned over blogger shutdown

An anonymous reader writes: Remember the story about ABC/Disney shutting down a blogger who criticized them? I am glad to announce that the tables have just turned on them. Electronic Frontier Foundation has warned them to drop the case against www.spockosbrain.com. If they fail to comply immediately, EFF has threatened to sue them for (a) misrepresentation of liability under DMCA, and (b) engaging in unlawful, unfair and fraudulent business practices.

This chilling abuse of DMCA to silence critics has gone on for long enough. I am glad EFF is fighting for the rights of bloggers around the world. I hope they manage to teach ABC a lesson in fair use.
Space

Submission + - New ice age theory: Sun's dimmer switch

amigoro writes: "Most believe that the ice ages are the result of subtle changes in Earth's orbit, known as the Milankovitch cycles. According to an embargoed article to appear on Nature, one scientist think that is not the case. Robert Ehrlich of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, has developed a model of the sun which hypothesizes a dimmer switch inside the sun that causes its brightness to rise and fall on timescales of around 100,000 years — exactly the same period as between ice ages on Earth.

He extended the work of earlier scientists who calculated that magnetic fields in the sun's core could produce small instabilities in the solar plasma. These instabilities would induce localised oscillations in temperature, and his model shows that whilst most of these oscillations cancel each other out, some reinforce one another and become long-lived temperature variations oscillating around its average temperature of 13.6 million kelvin in cycles lasting either 100,000 or 41,000 years. Ehrlich says that random interactions within the sun's magnetic field could flip the fluctuations from one cycle length to the other.

The main problem with Milankovitch cycles is that they can't explain how the ice ages go from 100,000 year cycle to 41,000 year cycle. But they cycles predicted by Ehlrich's model are bang on with the observations."

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